A softened approach to Corporate Portraits

I was very pleased this month to be commissioned by Southbank BID, (Southbank Employment group) to photograph all their new company profile portraits and team shots.

I understood the brief that the portraits were to convey both professionalism and warm approachability. A friendly group of people that are focused on contributing to the regeneration of positive use of the surrounding public realm for visitors, businesses and local residents and therefore needed a softer look. I decided against the traditional corporate portrait shot with a bright plain white backdrop and went for the softer subtle interior look, still keeping it uncluttered but featuring posters commissioned by Southbank BID’s marketing team in the background and a natural feel to the lighting.


The skill to photographing portraits of people not use to their picture being taken is beyond the technical aspects of handling camera and lighting. It is firstly the ability to communicate warmly and relaxed, putting them at easy and actually making it fun. It always puts a smile on my face when editing images later to see the laughter in the ones that do not make the final cut, as they look like they are having far too much fun! It is the hardess thing to capture that fleeting subtle smile across the eyes and in the corners of the mouth. Once achieved my feelings soar high that I captured it in camera.


Another essential ability of a portrait photographer is to find, but not force a pose from the subject that communicates to the viewer, and recognise different poses suit different personalities and body types. After 21 staff portraits it was an achievement that day that every one of them found their best side : – )






Capturing the pose in portraiture is all about the eyes, arms, shoulders and the hands… the most important aspects that reflect a lot of what is going on inside.

I enjoy people – meeting new and interesting charactors to photograph, and look forward to all those I am yet to meet and photograph.


Take a chair…


Another year I get to spend a fun morning meeting and shoot the portraits of some interior designer talent of the future at The Interior Design school founded by Iris Dunbar, (Director) http://idschool.co.uk

Each student gets to select a designer chair that they would like to sit in and my part is to photograph a relaxed, approachable yet professional portrait that will introduce them to the interior design community from the launch of their end-of-year show right on through to  their first commissioned post and beyond.

It is amazing we get all 15 or so portraits wrapped up by lunch and everyone feels like it was a whole lot more of a fun experience than they were expecting. As a portrait photographer I always tell my students that once the bells and whistles on their camera and lighting is learnt to level of second nature, the true skill of Portrait Photography is the communication with the subject and being able to read what shape/pose suits them best. There is not one posture suits all. We come in all different shapes and sizes and there is always a great pose for us all. Some subjects are a challenge, that find it hard to relax and not be self conscious, but after a bit of my irish banter I manage to bring out a moment just right for the shot. Above, Interior design student Anya was the opposite and a natural in front of the camera… finally selecting the image top left as her profile image.

I am very much looking forward to meeting all the present year students and tutors again and looking at the work at The Interior Design school’s end of year show early summer 2016. I will also be sharing how I took these shots and more on my up coming ‘Portrait Photography: Studio & location‘ course @MorleyCollege starting on 11th April this year:










Belgium Bound

Very excited to be heading off on a 3-day shoot to Antwerp at the end of this week as I loved visiting it as part of my Rough Guides book commission last year to traverse the whole of Belgium. So, as a warm up to the trip I sifted through some of the images I shot last year to share on my blog.

Below, is the wonderful Rubenshuis in Antwerp

Rough guide to Belgium

Rough guide to Belgium

Rough guide to Belgium

Rough guide to Belgium

After navigating various train changes, the last being only once every 3hrs, and a 2.5km march along country lanes it was completely worth it to finally arrive at the very opulent Chateaux Attre, with its fading hand printed wall papers, and dark richly oil-painted portraits.

Rough Guides Begium

Rough Guides Begium

Rough Guides Begium

Rough Guides Begium

Rough Guides Begium

A relatively short distance away was the wonderfully laid out Zoo Pairi Daiza, Cambron, Brugelette. Fell in love with the giraffes…

Rough Guides Begium

Below: Pink Flamingos Bar, GhentRough Guide Belgium

Below: St Baafskathedraal, Ghent, BelgiumRough Guide Belgium

Below: Outside Portal details, Cathedrale Notre-Dame, Tournai, BelgiumRough Guides Begium

Below: The Burg, BrugesRough Guide Belgium

Below: Palace of Justice, Brussels, BelgiumRough Guides Begium

Below: Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels, BelgiumRough Guides Begium

Below: Cake shop, Brussels, BelgiumRough Guide Belgium


Looking forward to my assignment in Antwerp hoping the autumn sun will shine to bring out the best of what the city offers – Art, local food, Cityscapes, interiors and their details.

