Monday, 31 August 2009

If it rains it rains

I have been looking at the weather forecast for the past five days for this wedding on the 3oth. The forecast began as heavy rain, then heavy showers, then light showers then light showers after 4pm. When I woke up on the day the sun was shining. Now it did get cloudy and I have to say that we did get rain later in the day, but we did get the photos that we wanted to get. I must stop looking at the forecast. If it rains it rains.

We had prepared to take these photos between the church and the reception. This countryside means something to the bride and groom and the car is obviously special to their day but take two steps off the road and you could be in the middle of the moors. OK it's unlikely in a wedding dress but it is possible. If it had been raining then we wouldn't have got these photos, but we would have taken others, and as the bride put it "if it rains it rains". I will show you one tomorrow which is indoors and not a usual type of wedding photo.

Happy snapping.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Take the easier choices

A friend of mine showed me his new digital camera a few years ago. At that time I thought film was still better than digital and I only owned a film camera. I looked through his camera to see what I thought was an ordinary view but he told me how wonderful it was, so I agreed with him. Later that day he sent me some photos and I was amazed at the quality. We were watching a rugby match and I could see so much detail on the other side of the pitch.

I bought a new zoom lens this week and I was in Lancaster so I took this photo. The first thing I saw was all the telephone lines. I had the idea at the time of taking the photo that I would airbrush them out but the quality of the photo doesn't justify the extra work. I will wait for good lighting and more importantly, I will get on my bicycle and look for a viewpoint that takes out the lines. Life is so much easier this way.

When I took this photo I did not use a tripod, so if this is the photo I want on my wall then I would take it again with a tripod. The moral of that story is take a tripod on holiday, and maybe the moral is always use a tripod. Now when I look at it I see buildings that I have not seen before from this angle. I recognise them because I know Lancaster but it is strange to see all the detail.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Werner Heisenberg

I have a website at and I add to the gallery page each time I take photos at a wedding. I give copyright away to the bride and groom and in return I ask if I can use their photos on the website. It helps me because I am able to show examples of my work and it helps them because any friends and relatives who live anywhere in the world can see photos of the wedding almost at once.

I want people to look at the photos and at the website in general and to make sure that there is something different each month I have a quote of the month on the home page. This month I have used a quote from Werner Heisenberg. He was not a photographer, he was not even an artist. So how did he manage to get a quote on a photography website? Well there is plenty of physics in photography and he was a German physicist. The quote that I have used is “Looking at something changes it”.

If you read this quote without knowing its origin you may think that it is referring to something poetic. The spectator becomes part of the picture. However the logical science of physics tells us that observing something literally does change it. If you don’t believe me then do a search for the quote. You get physically involved with a photo if you look at it. That’s the easy step. The harder step is to get involved so that you enjoy the photo.

Happy snapping

Friday, 28 August 2009

Keep your fingers crossed

I can think of one exception, but almost always I get to a pre-wedding meeting with the bride and groom and we look at the possibilities for the photos. Now this background means something to them. It is their countryside so why not have a picture of it? All we have to do is stop the car between the church and the reception. It will only take a few seconds and I have not known car drivers have any problem with this. This photographer fits in with the wishes of the bride and groom. In fact everyone works together to make the day as special as possible.

What we can't control in this country is the weather. I should stop looking at weather forecasts as they are frequently wrong. I am keeping my fingers crossed for Sunday otherwise we will be taking the wet weather options.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Lancaster Cathedral

This is Lancaster Cathedral. I hope that you think there is nothing strange about this picture because it isn't supposed to look different. Alright the second photo is monochrome but I think we are used to this. There is nothing too artificial about taking the colour from photos.

I will tell you that I have changed this photo considerably and for the original you will have to look at the following (yesterday's) blog.

