I've recently started offering my retouching services to the public and have completed a retouchers profile on Purpleport. Take a look and if you ever want any photos edited, give me a shout .
Sam Hunt is a photographer who I went to school with, he has recently found a passion for photography and I want to share some of his beautiful landscape imagery with you.
Sam uses slow shutter speeds to capture this beach scene with a dreamy effect.
Here is an interview for you to get to know Sam.
What got you into photography?
When I used to work in the kitchen of Damien Hirst’s restaurant in Ilfracombe, I worked for a chef called Laurence Hill-Wickham. It was his work/ images and the good wages (from long hours) that made it possible for me to take up photography as a hobby. But it was the local North Devon landscape that inspired me to take photos.
What work are you the most proud of?
I find this hard to answer. As I am still a student I have been focusing on work for modules. My proudest body of work from College are from my first two modules. It was the first time I used film and learned to develop my own negatives. I enjoy all the processes and formulas of photography whether its analogue or digital. It was also the first time I was given the task of producing a body of images. I felt I had a lot of catching up to do as I had only been taking photos for just over half a year before I started studying. I received some very flattering comments.
What is your favourite type of photography?
Landscape/ fine art/ documentary. I play around with macro sometimes. I’m a bit of a gadget fanboy so I tend to experiment with lots of things I find on the internet. I am still unsure of what future I want to have within photography but at the moment I hold landscapes closest to my heart and plan on saving up to work on a few portfolios after college and when I have a job!
What equipment do you use?
I have a canon 500D, but I have used Hasselblads, Mamiyas, Canon 5D M2‘s, depending on what equipment I use during college. Plymouth College of Art has a wicked resource center for photography. I normally don’t leave home without my Benbo tripod and ball head, 10-22mm Wide Angle Lens, Neutral density filters, I love Lee filters (unfortunately I have to borrow them from the College), Cable Release. Post- production, Lightroom/ Elements, Lucis Art3.
Whats your favourite location and do you have an image of it?
My favorite Location is a hard one, I guess at the moment the most inspiring place I have had to photograph is my hometown of Ilfracombe. It was a real challenge to achieve interesting photos of somewhere I had grown up in as I was desensitized to the beautiful coastal location but once I studied formal practice I was given a fresh perspective of the town and it has been the place where I have developed my techniques.
Whats next for your photography?
At the moment I feel it's going to be important for me to build and upgrade my photography equipment so that's the next step, camera and lenses. As far as a few years are concerned, I wish to develop a few portfolios and enter some important competitions. I have a few Ideas for a landscape portfolio and one for portraiture but It’s too early to say what.
Who do you admire in the photography world?
Brassaï was the first photographer I studied and I have taken on board a lot of the formal photography rules from him but I have had a few favourites for different reasons. Trey Ratcliffe- HDR, Zoriah Miller- photojournalism, however my current fascination is Timothy Allen and his work for Human Planet by the BBC. I have just bought the photo book and used his online time-lapse tutorial. I would love the opportunity to travel and build a collection of my own images.
Do you have a website?
Yes I do- www.shphotography.moonfruit.com
It needs updating which I am planning on doing over the next few weeks.
I also have a flickr that I use quite often uploading current edits I’m working on to get a little feedback from other photographers- www.flickr.com/photos/photo_sh/
Where can I buy a print of your work online?
You can order my prints from my local Photography and Printers shop in Ilfracombe, online. The Photo Shop in the high street have been very supportive of my work and other local artists. I only have a few images so far and I am also working on updating that!-www.youronlinegallery.co.uk/samhunt
I met Dawn whilst at East Devon College studying a BTEC National Diploma in Photography back in 2007, She is a lovely girl and she has produced some fantastic images which I would like to share with you.
I have asked Dawn a few questions so you can get to know style of photography a bit better.
What got you into photography?
I started getting into photography from an early age, my dad always had a camera with him on days out. My parents always look at the world in such detail, so I grew up appreciating my surroundings, it seemed fitting to pick up a camera.
What work are you the most proud of?
The work I’m most proud of would be my most recent, in which I’ve been documenting a man who lives and works in the woods, having built his own cabin. His self-sufficient lifestyle and connection to his surroundings is something I find so beautiful, it’s been a refreshing experience to photograph him.
What is your favourite type of photography?
Every type of photography interests me, but I’m studying Documentary Photography, I would say this interests me the most. I think it is important for a photographer to have the ability to truly capture their surroundings, and to inform others of what is happening around them.
