Monday, 31 May 2010

Laurel and Hardy

I was in Ulverston yesterday and took these photos of the famous statues. The same sculptor gave us Eric Morecambe and there are many similarities of style.

Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston but he managed to get a statue with his partner unlike Eric who is on his own. The street lamp is another addition and you can just see the dog by Ollie's feet. The photo on the right is in monochrome because it emphasises the statues rather than the background. I find the colour on the left is a little distracting. I am also not too keen on the lamp post. I did step back and take the full statue but then you don't get the detail in the photo. There is detail on the right but then you get the post dividing the two of them. I'll show you more photos of them tomorrow.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Painting Morecambe Bay

Both of these photos show Morecambe Bay and the one on the left is on my website's gallery page which may be found at

This week I was asked if I could print off this photo so that it could be painted. I was very pleased to say yes and any artists out there are also welcome to pick any photo and paint it. I did increase the saturation (intensity) of the colours just a little but with the photo on the right I increased it a lot along with brightness and contrast. It was quite a dull day and the boats were in the distance. I was quite surprised that I was able to produce this image but if you have the time it must be better to go back when the weather conditions are better.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Last two or three from last Saturday

For the last photos from last Saturday's wedding I have chosen the 'thank you' card. Couples may choose to use this 6"x 4" photo to cut in half and attach to an A5 card which is folded in two. It is a quick and inexpensive method of sending a card to family and friends.

It is a fairly easy technique. All you have to do is make sure that one photo has enough space to write the words and any two photos may be joined together as long as they are cropped to 8"x 6". This proportion is the same as 4 x 3 and when you add 4 x 3 to 4 x 3 you get 6 x 4 ie the cheapest photo to print and the perfect size for a card. They are so cheap that I provide them if they are wanted. I mean they are really expensive but I am willing to produce them.

On the right is the photo that I enlarged, put in a frame and I am giving them this as a present. I usually try to get the enlargement to the bride and groom at the evening reception. I didn't manage to get it to them this time as the wedding was in Blackpool and I live in Morecambe. However it is ready for them when they come back from honeymoon.

Happy snapping

Friday, 28 May 2010

Darker backgrounds due to the flash

If you take a photo with flash at twilight then the flash causes a quicker shutter speed. This means that less ambient light gets through the lens and this means that the background looks darker. There was no option about whether to use flash at this time of night but it does mean that you can't see the sea on the left and you can just make out the illuminated signs for the hotel reception in the background.

I like to go back for the first dance and I also like to go back for photos like these. We got great photos throughout the day but I think there is an added benefit to these photos as the couple are ready for some fresh air. Taking photos is a good excuse for them to have a breather.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 27 May 2010

A Beatles tribute

When I write blogs on wedding photography the photos are almost always of the bride and groom. I ask them if it is alright to use their photos but I don't ask the guests. So this photo is an exception to my general rule.

We saw the crossing during the pre-wedding meeting and as they are Beatles fans they were quite happy to ask their best man and chief bridesmaids to make up the rest of the group in this 'Abbey Road' type photo. The best man even took his shoes off.

I am showing you this photo because it is unusual, but I also wanted to show you the amendments on the right. I felt the road needed some aristic changes and for me there were too many markings on the crossing. Look a little closer and the best man is carrying his shoes. They have gone from the photo on the right.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Colour and Monochrome

I always follow the instruction of the bride and groom but during the wedding ceremony I also listen to the priest, vicar or registrar. I could not take this photo during the ceremony as I had been instructed to stay in one place, so it was good to go back and set up some poses with the altar in the background.

It is a fairly easy technique to leave colour in part of the photo and convert the rest to monochrome. On the right it looked an obvious choice to leave the bride and groom and the stained glass windows in colour. This couple will also get a colour version and one in monochrome. So if they don't like one then they have two others to look at.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The view from the side

The signing of the register is a popular scene for wedding photographers and for the guests too. I like the pose on the left and this tends to be converted to monochrome and sepia with a vignette. This example is no exception but I didn't want to show you this type of photo manipulation.

On this occassion I have chosen to show you the photo on the right. The guests also like their photo of the signing of the register and this gives me the opportunity to take this kind of photo. Some wedding photographers like to keep copyright and also sell further copies of photos. If this were the case the guests would not be welcome to take their photos as this would limit sales. For me it just means another opportunity for a different view.

Happy snapping

Monday, 24 May 2010

Better without a vignette

I like to get back to the evening reception so that I can take photos of the first dance and anything else that is going on like the 'genuine' cutting of the cake. I also like to take a framed enlargement as all the guests are amazed that I can put a photo in a frame so quickly. I didn't manage it on Saturday as the wedding was in Blackpool and I live in Morecambe, but at least they got this photo in a fridge magnet.

