A home for the things I think are worthy of sharing. Will largely be photography based.

Shoots

Gig: Dan Croll, Panama Wedding + Farao

Another gig job.

This time at Koko (London) last week.

Unusually there were two support acts – Panamo Wedding + Farao.

Here’s some Spotify links for you:

Farao

Panama Wedding

Dan Croll

 

Dan Croll himself was a bit tricky to photograph as he has rather a large microphone and often would stay very close to it.

 

Farao

 

Panama Wedding

 

Dan Croll

 

 


Gig: Ben Howard + Hozier at iTunes Festival

Continuing with showing some recent gig photography.

This was Ben Howard supported by Hozier at iTunes Festival – Roundhouse, Camden.

 

This one was a little different to the norm “First three songs no flash” in that we could only be there in the pit for songs four and five for Ben Howard. True to form – lighting for the main act (Ben Howard) was a bit more quirky – ah well.

Hozier

Ben Howard

Please no copying, using, downloading or hot-linking : All rights reserved.


Gig photography

As of January the Image library/photography agency I work for were bought by a larger company that does much the same – but in addition they also do news photography. This includes news items, premiers and red carpet and also gigs and festivals.

As most of these are of course in the evening I can do them as well as a day job (IT for said image library/company).

The system works via a library manager – they compile a list of suitable gigs and then just before the month starts mails this out to all photographers looking to cover gigs. The photographers then mail their preference back within a couple of days plus any extras they may want to cover that may not have been on the list. The diary manager then allocates these as they fit – a mix of quality, reliability, any others wanting to cover the same event etc. They then send off for access/pass. These aren’t guaranteed – and often are only confirmed a day or two before the gig.

So I’ve started asking for a few gigs as and when I can do them. I’m choosing on a mix of when I’m free, if there are any gigs I fancy, and if I think any are news-worthy i.e. the pictures may sell. So far I’ve had a couple of nice gigs. Some medium to high profile, others less so.

Here are a couple of galleries from recent shows, I will try to upload more as I cover them.

Please note that all rights are reserved – please do not copy, download or hot-link to these images, thanks.

Bastille supported by Kyla La Grange At Somerset House

Train at 100 Club

Benjamin Booker at 100 Club

Calvin Harris supported by Kiesza at iTunes Festival

This one was a bit tricky – allowed in the pit for Kiesza – but as calvin Harris was up in a tall DJ booth we had to go to the back tier of Roundhouse and shoot with telephotos. Alright for some – one of the Getty guys had the Getty 400mm f2.8 – a £7.3K lens!

Luke Sital-Sing supported by Karima Francis at Scala

 

I’ve also done one of the days of the festival “On Blackheath” and Ben Howard / Hozier at iTunes Festival – I’ll look to show a few of these later.


Friends Photo Project : Jess De Wahls – Artist

Jess De Wahls Art

A continuation of my personal photo project of friends with interesting jobs or past times – Jess de Wahls – again…

I’ve already photographed my friend Jess for this project but as mentioned then – that was for her hair stylist work. This time it’s for her artist side.

Jess has used several different media – including a fair bit of Acrylic on canvas but of late she has moved to using fabrics a lot. A lot of these have been recycled from garments etc in the past.  A recent project of hers has been Monsters and Ink where she would make custom made creatures from recycled (or up-cycled) clothing – so that each piece would be unique and tailored to the customer or person donating the clothing. Recently she has moved towards making art pieces to hang but out of fabric and made to be 3D – she calls this process Retex-Sculpting.

Jess has recently launched an IndieGoGo campaign called #BigSwingingOvaries which is  “an exhibition, exploring and incorporating art, feminism and recycling“. Her goals and inspiration for the show are:

I want to inspire people to overcome preconceptions about what it means to be a feminist.

I want to open conversation, not just between the genders but with everybody ho still believes that the notion of feminism is redundant.

I  want to show, that something valuable can be created from things that others think are worthless

that something valuable can be created from things that others think are worthless

And most importantly,……………

I want to support a remarkable project called #techmums , lead and initiated by my friend Dr. Sue Black. An organisation, empowering women through tech.

Half of the proceeds from the pieces sold at the show will go to the #techmums cause.

In order to produce promotion material for the campaign and exhibition Jess needed some new images of her and her art and knowing I was keen to do a shoot along these lines, gave me a call. So we’ve just done a shoot this Monday and here are some of the results. You may see some on London underground posters soon!

As time was of the essence we had minimal time to plan and do the shoot and so maybe not as diverse a collection of images as we may otherwise have done – but generally happy with them. I had a bit of an issue with flash triggers as I’d only brought one receiver with me – having left the other plugged in at home – however after a bit of fiddling I was able to get the second speedlight to act as a slave/remote to the first with the radio receiver.

Techie bits: Nikon D800, 2x SB-800 on manual, Elinchrom Skyport trigger

Images are below.

