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Affluent Evening Lifestyle

Following on from my Anniversary Venice themed shoot last year we once again decided on another affluent lifestyle themed shoot for some new personal work.
This time the location was the very beautiful 16th-century Dillington House in South Somerset.
We had two models booked for the day, Simon Bond whom I had worked with last year on a worldwide campaign for Mimecast and the lovely Avril O’Riordan.
Being a personal shoot I wasn’t looking to create dozens of images just one or two to add to the book and website for promotion.

 

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Commercial Lifestyle Photography “The Anniversary” From Silage Pit To The Romantic Waterways Of Venice

Commercial Lifestyle Photography “The Anniversary” From Silage Pit To The Romantic Waterways Of Venice

Commercial lifestyle photography means being not only well planned but also fully briefing everyone involved.
I’m an honest chap but I do confess that when briefing the models for this commercial photography photoshoot I left out the fact we were shooting in an old farms silage pit!
It all started a month or so previous while shooting a worldwide commercial photography advertising campaign for my client Mimecast.
One of the mature models on the shoot that day was the very experienced (and ex Milk Tray Man from back in the ’80s) Tim.
Tim like myself was keen to update his Book with new images so we agreed to collaborate on something to benefit us both.

 

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Lifestyle portrait couple grade canal Venice

An Anniversary

An Anniversary weekend was the concept that Natasha my stylist came up with during our meeting to discuss ideas for the shoot.
It was perfect and from that point, various ideas started to develop and I decided that Venice would be a perfect backdrop for an affluent couples romantic anniversary weekend.

A quick casting with model agency Ginger Snap for a suitable wife for Tim and Andrea was approached and sold on the glamorous concept!
Unfortunately, budget and time restraints meant no Italian location shoot (or jolly as the wife would call it) with models in tow were going to be on the cards.

My original plan was to fly out to Italy and capture the background scenes I needed but work and other commitments meant it might be a while before I could do it.
I did however already have several images in my archives that were perfect for my vision for the shoot and a selection of these were shortlisted.

By studying the images for camera perspective, light quality and direction I made a shooting plan needed to seamlessly composite the models together with the locations.

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Techie Stuff 

I’m very lucky I have access to wonderful studio spaces when I require one.
On this shoot however I needed to blend the models into mainly daylight scenes and In my opinion, recreating daylight with artificial light rarely blends as seamlessly as I’d like.

My preference (when possible) is to use the real stuff! Once I had the correct quality of natural daylight I could then add some extra lighting to add any modelling if required.
For example, in the dancing image in St Marks Square, the dawn light was pretty soft but did create some light modelling as you can see on the lamp post.
With this in mind, a flash diffused with a 7ft umbrella was added to the right of the models to help melt the models and background together or if you prefer “sell the fake”.

 

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Silage Pit 

So why shoot in a silage pit? The silage pit was my shooting preference for a couple of reasons. A, For the most part, I needed overcast soft daylight and the bright concrete wall’s and floor provided good natural reflectors giving fairly shadowless even light.
B, This also had the added bonus of providing a clean uncluttered background to aid the masking in post-production.
On top of this next to the shooting area was an open-sided barn with a roof.

This would allow some protection if the weather decided to get worse (rain) or better (sun) both of which would have not been welcome in producing the images.
It also was a handy area for setting up the laptop so we could preview the images and do quick composites as we went along.
A great team effort saw the day come together perfectly apart from one light that didn’t want to play ball which was quickly replaced.
Big thanks to our models Tim, Andrea and their agency Ginger Snap. Stylist Natasha Musson and Monks Yard for the use of the Venetian parts of the old farm!