#visitflanders #Belgium #Roughguides


Trace… snip… fold… POP-UP!

When I am commissioned by Quintet to shoot a new craft ‘makes’ book I get to work in many lovely location houses with lots of opportunities for me to style my own shots. The very recent new Pop-Up card book I was commissioned to shoot I especially loved photographing against interesting backdrops, with an abundance of nice details/items for me to place in the frame in a supporting role to graphic cut-out cards themselves.

Here are a few I shot that day…




Quintet_POPU_Cards-357 Quintet_POPU_Cards-435





I am sure my 10 year old son would especially like to make the last one!

Wishing all the best of luck to Quintet at this October’s Frankfurt book festival.

September teaching at Morley College

Following my busy summer working on commissions around holiday adventures I am finishing off my preparations for my up-coming teaching through the academic year, where one day a week I like to share my enthusiasm for photography and my professional practice experience with students. As well as running progressive Digital SLR courses through the year up to Advanced level I teach term-long courses that will further enhance and enrich photographic skills within various genres of photography such as – Portrait photography, Studio Flash and Speedlight, Urban (street) photography, and Documentary photography (encompassing social documentary and photojournalism).

I am looking forward to meeting and helping new and past students to enjoy and improve both their technical and creative photographic skills. Always happy to share insights in to my professional practice as a commission photographer.


SEPTEMBER COURSE DETAILS ( for dates, times and further info, click on the url )

Insight City Guides, London

This course is designed to teach various photographic techniques and ways to photograph the urban landscape taking a fresh look at photographing architecture, street portraiture and the cultural landscape whilst helping develop your own sensitivity to photographing within the city.


This course is for complete beginners who own a Digital SLR and want to learn some of its functions. Students will learn how to operate their cameras in manual mode, make correct exposures and understand aperture, shutter speed and ISO.


You can continue your studies after this course with an intermediate and advanced level, or develop your own specific style and interest within photography on courses such as Portrait, Documentary, or Studio flash photography.

City & Guilds Photography Level 1 is ideal if you are interested in learning basic photography skills and knowledge. You will learn how to use your camera, study aspects of image capture including composition and subject matter, and look at different computer editing software. Knowledge and skills gained will support progression to level 2 and 3.



Boys driving on the Malacon, Havana, Cuba






A taste for travel…


On many of my travel & location lifestyle commissions I get to shoot some wonderful chef creations. Understanding how to work the natural light, and styling on the spot is a great asset. My background as previously an Art Editor has served me very well when sent off on a commission alone, never knowing what I will find at a location and then make the most of it. Here I recall some of the images I have captured…

JW Marriott Hotel, Venice

This beautifully presented Panna cotta above I photographed when on assignment for Conde Nast at the JW Marriott Resort in Venice earlier this year that appeared in their July issue of Traveller. With a quick glance around I placing and turning the dessert in a lovely softly diffused light area of the restaurant. Then I tweaked how I wanted the papery leaves to fall for nice shapes and so that the light shone through them. The final touches were adding the spoon on an angle and placing the potted herb just into the top of the shot with a very soft aperture to create some interest and sense of being on a real table setting and not in a studio. These seemingly little details I love to play with.

Pescheria San Pietro, Florence, Italy

Above is a wonderfully fresh seafood platter I shot in Italy. I decided it worked best from an aerial perspective. I like the main circular shape clipped off on the left side. I placed in the natural muslim fabric napkin to soften the shapes. Then I positioned other circular shapes of the glasses, in top left each partly filled, which along with the fork was a conscious decision to capture a feeling that I had just casually grabbed my image as someone was enjoying this lunch. Two empty glasses would have looked wrong. Plus, always enjoyable to sip some of the wine to achieve exactly the right amount I want visually in the image : )

JW Marriott Hotel, Venice

Great restaurants always present such attractive food, but when photographing reportage style, I like to add my own touches such as above a little bit of the food spilling onto a fork, and twisting around the clam shells to capture different shapes and textures – a glimpse of the shells’ exterior colors and pattern, and at same time the soft edible centre. Once happy with the fine tuning I then explore different angles to frame the shot, and how close to come in on the dish.

