Before steaming forward into 2016, I wanted to take a look back at a few of my photography highlights in 2015. I've had the pleasure of working with all kinds of people. There were a couple of stand out projects and pictures I took which I am personally quite proud of. Some of you may agree, others may disagree which is the beauty of photography and art. But I wanted to share them any way with a short summary as to why I liked so much. These aren't in any particular order.
Olympic GB Swimmer Dan Speers:
I was really pleased with the results of this picture for a number of reasons. Firstly, before getting to the techy elements, Dan was a great guy, brilliant to work with, and a real inspiration to others in terms of his discipline and passion for his sport. Secondly, I'd been wanting to add a swimmer to my athletes portfolio for a long time now. Finally the picture itself. I love moody dramatic pictures and this has all of that. Also I love the pose. We tried a couple of these and Dan nailed it. Making sure we got his arms symetrical was really important, as was working on where there light fell. I wanted just enough to show off his physique including the abs, but with some fall off. Finally, in terms of the story being told, for me this picture tells you everything you need to know about Dan. He is serious about his sport, passionate, is confident, has a real phyiscal presence and stature and means business! I have no doubt Dan will fulfill all his dreams at the highest level!
The Long Road With Cloud Duo:
I loved working with Julie and Gary. They had great ideas from the start and we quickly clicked on the concepts they had in mind. Also they wanted pictures to be created using compositing techniques which I really enjoy. I was really pleased with this background. A bit of traffic dodging in the new forest and some photoshop to remove some cars in the distance made the road empty. I love the perspective, the leading lines from the road pulling you into the picture and the dramatic clouds. What makes the picture though are the poses that Julie and Gary pulled out the hat which were full of attitude and seriousness. I love the way they are standing, and their expressions. Finally, the blending and photoshop work involved really made the picture work.
Tip of the Hat:
This picture was another composit but with a different finish hence me choosing it. It was using a portrait captured from a 2014 shoot with model Dan Holbeche, but I hadn't found a background to fit the angle of Dan until I got this one in London. The way the eyes are lit, his expression, the outfit and also the way this came together in photoshop with the black NOIR feel is why it's one of my standout pictures for last year. I also like the perspective. Dan is an excellent model to work with. Totally nailed the shot here.
Gary from Cloud Duo:
The simplicity of this shot, expression and details in Gary's face makes this intriguing which is why I love this picture. He has that look of someone who is interesting and has many stories to tell. Technically I like where the light hits his face, the fall off and how it's defined his chisseled jaw.
I shot several portraits on black backgrounds last year. Normally I tend to shoot guys on the darker backgrounds when creating heavy drama and shadows, but where Kat has a lot of body art, I wanted to try and blend beauty with some drama and grit. The reason it makes my list of favs are her eyes, the expression and the body art. For me, it's intriguing, pulls you in, has beauty with a nice bit of edge to it. I'm always a fan of simple close up portraits and was really pleased with the finish.
Some sport now and a slightly different type of picture, and I have to confess, this is my son. But as he always helps me practice with my shoots, and nails these cool looks, this also makes the cut. Another reason I like it is the fact I had to create several elements of the tennis court in photoshop myself. The final result of the background is very different to reality and I was happy to do that with this picture. Reality wasn't important.
Finally one of my PRO FOOTBALLER portraits. I love this picture of Nathan. His pose and expression is great, I really like the stadium background and floodlights which all blended nicely and finally the leather football. I ws so pleased he and his dad bought this to the shoot. The finished print of this was fantastic.
There you go. My picks from last year - now to 2016! I hope you liked reading. If you have any questions feel free to get in touch or leave comments.
Thanks for reading!
Happy New Year everyone!
I normally write a few posts over the Christmas period but this year I was fortunate to have a couple of weeks out from work so decided to down ALL tools. That meant no photography (apart from some family Christmas snaps), no computers, no photoshop, no tablets, etc to concentrate on good family time and it was great.
As always this time of year I start thinking about different ideas for projects and shoots looking for inspiration and already have some good things in mind so watch this space. In the meantime, I haven't posted blogs to share my most recent work as I normally would, so you can check it out HERE.
Also, keep an eye on the blog later this week where I'll be posting a look back on 2015 sharing some of the highlights and favorite pictures.
Thanks for reading. I'm hoping you all enjoyed the festive period and I wish everyone the best for 2016!
Getting this in before the Halloween weekend begins. I don't get into the Halloween hype at all, but, a few years back I messed around with a picture of my son, making him look a bit scary, much to my wife's delight, and whilst she didn't like the results, it was a great opportunity to mess around with some different processing and photoshop techniques.