What equipment do you use?
I’m still using my first DSLR, a Canon 500D. Mainly with my 50mm 1.8 lens, standard lens, and occasionally a 90mm macro lens.
What projects are you working on right now?
I’m going to be continuing two main documentary projects over the next 5 months, one being the project based around the cabin, and another, which has to stay under wraps for now!
Who do you admire in the photography world?
There are so many people that inspire me in the photography world. I guess right now I’d have to say the winners of World Press Photo. These photographers have delivered images which document our world in such a raw and open way. I recently went to the 2012 exhibition, you find yourself confronted with what is really happening in the world, that we might not usually see.
Where can we see your work?
I don’t have a website at the moment, it is something that will be up and running by May 2013. I am on Flickr though, if anyone wants to take a look at my work in progress!
What is it like working with the North Devon Journal?
I’ve been doing some work experience with the North Devon Journal over the last 4 months, both writing and photographing. This has been an incredible way for me to further my skills in every way, I’ve been sent out on assignments by myself, and working as a photographer with a journalist. It has been so valuable, I’d recommend to anyone planning a career in photography or journalism, to get as much work experience as you can.
What do you think of University?
Going to university has been a unique experience for me, due to my transition from Journalism to Photography between my first and second year. I then transferred to a different university to study Documentary Photography for my final year. It has been a positive and challenging transition for me each year, it’s been completely worthwhile.
Here are a few of my favourite images from Dawn's Flickr page:
Go check out Dawn's photostream and give it some love if you like what you see :D Click Here
After our first successful shoot it didn't take long for Candice and I to book another shoot. This second shoot gave us the chance to go on location and to use the studio and here are some of the photos we got from the shoot.
I recently photographed baby Scarlett and what a little sweetheart she is! Scarlett was so smiley and cheeky that we got some lovely photos of her and her mummy which resulted in a gorgeous full collection of photographs.
Here is one of my favourite images of Scarlett:
I love all the cute expressions Scarlett gave us for her photos. I love my job.
Last week I met the lovely Candice Peachey and we had an awesome photosession together incorporating a geeky theme, beauty, lingerie and some high contrast images with her hair wet. Needless to say we got plenty of variety in our final images and the results are stunning.
I used my 50mm lens to get some classical soft focus images which gives her a gorgeous glow within the images. Candice was great at experimenting with the props and one of the most popular images from the shoot is this one of her playing the xbox with a batman t-shirt on and the ever so popular geeky black framed glasses.
To see Candice's modelling page on Purple Port follow this link http://purpleport.com/portfolio/CandicePeachey/ and if you ever want to try out modelling or just want some nice portraits of you themed or unthemed let me know with an email and we'll book you a date.
Focus, focus, focus!
Focus is one of the most important elements in photography, it's main point is to communicate what the photographer is trying to show to the viewer.
If the subject is a couple and the background is in focus and the couple out of focus then this contradicts the photographers intention to photograph the couple.
Sometimes, focus is used artistically with a small amount of detail in focus within an image but should always be used to communicate what the photographer is trying to show you.
There are basic rules in portrait photography. If shooting a head shot and the subject is looking at the camera their eyes must always be in focus. There's no point in composing an image perfectly if you are going to focus on something intended to be in the background. When photographing full body shots of people you have more opportunity to get the focus right as you are likely to be further away from the subject and it is easier to get them in focus as a whole than to go close in and pick out smaller focusing points such as the eyes.
The aperture used when the photograph is taken will determine the depth of field (the area in an image that will be in focus) the wider the aperture, the more will be in focus.
Photographers who have been trained and understand the equipment they use will be able to manipulate the focus by using the aperture creatively therefore producing precisely focused images with a real artistic quality to them.
Generally, if you have hired a photographer who shoots with the Auto Mode and nothing else this is an indication that they do not truly understand how to use their camera. It does not matter how much money they have spent on a camera, if they do not understand how to use it then they cannot give you the best results the equipment is designed to give. A good photographer could take a stunning photograph using a point and shoot camera.
Watch out for photographers who may fall under the category of 'all gear and no idea.'
Passionate photographers who love what they do will have undertaken the relevant training (even if self taught) to take the best photographs they can and should have a good portfolio to show off the skills they have learnt.
Here are a few things to look out for when looking through a portfolio to help you choose a skilled photographer:
1. Variety. Are there a few images that look like the same picture but just edited differently or is one a cropped version of the other? - a good portfolio should have variety throughout, images from the same shoot are fine with a different pose, styling, lighting etc. There's no need for the same picture 6 times in different shades of black and white or a slightly different expression. Look for quality rather than quantity.