SOME TRICKY LOCATION LIGHTING – Interior locations can offer tricky light for shooting food & drink, such as hard light pouring through windows into a darker interior or too many different artificial light sources. But I try to play to what I visualize working with the quality of the object I am shooting and what available light I can find at the time.

The image below I shot in a wonderful cocktail bar interior lit by day with only a very low light spilling in from just one small exterior window, but it worked well as a very directional backlight to shine through the cocktails, which ‘lifted’ them against the dark upholstery and created sparkle.

JK Place & Cocktail Lounge, Florence, italy

Below, Natural light spilling in through frosted window out of shot, on the righthand side. The rich textures of the furniture, and placing a black area in the background helped ‘lift’ the brightly coloured cocktails in the foreground.


I really enjoyed my shoot to The Pump Street Bakery in Orford, Suffolk for Country Living Magazine – spotting the quality of the harder sunny light shining through the cafe window and their wonderful clear glass teapots, combined with extra luminosity it gave the gilded vintage cup and saucer with delicately tinted herbal tea I pushed them further into the pool of light to capture this image, which I hope does emulate a true sense of what it was like to sit there sipping lightly fragrant tea with sunlight on your face.

The Pump Street Bakery

Below: The bakery sold their own delicious cakes but the counter area was lit by vintage light bulbs. As food is best shot in daylight the solution was to move them, still on their glass stands to a window on the other side of the room with a much softer natural light than the image above, so as to remove any moody shadows. If you can not find such an ideal softer light then you can always use a diffuser to place in front of a window to create this light as it passes through its fabric.

The Pump Street BakeryThe Pump Street Bakery

TIME LAPSE – Some times after I have photographed first the complete dish I like to deconstruct the food, slowly breaking into it with a fork or spoon until there is just a smear of sauce and that one final mouthwatering piece left to savor…

Lydia Evans wedding pudding

Lydia Evans wedding pudding 2

Lydia Evans wedding pudding 3

Lydia Evans wedding pudding 4

FOOD MARKET CLOSE-UPS – There are so many great graphic shapes and textures to photographing food in street markets around the world, from Istanbul to right here in London Borough market…

Pomegranates, Istanbul

Street Food on Istiklal Caddesi, Taksim, Istanbul

Simitci bread roll, Istanbul

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

ON A FINAL NOTE… just take one cupcake… This is one of the simplest but favorite shots of mine taken in a cafe in Stoke Newington Church Street, London to represent in just one shot: the feel for the interior, its vintage mismatching crockery and yummy cakes.

The Tea Room, Stoke Newington Church Street

The Tea Room, Stoke Newington Church Street



Glasgow Grandeur

Glee tearing open my early morning post today to feast my eyes on my complimentary January issue of Conde Nast Traveller – quick to thumb to the pages with my published images for yet another ‘In Britian’ feature, this time ‘Glasgow’.

I recall getting my 5am taxi to City London airport excited to see a new Scottish city for me. Slight butterflies how it would be as it was just days before the Scotish referendum. What questions would I get asked in the street… what discussions to avoid! It all turned out good in end with a taste of great interiors, art, and stylist new eateries. The odd sip of Whiskey, and only twice on the receiving end of sharp Glaswegian wee blether.

Here, I would like to share some of the images…

Kelvingrove Cafe

Kelvingrove Cafe

Above: Not too far from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery is The Kelvingrove Cafe a converted ice-cream parlour with lovely tactile wooden parquet flooring, tangerine walls, deep burnt chocolate coloured leather booths and service of delicious cocktails. Great stop for brunch or a livelier stylish evening crowd.

Below: My next stop was The Crabshakk seafood restaurant, Argyle Street where I could not resist asking this member of staff to step into one of my shots.


Next photograph to set was this wonderful seafood dish below which conveniently made a very good late lunch option for me : – ) Looking at this image now makes my mouth water.Crabshakk

A short walk away is the grand Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum who’s entrance hall has your head in a spin gazing up at the gloriously huge Art Deco lighting. Suddenly music bellowed around the walls as a diminutive figure sat at the far end playing possibly the largest church organ I have ever seen! Off to the right hall a grand staircase leads you up to high surround balcony where I was amused by the floating heads instillation.


