Running studio experience sessions is always good fun; not just for the participants but me as well! I recently organised my first one for 2018 with the wonderful Hayley Bird as our model. It was so popular, we had to put on 2 sessions with a total of 12 photographers taking part. Each session is 2 hours long, use of the studio and lighting, a welcome cuppa available, help and advice from me if needed and always a professional model. Why? If you’ve never used or been in a studio environment before, it can be pretty intimidating. Not only have you lighting to contend with but you need to communicate with your model, give instructions or an insight into what you are hoping to capture in your images. If you’re new to studio photography, having a professional model means they know exactly what they’re doing so, if necessary, can run off a series of poses for you, taking the pressure off you having to come up with an idea. It’s not as easy as it looks. Time is money and if you’ve already planned your session with regards to a theme, lighting set-ups, poses, etc., you’ll maximise your time shooting instead of trying to think on your feet.
Planning starts before you’ve even booked your studio space and model. Questions to ask yourself:-
- Why am I booking this?
- What theme or look am I hoping to capture?
- Will I use these images as is or want to put them in a composite image? This may be easier with a plain background, so what background do you want for the session?
- Can I afford this on my own or would it be best to collaborate / share with another photographer?
- How long do I need to book the studio and model for? This may depend on the theme / looks you’ve chosen as it may take time for your model to change between them, eg., outfits, make-up / hair, etc.
Communication is the key. Always ensure you’ve contacted the model / studio a few days before your booking to make sure everything is still OK. Before the shoot, discuss what you are hoping to achieve with the model – they may have suggestions / ideas that could help.
I recently bought myself a new camera, the Panasonic GX80 and wanted to try out the time lapse feature, so the studio experience session gave a great opportunity to experiment. Here is the result, not Oscar-winning but fun all the same!
I always try and fit in an hour for myself when I run these sessions and this one was no exception. The wonderful Hayley Bird was our model for the day and never disappoints! But because the morning session overran (which is usual) I only ended up with 15 minutes to get the shots I wanted. As I had already planned my shots, I managed to get them anyway, albeit a little quicker than I’d have liked! I’ve put a couple of before and after shots below. Most people don’t appreciate the amount of time, effort and expertise that goes into producing just one image. Suffice to say, from start to finish, there were tweaks in Camera Raw, several layers to produce the effects, skin, hair and imperfection work plus a little sharpening and soft focusing to achieve. All in all, one image took me over an hour and a half to finish.
And the second one:-
It’s worth appreciating the amount of skill, expertise and time that goes into creating a finished image. Multiply that by the number of images that may be taken at a wedding and you’ll understand how much time is needed to perfect a set of images. The studio sessions were great fun and everyone enjoyed their time. Keep an eye on my Facebook page and blog for details of the next one I’m planning or even subscribe to get the latest news and updates below! Comment, share & enjoy!
Did you know you can normally book a photographer for a full day for all your business photographs?
So why not make the most of it? For a very modest expense you can start to build a library of photographs that you can use for many diverse purposes in your marketing, social media and more.
For example, you’re putting together a press release and need some images of the Managing Director and Happy Customer. Well make the most of it, simply with these two alone you’ve got lots of opportunity:
Both of them:
– “Grip & Grin”
– Informal chat with laughs shows how personal the client relationship is
– Showing customer around shop floor
– Helping customer determine which product to purchase
– Showing customer entire product range
MD on his own:
– Looking official (for annual report)
– Looking happy (for website)
– Looking casual (he’s a nice guy)
– Looking formal (he’s a serious business man)
– Chatting with staff (he’s got a happy workforce)
– Standing or using product (knows what his business is about)
Happy Customer on his own:
– Using your product
– Discussing with staff.
– Selecting which product
– His old one which lasted 30 years
But then, just think about all the other opportunities ignoring these two:
– Headshots of staff for security, web-site, brochures, business cards
– Working shots of staff, how dedicated they are
– Working shots of factory / shop etc
– How the product is made
– What the product is used for
– How to use the products and finished product shots
– Other happy customers (or staff dressed up)
– Shots of the office with logo & signs
The checklist simply goes on, and of course you have got those shots, so your website, your mailshots, your brochures, your adverts, next time you need a photograph, you’ve got it to hand and without needing to call the photographer in again. Saving you time and money and enhancing your marketing. If you’re looking to enhance or start your image library, get in touch for more information.
