Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer: Blog http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog en-us Simon Norton Photography (Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) Wed, 23 May 2018 23:15:00 GMT Wed, 23 May 2018 23:15:00 GMT http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/img/s/v-5/u830103577-o118675305-50.jpg Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer: Blog http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog 120 110 Sunday Road Trip and YouTube filming http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/5/sunday-road-trip-and-youtube-filming So it's time to make use of the good weather....

....and get out to shoot some landscape photography and finally get round to film for my YouTube Channel.

Yep, it's finally landed, after months of deliberating about it.....my first ever video on my YouTube Channel. With it being my first video, I thought I'd do something different and do some landscape photography. As the weather was gorgeous and sunny, we decided to set off to one of my favourite haunts, Dovestones Reservoir, in Greenfield near Saddleworth.

On arriving there, it was clear that quite a lot of others had the same idea, and with no room in the car park, we decided to scrap that idea. Whilst driving back through Greenfield, we saw the road leading up to Saddleworth Golf Club, and took a little drive up there. About half way up, there was a little parking bay, and a public footpath leading to Moorgate Quarry, so the decision was made, this would be the focus and subject of my first YouTube video.

We followed the path up by the side of the golf club, until we got to the top of the hill, with a communications mast that looks straight across Saddleworth, Greenfield and Mossley. The views from the side of the hill looking across were nothing short of amazing, if anything too perfect, with clear blue skies and not a cloud insight, probably not the best for landscape photography. Needless to say though, I was determined to get a shot out of our expedition and enough content for the channel.

So it was time to shoot a panorama across the valley, looking across to Greenfield and with Dovestones Reservoir in the distance. Shooting in manual mode and with the camera on a tripod, ensuring the horizon was level for every shot, I shot 6 images from left to right, at 38mm - ISO100 - f/18 - 1/60th sec.

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After spending the next hour admiring the scenery and shooting b-roll for the YouTube video, I came across a lovely little composition. A small group of rocks leading up to a lone tree on the side of the hill, and placing it on the right hand third of the picture, creating some space on the left hand side of the pic with the gorgeous blue sky creating that sense of wide open space.

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So my YouTube channel is now up and running, and all comments are welcome, along with suggestions as to what you would like to watch on it.

 

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) channel club golf greenfield landscape manchester norton photography saddleworth simon tameside youtube http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/5/sunday-road-trip-and-youtube-filming Wed, 23 May 2018 23:15:00 GMT
Natural Light Portraits & A YouTube Channel http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/3/natural-light-portraits-a-youtube-channel 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.

_DSC0721Kaylee 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.

_DSC0712Kaylee 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.

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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.

 

 

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) behind cityscape daughter family landscape light lightroom manchester model natural photography photoshop portrait scenes shoot tameside the tutorials youtube http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/3/natural-light-portraits-a-youtube-channel Mon, 19 Mar 2018 01:52:27 GMT
Always looking for new opportunities http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/3/always-looking-for-new-opportunities 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....

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.....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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!!!!

 

 

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) campus didsbury end fashion high manchester model photography portrait red students yellow http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/3/always-looking-for-new-opportunities Fri, 09 Mar 2018 18:25:59 GMT
The Beast From The East - part 2 http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/3/the-beast-from-the-east---part-2 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.

The Beast from the EastThe bad weather and snow hits Tameside, Greater Manchester.

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!!!!!

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) beast blizzards denton east from manchester photography snow tameside the winter http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/3/the-beast-from-the-east---part-2 Thu, 01 Mar 2018 21:03:30 GMT
The Beast From The East http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/3/the-beast-from-the-east Snowmageddon 2018.....

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.

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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.

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A further wander round, and following one of the paths, I came across this shot, which looks amazing when transformed into black and white.

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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.

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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. 

 

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) country landscape manchester norton park photography reddish simon stockport tameside vale http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/3/the-beast-from-the-east Thu, 01 Mar 2018 12:38:06 GMT
Meet 10 week old Louie...... http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/2/meet-10-week-old-louie Louie and his mummy Vickey visited the studio....

