Photography Training days at Hodsock priory

It has to be said that continuing professional development is a must for anyone whatever your profession and one way to gain a little of that CPD is to attend training days or workshops.  It’s an opportunity to develop or hone your skills a little further, and maybe a platform to develop different way of thinking allowing time to experiment and try techniques or ideas you are unfamiliar with the benefit of being away from the pressures of a paid shoot or assignment.

My good friend and fellow photographer James Davies has embarked on what are becoming increasingly popular portrait & flash photography workshops.  With tuition also being provided by the renowned photographic tutor and writer Doug Chinnery and myself as their assistant there is a wealth of knowledge & expertise on hand for all the attendees to hone their portraiture and wedding photography skills.

For the last few courses James has chosen the beautiful setting of Hodsock priory, which, with it’s 15th Century Tudor gatehouse and it’s beautifully maintained grounds, in an 800 acre estate there is a bounty of photographic opportunities to fuel your photographic creativity.

The day starts with coffee & pastries and after brief group introductions James gives a short introduction to the way he works with natural light and then a little on how he introduces flash into his creative workflow, all backed up with examples of his work and how each of them were created.  An important part of the day with plenty of engaging questions and group discussion.

With the theory out of the way it was time to put things into practice and use the various locations around Hodsock priory, both inside and out.  Working with professional models Alison & Luke from Y2K promotions, along with beautiful wedding attire from Olivia Jane Jones, Make-up artist Melanie Lyndsay and a bridal bouquet from Flowers by Kay James creates an abundance of photographic opportunities.  Working first with natural light, showing how subtle changes in your position or that of your subject can dramatically change the quality of the light and increase the potential imaging opportunities.

After lunch the day moved on to creative off-camera flash photography demonstrating how to balance flash with ambient light and also how to create dramatic portraits even in the strongest of daylight situations.  James used the trusty Elinchrom Quadra & Rangers but also highlighted how the same images can be achieved from many other brands of lighting equipment available.

As the day drew to a close we ended with coffee & biscuits and another opportunity for a Q&A session before all heading home with memory cards full of images and heads full of knowledge and creative ideas.

If you are interested in attending one of James’ courses head on over to his training page for further details.

For further details of my photography please do get in touch or head on over to my website or follow me on my social media links below.  I’ll leave you with a selection of my images from the day all taken on my Fuji XT1.

Photography training at Hodsock Priory

James giving his introduction to the techniques he uses.

Simple model portraits with natural light

Simple positioning of the model to capture the natural light.

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Photographers using the techniques described by James.

Male & female models stood by a large window with natural light

Using a large window to create dramatic but natural light.

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More use of a large window

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Beautiful even natural light by careful positioning of the models in a large open doorway

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Beautiful soft natural light.

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Photographers making the most of the moment

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Dramatic off camera flash is demonstrated by James using a mix of lighting equipment.

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Attentive work by the MUA while shooting in the beautiful grounds of Hodsock Priory.

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A little fun to end the day making the most of the environment and the beautiful evening light.




Connected2013 Exhibition

I’m just back from a fantastic launch event for this years Flickr Nottingham Groups exhibition.  Held at the Patchings Art Centre near Calverton, Nottinghamshire the event draws together a fantastic collection of artwork from predominantly Nottinghamshire based photographers, although this year has seen artwork submitted from further afield.  The artwork on display covers a multitude of photographic disciplines/genres and shows just how diverse the art of photography can be.

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I have three images on display in this years exhibition and was somewhat nervous about the prospect of having my work on public display, these nerves were further fuelled when i saw the quality and standard of other work on display, there is some truly remarkable stuff, if you pay the exhibition a visit you will not be disappointed!

Today’s event saw many of us photographers converge on the Patchings for a special day, organised by the exhibition curator Rob Knight, with special guest talks by the very talented duo Doug Chinnery & Pete Bridgewood.  Both gave inspiring and insightful talks aided by slideshows of their fantastic image portfolios.  It was also a pleasure to put many faces to the names I see and talk to on social networking sites.

If you have some spare time please consider paying a visit, the exhibition runs until the 27th May, i’d love to hear what you think of mine and the many other images on display.  In the meantime here are a few images from today, if your like to see more of my work please visit my website or catch me on Twitter or Facebook, I’d love to hear from you.

My images on display top row middle & bottom row 1st & 2nd from right.

My images on display top row middle & bottom row 1st & 2nd from right.

more images of the fine artwork on display

more images of the fine artwork on display

Close scrutiny of the exhibitors profiles.

Close scrutiny of the exhibitors profiles.

the images created a great deal of discussion amongst the visitors.

the images created a great deal of discussion amongst the visitors.

Walls of art

Walls of art

and more

and more

Exhibition curator Rob Knight introduces the Guest speakers.

Exhibition curator Rob Knight introduces the Guest speakers.

Photographer Pete Bridgewood delivering his talk on the art of visualisation.

Photographer Pete Bridgewood delivering his talk on the art of visualisation.

Blurred vision

As photographers we are constantly striving for tack sharp images and go to many lengths and great expense to achieve this. Using time tested techniques such as mirror lock-up, cable releases and a good sturdy tripod can all go along way to achieve this but I’m now seeing an increase in the use of purposefully blurred images.

Don’t get me wrong, this is nothing new, and it’s certainly not to everyones taste, but, if you trawl throughout the pages on Flickr there is definitely an increase in this style. I’ve gone to great lengths myself to get those super sharp images but now im also finding these blurred images more intriguing. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s the sense of leaving something for the imagination – allowing the minds eye to sharpen the image. These images can certainly be perceived differently from person to person but I also ask myself ‘what has the photographer seen in this image?’ because the composition and content is not always immediately clear.

There are many diffent methods to achieve this blurred effect – long exposure handheld, camera panning, tilt and shift lens’ or by using the powerful tools within software such as Photoshop and each give their own unique results. I have so far tried panning and the Photoshop method and examples of each of these can be seen here.

I mistakenly thought that this technique would be easy to emulate hand held – how wrong could I be? You need to think just has hard about composition and the elements within you scene. I had far more images go in the recycle bin using the panning technique than I would have taking traditional landscape images. You also have to think hard about the amount of movement your going to use – too much and it’s just a streaky mess and too little looks as if you’ve just poorly focused the image. I found my best results came from focusing on a key point in the image, such as a tree trunk etc, as this gave the image an anchor, then used various shutter speeds from about 2 to 4 seconds while experimenting with different ways of panning the camera. Very hit and miss but very rewarding when you get a worthwhile result.

I think it will be a while before I could invest and try the tilt and shift lenses but in the meantime, for some blurry inspiration, please take a look at Chris Friel’s website. I was introduced to his stunning work by another equally accomplished photographer and friend, Doug Chinnery. Chris is a master that the artistic blurred images and used many different techniques to achieve the effect but also confesses to having an appalling shot ratio.

Great British Landscapes, the new online photography magazine produced by Tim Parkin and Joe Cornish, have just featured an interview with Chris so why not check that out too along with some other very useful and interesting articles.

If you’d like to see more of my work please check out any of the links below.