Archive for January, 2014

Location Visits

Posted: January 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

I had planned to get some, or all, of my long exposures completed today for the short assignment task but as the weather was so poor today I decided to take out my designer to the 2 sites we have been granted permission to shoot at. Great to meet the people, on site, I had spoken to on the phone and had a fabulous time touring both sites for suitable locations.

A really good vibe from both sites about what we are doing in the way that we are proposing on integrating some of their exhibits with the fashion. All willing to assist where necessary or required which was very good of them too.

We have identified 4 sets at each site for shoots from which the models, MUA, designer & hairdresser will get excellent portfolio images and I should be able to select 3 for my module.

Took plenty of images as we toured both sites so ideas can continue to be developed. This also helps me consider my lighting options and camera location in advance of the shoot.

This first image was within Eden Camp and is one of the 4 locations chosen.


And this greeted us on our arrival at the York Air Museum. Plenty inside to shoot, which was, but I have a soft spot for a few of the planes that helped secure the freedom we all enjoy today. One of those is the Hawker Hurricane.


First suit has arrived regarding one of my primary idea’s for a shoot. Popped into the studio for a quick test on suitability and it’s a winner. Having loads of fun whilst producing Uni work is always a plus point.

Contact sheet showing a few poses as I wanted to see how it looked for final pose ideas when the set is constructed.



Obviously all high key, 1/125th, f/8, 50mm & Iso 100.

Present – Myself, Fashion Designer, Hairdresser, MUA & three models.

Had an excellent meeting today with final decisions being made on several points for the 2 shoots. All ideas for the outfits were laid out and everyone was encouraged to input with both positive and negative, valid, points. From the 16 initial design drawings we quickly brought this down to a final 4 which people felt were achievable at all levels.

I then created a timeline of production for both shoots. Everyone agreed with this timeline and their ability to produce the required work as agreed including models available on 3 specific days. This also gives me a 2 week window to create the “Cube” set in my studio. I have stipulated this spread, of dates, to accommodate an outdoor shoot as the fashion designer would like to use paint along with fabric as part of the outfits. All looks exciting so I hope she gets the opportunity to shine with her creative ideas.

All the required timber for the ‘Major’ is being delivered this Wednesday so it is ready for when my pre-booked family shoots have been completed.

As one shoot is location based I have 2 businesses to call in the morning with requests to shoot. If these requests fail in gaining permission then an alternative location has already been agreed.

White Cup Image

Posted: January 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

So today I thought about the white cup. Being informed as a group that no student has ever copied the image is in no way encouraging but I was determined to at least have a good try at it. Studying the image it would appear that this is one of the old style white plastic cups that were so much thicker than its modern version. The old version could and would cut you if you squeezed and split it wrongly. The old version also sprang almost entirely back into it’s original shape after being crushed also, again something the new flimsy thin version doesn’t do.

So for lighting we were told a maximum of two lights allowed, a rather key part missing from the issued brief which just showed a photo of a plastic cup.

As these cups are virtually see through in ambient daylight I set about firstly isolating light to get the shadow in the ribs and around the rim. I used barn doors, snoot, slit paper and pin hole through black card in an effort to control the light. Once I had a similar lighting effect, to the copy image, I set about the background. This was simply a floor light 2 stops above the key light over the cup. I don’t have a product table and don’t want one either, as I have no interest in product photography, so I had the obvious line in my image from foreground to background. Some tinkering with the lights all but eradicated this but not completely. You may also notice that in one image the cup looks much darker. This was were I filled it with milk in an attempt to block light in the hope of accentuating the rib shadows. It didn’t work either as with the cups being so thin the off white of the milk overpowered the plastic.

Spent about an hour in total messing about with this. Though my current image is far from the image we were given I doubt that a second attempt will be considered unless I am well ahead on my main module images for April and May respectively. Should I come across one of the old style, thick plastic, cups then I will of course re-shoot.

Here is a contact sheet showing some of the development in lighting as I altered the modifiers and angles building up to the final image. You can clearly see that the final image was with an alternative lens to all the others and a bit of WB adjustment too.


And here is my current final image for the white cup.


