So, this was my first attempt at a fashion shoot which took place at the Lloyds Amphitheatre in Bristol. It was the middle of the afternoon so I found a place with plenty of open shade. We wanted to use the water features but there were so many children playing in them that we had no chance! Part of being a photographer is making the best use of the space that is available to you, this only comes with practice for most of us. Those with crazy artistic minds probably have an upper hand! Using the natural light and a pop of fill flash, I had an image that I knew where I wanted to go with. The RAW file was developed in Lightroom and finished off in Photoshop. Talking of photo editing, I am tempted to have a play with Darktable and Affinity Photo.
This photo is from a themed shoot with model Helen Morgan Rogers and Mad Hatter Makeup Artist. It was taken in a wooded area at around midday so I had to get a bit creative with the lighting. Two speedlights and a shoot through umbrella were used to create this shot. Makeup was done on location and we had a few bemused looks as we walked a short distance to a clearing, complete with pumpkins, wands and other witch articals to where the shoot took place. The wood is very popular with plenty of trails and cycle routs and at one point there were some very excited children telling their mum that there was a real witch in the woods!The shoot was great fun and a huge thank you to Helen and Mad Hatter Makeup.
As the weather is starting to get a little bit more wintry it gives you the opportunity to try something a little bit different. Still life id something that I don’t do a great deal of but today I had a try. A couple of speedlites, a softbox and a reflector were used to create this shot. The main subject is something I found while I was food shopping and thought it looked very interesting, it is some kind of squash, although I don’t think i would have attempted to eat it if I didn’t know! A gel was used just to give a subtle change of hue on the backdrop. I was able to do this on the dining room table so not a huge space was needed.
Dating back to 1766 the Clifton Observatory, which sits on top of the Avon Gorge, gives fantastic views of the suspension bridge and the surrounding ares. The observatory was originally a windmill that was used to grind corn but was later adapted to grind snuff; the Observatory then became known as Snuff Mill.
In 1777 the mill caught fire, this was caused by the sails being left to turn during a gale and the equipment overheating. The mill was then left derelict for about 50 years until a Bristol based artist, William West, rented it for his studio in 1828. William West was responsible for transforming the building into what we see today, he installed a large telescope on top of the mill turning into an observatory. In 1829 the telescope was replaced by convex lens and sloping mirror which is known as the camera obscura; this still works today. Light travels through the lens and is reflected vertically down by the mirror onto a table which gives a true image of the surrounding area.
William west also built a cave below the observatory which leads to a viewing platform in the cliff face about 250 feet above the base of the Gorge. The cave, known as Giant’s cave was opened to the public in 1837 and is still accessible today.
This is a photo taken from a recent photo walk with Frui and professional photographer Jimmy Watkins, www.jimmyimage.co.uk. There was a group of six of us and we met at Zero Degrees; our first stop was at the top of a multi-story car park which gave a great view towards the city centre. After some coaching and a few shots it was on to our next location which was at the bottom of Park Street where there were plenty of images to be had if you looked for them. It was a great experience and an enjoyable evening spending time with other photographers.
This is a photo of Corfe Castle in Purbeck,Dorset. This shot was taken just after 0600 as I wanted to try and catch some early morning mist. My day started at 04:45 which gave me time to drive to the village and climb a near by hill for a good vantage point. A good pair of waling boots were in order as the side of the hill was very steep with loose stones on the way up amd it was at this point that I discovered how unfit I really am. After climbing what felt like a mountain and fighting through the gorse bushes, thorns and putting up with the constant bombardment of flies I finally found my spot.
Saturday 9th July was Bristol Pride day and as you would expect, there were a lot of colourful characters. There were many performers throughout the day and my daughter is a member of one of the many dance troops that were there. We all met at the well known Tobacco Factory in North Street, Bristol and took a leisurely 20 minute walk to the event, parking there would have been almost impossible. On arrival we discovered that the changing tent hadn’t arrived which left our dancers feeling rather unnerved about the prospect of changing in the open. Fortunately Bristol Community Health came to our rescue ant let us borrow their event tent for 10 minutes so a BIG thank you to them! Despite this minor hiccup the dance routines were amazing and the crowd were fantastic!!!
The book has now arrived and it was well packaged I am impressed with the quality of both the materials and the printing. The photos are an excellent match to my screen (calibrated with a spyder), the pages are fairly heavy duty and you don’t lose any photos spread across two pages into a gutter due to the lay flat design. I chose a glossy book but you can also get a non glossy option.
In conclusion, I would use this company again and I would be happy to present the finished product to a client. They are based in Germany and that is where my book was shipped from, I was able to track my book from uploading to delivery. I really liked the fact that you are not restrained to a template design, even when using a template. The colour accuracy was great and the book has a quality feel with great printing and the customer support was there. I would like to see a few more frames and masks to play with but at the end of the day, that is not a deal breaker.
One of the biggest challenges of taking portraits at mid-day is the harsh light that casts dark shadows under the eyes and chin etc. Add to this the high contrast and you can have a challenge on your hands. There are a few ways to overcome this, one could be to use fill flash to reduce the contrast and “Fill” in the shadows. This can be great if you have got the time to set the ambient and flash exposures manually but this can’t always be practical if you are photographing an event and are constantly on the move. TTL flash can be used but I find that it can be a bit unpredictable at times; the flash can be fooled by very light or dark backgrounds. Another method can be the use of a reflector to bounce light into the shadows, this works well and an assistant can be useful here. For this photo I decided to opt for open shade. I placed the subjects in an area of shade but had plenty of sky available to cast light onto the subjects. The benefit I find to this is that I do not need an assistant, you can readily see the effects of the light on the face and it helps to prevent that horrible squinting that you can get from direct sunlight. So what happens if I can’t find open shade? Well I’ll just have to use one of the other methods or get an assistant to hold the diffuser part of my 5 in 1 reflector between the subject and the sun!!!
So what is your preferred method of shooting at mid-day in harsh sunlight? Should we just stick to one method or is it important to have a few different techniques up our sleeves?
This photo was taken during sunrise at Saltford Marina, which is located between Bristol and Bath. Although it can be hard work getting up early on a Sunday morning, the results can be worth it. Add the bonus of enjoying the peace and quiet of the countryside before most other people are stirring, and you end up with a nice relaxed morning, albeit a little cold at this time of the year!
The camera was on a tripod and triggered by a wireless remote to help prevent camera shake, 1/50 sec @ f/11, ISO 100.