Category: News & Info

Sleeklens- Reviewing ‘Strike a pose’ portrait presets and brushes for Lightroom

Loading the presets and brushes was pretty straight forward, I thought I knew how to do it but couldn’t quite remember the steps. I was glad that Sleeklens had sent me over very clear instructions on how to load them into Lightroom. The package comes with 70 Presets which include all in one changes to your image, base changes, exposure adjustments, colour correct, tone/tint, polish and one of my faves vignette and 62 brushes include all kinds of handy make-up tools from adding eyeliner to defining hair.

Once I knew the presets and brushes were loaded I chose an image taken outside and a studio shot to see how I could use the Sleeklens Portrait workflow to enhance my images.

Original Image:

I wanted to brighten the image above as it all seemed too dark so in the Presets on the left hand side of Lightroom I applied ‘Exposure-Brighten’ then wanted to warm the image up a little by adding ‘Tone/Tint-Warm-up’ then added ‘Vignette- Black Dreamy’ to bring the attention back to the centre. The Presets are easy to apply you can just click or undo if you don’t like the adjustment you just made you can go back either in the history panel to the left of Lightroom or go to ‘Edit’ top left and click ‘undo’.

I am not sure if it is just my wheel on my mouse but when I clicked on the brush tool I have to use the up and down arrow in the brush window I can’t use the wheel on my mouse to scroll through the brushes which takes a bit of extra time and is more clunky than just scrolling up and down the choices, but I think that might just be my mouse it is quite old after all!

I used the brushes on the right hand side to choose some finer adjustments I wanted to apply, I darkened the dog and and black trousers by using the ‘Darken Shadows’ brush I also added some extra saturation with the ‘High Saturation’ brush to apply on the right of the picture just to bring it a bit more to life. I also wanted to add a bit of a golden glow in the gap in the trees as that looked a bit pale and washed out so I used the ‘Haze-Golden’ brush and just painted circular brush stroked to add some sunny warmth to that gap in the trees.

I also used the ‘Base- Auto Tone Black & White’ preset as I wanted to see what the black and white would look like. Black and whites can vary so much but I liked how this one converted using the preset often they can be too bright or too dark so you have to tweak until you get the tone you are happy with but I was pleased with this result.

Next an image I took in the studio, I chose an image which was very shallow depth of filed and almost washed out in appearance. I wanted to see how I could improve it and bring it back to life.

Original image:

The first things I applied from the presets were ‘Auto Tone’ preset which instantly gave it more oomph and depth of colour, I added the ‘Vignette-Black Dreamy’ to add more contrast to the edges of the image then used several brush tools to enhance the face.

I used the following face brushes to add some extra definition:  Reduce Wrinkles,Rosy Lips, Define Blonde Hair, Portrait Punch, Darken, Add Contour To Cheeks, Add EyeLiner, Reduce Highlights, Subtle Smooth Skin, Sharpen Face (to brush over her eyes). The image now looks warmer and has more depth without losing it’s soft feathery feel.

I was surprised by the number and variation of the brushes, I like how they are grouped into categories so they are easier to find. It meant I had to spend less time going to Photoshop and back as I now have a better selection of tools within Lightroom which are so easy to use. I tried using the presets and brushes on other images and found they can be used for all sorts of portraits inside and out, I am chuffed with my Sleeklens presets and brushes as they give me fast easy options to use with my Portrait Photography but also my Boudoir and Family Photography.

To find out more about Sleeklens go to – Tutorials, Presets, Pinterest.

Business head shots don’t have to be formal & stuffy

Thomasin is an image and style consultant who is based in Essex but works with clients all over, she wanted some images of herself to use on her social media and website which showed a mixture of themes from the classic smiling head shot to her playing around with different styles and looks to tell a bit of a story about what it is she does for others. Please read more about her here and find out how she can help you to ‘look good and feel great’.

 

Flat lay product photography for Sand & Salt

Here are few examples from a recent flat lay ( also known as over head or knolling) shoot I recently did for Sand and Salt a local company who sells beautiful towels and bags.

How I went about photographing Arc Welding

EPC_8394The three main issues for me were 1) How do I photograph welding and metal grinding without making myself blind?? 2) Would the welding damage my camera sensor? 3) What settings would I need the camera on to get the dramatic shots I am after?

Looking online I couldn’t find too much clear info on taking shots of Welding, there were lots of conflicting views but the strong message was protect your eyes looking directly at the welding would cause damage to your sight. From what I could find out it seemed that my camera sensor would be okay, so shooting remotely seemed like the best option. I often use tethered shooting for shots in my studio but hadn’t had experience of using software to control the camera setting from my laptop. My Canon 5DmkIII came with a disc which I have never used as I just thought it was mostly stuff which I didn’t need but it provides a utility to shoot remotely. So after a little rummaging about in my messy cupboard I found the box which still had the disc in and loaded it onto my laptop.IMG_20170127_103342  IMG_20170127_103210IMG_20170127_103641

 

 

 

 

 

 

I won’t go into detail about using the EOS Utility 2 as it is very self explanatory, if you have got a canon camera its well worth having a play with. In a nutshell it means I could set my camera up on a tripod in front of the welding (not too close as I didn’t want my camera to get damaged by any flying hot sparks) use a tether lead one end which plugs into the camera and the other has a USB to plug into the laptop and I can control most of the camera settings on my laptop and keep my eyes safe behind a partition and take the pics by viewing what my camera sees on my laptop screen.

