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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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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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Photo Retouching Contentment, Bribing Children & Blending The Soul Of A Place

Creative Retouching Contentment, Bribing Children & Blending The Soul Of A Place

As well as being an advertising photographer I also offer high-end photo retouching services.

This means even when not working on an assignment I will often challenge to myself that even on a family holiday I return with at least one killer image that represents the place and my experience of it.
There was a time in my younger years where I would never relax when away and I’d be running around every day at dawn and dusk shooting like a man possessed.
Over the years my way of working has changed (to the relief of the wife) and I often feel the need of a more challenging and unique way of creating that requires a little more of a planned approach.

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This image (well some of it) was shot on the Costa Del Sol in Spain during one such family holiday. I had been out with my camera a few times during the week but mainly scouting for inspiration for the killer image.
Was struck me about the area was the amount of people out at both morning and night walking their dogs, running, cycling or on rollerblades simply enjoying the beautiful coast and its climate.
The coast was dotted with these striking looking lifeguard towers and clusters of exotic looking Palm trees along the beach that provided shade and a perch for the large colony of Parakeets.
Inspiration was gained and I decided I would venture out at daybreak later that week and capture some of these elements and create the image below titled Contentment.
The model is my youngest and cheapest child to bribe for a shoot Ava with my neighbours very photogenic dog Barney who were both captured upon my return home.

Wooden Horse & Treacherous Tides

Wooden Horse & Treacherous Tides

 

The Bristol Channel can be a treacherous place.
For starters it has the second-highest tidal range in the world, the first is the Bay of Fundy in Canada.
So if that does not catch you out then there is the mud to contend with which claims many a tourist’s cars during the summer months.

I’ve lived along this coast for a large part of my life so I know to give it a lot of respect.
So it was partly this that intrigued me about the Mud Horse Fishermen who go onto the dangerous mudflats to retrieve fish from their nets.

They can only do this as they know the area and tides very well and also have their sledges known as Wooden Horses that keep them from sinking waist deep or more into the concrete like mud.
I had 20 years previous captured an environmental portrait of another of the fishermen but now only 2 survive and I decided to call Adrian Sellick to see if I might be able to capture him for my project Life In A Somerset Landscape
A time was arranged and I met up with Adrian a week later and also his father Brendan who was busy mending nets just a stone’s throw from the beach.

To my amazement, Adrian said he would drive us part of the mile or so out to where his Horse was anchored in his small 4×4 and I have to say I was pretty nervous about that after seeing so many vehicles devoured!
Thankfully I had nothing to worry about and with Adrian’s advise I managed to avoid stepping on the wrong type of mud and being swallowed up and got the shots I wanted before the tide turned.
The final image shows Adrian with his Wooden Horse with Hinkley Point Power Station in the background.

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Retouching For A Seamless Hair Transplant “Surveying The Moor”

Photo Retouching For A Seamless Hair Transplant “Surveying The Moor”

This image came out of doing a favour for a friend who was setting up a business for house sitting dogs and needed some promotional images of herself with her dog Barney.

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It was while on location shooting the portraits that we passed this huge fallen tree and Barney decided to climb on top and the image simply announced itself in front of me. Unfortunately Barney had a bright red harness on and due to sheep being in the vicinity it could not be taken off so using some careful photo retouching it was removed in Photoshop making sure to add suitable fine hairs for a seamless result.

The background was a landscape captured on Exmoor and proved a perfect fit with the correct colour grading.