Sunday, 28 February 2010

Variations of sunlight and viewpoint

Even if you haven't been to Edinburgh you will probably recognise this view. The reason that I have placed the two photos together is because of the lighting. The first is taken from the esplanade in the morning. If you like your subject sunlit then you have to go to Edinburgh Castle in the morning. The second photo is taken from the roof of the Camera Obscura building.

There is a great sense of history in Edinburgh. There are guided tours, museums and events but the physical geography was the thing that struck me the most. I really wouldn't want to attck the castle from any route other than the one you can see now. That's why the cannons are pointed towards you so now you also now the direction of the photo in the blog from Friday.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Edinburgh and a tripod

I carried the tripod round Edinburgh for two reasons. One was for views like the one on the left and the second was for indoor photos using the ambient light. I'll show you the second use tomorrow.

If you use a tripod for a landscape then it is not much trouble to put the timer on. You have to wait two seconds but you don't get camera shake from pressing the shutter button. You can tell the difference by looking at horizons or large enlargements or night photos. Just visible on the horizon on the left are some cranes in the port of Leith. A time check was needed for the port. Hence the gun was fired at 1pm.

The two photos were taken within seconds of each other. I think the one o' clock gun looks better in monochrome but it is personal choice. I could have taken this without the tripod but you never know when you will want a huge poster on your wall. The moral should be to always try to take the best possible photos, whether it is capturing a landscape or capturing a smile.

Happy snapping

Friday, 26 February 2010

Taking things as you find them

Here are more typical views of Edinburgh though they aren't picture postcards. If I had the chance then the canon would be five yards further back and I would have taken a view more from the side and the front. Still. when you are a tourist you have to take things as you find them. The cannon on the left has been converted to monochrome and I have also increased the contrast. This served to highlight the main subject rather and I think it made the cannon more metallic. The photo on the right has probably been taken many times but it was my first time to Edinburgh Castle and the first time to Edinburgh.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 25 February 2010

The words on the sign

From London to Edinburgh. These two photos are not typical images but they are a good record of what goes on. So now you know that you can buy fish, chips and beer all in the same shop/pub(?) I haven't heard of this before but now I have seen it and have the proof. I had heard of deep fried Mars bars but I thought it was folk lore. "Do you really fry Mars bars?" is a line from previous conversations and the answer is usually along the lines that they have heard of it but I haven't met anyone that has eaten one.

These photographs did present some technical difficulties. I have been telling you that the good news for my Edinburgh photos was that I carried round a tripod. Well these were taken with a compact and no tripod but I managed to rest on a rail that was next to the sign. The rail did prevent me from standing back and getting a photo from in front of the neon signs. I could have used this blog to show you how you could get round not being able to take the photo from in front of the signs. However I have shown you this sort of manipulation before (e,g, 13th and 14th January). The main reason for this blog is to show you the words of the sign.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Compare this with Google Earth

Here are the last couple of photos from London. On the left I haven't moved far from yesterday's photos. The National Gallery is in the background along with the close-up of a fountain. It is just one more example of how you can take good photos fairly conveniently just by looking for a flat surface. London is full of them.

I even managed to get the photo on the right by looking down the steps to the underground which is at the south-west corner (?) of Trafalgar Square. Take a look at Google earth amd you can see the top half of the art work.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Tripods help

Trafalgar Square is just a short walk from yesterday's blog, the Windmill Theatre. The difference here is that there are so many balustrades and so many flat surfaces that you can take almost as many photos at night whether you are carrying a tripod or not.

These two photos were taken from a very similar place. On the left there is one of the fountains. I actually made this photo a little darker on the computer and I prefer the darker version. Compare it with the unchanged view of the National Gallery. There is however one view that I didn't take and that is Nelson's Column. Maybe I will have to go back with SLR and tripod.

Monday, 22 February 2010

The Windmill

I know that in yesterday's blog I said that I would have to go back to London with an SLR and a tripod but I did get a lot of very good photos in a fairly brisk walk around London for an hour or two. That hour or so did include time for a couple of pints too.

