This blog is dead, long live the New London Portrait Photographer & photography blog

October 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m now hosting my London Portrait Photographer website and photography blog on my own server using WordPress and the Photocrati theme.
Which means this blog is now surplus to requirements. I wont delete this one as it will help towards the SEO on the new site, but if you want to follow my work,head over to the new website and RSS my new blog.

Robbie

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The very photogenic Hoi An in Vietnam

July 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Image from our trip to Vietnam and Cambodia two Christmases ago. I’ve been a bit rubbish at getting them all together into a post. Hoi An is very beautiful town which has Unesco World Heritage status. Its about half way down the very long coast line near Da Nang. We got the over night train there from Hanoi which took 13 hours! Nice way to travel and see the countryside and it saves you money on hostel for one night.

We spent 4 days in Hoi An which is also where you can get clothes made very cheaply, I got some Linen shirts copied for US $10 each. It has loads of temples, good eating and drinking, and a fantastic market and a night where they float lots of lanterns down the river. Its all in the guidebooks / interweb. If you planning a visit I would highly recommend it. Enjoy the photo’s.

what IS Robbie up to?

November 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Now some of you might have a vague idea what I do for a living, if you need any portable displays, exhibition equipment or graphics I’m your man.

Stylish portable displays for Cadogan Estate Event at Saatchi Gallery

However I don’t want Dimensions to be the only thing I do in my life,  but when I read scary stuff like this you realise that a photography career is probably not going to pay all the bills in the short term.  Which got me thinking about how do I make some money from photography, be creative and juggle the day job which pays the mortgage.

First thing to work out is what do you want to take pictures of, as most photographers specialise.  I’m not any different.  I like taking pictures of people and I’ve got to the level where I’m starting to take good pictures consistently. Subject sorted…lots of options with people photography – formal portraits, children, events, editorial, corporate shots etc. I can also do still life and more commercial type shots and then there is potential print sales of scenic images I’ve taken, but that’s for a future blog.

Next stage if I was 20 years younger would be get an assistant job and learn on the job, someone else takes the flak if it goes wrong on a shoot. Obviously that’s not going to happen with the day job, so I’m learning the hard way, by diving in the deep end and trying to get clients from my contacts and by building a portfolio. Which means I need to get my skill level up to pretty damn good from its current good but could be a bit quicker. At the moment it sometimes take me about 15 -20mins before I nail the shot which isn’t quick enough in the editorial world, need to nail them in 5 -10 mins. I’m also doing this in a age where anyone who picks up a digital SLR thinks they can be a photographer so there is a lot of competition out there and I need to stand out.

Which leads on to the meat of this post,  I need to build up my portfolio and also get quicker at finding the best image in the shortest period of time. Best way to do this is practice. It struck that me that my wide and varied group of friends (and friends of friends) with interesting careers, hobbies, children would make excellent subjects. Now combine this with everyone’s increasing online presence –  their own websites, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, dating sites etc etc  – all of which need populating with decent pictures in my opinion if you want to impress your audience.

That’s where I come in, for the next 12 months or so I want to take lots of portraits, both studio and environmental ones to build up my portfolio. This is going to free of charge to friends, unless its for an actual business where I think its only fair that I charge a little bit. The kind of shots I want to take are best illustrated by the shoot I did with my friend Peter. He’s a keen gardener and has an allotment where he grows fruit and veg. I’d scouted the location and spotted some great sheds that would make excellent back drops for environmental portraits. I wanted to take a profile portrait that could be used to illustrate a newspaper article on people and their allotments.

We spent a couple of hours creating the shots below and enjoying what turned out to be the last of the warm autumn sun. Now that you all know what I’m trying to achieve, please get in touch if you have any ideas for photoshoots over the coming year. I’ve also got few of my own ideas and will be approaching some of you… you’ve been warned.

All the best…Robbie

 

Male portrait sitting in garden shedMan sittting down in vegetable garden

Eleanor – a personal project

November 13, 2010 § 3 Comments

My good friends Mel and Jules have daughter called Eleanor who was born in May 2008. I photographed them all on her first birthday, here they all are………

Mel writes are blog called London Digital Mum – “Digital media bird, working in London, commuting from Watford and juggling toddlercare whilst trying not to spill the sauvignon blanc”

They are wonderful couple and I thought it would be good to start a long term portrait project featuring Eleanor. I’m aiming to photograph her a minimum of once a year until she tells me to piss off.  Hopefully that wont be anytime soon as she loves posing for the camera! Its a nice project for me, as it will slowly build into a story as she grows up… hopefully she wont get bored or think I’m uncool as she’s get older.

