Thursday, 22 January 2015

Scottish Wedding Awards 2015


I received the news this week that I'm one of the 7 short listed finalists for Wedding Photographer of the Year 2015. Results are to be revealed at the Awards ceremony on February 24th

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Family Photo-shoots in Edinburgh

One of the many enjoyable things about my job is doing family photo-shoots with couples whose wedding I photographed previously and have now started their own family. Two of the children in this photograph belong to Natalie and Billy whose wedding I photographed at Melville Castle. They booked a family shoot with me just a few weeks ago and we had great fun doing various photos, styles and poses. You can see some examples if you follow my facebook page.

As a wedding photographer in Edinburgh it's always nice to meet up again with my couples and be involved in their family photography. After showing the photos to their family their grandmother then booked her own photo-shoot to get all five of her grandchildren photographed together. I set up my mobile studio in her living room and we did all five grandchildren and then for the parents some individual groupings and combinations. On a family photo-shoot I'm happy to do whatever you want there's no limits on how many photos I'll take or the variety of them.

When we'd got everything we wanted with the children one of family suggested we do all the children with the two dogs. It would have been a bit of tight squeeze in the living room adding in the two dogs so I suggested we move outside and sit all the children on the step and put the dogs in on either side.

I have a lot of experience photographing both children and animals and I knew it is almost impossible to get every single child and both dogs to be looking perfectly into camera all at the same time. Maybe that's why they say 'never work with children and animals!' lol What I do to get round this is a take a series of shots in quick succession, which maintains the consistency of light, and then I can swap a few faces or features around from the four or five photos. For this photograph I used my favourite shot of the five children all looking into camera as my base. I then switched in the dogs faces from two alternate shots to make the final image. Click link for more information on: Family photo-shoots in Edinburgh or for learning Photoshop techniques as above: Photography Training Courses in Edinburgh

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

How to photograph a wedding properly

There's an interesting article in the latest issue of Photo Professional magazine (a journal for Professional Photographers) which is very pertinent in its summation of wedding photographers. Here's a quote from it...

"A wedding should be photographed as if you were creating a historical document so that future generations can see what happened on the day. This means that as a photographer you shouldn't interfere. Once a photographer starts to direct and to take control of the wedding it becomes the photographers idea of what the day should look like rather than what the day itself actually is."

I'm sure you can identify with that. It's the Bride and Groom's Big Day and therefore everything should revolve around them, not the photographer. Of course, it does beg the question why then do the majority of wedding photographers not work in this way? The article goes on to answer...

"To be able to shoot a wedding without directing is incredibly difficult. The skill lies in the spotting of 'decisive moments' and the ability to capture the flavour of the day. You have to have a sixth sense, and to be able to anticipate what is going to happen, and then be in the right place at the right time. You need to completely understand composition and light to give depth to the pictures. It's safer and certainly for the inexperienced photographer more advantageous to him to direct all the photography which is why so many of them take exactly that approach."

For most photographers who book me for wedding training, particularly those who are currently photographing weddings, these are skills they are looking develop. One of the methods I use is to go through an entire wedding shoot with them explaining the thinking behind each photograph and how it was subsequently achieved each shot. The objective is to equip them and help them feel more confident about simply letting the day unfold naturally and photographing it in a natural, relaxed style. Of course, most weddings will contain an element of the day where the couple want family group photographs and their main bride and groom session. These do need some direction and input from the photographer but it is still possible by using techniques such as simple flow posing, to work comfortably and smoothly and retain that natural feel to the images. This also helps you work much quicker, too, which all involved on the day will appreciate.

If you are a wedding photographer in Edinburgh or indeed anywhere in Scotland and would like to learn more about this style of photographing a wedding you can book me for a one day wedding photography training course and we'll cover all of this and a whole lot more. Details and prices are on my website:
Photography Training courses Edinburgh

Monday, 8 July 2013

Edinburgh Wedding Photograph

Edinburgh is a great city to get married in! Therese and Stephen tied the knot at the registry office on the Royal Mile last weekend at Lothian Chambers. Most wedding photographers in Edinburgh enjoy weddings here as there's such a lot of options for photos. So many nooks and crannies along the Royal Mile and also a short walk up to Edinburgh Castle.

This shot was taken just across the courtyard from Lothian Chambers and around the back of the famous St. Giles Cathedral. There's a looping pathway that swings around the rear courtyard with a series of arches looking out onto the building. The archways make for excellent photos as they allow the light to flood along the walkway afford the opportunity to shoot a large variety of different images and styles within a few short minutes.

For this image I'd initially taken a series of full length and wide angle shots to make the most of the dramatic location and setting but then I wanted to get in a touch tighter to create something a little more intimate whilst at the same time keeping retaining the oldy worldy ambience of our environment. To ensure the bride and groom look natural and relaxed I simply asked them to swing around and for Stephen to lean back against the wall and fold his arms. I then asked Therese to move in and link in with him. It's not as classically posed as the shots I'd already taken but for this image it was expressions on the faces I wanted to lend emphasis to. I got them to move in for a kiss and when they broke apart asked them to look straight at me. The happiness and contentment shown on their faces is exactly what I was hoping for!

Although my priority here was capturing their happy emotions which is done with minimum fuss, I also took care with where I positioned the couple. You can see how the light flooding between the two sets of pillars behind them gives great depth and impact to the picture. I lit the couple themselves with an off camera light that I'd moved into approximately 45 degrees to the newly weds on my right handside. It is the creative lighting and a little post production work that makes the overall image so striking.