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With so many affordable SLR and mirrorless ones like the Olympus OM-D, Panasonic and Fuji to name a few, on the market now, everyone is a photographer. The majority are enthusiastic amateurs who love taking images that please themselves and their family and friends. Sometimes though, we all wish we could have all the latest gadgets and accessories to help us take better pictures. Unfortunately, most of the time they are very expensive and might be out of reach of some people.
It’s not always necessary to have the latest gadgets, accessories and twiddly bits and pay huge amounts of money for them. Some accessories can be made relatively cheaply and still do the same job. I’ve listed below some helpful alternatives which may give you a little edge on your friends and family when it comes to taking images.
On-Camera Flash – We’ve all done it! Took a great picture with our little pop-up flash and everyone looks really white!! If your flash is facing the subject this will always happen. There are flashguns we can buy to bounce our light and soften it but if we don’t have one of these and rely on our pop-up flash, being able to soften the light would be very helpful. There are gadgets you can buy to do this like mini diffusers but if you want a quick fix that doesn’t cost a penny, covering the flash with a tissue and holding it on with a rubber band will do as good a job as any!! Alternatively, the end of a tights / popsock with the inevitable rubber band will also do the trick! Try it and see!
Reflectors – These are great for directing light back to the subject and can be a life-saver on a dull day or when you only have a small amount of light. Buying a reflector is one option but you can easily make your own very cheaply. Either use a large piece of rectangular cardboard and paint one side black or buy a piece of black foamboard (from most good art and craft stores) and cover one side in aluminium foil using the not-so-shiny side (it’s not just for cooking!!). Only covering one side will give you a reflector to gain light and a deflector to stop light and they work great!! Now you have a double-sided reflector. Try it and see!
Off-Camera Flash with a Flashgun – If you do have a flashgun for your camera, it’s so liberating to be able to get it off the camera and use it independently to create different lighting. There are lots of accessories for flashguns but sometimes these can be expensive. One way to make a modifier called a snoot for your flashgun is to buy some “blackwrap”. This is essentially black bendable aluminium foil and can be used to make a snoot for your flashgun which will direct the light in a narrow field. It can be used again and again. With a bit more creativity you could make yourself a larger reflector for your flashgun by cutting a large circle from your blackwrap, cut a hole in the middle for your flash to sit through and make a larger beauty-style dish. Now you have a snoot and a beauty dish.
Photography Beanbag – These are sometimes used if you’re out and about and need to rest your camera on something to steady it. Specific photographic ones are also quite expensive but you may already have a perfectly good alternative in your own home. If you have one of those wheatbags that are used for aches and pains (the ones you put in the microwave sometimes to heat up), it will double up as a perfectly good beanbag to steady your camera. Now you have a photographic beanbag.
It doesn’t have to be expensive to enjoy your hobby. Thinking a little outside the box can help you to make all sorts of gadgets, accessories and twiddly bits to help you take better and better pictures. If you’d like to learn more and improve your photography skills, please get in touch. I run regular studio experience sessions, along with beginners sessions covering basic camera techniques. I hope you’ve found this helpful and please feel free to share it with others. Comment, share & enjoy!!
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FAQ’s for Boudoir Sessions – Photography Norfolk
With Valentines nearly upon us, Christmas a distant memory and the not so joyful months of January and February dragging along, if you’ve ever thought about a Boudoir session or “Empowerment” sessions as I like to refer to them as, and you’re feeling nervous about booking one, I’ve put together some FAQ’s which might help you make that leap. Believe me when I say, you’ll have a great time and make the most of the attention while you can!
Do I need to be able to pose?
No, I’ll talk you through that, there are a few tricks I will show you for posing in any photograph and as we go along I will guide you to the best and most flattering positions.
Can you do my make-up and hair style?
Yes, absolutely! It’s something I offer as an option because some people like to do their own, but if you feel like being pampered, I have professional make-up artists and stylists to call upon.
Do you provide clothes?
