Thursday, 4 December 2014

Grow Your Network

We all need to put ourselves out there if we want to be noticed. To build our on-line presence and connect with fellow creatives and clients. So when I was invited to join a new networking site called *Modeling Stage* I was happy give it a try. The site is currently open to photographers, models & actors. It just takes a couple of minutes to set up a profile and, because the site is in beta, you get to be in at the beginning and help shape the network as you build your following and audience.
    Here is the link -

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Black Friday !

Black Friday 50% Print sale ! - runs all weekend till Cyber Monday 1st Dec - Christmas starts here ! 

Here's the LINK

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Ying & Yang or The Need for Personal Vision

So back when I shot the  A Distant Shore Series with Jodie Winyan there was a second series, Tempest

Tempest was shot on the same day in my living room with the same Bowens Gemini light & 1.2 mtr Octobox. Oh, and 10 metres of white, sheer, material.

Now whilst I had had plenty of time to prepare for this shoot most of my energy had been focused on the 'Distant Shore' theme. This second theme was always about two distinct images and how to achieve them. The first theme had a story to guide it. Give it a direction to develop in as we shot.

Whilst having two distinct images in mind for the second 'look' may have proven enough for, say a fashion shoot or advert, I was in full on story mode and keen to shoot as much as possible. I already knew the first series was going to yield some great shots so I was determined to make the most of this new setup.

After twenty minutes of trying every possible pose we decided to stop and so avoid repetition. All that was left was for me to pick out the best shots and edit them. No so easy when your vision only went as far as two key images. Coming off of the success of the first series my expectations were high but without I a clear story in my head I was struggling to build a sequence that was of any merit. Not to mention the editing and post processing was just a series of experiments as I looked for something that would work.

All the while this is going on I also have real life to contend with. Which means these images were taking longer than usual to complete. Then one morning I turn on my PC load up Lightroom and hate what I see ! There was too much Photoshop, too many layers and manipulation. The focus of the pictures was lost because the 'over editing' was destroying them. I needed to start again, strip back, simplify. Only now I had a better idea of what to do.

An important part of any story is the journey and that includes the creation. This set of photographs was being difficult. I was not making it easy for me to see past the surface. So I made that part of the story. I made our 'Tempestuous' relationship the thread that linked the images in the series and informed the style of edit.

What could have been a disaster was saved by using the experience of creation as a key part in the presentation and style of the work.

'Every project is personal'

I've always believed that. Now more than ever !

More t.k.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

We Tripped the Light Fandango...

Or so the song goes.

    Anyway, a few weeks ago I finally got to do a photo shoot with Jodie Winyan and give my 1,2 mtr octobox a real workout. Think 'The French Lieutenants Woman' & 'Wuthering Heights' for the concept. A solitary woman lost in her thoughts about a lover who may or may not be returning. 
Oh the drama !

    Anyway it was shot in my living room next to the TV and fireplace. No, seriously. I pulled the sofa out into the dining room put up a collapsible backdrop in front of the living room window. Bowens Gemini 250 watt studio light (about 1/3 power) with my 1.2 mtr octobox, on a light stand, up against the wall to the left. An optional reflector, against the bookcase, to the right. Then the backdrop was a black bed sheet with a length of 1.5 mtr wide black fine netting. Importantly the creases were left in for texture.

    A black dress fro Ebay, some artificial lilies and red ribbon for symbolism, then throw in an electric fan to create movement (only for it to die after 5 mins).

    Note, the main light is aimed passed the subject, not at her, this way the light can wrap around her more easily. This makes the reflector optional.

    The numbers:
                           ISO - 100
                           Focal length - 80 mil
                           Aperture - 3.5
                           @ 1/90 sec.

    All that was left was to go into Photoshop do a little retouch and post processing with a couple of custom filters and actions. Then release into an unsuspecting world.

Full picture set here
                                                                                  More tk...

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Little Things

    OK so call me a geek, call me a big kid but sometimes the simple things make me happy :)
For instance Velcro !

I decided that securing filters and flash triggers to my equipment with elastic bands was not very professional or reliable. Then I went to Maplins (UK) ans spotted these little Velcro rolls...

And they are brilliant ! Each role is a metre long, you can cut them to length. A choice of colours,  if you want to colour code your gear. 
Wrap a strip around the head of your speed light and it will grip a piece of coloured gel. 
Flash trigger hanging off the side of your strobe by its cable ? Use a strip of Velcro to secure it.
Packing gear, Wrap around loose light stand legs. Group gear together.
My Bowens studio flash does not have a hole to fit an umbrella shaft. So two lengths of Velcro wrapped around the body of the light gripping the umbrella shaft. Easy !
did I mention the choice of colours ? OK, so you get the point.

Here is the Maplins link

                             More t.k...

(The author will not be held responsible for the fate of small children and animals when using Velcro.)