Have I added trees? Have I taken out some clouds? Have I changed the colour of the building? I haven't made any changes like this but take a look for a minute before you look at the answer below.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Lancaster Cathedral 2

On Monday and Tuesday this week I wrote the blogs in the order that I published them. I wanted you to see the dog without the collar first and then I wanted you to see the dog with the collar. I have learnt my lesson so apologies if you come to this blog on Wednesday 26th August as you will be the only people reading this blog before you read tomorrow's amended photos.

Today I am showing you Lancaster Cathedral as the camera sees it. I took this photo from across the road. Now if you know Lancaster or its Cathedral you will know the spire is extremely tall. You may not know that it is 240 feet in height but I wasn't about to get a tape measure to it. What it means photographically is that you are bound to get converging verticals unless you are a long way from the Cathedral when you take your photo. I have written about converging verticals before, but basically think of it like a path getting smaller as it goes into the distance. The walls of the building move towards each other as they get further from the camera. The walls 'converge'.

The eye accommodates to this convergence. We don't notice it but the camera does. Who says the camera doesn't lie? Well the eye does. Now if you had the ability to take this photo from 120 feet in the air then you would not notice the convergence (as much). However with a couple of click on the computer you have Thursday's photos.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Look at yesterday's blog first

As promised, here is the original photo. No vignette but you do get the collar - and the body harness. When I looked back I couldn't see any mark where the collar had been but I could see the tell-tale signs of recurring marks where the harness was.

I was going to wish that I had spent a little longer removing the harness, but it is actually good practice for you to see the marks left when a photo has not been manipulated well.

If you are taking weeds out of a lawn then life is very easy as it is so difficult to see those tell-tale signs in grass. However you have to get rid of the large weeds first because if you don't you will see a pattern with them.

Happy snapping

Monday, 24 August 2009

Can you see the collar

This is our new dog. I mentioned her a few days ago and said that she would be a willing model, so what better background for her than Morecambe Bay. She does wear a collar but I thought I would airbrush it out for these photos. I think she looks good in black and white and in sepia but I have not shown you the colour photo yet as I want you to look if you can see where I have removed the collar. I hope that you can't see the change but I wish now that I had spent a little longer on the photo so I could not see any changes.

It is a little like the spot the ball competition but it is easier to take out a football. I will show you the original tomorrow.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 23 August 2009

The advantage of a mini-tripod

Yesterday I was saying that it doesn't really matter if you don't have a tripod. Well sometimes it does. Blur from camera movement is kept to a minimum and you can always take photos of yourself - as per yesterday's photo.

If I am using a tripod I generally take one that is difficult to carry around. It certainly limits sponteneity but it does make for better photos. It isn't really difficult to carry this tripod but I am lazy. I also have a mini-tripod. I have tried a couple and not been completely satisfied with them. You are limited because you have to find somewhere flat to put it on, and if you have somewhere flat then you can just put the camera on it.

There is greater flexibility with a mini-tripod but I have found them a little temperamental. A slight adjustment here and it moves itself there. Today I bought a different kind of tripod which is in the photo. This one has springy legs and early indications are that it works well.

All I need to do now is look for flat places to put the tripod on.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Onshore breezes don't help.

Last weekend I was on the prom in Morecambe and took photos of the Sandcastle festival. It wasn't a great day for photos. It was cloudy and breezy. Wind is important if you are taking a landscape or a seascape. If you want a great photo then you have to avoid camera shake and use a tripod. I must admit that I don't generally use a tripod but it doesn't matter if you are taking photos with a flash or in daylight and the subject is near to you. You may notice a difference between a hand held photo and a tripod if you considerably enlarge these photos but for the usual enlargements it makes no difference.

So on Sunday I took this photo, not with a tripod but I left the camera on a wall. You can't really see the building behind my wife's head but it really is a nice building. There are many others in Morecambe but you do have to look up above the shop window to start to see their grandeur. I said a breeze doesn't help when you take a photo, and it doesn't help my hair!

