iPhoneography – Part 2

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Morning

Since being bitten by the iPhoneography bug and falling in love with “Hipstamatic” I have been filling up my camera roll pretty frequently. But whilst I’ve been having a lot of fun doing so I started to want more – as a photographer and artist I felt that I should be creating art that would not look out of place on my living room wall.

A tall order with just a smartphone and no fancy lenses.

But over the holiday period I decided to go out specifically with the intention of capturing some images that, metaphorically speaking, would look good on my living room wall.

I was pretty happy with my resulting set of images, as photographs, but not as wall art, for that I needed a little bit of post processing to be done, but in the spirit of creating art using just my smartphone I downloaded a smart little (free) app from the app store called, Glaze.

This app turns your photos into actual paintings – pretty apt for what I wanted to do – with a little experimenting some pretty cool results can be achieved. After playing around with different settings and varying degrees of strength I opted for these.

Just a VW

Just a VW

Man in a red jacket

Man in a red jacket

Wrought Iron Gates

Wrought Iron Gates

Parking Bay outside Halfords

Parking Bay outside Halfords

 

Red brick wall with ladder

Red brick wall with ladder

Of course, you actually have to go out and take an image first, and not every image works and some images work better than others

but….

Would I have them hanging on my wall in the lounge – definitely

Is it art – absolutely

 

Best – Colin

Scotland, land of the brave, the tranquil, and the most beautiful light

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Morning.

I love Scotland. I go there as often as I can. Sometimes three or four times a year in a good year.

Scotland can be the most peaceful tranquil little piece of Earth I know. It’s good to get away and find oneself occasionally and for me, Scotland is the place to be.

Scotland Scotland2 Scotland3

Scotland4

best – Colin

Facebook – to share or not to share.

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Morning,

Facebook is big, no, Facebook is HUGE, there are 7 billion people in the world and as of September 2012 there were 1 billion active Facebook accounts!

A staggering 44% of all Internet users are Facebook users and there are 600 million mobile Facebook users.

Facebook is hugely popular for sharing photos, in fact there are reports that we upload 300 million photos a day, every day and some figures are available to suggest that Facebook hosts nearly 230 billion of our photos – truly mind staggering figures.

It’s very easy to see from these figures that content we upload can be seen by a huge amount of people around the world. This can be fantastic for getting content seen by the masses, we are becoming a content consumption society, with our iPads & iPhones we constantly crave content, consuming with an insatiable appetite.

But problems can arise when content is posted that specifically elicits opinions from the masses. A good example if this happened recently, a clothing designer took a photograph of a model wearing one of his new designs, he immediately uploaded the photo to his Facebook timeline and asked for opinions on the photo. As expected there were tens of responses from his Facebook friends all saying things like, “wow, great photo”. But then someone shared that post with a person outside his circle of friends (Facebook security is overly complicated – but that’s another post)

Very soon the post generated slightly less favourable comments – nothing too disparaging – just constructive criticism. As is the way Facebook works I saw this post on another timeline, the picture was of a very well known model, and the clothes looked great on her, but the overall photo could have been significantly improved.

Within 30 minutes of the first “negative post” there were dozens of truly horrible comments made, mostly, believe it or not, by the original poster, the clothing supplier, in response to the negative comments. I watched the thread descend into vitriol and abuse and I finally reported the Facebook user when death threats were made.

The post was swiftly taken down by Facebook and I heard the clothing supplier server a three day Facebook ban.

The point of this story is that art, all forms of art, be it music, paintings, photos etc is very subjective, just because you think it is fantastic, does not mean everyone will think it’s fantastic. With a billion Facebook users you can bet there will be some that don’t like your art. The masses are not qualified to give objective opinion, if you want or need objective opinion find and join one of the many Facebook groups that suits your particular art form.

Best – Colin

Best of 2012

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the-starving-artist-2012

 

So with 2012 almost at a close and 2013 nearly upon us I thought I would take a look back at my year as a pro photographer and showcase some of my best images taken throughout the year.

Of course, I could never take these images without the help of all the pople that are involved in making a shoot and this includes stylists, MUA’s, clothing designers, researchers, hair stylists, prop buyers and of course last but by no means least the models themselves.