2. Lighting. Has the lighting been well thought out? Are there strong black shadows outlining people where they have just been blasted with a flash or has the photographer carefully placed their lighting source to make sure the lighting is not too harsh for the subject? Has the photographer got photographs that show they understand how to light images differently to get varied lighting effects? For example, below is a photograph set up with low key lighting to create a moody atmosphere that just shows the model as my focus.
This low key effect is good for serious portraits. The lighting should be precise so that the models eyes are lit and there is usually a triangle of light on the side of the face with the least amount of light. This triangle of light should fall on the models eye and cheek. If the eyes are dark and have no catchlight (the white reflection of light on the iris) then a portrait can seem lifeless.
Here is another photograph from the same photoshoot but with a different lighting set up to add variety to my models final portfolio prints.
By repositioning the lighting source to light more of the subject or adding another light in you get a completely different image. This shot is lit from slightly above the model and to the front of her to light her evenly and give a high key effect.
Another lighting set up that photographers may use in their portfolios is 'separation of light' This is where the light used to light the model is from a different source to that of the light used to light the background and the two are separated so not to over lap each other. Below is another image from the same shoot where separation of light has been used to add variety.
Often this lighting set up is obvious because the background light is a stop or two more than the light used to light the model. There will often be a vignette around the corners of the image on the backdrop as the light is often close to the background. A vignette is where the corners and edges darken/lighten or blur within an image as if framed with a sort of oval of light or blur. (sorry for the crap explanation!) Here's another image from a different shoot with a vignette to help explain:
3. Removed distractions. This one goes hand in hand with focus and composition. If, for example, I was photographing a couple on the beach and there was a person walking behind my subjects with a dog for example, I would wait for that person to get out of the shot before taking the photograph. Sometimes you can be cheeky and hide the distraction behind your subjects if they are far enough away to be hidden. Photographers should never just take the photo anyway as unwanted elements in a photograph are distracting and detract the focus from the subjects.
I'll rummage through my archives for an example... Ok so I have found an example, its not people in the background its another unwanted object within the frame which should be removed either at post processing or when taking the photograph.
Obviously, the distraction and unwanted element in this photo is the light switch. The obvious way to avoid capturing this is to notice it when shooting, zoom in or change your positioning. If its not noticed until after the shoot has taken place it can easily be cropped or cloned in Photoshop. Leaving something like this in the shot, unless it is essential to show the setting, is usually a no no.
I hope this entry has been helpful. I will continue this post next time. Thanks for reading :D
Are you looking for a photographer to photograph the most important family moments of your life but aren't sure what to look for? This guide will be a professional insight into what to look for in a portfolio to make sure you book the perfect photographer for your wedding, portraits and family photo's.
Their are some key factors that you should know about to judge whether a photograph is of a high quality and professional. These key factors include, but are not limited to, Composition, Lighting, Focus, Posing, Attention to Detail, Variety and Perspective.
Composition is the way in which an image is composed. There are many rules which outline what constitutes good composition and I will try and describe them as best I can with examples.
The above image is an example of good composition as the subject is looking to the side of her where there is negative space within the image, this helps communicate that this is where she is looking giving a connection to the negative space and the model. Whereas if the model was placed to the left of the frame and there was negative space behind her which she had her back too there wouldn't be any connection between the space and her making the two elements fit uncomfortably, creating bad composition.
The above image has a couple of points that need discussing, firstly, when I photographed this little lad under the sheet he was happy and crawling away as fast as we got him into position which is why his fingers and hands aren't in the frame as he was too quick for me! This would usually really bother me and I did take quite a few but this expression makes the image for me. So, compositionally, having any limbs cut off by the framing of a full body image such as this is always a no no in my opinion. To really make an image complete it is always good to include everything that you want to display this photo being the baby. The second point I wanted to make is that, forgetting the lack of limbs shown, the rest of the composition, mostly babies face and body in the frame are placed well to show the subject well. The rule of thirds says that when you place a grid over an image the composition of your photograph will be good if you place your focal point over where the lines cross within the grid. See below for and example:
Obviously, baby Cobi's face is the main focus in this image and as you can see it is placed on the crossing of the two lines in the grid, the rest of cobi's body covers two more crossing points which means he fills the frame well and is the obvious subject of the photograph.