Happy snapping

Friday, 21 August 2009

Well done Lancaster City Council

Last weekend there was a Sandcastle festival in Morecambe. Unfortunately I was busy on the Saturday and the Sunday and when I managed to get to the prom on Saturday these sculptures were surrounded by wire fences. I managed to get these photos on Sunday but even then you can see the fence in the background. I'm afraid that this spoils the background, but the foreground is the centre of attention.

Mr Punch on the left looks like Tommy Cooper but that shouldn't take anything away from the great artistic value of the sculpture. I think we are looking at Neptune on the right but he has lost his legs. This may be partly artistic licence and partly ease of sculpting. I thought all the sculptures were wonderful, even a very simple dolphin. I might even have a chance of sculptint this one!

As for the photographic value of the sculptures, they would have been better in a better light. They would have been better with better cropping which was limited by the fence in front of the sculptures, and I would have liked a better background. I'm not sure why the fence went up on Sunday as the festival had finished. Nevertheless, well done Lancaster City Council.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 20 August 2009

A new addition

I had to add these photos today as we had an addition to our family yesterday. This is Angel who is a 'rescue' dog. She is part collie and part Heinz 57 and we had to visit the centre at least three times before we could bring her home for a trial.

If all goes well she will be a permanent resident in the next few days. At the moment she is wearing the red collar of the rescue centre which you can see in monochrome on the left, and you can just see in colour on the right. I thought that the tight cropping and the vignette worked well but Angel comes out very well in monochrome. This surprised me because her fur is mostly black anyway. There is a little bit of brown in her legs as you can see on the right.

When I decided to take her photos this evening I thought I could put the camera on the floor and just use the timer and natural light. No chance. I had attracted her attention and the second or so that is needed to take the photo meant motion blurring. I still kept the photo on the right because it shows the depth of field. The carpet is too close to the camera and is out of focus. The paws didn't move but her head did. However she is a willing model and I'm sure that I will get a lot more opportunities to take her photo.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

You'll have to wait for the backgrounds

After mentioning how many great backgrounds we found at the recent pre-wedding meeting, I have not shown you any. These two photos are both taken in the grounds of the venue for the reception. In the corner of the grounds there is a fabulous view of Longridge Fell. It's just that you can't see it from this photo. It doesn't matter - that's what the meeting is for. If we take the photo from the same point we will know that a third of the background is sky, a third wall, and a third is landscape. I know that I could move slightly and you would see the Fell. It might be worth it but there really is a lot of choice.

You can start to see the grounds on the right. I didn't find a weed in the lawn. There is such a variety of flowers, bushes and trees. Add to the list garden ornaments, lovely paths and a wonderful gazebo and you start to get the picture. In fact the building is so substantial that I don't know if you can call it a gazebo. I'll show you some photos after the wedding in September.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Avoid distractions in the background

Yesterday I mentioned a pre-wedding meeting and I said that there we were spoiled for choice with backgrounds. Perhaps you will get to see some after the wedding at They may be on the gallery page or you may see them in blogs at that time.

After telling you all about how good the backgrouds are, I am now sharing two photos with you that have the most common of all backgrounds. The lawn.

I like the standard poses. That's how they became standard. I like photos that bring out natural smiles like confetti photos and lifts of the bride (and the groom for that matter) and I also like to change from standing poses. Sitting is good and if there is a height difference it is lessened by sitting. You can also kneel or sit on the lawn. Not only does this change any height difference it also changes the perspective. Now there are no distractions in the background, just lawn.

Happy snapping

Monday, 17 August 2009

Not a standard pose

It is often difficult to stop brides and grooms from smiling on their wedding day. I don't think they need to practice but at the pre-wedding meeting we do go through some standard poses. It is a good practice for them and we look for backgrounds for these poses.

This is not a standard pose but if the groom lifts the bride you are guaranteed a natural smile. With a bit of cropping and a vignette you can hardly tell it is a lift and the smiles are still there.

