St Paul’s Chapel And Post Production Ironing.

Last week I finally got around to shooting some models to be able to complete several images I had captured from my latest trip to Greece.
Casting the right models for a shoot together with right styling is always something that needs careful consideration to work well.
On top of that because this image was a composite the actual photography needed very careful planning as lighting, light quality, perspective, colour amongst many other things all needs to come together for the final image to work seamlessly.

 

Shooting Plan Mark Up

 

Even with all the best planning however the odd curve ball can still pop up. Despite preparation the night before one of the models shirts got a little creased on route to the shoot.
Normally this would not had been an issue except the studio iron decided to retire itself ! Fortunately I knew a digital solution and with the schedule being tight I decided this would be a better than have a delay acquiring another iron.

The background image was captured pre dawn and created from around 27 frames stitched together in post to allow for a more pleasing perspective with a 41mm lens and deliver a wider dynamic range.
I decided during the final stages of the composite to change the colour of the female models top from blue to a more contrasting orange to help draw the viewers eye to the models.


Like Clock Work

Today was one of those morning where everything seems to work for you seamlessly and you come away feeling blessed.

I arrived at Lyndos village pre dawn to capture a couple of locations and came across this stunning side street with a beautiful white washed church and the sunrise lit bay behind.

As I finished the image a street cleaner arrived jet washing the cobbles adding an even better surface for the dawn light to bounce off.

I decided to reshoot the image again especially as the colours had further intensified from the rising sun. A fabulous morning of exploring and shooting some stunning locations.

Saint George Chapel Lyndos


Dodging The Wife At Dawn


I woke a 4.45am and once again managed to avoid waking the wife and kids (I think) and tiptoed out of the hotel room.

A family holiday always includes some planned photography shoots which often means some early starts to avoid the tourists and capture the best light. This trip despite being in Rhodes the previous year was no different.

My plan for the following morning was to capture some street lit dawn images around the old town in Rhodes. I had no particular location set in stone it was more of a suck it and see what I stumbled across.

I woke a 4.45am and once again managed to avoid waking the wife and kids (I think) and tiptoed out of the hotel room.

At this time of the morning there were no tourists around just gangs of street cats,street sweepers and groups of scary drunk girls to dodge. It’s a fantastic time of day (night) to be exploring but you do have to be careful as on more than one occasion I’ve almost tripped over and woken the odd person sleeping rough!

The morning went well and I captured 2-3 locations and was finished by sunrise and back at the hotel in plenty of time for breakkie.

 

St Paul’s Gate Rhodes

Rhodes Old Town

 


Hedo, Beach Water-sports Salesman Turkey

Having once owned a home in Turkey I was privileged to have visited the country many times over a ten year period.
This as you would expect also meant I got to make friends with some of the locals and those who worked in the area during the busy summer months.
Hedo was someone I always knew would be in the same place on the beach with the same big smile selling tourists water sports.


Business Portraits For Receipt Bank

Last week I was in central London shooting for a new client Receipt Bank.
Receipt Bank provide revolutionary accountancy/bookkeeping software that helps automate tasks.

The brief was pretty open to interpretation and required me to capture corporate portraits of around 80 staff members at their London headquarters with the business portraits being suitable for website use and profile pictures for sites such as LinkedIn.
After viewing some snaps of the office space and chatting with Stuart the Creative Director we decided to utilise the corporate orange coloured couch in reception for the shots.

Stuart also wanted to capture some fun shots to hang in the office wall at the same time.
I suggested I create some Polaroid-style images complete with authentic light flares commonly associated with the instant prints which I felt would add to the fun element requested.
The shoot went well despite an issue towards the end when we had one flash unit go down but this was quickly rectified and I did not let it interfere with the flow of the shoot.

 


A Dog With A Bone. Scooters,Greek Myths & A Career In Photography

The second thing that people often ask after what I do for a living is “how did you get into that”
I must admit to often asking the same of others I meet as either I’m just nosey or intrigued about the work paths people follow in life.
I always tell my children although all are quite young still ( I was a late starter) you are a long time working so find something you love and make a career in that.
One of the beautiful things about photography is that there are no set ways into it. You can go and get a degree, attend part-time evening classes, assist or simply teach yourself.
Not being the academic type I chose the self-taught route with a short stint as a rather poor assistant.
Ultimately it is the work you produce rather than how you got here that counts at the end of the day.

