I’m here doing a little happy dance so I thought I would share my joy. Really delighted to to say that I won a Bronze Bar in The Guild of Photographer’s monthly competition with this shot below. I was also commended for the two shots below it.
It means a lot to me to be recognised for hard work and I’m always trying to improve so hopefully may have a silver bar award to share with you in the future. Fingers crossed.
When I was four, I completely believed I could fly, was convinced there was a monster living in my wardrobe and that I could talk to trees!
At four, the world is full of opportunity & adventure and that’s just in the garden. Go to the woods and the possibilities are endless. Now the world is full of opportunity & adventure even when you’re not four but we start to let that feeling go astray as we get older and lose the magic of childhood.
Photographing children is amazing fun not only because a little part of you gets to be a child again but you can witness them getting totally lost in their own imaginations. My 4 year old nephew openly declares, “MY IMAGINATION IS MASSIVE” while making solar systems out of blu-tac and sending psychic messages to Santa.
Eventually children become conditioned to pulling a big cheesy grin or silly faces when a camera is pointed at them.
My biggest effort/challenge then when photographing children is to create as many moments as possible where you can get them to forget they are being photographed and if this works, BINGO! One all access pass into their magical mystical wonderland.
….I feel it in my toes. Yes I really did just quote a Wet Wet Wet song but stay with me for a second.
The song goes on “Love is all around me and so the feeling grows.” Well today I’m feeling the love. It’s an absolutely beautiful day here in Kent and later this afternoon I am honoured to be attending a blessing service for a friend who recently got married. With that in mind, I chose a wedding themed portrait today.
At weddings you’re surrounded by the friends and family of two people who want to declare their love for each other. It is something really wonderful to see and be a part of because love is all around!
If this was a L’oreal advert I would now say, “Here’s the science bit.”
Yesterday I talked a bit about context and the struggle to know when and how much of the location or background to show to add meaning to a photo. Another vitally important context to capture is relational. Weddings give you lots of opportunities to capture special moments between loved ones. The photographer’s job then is to see those moments coming and be ready to capture them in a way that shows the special bond between loved ones.
Here the beautiful bride Jessica was showing her wedding ring to her grandmother. A tender & proud moment between generations.
I took this photo today. I was just testing the light before I set up the “proper” shot so I wasn’t thinking about composition, angle or giving my subject any direction. He was mid sentence . My first reaction. I looked at my screen and laughed. I knew he wasn’t ready but that wasn’t important to the image, or was it?
When I uploaded the photos to my computer I decided I actually really like this photo. And so I have an experiment that I’d like you to try out. Are you ready?
Everything you know about photography. Forget it. Even just for a day, even just for a minute.
Next time you pick up your camera don’t consider what a “proper” portrait is supposed to be. Abandon the rules. Forget what you’ve heard someone else suggest as the perfect or even ideal settings for any given situation. Even just for a day stop considering the rule of thirds and how to expose perfectly or compose your image to look pleasing to everyone else. See what happens. Even better show me what happens. E-mail it to me at email@example.com or post it on my Facebook page.
If you can do that, if you can forget what you are supposed to be doing, you might just create something a bit different, something a bit raw, something a bit special.
Because rules were made to be broken.
Wow. I’m actually quite surprised at where this portrait experiment has taken me so far.
I’m quite a thinker anyway, an over-thinker some might say, yet only 8 days into this challenge it feels like I wasn’t thinking at all before.
I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures of people over landscapes and scenery but posting these portraits has really started me thinking on a deeper level about what kind of portraits I delight over. I keep coming back to my portraits of musicians. Why did this not stand out to me before? I’m not sure, maybe as I’m not a musician myself it wasn’t that obvious. But the beauty of a portrait of a musician is seeing their passion coming alive right in front of your eyes. Musicians take it to another place , they go somewhere else, they connect to whoever or whatever their muse might be and it makes them shine.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”- Howard Thurman
I’ve always had close friends who are musicians and I never really believed that to be intentional but now I’m starting to wonder whether it is a subconscious thing. I like the idea that we naturally surround ourselves with people that inspire us. It should be that way anyway. I feel really lucky and I am overwhelmed with gratitude at the people who I have had the chance to know and the opportunities I have had to capture people in the process of expressing themselves. In doing so they help me to express myself too.
To those people I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for doing what you do. Please keep doing it!
Well today we’ve moved from musicians to an entirely different species!!
This feline goes by the name of “George Best,” a close friend’s cat who I photographed for her recently. I actually really enjoyed myself too, animals have huge personalities and you never know what they are going to do next! I think George enjoyed it too and was quite the poser. I think I can even see a smile in this photo.
Does a portrait have to be human? I don’t think so. So often we give pets human characteristics anyway that maybe that plays a part in the psychology surrounding what defines a portrait.
What do you think? and what do you think George is dreaming about, that’s what I’d love to know ….
From one musician to another. I’m not obsessed I promise (well only with photographing people doing what they love) I really wanted to pick this portrait for today’s post because I was browsing through the whole shoot a few days ago and this is the one that always jumps out at me. It’s from a shoot about 6 months ago with amazingly talented harpist Alexander Thomas. (@alexthomasmusic) This is probably my absolute favourite image from the shoot and you can see more here.
Although his face is sort of obstructed you can still see the emotion on his face through the harpstrings and it is seeing that and feeling that connection at the time I was taking the photo which is what makes me love photographing musicians. Alex hadn’t expected to necessarily play his harp on the shoot but just be photographed with it. A while into the shoot I asked him to play a little and wow, the sounds literally travelled on the wind and echoed all around us. I’ve never heard anything quite like it. It was heavenly and incredibly inspiring . So I suppose I’m realising that’s one of the biggest factors for me in my favourite portraits. What the person is doing or what you ask them to do can make or break an image. 5 days in and I’m already learning, I like it!
I’d love to hear what makes a great portrait for you. Get in touch or comment below.
Today’s portrait is of guitarist Max Giegerich. He is in an awesome band called Welcome to Marathon. I may feature some of his lovely bandmates at some point.
I slightly over exposed this shot but I took several more photos with different exposures and ended up liking this look. It made me think about atmosphere in an image . I think it adds sort of a spiritual aspect to the photo. Maybe because the background is blown out, you can’t tell where he is so it makes it purely about the subject. Just one man and his guitar making beautiful music.
Check back tomorrow for the next portrait in my portrait challenge.
Day three of The Portrait Challenge.
I’m enjoying thinking about what I try to capture in a portrait. Sometimes that magic ingredient needed for a portrait happens entirely by accident. Those accidental portraits can make the best images. I definitely don’t think that a portrait has to be a straight on shot of a person’s face and I really want to try to get a variety in this challege.
So here’s my third portrait and the story behind the image. It’s no secret I love photographing babies but this was by no means a planned shot. I was outside in the garden taking photos & this little fella wanted to know what all the commotion was about outside so came up to the window with his Granddad to watch. I had to get a shot of it & I didn’t really expect it to be good or to like it but baby’s are so curious I loved how this image portrays some of that wonder.
Their world is brand new in each and every moment.