On the day that we went for the pre-wedding meeting (16th August) we found some really great for backgrounds at the venues for the wedding and the reception. In the space of five minutes we found eight or ten places to take photos. Which are the best backgrounds? Very often it is only when I have seen the photos on the computer monitor that I know the better backgrounds especially when they are all very good. This particular photo did not have the best background by a long way but it does work very well and I hope to use it on the day.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Learn about composition from television

If you are watching a panel game on TV then teams of three, four or five are made for the shape of a television. If you have a widescreen TV then the director could almost show you the two teams and the host between them. Think of University Challenge. When they are asking the questions to both teams then one team is above the other. It fits the screen alright and one team is not a bad shape for television.

You can learn about the art of cropping not just from television. Learn from artists. Rules of composition are there to be broken but you have to learn the rules first before you know whether they are broken. Keep the subject in the frame. Make the point of interst follow the rule of thirds. Think about whether the subject fits into landscape or portrait. Are there any lines in the photo that cause you to look around the picture? Think about paths that lead you into a picture, a line of ducklings or anything that can take your interest. If there is something you can use then use it. The worst that can happen to your work of art is that someone glances and then looks away.

I have written this before but it is worth repeating. We read from left to right. We look at pictures from left to right. Can you lead the observer into the photograph? If the sunset is the main interest in the photo then put it in the top right or bottom right crosses for the line of thirds. On television you may have a presenter and a logo. Is the logo more important? If this is your photo which side would you place the logo and which side the presenter? Does it vary depending on a particular news item and a particular logo?

Groucho Marx said that television was very educational because whenever one was turned on he would leave the room and read a book. There is a little more to it than that but you can learn about composition.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Landscape or portrait

If I am taking photos of someone who is stood up then I usually work in portrait mode. That's computer language for holding the camera vertically. If I am taking a photo of two people then portrait is still the best orientation for the photo. If there are three or four people then whether you hold the camera vertically or horizontally depends on the background. More than four and it is probably best to take the photo in landscape I am generalising because there are always exceptions but the word 'portrait' for page orientation on computers came from the shape of a face and upper body (of the whole body when standing). On the other hand if you look at a landscape your eye often follows the horizon. Holding the camera horizontally is usually the best way to frame these pictures but you will still find exceptions to this rule.

One of my earliest blogs was about the rule of thirds. The most interesting part of a photo or a painting is often found at the intersections of imaginary lines crossing the photo that divide it into nine boxes. Now take a look at your television. There is no choice here as everything is landscape so how do they deal with people? You can become an expert just by watching TV. Sometimes it just doesn't look ideal. One person in the screen may have their legs cropped out of the photo but nothing of interest to either side of them. However television producers are quite sophisticated. Have you noticed a newsdesk with two presenters. You are getting two portrait images on your landscape television. One presenter does not look quite right so very often there is another image or some words on the screen along with the presenter.

You don't need to stretch our your index fingers and thumbs and place them together to make a rectangle. That is the sort of thing that a film director will do but you can train yourself to find the best orientation just by looking.

Happy snapping

Friday, 14 August 2009

The beauty of the digital age

I have received permission so here is the photo of Lynn who happened to be at work when I was taking photos at a wedding last weekend (see yesterday's blog).

I took two photos so this photo shoot lasted a whole five seconds. I preferred the first photo but she was stood next to a curtain which you can see on the left. We were in the room where the wedding was going to take place so it was quite a nice setting but I hadn't prepared for this photo. I just picked up the camera and took the photos.

On Tuesday I returned with the photo on the left along with a colour version that was less tightly cropped, and an even closer cropping in sepia with a vignette. I also gave her the two photos on the right with a Morecambe Bay sunset in the background. They are printed as a 6"x 4" which means that the photos on the right are 4"x 3" - quite a nice size and half the price!

Photo shoots don't have to take long. These and the photos on yesterday's blog took seconds. However in general I like to take some time and a lot of photos. With digital photography it costs nothing to take more, and even if you only have take one great photo with computer software that photo can become half a dozen. That's the beauty of the digital age.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Where do you want to be?

