Thursday, May 31, 2007

Testimonial

Every once in a while someone expresses what they feel about your work as a professional photographer. For me the greatest joy is when a client is really happy. Today I received an email from a client, Hayley, who wanted the say thanks to my wife Magda (also a professional photographer) and me, and she wanted to provide a testimonial we could use on our website.

"A wedding day is an important day, and as a bride and groom you want everything to be exactly right. The last thing you want to be doing in the midst of all the excitement is trying to manage a photographer, and worrying that your photos aren't going to be exactly what you want. Luckily for us, our choice of photographer meant this was one less job to worry about and although hundreds of wonderful shots were taken I can honestly say that most of the time I forgot Paul and Magda were even there. In fact, when we showed our album to our friends and family they were amazed to see themselves in a lot of the lovely snaps we had picked and couldn't believe the picture had been taken without them noticing. As a result, we had a great selection of natural, non-posed snaps. However, no request was too much and all our 'obligatory' snaps, despite the long list, were covered without fail."

"We would also really recommend taking the option to purchase the disc afterwards. It is only too difficult to pick the snaps for your album from such a huge selection, having the rights to your photos mean you can create wonderful, thoughtful gifts for family afterwards. I don't know of any other photographers who do this, but it is really worth the small amount of extra cash. We were amazed about how good value the service was and the hours that both Magda and Paul put in were phenomenal - they literally captured every moment from the struggle into the dress to the (rather late in the evening) first dance. I now have a wonderful memento of the day which brings back all the memories whenever I open and I would recommend Paul and Magda to any couple who want brilliant photos and photographers who know what you want from a photo before you do."
- Hayley and Damian

Cheers,
Paul

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Two of the most common photographic problems solved

The two problems I speak of are lack of depth of field and high contrast, particularly in landscape photography.

Combining multiple exposures in Photoshop is a technique often applied to the problem of dealing with high contrast, for example to darken bright skies and bring a more even exposure range across a landscape.

Some photographers even claim that you don’t need ND filters anymore, just take two exposures and combine them using layers in Photoshop. Job done.

However the technique of combining exposures can also be used to solve other photographic problems. A less known strategy is to use two exposures to increase depth of field. Here’s how:

Focus your lens so that the area of sharp focus stretches from the middle distance to the horizon. Then refocus so that the entire foreground is sharp.

Now combine the two exposure using layers in Photoshop. Remove the unsharp areas using a layer mask. You can find out more about layer masks here in a handy little tutorial here and a more advanced article here.

The result is final image which is pin sharp from foreground to horizon.

You can of course apply both the adjustment to the focus and the exposure at the same time. The only thing to watch out for is to not change the aperture when you’re compensating for exposure, only the shutterspeed. If you change the aperture your images will not line up properly.

I hope you’ve found these techniques useful.

Cheers,
Paul

Monday, May 28, 2007

Thoughts on photography 1


Rick contemplates the potential for a shot on the beach in Cornwall.

Photography, as we all know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which we create our own private world. -Arnold Newman

Cheers,

Paul

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Work of art


Met this chap in the street in Leeds. We talked about the trials and tribulations of the local football team and he agreed to pose for me. This image is part of my 'street portraits' project.

I'm thoroughly enjoying this project. It's great to meet people and learn new things. Most are very friendly and open to chat and have their picture taken.

Now you know I don't like advertising stuff and this is not a commercial blog, but I have to say that I think Lightroom is a brilliant piece of software and in combination with Photoshop it gives me the workflow options and speed I need to get through loads of images. Speaking of which, I'd better get on with it.

Someone asked me if the tattoos on the chap are real. The answer is yes, absolutely. I'll upload other images from the series in the coming weeks.

Till soon,

Paul

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Street Portraits


James and a friend in fancy dress for a 21st birthday party on the street in Bournemouth.

I'm working on a series of street portraits and thoroughly enjoying it. These two were part of a whole group and they were having great fun, a bit boisterous but certainly not being destructive or anything. However, when they tried to buy an ice-cream from a stall they were refused service.

I can't stand these small minded people who follow a strict policy, applying it to everyone without looking past clothing and style at the actual individual. Granted if you're dealing with real trouble makers you've got to put your foot down but if you can see that no harm is meant then why be a 'jobs worth' and totally inflexible?

The following day I went into a pub to enquire about the menu and was told to take my cap off. It surprised me. I certainly don't think that I look like a trouble maker. Well maybe I do look a bit dangerous LOL.

In my experience as a photographer dealing with very diverse people from captains of industry to gangsters people are people and the way you treat them and behave will in 99 per cent of the cases determine how they react toward you.

It certainly helps when you're doing street photography to have a feel for and ability to build relationships quickly.

Till soon,
Paul

Friday, May 04, 2007

Visit the archive

This is the Chesil Speedster which is inspired by the classic 1956 Porsche 356. I photographed it in Padstow, Cornwall.

I'd like to welcome my new readers. I've been writing this blog since March 2005 and am humbled by the interest shown from the four corners of the globe. So far I've written 208 articles. Not bad.

Please visit the archive page which has a comprehensive list of articles up to the end of April 2007. It may sound strange but even though I wrote them all when I browse back I discover things of interest which I'd not thought of for a long time. And I think, did I really write that? I always see room for improvement too.

One of the joys of writing is that you can put down arguments and analyse complex issues in a way that leads to discovering new ideas. Every article is a bit of journey and I rarely know the full story until I've written it. And when I read those articles years later I rediscover things that have slipped away into the subconscious.

Enough naval gazing. I sincerely hope you discover something of interest in my archives. Please feel free to let me know what your favourite articles are.

Till next week,

Paul