Sunday, 31 May 2009

2 Weddings in 2 Days ...

This past weekend was a 'Photography Fest' having photographed two Weddings; one on Friday and one on Saturday.

Friday was Brian Whyte & Chris Rivett's Wedding at the Frimley Hall Hotel, Camberley in Surrey who's Pre Wedding / Engagement Shoot I blogged about on 12th April 2009.

Saturday was Mark Fryer & Samantha Luker's Wedding at The Matara Centre, Gloucestershire who's Pre Wedding / Engagement Shoot I blogged abut on 13th May 2009.

I'm going to write about each of the Weddings in a couple of days (including more photos and how I took each shot) once I've had time to do a bit more editing and my feet have stopped screaming at me. For now though I just wanted to say that despite it being a non-stop busy weekend it's been an amazing experience with some great people at stunning locations.

HUGE 'Thank You' to my good friends David Gurnhill & Steve Pratley who assisted me at each of the Weddings. It's because of their help that both days photography was a dream; extremely well organised and relaxed.

Winner No. 4: Free Photo-Shoot Friday

The answer to last weeks FREE PHOTO-SHOOT FRIDAY Competition was: A.C.E. stands for Adobe Certified Expert; a qualification I passed back in February 2007.

Out of all the correct answers emailed in, the Winner is a Karen Hutchison from Amersham; Congratulations Karen, with the great weather upon us let's get a date in the diary for the photo shoot.

That's it now for FREE PHOTO SHOOT FRIDAY during the month of May, but keep an eye on the blog or follow me on Twitter / Facebook to find out when the next competition is going to be announced.

More later ;o)

Friday, 29 May 2009


Well it's the last Friday in May which means this is the last FREE PHOTO-SHOOT FRIDAY (for now), so for your chance to win a Portrait Shoot all you need to do is answer the following question:

"Some time ago I got the A.C.E. qualification. Question is, what does A.C.E. stand for and when did I pass it?"

As usual, email your answer to me by midnight on Sunday (31st May) and I'll announce the winner here on the blog Monday morning.

Good luck ;o)

ps> Did I mention this was the last one ?
pps> Answer is somewhere in the blog ;o)

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Phil & Tom's Portrait Shoot

At the start of this week I was out in Old Amersham, Buckinghamshire on a portrait shoot with two guys, Phil Hughes & Tom Beynon. Having arrived a couple of hours earlier and scouted the area for good 'shoot' locations, I met up with the guys for the usual coffee and a chat through what shots I had planned.

We headed off on foot, starting with some simple 'practice' shots to get into the right frame of mind (pardon the pun) and then onto some other locations that I'd discovered earlier. Both Phil & Tom had brought along a few changes of clothing to give the photos a bit of variety but to be honest it was me that could have done with some. Let's just say that next time I'm photographing in a field with long grass I'll take extra care when I'm getting down for a low angle shot; who said that it was 'lucky' to step in a Dog's Number 2????

We were out photographing for just under 2 hours, finishing off in a covered Market Place before making tracks for an urgent clothing change :o)

A couple of hours before the guys arrived I'd been out an a recce; the weather was dry and fairly overcast so I intended to use the Nikon Speedlight as there wasn't that much sun coming through to overpower.

For the shots of Phil & Tom together in the field I went for a high vantage point to 'shoot' downwards, which in turn eliminated the sky out of the frame. Flash Power wasn't too much of an issue in this case, so an SB800 fired into a shoot-thru umbrella, close-in was all that was needed. Tom and Phil were then positioned in such a way that there was an even spread of light hitting both of them.

For the shots of Phil on his own in the field I went for a low angle, aiming upwards towards him which ofcourse meant that sky was going to be in the shot. I needed as much power as possible out of the SB800 so opted to use it with no diffuser but a Honl Speed Grid; just that extra stop of light or so that this gave me was just enough to get the sky looking how I wanted.

Finally for the series of shots in the covered Market Place I used the SB800 but this time with the Lastolite Ezybox. This is a great piece of kit that gives a much more directed spread of light onto the subject and minimises spill onto the surrounding area. Being in a shaded area, the flash could be dialed way down which in turn gave quicker recycling times and allowed for me to take a faster series of shots with minimal delay.

