Monday, 26 January 2015

Roger Lever - In the Street

Lets face it, most people these days seem to have some way of recording images and probably the most common is the mobile phone. So often we see images on TV News reports that have been captured on mobile phones. Unfortunately the quality of these is not very good. It doesn’t matter what your recording device is with a little effort you can achieve some great results.

My son is an expert at extracting his mobile phone and suddenly getting himself into unusual positions in the middle of a street (Get the angle!) taking several images and then carries on walking and talking as if nothing had happened. On a busy street it is surprising that most of the people on that street ignore this unusual behaviour. Using Instagram he manipulates his images in lightning quick time and then posts amazing photos on facebook the next day.

So what happened? Well he is an expert you see, at looking at what surrounds him. As he is walking he spots things most ordinary people miss, the cat with the funny face, the dog nonchalantly cocking its leg on someone’s plastic bag, the unusual reflections in the shop windows, the amazing facial features of the two big guys with 2 foot long beards or the shaft of sunlight creating amazing shadows in a narrow alleyway. Even if we do notice some of these things most of us would not think of taking a photo.

This week during the Big Burns Supper celebrations we have set a challenge to the over 18’s to get out their mobiles and cameras, capture some great images and enter them in the BBS photo competition using Instagram.

I can't wait to see the results and I will be fortunate to see them all, but then it’s a case of choosing the best and that will not be easy.

Here are a few tips

  • Make sure your mobile or your camera is fully charged and has plenty of free memory. 
  • Keep your eyes open and alert
  • Move around and find unusual places to take your photos
  • Choose unusual angles
  • Keep smiling
  • Be polite  “would you mind if I take a photograph of you?”
  • Good luck

Roger Lever

Monday, 19 January 2015

Workshops Each Sunday in February from the Galloway Photographic Collective

Each Sunday, throughout this February, different members of the Galloway Photographic Collective will be running photography workshops.

Below is an outline of each course. If you would like to book a place, then please go to our website -


Sunday 1st February – 9am to 5pm

Giles Atkinson & David Moses

Course Description
This one-day workshop will show you techniques for using small flash guns to get big results, using off-camera flash and remote triggers, modifying and finessing light, practice techniques with a model, learn some post-processing techniques using Lightroom and Photoshop and go home with some serious skills.

Course outline
– Flash Basics
– Off Camera Flash
– Modifying, Finessing the Light
– Working with the model
– Planning Session
– Model Shoot
– Editing photographs with Lightroom and Photoshop
– Review & Questions

St John’s Church – Located at the crossroads of Cotton Street and Abercromby Road. From the A75, enter Castle Douglas and head for the town centre. At the crossroads with the clock tower turn on to the A713 to Ayr. The church is less than 100m on the right.



Sunday 8th February – 9am to 5pm

Roger Lever & Tom Langlands

Course Description
Street Photography is an unbroken tradition stretching back to the invention of photography itself. Learn to capture the spirit of man and his relationship with the urban environment through the medium of photography. At first this art of storytelling in pictures may seem intimidating but will become exciting when we show you how.

Course outline
– Reception and introductions.

– Overview of equipment, methods and projected examples viewed over coffee.

– First port of call will be Dalbeattie Town where we will make suggestions and assist where necessary then on to Castle Douglas. Here we will have lunch (bring along a packed lunch} and review the images you have taken on your cameras.
– If the weather is inclement then we will go back to Roger’s studio before proceeding to Castle Douglas.

– Return to Roger’s studio where we will select a sample of your images, project these and have a group discussion about each image.

– Question Time and Finish

Craigland, Station Road, Dalbeattie. Postcode DG54AN
The studio is on New Station Road at the back of Roger’s house.



Sunday 15th February – 10am to 5pm

Kim Ayres & Lynne Atkinson

Course Description
The content of a photo is only a part of it – how that content is arranged and lit can dramatically affect the emotional impact of the image. This course is an introduction to composition, lighting and understanding storytelling when limited to only 2 dimensions and a fraction of a second.

Course outline
– Introductions to the course and each other.
– Composition techniques and understanding dynamic tension.
– Tea/coffee.
– Introduction to lighting methods.
– Break for lunch – either bring sandwiches or pop into Castle Douglas to pick some up or visit a cafe.
– Split into small groups to create a narrative photo.
– Tea/coffee.
– Review photos and discuss experiences.
– Final round up.
– option to join a Facebook group to post images from the day for feedback after you have had a chance to edit them at home.

What to bring
– lunch or money to buy some
– camera
– a basic understanding of how to use your camera, including how to adjust shutter speed and aperture
– lead to connect your camera to a computer
– An interesting prop or 2 – could be an object or an outfit – something to include in a storytelling image
– flashes/speedlights if you have them and would like to use them (optional)
– laptops are not required, but if you want to bring one that’s OK. Wifi is not available.

