Saturday, 29 May 2010

The Month of May A Time To Celebrate

The month of May is named after the Greek Goddess Maia. This month is a time for celebration as after the long cold winter, flowers emerge and new grass and leafs start to grow.

In Britain May day marks the end of winter and the start of summer its a time to look forward to warmer brighter weather . Traditional May day celebrations include dancing around the maypole. Greenery was traditionally collected by children who then paraded around the village.

May day is the first Monday in May this year I spent my May day capturing the wedding celebrations of George and Caralyn at the beautiful Fennes Estate in Braintree. It was rather a breezy chilly day so this meant we had to make use of the beautiful interior of the Fennes, which is  not a problem as the Fennes offers many a stunning backdrop.
Creative work: The weather has been great during May and allowed me some breathing space to get out and pursue a more creative side to my photography, "yes" I checked my journal and we have had more bright sunny weather than we have rain. To start with the late arrival of blue bells has meant a stunning prolonged display this year with forest floors awash with colour. Then of course the warmer days and shorter night have meant fields of vivid yellow oilseed covering the landscape. Along with this I noted almost every grass verge aglow with nodding dandelions. All the different shades of  green and reds in the tress lead to a stunning spring. Not so great for any one flying but the volcanic ash produced some amazing sunsets and clear night skies.

MODEL SHOOT: I was also lucky to work this month with another great bunch of photographers and take part in a model shoot, I got to work with the lovely Layla and opted for a slight vintage effect on the photos 

FAMILY TIME: The nice weather has meant a few day trips to the beach, Our favorite place for this is Walton on the Naze , We even had a picnic in the sunshine surrounded by buttercups and bird song.

A beautiful month 

Oak Apple day Is another celebration that takes place on the 29th May . The reason for wearing oak apples or oak leafs was to celebrate the Kings narrow escape from capture by Cromwells soldiers .
Until well into the twentieth century anyone caught not wearing an oak apple or oak leaf on the 29th May could be pinched kicked or whipped with stinging nettles , Hence in some villages the day is known as nettle day, "OUCH"

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Being A Photographer

Many people ask me why I want to be a photographer an area of work already over subscribed. What did I first do to become a photographer?

well it isnt as easy as just picking up a camera and firing off a few shots.
or buying a pro level camera and walking out the shop saying well now I will take better pictures.
No photography doesn't work like that.

I originally trained and shot on film, then took a break to have my family.
Along then comes the wonderful world of digital, putting control back in to the photographers hands, No more relying on film labs to decided how and what colour your image should be.

Then comes the hard part of course anyone can take a picture its not hard now a days with camera and portrait modes but take those pre set modes away could any one still take a good picture?

So firstly I set out to understand how my digital camera sees the world its grey did you know that? cameras dont see a colour image every thing is grey, cameras cant separate white from black. dont believe me try it yourself with three bits of paper, white,grey and black. set your camera into M yes thats manual set metering mode to spot ,aperture at F16 and make sure the exposure is 00 now take each piece of paper without changing the settings,

Do you get white, grey and black,? NO you just get three shots of grey paper

so learning how your camera perceives light is the first lesson.

Rules of thirds is another lesson everything some how some way follows this rule even a human face
Composition where do you place the subject in the frame in the middle? NO
POV and angle all this is important do you always fire off shots from the same position ?

All that is the easy bit, then we come to posing people yes even the best shots are posed a good photographer can pose people without them even knowing its been done.
This way you get wonderful naturally looking shots with no shadows or highlights the skin tone remains even and smooth.

After you have mastered your tool or paint brush then you can start on mastering photo-shop . I see to many amateur over cooked images, where saturation is far to high, what looks good on your monitor may well look awful when its printed

so before you even start in photo shop I recommend a colour monkey, to set your monitors colour correctly for photo production.

So now we have spent a good 12 months mastering photo-shop,
what about printing? do you print your own? if so on what?
If you purchase a printer for photos that your taking for clients then dont look at any printer priced under £600.00.
On the other hand you could upload your prints to on line labs, shame these image will only last between 10 and 25 years.

If your a serious photographer offering your clients the very best then you need to find yourself a master printer.

So after two years we feel yes I can take a great image and use photo-shop with easy and quickly and have found a great printer what next?

Start your own business , its simple not as easy as building a website and thinking everyone will be flocking to it, or uploading images to websites for all to view.

How are you going to market your business? What type of client are you aiming for?
what can you offer your clients that stands out from 100,s of other photographers in the area?
Do you know where to source the top range albums from, quality modern frames?
Do you know how to create a smooth work flow? Guess its another 12 months of more training then.

Eventually your ready and you get asked by a friend to shoot a friends wedding, great your away, Oh dear its raining, you cant take images inside your not allowed,
Oh no Aunt Lilly tripped over your camera bag and cant stand up an ambulance has to be called, Every one charges in front of the bride blocks your view just as you are about to fire off that confetti shot .

A friend of a friend has had a baby can you do the shots of the new born and his toddler brother?
Yes you say of course I can, baby screams and screams, toddler keeps pulling on your camera strap, you give up with the baby to try and get some shots of the toddler, you try and make him laugh just as he promptly picks up his cup of orange juice and the liquid spills all over you and your camera, you slip on the wet floor breaking a prize vase

I have spent about 5 years training learning working with top photographers, I have passed exams and had work printed in photography magazines. I know and understand all my equipment. I only purchase the best professional cameras and lenses .

I have a whole support network of back up photographers if I,m ill and cant make a wedding
I have attended training and course on running a small business.
I,m also fully insured

This is one simple reason I wont and I cant shoot a wedding for £150.00, I dont do any other job during the week apart from spending time editing my clients images.
I,m not a plumber Monday to Friday and a cheap wedding photographer on Saturdays.

I am a photographer an artist dedicated to producing the finest quality image possible

So please dont think that anybody with a camera is going to give you images like you see in magazines or billboards, or even be able to offer you top quality albums or coffee table books

Think hard about your photographer meet them , talk to them look at their work, Are they artists or sales person??