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Commercial lifestyle photography shoot mature couple dancing in st marks square Venice

Behind The Scenes

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A Lifestyle Photographer Surviving In The Bush…

A Lifestyle Photographer Surviving In The Bush…

Not sure about you but it scares me slightly to where time seems to go, does it speed up as you enter your thirties? I reckon so.
As I look through the thousands of images I’ve captured over the years many feel like they were completed in the months previous when in fact some were captured well over 25 years ago.
This particular image comes from a lifestyle photography production completed a few years ago. It blends the rustic beauty of Exmoor with two gorgeous female models with the concept being about friendship and survival.
Having spent nearly 3 decades now capturing images, I myself often feel a little like a survivor!… it’s not easy but then the best jobs never are.

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Unveiling Of Alp Yanki

Today sees the sale of our home in Turkey finalised which to be honest leaves me slightly sad.We bought the property close to Bodrum around 8 years ago as an investment and, as a result, made many friends in the area and my many trips created many happy memories (and images) but it’s simply run its course and it’s time to move on.

 

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Bluegrass Inspired Banjo Shoot

Inspiration to create images comes in many forms at least for me. While retouching some work the other week I decided to randomly listen to something completely different from my normal playlists on Spotify and put on some Bluegrass music. One track, in particular, hit a chord (pardon the pun) which as you may expect from the Bluegrass genre contained the Banjo.

 

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Corporate Portraits At Dillington House

It was only in September that I found myself on location shooting at the beautiful Hartham Park house near Bath.
This week I was at another beautiful historic house called Dillington which happens to be only a few minutes from the studio.

Dillington House

I had received a call from an online events company called Choose Your Event who needed some corporate Portraits for a magazine feature they where appearing in.
As CYE are based on the grounds of Dillington House (and a client of the company) it was arranged for us to use the house for both interior and exterior images we had planned.

Behind The Scenes


For the interior we chose one of the many rooms and it’s impressive fireplace to position the directors Ben & Simon Gray and to reflect some of the room back into frame and help set the scene.

 

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When it came to the exterior we where once again spoilt for choice but I decided on a couple of simple set up’s one of which was to show the famous golden local Hamstone and windows of the property.
As with all photography the best images are often those that are kept clean & simple even if sometimes they are far from simple to produce.

Behind The Scenes

 

 

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You can view the CYE Group website and their services  Here

Oh..Anaerobic Digestion! The varied days of a Corporate Photographer

Oh..Anaerobic Digestion! The varied days of a Corporate Photographer

Earlier this year I travelled to Scotland for a 3-day corporate photography shoot for my client KCP Ltd (see my post “Capturing The Cleaning Up For KCP” )
As a follow up a couple of weeks ago KCP asked me to shoot once again for them this time travelling a little closer to home to Basingstoke in Hamshire to capture images of the work they do at an Anaerobic Digestion plant.
The plant basically takes food waste and converts this into energy through some very clever process that went way over my head without much effort from the guy doing the explaining!
I wasn’t armed with much of a brief but KCP did ask that I show the huge domed tanks that they maintain and include their lorries in some images other than that I was free to capture whatever caught my eye which of course was fine by me.
Post-production was a pretty straight forward job which, to be honest, was a nice change from some of the recent quite demanding commissions I’ve completed. You can download my Corporate Photographer PDF Portfolio Here
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A break from the darkness

Lifestyle Photography Shoot, A Black Sheet And A Shaded Barn, Capturing Jock The Diver

Lifestyle Photography Shoot, A Black Sheet And A Shaded Barn, Capturing Jock The Diver

Inspiration for creating lifestyle images can appear when you are least expecting it.
A year or so ago I was snapping pictures, my kids, while they were exploring rock pools on a small Cornish beach.
I was pretty engrossed with capturing the best shots I could on my iPhone while not dropping it into the water again (yes I destroyed the last one this way) when suddenly a dark dressed figure appeared between the rocks heading for the water.

The guy was all geared up in a wetsuit but not for surfing for diving complete with tanks and spearfish and I remember thinking what a great image this could make amongst the towering rocks.
A year or so on we revisited the area and I decided to return to the beach to capture it and create the image that had inspired me.

Capturing the background was pretty uneventful and my hopes that there might be an amazing coincidence and the diver might turn up faded along with the beautiful light.
No matter, part of the fun creating composite images is tracking down people to photograph so I hit the web and contacted several local Diving clubs and shops seeking a suitable willing model.