This photo was one of 50 taken during Therese and Stephen's bride and groom session all within twenty minutes. As their wedding party was quite small they didn't have many group photos so it took me less than ten minutes to do their requested 20 family group photographs. The majority of photos shot on the day were reportage (or photo-journalism) style so they weren't aware of me taking them as I work as unobtrusively as possible as I want to capture the atmosphere, emotions, feelings and magical moments. This are what makes being an Edinburgh wedding photographer so exciting!

If you would like to know more about the techniques and modus operandi of wedding photography check out my photography training page on my website for more info and prices on photography training courses in Edinburgh.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Family Photo-shoots in Edinburgh

Not only are we well into the wedding season now but with the school hols rapidly approaching many peoples are booking family photo-shoots. Family photo-shoots have also been one of my popular photography training course options as it's an ideal way to get started on the road to becoming a professional photographer. So, I'm sharing a few photographs from the recent Bald family photo-shoot which highlight some of the great pictures you get from a home photo-shoot and also how you can achieve high quality professional studio style images in the comfort of a clients own home.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a wedding photographer in Edinburgh is when my wedding clients go on to have a family and I come back to photograph their new arrivals and children. Billy and Natalie were married in 2010 at Melville Castle and their daugther, Freja, was a very small flower girl. Since then Freja has been joined by a little sister and we had great fun doing their family photo-shoot a couple of weeks ago.

I have a small mobile digital studio which is versatile enough to be set up in almost any room no matter how small. Whilst it may be quite compact it is still state of the art and allows me to produce superb high quality photographs all in the comfort of a clients own home, so it ensures everyone is comfortable, relaxed and it's stress free for everyone. It is no problem at all to book clients into a studio for a shoot if they wish, but with children and pets I always recommend doing a home photo-shoot instead as it is far easier to get natural, relaxed pictures where the subject is in their own environment.

I do not apply any strict time restrictions especially with children and pets as I always work to their time frame, but generally around 45 minutes is sufficient to get a good variety of photographs which will include various different poses, styles and combinations.

I can utilise several different backgrounds but for family shoots the 'Venture style' high-key white background is pretty good. Being a digital studio I'm also able to apply different effects and back drops in the post production, too, something which is rarely done in a traditional photography studio. Clients can then choose which styles they prefer, they might keep the special effects, apply the same effect to all of their photographs or go back to the originals. It's amazingly
flexible!

All the photographs here used a four light set-up, however, for those booking a photography training course looking to make money from photography I can start you off by teaching you a very simple one light set-up using a single speedlite or flash gun which is very cost effective enabling you to start earning money straight away without forking out for a large expensive kit. One-on-one training for a professional photographer like this is £125 for a half day course (£195 for a full day) which means even if you set your initial prices at the budget or low end of the market, say amongst the £45 per shoot photographers, you'd earn your investment back in your first couple of bookings. Non-professional Photography Training courses in Edinburgh (Beginners to Advanced) is £90 per half day and £165 per full day. More
details are on the Training tab on my website.

For a family photo-shoot in Edinburgh it is £90 which includes your own private online gallery, your favourite photograph as an A4 mounted enlargement, and then if you wish to purchase any of the other additional photographs you are free to upgrade accordingly.      

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Photographing weddings at The Caves


I have been quite delighted at the response to my photography training courses, particularly since the beginning of this year. I received a booking this week from a photographer who is booked to photograph a wedding at The Caves in Edinburgh later in the year and they’re a little worried about how to work in the low light. They photographed one wedding at The Caves two years ago and the photographs did not turn out well, hence their apprehension about this one.


One of the advantages with offering One-on-one training is that I can tailor make the day to give clients exactly what they want. So we don’t waste time covering things they already know but instead concentrate on learning the specific skills they are interested in.


I thoroughly enjoy teaching and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the range of clients that have booked courses with me. I’ve had many kinds of photographers from complete beginners with no knowledge of photography or their camera’s whatsoever, keen amateurs looking to improve and even turn professional through to semi-pro’s and full-time photographers wanting to take their photography up a few levels so they can move into a higher price bracket.


The One-on-one training days are so far the most popular but I’ve also had a couple of groups book photography training days and tours. One was in and around Edinburgh and the other I took them through Perthshire for some scenic Scottish landscapes.


The photo spreads on the blog today are from the last wedding I photographed at The Caves. I know many wedding photographers in Edinburgh fear The Caves as it is so dark inside. The photographer mentioned above showed me some of the photos they’d taken last time here and basically they made the classic mistake many photographers make when light levels are low of panicking and believing the only way out is to blast everything with flash.


One of the main things we’ll cover on the training day is learning to relax and be comfortable in your environment rather than being frightened of it. You need to learn to work with what you have and make the most of the atmosphere otherwise firing away with a flash gun will only destroy the ambience and feel of the venue. You can see from the mixture of shots here how I have used the lighting to dramatic effect in many instances but at the same time retained the mood and feeling of this unique venue.


As well as the photography training courses in Edinburgh I’ve had a lot of commercial work the last few months, too. This has included a few fashion shoots for bridal and beauty companies, some hotel brochures and a couple of magazine shoots which won’t be published until later in the year. The wedding season is already underway which I’m always happy about and which you can keep up-to-date with if you follow my facebook page.


Being a busy Edinburgh wedding photographer I also get a lot of spin off family photo-shoots, especially when a new baby comes along. It really is nice to photograph the children of couples whose wedding I photographed. I’m really looking forward to three of these which I have booked during the next few weeks. More details on any of the services I’ve mentioned can be found on my website. Here’s the links:

Wedding Photography in Edinburgh
Photography Training and Courses in Edinburgh
Family photo-shoots in Edinburgh
Baby photo-shoots in Edinburgh