Sunday, 25 March 2012


Yesterday evening I was photographing at a charity dinner-dance in Portsmouth. It was lovely to see everyone dressed up in their best frocks and we got some great photos, but my favourite has to be this one of Zebedee.

Zebedee is a demonstration dog for Canine Partners, the charity the evening was in aid of.

Canine Partners train dogs to be helpers and companions for physically disabled people. They aim to give people a degree of independence that they could not achieve otherwise. Training starts early on with puppies learning to be around people and doing simple tasks. When fully trained they are able to help with many of the jobs that people would find difficult, if not impossible, on their own.

With his trainer Glenis, Zebedee gave an amazing demonstration of the things he can do. Starting with simple retrieval tasks like picking up a dropped crutch, phone or purse he progressed to picking up a credit card and even coins from the floor. Very impressive given that it was a smooth wooden floor!

They then showed how he could open and close cupboards and a washing machine, retrieving items from within. Next, they demonstrated how he could press buttons and pull cords, even managing to press just the red button from a row of coloured buttons. These skills are useful for raising an alarm.

For some reason I had older people in mind as I watched, but Glenis reminded us that the young often need help like this too. Human carers usually stop work by 9 in the evening, meaning that often those who they help have to be in bed before that. As Glenis said, imagine being 21 and wanting to go out with friends, not many carers would be prepared to come out at 2am to help them get undressed and in to bed. So this is another area that the dogs are trained to help with and they showed how Zebedee could pull socks off, undo zips and undress their charges.

It was an amazing demonstration and one thing I noticed throughout was how happy Zebedee seemed. His tail never stopped wagging and he was constantly looking at Glenis to see what fun thing she had for him to do next.

Take care

Monday, 19 March 2012

Worlds Apart

As a photographer, I have been very fortunate to meet and learn from a lot of other photographers. It never ceases to amaze me how willing they are to share their tricks and techniques. I thought it was about time I started doing the same.

On Saturday I was asked to do a few photos for Lou and Kevin of Worlds Apart. This father/daughter duo wanted some shots together to promote their act. The photos had to be suitable for anything from postcard sized fliers up to posters and banners.

There were two problems I had to deal with for this shoot, time and space. They were available for just a few minutes but I was able to set up and do some test shots (thanks to Joe, my son) ahead of their arrival. That meant that I only had to make some minor adjustments once they were in place. The space issue meant that I had to keep things simple. Here is what the setup looked like:

I hung a simple curtain as background to remove the clutter from the room we were in. Thought about pulling the curtain tight but decided that I preferred the look of it with the folds adding some texture. I had also thought about using a background light, and even experimented a little with it, but with the limited room I changed to using a gridded rim light to add separation instead.

Key light was from a large octa. Its size gives a lovely soft light and, with the addition of the reflector, I was able to keep the lighting relatively even for both Lou and Kevin without it being totally flat.

Working quickly once everything was set I was able to get a range of images of Lou and Kevin together and individually. When framing the shots I ensured that some would be suitable for cropping to square or having text overlaid if needed. That way the photos should be good for a range of uses.

Hope this has been useful. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

Take care

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Wedding: Victoria and Jonathan

Can't believe it, but I have already been to my first wedding of 2012 with the lovely Victoria and Jonathan.

The venue for this wonderful event was Langrish House near Petersfield. The weather was great, warm and sunny with just a few helpful clouds. Not bad for the end of February!

As always, the staff at Langrish were very helpful as we had to adjust to changes in the original schedule.

I think Vickie and Jon had a great day and I wish them all the best for their future together.

Take care!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Photographing an Angel

These are some of the photos from a test shoot I did last week with the lovely Angel. It was a real pleasure to work with her as she was so enthusiastic and open to suggestions.

All of these were taken using my new beauty dish. It has quite a different look to my softboxes and the large octabox. Angel was the perfect subject for its harder light.

Looking forward to trying it out with some other faces too.

More soon!

Take care