Steven Spielberg, Joss Whedon & Woody Allen

What do all of these guys have in common?

Well 90% of you will recognise the first name on that trio, and if you don't shame on you (tutt tutt tutt)

The reason I mention them is because they are all great directors. They communicate to their team effectively what their vision is. I have always liked the role a director plays in both theatre and film, because to me a director has to be inspirational, engaging, intelegent, creative, open minded, descriptive and above all a director has to collaborate. I love photographing creative people because they always have werid and wonderful ideas. I love how their brain works because some of my favourite pictures were inspired or generated as a result of my experiences and the suggestions of those whom I am photographing.

Quite recently, I got the chance to photograph a collegue of mine who i've recently discovered is a very talented singer. After seeing the images I posted on facebook and instagram from my previous shoot with Kiara, Angela (pictured below) thought it would be a great chance to collaborate, as she had a song coming out very soon which she needed some images for. I love working with new people so I was very excited to see what images we would be able to colaboratively create. I mentioned to Angela to send me examples of images she would like to create so I could get a good idea of what she is looking for, I find this really helps identify the mood and overall vision the client has early on in the relationship. The better I understand what the people I photograph want the easier it will be for the both of us to come up with ideas because we are booth thinking along the same lines and can collaborate smoothly. 

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All the images shown above were taken at Angela's house and were taken a few feet apart but because we walked around and could plan what we could use it meant that we got everything done within 3-4 hours from my arrival to me leaving. When I was starting out in doing portraiture, I would find one location or a solid white wall and stick to it as much as I could because I didn't know how to utilise the resources around me. I really love shooting outdoors (except when it is raining, which unfortunately in england is 80% of the time) because I can simply walk around and be able to find at least 5 places to shoot with a client each location being 1-2 minutes walking distance from the last, and still be able to create really great images.

Uzo Oleh who is a good friend of mine (and an amazing photographer) talked about "TAKING a picture and MAKING a picture" and I am now realising just how great his advice was in clarifying what the difference is. I realised that I was making a picture with Angela when I was walking around with her and we were discussing what type of cloths, props and look we wanted to create at which location. I am now at a point where I can start to imagine what the final image will look like before I even pick up my camera, because when you start to compose the image in your mind then I find you have a lot of control, because when you bring the viewfinder up to your eye, you become very aware of everything in the frame. The more aware of your composition you are the more you have to direct, and so this is where your communication and descriptive skills come in to effect. 

I hope you liked the images, and please feel free to ask any questions about how each image was created and if you want to check out Angela's work then click here 

Thank you :D

 

"You think you know, but... you don't"

I had the fantastic pleasure of shooting a very good friend of mine, who is a very talented Actor/Singer/ Dancer/ Yogi and all round great person, known by the name of Mat Millns. The last performance i saw Mat was in was at the Pentamiters Theatre in Hampstead in "You Never Can Tell". I know Mat from our days at the Gielgud (where I met many good friends whom I dearly miss, as I don't get to see them as much as I use to) so when he asked me to do some quick head shots for him in the park before his show, it was a no brainer.

To say that Mat is full of life is an understatement, as he has the ability to walk in to a room full of people he has never met and within minutes turn them in to an army of friends. Mat is someone whom I would ask advice from because he is very honest and wont tell me what I want to hear, and to me that is a valuable friend.

Normally when I shoot actor's head shots I usually use a huge window to my back or I have a speedlight in to a softbox or a shoot through umbrella which has given me some fantastic results, but this time when I was shooting with mat we decided to use natural light in the park. Normally I jump strait to my speedlight as it is what I am use to and I know what results I can get from it, so in a way it is my safety net, but this time all I had to work with was the sunlight being diffused by the trees which to my surprise gave me MUCH BETTER results than any of my strobes did as there was this amazing quality to the light that I could never get with speedlights or strobes.

Some of the shots that I used a speedlight behind mat for were inspired by Zack Arias (who is an amazing photographer based in Atlanta Georgia). I know mat is truly a hippy at heart so I figured since we were in the park, lets try and get him to do some yoga and give the impression that he is drawing energy from the forest which is lighting up from the centre. I used a simple canon 430ex ii at full power (with a Stofen diffuser to spread the light) behind Mat with pocket wizards to trigger them. I exposed for mat and just lit the background with the speedlight, that way I get this cool effect where mat is a tad bit underexposed and the background is sort of glowing with light.

Ow and as for the title, its one of mat's lines from "You Never Can Tell" he had most of the best lines in the whole production, its only a pity it took 2 hours for his character to grace the stage, but WELL WORTH THE WAIT!!!

Best Camera?

Like many other artists out there I still have a lot to learn about the tools/ techniques and approaches to do with my craft, but when ever a friend of mine or someone I am introduced to is thinking of taking their first significant step towards photography, more often than not I will hear them say the words "what is the best camera to get?" Now they may as well ask what is the best trouser to wear or what is the best food to eat... The more I grow as a photographer the more I realise that each camera and lens has its own quirks, its own personality!

The natural instinct in this megapixel obsessed world we live in is to look at what camera has the most megapixels or the latest features, and there never seems to be an emphasis on weather or not the picture is interesting! I sometimes wish there would be a camera where it wouldn't allow you to use the other features unless you understand them fully, almost in the way a video game would not allow you content unless you were good enough and deserved it!

I now use my phone as my No1 camera because it is always with me, and all the images on this post were all taken and edited completely on the phone! I find myself caring less and less about sensor size and lenses because I have really great DSLR gear that 85% of the time is in a back pack waiting for a shoot,  while my phone on the other hand is being used 85% of the time! I've mentioned in another post the X100s which is probably the only other camera in my price range that I would be happy to relieve my phone from the responsibility of being the main camera.

All the images are edited using Snapseed which if you have never heard of it, is absolutely a fantastic editing tool, and I love how easy and friendly it is to use. It is a great example of what can happen when you combine simplicity with power! When I am on the tube or a bus I find myself popping open Snapseed and trying out a new approach to an image or to try and transform a mundane picture in to a potential work of art! 

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My London

I love london, this city has soo much to offer from rich history to absolutely gorgeous architecture. I have spent a large portion of my life in this city and have only learned to discover the hidden gems it has in the last few years. Coming from a country where 98% of the people i came in to contact with spoke the same language and shared the same culture it was such an eye opener for me to be then in an environment where every single day I would meet someone new who had a completely different culture or background from me. To me london has all these small samples of what the planet has to offer kind of a pick and mix of cultures if you will.

When I took these images, I decided to start in central london, pick a direction and start walking. I love getting lost in this city for a couple of hours and then find my way back as its very difficult to actually get lost once you learn the tube and bus system it then becomes almost second nature, and if all else fails a few iconic buildings can be a homing beacon to help you find your way. 

I was using my trusty canon 5D Mk 1 and my 135mm telephoto lens which I love for photographing people and certain places as it allows me to get closer shots of my subjects without scaring them. I have got my eye on the new Fuji X100s but currently I can't quite afford or justify it, as most of the street photography I do now is done on my iPhone as its always there and accessible, not to mention the phenomenal selection of photography apps (I will probably post about this at a later date). 

Anywho... here are the pictures I took, would love your thoughts on places in london you love and any other comments or suggestions you may have. (You can click on the picture and it will reveal the other ones)

Till next time..