Here’s a selection of my recent portraits, mostly shot in the subjects’ own home. I do love the control of working in a studio, but from the sitter’s point of view it’s more relaxing to stay at home and let the photographer do the work! Most houses have enough of a neutral background to create a “studio” look if required, and sometimes enough natural light not to bother with artificial lighting. [Read more…]
Last week we drove out to see our friends Tim & Julia for tea and cakes. While there I took the opportunity to photograph dog portraits of their two: Star is a pedigree Staffie, while Riley is part Staffie, part something else… [Read more…]
Not content with taking on the dog world, I’ve now moved on to equine portraits: these photos of Echo were taken in Holbrook back in December, on a horribly cold and wet day (in between two of the bouts of snow and ice we experienced that month). I went fully equipped with flash, lighting stand, tripod, etc. only to realise that horses really don’t like anything out of the ordinary, and are quite prepared to let you know about it! The lighting conditions in the school were terrible: a little daylight, assisted by halogen floodlights, which produced a very odd colour balance. Without flash I had to set my camera to ISO 3200 in order to get a workable shutter speed of 1/125 for most shots. Kathy really wanted some action shots of Echo trotting round the school, but given the poor light and cluttered background it proved difficult to get any really striking shots. I will visit the yard again when the weather is better, and try some action photos out in the field. For now I’m pleased with the portraits, but will work on my panning skills!
I did a fair bit of post-production in Lightroom – noise reduction to minimise the grain produced by such a high ISO, and a lot of burning to darken the background and draw the eye into the frame.
They say never work with children or animals… well, I think I can just about cope with the little ones, but I have to say that Dolly the Jack Russell proved to be a difficult subject. OK, she’s only 11 weeks old, but I fired off over 100 shots in order to get a handful of useable photos. She had a great time though! I started off shooting with the flash and shoot-through umbrella on a stand , but Dolly decided she didn’t want to hang around in any one area of the house, so in the end I put the Speedlight back my camera and worked with bounce flash, following her around the house on my knees. Focusing proved tricky too – I don’t entirely trust the Continuous Servo focus option on the D700, but with a fast-moving subject like Dolly it proved it’s worth.
George proved a much easier subject – he’s clearly more relaxed in front of the camera, and he turned on the soulful look without much persuasion. Trouble is, he liked me so much he kept lying down on me… Photos shot on location – thanks to Jacky for the hospitality!
I had a call from an old friend who needed some photos urgently – he’s a ceramic artist, and wanted some studio-quality shots of his latest work in progress. As he’s based at Britannia Mill I was able to walk down with my “studio” under my arm: Nikon SB-900 Speedlight, lighting stand and a shoot-through umbrella. Andy had a graduated background already set-up, so it was a relatively simple job to mount the flash head on the stand, switch it to Remote mode, set my Nikon D700 to Flash Commander mode, and start shooting.
The pots are intriguing pieces with a very sculpted surface and a lovely range of tones in the glaze, and the light was positioned to emphasise this sculptural quality. If you want to know more about Andy and his work you can view details here. Click on the images for a larger view.
I’ve heard that Andy will be showing his work at the prestigious “Earth and Fire International Ceramics Fair” at Rufford Country Park in June 2011. Click here for details.