My journey was rather as my mum would say arse backward!
My father had an interest in photography and this is definitely where my interest initially came from at around 14 years of age. This did not last for long and for whatever reason I sold my camera and moved onto other interests or 5-minute fads as my mum would call them (she had a phrase for many things in life and most not printable!).
As a teenager, my interests turned to riding Vespa and Lambretta scooters to rallies and events across the UK with my friends.
This was the 80’s and by August of 1984 at the age of 16, I decided I wanted to build a custom show scooter.
Another passion I had inherited from my dad was the love of Greece with its rich history and of course mythology.
This was to be the theme for my scooter build and decided to travel around the archeological sites of Greece for a week for further inspiration.
This trip turned out to be the catalyst for my lifelong love of photography.
I borrowed my dad’s very impressive camera kit consisting of Canon A1 and several lenses including a monster of a 200mm zoom.
Looking back I think I probably enjoyed the attention I received from having such an impressive looking camera around my neck.
In 1985 the scooter was completed titled “Chariot Of The Gods” and it won several awards at many of the shows I attended.

 

 

 

 

It was around this time a national magazine was launched called Scootering which I approached and started to freelance for.
I couldn’t believe it I was actually getting paid albeit very little to shoot the people, scooters, and places in the scooter scene which at the time was my life ..I was hooked and decided this was the career I wanted.

 

 

I needed to learn faster so I consumed as much knowledge about photography & printing as I could and enrolled onto a home study course with the New York Institute Of Photography to learn the fundamentals.
This also allowed me to study while still working in the family Carpet & Furniture business.
Most of my knowledge was then gained by large amounts of shooting and note taking, so basically much trial and error.

Approaching the late 80’s an opportunity to start my own business came along with the government’s Enterprise Allowance Scheme together with the Princes Youth Business Trust.
This gave me a grant for equipment plus a loan of £1000.00 to kick start my business. In January 1990 my business called Apollo Photographics was launched.

Looking back now I don’t know how the hell I thought I was ready to enter business especially as my photography was still very raw to put it kindly but as Nike say “Just Do It” and indeed I did.
Business, however, did roll in coming from small local businesses, local papers, and tourist boards.
Circa 1991 with no apparent fear I booked an appointment to show my work to Somerset-based Clarks Shoes and incredibly came away with the biggest shoot to date which gave me my first real big break into Advertising work.

 

 

The job went well and I apparently became flavour of the month and more work followed from Clarks for the following 12-18 months and I thought I had made it ….but I was very wrong!.

Photography can be a cruel bitch and you can never sit back and relax for any length of time especially in the digital age where everything changes so quickly.The country went into a recession and work did go very quiet.It was around this time that another client who probably recognised I  needed a photographic reality check got me a day assisting a friend of their’s who was a well-established advertising photographer based in Bristol called Colin Peacock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That client was right Colin’s studios and his work were an incredible wake-up call for me and I quickly realised how little I still really knew.
I was lucky with my timing in that Colin was in need of a second assistant so I ended up putting my business on hold and staying with him for around 9 months.
We worked on many large-scale shoots for well-known clients. The most memorable being a day at St James Palace in London shooting a royal portrait of Princess Alexandra.

Eventually however, I got itchy feet and despite knowing I still had much to learn I left Colin to continue on my own.
I know he rated my chances of making a living in photography at exactly 0 and at that point looking back, I would have to agree with him.
However quoting my mum once again she would say “Your like a dog with a bone once you get a bee in your bonnet” meaning I’m quite a tenacious bugger if I get an idea in my head and for me not being a Photographer never entered my head for a second.

So as you can see my path was indeed slighly arse backward but passion, hard work, eagerness to keep learning and a refusal to give up is what has guided me this far and still does. Yes it can be hard and yes Ive had doubts probably at least once a month but pack up and do something else ?… nah  I’m like a dog with a bone.