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) family louie manchester mum mummy newborn photography portrait son tameside http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/2/meet-10-week-old-louie Mon, 26 Feb 2018 01:03:01 GMT
Amelia - Kids Portrait Shoot http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/2/amelia---kids-portrait-shoot Amelia photo shoot yesterday 

 

Another wonderful shoot in the studio, and Jay and Nicole brought their gorgeous daughter Amelia for a kids portrait shoot.

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To say she was a natural poser is an understatement, and without doubt the best child I've ever worked with on a shoot, very photogenic and loved posing...she even did her pouty pose for me.

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Throughout the shoot I used my go to 50mm fixed lens, allowing me to use a wide aperture to throw the background out of focus. Lighting wise, I used either a large rectangle soft box with a honeycomb grid, or my beauty dish, used to light the picture below.

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During the shoot Amelia was telling me all about her ballet, and after a change of costume and back drop, she decided to show me some of her ballet moves, which involved a lot of jumping around.

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After 30 minutes of shooting, it was time for mum and dad to choose their favourite images, they were then edited and sent to them within a couple of hours.

Amelia was just a pleasure to photograph and such a gorgeous smile too, and both parents walked away really happy with the images they chose. 

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) ballet children's dancer kids manchester photography portrait http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/2/amelia---kids-portrait-shoot Mon, 19 Feb 2018 13:17:47 GMT
Another model shoot http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/2/another-model-shoot A cold but sunny day.....

A pleasant winters Friday morning in Castlefield, and another model shoot, this time a fashion theme, with Jannamie Windsor. 

She is a great model to work with, and before the shoot we had bounced around a few ideas so we knew exactly the kind of images we were looking for.

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As with all model location shoots, I always arrive early so I can scout suitable shooting locations, especially if I haven't had time to check the area days before, but as I have shot in Castlefield before, it's an area I know very well.

All the images shot were using my nifty fifty, a fantastic lens for portrait & model shoots, and never fails to deliver an excellent shot. 

For these first few images (above), I wanted to make the most of the sun behind us, and use it to act as a rim light behind my model, and with an aperture of f/4.0, this guaranteed the background was suitably out of focus. I also used a speedlight and a white shoot through umbrella to create fill in light. To get these images requires the use of a light meter, as you meter for the ambient light around you and then have to match the settings with flash power. 

 

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For this next set we moved into the shade and made use of one of the steel pillars holding up one of the bridges across Castlefield Basin. For these we were relying more on the speedlight through the umbrella, as there wasn't as much natural light coming through, again using the 50mm lens, shutter speed of 1/250 sec and aperture of f/5.0

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This shot above has to be the favourite of mine from this shoot. Using the bare brick wall as a backdrop, I placed a speedlight out of shot and facing the model's face, just a bare bulb flash for this shot, but the zoom on the flash set to 105mm to create a narrow beam of light that just lights the models face and creates the dramatic, moody effect.

 

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During the shoot Jann spotted some graffiti on a wall, and we had to use it for a few shots, so it was a quick change of outfits and take a few using the red graffiti as a great backdrop to create some edgy, urban fashion shots. For these I also narrowed the aperture slightly, f/7.1 to give the images that slight dark and moody effect, but kept the focal length (50mm) and the shutter speed the same (1/250th).

When shooting, either using speed lights or studio lights, I always keep the shutter speed to the maximum shutter speed that syncs with the lighting you are using. Working this way means that the shutter speed is one less aspect of the shoot that you don't have to worry about, and gets you into the practise of controlling your flash power manually, and you can always narrow your aperture to create more moody lighting.

Jannaime was a brilliant model to work with, needed little, if any, direction, and a great laugh too, and we have already been talking about working on some more model shoots together in the future.

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) castlefield fashion manchester model photography shoot tameside http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/2/another-model-shoot Wed, 07 Feb 2018 09:43:01 GMT
First model shoot of the year http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/1/first-model-shoot-of-the-year Please note some images may not be suitable for family viewing!!!

 

With the arrival of a new bunch of light modifiers, I was keen to get my model portfolio updated and refreshed for 2018, and worked with experience model Tasha Johnson.

The look we were going for was minimum light, and the three hour model session included head shots, lingerie, and topless.

