Thursday, 28 April 2011

Turning Pro Workshops in London and Birmingham

One of the most frequent conversation I have is with photographers who want to go pro

Who have day jobs, or have just left university and want to explore the possibilities of going pro, or perhaps they want to just earn some extra money in their spare time.

The fact is easier to take good pictures than ever before, like any industry photography is driven by supply and demand, and my goodness do we have a lot of supply out there.

Just on the further education front in Britain more photographers are trained than there are jobs for, not just in the UK but in the whole of the EU.

Think of it.

It is against this backdrop that I have decided to run two 'turning pro workshops'

One in London the other in Birmingham.

What's more there will not be a light or camera in sight.

This will be to explore why some brilliant photographers sit at home, and I mean some of the very best photographers in Britain, waiting for the phone to ring, while some less talented individuals work ceaselessly, with full diaries.

There are no hard and fast rules of how to go pro and different photographers have different philosophies.

I will share my philosophy which has kept me competitive and productive in the photographic business for more than 30 years.

I will take you through as many areas as we can cover in one day, promotion, targeting new clients, current clients, why does the other guy the job and not me? Invoicing, shooting stock, should I shoot for free?, what should be in my portfolio, deliverables and I will share the mistakes I have made over the years, so hopefully you won't make them.

This is business based so it will apply to you wether you are a social photographer, wedding photographer, photo journalist or food photographer.

In fact any kind of photographer currently working.

My aim is that delegates will leave with the tools to help them be profitable, professional and happy in their work.

So far the London workshop on the 10th May is pretty much full, though I have a couple of places left, with delegates traveling from as far afield as Denmark and Spain to attend.

I have more spaces available in the Birmingham 12th May workshop though, so if you are interested you can book through my website

Affordable too, at whisker less than £100.00

These are the first ever paying seminars I have done in the UK, yes really!

There will be lighting seminars/workshops from me in the UK this year, along with some much further afield

But I feel very passionately about this much negleted subject.

Come and join me?

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros

I never met Tim Hetherington.

But quite a few of my friends did and were impressed with him in many ways.

When his death  along with Chris Hondros, in the besieged city of Misrata was reported it was dark news indeed.

Not only for his friends family and loved ones who's pain can only be imagined, but also for the wider photographic world.

Stories of his great humanity and bravery have been recounted for much of the day.

Tim was a mover and a shaker who started off in stills and went on to cross over into moving images, even collecting an Oscar nomination along the way.

As Tim said  “If you are interested in mass communication, then you have to stop thinking of yourself as a photographer. We live in a post-photographic world. If you are interested in photography, then you are interested in something — in terms of mass communication — that is past. I am interested in reaching as many people as possible.”

I know nothing of Chris so I feel unable to say anything about him other than like Tim he paid the ultimate price while telling the world what is happening in Mistrata.

A sad day indeed.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Infra red survey

As regular readers of his blog will know, I have been shooting a ton of work on the brilliant if rather pricey Phase One Achromatic back.

I love democracy in Photography so I'm asking readers to suggest other Camera's which work well in IR, wether they be DSLR or compact, I'm seeking your input.

I'm also keen to hear of people's experiences with modified DSLR's

Which is best?

Canon, Nikon, Sony?

Do let me know

It would be great if more people shot IR and not all of us have access to exotic kit.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Raymond Blanc at Le Maison Aux Quat'Saissons

Choosing exactly where to shoot an environmental portrait when you are on assignment is crucial.

Recently I was commissioned to shoot a portrait of one of the most celebrated chefs in the UK, Raymond Blanc, the proprietor of Le Maison Aux Quat'Saissons, two starred Michelin restaurant and hotel

He is an exceptionally nice guy with an eye for detail which is second to none.

Just goes to show that to be a top Chef you don't have to swear, scream and shout......

Now in addition to shooting solo portrait it had to be a location which could accommodate up to 3 people, which complicated things just a little, as it was piercingly bright sunlight and I wanted to get the frontage of his hotel and restaurant in the background.

At times like this my friends head for the shade.

But just where?

There was a portico across the courtyard which should have been the natural choice, but it was an open pillar construction which at first glance seemed to provide little chance of the shade I was looking for, meaning I was going to get shadows and hot spots on the subjects faces no matter what I did.

But then I looked again and saw that if I was very precise and placed the subjects between the two pillars in the centre of the frame there was a tiny sliver of shade which I could locate them in AND still get the iconic building in the background.

Having done the trickiest part it was just a matter of balancing the light with an Elinchrom Quadra diffused with a Chimera Medium softbox (what else?) which I knew would give super softlight on Mr Blanc but also enough coverage for a group of 3 if I had to, this time I used the Avenger A480BU Stacker stands by Manfrotto (I like the super sturdy square legs) and I jammed this combo into the portico, and I thought it would be enough.

I did a test shot to pre light the scene and saw that while it was nice enough, I could in fact do better by adding a backlight coming in from the left hand side of the frame, so bring on a second Quadra and a Chimera small softbox, flagged by one of those pillars. Meaning the backlight would hit the subject and not the front element of my lens.

Illustration by Jarek Wieczorkiewicz

The key light was on full power, as was the backlight.

All set it would seem, but the next challenge was managing a steady stream of cars and delivery vans which wanted to park in shot.

The trick on these occasions is to ask very politely for them to move.

It is always well worth the being extra nice and polite to people at all times, no matter how much stress you are under.

Staying calm, unflustered and polite while under pressure is one of the best bits of self promotion you can do......

The great bonus was that after all the shunting and cars and positioning of lights the frontage of the building came into full sun.

A bit of luck is always welcome.