Jess’ art websites

http://jessdewahls.com/art/

https://www.facebook.com/JessWahlsArt

http://www.monstersandink.com/

Big Swinging Ovaries

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/big-swinging-ovaries

http://www.bigswingingovaries.com/

http://techmums.co/


Project: Friends with Interesting jobs and hobbies : Jess de Wahls

Jess De Wahls

Continuing my newish personal project of doing location or environmental portraits of my friends with interesting jobs or hobbies – here’s the second.

This is my lovely friend Jess De Wahls – she’s both an artist and a hair stylist. My intention is to do two shoots with her – this first one at her salon at Soho Theatre in London and then the second will be in her art studio. I have a couple of friends who I might do two shoots with – I know an interesting bunch of people and love it.

We did this shoot after decorating her studio with artwork from various friends of hers after it was newly decorated. There are even two prints of mine there amongst the others. It’s certainly worth a look.

Because of the space available and travelling on public transport I used speedlights on this occasion. One significant challenge was the mirrors and pictures in the studio – was quite a job to take photos without having too much reflection of the lights – or even myself in the mirrors or glass. Would have liked to do different angles and sides of the salon and maybe even her at work doing someone’s hair but unfortunately it wasn’t possible at the time.

You can contact Jess for a haircut (or art) via:

Website: http://www.jessdewahls.com

Facebook: JessWahlsAtSohoTheatre

Facebook: JessWahlsArt

Twitter: @SalonDeWahls

One extra tidbit of information – Jess and I share a birthday! We’ve joined forces on birthday celebrations more than once. Oh and yes Jess has cut my hair 🙂

 


Project: Friends with Interesting jobs and past times : Margot Magpie

A topic common amongst photography and photographers both online and in magazines is that of personal projects.

As yet I’ve not really had one or worked on one and so I thought it about time.

Various ideas crossed my mind such as low-light London, however I realised that because I’ve essentially become a people photographer (I wouldn’t say portrait as that doesn’t really cover events) it would be more fitting if I did a project on people. An obvious choice was the weird and wonderful people that I know…. I use the term “weird” as a complement by the way, and an alternative to “interesting”. In addition I wanted to do more photography away from the studio environment and so I’m looking to do environmental portraits of friends who have interesting jobs or hobbies in the environment in which they do these. An inspiration for this has been reading several of Joe McNally’s books which I’ve found to be very interesting and inspirational.

 

So first up is my friend Margot Magpie.

Margot is a friend of mine who does taxidermy. Starting as a hobby she now gives taxidermy classes throughout the UK and is a member of the UK Guild of taxidermists.  Her classes are primarily mouse taxidermy and are called “anthropomorphic mouse courses” as the mice are often given props and posed in ways in human like scenarios. Classes are often put on in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. In addition to classes she also produces taxidermy related items for sale and various other commission pieces such as for museums (e.g. London Science Museum) and theatrical productions.

Our shoot was at Hackney City Farm where Margot usually holds her London classes. As we had sufficient space I went for the option of using studio lights rather than small speedlights. It was shortly before one of Margot’s classes,  stuffing a young rat which had been found dead a few days prior. Unfortunately we ran out of time for Margot to complete the piece but it was most of the way there.

Margot and I have worked together a few times – I’ve photographed some of her items for PR uses and her etsy shop. Since this shoot – we’ve also had another to document the whole mouse taxidermy process in detail for a project of hers which hopefully will be out soon.

 

Website/Blog/Twitter

http://ofcorpsetaxidermy.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/FelineInLove

Shop

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/OfCorpseTaxidermy

Courses

Updates: http://ofcorpsetaxidermy.wordpress.com/upcoming-courses-and-demonstrations/

London: http://www.thelasttuesdaysociety.org/mousetaxidermy.html

Manchester : http://madlab.org.uk/courses/

 


DJ Steve Morley

It’s occurred to me that I’ve not done a blog post in quite a while – and more-so about my own stuff/photography.

Well – just so happens that I did a quick shoot with DJ Steve Morley recently. He needed some basic studio shots for his agency and upcoming webcast.

Not done a DJ press shoot for quite a while as I’ve been out of the Club scene for a bit now – but it was nice to do a set again.

So we did a shoot at my home studio. Mainly two lights – key light and combined background/rim light. Mostly on plain white and some on design wallpaper. He had a couple of looks that he wanted to emulate and so we largely went with those. Although I fancy doing more creative outdoor shoots generally these days – often press shots will call for a plain background so that designers can easily drop it into existing designs.

Steve’s Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/SteveMorleyDJ

And Soundcloud : https://soundcloud.com/steve-morley-official

An example of some shots:


Infrared photography – Nunhead Cemetery

Not having been out and about photographing for the fun of it for a while the thought came to me a while ago that I’d like to give another go at doing some IR photography. I’d bought a Cokin IR filter a while ago and so had the kit already.

Also – living close to it but never having visited I thought that Nunhead Cemetery would be a good spot – Graveyards always look good in IR.

If you’re not interested in techie photography ramble and explanation – just jump to the end to see my photos.