Right, busy weekend fast approaching with two day long photo shoots (Friday & Saturday) so it's time to check, check and check again that all my kit is in order.

More later ;o)

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

My iPhone 'Photo of the Day' Project

Since starting my 'iPhone Photo of the Day' Project, I've been overwhelmed by the interest that it's generated, so I thought I'd write a short post to explain how I go about it.

Two of the most common questions I get asked are:

1. Are the photos taken with your iPhone?
2. What have you done in Photoshop?

Well, the answer to both questions is: Yes and Nothing. All the photos are indeed taken with my iPhone and all editing is done 'in phone' using some of the many applications available from the iTunes 'App' Store. In fact the only time the pictures see my computer is when I'm downloading them from my phone into Lightroom or iPhoto for cataloguing and uploading to the iPhone Gallery on may main website.

There are literally hundreds of applications available form the 'App' Store with more being added every day, especially with the imminent release of the new model of iPhone and 3.0 Software.

Anyway, here's a list of the 'apps' that I regularly use:

My 'editing' workflow is pretty simple: I'll generally open up an image in Photogene and adjust the Shadows, Midtones and Highlights to how I want them and then it's a case of jumping in and out of the other applications until I get the desired effect I'm after. What I love about each of the apps is that once you've made an adjustment to an image it saves out a copy which I can then adjust further, all the time my original image remains safe and untouched, just incase I need to go back to it.

Despite the iPhone's camera far from being the best 'phone camera' out there, there is a heck of alot you can do with it ... in fact the front cover of this weeks 'New Yorker' Magazine was taken with an iPhone. So remember, the best camera to use is the one you have with you!

Happy Shooting,
More Later ;o)

Monday, 25 May 2009

Winner No. 3: Free Photo-Shoot Friday

.... and Winner number 3 of FREE PHOTO SHOOT FRIDAY is ... (drum roll please, followed by ridiculously long pause which only serves to annoy the viewer rather than build suspense) ...

Fionnan Quigley, with the correct answer of Personal Portfolio (No: 22)

That's now the 3rd FREE Portrait Shoot for the month of May, with only 1 more remaining so be sure to check out this coming Friday's question (May 29th)

More later ;o)

Friday, 22 May 2009


Already at Week 3, here's this weeks chance for you to win a FREE Portrait Shoot with FREE PHOTO SHOOT FRIDAY;all you need to do is answer the following question:

My new website has 4 Portfolios:People, Commercial, Personal & iPhone and in one of them you'll find the picture below. The question is, which of the portfolio's does it appear in???

As usual, email your answers to me using the address on my contact page by no later than midnight on Sunday 24th May and I'll announce the Winner first thing on Monday morning.

Good luck ;o)

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

How 'Stoked' was I ?

How 'stoked' was I to see today that one of my images had been given 'Editor's Choice' by the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) for this week, and to read some of the comments that my new portfolio has received :o)

I've been a member of the NAPP for some years now and it's thanks to these guys and their workshops I've attended out in the United States, that I became an Adobe Certified Expert (A.C.E.) in February 2007. The NAPP has roughly 100,000 members worldwide; a membership which grows day by day because of the 1st class teaching it provides by the worlds finest in Photography & Photoshop.

The upcoming Photowalk on the 18th July I've blogged about earlier has been put together by the President of NAPP, Photoshop Guru, Award winning Author and all round 'great guy' and friend Scott Kelby, so if you're into Photography of any kind and at any level I urge you to get involved in what is a great fun & FREE event. (For more details see the post below).

Here too is a larger version of the image that got Editor's Choice and a link to my NAPP Portfolio. (Many of the images you'll see on my main site too)

Enjoy ;o)

Monday, 18 May 2009

Scott Kelby's 2nd Worldwide Photowalk

July 18th sees Scott Kelby's 2nd Worldwide Photowalk come to a City in the World near you.

Last year I lead a walk around Windsor, Berkshire and had a blast! Everyone that came along said how much fun it was and what a great social event where lots of new friendships were made as well as some great photographs.

This year I'm going to be leading a Photowalk around Guildford, Surrey between 1pm - 3pm. The finer details such as meeting place and route are yet to be worked out but we have space for 50 people. So why not come along on July 18th and join in; it's FREE and you get the chance to win some awesome prizes; Digital SLR, Point and Shoot, Camera Phone etc ... Everyone is welcome to come along.