Starting off with head shots, and lit with just one beauty dish and honeycomb grid, this brought out the striking blue in Tasha's eyes, and to say we were both happy with the finished images was an understatement. 

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Eventually moving onto lingerie. These set of images were lit with one rectangular soft box, with a honeycomb grid. Using the honeycomb grid allows more direct use of the light and creates less fall out. On most of these images, we had the use of Tasha's partner, stood using a reflector to bounce a little bit of light back towards the model, and also a few with a speed light between the backdrop and the model, giving us just little bit of light separation between Tasha and the black background.

 

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Finally moving onto the topless images, and these were shot with a combination of lighting. Some just lit with a single beauty dish with honeycomb grid, and others with the rectangular soft box, again with honeycomb grid.

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Tasha was a fantastic model to work with, needing little or no direction when it comes to poses, and you could tell that she is very experienced. Needless to say it won't be the last time we will be working together, and she already has some ideas for future shoots, and some outdoor shoots too, once the weather gets a little warmer.

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) boudoir johnson manchester model nude photography professional quays salford shoot tameside tasha topless http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/1/first-model-shoot-of-the-year Fri, 26 Jan 2018 15:29:58 GMT
Happy New Year....and a fresh perspective http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/1/happy-new-year-and-a-fresh-perspective Happy New Year....

Yes I know it's a bit late and it's January 11th, but after quite a rollercoaster last 6 months or so personally, I'm now getting back to normality and ready for new challenges and some exciting new projects and ideas for 2018.

Going to keep this blog post fairly short and sweet, but this year brings some new openings for Simon Norton Photography, starting with teaming up with a local photo studio to provide our children's photo shoot package.

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With over 10 backdrops and at least 5 different vinyl floor, along with props, and refreshment facilities for clients, it's a perfect little studio for us to hold all our children's photo shoots.

Along with adding model, fashion & glamour shoots to my portfolio this year, 2018 is looking to be an exciting and busy for Simon Norton Photography.

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) children's christmas happy manchester new photo photography shoots tameside year http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/1/happy-new-year-and-a-fresh-perspective Thu, 11 Jan 2018 13:18:48 GMT
Perseids 2017 http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/8/perseids-2017 Yes, its that time of the year where star gazers and those interested in astrophotography, spend long hours with neck ache, gazing up in the sky to watch the annual Perseids Meteor Shower.

Having tried and failed in the past, and this year's supposed to be the most amazing for some years, last night I decided to get out, set the camera up and see what I could catch.

So home from the day job, around 1:30am this morning, out into the back garden with the camera sat on a tripod and on interval timer (settings details to come shortly), and facing north east, and just stand and watch.

Right the settings......my D7000 with a sigma 10-20 mm f/4.0-5.6 lens, the aperture as wide open as possible (f/4.0) and a 15sec exposure. Reading other sources they suggest 20-25sec exposures, but after a couple of test shots I found 15secs to be adequate. Had the lens as far back as it would go (10mm), manual focus and set on infinity. ISO set to 800 and the WB set to cloudy, this enabled me to shoot in an area with quite a bit of light pollution, but not let the orange street lights affect the shot. The camera mounted on my manfrotto tripod and set on interval timer so fire off a shot every 15secs, as I'm shooting a 15sec exposure then this is the least amount of time needed between each shot, others would say I needed to give it about 17-18secs on the interval timer but found what I set was good enough.

Shooting the perseids can be bit hit and miss, and normally it's sods law that the brightest meteors tend to fall when your camera is in-between processing exposures, as was the case in the early hours of this morning. Luckily though, it wasn't long before I captured one, and was also the brightest of the ones that I witnessed.

The early hours of 12th-13th August is supposed to be the peak of the shows this year, but they can still be seen days after that, so will be out tonight to try and capture some more, and as I'll be finishing the day job earlier this evening, should be out from around midnight.

_DSC8652Perseids Meteor Captured in Denton, Greater ManchesterNikon D7000, Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens, f/4, ISO800, 15sec at 10mm, WB cloudy

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) astro denton manchester meteor nikon perseids photography shower tameside http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/8/perseids-2017 Sun, 13 Aug 2017 11:54:31 GMT
Ooooo it's hot!!!!! http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/6/ooooo-its-hot Has to be the hottest day of the year today, 18th June.....

