How do you get across the excitement and thrill of the theatre. Everybody who’s ever been knows about the 5 minute call, ordering drinks for the interval and the curtain going up, but what goes on to really make that all happen? Here’s your chance to take a peak behind the curtain…
Agency: BHD Creative
Back in 2011 Fuji launched a series of cameras that changed our view of smaller sensor cameras. The X line up changed everything. Bloggers from all over the word had their opinions from real world usage to the technical analysis usually only needed for global communication systems…
Anyway back in 2012 I was looking for a new camera, one I could keep in my pocket and could carry with me everywhere and not feel as though I needed to be taking a load of extra lenses or flash just in case and definitely something that wouldn’t feel like I was carting round a brick.
I looked at many different cameras from the Leica X1 to the Canon G5, but their was just something about the X100 that really attracted me. It just felt right in my hand, it was vastly different in design to my work cameras, but it was the fixed lens that really caught my attention, a 35mm full frame equivalent, no decisions to make, just one lens, one focal length and that, along with how it feels, is why I love this camera so much – it’s simplicity. (more…)
My good friend John at Freax Adventures runs team building activities across the UK and he was looking for something that would convey the excitement and sophistication of his courses which involve target and live fire shooting. John kept talking about looking “suave” which meant jeans and t shirts were not required!
I put the coffee on, cracked open the biscuits and a few hours later we had a plan. Phone calls were made, things begged, borrowed and hired, timings agreed and co-ordinated. Suited and glamorous assassins, very real looking guns, fast cars, a beautiful location and plenty of signs to say the guns were fake and please don’t call the police! A great day with great friends, loved it.
There are some jobs in the world where you think how on earth did they end up doing that, and then the thought process goes on to think, why would they do that. As a kid I remember dreaming of being a racing driver or a rally driver but not once did it ever cross my mind to sit in the seat next to the driver, I mean why would you? Hurtling past trees in excess of 100 mph with absolutely no control of the outcome. Meet Andy Bull, the co- driver.
The film was shot as part of my entry to the “My Rode Reel” film competition. Sadly I didn’t win the global award but I did finish 2nd in the UK in the voted for competition. Big thanks to the team of Peter Austin – Director of Photography, Mark Zaccarria – drone pilot, Jack Painter – assistant, Seb Perez – Driver and of course Andy Bull – co driver.
As part of the film entry I had to submit a BTS film featuring our Rode microphones. If you want to see the team and our love of Wagon Wheels watch below…
Sometimes you get a phone call from a client that really gets your creative juices flowing, and that’s exactly the kind of call I got from Peter at Optima Hair. He’s the kind of guy who knows what he wants, and how he wants his images to feel, but he’s happy to give a fellow-creative free rein to produce something different.
Staff portraits are one of those things that can end up looking very flat and boring. We’ve all seen that white background/half smile shot that basically says, “here are our staff being forced to have their pictures taken even though they really don’t want to and we’ve only give the photographer two minutes per person (our staff are really busy!) so they’re also going to look really awkward”.
It doesn’t have to be that way. The business portrait is a fantastic opportunity to show off your company brand and personality. You can go serious or crazy, corporate or grungy, hipster or anti-hipster (yeah, you try googling “opposite of hipster” and see what you get!) or anything in between.
The point is, you get to tell a story about your company on your terms. Just make sure you’re authentic. People (yes, that means everyone) can easily spot a lie. Over the years we’ve all been bombarded with imagery – from the clean-cut fake smiles of American stock photography to the cringeworthy pictures on social media – and we can spot a fake at twenty paces.
We want real, or at the very least, a polished version of real. If you say you’re a fun-loving, crazy crowd of business people when you’re not, it’s going to show all over your faces with fake smiles and uncomfortable body language (unless your staff are all top end actors).
Anyway back to the point, it’s not about being better, its about being different and memorable. Peter embraces this approach in everything he does. He runs a company that embraces people for who they are, so it was natural for him to want to show his staff in a way that demonstrated their unique personalities and creativity. As you can see, they didn’t hold back!
Back in January I was approached by the Rat Pack Boys to organise a photo shoot to help them relaunch their new website and brand.