To sign up and join us in Guildford simply visit the site and add your details by clicking here.

To find out more about what this massive, Worldwide event is all about, visit the dedicated website by clicking on this link.

* Remember: Only 50 places available so don't delay, sign up today :o)

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Winner No. 2: Free Photo-Shoot Friday

Congratulations to this weeks winner of Free Photo-Shoot Friday: Helen K (sorry I don't know your surname Helen but that's all details I have) who emailed in with the correct answer of "Orange & Black".

A return email has been sent to Helen with the news so all that needs to be done now is to organise a date for the 'shoot'.

Only 2 more weeks remaining, so remember to check back this coming Friday (22nd May) for round 3 of Free Photo-Shoot Friday and win the chance of a free portrait shoot.

More later ;o)

'Exposed' Episode 3 - Garage

Following on from the post below about yesterday's 'Herb Ritts' style tribute shoot, here is the latest episode in the 'Exposed' series of 'behind the scenes' videos.

Big thanks to my pal & all round good guy Barry for playing the part of Videographer.

Enjoy ;o)

NB ... Pressing the HQ button in the bottom right of the video player window will show a Higher Quality version.

Herb Ritts Tribute - Sort of ...

Yesterday morning I was down at a local garage photographing a male physique model by the name of Danny Bartlett. This was a shoot I'd been thinking about for a while now and was to be a sort of tribute to world famous photographer Herb Ritts and as always, I was being helped by my good friend Barry Payne who was videoing the shoot.

I'd planned to start at 10.30am but unfortunately the model, Danny was delayed and didn't manage to arrive until nearly 2 hours later. This cut down on our 'shooting' time considerably as we we'd been given permission to use a local garage which was open to the public at the time but was due to close at 12.30pm.

Once we'd had a chat about what we were looking to achieve, Danny got changed and we cracked on focusing on just a couple of lighting set ups and here are some of the results:

Shot 1: Herb Ritts Tribute

Shot 2: Profile

I was very conscious of not over staying our welcome at the garage as the guys had been extremely generous to allow us to make us of it, so speed was the name of the game which is why I opted to use the shoot thru umbrella. For the first shot, the umbrella was positioned in such a way that it cast nice shadows across Danny to emphasise his definition but also spill onto the back wall and machinery ogherwise it would all have been way too dark behind him.

For the second shot I've put the black cover on the umbrella but only on the half nearest to the back wall. Doing so prevented any light going onto the back wall and allowed just enough light to fall onto Danny. As I wanted the area to turn completely black I've set the D3 at 200 iso and the max flash sync speed of 1/250sec. Light on Danny was then controlled by the Aperture setting which in this case was f/7.1 with the flash at 1/8th power.

Enjoy ;o)

Friday, 15 May 2009


Well it's Friday and it's the month of May so it can only mean one thing:

We've now booked a date for Chris' shoot (last weeks winners) so for your chance to win this week all you have to do is answer the following question:

"Exposed" is the name I've given to my new series of 'behind the scenes' videos of photo shoots; of which there are currently two on the 'video' page of my new site. In both shoots you'll see that I'm using my Alien Bees Lighting Kit. My question is: what colour is the holdall containing the external battery pack which you'll see me connecting the flash head to?"

As before, same rules apply and send your answers via email (details on the contact page) by midnight Sunday and the winner will be randomly selected from all the correct entries and announced here on the blog Monday morning.

Good luck ;o)

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Keeping it Simple.

Following on from the recent 'Engagement / Pre Wedding Shoot' with Mark & Samantha I thought I'd post a few of the shots here on the blog along with an explanation of the lighting technique and settings used on my Nikon D3, so here goes:

Samantha against Pillar

For anyone who knows Windsor, this shot was taken at the Civic Hall in Thames Street. This is at the front entrance where there is a covered area with concrete pillars and three open sides allowing in beautiful ambient light. For this portrait I set the D3 into Aperture Priority Mode at f/4.0 on my 70-200mm f/2.8 Nikon lens for a shallow depth of field with an iso of 400. This gave a decent enough shutter speed to hand hold and allow for a good quality file. To give a little more light onto Samantha's face I just added 1 stop of Exposure Compensation.