 

Equipment

Equipment used (and had already):

The problem with trying to shoot Infrared with standard D-SLRs is that in front of the sensor they have a IR/Low-pass filter. Although it doesn’t block ALL IR  light – it blocks much of it.  So if you’re not going to go to the effort/expense of converting a camera and taking this out – you need to use an IR filter, which only allws IR and near-IR light in, and have a fairly extended exposure time.

There are numerous filters on the market – I just happen to have a Cokin P-series filter. I bought this a while ago as the advantage of Cokin filters is that you buy adapter rings for the holder and so you can use the filters (panes of glass) for different sized lenses – thus saving on the expense of buying multiple filters. At the time I invested in this system Cokin were only doing A and P-series filters – A being small and P larger in size. They now also have Z and X series which are even larger. P-series are rated up to 82mm – but there are issues when shooting wide-angle lenses.

Reading up online it seems that the Cokin filter isn’t the best of the IR filters available commercially – but it’s the one I have. Sometimes they’re rated in terms of light frequency they will block.

 

Setup

So – I have a D-SLR with a filter to cut out IR wavelengths, and in front of it I have a filter to only allow IR in. This means that exposure times need to be quite long to get enough IR light to give a decent exposure – hence using a tripod and remote shutter release to reduce/stop any camera movement.

I found that when shooting wide-angle alas the Cokin filter holder would cause a vignette – although shooting IR and the camera warm – the Vignette would be light rather than dark.

 

Taking a picture

Tripod – check

Remote shutter release – check

Eventually I changed the camera setup so that it would shoot after a Mirror lock-up just in case that cased vibration.

After a while (it was light out – seeing the LCD screen wasn’t great) I realise that there was some lens flare happening on the filter. Due to the filter holder I was unable to put a lens hood on. Additionally – because there is a slight gap between the filter and the lens – the lens flare (or filter flare) was even happening when pointing away from the sun – the sun was getting into this gap. So I would stand in-between the sun and the camera. However thinking it might be interesting – I also took shots allowing some flare to happen.

Focusing : Because the IR filter is so dark – the camera has no way of focusing using traditional methods – so you have to focus before putting the filter on.

So my procedure for a new shot was:

  1. Set-up tripod + camera
  2. Frame shot (without IR filter)
  3. Focus
  4. Switch focusing to Manual (if using autofocus originally)
  5. Put IR filter in the holder
  6. Close viewfinder cover (in case extra light got in)
  7. Take a picture
  8. Check Picture on LCD. However this was hard to judge in the light so often viewed the histogram and trusted this.
  9. Repeat with exposure changes, and sometimes compostion/orientation changes, and on occasion – allowing flare.

I found that the exposure values I often used were:

All:
ISO: 100
Focusing: Manual
White Balance: Auto (I think – didn’t change it.)
File type: RAW

Wide depth of field:
Aperture: f8
Shutter speed: 20-30seconds

Shallow depth of field:
Aperture: f2.8
Shutter speed: 6sec-10sec

Of course – these values will vary for other cameras depending on their IR sensitivity and the amount of IR light/heat etc.

Should have done:

LCD Loupe: It would have been handy to have a LCD loupe (e.g. Hoodman Loupe) to be able to see the results on the back of the camera.

White Balance: After reading sites online on how to process IR images I realised that I should have, or at least tried to, set a white balance on the camera. With IR filters a little red light still comes through and so pictures usually appear with a red tint. It seems it might be possible to remove this using a custom white balance. It obviously won’t be the standard light colours but should be more interesting than just white. More of this in Processing section.

Focusing: Have read somewhere that focusing should be done differently from my method of focusing without the filter initially – the reason being is that the IR wavelength is significantly different from visible light. Not sure how much of an effect this is. I did notice that if I switched to live-view that the LCD did actually show an approximation of the picture I’d get rather than just dark red! So maybe live view may have done a better job of focusing.

 

Processing

In the past I just converted IR photos to simple Black and White images, probably through Photoshop. However I thought I’d look up alternative methods – or at least the best way of doing it – possibly within Camera Raw – this lead me to all kinds of options – and included the tip about White Balance I mentioned above.

As per so many other things with digital photograph editing – there are SOOO many ways to edit things and so I won’t go into the options here – instead I’ll just cover what I did.

 

White Balance

In the past I’ve accepted the fact that the picture will look totally red because of the near-IR light getting in through the filter. However various guides online suggest it might be possible to set a custom white balance to correct for it in the camera – possibly using Live View. However….. I didn’t do this.

So the usual way I set white balance is with Camera Raw – however within itself Camera raw isn’t sufficient on this occasion – the slider will only go so far – not far enough to correct for the VERY red picture. So this calls for an additional process. Some online guides suggest using an alternative RAW converter but another couple I read pointed at the method I eventually used : Creating a DNG profile, applying this first, then using Camera Raw’s own White Balance correction.

To use a DNG profile you need to:

1. A create a DNG file.

You can convert one of your RAW files to a DNG file using Adobe’s. There’s one for Windows, and one for MAC. It’s free but you need to register with Adobe and get a AodbeID. Creating a DNG file is fairly straight forward.

