Saturday, 25 February 2012

Cover art

So, why, you might ask, am I featuring a sci fi book cover on my blog? The answer (of course) is that I took the photographs that were the basis for the cover artwork for this series of books called 'Black Legion' by Michael G. Thomas. The photos also formed the basis for the art work on his previous 'Star Crusades' novels and I was also commissioned to take portraits of the author himself, which are used on promotional material and on his Amazon author page.

Michael is an established best selling sci fi author and his latest series transports the ancient tale of Xenophon and the Ten Thousand Mercenaries into the distant future. You can view his bio and other books *here* and his blog is called star-crusader (click on the name for a link).

The photo session itself was fun and frenetic. It is not often you get the opportunity to take photos of models with weaponry! I have posted two of the original photos, before they were turned into artwork. It is nice to see my work on the front of some books!

Saturday, 18 February 2012


I recently had the pleasure of photographing Alfie, or Alfred the Great as his owner proudly called him. Alfie is a tri-colour border collie and being an older chap is not as bouncy as he once was but still enjoys a good game of fetching the ball (which turned out to be a handy prop of getting and keeping his attention too!).

Alfie's owner, adores their faithful dog and commissioned me to take some photographs for a large framed wall picture. We had great fun among the trees taking photos and Alfie was the perfect gent, sitting nicely when asked and putting up with the camera with good humour as he knew there would be a game with his ball as a treat, so he had a fun time too.  Such a handsome fellow deserves to have their portrait taken don't you think?

I am always happy when I am approached to do pet portraits as they are such an important part of many people's families and I enjoy working with the animals and meeting the owners,. Invariably they have some lovely stories about their pets and seeing the bond and trust between owner and pet always puts a smile on my face. I left with an especially large grin after working with Alfie and Wendy.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Professional Touch

There is no doubt about it; weddings cost a lot and can be hard work and not just for bride and groom. There are a lot of  people involved in making the Big Day perfect: caterers, florists, hair and make-up artists, dress-makers and tailors, entertainers and of course, your friendly professional photographer.

I am always dismayed when I am told by a bride, that a friend with a 'good' camera will be taking the photos. I always ask if they would entrust their hair to a friend with a great pair of scissors? As with many professions, the camera is just a tool and you are paying for their experience and expertise. The friend with a camera is invariably unlikely to have this and in the case of weddings, shooting one is not the same as being a guest.

A professional photographer does not just take fabulous photos, so why should you pay what may seem a lot of money at first glance?
  • They are trained professionals. many photographers have undertaken training and will continue to update their skills regularly.
  • They are experienced and will know the best spots to take photos, they will know how to get great shots when the weather does that very British rain act, they know what to capture and will anticipate the key moments at a wedding so that the bride and groom can treasure them forever.
  • They will have pro kit, including a range of lenses which is far more important for fantastic shots than the camera itself. They will also know which lens to use for best effect.
  • They know how to use light to make you look fabulous. This includes using natural light and flash (which they will know how to use properly).
  • They will know how to handle people and will make the shots quick and fun - no standing around for ages while someone sorts themselves out.
  • As they are not a guest they will be focusing on you and getting those important shots rather than mingling and drinking. 
  • They will meet with you beforehand more than once, to ensure they know what you want and which shots matter to you. You are also likely to get an engagement shoot as part of the price. 
  • They will have access to professional photo printing (not high street photo printers), and be able to provide other professional products like great albums and photo books, canvas wall pictures and framed prints.
  • Your album or photo book will be professionally designed so it will look as fabulous as you did on the day. The photos are often the only lasting reminder of the special day. A pro photographer will capture all the details you carefully spent time choosing, will capture how fabulous you looked and will show you and the venue at it's best.
  • Last but not least, weddings are hard work and a photographer is likely to be there the whole day (or until the first dance). Many photographers go the extra mile and end up being invaluable when a crisis occurs. For example, one of my brides was pregnant and broke the fastening on her dress. Luckily I was prepared and had safety pins to hand! I have also calmed down anxious mothers, helped brides get dressed and fed one that was feeling faint from hunger as I always carry breakfast bars in my bag in case I don't get anything to eat!

 With the average wedding cost being £10,000 - £15,000 (less for smaller ones), why risk your future memories on an amateur (no matter how good their camera is!). The same rules apply to portraits and other occasions too. All my brides tell me that the day goes by in a blur so don't risk your future memories, but hire a great wedding photographer who knows how important your photos will be to you and has the skills and experience to make you looks as fabulous as you deserve to be in them, for years to come. Of course, the reasons outlined above apply just as well to any important occasion or capturing special moments like a stage in a child's life, or even family and pet portraits too. The professional touch can make all the difference.

    Wednesday, 1 February 2012

    Life's a Beach

    This photo was taken on a recent visit to a nearby sandy beach which is popular with dog walkers. Henry, my puppy (featured in an earlier post) loves, loves, LOVES going there and running along the wet sand - even on a cold winter's day. It was the first place he was allowed to run 'off lead' and he loves sniffing at the seaweed washed up on the tide.

    The beach was cold and on this day and there was a freezing wind coming in off the sea, so fellow dog walkers were wrapped up warm. Even so, the wind blew straight through to the bones. I took a few photographs until my fingers became numb. I loved this one of man and dog enjoying some quality time together. I used my favourite technique of shooting into the sun to capture some lens flare and throw the subjects into slight silhouette with just a tad of detail.