The first two shots she about 1 year old. In these next two she’s 27 months and look how she’s grown and started to chat back and give me grief. NO MORE photo’s I was told in no uncertain terms after an hour or so, though it was time for her afternoon nap!

More to follow in the new year

Halloween Photo Fun

November 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

We threw a Halloween party in a local bar called the Tommyfield in Kennington. The theme was “Dead Famous” – i.e. Dead Celebrities. It was joint party with our friend Will’s whose birthday it was so we got a good crowd. We were giving prices for the best costume, so some of friends made a splendid effort. I thought it would good idea take portraits of everyone and upload them to Facebook as a way of promoting my Fan page. I had spotted a picture rail when we were doing the recce of the place and though it would be easy to fix a back drop to it. So I bought 3.5m length of blood red velvet which I wrapped round an old cardboard core from one of my print suppliers. Attached it to the wall with some picture rails hooks and cable ties.
Ryan in drag in front of backdrop

My initial set up was a small Lumiquest 8″ x 7″ softbox camera right and reflected brolly camera left but its wasn’t working, the softbox was too directional and i needed more light across the whole subject not just the head.  So i quickly resorted to the tried and tested shoot through umbrella’s as shown in the diagram. I liked the results and the bright red background adds a nice hard graphic quality which compliments the outfits and gestures. The final lighting set up diagram is further down.

This is Harvey who supplied the tunes for the night as the late great Heath Ledger managing to mash up Brokeback Mountain and Batman into one costume.

Harvey as Heath Ledger / The Joker

Matt had come as the soon to be assassinated Barek Obama. Its a joke before anyone gets on there high horse, but you do have to wonder given some of the right wing crazies that are in ascendancy in the US at the moment.

Lauren and Frankie came as Cher and Audrey Hepburn. Cher would have one a prize if she hadn’t left before the end!

Friend of friend who name i didn’t get but she new how to pose! Three frames shot taken all of them good… thats what you want in a model.

 

Matt kept it simple but carried off a very good Freddie Mercury

Lighting diagram tool from Kevin Kertz its a layered Photoshop file with lots of different lighting sources and modifiers which you can create your own set ups quickly.
Cross light set up using SB900 in shoot thru Umbrella's

last night a filter saved my wallet from a broken heart……

September 16, 2010 § 3 Comments

…or the importance of ALWAYS sticking a UV filter on the front of that expensive 24 – 70mm f2.8 lens.

Stupid me perched the camera with a SB900 in the hotshoe on the arm of armchair whilst shooting Callum a few weeks ago. It fell about 2 feet landing lens first. The impact point is pretty obvious. Now I’ve just blown about £30 on the filter and I’m know shitting myself as its £1200 lens and the filter is refusing to come off, the thread being crushed. I drive home in crappy mood.

A fair bit WD-40 and elbow grease later I manage to get the fiiter off. The zoom action is no longer smooth either. Stick the lens back on the camera fire a few shots off it seems OK. Phew…big sigh of relief. A few week later the zoom action is also back to normal after being used a fair bit. Pro lens – tough enough to handle a serious knock and I’m super grateful to Calumet for making good filters.

Strobist info – Filter is sitting on a piece of black acrylic, SB900 TTL +0.7 in softbox bouncing off a sheet of blue polypropylene camera left another SB900 TTL -1.3 with a snoot and two cuts full CTO aimed at the front of the filter also camera left

Silver Twist

September 15, 2010 § 2 Comments

Silver wire ringPhotographed some silver jewelery at the weekend.  As you can see Yvonne Struthers makes lovely flowing pieces, mainly rings, earrings and bangles. Each piece is hand made and unique. She need images to show potential clients and stockists.

Her friend Preya modeled the jewelery to convey scale, and also what they actually are, without some human context the pieces are quite abstract.

105mm Macro lens was used for most of the shots, mix of ambient, softbox and bounce reflectors for lighting.

Silver ring on Slate

Strobist info – SB900 in 60cm softbox RHS as close as possible to the pieces to create as big a light source as possible compared to the subject which make the highlights nice and big. Bit of corex to the right providing bounce fill which created the mid toned reflections on the RHS of the ring.

Silver wire earring being worn

Silver wire ringThat black blob is me in the middle of the focused part of the shot. Wore a dark t shirt and just desaturated the red, yellows and oranges in Lightroom to make my arms less obvious in the final shots

Silver wire bangle

Ring, bangle and earrings

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