Recent PostsNatural Light Portraits & A YouTube Channel Always looking for new opportunities The Beast From The East - part 2 The Beast From The East Meet 10 week old Louie...... Amelia - Kids Portrait Shoot Another model shoot First model shoot of the year Happy New Year....and a fresh perspective Perseids 2017
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March 18, 2018 • Leave a Comment
Daddy duty this weekend.....
...and like most weekends recently, the weather has been awful, but it doesn't stop me coming up with other ways to keep my 3 year old daughter occupied, instead of watching endless episodes of Peppa Pig.
So the sequel to the recent "beast from the east" returned, bringing cold, gusty winds, and plenty of snow....and lots of different lighting scenarios for natural light portraits. Time to empty the large window sill of vases, pots and flowers, open up the blinds, grab a reflector and sit my daughter on the window sill and an impromptu mini photo session just using natural light.
My trusty Nikon D7000, along with a 50mm f/1.8 lens, makes for the perfect combination for some wonderful portrait shots.
After a bit of gentle persuasion, and bribery consisting of crisps and sweets, time to get Kaylee sat and maintaining interest and attention for at least 2 minutes while I get some shots. Shooting with one hand, and balancing a reflector with the other hand, isn't always an easy process, but I'm a bloke and can multitask...right????
With these set of shots I decided to use the silver side of my reflector, knowing that I'll also be converting the shots into black and white, and the silver gives shots that extra bit of contrast, as well as filling in the shadows. Metering for these kind of shots is straight forward.....spot metering. Filing most of the frame with my daughters face, and spot metering, means you get the face exposed correctly, and the background overexposed, exactly the look I was going for in these shots. For the camera settings, hover over the pics for more details.
Kaylee GraceISO 200 50mm f/2.8 1/640sec
Kaylee GraceISO 200 50mm f/2.8 1/640sec
With the lighting changing quite quickly within minutes, overcast with menacing snowy skies one minute, to bright sunshine the next, I was especially careful as to where I placed her on the window sill, as there were occasions where the sunlight was coming across the left hand side of her face and giving some harsh shadows. By moving her slightly to her right, I was able to then manipulate the bright sunlight to create a hair light on her left hand side.
Kaylee GraceISO 200 50mm f/2.8 1/640sec
Thankfully Kaylee is more than used to daddy getting his camera out at any opportunity, making get shots of her having fun and generally showing off quite easy.
Kaylee GraceISO 200 50mm f/2.8 1/250sec
Kaylee GraceISO 200 50mm f/2.8 1/640sec
YouTube channel coming soon....
After quite a bit of deliberation and thought, and also watching other amazing photographers be successful at it, I've decided I shall soon be launching my own YouTube channel.
Over the past couple of years I've found myself moving more into the tutoring side of photography, which I do love doing, and thought that it's high time I followed others and progressed further in the world of social media.
Now when it comes to photography I'm certainly no expert, and have no formal qualifications in photography or teaching, but just seem to have a natural way of passing on what I've learned over the years to others (well so I've been told anyway), so the content on my channel will be my own interpretation, whether that is right or wrong...but that's what I love about this wonderful art....there's no right or wrong way and everyone has their own take on pictures.
Also this year there will be more landscape shoots added to my portfolio, which will enhance the content on my channel.
So what kind of things can you expect on my YouTube channel???? Well there will be tutorials, behind the scenes footage on various shoots, from model shoots, portrait shoots, street photography, cityscapes to landscapes, and quite a bit of vlogging too. From time to time I will also produce videos showing the complete process from taking the picture, the thought processes behind it, to the final post production of the image in Lightroom or Photoshop. There will also be quite a bit covered about working and creating professional and studio quality images but without paying hundreds and thousands of pounds on equipment, and how you can capture some amazing pictures with just a basic set up.
The first video is currently under production, and should be realised within the next 7 days or so, and will basically be a short introduction about myself, my photography and what to expect from the channel......you may even get a "what's in my bag" video to start off with as that seems to be quite popular.