 

.....and also my birthday, so spent most of the day just chilling out, enjoying the sun, and have camera at the ready as always.

Shooting garden insects, particularly bees, wasps etc., is something I've never tried before, and whilst sitting in the shade a couple of them decided to help themselves on the flowers.

With my sigma 70-300 lens attached, camera in aperture priority mode, and ISO bumped up to 3200 to enable me to get a fast shutter speed, particularly as they move fast, and it's not easy shooting at the 300mm end of a long lens.

With these shots I used an aperture of f/7.1, this giving me enough to blur out the background, and maintain a fast shutter speed.

I also shot in burst mode, with over 50+ frames shot in just over a minute.

After a little editing in Lightroom and Photoshop these are the 2 shots I was most pleased with.

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They look the same shot, but there is a subtle difference between the two, and also framed using the rule of thirds.

Now back to enjoying the sun, the rest of my birthday, and off for a curry......yes just what you need on a hot day!!!!

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) bees flowers garden insects manchester photography summer tameside wasps http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/6/ooooo-its-hot Sun, 18 Jun 2017 14:31:19 GMT
Oh it's been a while!!!! http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/6/oh-its-been-a-while Yeah I know....Mr serial blog updater!!!

 

Yes it's been a while since I've updated this, due to reasons I'm not going into on here. Anyway, yesterday it was out into Manchester for coffee, catchup and a wander with the camera with one of my photo buddies.

Being honest, I found it difficult to be inspired yesterday, not sure whether it's the consequence of trying to get my photography mojo back, or whether it's my home town just lacking in photographic inspiration, which considering what we in Manchester have been through recently I doubt it's the latter!!!!

I started off my getting a few of the standard shots through windows, looking into cafe's.

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We then wandered into St Annes Square, where up until recently, it has been the focus for remembrance, vigils and floral tributes for those lives lost and injuries sustained in the recent terrible Manchester terror attack. The council are putting the square back to it's normal look now, all the flowers, candles, balloons etc.,have gone, but are all being preserved towards a lasting memorial, and whilst there came across Councillor Pat Karney who was waiting patiently for someone, and we didn't have to wait long to find out who, and what he was doing...

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....being interviewed by reporter Amy Welch for Granada Reports.

Whilst wandering around the square, I also captured this shot....

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....after the terrible bombing at the Manchester Arena, the police presence has been massive in Manchester, and captured this shot of two constables listening intently to the gentleman asking where all the floral tributes have gone.

Then a wander round to near the town hall, and this, parked where they shouldn't and an apt registration plate....

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A couple of food and coffee stops, then wandering up Market Street, to find this reflection shot outside Primark...

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...and a sit down next to the newly refurbished fountain in Piccadilly Gardens, where my want to take a long exposure shot was quickly dashed, after discovering I didn't bring any filters whatsoever.....better planning needed next time!!!!

On the way out though I grabbed this shot....

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...if looks could kill!!!!

Although I didn't take that many shots yesterday, I was quite pleased with the one's I did and how they came out.....maybe a lesson for the future....quality not quantity.

Certainly gave me the kick I needed though to get out with my camera again, and will be making the most of a week and a half off the day job, to get out with it more....inbetween playing a lot of golf and gym routines.

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) Amy Granada Karney centre city itv manchester mono pat photography reports street television welch http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/6/oh-its-been-a-while Wed, 14 Jun 2017 10:04:33 GMT
Kids Park Shoot in Holmfirth http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/5/kids-park-shoot-in-holmfirth A sunny Saturday morning in Holmfirth.....

 

...and off to meet Kaylie, her partner Ross and their three children at Victoria Park in Holmfirth for a kids park shoot.

This glorious park overlooks the village and is ideal for shoots like this, and we were blessed with some amazing weather too.

Kaylie and her partner also wanted some family shots taking during the shoot, and more than happy to oblige. So to start things off we shot this family picture at the top end of the park, where this round bench area overlooks the whole village.

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Then it was time to make the most of the wonderful flowers in the park, and they also created a good backdrop for some of the kids pictures.

