Take a chair…

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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:

https://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/1264-portrait-photography-studio-location/1725

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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.

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

Insight City Guides, London

URBAN PHOTOGRAPHY
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.

http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/digital_design_film_photography/5637-urban_photography

DIGITAL SLR PHOTOGRAPHY FOR BEGINNERS
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.

http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/digital_design_film_photography/4867-digital_slr_photography_beginners

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 & GULIDS PHOTOGRAPHY, LEVEL 1
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.

http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/digital_design_film_photography/4290-city_guilds_photography_level_1/22854

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Boys driving on the Malacon, Havana, Cuba

COMING UP 2016
STUDIO FLASH AND SPEEDLIGHT  (Jan 2016)
http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/digital_design_film_photography/5646-studio_flash_speedlight/23171

DIGITAL INTERMEDIATE SLR  (Jan 2016)
http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/digital_design_film_photography/5537-digital_slr_photography_intermediate

DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY  (April 2016)
http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/digital_design_film_photography/5645-documentary_photography/22869

PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY  (April 2016)
http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/digital_design_film_photography/4311-product_photography/23173

PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY  (April 2016)
http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/digital_design_film_photography/5700-portrait_photography/23246

A taste for travel…

PHOTOGRAPHING FOOD ON LOCATION

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.

Dublin

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