2. Create the Profile file

To create a profile I used Adobe’s DNG Profile Editor. Again free if you have a Adobe Labs ID, or after you register.

To create the Profile (also known as Recipe):

  1. Open one of your DNG files
  2. Change the controls on the right to the Color Matrices tab
  3. Move the “White Balance Calibration” setting – “Temperature” slider all the way to the left. So the red picture turns more orange.
  4. Export the Profile using “File -> Export” to the Camera Profiles folder of Adobe. Initially it selected the correct folder for me but trying just now it didn’t. On Windows 7 this is : C:\Users\<USER NAME>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\CameraRaw\CameraProfiles\ Using a name that represents it’s use i.e. for IR.
  5. Close the editor.

Here’s a picture of the slider:

DNG Converter Slider for IR

Also the picture pre and post doing this.

DNG Profile Converter

DNG Profile Converter

To use this profile you then open your RAW picture in Camera Raw, go to the Camera Calibration tab – and select your new profile there – it should be in the list, e.g. (bottom of the drop-down) :

DNG Profile Camera Raw

See profile: Nikon D800 IR Recipe.

After that the picture in camera RAW looks orangey. You can then use the White Balance sliders as normal – or the white balance sampler tool. Depending on where you sample this will turn parts of your image orange, and parts blue.

 

Standard Raw Processing

After the White Balance work you can continue with RAW editing as you normally would, for me this includes:

  • Clarity
  • Exposure
  • Highlights
  • Blacks

To get the most of the image.

Then open the image into Photoshop.

 

Channel Swap

A lot of blogs/guides then suggest swapping the red and blue channel. Not sure why – but this just works – maybe because it has a tendency to turn the sky blue rather than orange – which makes sense to our unconscious mind.

To do this either create a Channel mixer adjustment – or better a Channel Mixer Adjustment Layer. Then on the

Red Channel:  Change Red to 0% andBlue to 100%

Blue Channel: Change Blue to 0% and Red to 100%

So from:

Channel-orig

To:

Channel-new

This changes a picture from:

IR Pre channel swap

 

To:

 

IR Post Channel Swap

There were a couple of images that I didn’t do this to – they just seemed to work in their original state.

 

Other Editing

Then continue with your other editing.

Mine varied from picture to picture but some common edits included:

  • Levels
  • Curves
  • Sharpening
  • Adjusting Saturation (mostly reduced)

And that’s it really.

 

 

Pictures

And so finally – my pictures.

As mentioned above – these aren’t perfect – some have accidental lens-flare and some are on purpose – as after all I think it looks quite nice.

Click on them to see a larger image.

 


Forgotten Feline Couture Product Photography

I’ve just done another product shoot for a friend – this time for Shannon of Forgotten Feline.
I must have a lot of creative and entrepreneurial friends 🙂

Shannon/Forgotten Feline is a taxidermist and creates fun and quirky taxidermy – usually mice with fun props in somewhat alternative poses – not your usual stuff. But she’s also doing a line of hats, fascinators, head-pieces and such. It was these that she asked me to photograph.

Setup is similar to my other product shoots:

  • White background  – over a table.
  • Reflector/barn doors light, on a boom, pointing down and back at the background
  • White Umbrella camera right pointing down at item
  • Silver  to subject left bouncing some light at subject and some at background

I could use a third light instead of the reflector but I prefer to keep it simple – also I’ve found that the white umbrella gives a very good spread of light – more than a softbox would.

Here’s a quick diagram:

Lighting DIagram

Before shooting I take a whitebalance setting using a grey card. A colour checker would be better but I don’t have one yet – I’m keeping an eye on eBay etc for cheap ones.

Editing is fairly basic:

  • Double checking the white balance
  • General exposure adjusting for the whole picture (usually Exposure, Blacks and Shadow sliders)
  • Additional exposure for the background in Camera Raw using Quick Mask
  • General other tweaks – Clarity, Vibrance, Saturation.

I shoot RAW, edit in AdobeRGB then convert to sRGB for web.

Here are links to her shop and Facebook pages:

Etsy Shop : http://www.etsy.com/shop/forgottenfeline

Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/ForgottenFelineCouture

And a selection of the pictures:


Charlie

Charlie Pyne

I’ve just finished editing my first shoot in a while – for my friend Charlie Pyne. She’s a Bass player – both Double Bass and Bass Guitar and is working on her website and needed some photos. We were trying for a few looks – vintage-esque, smart and a bit rock-ish – so we had a few outfit and background changes. Below is a small selection of what we came up with. I’ve converted all the colour to black and white and done some toning but only two of those below.
Although it was in my home-studio it was quite light outside so on the first few on grey I tried natural light only as there was a window to one side – I quite liked how they came out – getting shallow depth of field – something I can’t do with studio lights as they’re too powerful.
Did some retouching on them but was made easy by Charlie being Charlie – pretty with lovely skin/hair/eyes etc etc 😉 She’s a lovely person too so managed to get some fun natural looks.

