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.
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.
Corporate Photographer Will Travel, Capturing The Cleaning Up For KCP
As a commercial and corporate photographer based in Somerset, I sure have done some travelling these past few weeks.
A couple of weeks ago I posted Boosting The Ayr Miles about my recent shoots including one in Ayrshire Scotland.
Fortunately, I provide a range of corporate photography services including video production services and these skills came in very handy on these shoots.
The shoot below was for KCP Limited who work nationwide from their Scottish base in Ayrshire.
KCP operates a large fleet of bespoke vehicles that dispose of all manners of waste and are Scotland’s leaders in their field.
My brief was to capture both images of staff and the vehicles on location at the various sites that KCP maintain and also come up with some hero shots of the vehicles within the beautiful Scottish landscape.
Apart from this, I was left with complete creative freedom including picking some of the locations which actually proved much easier than expected.
We had a very tight schedule with just 2 half days but the weather played nice for the most part.
The one image I was not completely looking forward too was a request for a high shot of the fleet from a cherry picker as heights are not my favourite thing and at this point, I hadnt moved into commercial drone work.
The two main concerns I had was the wind had got up (sods friggin law !) and the fact the owner of KCP Karl was going to be operating the machine.
The reason Karl was a concern is that we have been friends since our teenage years and I knew he would not miss a chance to have some fun scaring me…which of course he did !
Photo 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.
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.
This image was captured during one of my many trips to Turkey.
I set out just after dawn to walk along the beach to explore and capture anything that took my fancy in the glourious if not a little harsh morning light.
I had only walked for less than 5 minutes when I noticed this gentleman who I later discovered was called Asur sat smoking a cigarette enjoying the beautiful morning over Gumbet bay.
After a few nods to each other I decided to approach him to ask if I may take his picture.
He spoke no english and my limited Turkish was not any good but we got by and I positioned him with an iconic Gulet in the background.
He must have enjoyed his 5 mins of fame as he insisted I take more images of him on the balcony of the hotel beach bar he worked for !
I returned a year later with some prints but never saw him again.
Occasionally when time permits I will dig into my archive and look at images that I’ve never used and simply have some creative fun. This is one such image which I captured while visiting an Advertising Agency in Paris about a job I had been shortlisted for. I decided to stay on after my meeting to spend a couple of days simply getting out at dawn with my camera and following my nose shooting whatever took my eye.I came back with several images that I published from the trip and many more that I did not do anything with which is sometimes the case.Like when I captured the images I decided just to enjoy the creative process of retouching and follow my instincts to end up with the image here which sums up the cool November morning in that park in Paris.
A few months back I was assigned by Advertising Agency Bray Leino to spend a couple of days shooting on location for their client Centek. Centek manufacture equipment for the oil drilling industry and I was briefed to capture their state of the art manufacturing process and people who help run it.The job was pretty full on as deadlines where fast approaching for a launch of a new factory and the images or at least some where needed for this. Myself one assistant and Art Director sucessfully finished the shoot with time to spare and I then spent the following day shooting samples of the products in the studio.
It’s hard to believe that only a few weeks ago I was with the family sunning ourselves in 24 degrees in sunny Spain.Although a family holiday I as always took along my cameras,tripod etc and ventured out several times at dawn during the week to capture some images that represented the location as I was experiencing it. The Costa Del Sol is a lovely area of Spain with beautiful beaches and people out enjoying the warm climate either cycling or running often with their dogs in tow.The image I created below shows the beach,palm trees and one of the several lifeguard towers that occupy the beaches. The final element was to photograph the lifestyle image upon my return to the UK which completes the outdoor family lifestyle of the Costa’s.The final image shown here ended up combining 11 separate images and retains details as fine as dog hairs which is always a time consuming but hugely important element in all of the work I create.
Professional Photo Retouching Creation Of “Waiting”
One of the benefits of Professional Photo Retouching is that when time permits personal work unlike commercial assignments have no deadline to adhere to so can pick up the project when inspiration takes you.
This particular photo retouching project was an alternative set up from a personal shoot I did a while back with the final image being titled “Chiron Of Thessaly”
I never used the alternative image here until now probably because I did not have the urgency too or more likely simply had not been inspired by the correct environment for it.
This all changed while in the Algarve last year when I captured these wonderful porous cliffs at dusk and for some reason felt they would be a perfect partner for the rear shot of the Centaur.
Some images are highly planned down to the finest details while others simply come together and just work like they have when the time is right.
The background image was captured on the coast of the Algarve Portugal
The majority of the work I create these days tends to be pre-planned to a brief or an idea I’m inspired to create usually from several images composited in post.
Now and again though it’s great to just grab the camera and just explore and capture whatever I come across.
This often occurs when travelling to new places and I find inspiration is in overdrive to go and creative images that represent the place I’m experiencing.
While in Holland last week I had a few hours before flying home to go and explore Amsterdam.
There are in my opinion a couple of possible downfalls to arriving at either a well-known location or having limited time somewhere.
If I’m visiting somewhere like Venice or Rome avoiding the well known often copied postcard locations and coming up with something fresh and in my own style is always one of my main objectives.
If time is limited at a location like in the shots here of Amsterdam then I’ll often find great locations only to feel that there would be an even better shot if only I could be there longer to wait for the light or weather to change, I suppose it’s a case of always wanting that little bit more perfection.
Over the years I have had to accept you are there at that moment and creating something unique from what you have in front of you and the other option is to simply just walk on by.
Here are a couple of images that I captured during my brief time in Amsterdam, the one below is a composite from two separate images captured a short distance from each other and composited together to create the final image.