A quick decision

Posted: January 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

Back from an afternoons work covering the local gymnastics and had the equipment/props for an idea with the decisive moment. Chloe had won some smarties on the raffle so we popped into the studio and created this image. We had discussed what we would do with the smarties, her pose & how I would shoot on the way home so this didn’t take too long. It is my intention to bag the images for this “assignment” asap giving me time to concentrate on the more important main modules for the semester.


Technicals are 100mm macro, 1/125th sec, f/13 & ISO 100. Two light set up, 1 beauty dish facing 30 deg down and one 60 deg reflector with honeycomb, on boom, to light hair. Metered with Sekonic L-308s.

I’ve have spoken with my fashion designer for this project and she is well on with some advanced ideas from the initial conversation we had at the end of last year. I’ll be popping up to see her this week hopefully as yet again we are barely in for tutorials at Uni.

Sadly I can’t start building the set yet as I have some family portraits to fulfil before I can technically place the studio on hold. I do however have the plans, fashion, models, assistants & enthusiasm ready for this with just the wood, patterns & paint to purchase.

The set will be 5ft x 5ft x 8ft deep and as such a permanent fixture until the shoot is completed. As a consequence the planning has been organised to include the finishing of the structure to shoot time being an absolute minimum.

I have also contacted Phase One with a request that I may trial/borrow a few items of equipment for this shoot. I have simply, or brazenly, requested a 645DF+, IQ2 Digital Back and a suitable portrait lens describing, in full, my ideas, thoughts & proposed results. The new IQ2 backs are wifi enabled and so gone is the horrendous tethering issue associated with the old backs. Being a student I’m certainly not holding my breath about this but if you don’t ask………. 😉

Just sat waiting for this weekends gradings to start in anticipation of the national schools competition I am also covering in February. Today is just to see where newcomers and step-ups are to be placed in capability groups so not too many. Thankfully there is free wi-fi here 😉 There are 420 entrants booked in for February which should keep me busy for a while.

Edit – 24th Jan 2014

Dry run with model completed for measurement of cube. Size has been increased to 5.5ft x 5.5ft x 8ft to allow for more scope with posing and content. This still leaves ample room as the ceiling is 9ft with the width of the studio at just over 5m. With the measurements complete the wood for the shoot has been purchased along with assembly brackets and first image lining paper.

The 2 images below firstly show the boom arm in position as it will be for the final shoot. This was placed to ensure that once the structure has been erected that there is enough room for movement and servicing to the rear along. This was also essential so that measurements could be taken to ensure enough room remaining at the front to actually shoot the proposed images. I have about a 4ft window of flexibility to operate in with the camera. Tight but more than enough.

The second image shows the 90 degree fasteners and hinges which will be used in the erection process. There are also examples of the lining paper for the cube. Things are certainly moving along nicely.

A few design tweaks on several of the outfits have also been addressed. Final designs will be shown to me this Sunday and decisions made on those we will be going with on the shoots.


Quick interesting read.

Posted: January 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

Though a very short piece and rather low on the editorial aspect I found this BBC review of Celebrity Photographer Andy Gott’s rather interesting for the images.

I’ve not been the greatest fan of B&W images and our senior lecturer was rather scathing, in a lecture, of photographers who predominantly use or used B&W. I have however begun to appreciate what the simplicity of a B&W image can portray. Without all the colour I now find myself looking at an image in a more detailed and critical fashion and have indeed shot a few specific B&W images.

Enlightening as a read and good to work out the lighting used.

Link –

Main Module side task.

Posted: January 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

With our main submissions for the semester (Due April & May) we have again been given a side project, as with the “Interpretations 1” and “Typologies”, to keep us occupied.

This rest of this entry is simply a copy of the one to be found in “Short Assignments 2”


Another semester with another set of short image challenges to accompany our main modules.

6 sets of images of which some are specific, to be copied, and some for which we have total creative control.

The actual brief states – Short assignments
This is not about DOING these assignments – of course you can… it is about doing them with  IMAGINATION, CREATIVITY and PROFESSIONALISM. Every image should be a portfolio image. 
I am completely bemused by the comment that they should all be a portfolio image. Why anyone would want someone smoking as a portfolio image with smoking being so ostracised as unsocial and unhealthy these days eludes me.

We then move onto the actual images required which is a total of eleven.