Mark on Bench

This particular shot required the use of a Voice Activated Light Stand or V.A.L. as they are commonly known, which in this case was Samantha. Mark was sat on a concrete bench against the church but unfortunately the sun was shining through the trees quite strongly giving lots of specular lighting. To soften this I gave Samantha a 1 stop Lastolite Tri Grip Diffuser which she held up between the sun and Mark. Mark was then lit with an SB800 camera right which was fired into a reflective umbrella which I had 'closed' down'. By this I mean that rather than having the umbrella completely open which would have thrown light all over the place, I let it close which then narrowed down the spill of light. Ofcourse this could have been done using a Lastolite Ezy Box but this was an Engagement / Pre Wedding Shoot so minimum kit was the order of the day.

Settings for the camera were iso 200, 80mm, f/4.0, 1/250 sec and the SB800 flash head was on 1/2 power. The SB800 was triggered using the Nikon CLS which called for a second SB800 on the camera hotshoe set to Master.

Mark's Profile Shot

This final shot of Mark was taken in a recessed part of the church wall with three walled sides and one side open. It was in quite a dark, shaded area of the grounds with light being blocked out by a thick canopy of tree branches. To light Mark I set up the remote SB800 and reflective umbrella camera left; this time with the umbrella being fully open to allow much more spill of light. I was looking to achieve a more 'moody' feel to the picture so feathered the light off Mark a little by turning the umbrella away from the camera; this reduced the spill of light onto Mark and gave a few more shadows.

Camera settings: iso 200, 35mm, f/4.0, 1/250sec with the Remote SB800 at 1/4 power, again fired using the Nikon CLS.

So, nice and simple with minimum kit: Nikon D3, 2 x SB800's, Reflective Umbrella & Stand, Lastolite Tri Grip Diffuser and a couple of Lastolite Tri Grip Reflectors.

Enjoy ;o)

Anatomy of an Engagement / Pre Wedding Shoot

Last Sunday I was photographing Mark Fryer and his fiancée Samantha Luker in Windsor for their 'Engagment / Pre Wedding' Shoot; Mark & Samantha are to be married at the stunning Matara, Gloucestershire on the 30th of this month. We had originally booked the 'shoot' for approximately 3 weeks previous but ended up re-scheduling it for this past weekend for some reasons I'll cover in a moment.

Now I have mentioned in an earlier post that I'm moving away from photographing weddings and focusing more on my portrait and editorial work; infact Mark & Samantha's is the 2nd of the final 3 that I'm doing this year, but despite that I thought I'd write a blog entry on what I would give as my 'tips' for anyone photographing a wedding; in particular focusing on the 'engagement / pre wedding shoot'.

So why do an 'Engagement / Pre Wedding Shoot' ?

1. An engagement / pre wedding shoot I think is vital. Not only is it another opportunity for you to meet the future bride & groom before the big day, in turn helping to build that all important relationship but it gives you, the photographer a 'heads up' with regards to what you can and can't do with that particular couple. Some people are more 'tactile' than others and quite literally can't keep their hands off each other, but there are those who aren't so 'open' about showing their feelings. Knowing this before the wedding can only be a big help so you'll know in advance what kind of pictures to plan for.

2. It gives your client an insight as to how you work so they know what to expect and will know what you mean when you suggest something. Being able to say "Do you remember when we ....." will be a big time saver as your client will be on the same 'wave length' as you and know what you're looking for.

3. Seeing great photographs being made there and then gives the client even more confidence in your ability, which in turn builds yet more trust.

I guess the list of benefits is endless really but this is just to give you an idea of what I think are the main ones.

The Engagement / Pre Wedding Shoot

1. Shoot in a location you're familiar with. The idea of the shoot obviously is to produce great photos but personally speaking I don't want to be 'hunting' for locations when my main objective is to 'learn' about the couple i.e. the best way to photograph them and their limitations.

2. Arrive early to avoid surprises i.e. taking your couple to a location only to find someone's piled a load of tables and chairs in the way, the location is being used etc ...

