Sunday, 17 July 2011

'Surprise' Gifts

This photo is from yesterday's wedding. It is the same photo on the left and the right and the reason that I am showing you this photo is that I took a 'surprise' 10" x 8" photo back to the evening reception. I also took back some fridge magnets for the couple and their parents and these are 9cm x 6cm so these proportions are on the right. I did print them out in colour but it is an easy click of a button to convert to monochrome and to sepia.

When they collect their photos they will get all the variations in a 6:4 format as they will get so many that this is the easiest format to get them printed. It is also handy as the proportions that work for the photos also work for fridge magnets.

Happy snapping

Friday, 15 July 2011

Joining Two Photos

I don't think you would notice that the photo on the right is impossible unless I explained it to you. The photo on the left is genuine. I took two photos and joined them together for the photo on the right.

It is useful to have a common factor in both photos and that is the floor and that is where the join is made. I have a little room for manoeuvre in that I have cropped both photos a little as both have the floor in the frame.

I did have an idea of adding one floor to the next to the next but it would be a long thin photo. I might go for three floors next time I am there but it will work anywhere you can see the opposite side of the stairs.

Happy snapping

Monday, 11 July 2011

Directing the eye

If I am asking for a photo then I say when I am taking it. There are times like this one when I just wait for the opportunities and this moment is particularly important as it is the first time that the groom sees the bride.

Computer techniques have made photo manipulation so much easier and keeping part of the photo in colour and part in monochrome is one of the easier techniques. As you can see on the right, it certainly directs the eye to the main subjects of the photo.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Conscious Manipulation

I like this scene. It is only two minutes from the Ashton Memorial but it looks like we are a long way from it. This also happens to be the photo that I took back in the evening as my 'surprise' gift. Unfortunately I did not have time to take out all the weeds but I really don't think this was the first thing the couple thought about when they saw the photo.

There are a few changes that you can see and some you can't. You'll have to trust me on the weeds because I won't show the original. You also get converging verticals when you are too close to a building. This means that because the top of the building is so much further away than the bottom and this makes the top look narrower. The eye corrects this perspective subconsciously but the computer has to correct the photo consciously.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Sepia Fridge Magnet

I was back in Morecambe taking photos yesterday so I did get chance to return in the evening and take an enlargement with me plus three fridge magnets. Well the magnets protect the photo and it does mean they don't need framing. I usually take three so that the bride and groom can give them to their parents but it is up to them what they do with them.

I didn't have much time to choose a photo and even if I were given plenty of time and I still chose this photo, I would definitely take out the door closure. It adds clutter to the background and sky would be so much better. I knew this couple liked monochrome and sepia so they received the sepia version on the right.

Happy snapping

Monday, 4 July 2011

Colour and Sepia

This is a contender for the fridge magnet photo. I have converted it to monochrome and given it a little more contrast. I feel this gives the photo a little more impact. Back in the 1970s I used to have my own darkroom and I would choose darkroom photo paper with higher contrasts. Paper was numbered one to five (and still is) with higher contrast with higher numbers. You see photographic manipulation is nothing new!

I also converted to sepia and then finally I gave the sepia version a white vignette around the edge - there it is on the right. Sepia toning was a Victorian technique which meant that photographs took longer to fade and it had the enhanced benefit of making the photo look warmer. It looks like the couple have an instant tan.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Not the fridge magnet yet

This photo is from yesterday's wedding. I usually show the photo that I make into fridge magnets and it is usually a standard pose (not like this photo). However yesterday I couldn't get home to make the magnets as the wedding was in Blackpool. Some of you may recognise the Norbreck Castle in the background.

Much more important than the background is th foreground and that is why I like this type of photo. If the couple are able to pose like this then I can guarantee natural smiles. Tomorrow I will show you the photo that may become the fridge magnet but I still have a few days to choose.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Not really cheating

And here are a couple of the backgrounds that I took two days ago. We did look at other backgrounds too but you get the idea that technology really has advanced and we now have so much more control.

One thing you won't see are weeds. I tend to think that the grass could have been cut an hour earlier so taking a few weeds out isn't really cheating.

Happy snapping

Friday, 17 June 2011

Wedding Practice

This photo was taken at yesterday's pre-wedding meeting. I like to go through some different poses and this is one of my favourites. You don't naturally face your partner when you are having your photo taken but it is a nice pose.