Another element to take into consideration with composition are leading lines within the image. Some leading lines are good ones, pointing to the focal point and adding impact to the subject within an image. In contrast, some leading lines are detrimental to an image, they take away focus from the subject or split an image in two making an image difficult to flow compositionally. Lines can be of any type, straight wiggly, diagonal, anything that the eye can follow through the image. Depending on the image content lines can frame a subject within the frame of the photograph itself see below where the lines of the sofa frame Mia:
Usually photographs that use leading lines will have the subject smack bang in the middle of the photograph and the lines lead to behind the subject, the viewers eye follows the line into the image and stops moving when it gets to the subject. This means that the lines reinforce the subject as the focal point. The image below shows the meaning of this with the head board leading the eye into the subject in the middle of the frame.
Some photographers will use cropping after taking the photograph to get the desired composition but I strongly urge people to take the time to frame what they are photographing, zoom in if needed, move around to get the best angle on your subject and then take the photo with the composition sorted in the view finder rather than on the computer screen. This will save you time and improve your photographic technique.
Below is an example of bad composition, there is negative space behind baby's head, the crop is too close to the right of his little face and he is looking out of shot which stumps the flow of the image as the viewers eye imagines what he is looking at and realises there is nothing to look at not even negative space.
Simply shifting the composition to allow some negative space for your subject to look at allows the photograph to be viewed more comfortably by the viewer.
The crop is important when taking/editing your photographs, you need to establish which elements of your image you want to keep in the frame and decide which elements will be distracting. Another guideline for cropping is making sure that you have even spaces on either side of the subject on at least two sides of the frame. This will help keep your composition balanced and focus on the subject.
Lighting is one of the most important elements in photography, if you can get your lighting spot on every time you can practice all of the other creative elements of photography and always have a perfectly exposed photograph.
Photographs are easy to overexpose especially because over exposure tends to make skin look clearer as it bleaches out any impurities. This is not the way to smooth out skin. Good photographers will be able to spot heal any blemished and skin tone should be as natural as it is in real life. You should always be able to see the different skin tones and pores if the picture is a close up. Here is an example of an over exposed image:
Notice how there are bleached out areas in her neck face and arm where they are simply too bright for any detail. The shadows and stronger colours are still visible but are too bright to be correctly exposed. The colour does stand out more and if that is the effect a photographer wants to go for they should have the right exposure and boost the saturation in post processing not just nuke the model with flash or upping the brightness as it destroys all detail in the highlights.
Below is an example of the same photograph that has been under exposed.
Notice how the colours are murky and the skin tone is grey. usually you can tell an image is under exposed by looking at any white areas within the image, you should be able to see the detail in the white and you should also have white, not grey or an area too bright to focus on.
Below is the photograph correctly exposed.
You can see the pink skin tones and there is detail in her skin. The colours are strong and correctly exposed with no murky grey areas.
One of the most common mistakes and tell tale signs of an amateur photographer is the use of flash and the positioning of shadows within a photograph. The flash when used without a diffuser or without being bounced before lighting the subject is often very harsh creating strong shadows which outline the subject against a wall. I regularly see this in wedding photographs and am shocked because of the importance of the photographs. If you are given the privilege of being hired to photograph the most important day of a couple's lives then you should make sure you are qualified to do so. Especially if you consider yourself to be professional and charge professional prices. The lighting should be even and natural or set up specifically to studio standards not done half arsed with horrible dark shadows and bleached out portraits.
I will write about the other topics in my next post.
Thanks for reading :D
If you haven't heard of Pinterest of have but don't really know what it is about you are missing out! Pinterest is a valuable resource for creatives such as designers, people organizing their own wedding, photographers, architects and people interested in home and lifestyle etc. The list goes on which is why Pinterest's popularity has shot through the roof since it was created in 2010 by Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp, and Ben Silbermann.
Pinterest's mission is to connect everyone in the world through the things they find interesting by providing an online pin board that people can pin their images onto, repin other people's pins and share with their friends.
One of the most useful topics that I have seen used more and more recently is wedding based boards where people can post pictures of home made center pieces, dresses, quirky decorations, lighting and the like. It's also a great website for getting inspiration for photoshoots, drawings, designs etc and I highly recommend www.pinterest.com to anyone.
Come and find me on Pinterest to see what it is all about =]
This weekend I had a photo session in wales. We found a beautiful ruined priory which I have noted for a possible fashion shoot location. Here's a picture.
I've also designed a website for another photographer and helped to upload and edit the photographs from the weekend. The website can be found at www.redyetiphotography.com.