Centaur

I captured and retouched this for the pure fun of it and because Ive loved the Greek myths since I was a kid.
This image involved a lot of transplanting of hair for the horse and adding a beard and longer hair on my model as it would be ridiculous to have a clean shaven centaur with short gelled hair!


Lifestyle In Loret De Mar

Back in October I made a trip to the Catalonian resort of Loret De Mar.
Unfortunately the weather was the worst seen along the Spanish coast for decades which of course hindered things slightly !
Fortunately the weather did break albeit just for two brief periods and I managed to capture several locations I had scouted.
Several months on with my models Susie Coats and Andy Elvin arranged (see blog post Pre Production For Post Production) I then photographed the models images and went into post production to composite the images together into the final shots shown here.


Pre Production For Post Production. Composite Lifestyle Shooting.

Tomorrow I have a location lifestyle shoot planned with a couple of models so I thought I’d give a glimpse on how I prepare for some of my shoots.

It can be surprising to some people just how much pre-production can go into even the smallest shoots especially if they are on location.
My shoot tomorrow has it’s own particular added elements that need careful preparation and close attention and that is because the backgrounds have already been captured several months before.
When I travel I often will go out capturing my chosen locations before dawn or dusk for the best light (depending on what I’m after).
If I have a choice I prefer dawn not because I love to get up at 4am (in the summer) but because there is less likely to be any tourists around especially in popular city locations.
Saying that having been a retoucher for 21 years I know some clever techniques to very simply remove people from images in post without the need for any stress while on location if needed.

My models will be captured either in my studio or as is more often the case outside in natural daylight and supplemented with lighting if required.

So for this shoot to be captured and be successfully blended realistically in post-production there are many things that need careful attention. Here are just a few of the basics.

The light quality
Light angle
Light temperature
The surrounding elements and their colour
Camera height
Camera angle (perspective)
Lens focal length (this can be tweaked a little)

As I said these are just a few things that I’m carefully looking at.
To help me with this I create a markup image for quick reference (shown below).

Here are a few samples from a previous shoot.

As you will see in the second picture in the bottom row if possible I’ll always take a snap of myself in the scene.
You have probably already guessed that this gives me a great reference when I shoot my models to how the light in the scene should be interacting on them even if it’s not a pretty picture!

So one question you may ask is why go to so much trouble why not shoot the models in situ like many photographers?
Well, I first should add I’m definitely not against doing it all in camera and often do however there is a multitude of reasons why it might not always be possible.
The main one is simply the logistics of getting models, stylist, makeup artist and the many other people that make up a production crew to a particular location at a certain time.
For me, it’s partly the above plus, of course, the substantial costs involved as some of these images are purely self-funded portfolio pieces so budgets can be naturally tight.
The other more personal reason is it enables me the luxury of more time to concentrate on capturing the changing light and various angles the locations has to offer with more flexibility.

It was interesting to read that Lord Litchfield towards the latter end of his career shot in a similar way.
As far as the post-production is concerned there is, of course, some work (and cost involved)  pulling all the elements together but then how often these days does an image not have some retouching applied before being published? If planned and executed correctly the image can often come together remarkably quickly.

As I said above I’m quite happy working and doing it all in camera and have done so many times but for me working this way provides a flexible alternative providing it’s planned accordingly.

 

 


Contentment, Bribing Children & Blending The Soul Of A Place

It’s my 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.

Life  Contentment-0253
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 it’s 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’s 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 Contenment.
The model is my youngest and cheapest child to bribe for a shoot Ava with my neighbours very photogenic dog Barney who where both captured upon my return home.
Below is a short video of how the image came together in post.


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.

Life-0001

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 vacinity it could not be taken off so it was carefully removed in post 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.

Below is a short video showing how the images all came together in post production.


“Waiting” Blending Passions

Solving problems and getting work completed fast and to the highest quality is what Advertising Photography is all about and something I get huge satisfaction from. Saying that just because something is assigned  does not mean the same principles don’t apply to personal work it just means you are expressing your own creative ideas and solving your own problems to reach the final image.

Centaur

This image titled “Waiting’ blends my love of Greek Mythology together with my passion of the Sea which I’ve lived close to for a large part of my life. It’s a worry really as I’m very consious that many of my images contain the coast in them to the point that I have to avoid placing too many in my Book or on my Website, but you can’t choose what inspires you to create.

Here is a short video of how the images all came together in post production.

 


Contentment

It’s hard to believe that only a few weeks ago I was with the family sunning ourselves in 24 degrees in sunny Spain.Although a family holiday I as always took along my cameras,tripod etc and ventured out several times at dawn during the week to capture some images that represented the location as I was experiencing it. The Costa Del Sol is a lovely area of Spain with beautiful beaches and people out enjoying the warm climate either cycling or running often with their dogs in tow.The image I created below shows the beach,palm trees and one of the several lifeguard towers that occupy the beaches. The final element was to photograph the lifestyle image upon my return to the UK which completes the outdoor family lifestyle of the Costa’s.The final image shown here ended up combining 11 separate images and retains details as fine as dog hairs which is always a time consuming but hugely important element in all of the work I create.

 

Life  Contentment-0253


“Waiting”

One of the benefits of personal work is that unlike commercial assignments you have no deadline to adhere to so can pick up the project when inspiration takes you.
This particular image was an alternative set up from a personal shoot I did a while back with the final image being titled “Chiron Of Thessaly”
I never used the alternative image here until now probably because I did not have the urgency too or more likely simply had not been inspired by the correct environment for it.
This all changed while in the Algarve last year when I captured these wonderful porous cliffs at dusk and for some reason felt they would be a perfect partner for the rear shot of the Centaur.

Some images are highly planned down to the finest details while others simply come together and just work like they have when the time is right.

iPhone 5

Time lapse Video Of The Post Production

 


The Fine Details, Surveying The Moor

I was asked recently to help out a neighbour with some images for a new business venture she was setting up.
The main image needed was a portrait of her with her dog Barney and I had the perfect location in mind that I had found only a week previously.
As with most shoots containing more than one person composition is key especially here where we have a person and a smallish animal that need equal attention in the frame.To do this I used a very large fallen tree that provided a great prop and worked perfectly for the main image required but also provided another unplanned opportunity when Barney decided to climb onto the very top of the trunk.


I very quickly spotted the potential of the scene unfolding and fired off half a dozen frames before he climbed down and the moment was gone.
I knew right there before previewing any images that I had a strong image that could be developed further in post.
I cant explain what it is that that makes a potential image appear in front of me (when many people do not see it ) except to say it’s an unconscious thing perhaps developed (pardon the pun) over the 26 + years of looking through a camera.
The final composite required a lot of retouching to remove the harness that Barney was wearing and to retain all the very fine details I’m obsessed with keeping and seamlessly blending with the background.
Retaining fine details like these takes a lot of work but knowing the image will stand up to the closest of  scrutiny is important.

Barney Post Work

Next I decided to scan through my archives to find the perfect background to compliment the image.
The image I decided to use is one of Exmoor that I had shot a couple of years ago but had never used and provided a perfect fit for the mood I wanted to create.The final image titled “Surveying The Moor” together with a close up of Barney are shown below.