St John’s Church – Located at the crossroads of Cotton Street and Abercromby Road. From the A75, enter Castle Douglas and head for the town centre. At the crossroads with the clock tower turn on to the A713 to Ayr. The church is less than 100m on the right.



Sunday 22nd February – 9am to 5pm

Roger Lever & Allan Wright

Course Description
Landscape Photography, has more to do with the art of “seeing” than camera controls and processing, growing that “seeing” ability is where it gets exciting. To explore landscape when there is prospect of bagging a stunning image can generate a wonderful edge of excitement. We help clients to express their own creativity and offer firsthand experience in the art and craft of producing better pictures.

– 8.30am Meet at Roger Levers Studio Dalbeattie – Coffee and discussion about cameras and particular subjects of interest to client
– 9.30am Leave for Location
Explore one or more of landscape , garden, beach, forest etc.
Hands on learning whilst taking photos
Packed lunch
New location, more photography
– 2.30pm return to studio
– 2.30pm Coffee and review of images
– 3-5pm demonstration and practice of editing, correcting, enhancing, and printing images.
– A4 print of best image per person.

Craigland, Station Road, Dalbeattie. Postcode DG54AN
The studio is on New Station Road at the back of Roger’s house.


If you would like to book a place on any of these workshops, then please go to our website -

Monday, 12 January 2015

Lynne Atkinson - Photographing Babies

So we welcome in another year, and so far it's looking set to be the year of the baby for Alice Rose Portraits.  With a number of bookings in January already for babies of different ages, I thought it might be a nice opportunity to talk a little more about photographing these wee cute bundles of joy. 

Not all babies are the same.  That might be an obvious statement, but with babies there are very different stages in the first year which present different photographic opportunities as well as posing challenges to the photographer.  When I'm approached about a baby shoot, I always try to guide the parents towards the best stage at which to photograph their baby, depending upon what they are looking for out of the session.

The first stage is newborn. 
There are lots of ways of looking at how to approach a newborn shoot.  The general rule is to try to photograph them in the first week or so of life, as they tend to sleep most of the time and you can, in turn, mould them into lots of lovely sleepy poses.  This is always the perfect time to get the shots of the tiny toes and fingers, the details which might be harder to capture when the baby is moving around more when awake.

Photo's of the mother cradling her new baby, or detail shots from the nursery are also a nice approach and a lovely keepsake for years to come.

Even just out of this window of opportunity, babies tend to be more awake more of the time, so you then have to change the approach. One problem with newborns is that, when awake, their eyes have not yet learned to focus, and as a result they don't always photograph well.   If this is the case, I like to include the parents more and make the shoot more about their relationship with the baby, which also makes the baby feel secure and happy during the session

Even when the baby is a little older, the relationship with mum and dad is so important

As babies get older, they become more responsive, not only to me but to anyone around them.  This little girl was not yet sitting up un-aided, but we remedied this by finding places she could sit up such as in the basket or against the corner, as well as playing peek-a-boo under the covers or shooting down from above when they are lying on their backs.  It's nice to be able to capture their laughter and wee personalities when they get to this kind of age.


And don't forget the little details again, such as their first pair of shoes which are great little memories which are soon forgotten.

Although younger babies are best photographed indoors, I do love it when we can venture outside for shoots.  This is much easier when the babies are sitting up un-aided, so there's so much more scope for the photoshoot. I had photographed this little girl previously when she wasn't able to sit up on her own, but found it was so much more enjoyable when she was sitting up un-aided when we met at the woods a few months later.

Despite the ridiculous amount of sand this wee boy ate, we had such fun down at the beach for his family shoot.

Of course it doesn't always go to plan, as sometimes babies can be tired or hungry, or simply just having an off day.  This poor wee boy had had enough of me by the time we sat him in front of the log pile, but I love these kind of photos' as much as the happy smiley ones, as they are part of the true character of that child.  This may not be the one the parents choose to put on their wall, but they will look back fondly at these regardless.

Lynne Atkinson - Alice Rose Portraits

Monday, 5 January 2015

David Moses - The Year of Food & Drink

Happy New Year!

It's 2015, Scotland's year of Food & Drink and that makes me very, very excited.

I am a huge fan of Scottish Produce. I LOVE the quality, variety and sheer deliciousness of what we have to offer, it is truly world class! It is the perfect opportunity for us all to show off what we do best.

All the food producers that I have ever met put their heart and soul into their work and it’s really important that when it is photographed that the same dedication and enthusiasm is put into it.

From raw ingredients to the final plate, there are some really, really incredible things to eat in Dumfries & Galloway. It is a good time and place to be a part of.

In my opinion it is so important for Scotland to take this opportunity to show the value in ourselves. We can offer as good as anyone, so let’s show the world what we can do.

Food photography is hugely important to selling your wares, so please feel free to get in touch to find out more. I have a special rate for D&G based businesses. So let’s look forward to what should be an amazing food year for all of us.

David Moses