I needed to find a light source to experiment with and decided Sparklers would do the job. Tesco sells small party Sparklers in it’s party section so I thought that would give me a good idea on a smaller scale. So the night before the shoot I took some time to set my camera up on a tripod, plug in the tether lead and start up the EOS Utility2 on my laptop before lighting the Sparklers. EPC_8162

The first image above was when I began shooting before the sparkler had really got going. I set my camera to 1/5th of a second F11 and decided to put the ISO on 500, I was going to have the ISO adjust automatically so I had once less thing to worry about but soon realised the camera automatically bumped it up high and I ended up with noisy images.EPC_8165

The second image I tried a radial filter only because I have never used it and wondered what results it would give me but felt the glow was two strong in the middle of the image I liked how it softened the background but not right for the shot I had in my EPC_8160mind.

The third image was using a adjustable gradient filter to darken the image and I was also thinking it might provide some protection for my lens eek!

So a few hours later I felt happy, having used the remote EOS Utility 2 I found I could focus in on what I wanted to using my laptop screen, I could control my speed, aperture and ISO from my laptop and I could do this from a few metres away with my back to the camera!

On the day of the shoot I started with taking my shots with my camera set up on a tripod using my 24-70mm lens with an adjustable gradient filter on which I twisted a few stops to darken the scene. I set my camera to 1/5th of a second F11 and would adjust if I needed to once I had taken few shots. I shot the first round of images and stopped to see what we had which was useful as my client and the Welder could also look which helped them to understand what we needed to adjust to get the composition right. It did feel a bit like magic taking pics from my laptop and I was surprised at how well it worked.

The downside of shooting this way means you cannot move around your subject and you can’t zoom in and out or change the camera angle, you have to stop to adjust the camera. I also found there is a few second delay on the images uploading so I wanted to shoot a zillion shots whist all the action was happening but you do have to go by the speed of your camera, the tether and your laptop uploading the images. Here are a couple of shots taken on the day…EPC_8346EPC_8399EPC_8418EPC_8330EPC_8396

 

What is Boudoirvous?

Confidential

It’s something Brides asked me about when I used to do a lot of Wedding Photography. You see many women spend a decent amount on their wedding lingerie and like the idea of creating images to give to their fiance on the day of their wedding as a personal gift.

Since then I have women of all ages, all shapes and sizes come to my studio or I have visited them in a hotel room to take pics. Why does that sound seedy? I don’t want people to think it is seedy, I want people to understand Boudoirvous is not about sensationalising or exploiting women it’s about liberation, expression and freedom. A lot of my clients say they feel feel a new sense of confidence when they leave the shoot excited to see the final images.

I am female, and I am middle aged with all the lumps and bumps of life, I get it! I get that most of us want images that show us at our best, none of us want our squidgy bits exposed we appreciate careful lighting and some advice with what to wear and how to pose.

Some women like the idea of buying a new outfit having their hair and make-up professionally styled and then having a photo shoot others like to dress in lingerie or some go the ‘full monty’ as they want to create beautiful fine art style images in black and white.

That’s one of the things I love the most about Boudoirvous that is it so personal and unique there is no right or wrong way, everyone brings their own ideas along to the shoot.

Please visit my Boudoirvous site if you would like to find out more.

Gift vouchers are available.

Wedding Flowers & Accessories Nov/Dec Issue is out.

So lovely to receive my copy of Wedding flowers & Accessories Magazine with my flower pics on the front cover and the flower book at the second half of the mag.

IMG_20161020_144005

http://www.weddingandweddingflowers.co.uk/inside-wedding-flowers-magazine

Portraits of Tim Andrews – Over The Hill Project

Tim Andrews- Fragile 1
Tim Andrews- Fragile 1

I first photographed Tim a few years ago for his Over The Hill project , I was delighted when he agreed to another shoot last week. Tim who has Parkinsons Disease started ‘Over the hill’ in 2008 and over the last 8 years he has been Photographed by over 400 Photographers. When I received an email to say that he was wrapping up the project I emailed him straight back and asked if he would be interested in posing for me again.

Tim Andrews- Fragile 2
Tim Andrews- Fragile 2

It’s rare as a Photographer to have the opportunity of someone offering to pose to be completely open minded and flexible, Tim is such a great sport an artist in his own right he is such a charming interesting person to spend time with. I wanted to explore my ideas around visually framing images of fragility and vulnerability he soon wrote back, “Dark, moody, feathers, eggs, naked, bubble wrap??? Are you kidding? Of course l am up for it!!!”

Tim Andrews- Fragile 3

Tim Andrews- Fragile 3

 

Experimenting with Twitter video

I tried doing a bit of video directly through twitter the other day, this is Thomasin Newton at my studio she is a colour and fashion stylist. We are working on a new exciting venture together so I got her just to chat briefly to me about accessories so I could try out the video. It actually turns out that it doesn’t appear in my gallery on my phone but on my PC I was able to copy and embed the code to my blog, so I will definitely try using it again in the future.

To find out more about Thomasin check out her website here

 

Business portraits with a difference

When you book your your head shot portrait at my studio you can choose to have your hair and make-up styled by my small but very talented team. Rosemary in this picture chose to have her make-up applied by my make-up artist.Edit 0571