Finding a suitable location for the look they were after proved very tricky due to wanting an old world feel with a modern twist. Eventually the wonderful people at Berrow Court in Birmingham came to our rescue and offered us the run of their building for the day.
Here are a couple of the images …
Here’s something a little different from one of my long term projects. The old Nat West Tower is being demolished and I was tasked with taking a portrait of the crane operator some 350 feet up in the air for PR purposes in the regional news as well as national construction press. Taking only minimal gear due to the limited space afforded by the 22 ladders to the top, this was portrait photography on a different level! (Thank you very much I’m here all week!). For those who are interested I took the Profoto B2 pack with one light and the octagonal OCF soft box due to their size and weight advantages. It proved really useful having the additional power over a speed light due to the weather conditions and the dark clouds that gathered as we climbed the tower. Matt from Headline PR acted as a moveable light stand as well as conducting the interview with Bob. It certainly made for a memorable shoot with a 350 foot drop inches away while the wind blew hard and the rain periodically lashed down.
Here’s the abbreviated article and some of the images from the shoot.
I’ve always loved the theatre, so I was very excited when an opportunity came up to shoot a series of images for the Wolverhampton Grand and working with the fabulously creative people in their marketing team and their performers.
The shoot was all about selling the theatre rather than a specific show and the wide variety of entertainment and performances they produce, so no one genre could dominate the images. Working with their marketing team and their agency we’d recce’d and planned a series of images using characters from many of the genres they perform at the theatre. As with all shoots where you have lots of elements coming together the whole team had to pull together to create the scenes we had planned and my two assistants Ben and Jack did a fabulous job of getting everyone and everything in the right place and on time.
Back in August last year, our friends at TNT UK called looking for a series of images of their new Swindon depot and the people who were in training to work there. It was a challenging shoot due to the contrast of the beautiful sunny day (not many of them last year) and relative dark of the warehouse facility. I knew before turning up that the trainees would all be knuckling down to learning their new roles and therefore the shoot would be very fluid so I’d planned my approach accordingly, going with the new Profoto B1 lighting system for its on camera control and lack of trip hazard wires, very important in a dynamic work area. The shoot was great fun, the lighting gear worked seamlessly and the trainees were fabulous and all helped out as much as they could.
Last Year I was commissioned to shoot a series of British summer time lifestyle images for an independent holiday park in the South West. Unfortunately as many of you will be aware the summer wasn’t really a blue sky, white fluffy cloud kind of summer. So despite persistent rainy forecasts the models were booked, the crew assembled and the props bought and borrowed we plumped for a date and crossed our fingers. Well not quite, what we actually did was to plan three photo shoots, one for glorious weather, one for intermittent and another in case of an all day downpour. As it turned out version two was the winner!
Stannah (well known for their stair lift!) recently commissioned me to photograph a series of images of their workforce installing lifts and escalators during the rebuilding of Birmingham New Street Station. Stannah wanted to convey the professionalism and expertise of their team in the dramatic setting of the new atrium, but also wanted to make sure the images looked real rather than too set up. I didn’t want to use models and set up scenarios as it is very difficult to achieve the same level of authenticity as doing it for real when such technical expertise is on show.
The construction site at Birmingham New Street Station has many issues to contend with, most importantly health and safety above anything else., therefore the images not only needed to look the part but also be taken in safety and to portray safety. Other issues included access, consideration for the many other contractors on the site (the shoot was scheduled for 5 weeks prior to the entire project being completed). Also as I wanted to make sure it was as real as possibleI had to schedule the shoot for a time when Stannah were actually on site installing their escalators and lifts – and their engineers had time to be involved with a photo shoot as well!
I’ve always enjoyed personal projects, whether they are in depth complicated productions or as with this one, a more laid back and go with the flow affair. I had the fantastic privilege to spend a day following the trials and tribulations of the semi pro team at Berkswell Cricket Club, photographing some of their ex England and county players, Aussie county level and aspirational cricketers. I wanted to keep the photo shoot at a discrete level so the players would relax and let me peak behind the curtain of their game. I wanted to see the real emotion, the anticipation, the delight and the exasperation. What I really wanted too was to produce a set of images that spoke to people who really understand the game and its intricacies, not the big hook shot you see in the newspapers but the little things that make it such a wonderful game to play and experience.