Monday, 27 April 2015

Roger Lever - Wedding Photography - getting to know me

There are some weddings that are just very special and I am privileged to have been in a position to take photographs at them.

For me it is the whole process of being involved with special people. It is not only about the bride and groom, it is about their friends and family as well.

For me a pre-wedding photoshoot is a 'get to know each other' situation. It gives me chance to take some special intimate photographs of two people in love in the weeks and months before their wedding.

Often I meet the friends and family beforehand and again at the rehearsal where things are usually very relaxed and informal.

Yet another opportunity to take up a few special shots before the big day.

The whole thing comes together on the big day and by that time I am not just a man with a camera.

I can get a real feeling for this special occasion.

Roger Lever

Monday, 20 April 2015

Giles Atkinson - Holy Smokes

We've had a slight change to the GPC line up with Lynne taking a back seat, at least for the short term, and welcoming new member Holly Burns, who specialises in Fine Art Photography, her stunning ethereal images speak for themselves.

So with these changes to the group it was necessary for a new group shot, I jumped at the chance!

This also gave me an opportunity to have a shoot at the stunning St John’s Venue in Castle Douglas a recently renovated church “mixing 19th  century architecture with a contemporary interior to make a unique community venue”.

So having had the permission from Amanda, the venue owner, that I could use smoke grenades, the collective met up on the Monday evening for the shoot.

Now the use of smoke grenades for a photoshoot isn't an exact science, or if it is…I missed that lecture! So having setup the lighting and positioned everyone, I let off not one but four different coloured smoke bombs just to make sure! I managed to fire off a couple of shots before we were quickly engulfed in an orange fog! The whole church filled with smoke and we were forced outside! I wasn’t particularly happy that I had got the shot I was after and ventured back inside the Church to see if the smoke had started to dissipate, the smoke wasn't going anywhere!

I guess one thing I have learnt from being a wedding photographer is that you need to think on your feet, to be able to adapt to the environment and to know my equipment. Having gone to the back of the hall the orange mist hadn't quite worked it’s way down and was creating an amazing foggy atmosphere. I quickly rejigged all the lighting and used the studio lights to back light the shot  came up with this pleasing result..

A big thanks to Amanda Ansbro who had the church doors open trying to clear true smoke until 10pm that evening! If you are interested in booking a larger wedding venue in the centre of Castle Douglas St John's Venue is definitely worth a look.

Giles Atkinson

Monday, 13 April 2015

David Moses - Take Better Portraits - Everything You Think You Know is WRONG!

Well, with regards to portraiture anyway :) I just wanted to grab your attention.

We come to portraiture with a whole set of pre-conceived notions and ideas about what portraiture is and what we want from it. When we think of portraiture we have a few set images in our head that conform to the general idea.

Now, this is understandable. It’s the way our brains are hard wired - we hear something and we think of obvious examples to help us contextualise. It has served us well as human beings - for instance on hearing a sabre tooth tiger roar nearby, we would not stop to consider that it has toothache.

When it comes to portrait photography this manifests itself as the following
  • Fake smile with dead eyes.
  • Everybody stand uncomfortably.
  • Thumbs up.
  • Tongue out.
  • Head back.
  • Eyes wide.
  • Get it over with as quickly as possible.
As a people photographer I have to deal with this on an almost daily basis. I have to teach and educate people to not do the things they always do when someone takes their picture.

There is one thing you can do to make it easier though - TAKE YOUR TIME! Let your subject know that the process will take longer than they have anticipated. It also helps if you are prepared and have some suggestions to make to them about how you want them to be in the picture.

Be prepared, take your time, know what you want to do, unteach your subjects learned behaviour and you will see a massive improvement in the quality of your work.

If you want to learn more about lighting, posing and working with subjects then get in touch for tuition and workshop availability.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Kim Ayres - Photographing the Solar Eclipse

The Solar eclipse a couple of weeks ago had many a photographer - amateur and professional - out with their cameras in the hope of capturing something of this rare event - including myself. Although it wasn't going to be a total eclipse in this corner of Scotland, there was going to be something in the region of 90%.

Pointing your camera directly at the sun can be pretty dodgy (and under no circumstances should you ever look through the viewfinder at the sun), so an ND filter, which reduces the amount of light entering the lens, is generally called for. Fellow Galloway Photographic Collective member, Allan Wright, kindly supplied me with a couple.

When I woke up the sun was streaming through the curtains and I was hopeful all the dire predictions of heavy cloud cover were wrong, but an hour later, thick cloud did in fact cover the skies.

I decided to head out into the garden with my camera on a tripod anyway, just in case, with the ND filters attached to the lens. And as I looked up, suddenly I saw it through a patch of thinning cloud.

I took a quick photo, but it was way too dark. With all the cloud cover, there now wasn't enough light hitting the sensor. I had to massively increase the ISO and open the aperture as wide as possible, and although I got an image, it wasn't inspiring. I removed the ND filters and tried again, but although I got a better quality photo, it was still uninteresting.

I realised I needed the eclipse to be next to something - to give it some kind of context, so I moved the camera and tripod back towards the house until the chimneys were in the picture. I took a bit more time to play with the settings and as the clouds moved across the scene - sometimes blocking it completely, but sometimes allowing it to show through - I felt I was on to something.

But then I noticed a couple of crows periodically flying onto the chimneys and spent the next 10 minutes trying to get a shot with the right combination of elements, while they mostly moved behind the stacks and flew off moments before I took the shot.

However, in among the many photos I took that morning, there werea couple I was really pleased with.

Which is just as well, because apparently I'll be 124 years old before I'll get another chance to try again in Scotland...

Kim Ayres