You need to bring your own outfits. The outfits need to fit you and make you feel good. I will provide drapes and some props. You might find it useful to bring a dressing gown with you too.
I don’t want loose prints, what is the best way to give these images to my partner?
I have a range of options including small books, large albums, presentation boxes and digital copies. There will always be something right for you to gift to your partner.
I want the session for myself?
And quite right too, nothing wrong with that all! Lots of my clients just want to feel good about themselves or have a memory of when they were feeling great.
I am very nervous, will it be ok?
That is quite normal, thinking about a boudoir session can be quite scary. But trust me when I say most of our clients find it empowering and liberating. I am completely professional and you will find the whole session much more comfortable and easier than you expect. Remember, you are in control throughout the shoot – if you want to take a break or try something different – just let us know.
Can a friend come with me?
Yes, that is fine if you need some security. They can watch your shoot in the studio. You may find when the shoot starts that they are a distraction, in which case they can sit in my waiting room.
Will I have a female photographer?
Yes you will.
Do you airbrush the pictures?
Yes, I can offer a range of retouching options. All temporary skin blemishes will automatically be cleaned up. I can also offer body re-shaping and skin smoothing. It will still look like you, but you at your best!
I have some scars, is that a problem?
Probably not, we all show ravages of time and marks of our adventures during life. Birth marks, stretch marks, scars and tattoos can nearly always be worked around. I can also retouch them as required. It does depend on what your particular issue is, so please have a chat with me beforehand.
If you need to know anything else or wish to make a booking, then please call on 01508 570875 or 07776 353551 or click here to complete my contact form and I’ll be happy to answer your questions. More details about my Boudoir / Makeover Sessions can be found by clicking here
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Now for the official announcement! I am The Societies of Photographers‘ Event Photographer of the Year 2017! I still can’t believe it and there were tears!
I watched the 3rd place image come up and thought “Ooh I must be 2nd”, then the 2nd place image came up and it wasn’t mine. Then it dawned on me – I’ve actually won this! Hearing my name read out, the applause and, apparently, a lot of people standing and applauding, I made my way up to the stage. It was a fantastic moment I will cherish for a long long time and it made my week at the Convention.
I love attend The Societies’ Convention every year, it’s a nice boost for January and there is so much to see and learn during the week for photographers of all ages and skill levels.
Here are a couple of pics of me with my “globe”. Can’t wait to go next year now!
And here’s the winning image!
So, if you have an event coming up this year and would like to have an award-winning photographer to cover it for you, please get in touch! Comment, share & enjoy![inf_infusionsoft_inline optin_id=optin_4]
Well it’s nearly Christmas and I sit here thinking about 2017. It’s been a great year in every way. So to celebrate this, please enjoy this short slideshow. You may even be able to spot yourself somewhere along the way. My heartfelt thanks to all my clients both past, present and future. HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!
Well it’s nearly the end of 2017, only a couple of weeks or so to go and what a year it has been! I’ve photographed weddings, portraits, newborns, babies, families, commercial and corporate, events and still found time to do some personal projects as well.
Part of my ethos of photography is to continue learning and developing my skills, knowledge and taking onboard feedback and critique from my peers. I have recently blogged a couple of times about the importance of entering competitions and, with help and advice from others, I have managed a good crop of award-winning images this year from The Societies, Master Photographers Association, The Guild of Photographers and National Photographic Society which I am a member of.
Here are just a few of my award-winning images from this year
What’s really made my year is to be nominated as a finalist by The Societies (SWPP) for Event Photographer of the Year. There is a fantastic Awards Dinner at the end of the Annual Convention held in London where I will find out if I’ve been successful in winning. Just to be nominated is a great achievement and an honour as this competition is run over 11 months of the year and is entered by professional photographers from all over the world. Here is the image chosen
To actually win would be a dream come true! I also achieved another landmark for me this year. I have delivered a seminar to member of the Master Photographers Association in October and I shall be holding a masterclass at The Societies’ Convention in January about health, safety and first aid for you and your clients. It’ so important to know the basics of first aid because no-one should suffer due to the lack of first aid.
I would like to thank everyone who has helped, advised and generally kept me on track this past year and I’m looking forward to a fabulous 2018. A very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to you all.