Whilst the Original Glasgow school of Art designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh is still under repair from a fire, across the road is the Modern Seona Reid Building which forms part of school of art today an exciting place to study with a large international intake.

Seona Reid Building

Byres Road is the location of Kember & Jones’ delicious custard tarts, macaroons and meringue with summer fruit…

CNT_Glasgow_2014-961 CNT_Glasgow_2014-1014

Further along Byres road the Nardini’s ice cream parlour…CNT_Glasgow_2014-1030

The Drygate Brewery – craft ales The Drygate Brewery CompanyThe Drygate Brewery Company

Below: Style and glamour of Blythswood Square Hotel restaurantThe Blythwood Square Hotel

Stroll through Gardens of Pollock House, Pollock parkCNT_Glasgow_2014-1153

Vintage finds at The City Retro boutiqueThe City retro fashion


Dublin city cooool!

I am very please I can finally share my images published in this November’s issue of Conde Nast Traveler, a feature I photographed for them in Dublin to capture the city’s renewed ‘sassy swagger’ fueled by the entrepreneurial flair of returning bright young independent venturers that had gone overseas to seek new things and be inspired.

With a brief to capture this new cool dynamic energy I spent a great couple of days amongst one of the friendliest nation I know. Never short of striking up a conversation. Great quirky interiors, and wonderful brunch served at The Fumbally – a plate of scrabbled eggs, avocado, chilli & tomato on toast I photographed then simply could not resist eating.


Even on time-out for a lunch break my lobster risotto at Super Miss Sue looked too good with fresh basil leaves on top not to be photographed! Yes, it was delicious. The Diver and Siren black and white photographs in the bathroom here also added a WOW factor.

Dublin Dublin

Below: The Marker Hotel Dublin

Below: Vintage Homeware at ‘Find’ in Temple barDublin Dublin Dublin

Below: Cow’s Lane Designer Studio in Temple barDublin

Peruke & Periwig’s barman Robert went beyond his call of duty nearly setting light to his gristly beard as he repeatedly lit his flaming ‘Walking dead’ cocktail for me to capture it at the ‘decisive moment’, at one point leaping backwards as the amber flame shot high into the air. I will spare him blushing by not showing that image.
His cocktail mixing skills were super and adventurous!


Impossible not to drink a guinness when in Dublin and one of the best places for this was The Kehoe’s pub where I got to share a pint and some good Irish banter with the subject of my photograph who thought he was just quietly sipping his guinness whist waiting for a friend until I spotted the photographic potential with a nice light flooding through the door. The three of us swopped a few good tales, then off home I went to my lovely room at Guesthouse Number 31, for an edit of the day’s shots.


Below: Guesthouse, Number 31Dublin

A huge thanks to the Conde Nast team for this assignment, meeting great people and feasting my eyes on fab interiors, cuisine and cool quirky buys. I hope readers of my blog enjoy the images and you are tempted to visit Dublin for a long weekend. xx

The Talented Mr Oldfield

This month You Magazine published a lovely feature on the ever stylish and talented Bruce Oldfield. It was great to be part of this, to meet Bruce to take his portrait and details of his glamorous creations at his showroom and atelier around the corner from Harrods.

Here below are a small selection of images I shot that morning.






08_BruceOldfield-181 09_BruceOldfield-197


It’s all in the detail…

How does one capture the essence of a place?
Here is a second taster of my Insight City Guide to London… Borough market, Kew, Ham House, Hogarth house, Chelsea Physic Garden, Westminster Cathedral, Nelson’s Column, Hampton Court and Chiswick House. I just laugh at the three elderly ladies in Chelsea Physic Garden with the busk of a man’s head amongst the flowers. I often am trying to get low and shoot through layers to create atmosphere. Trying to remember to look for all the angles; the graphic shot from above, or the low down close up where you can almost smell those cakes! Feel free to write to me at the foot of any of my blogs.

Beyond my commissions I teach a few short courses at Morley College, London. Why not come along to one of my ‘Street Photography’ courses? Two Saturday workshop 21 & 28 Sept 2013, and better still a 6 week program, working to themes within Street photography,  3 hrs a week from 4 November 2013.

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London