Friday, 30 April 2010

A natural background 3

We have now crossed the road (see yesterday's blog) and again we have a natural background but this one is much more spectacular. There is a slight breeze which is seen in the way the hair has moved. The lighting is great - much better than anything you can do with a flashgun, and the setting is much better than any studio.

You really don't get backgrounds much better than this one. There was the slight distraction of the metal rail on the promenade but it didn't take long to remove it.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 29 April 2010

A natural background 2

This is the same wedding but we have now moved to the reception. The hotel looks on to Morecambe Bay but between the hotel and the bay is a main road. I didn't want to see this road because anything could have been driving past. We don't have to wait for vans to drive past if the road is not seen.

Again I have used a shrub, and again I have used the same technique of getting portraits by taking two photos and choosing one of them to convert to monochrome and then sepia with a vignette.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

A natural background

This photo was taken just after the photos shown in the last three blogs. The living room is visible in the background. I would have stayed in the living room and used the wall as the background except for one obvious reason. This portrait would not have worked. We would not have had the wall as the background but it would have been a settee.

So we went outside and used the shrub as a background. Similarly this background would not have worked for adults as it is far too low. The usual technique was applied of converting it to monochrome and then to sepia with a white vignette. The vignette works well here as it moves the emphasis onto the portrait and now you can hardly see the window.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

It's not a studio 3

I'll finish with these two colour photos of the studio - I mean living room wall. The tip today is about lighting and how it pays to have an adjustable flashgun. If you point the flash directly at the subject then you get harsh shadows. If there is a low ceiling then point the flash up and it looks like the lighting is coming from above and this is normally where light comes from.

There is an alternative direction for the flash. If you hold the camera sideways to take a portrait then the flash would bounce off a wall, not the ceiling. This makes the light look like it is coming from a window. In these photos you can see that the photo is darker towards the bottom of the photo. It is more difficult to see this if you look at the wall because I have removed the top of the settee and replaced it with wall that was higher. It doesn't take long and if you would like to learn this technique then it's time to work on getting to know photo manipulation software.

Happy snapping

Monday, 26 April 2010

It's not a studio 2

I try to take two photos of everyone on wedding days. Lighting may be different but expressions are the most important aspect of any portrait. I asked the guests to turn slightly to the left and then look at the camera. After this they turned slightly to the right for the second photo. Then I choose one of the photos and convert it to monochrome and sepia with a white vignette. The bride and groom get all three versions and I copy the photos so that the guests can have their own copies. Well my photos are my best adverts.

I have chosen the photos against the wall again as it shows that an ordinary wall is as good as anywhere. It doesn't take long to get portraits of whoever is around and that includes the groom seen here on the right.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 25 April 2010

It's not a studio

Yesterday I wrote that I had finished my blogs on the wedding from the previous week. I would normally finish at this point but I have had permission to use photos of guests.

Today I want to mention two things. Firstly wedding guests are dressed for the occassion and it is a great time to take photos. Secondly I have just used a plain wall as the background. It was a normal living room wall, but it could be a studion with one or two minor changes on the computer. Photography doesn't have to take a lot of time or cost a lot of money.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 24 April 2010

And finally from last week...

For my final two photos from last week's wedding I have chosen these. Look at yesterday's. I have moved in a little closer and we have turned. Yesterday I was looking to the north east and today I am looking to the north west. You get great views in all directions.

The technique on the right is very simple. I have left the flowers in colour and converted the rest of the photo to monochrome. This focuses attention onto the flowers and if you like it that's great. If you prefer the colour version or even a completely monochrome version then that's not a problem. You get all three.

Happy snapping

Friday, 23 April 2010

Two more from last week

Morecambe Bay does get into my backgrounds, and there are really good reasons for that - it looks great. As for these photos, on the left I have just taken a simple pose then asked the bride and groom to look at each other. I am sure that you can't tell even if you look closely, but I have removed the metal fence. There wasn't much of it to see in this photo. It didn't take much work but I think it is worth doing.

On the right we have used the large rocks that act as a sea defence. On this day they were used to help the bride get into position for this photo.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Flash and ambient light

Today I have chosen two monochrome photos. On the left I have taken a standard pose with the register. The background is a partition and I decided that the divisions in the partition were not pleasing to the eye. It was an easy technique to remove them and I think it worked quite well. As I pointed the flash towards the ceiling the lighting looks like it is coming from above - the way it generally does. The added bonus is that you don't get harsh shadows, which may be seen if you point the flash directly at the subject.