I used this image because the magnet is fairly small so I needed a distinct close-up. I also decided to use sepia because it shows that I modify my photos and it looks a bit more arty. I had also decided to use a vignette but look how the sunlight is falling on the groom's sleave. The vignette (white around the edges) looked strange so I went for the photo that you see on the right.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 23 May 2010

More homework required

These photographs were taken at a wedding yesterday. In fact it was the evening reception and it was a few hours ago. I usually take photos at the first dance and I have seen some quite elaborate dances but I have not seen a 'dirty dancing' routine.

I like to take the first dance because I blur the background and it then appears as if everyone is paying attention to the dance. Well the vast majority were enjoying the dance but with the blur you can imagine 100% attention.

If I hear of any more elaborate routines I will have to do more homework. The photo on the right reproduces the lift because even though I was ready and got a picture, I was at the wrong end of the dance floor.

Happy snapping

Friday, 21 May 2010

Toilet Humour

I don't know if this photo makes much sense unless you put it in context. It is the view above a toilet in the gents. If you still don't understand it then you will have to ask someone else.

My favourite toilet humour is no longer in situ but there was a cushioned head rest above a urinal. This still doesn't make much sense without the neighbouring inscription "in loving memory of Oliver Reed".

Again, if this still doesn't make sense I'm afraid you will have to ask someone else.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 20 May 2010


I thought that I knew the Fylde Coast fairly well as I have worked there for more than five years. As well as this I was also the physio for the Fylde Falcons Amercan Football team who played at Fylde Rugby Club and Stanley Park. However I have never seen the gardens that are across the road from the Savoy Hotel. I have now.

By looking in this direction you can see North Pier. I like to get landmarks into my photographs . The problem with the prom is generally the breeze. Let's keep everything crossed for the wedding.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

There is a church in the background

I showed you a couple of photographs yesterday from a recent pre-wedding meeting. You can easily recognise some backgrounds but you would need to have quite a local knowledge to recognise these photos.

On the left is a fine example of a lychgate. I have tidied the floor on the computer - well I could have taken a brush and shovel with me but I prefer to work at home. On the other side of the lychgate is a lovely path and if you look closely you can make out the church tower.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Can you guess where it is yet?

At the pre-wedding meeting I am mainly looking for suitable backgrounds. It doesn't matter whether it is a shrub or a seascape that could be anywhere or whether it is somewhere that is easily recognised. In fact I am looking for both sets of backgrounds.

On the left we could be anywhere. It is easy to move a little and see enough of the background to recognise the area, but it wasn't far away from the photo on the right. I don't see many zebra crossings now but we may have an Abbey Road type photo on the day. You may recognise where they are. You should at least know that it is Blackpool because of the illuminations.

Happy snapping.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Hurst Green

Next door to Stonyhurst (see yesterday's blog) is Hurst Green, and this is Hurst Green. It's not quite the whole of the village but there aren't that many houses there.

The weather was not predictable. As with yesterday's photos, these photos changed totally when the sun came out. It is a nice enough scene anyway, but it looks so much better with the sunshine.

On the right I have taken out the road markings and the telephone lines. I should have spent longer than five minutes on it as you can still see some of the telephone lines. Still, it gives you something to look out for.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 16 May 2010

The weather is so important

The weather makes a tremendous difference in landscape photography. Even if you are just taking a photo of a building you have to take into consideration the time of day and the weather.

The difference in time between these two photos is about an hour. I could have waited for the sun to come out and it may have only taken five or ten minutes. I don't know as I didn't hang around but I was at the same spot an hour later.

You may recognise that this is Stonyhurst College in the Ribble Valley. You may know about its distinguished history or the famous rugby players who have studied here. It may be that you recognise it because it was featured in the 1990 film Three Men and a Little Lady.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Combining two photos

I have been writing recently about "trademark" photographs for may wedding photography and here is a distinct 6"x4" photo. As you can see it is the combination of two photosm which is a simple technique but very effective if you want to make your own "thank you" cards. They are easy to make and quite inexpensive. I even supply the photos without charge.

Like any photo manipulation, it is easy if you know how to do it. Well all I did for this is to crop the individual photos to 8"x 4" which just happens to be the same proportion as 4" x 3", and two 4" x 3"s make a 4" x 6". All the bride and groom have to do is guillotine an A4 card into two and stick one photo on the front and one on the back. Then write a few words inside the card. The more artistic you are then the more you can do with the card.

I started providing this type of photo because one bride and groom asked me to do this for them and then they gave me one of their cards. Since then I have received quite a few variations on this theme but even if the photos aren't used for a card, I quite like this size of photo anyway.

Happy snapping

Friday, 14 May 2010

Another trademark

I enjoy listening to speeches and taking photos at the same time. It is good for me as I get to hear some very funny jokes. You can see some of the reactions to the speeches with these photos.

There is another benefit to taking photos at this time because there are many natural smiles. I am not asking anyone to pose but I get a lot of opportunities for taking great photos. I take some from the side of the top table so that I am not in anyone's way but I also like to get views like these. Again I am not in anyone's way as I am sat on the floor.

