September

September is probably one of my favourite months especially with a camera in my hand.rnAfter the long days and often harsh light that summer (sometimes) gives us together with a blanket of green September comes along and brings back a little colour contrast to the landscape with better lower angled light.rnThe other reason I love September is the fields full Maize which for some reason I just have to capture every year.

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”.

 

Lifestyle Photo Of Mature Couple In Casino

 

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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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

Creating The Last Harvest

This image was the first I produced in my project Life In A Somerset Landscape.
It was inspired by fascination with Maize fields and I wanted to create an image set around one.
I decided rather that capture a person within the scene I would approach local bird sanctuary Sharandy’s Bird Of Prey who had a lovely barn owl called Breeze who they kindly allowed me to Photograph.
All composite image throw up surprises and this one was no different. It wasn’t shooting the Owl or masking the fine details of the Maize heads although this was a challenge and I had to combine several techniques to solve it.
No the main issue was finding a rustic looking fence which living where I do I did not anticipate for one minute having a problem finding.In the end I found a fairly new fence and had to age it in post production and add extra foliage to create the vision I had for it.
The final image came together well complete with Glastonbury Tor and mist that can often be found on the Somerset Levels around September time.

Behind The Scenes Video

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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A Lifestyle portrait going back in time capturing Good King Hal At The Court

A Lifestyle portrait going back in time capturing good king hal at the court.

Living where I do I’m fortunate to be surrounded by some stunning National Trust properties. It was during many of my visits to Barrington Court that I kept bumping into Mike Farley who is a full-time Henry VIII impersonator.
During one conversation I told Mike about my work as a lifestyle photographer and photo retoucher and he agreed for me to photograph him.
My vision for this image was to take Mike back to Barrington Court and create a clean simple and timeless stately background from the various garden hedges and trees available in Barrington Courts grounds.
The actual shoot with Mike only took 10-15 minutes to complete partly due to the pre-planning already done. It’s also always my intention not to take up too much of peoples precious time that they are kindly allowing me to take up.
Mike who happens to be an ex comedian was a joy to photograph and his website can be found here

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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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Photo 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.

Commercial Photo Shoot, Yeovil Town F.C. Community Sports Trust

Commercial Photo Shoot, Yeovil Town F.C. Community Sports Trust

Combining two of my passions in Commercial Photography & Football is as my mum would have phrased it “like having your cake and eating it !” My son now 11 and a half has been at Yeovil as a player since he was around 7 years old. As a result of spending a lot of time at the club for training sessions and games, the Yeovil Town Community Trust learnt of my work as a commercial photographer in Somerset and asked if I could help them with their imagery & promotional needs. The Trust is the charity arm of Yeovil Town F.C and also run the Youth teams and training sessions and various other work within the local community.

The latest images they required (show here) were to illustrate the various Development Centres that are located around Somerset and their appropriate kits for a new website launch. Having full creative freedom I decided that the kits and model would look great captured against a white clean background and then to create some impact with the creative use of lighting.

The trust knowing my son had recently modelled in a video for the NSPCC and the fact the budget was tight being a charity asked if he would model the kits for the shoot.

Here are a few of the images with the completed photo retouching.

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