On the right I wanted to turn the flash off and use the ambient light. I took this photo as the reception line was forming to greet the guests. The room was fairly dark and I knew that if I was going to get a good photo then the bride and groom needed to remain still. What better way of getting this photo than asking them to kiss.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

A fine background

I am sure that every wedding venue has great places to take photos, but if you get married in Morecambe you must have one of the best backgrounds in Europe. It was so simple to cross the road and get a lot of really great photos. The bride could not get on the beach earlier in the day, but with a change of shoes we were able to walk onto the beach and take a lot of photos as the sun set in the west. A few minutes later we even managed to see Eric Morecambe's statue.

When they were crossing the road I took this photo as I did not have to mention a pose. Very often the casual candid photos turn out well. I did tidy up the road and remove some markings. It makes the photo look a bit neater.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

More ideas for wedding photography

In yesterday's blog I was writing about adding photos to photos, and here are two more examples. On the left the television is switched off. It is a little easier to transfer a photo if the television is on because the screen is distinct.

On the right the display board is in the hotel reception. It means transferring six photos but it isn't difficult. If you look closely you will see the same photo of the signing of the register. Well you would expect them both to be thinking about the wedding.

Happy snapping

Monday, 19 April 2010

Ideas for wedding photography

There are standard wedding photographs. Taking a photo of the bride and father as they prepare to walk down the aisle, signing the register, and the first kiss are three examples. One recurrent theme of my wedding photography which is less common is to ask the bride and groom to either hold a picture frame or to look into one. It is a fairly easy technique to add one photo to another.

At last week's wedding I used this technique a few times. On the left there was a small photo to hand. All the groom had to do was show me the frame. On the right the bride looked into a mirror. This technique works for small mirrors and it works for giant posters. I'll show you a couple more ideas tomorrow.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Think about frame size

This photo is taken from a wedding on Friday. I chose it because when I go home during the meal, I pick a photo, print it and put it in a fridge magnet which is 9cm x 6cm. This just happens to be the same dimensions as 6" x 4". The image has to be fairly distinct because it is a small fridge magnet. It just happens to be my favourite background of Morecambe Bay and it just so happens that the hotel for the wedding was across the road.

I printed out both photos. On the right I put a border around it because I had used a vignette. If I had to cut out the photo I needed to know where to cut. It looks quite nice with a border but when I get it professionally printed you don't see the border because it is an increase size of print.

It is unusual to hold the flowers so high, but when you are dealing with this proportion of print it fits the frame a lot better if the flowers are held like this. It might seem strange in practice but it looks really good.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 17 April 2010

The Fitzwilliam Museum

For my final two photos from Cambridge I have chosen the Fitzwilliam Museum. On the left I have again left my tripod at home and gone one step further and taken this photo from the top deck of a bus. It is alright if you only want a small print or publish it on a blog. It's not ideal but its alright. I then converted it to monochrome.

You can see some of the bright colours that were removed by looking to the right. The modern sculptures are a temporary exhibition which will date these photographs. I have written blogs previously on why we take photos and one of these reasons is simply to record what is there. Google Earth does this and if you take a look there are no modern sculptures.

Happy snapping

Friday, 16 April 2010

Corpus Christi and Pembroke

This is a photo of Old Court in Corpus Christi. It is the original court as the name suggests but it is now the second court as you walk through the main entrance. It is a fine medieval court and the most interesting thing for me is the famous people who have stayed there.

Christopher Marlowe studied here and another person I admire greatly stopped here for a two-day course a few years ago (me). I stopped in the room on the top floor fourth window from the left. I believe Christopher Marlowe's room was very close to this one.

On the right is the altar of Pembroke's chapel. The chapel itself was designed by Christopher Wren. Alumni include Peter Cook, Ted Hughes and Thomas Gray. I don't know where any of them stayed but I did know that William Pitt, our youngest PM studied here - well there is a statue of him close to the chapel.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The river Cam

Before I leave the Backs (the banks of the river Cam which are found at the backs of the colleges), I will show you a couple of photos of people punting along the river. It looks quite relaxing but I didn't fancy the exercise. However I can recommend the bus tour and if I had another day to spend in Cambridge then I would have taken a trip along the Cam as you are allowed to just sit in the punt and relax.

Cambridge is a city for photographers. I managed to take a lot of very nice photos in a few hours and every street corner has its photographic opportunities. The photo on the left was taken from Silver Street, and on the right I was looking north from Garret Hostel Lane near Trinity College.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Tripods may not get in the way

Yesterday the photo of King's College Chapel from the backs was taken with a tripod. College rules state that no tripods are allowed in the grounds and this may be because tripods can be a nuisance in crowded areas. I don't think this is the reason for the ban at King's College on the left or at St John's college on the right. I did take a lot more photos and generally there were no crowds. Generally there were no people. Perhaps the grounds get crowded in the summer months.

An alternative reason for the tripod ban is that the colleges are concerned about photographic copyright. Photographers may wish to use their images for commercial purposes. The problem with this is that the colleges have ridden roughshod over the views of thousands of keen amateur photographers who simply want to take the best possible photos.

