A pair of gloves and a lick of paint.

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Yep – you may well ask:  why am I wearing gloves on my feet?

Well here’s the story in a nutshell …

Studio reception

New look wall and panorama of reception. Oh, and those gloves!

A slight change of plans yesterday morning became the perfect opportunity to spruce up the reception area in the studio.  All the new sample frames have recently arrived and the wall display area needed rearranging to fit them all on. Off with the old and on with the new!

Great timing as it happens to coincide with my new price list which is well underway, and so that you are able to see the new products on the wall as soon as possible.

As Lee and I were taking all the pictures down, we thought, what better time to give it a coat of paint?   We both felt something a little more colourful this time would be ideal, so off we went for a fleeting visit to B&Q.  Luckily we agreed quickly on a colour to blend in well with the chairs etc, so it was back to the studio to roller it on.

And the gloves?

I keep an old pair of overalls in the studio for when we paint the backdrop, so that was fine, but, it suddenly occurred to me I was wearing my new(ish) sandals – so there’s where the painting gloves came in to keep them from getting splattered with mandarin-coloured paint.  I’m very good at being messy with paint! I didn’t have any better ideas and they did the trick, even if they did look pretty ridiculous!!

And no, I’m not going to post a pic of myself in the very unflattering overalls.  The world isn’t quite ready for that one.

It took us the best part of the day to get everything done – but well worth it, I hope you agree 🙂

And speaking of the new brochure – I’ll be posting soon a sneaky peek of that.  There’s a bit of a radical change to pricing from previous ones …

Petals, Ants and Dragonflies! Errr, what?

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Every now and then it makes a refreshing change to break from the normal routine and do something a little different, and it was amazing yesterday to do just that.

Training is not something we do as a rule, but sharing our knowledge is never a problem and, may I say, we had a very enjoyable time in so doing.

Katie arrived at the studio bright and early, camera in hand, and along with her boyfriend, Sam, who had kindly volunteered to be her model for the day. After an initial chat over tea and coffee, we gleaned what photographic experience Katie had already, and what she was keen to learn more about.

We knew in advance that Katie was especially interested in Macro photography, and from what she told us, had taken some impressive closeup images of bugs and things already. Our own expertise in Macro photography is not vast (it is a very different genre to taking people pics!) but we were happy to share what we do know about it. Lee had set up a camera with a Macro lens on a tripod in the studio, using a small toy caterpillar as a very willing (and remarkably still!) model 😉 . Katie was able to practice some shots with that, and then try the same with her own camera so she could compare the results.

Luckily the earlier rain had cleared up, and the sun made a welcome appearance, meaning we were then able to get outside for Katie to take some close-up shots of some of the flowers. With impeccable timing, an ant decided to trot across the petals she was taking, followed soon after by a couple of dragon flies. The shots Katie took looked great on the back of her camera, particularly the detail of the ant, cool.

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Lee advising on the best camera settings

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Lunchtime already; time sure flies when you’re having fun … so a nice relaxing nosh for the four of us at the Luzborough, then back to the studio for some shots of Sam.

This proved to be hilarious, and there were plenty of giggles and laughter; a super relaxed atmosphere, always a plus when taking people shots! We had various setups so we could show Katie the difference between taking high key shots, and then how to achieve the more moody, low key images on the darker backgrounds. Her resulting pictures were excellent, and Sam did a great job as a model! I took a few shots myself as we went along, so I could demonstrate how different poses work, and also to show how different crops and edits can really transform an image.

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We headed outside again, as there are some great little areas in the Basepoint car Park for model shots, so she was able to try out and see the difference between using a speedlight, and just using the natural light available (infinitely better as is often the case), and making use of the various settings such as the steps and brick walls. Both seemed to be in their element, and I, of course, recorded it all on my trusty Iphone!

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And was able to concoct this unusual collage for my day’s pic for my 365Photo Project!

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A big thank you to Katie and Sam for making the trip down and for such a brilliant day. 🙂

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Whoosh!!! Was that September flying by?

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Is it just me or has September disappeared in the blink of an eye?  One minute it was August and the next it’s virtually October!! 

Well the month has been amazingly hectic, mainly with studio shoots, so I guess that’s made the time whizz by; I’ve also gotten a whole lot of new software with loads of rather cool effects, which I have been experimenting with to my heart’s delight to see which ones really bring about the wow factor to my pictures. This has been great fun and you seem to be loving them so far (thank goodness!)  Even though I’ve spent a fair few hours at the computer tweaking and seeing what works well and what doesn’t, now I think I have it sussed and so it’s been well worth it.  Art of course is very subjective and I know that some of the effects won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, so, as many of you will know, I always include your pictures in normal colour in your portfolios as well as any artistic versions so you can compare and decide which you like best 🙂

As well as getting up and running on the new software, I have found some great new products to add to the wall display range, including acrylic glass and brushed aluminium items, which can also be CIRCULAR – thought that would “ring” (ouch, excuse the pun!!) the changes a bit.  Once the samples arrive I’ll post some pictures of them to see what you think.

Now with bookings coming in thick and fast for the next few months before Christmas, the new software will (hopefully!) speed up my workflow considerably (now I’ve got to grips with it) which is especially important at this time of year when we are all working towards that same deadline which comes round oh so quick! I expect I don’t need to point that out 😉

Anyway, here’s some of my recent studio pics with the new artistic effects I mentioned….and these will be alongside the normal colour, as well as black and white, sepia fades and more – something for everyone, I hope!

 

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First Night at the Proms

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Yes it’s prom week and Tuesday night was our first of the year.

Our evening generally starts an hour or two before the first arrivals so we can set up our portable backdrop and lights, take a few test shots and make sure everything is hunkey dorey before the busy night ahead. Our equipment sure is put through its paces at proms, so we always take spare lights, batteries etc – just in case!

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Portable studio ready and waiting!

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Once satisfied the portable studio is good to go, we take a few shots of the table settings and decor etc, before heading outside to do the arrival shots.

ImageImageTaking the arrival shots can be quite challenging, not least if it’s pouring with rain!

Limos, buses, fire engines, motorbikes, vintage cars, ice cream vans, lorries, horses, even the odd helicopter (yes, really!) – the students certainly arrive in style! With larger proms, the arrival shots can take some time, and often it is quite chaotic to say the least!

Sometimes we then take shots in the grounds, weather permitting, before the meal, or at the tables, or both!

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Dinner is served!

After the meal, the fun really begins … the students come to the backdrop in their droves and Lee and I both click away continually.  It’s quite tough making ourselves heard above the disco music, so I’ve got a dab hand at “sign language” over the years!!

By the end of the evening we will have taken in the region of 1500 images between us.

By about 10.30 or 11 we can start dismantling everything, ready to load into the car for the next one.

Then it’s Home James, and download/backup the pictures so I can start the edit the following morning.  It usually takes me a couple of days with so many images to go through, and more proms to do in the meantime.

I won’t pretend proms are not very exhausting to photograph (phew!), but it is lovely to share in such a special evening for the students, and help to create some memories for them that they can treasure as they move on to the next stage of their lives.