3. Meet the clients for coffee beforehand rather than just 'cracking on'. Chatting through the wedding plans and what you'll be doing all helps to relax the client before you head out.

4. Involve your clients in the the making of the shoot by holding lights, tri-grip diffusers and so on which helps to take their mind off being photographed. However, do explain that they wont be doing this on their wedding day as you'll most likely have an assistant with you.

5. Show photos to your client on the back of the camera as you go round. This again will help them to relax and enjoy the process even more when they see the results you're getting.

6. Don't over complicate things i.e. keep your kit to a minimum cos you don't really want to be getting into 2, 3 or 4 light set ups. This is an engagement / pre wedding shoot not a commercial shoot and let's face it, stunning results can be achieved with natural light and one light; you only have to look at the work of Zack Arias to realise this.

7. Plan your route and know what photographs you intend to take where. For any of you with an iPhone, two applications that I use alot when planning a shoot are: 'Sun n Moon' and 'Focalware' ; these two little gems tell me when the sun will be around and where it will be at specific times during the day.

Again, I guess this 'tips' list could go on and on, but these 7 are the ones that immediately come to mind.

Hope that's of some use,
Enjoy ;o)

Monday, 11 May 2009

Winner: Free Photo Shoot Friday

UPDATE: Forgot to mention, the winning answer was 24th September 2007 ... oops :o)

Morning All,
Hope you all had a great weekend. Thankfully the weather forecasters were spot on as usual saying it was going to rain but instead we had glorious sunshine; now that kind of 'getting it wrong' I can live with.

Well, after receiving a surprisingly high number of entries for the first Free Photo Shoot Friday Competition, I'm pleased to announce that after pulling winning entries 'out the hat' Chris Darvil from Oxford was the winner. Chris wins a free 'on location' portrait shoot which we'll be booking up asap and will show some of the results here on the blog.

Having had a re-think, rather than running Free Photo Shoot Friday every month, I'm going to do a run of them every Friday during the month of May, so be sure to check back on Friday 15th May for the next round.

Bye for now ;o)

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Video Page now added to website

Now that the new site has been up and running for a couple of days I've been thinking more and more about what 'extras' I can add in. One that I've always intended to add was a page that holds the ongoing "Exposed" video collection that shows 'behind the scenes footage' of photo shoots I've been on. I was looking to add this in a couple of weeks or so but as a few people have asked where it was in the feedback I thought I'd add it now. So, another late night later and voilà (who needs to sleep anyway :o)

As always, thanks for the feedback but keep it coming in plus any suggestions you may have; let's see how little sleep I can survive on.

Enjoy ;o)

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Multiple Exposure and the 'About Glyn' Collage

Since launching my new website I've been receiving some really positive feedback and some really interesting suggestions for what I could include in the future. One message in particular came from a fellow photographer and twitter(er) Martin Saint (@SaintyM) who gave feedback regarding the original 'About Glyn' picture. In his own words (and I tended to agree) it was a little cliché; you know the one:photographer, camera in hand, kit at his feet and looking all mean and moody. Anyway, Martin's comment got me thinking and that's how I ended up with the 'About Glyn' collage:

Multiple Exposure
The collage was made in part by using the little known and little used function in the Nikon D3 called 'Multiple Exposure' found in the 'Shooting Menu'.

Basically what this allows you to do is to take a series of photos one after the other and the camera automatically blends them together to produce one final image. As always my good friend Barry Payne was there to help out so I set the camera up handed it over and then 'worked it' ... well, sat there really doing my best 'the camera loves you baby' poses.

My original idea was to use one of the multiple exposures but in the end I wound up blending' three of them together (see attached photos which are straight out of the camera) in Photoshop to make the final image using some gradient masking, contrast boost and adding a slight cyan tint.

Right that's all for now folks so have a great weekend,
Enjoy ;o)

New Website is launched ... finally!

Well after what seems like a lifetime, I'm pleased to say that my new website has finally launched. As is always the case it's a 'work in progress' as over time I'm going to be adding more and more to it. In fact, in the next couple of days I'm going to be adding a 'video' section which is where I'll be putting my new ongoing series of 'Exposed - behind the scenes' videos plus at a later stage camera & lighting tutorials, photoshop techniques etc ...