Yes I know that there are a lot of better places to take a photo of the Windmill Theatre and I would have taken the photo from a different point if I had not been confined to a flat surface. I would have gone to the front of the theatre but even from this sort of angle I would have made sure that the bright white light was not as close to The Windmill sign. I am not keen on the prominence of the mini cab sign but overall the picture isn't bad. I have just taken a trip to Edinburgh and you will be pleased to know that I did carry a tripod and an SLR around Auld Reekie.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 21 February 2010

London at night continued

In the last week I have been writing blogs about weddings. Prior to this I was telling you about a recent trip to London and I will continue this theme from where I left off. On the left is the photo from exactly where I left off but this time I have changed it to make it a little more red and a little more yellow. It was a cold night but it looks a lot warmer by making this change. You may like to know that this is how you convert to sepia but you have to start with a monochrome photo.

Even though it was cold I would have liked a week to walk through London, not just a couple of hours. I would have liked to carry a tripod and an SLR rather a compact and look for flat surface but I had enough to carry through London. On the right I placed the compact on some coin operated binoculars. This must be an ideal spot to view the Palace of Westminster and it has a convenient flat surface for night photography. You will see that it is overexposed if you want to see the time. I'll have to go back and change the exposure. I also think there are better views by walking along the Thames so I will take a tripod and an SLR next time.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Last blog from last week's weddings

Here is the last blog from the two weddings last week. However you do get three photos for the price of two. On the left is a typical amendment that I have written about previously. A couple of years ago one couple used a photo like this as a thank you note. Very simply it was an A5 card that had one of the photos stuck to the front and one stuck on the back for balance. Since then others have used them. It is cheap (I will supply them for nothing) and a very nice way of personalising your note.

Recently I have started to take a close-up of the dress. I have always done this for the detail but usually associated with the groom's hand with the ring. I do hand over the original photo too but I like to increase the contrast. It gives the photo an arty feel and highlights detail. The increase in contrast also makes the bride look much more tanned but it is only a change in contrast.

Happy snapping

Friday, 19 February 2010

Colour or monochrome

Colour is attractive. On the left you are bound to look at the lawn simply because it is green, so there is an advantage to being colour blind because you will find the much more interesting facial expression and the reason for the facial expression a little quicker than those who are able to see in colour.

The photo on the left is just ready for a speech bubble so I did adapt the photo for this couple and they will get one extra photo. If they want to add their own words then it is a simple technique to do. On the right I think the monochrome is better than colour. As it happens the balloons are black or white but you are still distracted by the colours in the room. Without colour your eye goes straight to the main subjects.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Wedding photo opportunities

If the speeches are before the meal then those who have to give the speeches may be able to think about the food rather than the speech ahead. The added benefit for me is that I can take photos of those speeches.

Photos like these two are obviously candid. They are not posed and it is great to sit and wait for the next photo opportunity which tend to come thick and fast. It is a privilege to be part of the day but it is also quite an honour to listen to the speeches. I do like to have this opportunity not just for my benefit as I am able to hand over a lot of great photos.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

You don't need to look at the camera

You don't have to be looking at the camera to take a good photograph. Here are two examples. On the left another photograph is being taken. I don't mind anyone taking a photo because it gives me a chance to take photos like this. Some photographers would object as they keep the copyright and there are so many good cameras around the guests can take excellent photos. I give copyright away so it doesn't matter who takes what.

On the left is the pose that I tend to take last at the signing of the register. Anyone can take their photo at this point and I stand back. On the right is a candid photo which are usually better than those that are posed. This is certainly one of my favourites from last Friday.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Good old blurring

I like to go back to the evening reception at weddings so that I can take a few more photos including the first dance. This photo on the left is typical of the photos that I take. Everyone has their cameras and they can take this photo too but take another look at the photos and you will see that the background is blurred. Now everyone may be paying complete attention to the bride and groom.

When I put photos on the blog or on the gallery page of my website at I always ask permission. You will see that occasionally there are photos of groomsmen or others apart from the bride and groom. I have asked permission but the blurring in these photos saves me asking all the guests. Good old blurring.