I eventually got chatting to Mike “Jock” Stewart who teaches people to dive not far from my studio base. After chatting for a while he explained to me I may not want to use him as he was 66 years old and retired !… I explained even without having met him that he would probably be perfect.

Yes, I could have hired the kit and got a young attractive model but as a lifestyle photographer of many years, I want to shoot a mixture of work besides how much more interesting to have someone passionate about their sport with years of experience and many tales to tell.
A time was arranged to shoot the next day and I set off to get a few things needed like a bag of sand to help add the small details needed to complete the composite.
Like with all composite images there are several things that need careful thought before shooting like perspective, the colour of the surroundings, focus and of course matching the quality and direction of light.

At this point, I should show you an impressive shot of the interior of our beautiful old Hamstone Barn stuffed with lighting and grips..but in reality, a black sheet from Asda and the open shade of a disused farm barn was all that was needed to blend and match the lighting to the background scene.
Not all that impressive I agree but I knew this would give the best result, after all why try and recreate daylight in the studio when with a little manipulation you can have the real thing.

 

 

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The shoot went like clockwork and Jock was a pleasure to work with and quite happy to have water, oil and sand thrown over him!
The 3 completed images came together seamlessly in post-production partly due to some careful pre-planning and plenty of image retouching knowledge.

 

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Diver

 

 

Professional Business Photographer. Boosting The Ayr Miles..

Professional Business Photographer. Boosting The Ayr Miles..

Being a commercial photographer in the uk is a funny business as you never know what the next phone call will bring and the last couple of weeks have been no exception.
It started with a call from an old friend who operates  KCP Ltd from Ayrshire in Scotland.
KCP specialise in transferring all types of waste with their huge fleet of lorries both from within Scotland and across the UK.
They needed to not only capture the vehicles within the beautiful Scottish landscape (something which I have a lot of experience of shooting in the past) but also corporate portraits and other images to showcase what they do.

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The shoot took place over a long weekend with some changeable weather that actually worked very well with our schedule as did the locations that were chosen.

Short flight home on a Sunday evening allowed me just enough time on Monday to secure the images and repack before driving up to Heathrow for a flight to Copenhagen for Bristol Agency Flourish
I’ve worked with Flourish a few times capturing campaign images in Holland of various Chef’s for their client Knorr and this one was not different except Denmark was the location for this particular shoot.
After a change to the original location for a better one and a shorter shooting time, everything came together according to the client’s wishes.
I can’t publish any images at this point as the campaign is not yet live but as soon as I can get some samples rest assured I will.

This week I packed again for a trip to see some buyers in London followed by a meeting and a small shoot in central London for a corporate photoshoot  with client Mimecast. This is followed today by packing yet again but this time for a weeks holiday and boy I feel I need one !

Have a great Bank holiday everyone….

A Lifestyle Portrait, Keeping The Ambience The Dark Art Of Weaving The Withy

A Lifestyle Portrait, Keeping The Ambience The Dark Art Of Weaving The Withy

While on a shoot capturing some images for my personal project Life In A Somerset Landscape at Withy growers P.H Coates I came across this very dark but atmospheric room.
In it three guys where busy working in the dim light and plenty of banter was being exchanged in their strong Somerset accents especially when I was introduced to them followed by the words photographing you where mentioned!

It wasn’t a Landscape… but the room had a rustic historic charm and bags of atmosphere and I could visualize the final lifestyle portrait image complete with Matthew Godfrey one of the guys who skillfully weaved wicker fences in the room.
The image was going to be a tricky one to attempt to capture in one frame due to the dim light and the fact there were elements I wanted to be visible to help tell the story without over lighting and killing the whole ambience of the place.
It’s one of those moments when seeing the final image and having extensive knowledge of photo retouching techniques allowed me to harvest all the images I would need then combine them in post-production without a huge amount of system time.

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