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Time to Mean Business

     I've decided to dedicate more time to developing my photography and the possibility of generating more paid work. This means developing my online presence and building up my audience and potential client base.
    Whilst the internet makes it easy to reach out globally it is still just 'virtual'. Even in the 21st Century it pays to have something tangible. The simple answer is of course the humble business card, only they aren't so humble any more !
    There are plenty of firms that offer cheap deals on print runs of 100 cards, or more but they are cheap for a reason. Thin flimsy paper, poor colour reproduction, soaks up water like a sponge.
    It's true that some people think that business cards are dead. that you just need a persons email address and share a selection of images with them. That's just too impersonal for my liking. Pictures on your computer or phone are now too easily disposable and forgettable, because 5 mins later they are replaced by new ones.
    A photographic business card, on the other hand, has weight and texture. The stiffness of the card and the finish on the image indicate an investment in quality. This is a card worth keeping. If you invest in it then so should the recipient. The simple fact is that if you care about your photography then you should care equally for all things connected to it. Potential clients will sense this. That means spending money and investing in a product that will reflect positively on you and your business.
    I had heard about MOO from various sources and have never heard anything bad so I decided to give them a go. 100 matte finish laminated cards with the extra touch of rounded corners.

    The cards are stiffer than playing cards and the matte finish gives them a lovely feel between the fingers. You can order thicker and posher card stock but I love my choice and being able to have multiple front images gives people a choice when taking one of your cards and giving it pride of place in their wallet. These are cards I am proud to offer to people and for that they are worth every penny.
    Here's the link MOO cards so you can check them out for yourself.

                                                                                         More t.k....

Monday, 14 July 2014

The Creative Trigger

      Just like you I have limitation on what I can achieve by myself. I don't have a full time stylist, makeup  artist and hair stylist. Now I pretty much do my own wardrobe styling, it's a key part to my 'look'. You know what it's like you have the model but they don't own the right outfit, who pays for it, do you give her the outfit as payment for the shoot ? Or do you start filling your spare room with a random selection of clothes ?!
    Like I said I do my own styling and an important piece of the style is jewellery. It creates a focus, influences the theme. Hell it can inspire an entire shoot !
    I can literally spend an hour or two on Ebay, Amazon or just image searching for interesting pieces of jewellery. These character pieces have a story of their own which can inspire a new image/story.  Just one little piece, a necklace or headband can completely change a models character and define the 'story' that you are telling with your photograph.
    Believe me there is some really cool jewellery out there. Some not as expensive as you might think.
Recently I bought some artificial lilys and guess what ? They keep popping into my head when I imagine a new project ! So the little book of big ideas is expanding !
         'The little things are really the big things.'

                                                                           More tk...

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Keeping it Local

    A few weeks ago I was asked by a friend if I would take some pictures of their amateur dramatics production of Annie. It would be during their final dress rehearsal. I said OK I can do that. Then two days before the shoot My friend asks if I could shoot some portraits of the cast as well. OK a bit more work and I need to set up some lights but that will be fine. Two pocket flash a 24" softbox, light stand and two gray bed sheets for a backdrop. No problem. Three hours later and four hundred photos later I'm not so sure.
    Everything was shot in manual mode and in RAW. all the portraits were shot with the same settings. So most of the editing was 'copy from previous image'. The photos of the production required a little more work. Tweaking the shutter speed depending on the stage lighting and shooting at 3200 iso. Low light and low noise are important areas of camera development and the companies do an excellent job. So most of the work involved colour and exposure correction.
    Once I was happy with my selection of photos I up loaded them to private online galleries, each one with it's own private link. My Hotmail account has online storage so I just use that but you could use your website and set up a private gallery there.
    The payoff to all this is twofold. I got some really good portraits and a week after delivering them I was asked how much I would charge to be the official photographer at the dramatic societies Christmas dinner. All the people who received photos were suitably impressed that a few hours work could potentially turn into several paid jobs :)
    It may not the style of photography that I market myself as doing but if it leads to paid work and it is fun then why not go for it ?

        More t.k.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Seeing Things in a New Light

     Or to be specific a new Bowens Gemini 200w studio flash. I've just ordered one and it should arrive in a day or two. LINK.

   Also I have taken possession of a 91cm umbrella softbox. Why 91 cm ? Because a 180cm one would be too big for home shoots :)

    The control and shape of the umbrella with an added layer of diffusion is very good at creating the soft even light that you see in a lot of beauty and fashion shots at the moment. Of course the size of the umbrella will influence the result so some testing will be required, with a suitable subject.

                                                                                                                        More soon...

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

So What Will 2014 Bring ?

  Things have been a little quiet around here over the Christmas period. Real life taking priority over the creative side of things. Of course in an ideal world it's the creative side that should be the center of things.

  So what's the plan for this year ?
Increase exposure and networking -
 Which means more personal projects, so I can build my personal network and give me something to share with my audience (and hopefully build up my following).
 Of course the hope is that this leads to more paid work / print sales and therefor increased exposure.

   Now that sounds fairly straight forward. You start a cycle and with each repetition the momentum builds and you keep going. OK so how do you keep it going, how do you maintain the momentum to build things up to the point that (in this case) photography becomes your full time job ? The short answer is hard work and dedication. Every day you have to do something to keep the cycle going. Plan ahead, set goals. Give yourself a time scale.
How many personal projects are you going to complete in the next six months ?
How many freelance jobs are you going to apply for ?
How many Blog posts are you going to publish, remembering that quality is better than quantity ?
How hard are going to work to achieve you dream ?

   You have to put yourself out there and take chances, risk failure and keep working.

        So watch this space and more.t.k...