Happy snapping

Monday, 15 February 2010

High Contrast Sports Car

I said that I would alternate photos for the two weddings from last week. Well this wedding only took place on Friday but it seems like a while ago now. On the left I asked the bridesmaids to stay where they were so that they were in the background of the photo. After I took this photo I asked them to move so that they weren't in the background but I got back in their good books by asking hem to join the bride and groom for the next photo.

There were some oil stains on the floor but the small stones meant that it was really easy to get rid of them on the computer. I think sports cars lend themselves to high contrast images. Whether you like the sepia photo on the right is up to you but I do. Prior to converting to sepia I blurred the background so the bridesmaids are definitely in the background. Oh yes I changed the registration too.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Two wedding photos from yesterday 2

Yes I took photos at a wedding on Friday and a wedding on Saturday. I usually show classic shots of the bride and groom and I suppose these are no different although they are often looking at the camera. As with yesterday's photos I have already shown you how we prepared for these backgrounds. This one is quite rare because it shows both the church and the reception in the same photo.

There were no health and safety issues with either photo. They are both on the pavement in both photos, although I was stood in the road for the second, and I did get them to stand in the road for another photo.

I normally write a few blogs over the following few days for each wedding. In this case I will alternate photos from the two weddings.

Happy snapping

Two wedding photos from yesterday

The eagle-eyed among you will remember the photo on the left from a blog for the pre-wedding meeting. Take a look back at the 22nd January. The weather was totally different but we had looked at various backgrounds including this swing. I think the venue are used to this type of photo being taken as it is a feature in the garden.

On the right is one of my favourite photos with the bride and groom walking down the aisle. The music is playing, the guests are applauding and there may be a slight element of relief. Either way, I like this photo so I have amended it already to monochrome and sepia with the vignette that you can see here.

Happy snapping

Friday, 12 February 2010

Trip to London

You may have guessed by glancing at the photos or the title that I have been to London. I have already mentioned this in a political blog but I did manage to take quite a few photos too and I'll show you some more in the near future. These two photos were taken fairly near to each other. On the left you are looking at the sign for the Westminster station and on the right I am halfway over Westminster Bridge.

As for the techniques that I used, both have been cropped. Just to the left of the underground sign was quite a bright street light that I thought was distracting so I made it a little darker. I am not a great fan of street markings so they have gone and I felt that a generally darker version was better so that is what I did to the photo on the left. I used flash three times only in the dozens of photos that I took but one of these was for the underground sign. Every other time I would find a flat surface and use it as a tripod. the problem with using a flat surface is that get to see some of that surface and that's why some cropping is often needed. Here's a simple tip to limit the amount of cropping. Place the camera towards the front of the flat surface. It's not rocket science is it!

Happy snapping

Thursday, 11 February 2010

My walls

This is an example of a most efficient method of taking photos for writing a blog. I am sat at my computer and thought about what I would write about and here is the answer. In the photo on the left the computer is just out of shot and I am sat at my desk. I think you get used to the things around you forget about the photos on the wall. I took the poster to tell people that all my photos may be enlarged to this size but I don't usually mention the other photos.

On the right are three canvases. I do mention them as part of the copyright. Anyone who books me as their wedding photographer does not have to buy through me. If you get the copyright you can buy whatever you want at any time. My best advertising is my photography so the more people that see it the better. The more of my photos on walls the better too.

Did I say efficient blog - alright lazy is also a good word.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Highlight the fog

This photo was taken on the same walk as the photos seen in Sunday's blog. If this had been a wedding photograph then the ground would probably have been tidier. I would have removed the twigs and leaves if it had been important.

I like the idea of a familiar scene looking unfamiliar. I like the idea of taking photos in different weather conditions. We have already had plenty of opportunities to take photos of snow this year. You have to take care with rain to protect your camera. Wind isn't brilliant because it affects the stability of the camera and sunshine can be too bright.