I have had the pleasure this year to work with some absolutely amazing professionals, way too many to mention you all, but those that made it into my best of 2012 are,

Lorena FFrankiForsaken Desire, Emma S, Holly T, Miss Laura Mai, Jodie Winter-Smith, Helen D, Mary L, Emily L, Bubblefaery, Hazlewood Bridal Boutique, Findadress Bridal

Now to the best bit – the video – I must stress that some of the images in this video are unpublished and while there is no nudity some of the images show more than I would normally publish and probably not safe for work, so if that type of thing offends please do not watch the video.

Once again a BIG thank you to EVERYONE I have worked with this year and here’s to a prosperous and happy 2013!

Best – Colin

 

 

 

 

Shooting in Clubs

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Evening

A couple of days before Christmas I was offered the opportunity to Photograph a cabaret  evening at a local venue – now this is not something I would normally shoot but I knew one of the acts personally and so took up the offer.

The venue seats around 200, reasonably large enough I thought to have plenty of light on stage so that I could get some good shots without going to too high an ISO setting.

Upon arrival I was shown to my shooting area, actually on stage – great – going to be able to get some good shots – I thought

There was some lighting on the stage when I arrived, but this was just a 40watt lightbulb (it wasn’t really, but the light wasn’t much brighter!). I went and asked the sound engineer when they would turn the “proper lighting” on and my heart sunk when he said the 40watt lightbulb was it.

When shooting in dimly lit clubs and other venues its important to have the right gear with you. Especially important is the type of lens, a fast lens is usually accepted to be at minimum a f 2.8 aperture and even faster lenses are available, 1.8. 1.4 and even 1.2.

Coupled with a fast lens you ideally need a camera body that is able to shoot in low light conditions at reasonably high ISO settings. Most modern cameras of today are capable of shooting at high ISO and with a little post processing acceptable results can be easily achieved.

When I got back to my shooting point I set up my body and attached my 24-70mm 2.8 lens – as I was close to the action this lens gave me the flexibility of being able to shoot at wider angles and also to get up close and shoot tight if needed. I’m a manual shooter, the only parameter I let the camera decide what to set for me is the ISO – I set auto ISO to “On” and this meant that I could manually set the aperture and shutter speed and the auto ISO feature of my particular body will adjust the ISO (within certain parameters) to enable a correct exposure.

With my lens wide open (f2.8) and my shutter set to 1/100 and with the 40watt stage light set up in place I was shooting at ISO 12,800 on occasions. It really is a testament to the technology available today for it was not that many years ago that shooting at ISO 800-1000 was considered “pushing it”.

On the night there were many performers, but this one singer stood out – an amazing voice. Gavin Lazarus

Gavin Lazarus

Gavin Lazarus

Gavin Lazarus

Gavin Lazarus

 

Gavin Lazarus

Gavin Lazarus

Gavin Lazarus

Gavin Lazarus

 

Gavin Lazarus

Gavin Lazarus

Gavin Lazarus

Gavin Lazarus

 

Best – Colin

Merry Christmas

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Winter Robin-1

It’s that time of year once again when we shall be meeting up with friends family and loved ones. But it’s also the time of year when we should remember that there are people in this world not so fortunate as ourselves that don’t have loved ones to go home to and that won’t be sat around a beautifully decorated tree opening presents.

Give a little thought for all the children in this world that won’t be celebrating tomorrow.

Merry Christmas & Best Wishes to everyone!

 

Best – Colin

 

The Two Types of Photographers

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Morning.

There are two types of Photographers, those that go out and create pictures. And those that talk about it instead.

Photographers that go out and create pictures are usually either, a) out creating pictures, b) editing those pictures, or c) researching for the next photo-shoot opportunity – they don’t have the time to be sat around on Internet Forums talking about the latest and greatest MPix Sensor or senselessly debating Nikon v Canon.

Too many “photographers” get sucked into Internet Forums, reading countless comments on topics posted by total strangers. Before long they even start to believe some of the things that are written.

Don’t get me wrong, Forums “Can” be a useful source of information – but only if backed up by an alternative and reliable source of enquiry.

