Behind The Image #11 – Tulip Portrait

I don’t often shoot black and white images, but I’ve been more interested in them recently. I tend to go through phases with the way I post-process photographs and at the moment I think I’m chasing a “fine art” aesthetic inspired by the still life images I saw at the end of the Don McCullin exhibition. I’ve always wanted to shoot beautiful flower portraits. The idea of a flower “portrait” really fascinates me. To me, for an image of a flower to be a portrait it has to describe a characteristic of the flower. It has to go beyond being …

How I Make Time For Photography

I always wish I had more time to do the things I love, and I’m sure that I’m not alone. It can be easy as a hobbyist to suddenly realise that you’ve not picked up your camera for a few weeks, let alone shot anything you love. To be honest sometimes this happens to me too – being primarily an academic and a journalist means that sometimes I let my photography slip. This always makes me unhappy. I know that if I’m feeling a bit down it’s probably because I’ve not exercised my photographic creative muscles recently enough. So I …

Behind The Image #10 – Dark Fairytales

This image is a little different to most of the other LARP images I’ve shot over the years – let me tell you why. I edited it in Photoshop. Normally I don’t edit my LARP images in Photoshop. My entire workflow happens in Adobe Lightroom; a specialist piece of photography software designed for cataloguing and archiving images as well as doing basic editing. My process is that I import photographs from a LARP event into Lightroom, colour grade every image, rate them either 1* or 3* (ditch or keep, exceptional images get 4*) and re-crop them if they need it …

Behind The Image #9 – Bikes in Oxford

I remember the first time I photographed with intent. I had a Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles camera that printed Michelangelo in the corner of every frame. Apparently they came out in 1990, so I would have been about five or six years old. For some reason, and I have no idea why, I decided to take an entire roll of film just of my bike. My bike was given to me by a relative that had grown out of it. It was a pink girls bike with a luggage rack on the back and a white seat with Bambi on. …

Behind The Image #8 – Shakespearean Portrait

It doesn’t seem possible that we’re eight weeks into 2019 already, but here we are almost at the end of February! This week I had the pleasure of heading along to lend a pair of hands on a workshop my friend Neil was running in Banbury giving people the opportunity to photograph the gorgeous Ginger Galore. Portraits inspired by historical imagery have been my thing for some time now. I guess for me it was a way of using what I’d learned photographing roleplaying events and combining it with my love for studying History of Art. So when I had …

Behind The Image #7 – The Beecroft Building & Keble College

There were two main reasons I picked Oxford Brookes to study History of Art. The first was that it had a banging rowing team (that for reasons beyond the scope of this post I didn’t join). The second was that it has a fantastic and well-regarded architecture department, and a modernist architectural historian in the history of art department. All in all I studied quite a bit of architecture on my undergrad degree. I had initially planned to study the architectural photography commissioned by Le Corbusier as my Masters by Research, but that fell by the wayside when videogames showed …

Behind the Image #6 – Chrysanthemum

I was always both enchanted by and in awe of flower photography, but whenever I tried it myself the results were always extremely lacklustre. More recently I’ve started including flowers in my still life images and it seems that gradually they worked their way centre stage. Chrysanthemums are one of my favourite flowers, second really only to tulips. I don’t know why but they remind me of my childhood. I seem to remember that my Grandmother always had a big bunch of them on her living room table, but that could be memories from twenty five years ago getting mixed …

Natural Light Product Photography Ideas

Photography isn’t the easiest skill to learn, and product photography is considered a particularly difficult kind of image making. Even seasoned professional photographers in other fields get pretty stumped when it comes to shooting product images because it can be a highly technical genre. Ideally every person selling products would have the budget to pay a specialist product photographer. But the reality is that those running small businesses often don’t have that kind of luxury. Lots of photographers will tell you that you need loads of expensive lights, a huge space, and lots of technical know-how in order to shoot …

Behind the Image #5 – Abstract Car Photography

Motorsports photography was really one of the first kinds of imagemaking that I found myself enjoying. I started going to Silverstone in my early twenties and have been watching sports car racing and F1 ever since. I don’t know much about cars, but I know what I like. And alongside my love for the sleek racing cars that grace the very top championships, I also adore a good boxy-looking car. My favourites are Ford Escort’s and Sierra’s from the 80s and early 90s (and I still mourn for my Ford Escort Convertible that I stupidly crashed and wrote off a …

Behind the Image #4 – Gunslingers and Gangsters

I want you to look real close at that image. Can you see the sparks? They weren’t edited in after I’d taken the photo, they were actually there. This picture was shot at a small Wild West LARP and it is just about my favourite roleplaying image I’ve ever shot. Everything just lined up for me. The character, the pose, the angles, and – of course – capturing the magical moment where the sparks flew out of the revolver and the puffs of smoke exploded. There were a few other similar shots that I got over the course of the …