As for these photos I have done a similar conversion to Sunday. The photo on the right has an increased contrast and is monochrome. I prefer the increased contrast as I think it highlights the difference between foreground and background and so highlights the fog.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A distinctive background

I agree with the author Bill Bryson that Morecambe Bay is the finest view in Europe. Well you can see a little bit of it in this photo. I happened to mention that I like to take out the rail on the promenade but on one occasion the bride and groom were leaning on the rail so it looked a little strange when it was removed. They wanted to take it a step further and the bride was going to pretend to push the groom over the side.

I promised yesterday that you would see a background and this one is quite distinctive. You can see Moreambe's Stone Jetty and the Midland Hotel is on the right. I did take normal poses but you will see them after the wedding.

Happy snapping

Monday, 8 February 2010

One of the poses

Here is a photo from yesterday's pre-wedding meeting. At these meetings we get an idea of the agenda for the day and there is also a chance to go through some of the poses. I mention a few different poses including this one and for each pose I usually take photos. This saves me working on the computer if there are eyes closed, and if there are then there is a very similar photo from which I can open the eyes. Fortunately this is fairly rare. For the main group photo I take three - well there are more people who could close their eyes.

The only difference in these two photos is that colour has been converted to monochrome. Apart from going through some poses, the purpose of yesterday was also to look at the backgrounds. You can hardly see any of the background here but I will show you what can be done with backgrounds tomorrow.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Victorian Photographs

It was foggy yesterday morning so I went for a walk with a camera. This photo was taken near Morecambe Football Club and it is the main road in Morecambe looking towards the Shrimp roundabout. The weather made me take my camera with me because everything looked so different.

When I took the photos it looked like fog. Now that the photos are on the screen the fog makes the photos look Victorian. There is no detail in the background. The obvious reason is fog but technological limitations in the early days of photography would have produced the same result. I have not changed the photo on the left. On the right I have converted to monochrome and increased contrast.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Closer cropping

You don't need to be told that this is a barge. You are less likely to recognise Lancaster Infirmary in the background and the building next to the canal is The Water Witch. I used to work in the hospital so I know this area fairly well.

As for the photographs, there is a tighter cropping on the right, so you don't get to see the background. The barge leads you through the picture whether you start at the front or the back but on the right you have nowhere to go. Each has its attractions. I think I prefer to see the award winning pub and think about its wonderful cask ales.

Happy snapping

Friday, 5 February 2010

Last two from last Saturday

I will finish the photos from last Saturday with these two. I don't have a preference for colour, monochrome or sepia. I don't have a preference for full images, oval or rectangular vignettes, but I do have preferences for each individual photo. However, just because they are my preferences doesn't mean that the bride and groom have to share my view so they get a set of variations along with the copyright.

On the left I think the monochrome worked best because it blended well with the darkness of the background. On the right I also liked the monochrome best but I thought I'd give you the sepia just to vary the blog. I like to go back to the evening reception in order to get a photo of the first dance. In Wednesday's blog you saw a photo in a photo of the first dance. If you clicked on it you would see that I have blurred the background. I didn't blur the background in today's blog but I did supply variations that were blurred.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 4 February 2010

One more for the album

Both of these photographs are parts of photos. On the left I wanted to see the assistance that was needed to put a buttonhole flower in place. It involved scissors, some effort and different facial expressions but following the tighter crop, the photo on the left doesn't show the half of it. Many photographers say that you should include the whole head but rules are made to be broken and there is nothing wrong with a closer look.

On the right the groom is actually helping to hook the train up and that is why the back of the dress looks like a bustle. I increased the brightness and the contrast in this one to give it an arty feel. You may or may not like this photographic manipulation but if you don't like it then you don't use it. If you do like it then it's another one for the album.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Three and a half for the price of one

This is a technique that I use regularly. On the left the first dance has been superimposed on a frame. It doesn't matter whether it is a mirror, a painting or a photograph because you don't get to see it. Generally the bride and groom know what is happening, but it is often the case that there is confusion if a member of staff is within hearing distance. I ask the couple to look at the frame. I have been asked many times if posters need removing or if televisions need turning off. It really doesn't matter what is there because you don't see it.

As for the finished product, you get two photos for the price of one. I take photos during preparations for both the bride and groom and it may look like both are contemplating the day ahead. On the right you don't just get two for the price of one but three and a half!

Happy snapping