I've been receiving plenty of feedback by email and Facebook so thankyou to all of you who have sent that in, but don't stop there, keep it coming ... good or bad I want (and need) to hear it.

Thanks again.

Friday, 8 May 2009


So ... what is FREE Photo-Shoot Friday?
Basically, on the first Friday of each month I'm gonna be running a competition here on the blog and whoever emails back with the correct answer gets the chance to win a FREE photo shoot ... it's that simple.

Now, the question I'll post up will most likely be about something here on the blog or on my main site; for example, I'll post a picture up that has been previously shown and the question may be "What is the date of the blog entry where this photograph appears?" All you have to do is search through the blog, find the picture and then answer the question; and like I said, whoever answers correctly gets the chance to win themselves a Portrait Shoot.

Now as in any competition there are gonna have to be a few rules/guidelines, so here's a couple I can think of:

1. You can't enter that particular weeks competition if you're the person in the photograph...that would be cheating (shame on you :o)

2. The competition is only open to those living in the UK and will be 'on location'.

3. The Photo Shoot is FREE. (Any subsequent print orders are at the normal rate).

4. The cut off period is midnight Sunday (weekend the competition starts) and the winner will be randomly picked and announced on Monday of the following week.

... that's all I can think of for now but if I think of anymore then I'll be sure to update you. Okay so, let's kick it off with the first question:

Below is a photograph of the famous Pegasus Bridge near Ouistreham, France which I took whilst on a holiday with Mrs D; what is the full date that this photograph was added to the blog?

Good luck ;o)

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

A little update & more iPhone Photos

Hi All ... just thought I'd write a little post to give you an update:

1. Free Photoshoot Friday will be starting this coming Friday (8th May) so make sure you check back here for more details at the end of the week when all will be revealed.

2. A reminder that the 18th May is when I'll be able to reveal some BIG news for all photographers out there. I'm sworn to secrecy at this stage but I promise you it'll be worth the wait ;o)

3. Last bit of news is that finally the new site is as good as complete and ready to upload. We're just in the testing phase now and the 'go live' is scheduled for Friday morning (8th May) ... honestly, no really :o)

iPhone Photos
Thought I'd post a few more photos that I've taken recently using my iPhone; all of which are straight out of the phone i.e. all editing done 'in phone' using applications (no retouching on the computer).

Enjoy ;o)

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Food Photography at The Draycott Hotel

Thursday of last week I was in Chelsea, London at The Draycott Hotel photographing their new menu. (I'd been approached a couple of weeks previous by the General Manager John Hanna who had seen some of the food photography I'd done for The Cape in Beaconsfield).

The photographs I was taking are going to be used in a new 'Room Service' gadget being trialed at the hotel, where rather than just reading from a menu, guests will actually see examples of the food on a handheld electronic device and at the press of a button have it sent to their room ... all very impressive stuff.

I got to the hotel after a surprisingly stress free journey through rush hour traffic just after 8am and once I'd unloaded my kit had the obligatory coffee to start the day. John & his team were a great help and George, the Head Chef did an amazing job, cooking and preparing some beautiful food all day to be photographed.

All in all there were some 30 dishes photographed, and hand on heart I didn't pick at any of them; mind you I did devour a greek salad during a break for lunch which was delicious.

Technical Info:
To photograph the food I decided to use a table near to one of the large windows in the room because of the light coming in from outside. On the opposing side of the table I set up a Nikon SB800 Speedlight into a Lastolite Ezy Box. This way the food had light coming in from both sides and above; all I needed to do now was to soften the light coming in from outside and I did this by holding up a Lastolite 1 stop Tri Grip Diffuser. I shot using my D3 with a Nikon f/2.8 24-70mm lens on a tripod and also made use of a cable release to minimise the risk of any movement in the camera.

The SB800 (triggered using the Nikon CLS) was set to 1/16th power, so the recycle time was kept to a minimum and infact just the one flash was used for the entire day. I shot in Aperture Priority Mode throughout, varying between f/4.0 and f/5.0 so as to have a shallow (ish) depth of field.

*The photographs of George were taken using my Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lens and lit with an SB800 in close, camera left and fired into a closed reflective umbrella. The umbrella was closed to minimise 'spill' onto the back wall ;o)

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