It was a bright sunny day and most of my photos were fine for most purposes commercial or otherwise. I know it is not ideal but I took the photo on the left from the top deck of a moving bus. The photo on the right was also not taken with a tripod but at least I was stood on my own two feet.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

King's College Chapel

Yesterday you saw the view from the top of Great St Mary's to the east. On the left is the much more famous view to the west. There are difficulties in getting the perfect shot at the top of the tower as you are protected from a fall by a strong mesh. There are small gaps to take photos but this is the best photo of King's College Chapel that I could take. If I had a pair of stepladders then I would have a better composition but I'll settle for what I got on health and safety grounds.

If you like your architecture gothic and late then this is the building for you. In fact the view from the Backs is much more popular because you can get a better composition. It is interesting to note that I took this photo on the path outside the grounds and I used a tripod. However if I had entered the grounds I would not have been allowed to use the tripod. As regular readers will know, I advocate their use whenever possible but they can be a nuisance in crowded areas. If you hold a camera the quality of the image is adversely affected. In this sort of light it is not too bad but the quality will improve with a tripod and by using the self-timer. I wonder where the crowds were on this day.

Happy snapping.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Great St Mary's Cambridge

I have recently spent a couple of days in Cambridge. The weather was very nice and I managed to take enough photos to keep me in blogs for a month but I promise to keep it to less than a week.

On the left is Great St Mary's, the university church which is in the heart of the city. The view from the back of the tower is on the right. Not only does this give you some idea of the view but it also tells you that I managed to climb all of the 123 steps.

And now you know where to find Cambridge market.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 11 April 2010

More opportunities mean more photos

Here are the last couple of photos from last Saturday's wedding. Apart from the extra photo opportunities, I often think it is nice for the bride and groom to get a break from the celebrations and take a short walk after their meal.

I like all the photos that I hand over and I guarantee between 100 and 150. This number depends on the opportunities that I get. I often get to see preparations for the bride and the groom. If the speeches are before the meal then I get to take photos here too. This time I missed out on the groom's preparations and speeches were after the meal but I still managed to pass more than 45o photos to them!

Happy snapping

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Two more variations

Yesterday I showed you this photo. It is a nice photo from last Saturday, and as usual, the sun is shining in Morecambe (the weather forecast said nothing about sunshine).

On the left I have amended yesterday's monochrome by increasing the contrast. There is now very little cloud to look at. Attention is directed even more towards the bride and groom and the car. As with yesterday's blog, whether you like it or not is entirely personal preference. However if it is one of the hundreds of photos that I hand over then you know that I like it. On the right there is a vignette to a sepia version with a vignette.

Happy snapping

Friday, 9 April 2010

Personal preference

Here is another variation on the them of a Morecambe Bay background. I have left the cracks in the ground this time but if this was important to them then it would be no trouble for me to remove them. It does take a little time but when you are handing over 450 photos back then time adds up. Don't get me wrong, it is a pleasure to work on the photographs and I am more than willing to take suggestions about variations to any particular photo.

The only difference on the right is that I have converted it to monochrome. It takes the focus away from the flowers and the cravat. It makes you pay more attention to the bride and groom and the 1928 Ford car. Isn't it looking good after 82 years? The bottom line, as with any photo is that personal preference decides which is the best.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Two more from Saturday

You can't see much of the wedding car on the left but
it is there and you also get the sign of the hotel where the reception was held. So far you have seen Morecambe bay as the background, and it was well used, but you also have to look at other obvious backgrounds like the wedding venues.

I like the photo on the right because it is a different pose. It shows the back of the dress (I did take another photo from further away) and it is also part of the story of the day. It was taken just before the couple went in for their wedding breakfast.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Look for the evidence

It is no coincidence that the blogs from weddings in Morecambe feature the bay. It is a wonderful background to have at your disposal and this is no exception. I often look for gaps in the rail so that I have less work to do but it really isn't difficult to remove it. I shouldn't say that as it means that my skills would be in more demand but I can't tell a lie and it was easy.

Take a close look and even though I am showing you the original it is hard to see any evidence of photo manipulation. Isn't technology amazing.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

No cracks in my ground

It only took a few minutes to take photos in this part of the Morecambe coast. There are lots of great photos but I thought that I would choose this one because it is a different perspective. I had asked the driver to move the car forward so that there would be less distractions for me to remove.

You may notice that I have tidied up the ground. I have obviously modified it by putting a vignette into it. I also tidied up the roof of the car and I did get rid of some of the sea wall defences. I accept that it isn't a 'true' photo but it is also a piece of art, and when this couple look back on their wedding photos I don't think they want to see the cracks in the ground.

Happy snapping