Here is that picture:
So this year, I thought I'd use Halloween as an excuse to create a new scary picture. Again, mainly as a project, to have some fun and practice things in photoshop. I've had this picture in mind for a while. In fact, since April, as that's when I photographed this background. I drive past this location every day, and have often thought how different the tree's look, and with the right toning and processing, could look a bit creepy and add some some suspense and intrigue to the picture. So I went out and took this shot knowing that at some point, I'd add a character into it. Of course, just my luck, some friends of mine drove past me that day wondering what the hell I was doing creeping around the woods early in the morning!! Any way, here is the original out of camera picture...
For the subject, I asked my mate, Shannon Milton if he fancied helping me out with the picture. He's a barber and I've worked with him in the past creating this portrait which is still one of my favorite ever pictures.
He was happy to help, and as it turned out, he had bought the scary silver skull mask for the barbershop, so I suggested he bring that aswell and we'll see what we can do. Normally for shoots, there is the warm up phase, where the subject is getting used to posing, I'm tweaking my lights etc. Sometimes people don't need that warm up time, and the following picture was the first click of the shutter I made, and I really liked it, so thought I'd share.
Back to the Halloween picture......we then got Shannon into character with the mask and a black sheet I had lying round. Here is the out of camera picture which looked pretty good as is.
Now onto combining the two. I played around with the positioning, and whilst a lot of my work reflects the rule of thirds, a lot of it doesn't. I know it's breaking the rules, but I prefer to focus on what looks right, feels right and what I like. However, putting Shannon in the middle of this blocked some of the crooked eery trees, which I didn't want to lose, so in the end, applied the rules anyway.
Then onto the photoshop fun. I could ramble on for a while talking about what I did to this picture, but instead, given it's halloween, I thought I'd create a very short video showing the before and after's, and steps in between. Make sure you watch closely, as some of the changes are subtle. I hope you enjoy. You can see a bigger version of the final picture here.
You can catch other video's I've created on my website by clicking here and if you want to be part of a concept shoot like this, whether for a crazy scary halloween picture, or for anything else, feel free to get in touch. I'm always keen to talk ideas.
Thanks for reading.
Hopefully some of you read the first part of this blog post sharing the recent shoot and early results with singer and musician duo Cloud9. If you missed it you can read it here.
This is the second part where, as promised, I'm sharing the concept composited images with you. In all of these, the brief was to create a sense of drama and a bit of a gritty edge.
The Long Road:
The background was captured in the New Forest and then created using software, although apart from a bit of cloning, I didn't need to do too much with it. The clouds were as they were, and I just added some light rays coming out of the cloud to the left. Then the fun began bringing in Julie and Gary and combining and blending them in with retouching and different compositing techniques to create the final image.
We knew before taking a single picture what kind of looks and backgrounds we wanted to capture and create, and a dusty road, path way was one of them. This background, also captured in the New Forest was perfect, with the gravelly stoney ground for me to add some dust in photoshop. A little bit of enhancement work was applied to this background and then just colour, before combining Julie and Gary.
This last picture presented a bit of a challenge, in that I couldn't capture in one picture a rooftop foreground with a decent London skyline and dramatic clouds, so I had to pull in the roof and background elements in separately to create the final image. The nice thing about this is the background is that it's totally unique, given it doesn't exist! I'm going to create a short video showing the before and after's of this soon, so keep any eye out.
You can see larger versions of the pictures in the 'Concepts' photobook.
It was great fun and a real pleasure taking these pictures, creating these images and working with Julie and Gary to ensure the end results were what they needed.
Thanks for reading.
I was recently commissioned to create a number of pictures for the brilliant singer and musician duo, Julia and Gary...Cloud 9 Duo.
When I took the first call, it couldn't of started better as Julia was looking for some fresh portraits of her and Gary, very much in line with my style of work and creativity, notably wanting plenty of drama in them. 5 pictures in total were to be produced, 1 on a black background, and then 4 composits.
Whenever I work on concepts like this, the preparation phase is critical to ensure when we finally do the shoot, we are totally in sync with the look, feel and goals of the pictures we are taking. This is even more critical when shooting for composits, as the subjects are often having to picture themselves in an environment and actual scenic background, rather than on the white or grey background I'm using in studio for the original pictures.
The good news is, as soon as the research began, both Julia and I were sharing ideas that were very similar. This resulted in being able to create a set of picture ideas that would help keep us focused for the shoot, and also help me as I begin to capture backgrounds for the composits.
The shoot was split into two halves. The first, was focusing on the black background pictures, and then the second, we switched up the lighting and backgrounds to focus on the composits. I applied several different lighting setup's throughout.
I'm still working my way through the composits, but here is the final picture on black, and the first composit.
I'll share the remaining 3 pictures once completed. In meantime, be sure to check out their website. Julia sang a bit during the shoot and Gary did a bit on the sax. Both are very talented.
Thanks for reading,
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