I wrote yesterday about trademark photos. Well another trademark is the speed in which I have the photos ready. This couple asked for the CDRom, the photos to be printed and for the DVDs. Their wedding was only last Friday but everything is ready for them to pick up when they return from their honeymoon - and they have well over four hundred photos to collect!

Happy snapping

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Trademark Photos

These two photos are more samples of my "trademark" style in wedding photography. Firstly, many photographers would not return for the first dance because it means working for longer. For me it is an honour to be part of the day.

Secondly, anyone can take this type of photo but I blur the background. I like this effect because we can now presume that everyone is giving the bride and groom their complete attention. As it happens they are, and as with many of the photos, they will get the version that has not been manipulated, plus the blurred version and then get it in monochrome and maybe even sepia too.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

It wasn't too sunny

We looked at this background at the pre-wedding meeting. In fact we were a little nearer to the Pleasure Beach and the mirror ball was in the foreground but there is no mistaking where they got married, unless you have never seen a photo of the Big One.

It is often the case that lighting is so much better on a promenade and this was no exception. Just to make the perfect photo you can see a little cumulonimbus cloud. it gives texture to almost a third of the photo, so thankfully it wasn't a totally sunny day.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Different wedding photography

This is another technique that makes my wedding photography. On the left is the original. I may have made the gravel tidier with photo manipulation. I can't remember now even though I only worked on it a couple of days ago. I worked on a few hundred photos. However the distinctive change is for monochrome (one click) and sepia with a vignette (a few more clicks).

These changes work for portraits and the main group photo as well as photos like this. The wedding car is an important part of the day and I took a similar photo outside Blackpool Town Hall. This photo may mean more to the couple because there are guests in the background. The bride and groom may prefer this photo. I can't let you decide as I only ask the two of them if I can use their photos. I don't ask all the guests. However there is another really important aspect that makes my wedding photography different from others. I give copyright away so you can decide cheaply and at leisure which you prefer.

Happy snapping

Monday, 10 May 2010

Venue for photos

As we got to the reception we went into the main room to take a look at the decor and take the artificial cutting of the cake. The balloons make a nice background for photographs so it was the photo on the left was an obvious one to take. While we were here the bride had a piggy back from the groom. You can pose people as much as you like but natural smiles are so much better.

You can't tell by the photo on the right but it is a piggy back. I have cropped it further because the expressions are the most important aspect of the photo. They get a colour, monochrome and this sepia version.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 9 May 2010

No hats were damaged

I have seen people throw top hats but you don't want to damage them because they are quite expensive. So the best man was just out of the camera shot and caught it. The problem with this is that it looks like the groom is throwing the hat to the best man, hence the photo on the right. I could have moved the hat anywhere and I thought the composition was fine if I placed the hat there. Unfortunately the groom is looking like he is throwing the hat to someone.

Next time I know what to say. Throw the hat to the best man and at the same time look up in the air. The hat can move to the place where the groom is looking afterwards. The good news is that no hats were damaged in the making of this photograph.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Wedding in Blackpool

These photos were taken yesterday in Blackpool. It was a photo that took my eye when I took it and I told the couple at the time that they may want to use it for the newspaper.

Every wedding photographer can take photos like the signing of the register and walking down the aisle. One of the things that makes my photos different from those of other photographers is that I spend another day or two on the computer and one of the common amendments is to convert to monochrome (one click of a button) and sepia with a vignette (another half dozen clicks) as seen on the right.

I'll show another technique that sets my photos apart tomorrow.

Happy snapping

Friday, 7 May 2010

As the sun sets on Morecambe Bay

I took these photos a couple of nights ago so it is not quite true to say that the sun is setting on the Labour government.

The point here is that I have not amended the colours. In fact I have not manipulated these photos in any way apart from cropping them. Sunsets make popular photographs especially when you have such a beautiful scene as Morecambe Bay.

I know that I am often writing about getting the best possible photos and I often suggest that tripods should be used. It goes without saying that better equipment produces better photos but these photos were taken with my compact. You don't need really expensive equipment.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Last two from Wray

I could have shown you a lot more photos of the scarecrows in Wray but I have to stop at some point. I like the photo on the left because Pat is outside the post office. I was in Wray on Sunday and the forecast was for showers. As you can see from both photos, the sun was shining most of the time that I was there and I didn't get wet at all.

I have chosen the photos on the right because it highlights the lengths that the residents go to in order to put on a great festival. Someone (or more than one person) has put the scarecrow together, and it has been part of a theme. It has taken some thought. I think all the signs showed a great level of humour even down to the street sign that almost looks like it belongs there permanently.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Even more from Wray

There were a few themes to the scarecrows at Wray. There were some that were television based and quite a few of them were detectives. Reality TV was popular however these two were among my favourites. I don't even know if they count as scarecrows but I liked their simplicity.

The fellow on the right was in a garden but Bill and Ben were in a field where you would expect to find scarecrows. Take a closer look at the photo on the left. I had to lean forward awkwardly to take this photo through a wire fence. Can you see any camera shake?

Happy snapping