So once the first video is produced and released, there will be links posted on my website, and no doubt a short blog done about it too.
March 09, 2018 • Leave a Comment
As a photographer, never ignore TFP calls.....
.....as you never know where they may lead too.
Just over a week ago I answered a call of help on a Facebook group. It was a student, looking for a photographer to work on a TFP (time for print) basis. Basically, TFP means that, as a photographer you work for free but gain the benefit of achieving more pictures to add to your portfolio. As you can imagine there are a lot of these posted, and as a photographer you tend to weigh up each one and think of what possibilities it could lead too should you wish to take on the offer.
With this call, for me it was a no-brainer. Good PR for my business, as I'm helping out a student from a local college with a high end fashion exhibition, not having to rent a studio as we used the college studio, and Lauren (the student who organised it) was clear on what she was looking for, plus the possibility of what else it could lead too in the future.
There were two themes, red and yellow, and two models, Jess and Olivia. Neither of them are professional models, Jess is a friend of Lauren's and Olivia is a fellow student, but working with both of them was an absolute dream and, to be honest, looking at the results, neither of them would look out of place on the modelling scene.
Both shoots were tethered straight into Lightroom, so we could see the shots as they were taken and make lighting adjustments or editing decisions as we were going along, and also at the end of the shoot it made choosing images for Lauren a lot easier at the end of the session.
To the first shoot, theme of Red....this was supposed to be an outdoor shoot, but due to the return of the snow first thing in the morning meant that both were now going to be studio based.
Before shooting I set up the camera settings to shoot at the maximum shutter sync speed of the lights (1/250th sec) and then adjustments the aperture until I get a black screen. Doing this ensures that none of the ambient light in the studio is affecting the shot and gives me complete control of the two studio lights I was using.
So this is the lighting set up for the shoot....
.....a strobe through a soft box situated at a 45° angle towards the model and another strobe, situated behind the model, facing the white backdrop, and creating a clean crisp background.
Eventually we wanted to experiment using lighting gels, and using the exact same lighting set up, I place a purple gel over the light placed behind the model, increased the power of the light, as placing a gel over the diffuser you do lose one stop of light, and then it's a trial and error process until you get the desired amount, and with the strobe light at the same power, replaced the purple lighting gel with a light pink one. As we were shooting head and shoulder shots, I also had the model hold a silver reflector, bouncing some light to fill in shadows under the nose and chin.
The effect worked really well, and although these were shot on a white backdrop, you can also get the same effect using a grey backdrop, which tends to be the favoured coloured backdrop for photographers.
We then experimented with the black backdrop, firstly using just the speedlight through a soft box at a 45° degree angle (left hand pic below), and then using the 2nd speedlight with a red coloured gel, placed in a direct line on the right hand side of the model, and directly facing her, to create a strip of red lighting down her left side.
Then it was onto the yellow themed shoot, featuring Olivia. For this one the lighting set up was exactly the same as the above shots, but this time, changing the backdrop to a yellow colour, and using the speedlight behind the model to create a vivid yellow background.
With this shoot we also experimented with props, using sunglasses that were donated for the shoot, but having the model carefully place them so we didn't get any reflection of the soft box showing in the lenses of the glasses.
Again shooting tethered into Lightroom, when it came to the end of the shoot, Lauren could quickly choose which images she wished to use and place on an SD card, and with very little editing needed, the choosing and converting final images to JPEG was all done in minutes.
Knowing that these images will be used as part of a high end fashion exhibition, with some influential people taking part, does justify the decision to take up this TFP offer, and the possibilities that taking part in it could lead too.
So I'd say, as a photographer, whether hobbyist, semi-pro, or pro, never rule out doing TFP jobs and always weigh up the possibilities that could end up coming your way, and the PR for your business and photography skills......watch this space!!!!!
Attempting video for the first time.....
So the one thing I've never done with my camera before is shoot video, and yesterday (against my better judgment) I ventured out to shoot some video of the weather we've been having over the last couple of days.
Must say I'm really impressed with the video capabilities of my D7000, and would certainly consider adding video to my list of services at some point at a later date.