As for the bag, well this is a stand-in for the flowers. In the close-up you just get a touch of flowers - well they are practising.

At this meeting I am also concerned with the backgrounds. The couple will walk around the venue with me but I mainly look for their view on the background for the group photo and with the advances in technology I can send them the photos with the possibilities for this background.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 9 June 2011

A fairly easy technique

And finally for this pre-wedding meeting I wanted to show you one of the characteristics of my wedding photography - the photo on a photo. It is a fairly easy technique, but isn't anything when you know how to do it.

A photo is much lighter on a monitor than it is when printed so I have to make the photo much darker when it is placed onto a picture frame. In this case it was a mirror but as you don't see what's underneath it doesn't really matter whether it is a mirror or a photo.

The think I like about this type of photo is it looks like you have gone to the trouble of printing a huge photo and getting it framed. It would also work as a billboard or in this case maybe we should wait for a passing tram.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Similar but different

I mentioned that we look at the different poses at the pre-wedding meeting and this is one of those poses. The photo on the left looks fairly similar to the one on the right but one is a piggy-back and the other is one person sat on a chair and the other standing. Can you work out which is which?

I am guessing that you can see which is which but the giveaway for me are the smiles. It doesn't really matter where this photo is taken. It could be outdoors with a distinctive building in the background or it could be anywhere indoors.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Background Preferences

Yesterday I mentioned that I like to look for where we can take photos at the pre-wedding meeting. By walking for two minutes we get a good background for the group photo. You have to walk for at least two minutes from this hotel because it is so large. If the photo is taken any closer you get a distorted perspective caused by converging verticals. Basically if you are too close the sides of a building look like they are leaning towards each other. A similar thing happens to a path as it goes towards the horizon. The further the path gets, the smaller it gets.

The couple haven't moved anywhere on the right. I just walked around to get a totally different background. I can tidy up grass on the computer but the pre-wedding meeting taught me that we could walk a few more steps and it would save me some work. It is also worth taking the photos to show the bride and groom and then they can say which backgrounds they prefer.

Happy snapping

Monday, 6 June 2011

The case for a vignette

One of the reasons to have a pre-wedding meeting is to be able to go through the different poses. I also like to see where the photos may be taken. In this photo we are practising one of the poses and there will be flowers between them on the actual day.

I converted to sepia and gave the photo an oval vignette on the right. I thought that this vignette worked well here. Sometimes I use this type of vignette because there are distractions in the corners of the photo but in this case there is no object of interest in any of the corners and the vignette works just as well.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 5 June 2011

One line is straight

This is Little Moreton Hall near Congleton and if you compare this blog entry with my last then you may have guessed that I have a National Trust membership. I visited this hall on Friday and despite what you might see it was quite busy.

I could have removed people digitally but I decided to wait a moment. There were some people just out of shot. I converted to monochrome and slightly increased the contrast as that is what I thought the Tudor building wanted. You won't find any straight lines on the building and there is no horizon so I couldn't improve on the orientation but I think one of the lines is straight.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Lyme Hall / Pemberley

I went to Lyme Park a couple of days ago. The weather wasn't brilliant but there were a few rays of sunshine which only lasted a few seconds. On the left was the usual lighting and this would have been my preferred view of the Hall. A few steps later and the sun came out. This is the view on the right. I am not keen on unattached branches hanging in view but the lighting is so much better.

I couldn't finish this blog entry without writing about Fitzwilliam Darcy. In 1995 the BBC decided this was their Pemberley and Colin Firth should go for a swim. Let's hope it was a warm day.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The first dance

When I take a photo of the first dance I like to amend them a few times. The bride and groom get the original and then I will blur the background. Then I convert to monochrome and then sepia, usually with a vignette like that on the right.

Anyone can take a photo like these as I am not telling the couple where to stand or where to look. I hope the difference between my photos and those of family and friends is that they don't know how to make the changes on the computer.

Happy snapping

Friday, 20 May 2011

Thank You Card

I don't remember why I got the expressions on the left but it does add to the many other photos that could have been used for the thank you photo on the right. I pick on a couple of photos, add them together and it becomes an inexpensive way of sending a thank you card. All you have to do is fold a piece of A5 card and stick one photo on the front, one on the back and write something in the middle.

