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 …

Sourcing Props for Natural Product Photography

It’s made me happy over the last few years that small business owners have moved towards a more natural product photography style that doesn’t require the technical know-how of a perfect white background shot. That’s not to say that natural product photography doesn’t require any photography know-how, but I certainly think it’s easier to achieve in a small space and on a budget. I covered some of the basics of natural light product photography here on another blog, but I think that styling the images is also really important. Sourcing props can be really tough when you’re a beginner – …

Behind The Image #3 – Chad in the Bath

Bathrooms often have the most wonderful light when it comes to photography. All those white tiles really bounce the light around and make for a wonderful bright and airy feel to images. In the photos is Chad. He’s been living with me for a few years now and in the last year has been diagnosed with thyroid problems and stage four kidney disease. He’s also probably got cat dementia. He sleeps quite a bit now, but occasionally has moments that are full of life. Earlier today I headed upstairs to investigate a crashing noise only to find Chad playing in …

Behind The Image #2 – Dragon Drawstring Bag

This might seem like a strange one to talk about – especially for number two on the list (not that the order of the post indicates any particular ranking, mind you). But product photography was my bread and butter for a good chunk of my photography career. In my mid-twenties (eight years ago now) I worked full time as a product photographer in a large London studio. I stuck it out for about a year before chucking it in. The work was hard. Well, all photography work is hard. But eight hour days shooting up to fifty products in a …

Behind The Image #1 – Blenheim Palace Cyclist

This is the first in an occasional series exploring why I took photographs, what I think of them, and sometimes what I’d do differently if I had the opportunity to take it again. I’m shamelessly borrowing the idea from Magnum’s original Behind the Image series (but with no pretence to believing I’m quite that good). I was on assignment for Professional Imagemaker magazine writing a feature about photographing triathlons. A few weeks before I’d interviewed a great triathlon photographer about his business, his workflow, and the kind of pictures he likes to capture. The day after I was heading up to Birmingham …

What’s This Blog All About?

What kind of a writer doesn’t have a website where they write? Well, plenty actually but it’s kind of rare for someone who specialises in blogging about photography and art not to have one. I realised that although I create loads of content for other people online about photography and art, I wasn’t creating content for myself. The kind of things that I wanted to write about which didn’t really fit with any of my clients. So I resurrected my (slightly stagnant) portfolio site that nobody ever visited, gave it a bit of an overhaul, and added a blog to …