I arrived at the wedding venue a few days ago and no members of the bridal party were there. I took photos of the room as it had just been prepared and then one member of staff asked if I was going to take a photo of her. I always like volunteers. This isn't her photo as I haven't asked her permission to use it on this blog yet, but when I returned with her photos on Tuesday I got these photos from another volunteer.

The wall in the background is part of the reception area of The Strathmore Hotel in Morecambe. It is not a particularly inspiring background especially when you look out of the window and see Morecambe Bay. I took four photos and the total photo shoot took about ten seconds, but from one photo you can change a lot to get what looks like a lot of different photos. I said I could change the background and asked her where she wanted to be. The answer was a sunny beach. Well we are near the beach in Morecambe and the sun is definitely there. On the right the first backdrop is the Bay very close to The Strathmore Hotel and the photo on the right is taken from Morecambe Town Hall. You can just see part of Morecambe Yacht Club.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Expressions come first

I like both of these photos. On the left we have the groom outside the venue for the wedding with his best man behind him. I like this photo because he has not posed for it. The chances are that he knows his photo is about to be taken but you cannot be sure. I also like the best man in the background. He is there for support on the day and for support in this photo.

On the right you can see the same flowers in the background. The part of the photo that really makes it is the bride's expression. If the bride or groom are willing to pose then I am willing to take the photo. I don't go for 'modern art' type photos because I don't want to make them feel uncomfortable, but sometimes that extra pose (like the Eric Morecambe pose by the statue) is the one that they like the best.

There is lens flare on the right caused by the bright sunlight. This is not something that I look for in photos, but I have heard on many occasions that people like the effect. One thing that you can see with this photo is a coloured flare in front of the car and black and white flare elsewhere. They do get a black and white version and one totally in colour as well.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Colour or black and white? Both.

Two days ago there was a photo of this couple crossing Morecambe Prom. It is really great to have background material like Morecambe Bay and all we had to do was cross the road. Giving a piggy-back is one way to get a different expression but really any expression and any pose is going to be great when you have been married two minutes.

Within half an hour we got to the park. It is a totally different background but it is equally great to have such a photo opportunity. Some photographic critics would say that the colour of the flowers detracts from the main focus of the photo, the bride and groom. Well don't worry. They get the photo in colour and black and white and sepia. In fact any picture that I like gets multiplied by three or four.

Happy snapping

Monday, 10 August 2009

Even more shadows

I like to take a couple of photos when the bride and groom are walking down the aisle. One is just of them but the second has some of the guests in the background. When they get out of the room it is usually to the open air and natural light. Take a look at the photo on the right. The wedding took place in the room in the background. They had just received their drinks. It was warm and drinks were needed.

While they were drinking, I asked if they could stand still for a second and I used the lighting from the room. The shutter speed was over one second because the room was fairly dark. It is easy to see any movements at this speed, just take a look at the flowers, but it does give a totally different photo from that on the left. They were taken only seconds apart but are totally different photos. I wrote about shadows under the eyes in my last blog. If you missed it then take a look at the shadows on the right.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Don't stop in the middle of the road

On wedding days I like to get back in the evening with a 'surprise' present of a framed enlargement. This weekend it was the photo on the right without the words. I go back in the evening to photograph the first dance and if there is a chance then I take the bride and groom outside for photos in the evening light. In Morecambe this generally means a sunset over the bay is in the background.

Within 24 hours I have prepared all the photos for printing including this one. Simply cropping these two photos to 8"x 6" (which is the same proportion as 4"x 3" means that they can be joined together. For the price of one 6"x 4" photo you have two photos that are 4"x 3". It is quite a nice size anyway but they can now be used as to thank all the family and guests. Simply fold an A5 piece of card in half and stick one photo on the front and one on the back. Write a note inside and there you have it - a thank you card.