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The thing with doing children's park shoots, it trying to keep them interested, and entertained, whilst keeping the shots natural too, so it wasn't long before we were off to the play area, let them loose and just shoot away.

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Before finishing the shoot, we had to make use of the flower beds again, and grab some lovely shots of mum and dad on their own.

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Kaylie, Ross and their children were fantastic to work with, and lots of fun, and with such a gorgeous location, and a little trip to Comp's chippy on the way home, a good day was had by all.

 

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) Yorkshire children holmfirth kids last manchester of park photography shoot summer tameside the wine http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/5/kids-park-shoot-in-holmfirth Sun, 07 May 2017 10:00:41 GMT
Kids 'n' bubbles http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/2/bubbles Experimenting with bubbles in the studio.

One of the benefits of having a gorgeous, photogenic 2 year old daughter is that she is always ready to assist daddy with practising photo techniques in the studio.

Last Saturday morning, myself and Kaylee spent half an hour playing with bubbles, black background, one studio strobe through a softbox and a speed light behind the model to create a ring light to separate her from the background.

First thing was to get Kaylee in place, set up the camera on a tripod with remote release, get the exposure correct on the studio strobe and the speed light behind the model and then get to work.

Here is the lighting diagram for this set up....

 

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When using studio strobes and speed lights, I always use the fastest shutter speed possible, for my D7000 and yongnuo speed lights it's 1/250th sec.

For this shoot I used my 50mm prime lens, and aperture of f/5.6 and ISO 100. 

After a few test shots and teaching Kay how to sit still and not wanting to inspect every shot, I sat down just to the left of the model and using the remote shutter release started to blow bubbles towards Kaylee and encouraging her to catch them.

_DSC5228_DSC5228Lowry Theatre I was exceptionally pleased the results and will be adding the kids 'n' bubbles shoot to my kids portrait offers.

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) bubbles childrens dukinfield kids manchester photography portrait shoot tameside http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/2/bubbles Tue, 07 Feb 2017 14:24:31 GMT
Street Photography Day http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/2/street-photography-day A bit of street photography.

 

Not done this for a long while, and a work colleague wanted to go out into Manchester to do a bit of street photography, so though it was about time I went out and about and see what I could capture.

As usual it was a typical grey, miserable day in Manchester, with very little detail in the skies, so looking for inspiration at times I found difficult.

We started off in Albert Square, where chinese new year celebrations were in full show... _DSC5043_DSC5043Manchester Street Photography ....this processed in Lightroom and using selective colouring to bring out the red lanterns against the back drop of Manchester Town Hall.

 

Then a wander up Moseley Street for some long exposure photography, using the trams. Took a few attempts to get this shot, due to people walking past, but it's expected as Moseley Street is a busy little place full of office blocks.

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There seem to be more and more rough sleepers in Manchester city centre these days, and whilst wandering round to Market Street, I didn't expect one to be placing his bank card into the hole in the wall.

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Round to High Street, and a great place to practise panning techniques, in between trams. This shot again processed in Lightroom.

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Over to Deansgate Castlefield tram stop and capturing a dramatic shot of the bridge leading from the tram platform to Deansgate Rail Station. As is the norm with Manchester, lots of building and construction work going on, so I decided to edit out the cranes in this shot, and also using a few processed in Lightroom, managed to bring out some detail in the sky to create a dramatic look to the picture.

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Whenever I get out and about in town, I always love to shoot a miniature style picture. This miniature tram 'n' traffic shot, taken from the bridge from Piccadilly rail station, across London Road.

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Whilst to some the trams are a bit of a nuisance in Manchester, to me, as a photographer, they are a great source for a shot. This picture below taken at St Peter's Square and was a shot for my weekly #52project, with this week's theme of capturedmotion.

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Finally, and what most photographers who do street photography like to shoot....people. 

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Although by the end of the day my feet were killing me, and at times lacking in inspiration for a shot, I'm quite happy with those I've picked out and certainly will be taking to the streets of Manchester, and other areas, more to hone my street photography skills further,

 

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) 52 project St Peters Square dukinfield manchester photography piccadilly street photography tameside http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/2/street-photography-day Thu, 02 Feb 2017 11:57:49 GMT
Belated Happy New Year!!!! http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/1/belated-happy-new-year Well a hectic end to 2016 with lots of portrait shoots (indoors and outdoors), not to mention a wonderful busy family Christmas, meant little time to do anything else, lease of all try to update this blog. I've resisted the new years resolution to keep this blog up to date, but will certainly attempt to post a bit more regular than last year.

