A lovely campaign called “Whoever You Want To Be” for private school Stonar that I photographed and composited together a while ago.
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.
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.
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.
A few weeks ago I produced a mature travel lifestyle photoshoot Mature Travel In The Pesky Sun.
Following on from this I decided to capture another travel shoot this time with a younger more upbeat concept.
My models Tristan & Robyn were in their early twenties and quickly built a great rapport. On all the shoots I do my aim is to not only get the brief nailed (and some) while making the production as fun as possible. This was especially true on this shoot, in fact, my pre-shoot chat was simply let’s have fun!
Tristan & Robyn built a great rapport very quickly and my job was made much easier as a result. This really underlines the importance of having the right models that not only look the part but have the right personalities.
Happy New Year…We often say that as a matter of politeness..but it does not always feel that way does it? It’s no secret or maybe surprise that those in the creative freelancing field can often be plagued by self-doubt especially when times are slow at this time of year.
A couple of weeks ago I posted Boosting The Ayr Miles about my recent shoots including one in Ayrshire Scotland.
The shoot was for KCP Limited who work nationwide from their Scottish base.
KCP operate a large fleet of bespoke vehicles that dispose of all manners of waste and are Scotlands leaders in their field.
My brief was to capture both images of staff and the vehicles on location at the various sites that KCP maintain and also come up with some hero shots of the vehicles within the beautiful Scottish landscape.
Apart from this I was left with complete creative freedom including picking some of the locations which actually proved much easier than expected.
We had a very tight schedule with just 2 half days but the weather played nice for the most part.
The one image I was not completely looking forward too was a request for a high shot of the fleet from a cherry picker as heights are not my favourite thing !
The two main concerns I had was the wind had got up (sods friggin law !) and the fact the owner of KCP Karl was going to be operating the machine.
The reason Karl was a concern is that we have been friends since our teenage years and I knew he would not miss a chance to have some fun scaring me…which of course he did !
Combining two of my passions of Photography & Football is as my mum would have phrased it “like having your cake and eating it !” My son now 11 and a half has been at Yeovil as a player since he was around 7 years old. As a result of spending a lot of time at the club for training sessions and games the Yeovil Town Community Trust learn’t of my work and asked if I could help them with their imagery & promotional needs.The Trust are the charity arm of Yeovil Town F.C and also run the Youth teams and training sessions and various other work within the local community.
The latest images they required (show here) where to illustrate the various Develpment Centres that are located around Somerset and their appropriate kits for a new website launch.Having full creative freedom I decided that the kits and model would look great captured against a white clean background and then to create some impact with the creative use of lighting.
The trust knowing my son had recently modelled in a video for the NSPCC and the fact the budget was tight being a charity asked if he would model the kits for the shoot.
Here are a few of the retouched finished images.