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Hiya and welcome to my blog. I will regularly update this section with the latest information on shoots and news about my photography, along with details on how I get the shot, lighting set ups, camera settings etc!!!!

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Sunday Road Trip and YouTube filming

May 23, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

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 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.

greenfield panogreenfield pano

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.

lone treelone tree

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.


Natural Light Portraits & A YouTube Channel

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 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.

mono-0747Kaylee 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 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.



Always looking for new opportunities

March 09, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

As a photographer, never ignore TFP calls..... 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.

Studio Shoot Red-026Studio Shoot Red-026    Studio Shoot Red-041Studio Shoot Red-041

Studio Shoot Red-022Studio Shoot Red-022    Studio Shoot Red-031Studio Shoot Red-031

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.

Studio Shoot Red-089Studio Shoot Red-089 Studio Shoot Red-103-EditStudio Shoot Red-103-Edit

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.

Studio Shoot Red-106Studio Shoot Red-106 Studio Shoot Red-140Studio Shoot Red-140


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.

Studio Shoot Yellow Olivia-012Studio Shoot Yellow Olivia-012 Studio Shoot Yellow Olivia-019Studio Shoot Yellow Olivia-019

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.

Studio Shoot Yellow Olivia-029Studio Shoot Yellow Olivia-029 Studio Shoot Yellow Olivia-073Studio Shoot Yellow Olivia-073

Studio Shoot Yellow Olivia-080Studio Shoot Yellow Olivia-080 Studio Shoot Yellow Olivia-085Studio Shoot Yellow Olivia-085

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 this space!!!!!



The Beast From The East - part 2

March 01, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

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 this space!!!!!

The Beast From The East

March 01, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

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.


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.