A huge problem with forums is the people who post the most shoot the least. These forums make it impossible to know the credentials of the posters. Worse still is that if another poster dares to differ with the opinion of the resident “forum expert” then that person is heckled and belittled and will usually not return, or at the very least will not offer an opinion in the future.

There is absolutely no substitute for picking up your camera and going out and shooting – change your settings, play around, look at what you get and learn from it. You will learn far more from actually using your camera (and reading the supplier provided manual) than you ever could by asking a faceless person on the internet.

Since January I have shot 48K images on my DSLRs, 3k on my X100 and countless images on my phone – I don’t have the time to read Internet Forums – even if I wanted to!

If you shoot as much as you can, and post process as much as you can, then you WILL learn why RAW is better than JPEG. You WILL learn to understand your Histogram and you WILL learn how to colour correct in Photoshop – and you will have done this through trial and error – but you will have learnt!

If on the other hand you spend most of your free time surfing Internet Forums asking questions then you “may” get to the same conclusion, but you will have wasted all that valuable time when you could have been out having fun taking pictures creating art and learning.

I know what I would prefer to be doing.

IMG_4817

Best – Colin

 

Shooting Bridal on the beach

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Morning

A few days ago a long standing client of mine called out of the blue and asked me if I would shoot her in her wedding dress as she was married more than 9 years ago, but would like some more “fashiony” (her word not mine!) images taken.

I replied that of course I would love to, but as it was coming up to Christmas there were few slots available in my calendar – but after a few minutes discussion we settled on Wednesday 12/12/12 – for no reason other than it was the ONLY free date we both had this side of 2013 – and my client was ADAMANT she wanted the images taken before Christmas.

As a photographer I have a location list I refer to when booking a location based shoot, varying from urban, derelict, woodland and parks and various bodies of water. On this occasion I had only recently scouted out a new location and so decided that – after looking at the weather forecast – we could do some dramatic lighting and give my client something just a little different.

Well, Wednesday morning I woke up to an inch of snow and a temperature of -6, it took me an hour to de-ice the car and I very nearly called my client to cancel, but decided to carry on as I knew she would be more than a little disappointed.

The location I had chosen for the shoot was Weston-Super-Mare beach and when we arrived it was (naturally) deserted as the temperature was around zero degrees, but with wind chill factor it felt much much colder 😦

We spent more than two hours there, in sub zero temps creating these images. The lighting effect was created IN CAMERA and I’ll tell you how that was done on another post!

My client was a real star as she was absolutely shivering between takes – but the end result was worth the pain.

WSM Bridal Fashion Shot-10

 

_DSC1686

 

WSM Bridal Fashion Shot-11

WSM Bridal Fashion Shot-15

 

WSM Bridal Fashion Shot-16

_DSC1791

 

Best – Colin

Always open your post

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Morning

Most mornings when I open the mail it’s either bills 😦 junk mail 😦 😦 or some other meaningless piece of paper that either ends up in the bin, or worse, left unopened.

Today though was a different matter!

In the mail today I received a certificate from The Societies.

The Societies are the fastest growing worldwide association for professional photographers. They manage eight internationally recognised photographic organisations focusing on prime services to full time and aspiring full time photographers

Each month they run competitions under each of their organisations, I myself belong to the SINWP and the SWPP (Society of International Nature & Wildlife Photographers & Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers)

The standard of these competitions is very high as the entries each month come from photographers from all over the world. Each entry is ranked as follows:

Gold: Awards will go forward to the annual judging and are deemed to be images of the highest standard and will be published in Professional Imagemaker 

Highly Commended: Above standard. These images will be reviewed every three months and have the potential of being reclassified as Gold.

Not Awarded: Unfortunately these images fall below the standard required to be given an award.

Disqualified: These images have not adhered to the competition rules or category definitions.

The annual judging takes place at a hotel in London in January where the winner of each category is crowned Photographer of the Year and wins a nice trophy.

So I was happy today.

The image is of a common Buzzard in flight and posted below – along with the certificate 🙂

Buzzard

goldawardswpp-blog

Best – Colin