I’ll load some more onto my site in due course and update here when Charlie has her website up. In the mean time here’s a duo she’s part of : Strawberry & Cream.


Food Shoot : Wheat Free Cakes

Love Wheat Free Baking - Cake

Continuing my run of product shoots this last week I did my first food photoshoot!

This was for my friend Maxine who’s starting a new business – Wheat Free Cakes.

Here’s a quick selection:

Food photography tends to have re-occurring elements, and since her business is just starting and this is my first food shoot I thought might as well stick to those, give or take:

  • Shallow depth of field
  • Light or Hi-key
  • Natural light as much as possible
  • Warm/homely tones such as wood surfaces

We shot on Maxine’s dinning room table: Wood – check 😉

Aperture wise they were shot around f2.0 to f2.5 on my 50mm f1.4 lens. Looking at them in more detail – I think I should have stuck around the f2.5 mark, or possibly even more – as the closer you get to something (aka focal distance is shorter) the depth of field gets shallower for a set aperture.

For the light – the table was close to patio doors and there was sufficient light to shoot at shutter speeds of 1/250 to 1/160 at ISO 100-160 – so light – check. Thankfully it was also a slightly overcast day – although this might be bad for landscape photography it can be very good for other types of photography as it totally softens the light reducing or completely removing shadows. Great for this purpose.

So go view + join her Facebook page at : https://www.facebook.com/LoveWheatFreeBaking

And maybe even buy some cakes – Yum.


Kezia Argue Designs – Product shoot

Kezia Argue Beret

I seem to be doing a few product shoots recently. As I don’t really advertise or sell myself other than having a website or this blog (no facebook page even!) they’re either for friends or friends of friends. About a fortnight ago I did a shoot for my friend Kezia who I’ve known for a while but more so since moving to Peckham – she lives around the corner and gives me Jive lessons 🙂

She’s beed doing wigs, hats and head pieces for a while but has just launched her new website : Kezia Argue Designs and needed some photos for it – getting “pro” quality and standardised photos, and so I was happy to oblige.

Here’s one of each that I did for her:

We tried doing the white hats on white background and it worked mostly but they certainly stood out more on blackground, but especially with the netting.

The trick with a white background is to over-expose it just enough so that it turns to white, but not so much that it affects the item in front of it – and with the netting this was happening.

Her website again : http://kezia-argue.com

And Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/keziaarguedesigns

If you fancy one of these or something custom please drop her a line.


Lacing Lilith Latex Couture + Colour Toning

Becky Burton wearing Lacing Lilith Latex

It’s been a long while since I’ve put something up on my main site but I’ve finally done it!

I had a shoot with with friends from Lacing Lilith Latex Couture over a year ago now! At the time they said they’d do the editing for their own site and so the set went to the back of my editing queue. But of late I’ve been managing to get through things and so came around to this set. Lacing lilith crew specifically asked me to do a fairly basic setup – with a plain light background which would allow them greater flexibility for edits – and so this also gave me such an opportunity.

Up to now my editing has been if not basic, certainly standard – possibly retouching on some images but on the whole correcting blemishes and lighting – no special or additional styling styling other than possibly turning an image to Black and White. Having seen many a fashion shoot styled with toning I fancied giving it a try.

There seems to be numerous ways to tone an image – some are basic and will usually only offer a single colour in one layer, while others can add multiple colouring options. Some possible options I found :

  • Fill Layer (Solid Colour): Basic, just adding a solid fill colour, however it’s possible to mask it or change the blend mode to affect one area.
  • Curves : Add a curve and adjust it differently only the individual channels – this allows different colour adjustment throughout the lights to darks.
  • Colour Balance : Add a colour balance layer – adjusting the colour by Highlights, Midtones or Shadows.

While Curves gave more control over which luminosity you’d change – a colour Balance layer seemed to give more control, or easier control over which colours you could choose – and so I mainly used this technique. Here’s an example of one of the adjustment layers I added:

Colour Balance Layer

As I’m new to this I won’t go into an in-depth tutorial and as everybody who tries a new technique I’m probably overdoing it, but c’est la vie.

These are the main steps I used to edit the photos:

  1. Duplicate layer and do a general fix such as hairs, major blemishes, etc
  2. Adjust eyes – brighten, whiten, enhance colour.
  3. Skin, hair and eyes: Smooth skin + background (slightly), sharpen eyes and hair.
  4. Lighten & darken some areas of the subject e.g. hair, clothes etc.
  5. Darken the background
  6. Colour/shade

And a selection:

Sohui wearing Lacing Lilith Latex  Becky Burton wearing Lacing Lilith Latex

Guy wearing Lacing Lilith red Latex Jacket Becky Burton wearing Lacing Lilith Latex

The whole set is here : Lacing Lilith Latex Couture.