I posted a blog earlier in the year about entering Competitions and why we, as professional photographers, do this. As mentioned in the earlier blog, running a professional photographic studio is not easy, even more so in recent times, because everyone is a “photographer”. Not only are you competing with other professional photographers, but you need to constantly keep abreast of new trends, ideas and keep your creative energy alive. I was watching a programme on television recently and heard a phenomenal fact – apparently last year more than a trillion photographs were taken by people on holiday. Not all of them will be great photographs, but it’s mind-blowing how many images we see on a daily basis. But what sets a professional photographer apart from everyone else? Why would you decide to use a professional photographer? Here are just a few of the most important reasons:-
- You are buying their impeccable service to you, not just the pictures they take.
- They are properly insured which gives you peace of mind.
- They have artistic vision and an “eye” for an image which will set them apart from others. Their attention to detail will also be invaluable in creating that unique photograph just for you.
- They have professional equipment which is regularly maintained, serviced and upgraded when necessary.
- They do this everyday – its their profession and they’ve invested in education and training for it.
- They use professional software and know how to use it.
- And last but by no means least – you deserve the BEST!
I am an active member of various professional Associations and Societies, the Societies or SWPP, the Master Photographers Association or MPA, the National Photographic Society or NPS and The Guild of Photographers or just The Guild. There is a wealth of knowledge, support and educational training available within these bodies which is invaluable. We learn, flourish and improve only by receiving critique and feedback on the images we produce and move forward with our skill and expertise by learning new ones.
Each of these organisations run monthly competitions with various categories. They are all extremely important to help you see what your fellow photographers are producing, new ideas and whether your images fit well with the company they keep!
This month, I was ecstatic to find out I had been awarded a Gold and 2 Highly Commended Awards from the NPS in the monthly competition. Apart from dancing around the room when I found out, it was even more poignant as all three images had come from one studio session. Consistency in quality and production of work is the key when it comes to hiring a professional photographer. Here are the images for you to enjoy. If you’re looking to hire a photographer for either a social occasion, a family portrait or a commercial venture, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
There is also the USB/Mini Book box. Again a completely bespoke finish just for you with a USB containing digital images and a flush mounted mini book with your favourite 6 images to treasure.
With a multitude of finishes available, you’ll be spoilt for choice! Available for portrait, family, lifestyle, newborn and pet sessions as well as a wonderful gift for weddings. Comment, share & enjoy!
How to Have a Relaxing Photo Session
Most of the stress around a session is typically preparing for the day. So I’m here to help you be prepared and relaxed.
A Week Ahead
Get out the outfits you want to wear and get everybody to try them on. Make sure the all fit well and nothing needs repairing. Once they are all tested, wash and press them. Put them to one side so no-one can wear them. While you are there, select whatever shoes, jewellery and other accessories and props you might want.
One Day Ahead
Pack up the bag for the session including snacks, drinks etc. Have a family chat about how fun it is going to be and that it won’t take too long. Make sure your children have toys or books just in case they have to wait for something.
On the Day
Get everyone fed, ideally a light meal so they are still alert and not posing on an overfull stomach. Don’t get your family dressed until after everyone has eaten, washed their faces, applied make-up and brushed their teeth.
On the way over.
Allow yourself a few minutes extra travelling time, just so you are relaxed about the journey. You don’t need to be a half hour early, but five minutes early will be fine. If anyone wants a drink on the way, then no coloured drinks just in case.
On the shoot.
If someone is getting thirsty or hungry, then a quick snack (a biscuit or sweet) or drink is fine. It can be a little warm sometimes. Don’t get impatient if the children are excited or want to move around, it’s a different environment so they’re bound to be inquisitive. They reflect your own mood – as long as you are relaxed your children will be too. With very young children sometimes they just need a five minute quiet cuddle, that’s fine, I can always fit them into your session.
The main thing is to have fun and enjoy it! The more you enjoy the session the better the photos will be! My studio sessions are only £49 and include a complimentary gift and £50 voucher towards a bespoke wall art product of your choice. Christmas is only round the corner so it’s a great time to get your family portrait updated – and they make great presents too!