Personal Project: The Tunnel

November 19, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I've had this concept in my mind for a couple of years now since seeing something similiar, but had never had a chance to get a bike into the studio. Finally when I did, it took me 6 months to find a background that I really liked that I thought would work nicely. This was a personal project different to the normal portraits I create, so I was pretty excited to see what I could do with it.

 

THE BIKE:

I got several angles of the bike but this one stood out. In terms of lighting, I used 2 softboxes and a beauty dish, so relatively simple setup, and all on a white background, ready for cutting out in photoshop. Course, the challenge with this concept was that the bike was stationary, and I needed to convey motion in order for the composit to work.

 

 

THE BACKGROUND:

I was recently in Geneva and whilst walking near the train station, came across this tunnel which I knew I had to capture and use for backgrounds. It was perfect. Loads of texture, gritty, lights with different colours, leading lines, curves etc. So I ran back to the hotel, grabbed my gear and got back to start clicking. As always, taking backgrounds like this doesn't always make sense to people, and I can honestly say, the amount of strange looks I got standing inside this tunnel taking pictures was very funny. Just as funny, although not to me, was trying to capture different exposures without cars, motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians coming through it every few minutes. This didn't make it easy, and meant preparing the background for the bike involved quite a bit of repairing.

 

CREATING THE IMAGE:

Here is the image made up of several exposures with some clarity and details added. I opened up the shadow areas and then made it wider for more of a 16:9 film kind of frame. I also did a lot of cloning removing specific elements that were either distracting or didn't work. Notably the barrier that runs in the middle. This went right through the image, yet, when I dropped the bike in and angled it to make it look as if turning, it would look like he is about to crash into it, so it needed to go. Cloning can be simple at times, but can also present it's own problems, particularly when trying to use different textures and bits of a picture that have light spilling in places. Any way, I managed to make it work.

I messed with the lights adding some small rays, and then put some blur in there to help create the impression of movement.

For the bike, once I was happy with the resizing, angle and composition, I worked on details, cleaning up blemishes and the beauty dish reflections, enhancing some shadows and highlights, light on the front of the bike, and then added some streaks and more motion blur, again, to add to the effect and feeling of movement.

Finally, where the tunnel had some blue light, I wanted to add some blue to the overall picture which also helped blend the bike into the background and help the image make sense.

I'm pretty pleased with the results. You can click on any of the above images to see a larger higher quality version in my portfolio.

Any questions, comments etc, feel free to send them to me. If you have a concept in mind, I'm always keen to hear about ideas so feel free to get in touch.

Thanks for reading.

Stu

 

 

 

 

 


Personal Project: Whitehall Composite

November 03, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

You'll of seen my mate and model Matt Holbeche appearing on my website in several of my photo books. I had one last picture of him looking sharp in his suit to work on and had some backgrounds from Whitehall in London that I thought would be perfect.

 

Here are the before images and as you can see, I did quite a bit of cropping, cloning and manipulating of the background in order for it to work.

 

I used a three light setup up for these and a reflector to open the shadows a little. The background below is straight out of camera before applying some HDR treatment and making changes, stretching and skewing a bit to fix the lens distortion.

 

Matt out of Camera:

 

 

Whitehall background:

 

 

Combined:

 

 

As always, once I've done the major leg work on my images, I'll have a play with colors trying to blend them in to help pull off the fake composite, and also to see if it can be enhanced further. The following image was me doing just that, and I have to say, I was totally torn choosing which one I prefer so turned to facebook followers to help me out. Thanks to everyone who commented. Sure enough the image above was the favorite and has made it's way into my portfolio, but a few people were digging the below so I wanted to share here and under my recent work on the website.

Combined v2:

 

 

To view the larger better quality final images, click on the pictures above.

Thanks for stopping by!

Stu

 


Sara's Barber Shop - Verwood

October 23, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I've known Sara for a long time now, and she asked me if I could work with her team to capture some portraits posing in outfits with some fresh hairstyling.

 

First up was Shannon. I captured a few shots of him on his bike and then got up close to focus on the hair styling.

 

 

Next was Drew. There was a big focus on accessories to help the portrait tell a story, so we added the clippers, comb etc to help with the concept.

 

 

Shannon then did an outfit change, and I captured several poses and looks. At the end of the shoot we bought out a hair dressers chair and Sara's dog, and I managed to grab the following portait of Shannon and the Dog which I thought worked really well.

 

 

Finally, we grabbed a few group shots including this fun one...

 

I really enjoyed working with the team there.

If you are local, and need a short back and sides, definitely worth using the barber shop! (I'm saying that as a customer of theirs in addition to being their photographer :) )

Thanks for reading!

Stu

 

 


New Work: Pro Footballer Shoot - Joe & Alex - Liverpool FC

October 22, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

With Liverpool playing Real Madrid tonight, I wanted to share before and after's of a recent PRO FOOTBALLER shoot with brothers, Joe & Alex. Two hardcore Liverpool supporters, and football fanatics.

 

These guys turned up to the shoot well prepared and ready with some poses which is great. The boys totally understood the kind of larger than life, super hero look and feel I go for with these portraits and nailed it!

 

As always, we spent time shooting several looks and poses to give options. I typically sway more towards shooting a single player for the PRO FOOTBALLER image, but can add more players if needed. I tend to find it's easier to still shoot the players individually, and then combine them into the one image, and that's exactly what we did here. I created a different wider background for this to give the two players more room around them, and added some more interesting and dramatic clouds. See the wider shot and then with clouds added....

 

 

 

Here are the boys cut out and positioned ready to drop into the background (before any colour corrections and retouching applied):

 

Then I positioned to the two players slightly to the left of the background, resized them a little to show some of the difference in height between the brothers, and then began working on them.

 

The boys parents were keen to keep relatively realistic, v's some of my other PRO FOOTBALLER images, and other work in general, so I didn't stray to far from the out of camera shots, in terms of effects. I adjusted the exposure a little to match the background, worked on blemishes, lights and darks in the skin, enhanced the eyes, desaturated a little and then focused on blending the players with the background.

Here is the shot at 90% completion. I always take my images to this point and then step away for a bit and then return and for the finishing touches, or to revisit any thing that's niggling me about the shot.

.....and here is the final image with some final colour changes, clarity and vignetting....:

I was really pleased with the results. Needless to say this has made it's way straight into my portfolio. You can see a bigger version of the image by clicking on the picture above.

 

Keep an eye out for these boys, as there were several good shots from the session, so it's quite possible, you'll be seeing more of them :)

Thanks for reading.

Stu

 

 


Website Enhancements

October 14, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Hi everyone. 

I've made a few enhancements to my website that I wanted to share as I've been working to make the whole experience a bit better and quicker including adding a 'lifestyle', and 'recently' option on a new menu from the home page I'm calling 'photo books.' I've then added an option to view the work that sits in my actual portfolio. Approaching this way means I can share more work, but also allows people to hone in on select pictures across all of what I do quickly. I've also added a 'quick portfolio' link on my home page to go straight there...

 

I've also changed the way each photo book is laid out so you can scroll down instantly and view as a snap shot, or click into images to make larger, and can still view as a slide show....

 

 

I'm always tweaking the site but these are some of the bigger changes I've made for a while and am pleased with how it's looking. Take a scout around it and let me know what you think. I'm going to be adding to the newer categories in the next few days so keep an eye out.

Thanks

Stu