Links to some involved:

Clothes

Lacing Lilith : https://www.facebook.com/lacinglilithlatexcouture

Models

Sohui : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sohui/105472156166190

Becky : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Becky-Burton-Model/116486168372703

MUA

Roseanna Velin : https://www.facebook.com/roseannamakeupartist?ref=ts


A blog post about me!

eanjewellery Cufflinks

…. well kind of.

I took some jewellry photos for my friend Ellie a few years ago and as she’s back into it and blogging – has done a blog about yours truly – Check out Ellie’s Jewellery blog here.

eanjewellery Cufflinks

Ameoba Cufflinks - Silver and Enamel

Lighting stuff like jewellery can be tricky. Stuff you have to keep an eye on:

  • White Balance – be sure everything is of the right colour. A Grey card helps.
  • White background is light, but
  • Silver Jewellery is still visible and shinning, or
  • If on Black – contrast is sufficient.
  • You don’t see obvious light source reflections (soften them using something like a light tent).
  • You don’t see reflections of yourself/kit/room

Will do a post about it and light tents etc sometime, but this is just a quickie for now.

Oh and go buy Ellie’s lovely enamel/silver jewellery. (My sister has had one of her necklaces in the past 🙂 )


GoPro video fun

In November I went to Kenya to photograph my friends Ed + Poppy’s wedding. Rather than just the wedding we had a week at a beach resort, the wedding on the Friday, and then week after a few of us went on Safari. So watch this space for lots of safari photos and some wedding photos. I’ll probably go into depth about the fortnight in another post.

But thought I’d share this – I also took along a GoPro. Tried it in the pool a few times but there’s only so much you can do with it without creeping people out 😉 However the wedding party (or at least pre-week group) as a whole all went on a Dhow trip. A Dhow is a traditional kind of boat.

This is of course recorded with the waterproof casing.

I recorded at 60fps (Frames per second) which is roughly double speed of what standard videos are – the benefit of doing so is that you can later slow it down without it being too juddery, or that’s the theory at least.

This is a compilation I put together from that footage. Some is real time (and I’ve generally left the sound in a bit on these), some half speed I think and some at a third. (Afraid I did it a while ago so can’t remember exactly).

The shots of guys (Ed the groom + others) jumping in towards the end are the pieces that are slowed down the most. Opening and ending sequence are also slowed down a bit too – although you might not be able to tell. I think it looks a lot better – steady waves or swell of the sea.

All put together in Premiere Pro. I think it’s worked better than the colour on my canal boat timelapse. One thing I had read was that Premiere Pro didn’t cope well with GoPro mp4’s – so I re-encoded them first using Streamclip.  Essentially just open it and then SaveAs “mov” –  it will re-package the video without affecting the actual frames themselves. This video lark is quite complicated.

Oh – it’s also worth updating your Premiere Pro if using CS4 – there are pre-made HD sequence packages that prove quite handy.

Oh – and apologies for the thumb in shot occasionally 😉 Something to remember when using a fisheye gopro next time. Left that in as it’s only a bit of fun video.


Stepper Bike UK

Union Jack - Custom

Sorry for not posting for a while – been terribly busy – both with work (i.e. daytime job) and also photo editing – covered a friends wedding and weddings always take me so long to edit.

So finally here’s a post – and one on photography I’ve been doing which is nice for a change. Continuing my run of product shoots I was asked by my good friend Zoe (aka*Ting*) to photograph her range of bikes which she imports and sells here in the UK – Stepper bikes.

Here are her websites:

https://www.facebook.com/stepperbikeuk

http://www.stepperbikeuk.biz + http://www.3gstepperbike.co.uk

This is product shoot on quite a different scale compared to food tins and hair products! Going from a little table top setup it was a case of using several lights (3) white backdrop paper and also white sheeting. Here;s the setup:

As you MAY imagine – stepper biles are a little different – instead of sitting on a saddle and pedlling you stand on them and – well step up and down! Did I try one? NO Don’t thing why I didn’t! Maybe just had the task at hand in my head instead.

We wanted all kinds of photos – full bikes of course but also detailed shots of various elements such as gearing, gear shifts (yes they even have gears!) etc.

So here you go – a selection of that evenings photos:

Oh and some silly messing about after we’d finished 😉

    


Keep Calm and Carry On

No – not another post on the London Riots. Although some of the posts on social network sites did remind me of this.

 

Last month I did another product shoot. This time for food/drinks containers – although they have an interesting twist. They use the now well known “KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON” slogan.

There’s an interesting story about it’s history here. Essentially it was kept back from the public from it’s conception in 1939 – as it was only really intended for the time of an invasion. Of course invasion never arrived and so the poster was forgotten until it was purchased (by accident) with some second hand books and put up by its new owner. – Go read the link – there’s more there.