So to 2017!!!! Going to be another busy year, and started off with a studio family shoot. Jan, his partner Lucia and their two boys came to our studio for an hour long shoot.

 

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Using both a black and a white backdrop, and also using my daughter's Paw Patrol toys as props, we had great fun and provided the family with some fantastic images, which they gave amazing feedback on.

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As well as a set of colour, they also get a set of black and white images too, all available for them to download from their own private online gallery.

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If you wish to book a family photo shoot, then feel free to contact us on 07714 418708, or visit our contact page.

 

 

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) dukinfield family manchester photography portrait tameside http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/1/belated-happy-new-year Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:26:02 GMT
Portraits in direct sunlight. http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/7/portraits-in-direct-sunlight After a stressful Wednesday, blighted by car problems...basically a convertible roof that wouldn't go back down, and having to ever so gently squeeze my car into my mothers garage overnight, due to the impending storms that were forecast that evening and following morning (yep they never materialsied, thanks Met Office!!!!), it was another day in the sun and an afternoon keeping both my nephews occupied.

As it was another glorious afternoon, it was time to get the 2 boys out into the garden and grab a few snapshots of them both together.

The sun was very bright, so for all these shots I made sure that they were facing away from the sun, with the sun creating a nice little backlight, and using off camera flash to fill in the shadows. Also shooting this way, ensures your subject isn't squinting.

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For those who have tried, but failed, to shoot family pics in the sun, with the sun behind, it's quite straightforward.

STEP 1, AMBIENT LIGHT METERING - Place camera in either aperture priority or shutter speed priority mode and take a meter reading with your subjects in the shot. I also use evaluative metering. Once you have the meter reading you desire, place the camera in manual mode and dial in the settings. 

STEP 2, OFF CAMERA FLASH METERING - This is where having a light meter is handy, if you don't then it's just about adjusting the off camera flash. Set up your off camera speedlight (in manual mode), start with around half power, and using your light meter take a reading of the flash from under the chin of your subject. The flash power needs to be the same settings as you've dialled in STEP 1. The idea behind using off camera flash in daylight is to eliminate any harsh shadows created by sunlight, and also to fill in these shadows without making it look too much like you've used a speed light. 

STEP 3 - Click away and fire some shots. Doing it this way, and keeping the flash the same settings as your ambient light, you eliminate harsh shadows and also fill in where you tend to get harsh shadows whilst shooting in direct sunlight (round the eyes, cheeks, nose). You also get that fantastic catchlight in the eyes of your subject.

Don't forget that shooting this way, you can also control the ambient light, by changing your aperture settings. To create a more moody ambient background, make your aperture smaller but don't change the power of your speed light. No matter how much you change the aperture, the power of the speed light on your subject will remain the same.

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So get out, while we have our 3 day summer, and get those gorgeous family snaps using the guide above.

 

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) ambient camera dukinfield family flash light manchester off photography portrait portraiture speedlight tameside http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/7/portraits-in-direct-sunlight Wed, 20 Jul 2016 21:10:06 GMT
It's been a while....BLOG UPDATE!!!! Weddings & Price Freezes http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/7/its-been-a-while-blog-update-weddings-price-freezes Yep it's been a while, so time for a quick blog update!!!

 

Again, busy both photography and personally recently so not had chance to post for a few months. So what's been happening I hear you cry!!!

 

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Firstly, the wedding of Shaun and Toni at Bury Town Hall and reception at the Boltholt Country Park Hotel in Bury. It was a wonderful ceremony and a gorgeous setting for the reception afterwards, and I've never seen a couple sooooo suited and in love. 

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It was such a pleasure to work with these two and in such a beautiful setting too. The Boltholt Hotel is a fantastic wedding venue, with a gorgeous lake and lawns at the front, that make a wedding photographers dream when it comes to capturing the bride and groom shots after the ceremony.