I tend to use flash even on sunny days but at times I switch it off. I think flash was used on both of these photos but because I am safely on the pavement the flash is not as strong on the left. Look at the shadows under the eyes. For groups I often take two, one with flash and one without. The best photo is the one with the best expressions, but often there is no difference so I choose the one with the best lighting. There is no definitive answer to the best lighting so it is worth taking two photos.

Did you notice that there are no road markings on the left and no rail on Morecambe prom on the right? Now is this a section of road without markings or have I removed them? Is this a gap in the rail? I must also mention that it is 40 years since the Beatles had their photo on the zebra crossing on Abbey Road. So many people use that crossing then stop and have their picture taken. This couple walked across and didn't hold anyone up.

Happy snapping

P.S. I didn't remove the rail on the prom. There is a gap in the rail next to the boulders that act as the coastal defence.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

A More Unusual Wedding Photograph

There is nothing new in this photo. It has been taken many times in many circumstances, but I wonder if a groom has ever had a photo like this on their wedding day. You can see the bride and guests in the background so it is definitely part of the day.

The pre-wedding meeting is mainly to look at the backgrounds for the photos and to decide where the main group photo can be taken. If you decide the place for the main group then the smaller groups are usually taken there as well. It just so happens that we had most of Morecambe seafront as our main background but turn ninety degree and you find these fountains.

Happy snapping

Friday, 7 August 2009

An unusual wedding photo

I must stop defending photographic manipulation because I don't think that I need to. I believe that when I take out oil stains on the road or remove the white lines then people appreciate that the photo has improved. I did this with the photo on the left. I didn't add any sunshine as we had a lovely day in sunny Morecambe.

The reason why I am showing these photos is because it was my last wedding two weeks ago and I have shown this couple's photos to three more prospective brides and grooms. They have all booked me and all commented that they liked these particular photos. I give copyright to the bride and groom and in return I ask to use their photos in the blog and on the website. It works to my benefit because they are a great advert and it works to their benefit because friends and family see their photos throughtout the world. It is very unusual to see the photo on the right on my website or in a blog as I have to ask permission for more people to have their photos included, but it does show another manipulation and there is usually a spontaneous comment as to how people like photos like this type of photo.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 6 August 2009

This photo has been manipulated

This photo has been manipulated. I thought I'd better let you know because an MP is trying to bring in the need to make this clear if manipulated photos are used as adverts that are aimed at children (see yesterday's blog). Well this might be an advert for bracelets or hooped T-shirts and if it is an advert then you may be able to read the mind of the advertiser and decide that this message is going to children. These children may not be able to detect that this is the same photo five times. Children may be fooled to think that there are five very similar people that stood in a strange juxtaposition. One happened to be black and white, one sepia, one that looked like a pencil drawing and one that had an exceptionally high contrast.

I know that this MP has started a debate with the best of intentions. Children may develop a poor body image if all the magazine photos show perfect models. It is just an argument that I can't agree with. Ban airbrushing and only 'perfect' models will be hired. If I take weeds out of the lawn then this imitates the same lawn that has just been cut. Pick up the litter on the computer or literally pick it up. Put a model in the best possible light or recreate that light on the computer. If this idea becomes legislation it will be unworkable. Policing it would be impossible and everyone would still want their picture to put them in the best possible light.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

More manipulations

Before I leave the pre-wedding meeting from Saturday I will show you the statue of Oliver Cromwell. History is written by the victors and Cromwell was victorious at Wythenshawe Hall, hence the statue. When I take photos at a wedding I am much more interested in gestures, in momentary events, in smiles. So the techniques that I use are totally different from a landscape photographer. If I wanted a picture of this statue then I would have waited for better weather. I would have taken my tripod and I would have taken time to find the best viewpoint. As it happened I just turned round and took a photo as I was only looking for backgrounds for photographs.

