Lifestyle Photography Shoot, A Black Sheet And A Shaded Barn, Capturing Jock The Diver
Inspiration for creating lifestyle images can appear when you are least expecting it.
A year or so ago I was snapping pictures, my kids, while they were exploring rock pools on a small Cornish beach.
I was pretty engrossed with capturing the best shots I could on my iPhone while not dropping it into the water again (yes I destroyed the last one this way) when suddenly a dark dressed figure appeared between the rocks heading for the water.
The guy was all geared up in a wetsuit but not for surfing for diving complete with tanks and spearfish and I remember thinking what a great image this could make amongst the towering rocks.
A year or so on we revisited the area and I decided to return to the beach to capture it and create the image that had inspired me.
Capturing the background was pretty uneventful and my hopes that there might be an amazing coincidence and the diver might turn up faded along with the beautiful light.
No matter, part of the fun creating composite images is tracking down people to photograph so I hit the web and contacted several local Diving clubs and shops seeking a suitable willing model.
I eventually got chatting to Mike “Jock” Stewart who teaches people to dive not far from my studio base. After chatting for a while he explained to me I may not want to use him as he was 66 years old and retired !… I explained even without having met him that he would probably be perfect.
Yes, I could have hired the kit and got a young attractive model but as a lifestyle photographer of many years, I want to shoot a mixture of work besides how much more interesting to have someone passionate about their sport with years of experience and many tales to tell.
A time was arranged to shoot the next day and I set off to get a few things needed like a bag of sand to help add the small details needed to complete the composite.
Like with all composite images there are several things that need careful thought before shooting like perspective, the colour of the surroundings, focus and of course matching the quality and direction of light.
At this point, I should show you an impressive shot of the interior of our beautiful old Hamstone Barn stuffed with lighting and grips..but in reality, a black sheet from Asda and the open shade of a disused farm barn was all that was needed to blend and match the lighting to the background scene.
Not all that impressive I agree but I knew this would give the best result, after all why try and recreate daylight in the studio when with a little manipulation you can have the real thing.
The shoot went like clockwork and Jock was a pleasure to work with and quite happy to have water, oil and sand thrown over him!
The 3 completed images came together seamlessly in post-production partly due to some careful pre-planning and plenty of image retouching knowledge.
A Lifestyle Portrait, Keeping The Ambience The Dark Art Of Weaving The Withy
While on a shoot capturing some images for my personal project Life In A Somerset Landscape at Withy growers P.H Coates I came across this very dark but atmospheric room.
In it three guys where busy working in the dim light and plenty of banter was being exchanged in their strong Somerset accents especially when I was introduced to them followed by the words photographing you where mentioned!
It wasn’t a Landscape… but the room had a rustic historic charm and bags of atmosphere and I could visualize the final lifestyle portrait image complete with Matthew Godfrey one of the guys who skillfully weaved wicker fences in the room.
The image was going to be a tricky one to attempt to capture in one frame due to the dim light and the fact there were elements I wanted to be visible to help tell the story without over lighting and killing the whole ambience of the place.
It’s one of those moments when seeing the final image and having extensive knowledge of photo retouching techniques allowed me to harvest all the images I would need then combine them in post-production without a huge amount of system time.
Photo Retouching Contentment, Bribing Children & Blending The Soul Of A Place
As well as being an advertising photographer I also offer high-end photo retouching services.
This means even when not working on an assignment I will often challenge to myself that even on a family holiday I return with at least one killer image that represents the place and my experience of it.
There was a time in my younger years where I would never relax when away and I’d be running around every day at dawn and dusk shooting like a man possessed.
Over the years my way of working has changed (to the relief of the wife) and I often feel the need of a more challenging and unique way of creating that requires a little more of a planned approach.
This image (well some of it) was shot on the Costa Del Sol in Spain during one such family holiday. I had been out with my camera a few times during the week but mainly scouting for inspiration for the killer image.
Was struck me about the area was the amount of people out at both morning and night walking their dogs, running, cycling or on rollerblades simply enjoying the beautiful coast and its climate.
The coast was dotted with these striking looking lifeguard towers and clusters of exotic looking Palm trees along the beach that provided shade and a perch for the large colony of Parakeets.
Inspiration was gained and I decided I would venture out at daybreak later that week and capture some of these elements and create the image below titled Contentment.
The model is my youngest and cheapest child to bribe for a shoot Ava with my neighbours very photogenic dog Barney who were both captured upon my return home.
A Lifestyle portrait going back in time capturing good king hal at the court.
Living where I do I’m fortunate to be surrounded by some stunning National Trust properties. It was during many of my visits to Barrington Court that I kept bumping into Mike Farley who is a full-time Henry VIII impersonator.
During one conversation I told Mike about my work as a lifestyle photographer and photo retoucher and he agreed for me to photograph him.
My vision for this image was to take Mike back to Barrington Court and create a clean simple and timeless stately background from the various garden hedges and trees available in Barrington Courts grounds.
The actual shoot with Mike only took 10-15 minutes to complete partly due to the pre-planning already done. It’s also always my intention not to take up too much of peoples precious time that they are kindly allowing me to take up.
Mike who happens to be an ex comedian was a joy to photograph and his website can be found here
Photo Retouching For A Seamless Hair Transplant “Surveying The Moor”
This image came out of doing a favour for a friend who was setting up a business for house sitting dogs and needed some promotional images of herself with her dog Barney.
It was while on location shooting the portraits that we passed this huge fallen tree and Barney decided to climb on top and the image simply announced itself in front of me. Unfortunately Barney had a bright red harness on and due to sheep being in the vicinity it could not be taken off so using some careful photo retouching it was removed in Photoshop making sure to add suitable fine hairs for a seamless result.
The background was a landscape captured on Exmoor and proved a perfect fit with the correct colour grading.
Commercial Photo Shoot, Yeovil Town F.C. Community Sports Trust
Combining two of my passions in Commercial 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 learnt of my work as a commercial photographer in Somerset and asked if I could help them with their imagery & promotional needs. The Trust is 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) were to illustrate the various Development 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 images with the completed photo retouching.
Trec A Lifestyle Portrait, Venice Beach 1992
While touring America as a younger man! my last stop was Venice Beach in L.A.
I found Venice beach to be everything I had anticipated it to be including some very interesting people for capturing lifestyle portraits.
It was while enjoying the beach that I saw this guy working Brooks Tower (lifeguard station) and I knew I couldn’t depart California without capturing an iconic lifeguard made famous by Baywatch!
After chatting for a short while I discovered that the gentlemen’s name was Trec and he informed me he was approaching 40 years old and had been a lifeguard for many years in Venice Beach.
Not wanting to distract him long for obvious reasons I quickly captured several frames of film of him with thanks and left him to keep everyone safe around Brooks Tower.
Trec Vencie Beach Life Guard 1992