As recently I seem to have been going down the route of tutoring a few people in various areas of photography, I'm certainly considering filming some online tutorials and setting up a Youtube channel.......watch this space!!!!!
So the "Beast from the East' has arrived and causing chaos across the UK, and thankfully a perfectly timed week off from the day job, so mostly been a week of chilling out, watching the snow...the only downside being is not being to get out on the golf course at the moment.
Tuesday this week, I decided to get out in the cold and the snow and get out for a wander round Reddish Vale Country Park in Stockport. It's a place that's more or less on my doorstep, yet never been round for a walk there before.
On arriving I got lucky as we had some heavy snow overnight, and when I got to the car park it was bright sunshine, albeit very cold.
This picture I also sent in as weather pics to ITV Granada and BBC North West Tonight, and it managed to get a couple of seconds of screen time at the end of Tuesday's North West Tonight on the BBC.
My thinking behind this picture, is sung the viaduct in the distance as a focal point, running across the lower third of the shot, and framed by the trees on either side. I also used a narrow aperture to make sure I got a good clean sharp shot from front to back, using a wide angle lens. There was also a circular polarizer placed on the lens to take out the flare on the iced up pond and bring out the blue in the sky.
Then having a wander round, and following the river that flows through the Vale, I came across this composition. Using the grass at the front as a bit of foreground interest, and the river running through towards the back of the shot, again a narrow aperture and circular polarizer to bring out the blues in the sky.
A further wander round, and following one of the paths, I came across this shot, which looks amazing when transformed into black and white.
My final favourite shot is this long exposure shot, Using a circular polariser to take any glare from the water, and an ND filter to slow the shutter speed down, to around a 2 minute exposure.
I thoroughly enjoyed my walk round there, and will be going back to discover more and spend more time walking round there looking for more pictures.
February 25, 2018 • Leave a Comment
Louie and his mummy Vickey visited the studio....
This booking came from a recommendation via Jay & Nicole, who's shoot with their daughter Amelia was featured in the last blog entry.
Vickey wanted some shots of her adorable 10 week old son, and a few of them together.
As with all portrait shoots I use my trusty 50mm lens, shoot at the fastest sync speed allowed with the studio lights I'm using, in this case it's 1/160th sec, and then before I start using the studio lights, I change the aperture settings until I get a black screen (explanation to follow) and tethered straight into my laptop through Lightroom. The reason why I set my camera to give me a black screen before I start using the studio lights, is so I can be sure that none of the ambient light that's in the studio will affect my shot, and ensures I have total control of the lighting on the shoot.
So before we started to shoot, I spent a bit of time with Louie, allowing him to get used to me and the surroundings. It wasn't long before he made his mark on the shoot and decided to be sick over my shoulder, so after a quick clean up and reassuring a mortified mummy that it wasn't a problem, we decided that mum and Louie shots together first would be the best way to start.
Shooting this first set of images was great fun, especially as Louie decided to look around everywhere, except the camera, and we got everyone involved behind the camera to try and get his attention, whether it was clapping or making funny noises.
I find the best way to tackle this is to tell mummy just to continue looking straight into the camera, whilst everyone tries to get babies attention, although it's amazing the number of really good natural looking shots you get whilst mayhem is going around behind you.
We then made use of the newly installed backdrops and backdrop system and switched to a plain grey background to produce some gorgeous, classic mum and baby pics.
With Louie now settled into the shoot, it was time for a change of back drop, find something suitable and comfortable for him to lie in, and just shoot away to get some wonderful solo shots of the little guy.
Once again after the shoot, it was time for Vickey to sit and choose her favourite shots, that would be edited and emailed to her within 2-3 hours, and as with previous portrait shoots, trying to get shot selection down to a final 10 was incredibly difficult.
Vickey soon got her selection down and went away with 10 wonderful images, and the feedback I've had from them was amazing.
Thanks again to Vickey and Louie, it was an absolute pleasure to work with you both today and hopefully see you again in the studio.
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Simon Norton Photography