They are –

1. Take 5 pictures with shutter speeds of 1s , 4s, 30s, 1min, 5 min
2. Dark figure against light background, light figure against dark background
3. A decisive moment
4. White cup challenge (see blog)
5. Sherlock challenge (see blog)
6. Take one photo that sums up the city of Hull to you

These short assignments should be handed in, in any order, at a set criteria of dates. I can only assume that “handed in” refers to publishing on this blog as it’s the blog our tutor is looking at and there is no reference to prints being required. This continuing ambiguity at degree level continues to annoy me with poorly worded task sheets.

Quote “Assignments (in any order) to be handed in:

31st Jan, 14th Feb, 28th Feb, 14th March, 28th March, 11th April (Or before)

To be uploaded  to your blog (page titled ‘short assignments 2’)
Assessment: this assignment will account for 10% of both SSP and Major projects.”

I just love the fact that this assignment will account for 10% of both my SSP and Major Projects for this semester. 2 of the images are just copying other images which in our tutors own words today “Nobody has ever managed”. Yes one is just a plastic cup so at least we have a fighting chance of getting near to replicating a similar image. As for the second I have already asked about for people who may have the old style tweed coat and trilby. As can possibly be guessed nobody I know has either. With the choice of using a cheap plastic smoking pipe or spending £100+ on an authentic replica for the image I can see this image is losing me marks already. Seems we are deliberately set up to fail at certain things which is most un amusing.

The images we are to copy –

Rathbone As Holmes

And the plastic “cup” –


Obviously I will keep this updated as and when my own personal time allows. Great to see we are already into individual tutorials rather than lectures NOT so I have another day off tomorrow with money wasted on childcare AGAIN as I’m not one of those in. On a positive note I’m off to show the happy couple the Xmas wedding photo’s tomorrow afternoon so at least I can get up there early.

Xmas Period

Posted: January 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

Not aware wether we are to continue posting our stuff on here so I’ll pop a Xmas update on and ask when next in.

Finished the last week of the semester with a couple of portrait shoots. One family and one Adult. The family one was extreme fun as there were 3 daughters aged 7,9 & 11 who had a whole selection of ideas for poses they wanted taking. Considering it was a rush job for Xmas presents everything went well with printing and mounting all the images they purchased.

Nothing much to say about the images as they wanted high key with typical stock family pose followed by several of the girls, on their own, in poses they had devised.

50mm, 1/125th, f/8 & ISO 100


The Adult session was for one of the young ladies I know to produce a sultry Xmas image for her partner. I’ve now done several shoots with her and so everything was rather simple in what she wanted to show and not to show. Wearing nothing but a very nice faux fur coat and hat this was done low key and actually left in colour for a change. This was nice as it showed the blending colours on the coat and hat. It saddens me that so many of these style images are simply converted to B&W as requested by the client.

No image to show for obvious reasons.

Next was the wedding rehearsal on 23/12/13 prior to the wedding on the 28/12/13. Shot in darkness at 7pm I basically learned the service procedure and vantage points but nothing about available light. Up near Scarborough it wasn’t the church or venue that bothered me but the weather. On the 28th the forecast was appalling but in the end it wasn’t that bad. The wedding itself started at 2pm, started late and over ran past 3pm so as we exited the church the sun was already setting. Managed a couple of outdoor images with the happy couple but it was indoors for all the group photo’s. Thankfully there was a real fire in the function room which I utilised as a prop. The resulting images were a first for me, with a live fire, but looked stunning. Something to look out for in the future.

Did a preview of images with the happy couple at the weekend and they like the “arty” style of the image below. This style of editing doesn’t suit every image though and the customer does need an explanation of why. Some images just need to be full colour for the complete experience to be felt whilst the odd one or two can be subjectively altered such as the one below.

Have to admit that this one does look good enlarged.



Finally had my preview showing of my concert images and resulting Photo Book from the 2 dates with Toby. He was impressed with not only my images but the way in which I had presented them. Just hope he will sign the book for me one day as he’s promised to do.

I took in excess of 1000 images over the two nights. I processed just over 350 for Toby as Jpegs and used 94 of these to compile the Photo book for the Uni Module.

One of my favourite images from the 2 nights is below. Toby & Dave had just completed a song, from Toby’s new album, which they nailed and were obviously pleased about. I caught the celebratory high hand shake which showed a very genuine side of both Toby & Dave working together.

125mm, f/2.8, 1/200th and ISO 6400