The photo on the left didn't make the final two for the card and there were dozens of possibilities. However I am always willing to put any two photos together. This time I was even thinking of the photo seen on Tuesday with the new pose.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Colour and Monochrome

Both of these photos are examples of a very simple technique in which you leave part in colour when most of the photo is converted to monochrome. Even though it is a simple technique it should not be forgotten but I only use it sparingly. Out of well over four hundred photos that I will be giving to this couple, these are the only two examples of this particular technique.

If you like the colour and monochrome together then that's nice. If you don't then it doesn't matter because they do get a colour version and a completely monochrome version too.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Don't avoid the props

Yesterday I showed you a pose that I had never used before which was inspired by the wedding cake models. Today I can show you another pose that I have never used before inspired by a children's play area. I didn't expect the groom to climb up for the photo on the left but I was quite prepared to take the photo as he managed to get up there.

We had looked at photos in this play area and the one on the right was one that we had planned. You don't get natural smiles like this without something happening so whenever I see a play area I don't avoid it, I head straight for it.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

A new pose

I am always looking for new poses and this is the first time that I have used this pose. It is also the first time that I have seen cake models in this pose.

I always take photos like that on the left but the one on the right is much less frequent. The great thing was that it was a bit of fun, not that it is difficult to get great photos at weddings as everyone has taken time to get ready and they are there for a celebration.

Happy snapping

Monday, 16 May 2011

That's a nice lawn

This is a typical wedding pose. I like the train in this direction as we read photos like we read books, from left to right. The eye catches the end of the train and leads us to the faces. Then you may take a look at the lawn and background shrubs.

We went to this venue recently for a pre-wedding meeting and I said that it wasn't really cheating if I took weeds out of the lawn because the grass may have been recently cut. Well it was, but there were still one or two weeds to take out digitally.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Yesterday's wedding

This photo is from yesterday's wedding. When I go back in the evening I like to take an enlargement and that is on the left. It was a 10"x 8" print which makes the proportions 5:4. I also take fridge magnets which are 9cm x 6cm which happens to be the same proportion of the most common size of photo 6"x 4".

So you know the reasons for the different proportions but by putting them in the same blog you can see which you prefer. I have worked on quite a few of the photos now but you also know why I chose these photos - because I have worked on them.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Looking for different methods

I passed this statue yesterday morning. I have written about it before and I have taken it from various angles and at different times of the day, but that doesn't mean there may be other photos that are better. The chances are that my opinion as to which photo is better is different from yours. It may be that tomorrow my preference may change. So it is important to look at other ways in which to shoot the same subject.

Yesterday morning there was a photographer taking photos here and he was using a telephoto lens. This type of lens has a shorter depth of field which means the background is more likely to be blurred. So maybe I'll try that next time I am on the prom.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Manchester Angels and Demons

I watched Angels and Demons again recently and I wondered how far fetched it could be to have a theme of following directions from statues.

These two statues are in Manchester. On the left Gladstone is pointing into the air but if you looked at it from above could you make up your own direction to another statue? You will find him in Albert Square which is dominated by the Albert Memorial but he isn't pointing anywhere. On the right is the silhouette of Richard Cobden in St Ann's Square. The silhouette makes it two-dimensional but I could have taken this image from any angle.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A natural pose

This photo was taken a few hours ago. The reason I took it is because of the lighting. I took a photo a few months ago when a desk light was the sole light and in this case the computer screen is the main source.

On the right I converted to monochrome. Less obvious is the change I made to the periphery of the photo. There is a dark vignette which puts more interest on the centre of the photo. This is a simple technique. You can't use flash but you have to keep the camera still. A tripod is nice but just leave the camera on a chair and use a timer and in this way your photo may result in a natural pose.

Happy snapping

Monday, 9 May 2011

No kissing babies

Here is proof that we did everything right at the local election and still managed to lose. Alright it's more an example of a photography technique that leaves part of the photo in colour and part in monochrome.

It is the sort of technique commonly used in wedding photography when flowers are the last remaining part in colour. It works better if the flowers are brightly coloured and works well with rosettes.

Happy snapping