Anyway – I think it’s a great slogan for anything container like and would be a great souveneir or present – best of luck to the brand.

http://keepcalmdrinks.com/


Walk for life & London Pride

London Pride is on tomorrow and although I have a late night tonight (Friday – a friends 40th) and again on Saturday – I’m going to go along – mainly because I’ve been asked to take photos for Terrence Higgins Trust – this has lead on from me taking photos for them at the annual Walk For life event. made me realise that I should have posted about it here – so here goes 🙂

A while ago I thought that it would be good to do something worth while with my photography rather than just take pictures in clubs and at home – something for others but also make me feel good karma wise (I don’t “really” believe in karma in that it has an effect – but I like to believe in the idea of it – doing good for others etc etc). Que Smashie and Nicey “Charidy Mate” speal 😉 So I approached a few charities that I give money to monthly e.g. Amesty – but didn’t get much of a response. But a friend of mine (Hi Mikey *waves*) at the time worked for Crusaid – an aids charity that did work both here and in Africa. After a few E-mails I was asked to cover their Walk for life event – a sponsored walk around London (10k I think). It starts and ends in Potters field – between Tower Bridge and City Hall. At the end there’s some entertainment – bands/singers and the like. Mikey no longer works there but I’ve covered it for the last 3 years.

This year Crusaid merged/was taken over/however you want to put it with Terrence Higgins trust – so I covered it for them too. This year the celebs were Christian Clarke (the gay guy from Eastenders – or so I’m told – I don’t watch soaps), Four poofs and a piano again, and Beverly Knight performing at the end. The year that Dannii Minogue turned up to start the walkers was a bit crazy as a load of Paparazzi turned up! Although I wasn’t keen on them before – I certainly don’t now – bunch of rude inconsiderate people.

Some photos included below.

Aaaand back to original point – will be at London Pride tomorrow starting about 12:30 from Portland place – quite possibly wearing a Terrence Higgins Trust T-shirt – come say Hi. Shall try to upload photos to hear sooner after the event than this load.


Sophia Set Up

Just a quick post really – follow up to the sneak peak before – just to mention that the Sophia set has gone up on my main site:

Sophia Photoset

For the whole set follow the above link but here’s a few examples. Although it’s taken a while to go through the set (event sets tend to take priority over friend for-fun shoots) it was a pleasure to edit, no guesses as to why.

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Wax industries product shoot

Mr Wax and Bounder Moustache Wax

Just finished a quick informal product shoot for Mr Wax a friend, fellow Peckham resident and one of my Jive tutors 🙂

Mr Wax is a purveyor of fine male grooming products, noteably the Bounder Moustache wax (Made from British Bees Wax and Caribbean Rum). All hand made and packaged by himself and fellow Wax industry aficionados. My impulse with any product shoot is to photograph the product on white but Mr Wax made me realise that the colour background that he’d brought would be much more in keeping with the image of said products – bravo choice Mr Wax.

Although I have my studio lights with medium sized softbox we used Mr Wax’s product shot tent. These are spring up tents with white sides designed to diffuse light as much as possible. (Should have taken a photo to show but didn’t unfortunately) Initial setup was:

  1. Setup tent
  2. Setup lights
  3. Take light reading individually and adjust to acquired ratio (roughly similar)
  4. Take light reading with both on and set camera to this value. (ISO100, f8, 1/200 in this case)
  5. Take a custom white balance using a Grey card.
  6. Set up coloured/background paper, curved as desired – proped up against something (CD cases this time)
  7. Set up first products + take test shots.
  8. Adjust as desired (No patter how much you measure things initially – this always seems to happen – plan for it).
  9. Even though the camera was now set up to use a custom White Balance it’s also worth taking a picture of the scene in general with the grey card in it for future tweaking if need be.

Some (very quickly edited) samples

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To enquire and purchase their fine products please visit:

Their Website: http://www.mr-wax.com/.

Or e-bay shop : http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Wax-Industries-Emporium.

And Mr Wax himself at last years Chap Olympics.

Mr Wax at Chap Olympics

A note on which (Chap Olympics) – if you’d like a jolly fun day out in an open space in London and would like to come along – please visit the site of The Chap Olympiad : http://www.thechapolympiad.com/

Tickets are already on sale. It is organised by the damn fine publication – The Chap.

My gallery from 2008 : 2008 Gallery I’ve just realised that my set from 2010 is only on Facebook so I should copy elsewhere.


Sneak peak – Sophia Set

Sophia Edit

Quick sneak peak at the set I’m currently working on.
I had a mammoth shoot weekend  a few weeks ago that’s keeping me busy in the evenings now. Ive finished the first two sets (fuller blog post to follow on one of them) and now I’m working on the set for Sophia. Taking greater care on these than I have in the past – more care less speed/volume ethos. Think it’s working.

Sophia Edit

Had fun on the shoot and it’s a pleasure to work on photos of someone who’s so photogenic but also knows what they want from the photos. More shoots like this please.


Back Stage funkyness

Elegy Ellem wearing Lady Lucie

When covering friends fashion shows I’ve got into the habit of doing a little back-stage stuff.  Sometimes the back stage stuff is more interesting to shoot and look at than the stage/catwalk stuff (for me anyway – all the stages of preparation, the before and after etc).