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I'm currently working through all the shots and ahead of the time normally taken to deliver the final shots to my clients.

I wish Shaun and Toni all the best for the future, and along with their little boy Corban, who recently featured in one of my newborn shoots, they make a wonderful family together.

 

Wedding Prices for 2017!!!!

 

I'm fully booked up for 2016, not even spaces for last minute weddings I'm afraid, and 2017 is booking up really quick too, but there are a few spaces available if you haven't booked your wedding photographer for next year....and I'm freezing my prices too!!!!

All weddings booked for 2017 will be at the same price as 2016, so if it's on your list of things to organise then time to get it done before I'm fully booked again. Visit my wedding page for more details on my wedding packages.

 

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) ashton dukinfield engagement hyde lyne manchester photography tameside under wedding http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/7/its-been-a-while-blog-update-weddings-price-freezes Fri, 08 Jul 2016 11:32:52 GMT
A little update as to what I've been up to recently.... http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/4/a-little-update-as-to-what-ive-been-up-to-recently Good morning, and a happy Saturday to one and all. I've been a bit quiet with the blog recently so thought it's high time I updated you all with what's been going on recently.

It's been such a busy time recently, not just photography wise but generally too and I've hardly had any chance to sit and write a new blog.

So firstly, it's been a busy time since I put my "2 shoots for £40" offer on here and various Facebook pages.

My first booking was with Lee and Anthony who wanted some shots with their nephew Ethan. This shoot was taken in their home and I took my portable studio set up along.

_DSC9671_DSC9671Lowry Theatre Time to occupy Ethan with some toys, and bring some more colour into the shots taken against the white background.

_DSC9685_DSC9685Lowry Theatre After the usual family posed shots, I took the backdrop down and the lights away and decided on a more natural shoot with Ethan playing with his toys in the front room. There was also a nice large front window with light streaming through it, so it was natural light all the way for the rest of the shot....I do prefer working with natural light.

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_DSC9922_DSC9922Lowry Theatre All 3 were fantastic to work with and Ethan especially was a delightful little boy with the most amazing blue eyes. I'm just waiting now for a combination of a sunny Saturday morning, and a free one when I'm not already booked to shoot their outdoor shots.

 

 

I've just recently moved into the world of newborn baby shoots. There's been a bit of a baby boom recently amongst my friends so a good opportunity to get them to my mini studio set up and get some newborn shots added to my portfolio.

Firstly Lisa, her partner Helen and their gorgeous little girl Thea.

This has been a steep learning curve for me, but was very pleased on how the shots have come out. 

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Then the following day it was Shaun, his fiancé Toni and their little boy Corban. Corban arrived asleep, ideal for posed shots, but with his being a light sleeper he soon woke up and his eyes were everywhere.

Still it was another fantastic shoot and again really happy with how the shots came out.

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Really enjoyed both these shoots and have a few more booked off the back of these shots, and looking forward to adding more to my portfolio.

 

 

Another reason why I love photography is that I always have friends who are either keen to take it up as a hobby, or already take pictures but are keen to improve and just get out whenever possible to shoot some pictures. This week I went out into Manchester with my mate Yorkie, and normally we do some street photography. This time though we went out with a pre-requisite of what shots we wanted to take. 

The first I wanted to shoot was the new Co-op building in the centre of Manchester, some say this is like a mini version of the gherkin in London.

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Then we moved to Victoria train station as we wanted to capture trams in miniature form. I do love experimenting with this form of photography and certainly Manchester lends itself to it very well.

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So it's been a busy few weeks and it looks to be getting busier too, not just photography wise too. Taken up golf last year and now have quite a few society matches coming along soon, so have invested in a few lessons, I'm also training to run the Manchester 10k run, raising money for Pancreatic Cancer Research, and you can visit my Just Giving page to read my story and make a donation if you so wish https://www.justgiving.com/Simon-Norton5

 

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(Simon Norton Photography - Manchester Portrait & Model Photographer) dukinfield manchester photography tameside http://simonnortonphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/4/a-little-update-as-to-what-ive-been-up-to-recently Sat, 23 Apr 2016 11:06:36 GMT