When I saw this photo I cropped it. I increased the contrast and then I sharpened it. Each stage of manipulation made the photo a little nicer. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but the big debate on the website called Liberal Democrat Voice is whether airbrushing should be allowed in children's advertising. I was drawn into the comments page and I have written about it in my politics blog. Legislation to avoid manipulation would not be workable and/or it would cause a move towards more expensive photo shoots and 'perfect' models. Let's not have beauty police but just explain that simple computer techniques enhance photographs. In fact anyone with computer skills can join in and amend their photographs.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Did you see the leaves?

The pre-wedding meeting looked at the reception at Wythenshawe Hall but the church is St Ann's in Manchester. If you know the church then you may know St Ann's Passage that connects the church to King Street. It was used on Saturday as a possible wet weather option to get the church in the background. During these meetings I am not greatly concerned about expressions as I am looking at backgrounds. Expression takes priority on the day but for the moment we are just looking for viewpoints.

The photo on the right is the same photo and it is only when I cropped the photo, made it sepia and put a vignette around them that I noticed the tree. It really makes a big difference and I will be looking for that tree if the opportunity arises. This reminds me of the quote from the photographer Dorothea Lange, 'the camera is an instrument to teach people how to see without a camera'. I need a few photo manipulations as well. I knew that I had removed the bags, there were no shop windows (and no letters on the groom's shirt) but the leaves really help the cropped photo.

Happy snapping

Monday, 3 August 2009

Wythenshawe Hall 2

I am pleased to have visited Wythenshawe Hall (see yesterday's blog). The reason that I was there was for a pre-wedding meeting and one of the main reasons for the meeting is to see where the main group photo can be taken. These photos can be taken anywhere as the family and friends are the most important aspect of the wedding, but if this photo can be combined with a background of the venue then so much the better.

There are no two walls that are parallel at Wythenshawe Hall, but from this angle it is very difficult to tell. Not only do you get the hall as a background, but a third of the photo is lawn and this looks good too. I have not done any manipulations to the lawn. No weed has been uprooted. If a dandelion dares to show itself on the day then I will go round with the weedkiller (alright photo manipulation). Plans may change on the day but this may well be the site for some groups.

From this angle there is no need to remove the pedestal and sign. In fact there is another sign telling us the hall is open. However in this case there is no point in disguising the age of the photo. The bride and groom are there telling everyone it is a modern photo and when the groups are there you won't see the signs anyway.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Wythenshawe Hall

This is Wythenshawe Hall in Manchester. It is a beautiful Tudor house which played a part in the English Civil War. Oliver Cromwell successfully fought here so he gets quite a large statue which is just behind where I took this photo. Well it's a couple of hundred metres away but it's not far. This photo was taken by the gate. If you go a bit further back you will take a photo of the wall surrounding the hall so here is the best position but it is just a little too close. There are converging verticals, but Wythenshawe Hall is not a conventional building. I am not sure if there are two lines in the walls that are parallel. It looks like it is falling over but I wanted to show it in a better light.

In the photo on the right I have done my best to straighten the walls and stop it looking like it is falling over. Look a little closer. I have taken out the sign in the central garden area and just behind the sign is a pedestal that I have also removed. I thought that black and white would give it a look more fitting to its age and I also wanted to highlight its Tudor character so I increased the contrast in the black and white. For good measure I tidied up the drive.

Having made all these changes, I did take photos at an angle from the corner of the grounds and then you don't notice the lack of Tudor verticals.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Can you see their souls?

On the 30th January I wrote about emotion in photography and I mentioned the Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh. In 1999 Karsh was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Canadian Association of Photographers. At the same time they gave a similar award to another Canadian photographer called Ted Grant.

I know it is a tenuous link but last month I had a quote from Ted Grant as my quote of the month on my website at The quote is 'when you photograph people in colour you are photographing their clothes. When you photograph them in B&W, you photograph their souls'. Can you see the souls on the right? I don't know about you but I can still see clothes.

Happy snapping