Usually I go along with a prime lens (50mm f1.4) that can shoot large apperture so that I don’t have to bother people and loose the feel of the moment by firing off flash at everybody. e

On this last weekend Lady Lucie asked if I’d like to do a quick few shots of the models – of course!  (Although I didn’t have said prime with me) Due to the space available and the fact that it was being shared with 4 other designers – hanging around doing the standard back-stage thing wasn’t an option but I went back there just to do a few shoots before the girls went on stage.

The space was crammed with models, makeup, hair and designers so options were a bit limited but I went on a rekkie to find a good location. Initially it seemed an option between brick walled fire exit, plain wall, or plain stairs – but then I realised that the wall just to the left of where Lucie and the girls were getting ready was fantastic! Couldn’t have found a better wall if I’d go looking! So below are the shots from that quick 10min session.

Unfortunately my camera was all set up for nighclub work (since the show was during a night club event) and I didn’t think to change it  so I’ve had to tweak a few things in post – inc taking the saturation down to suit the mood of the background – but on the whole I think these have come out quite well 🙂

Also had to clone out a conduit pipe and plug box here and there.

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Also thought I’d test the slide-show gallery doobrie  on this blog theme – not tried it before – so here goes.  See above.

Will have a go at putting a different sort of Gallery at the end.

Some links /credit

Designer – Lady Lucie

Makeup – Tabby Adams

Wigs – Kezia

Models:

Said Gallery doobrie. Not sure which I prefer – slideshow or gallery. Slideshow is more visual but you can click on the individual items in gallery.


Hi-Key variations

So I’ve already given a teaser  on my shoot with Samantha Stone, I’ve finished editing half the set.

Originally the purpose of the shoot was to experiment with dark and gritty B&W photos, however towards the end we started playing around with Hi-Key photos. We moved on to a medical theme and so I think the “whiteness” suited it. Although most Hi-Key pictures tend to be clean, crisp and light in atmosphere we still wanted the grittiness to the feel.

Now as you’re probably aware – my usual style tends to be dark, hi-contrast (so not strictly low-key, but close) with fairly punchy colours. I occasionally think I should move away from that but often think – hey why push to be something that your not – or do something that isn’t your natural style – so on the whole I’m happy with it BUT variety is also good – so I sometimes like to have a play in other areas. This leads me on to these pictures and the editing of this part of the shoot – not being used to editing in this way I did a fair few variations. Initially this was limited to Black & White – variations such as : even contrast, high Contrast, various curves,  shading (I usually prefer sepia and/or blue – which I guess you could describe as “silver” since I tone down the Saturation) – but then later on I had a play at keeping it in colour.

So there are some of those examples – just for one image. I have my favourite and so does Sam, but wondered what others liked. Of course there are no right and wrong answers – just personal preference – but I’m always curious to know what these tend to be.

Sam - Original HiKey

Original / Basic Edit

Sam - soft light edit

"Soft Light" Edit

Sam Stone - Harsh Emboss

Harsh Emboss

Sam Stone JL edit

"JL" Edit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can click on them to get a larger image.

 

To give you a brief description (Photoshop geek stuff) ….

Basic – Just the basic stuff really – nothing too over the top. Less punchy than my usual style.

Soft light – As Basic but with a duplicated layer changed to Soft light. What I think this does is causes the dark areas to go darker, and the light areas lighter. I don’t really use Blending modes much. Don’t know what the difference between this and just upping the contrast.

Harsh Emboss – Some De-saturation with a High-Pass filter to make it look edgy.

“JL” – Both the Emboss and the “JL” methods (and Soft Light to a certain degree) are inspired from tutorials I’ve seen from a great (and young!) photographer called Joey Lawrence.  His stuff however is usually fairly dark so a lot more gritty – but I adjusted the techniques for my own liking. Great photographer/retucher though – check out his stuff.

Preference from colour edits:

 

Actually what the hell, here are some B&W edits.

 

Sam Stone B&W Basic Edit

B&W Basic Edit

Sam Stone - B&W Basic + Sepia

B&W Basic + Sepia

Sam Stone - B&W Basic + Silver

B&W Basic + Silver

Samantha Stone - B&W SoftLight

B&W SoftLight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…that’s it.


Sam B&W shoot editing

Task tonight (in addition to re-theming this blog) is to start editing the shoot I did with Sam (http://www.samanthastone.co.uk/) a week or so ago. Afraid this is overdue but I’ve been rather busy.

Primary purpose of the shoot was to have a go at doing some Black and White photos – not something I’ve done a huge amount of – and also do something a bit more gritty even though it was at home in my “studio”. We also got around to trying some Hi-Key shots – not something I’ve done a lot of since I naturally gravitate towards Hi-contrast / low-key lighting.

I had recce’ed out a grity location in central London thanks to Sean – but with no light or heating Sam and I thought best leave it for a lighter time and warmer time of year – hopefully use it soon though.

With Sam only living a short train journey away – hopefully have a few regular shoots.  I have after all been promising to do a lot more shoots now I have my own place – but been procrastinating up to now.

A quickie edit before I cook dinner

Samantha Stone