Last month we had actor and model Rafe in the studio with some Larping outfits from Gideon Lawrence who runs theoldwyvern.com. We got a really good range of shots with a variety of angles, light set ups and background colours. We had two students in attendance who also got a great range of images whilst they learned about where to position studio lights, what soft boxes and other modifiers to use for portraits and how to use their cameras in the studio.
At Devon Photography Training we cater for all types of digital cameras, this session had a Nikon D810 a Canon 6d mark 2 and an Olympus OMD EM 10 mark 2. We used Elinchrom lighting equipment including the D-lite 2 and D-lite 4 Flash heads with a large octobox, 150cm square soft boxes, a beauty dish and grid, a snoot as a hair light, coloured gels on a reflector dish and a reflector to help us manipulate light.
Working together we all got some great images. That's what these sessions are all about.
If you would like to come along to a studio practice day call or email me (details are top right of this window) you can also join our facebook support group to be kept up to date with future workshops, events and photo challenges. You can find that here.
Marketing Consultant, Cath Harris of Ipsa Consulting, shares her views on the importance of professional photography for your brand.
What does photography have to do with my business?
Business owners often think that their logo *is* their brand identity when in reality it's so much more. A brand identity is a way of visually communicating who you are, what you do, and even more nuanced things such as your price-point and audience type - all without a lot of text. Professional photography is a really good way to showcasing these things in a wider context.
Consumers here in the UK are extremely design savvy - to me, it's a hallmark of Britishness. For centuries we've been saturated with great examples of design from world-class fashion houses, luxury motor vehicles and even more practical examples like the London Underground's iconic map or G-Plan furniture.
Why not just use stock images?
In order for a business to communicate their value to a UK audience, photography can be a really useful tool in your tool kit. Compared to cheap, generic stock imagery, bespoke professional photography is uniquely yours - it is created to contain the very essence of your brand identity, from idea, to execution through to final edits.
Stock imagery has its place, however. For start-ups and those finding their feet it can be invaluable. But if you can afford professional photography, do invest!
Do I need a professional headshot?
The sort answer is yes. When you work with a photographer like Gemma, she'll set the lighting and angle right to make you look your absolute best! She'll also take quite a few images of you which means you can choose the right image for the purpose. Plus, Gemma is a whizz at editing images which means she'll be able to smooth out that zit without a fuss!
Plus, if you work with a team, a professional photographer can ensure the team are represented in sync with your brand and with one another.
**Top tip**: if you worry about looking weird in photographs then remember this: you're used to seeing yourself in a mirror and when you have your photo taken, you're seeing yourself from the other way round! This is how other people see you.
Why should I use a professional for my product shots?
Your commercial images through your website or social media are (metaphorically speaking) your shop window. A professional photographer will ensure each image is clear, in focus, taken in the best light, using the right background or props, at the best angle and using the right depth of field.
There's nothing worse than a gorgeous product that is represented badly through basic photo skills. Whilst it costs more to outsource commercial product photography than doing it yourself, you'll definitely notice the true value in your return on investment.
For more tips on marketing communications, follow Cath on www.linkedIn.com/in/cathharris1, or view her website: www.ipsaconsulting.co.uk
It is really important to me to be continually improving my photography too. Learning about the latest methods of post production and keeping an eye on the latest cameras released is all part of the job and allows me to pass on what I learn to my lovely students.
I have been a member of The Guild of Photographers for quite a few years now and find it a very inspiring association to be a part of. I can push myself by entering their image of the month competitions, take part in regional competitions and attend training sessions with pros in various fields of photography.
I have found it invaluable in my photography journey and would very much recommend you check them out if you are serious about improving your photography too.
Over the years I have entered their image of the month competition and I would very much like to share some of my awarded images with you.
The Guild of Photographers say the following in regards to the awards:
"Entries are assessed by very experienced Judges in accordance with national competition judging criteria and graded as follows –
A Platinum Bar .. Images of exceptional or outstanding quality (only awarded to the ultimate of images)
A Gold Bar .. Images of particular distinction (very rare)
A Silver Bar .. Images that are very well crafted (difficult to achieve)
A Bronze Bar .. Images of a strong standard at a national competition level (something to be proud of)"
I am very pleased to have gained 30+ awards so far, including a Gold, a Silver and multiple Bronze awards, I will continue to enter the competition and strive to gain the all elusive Platinum Bar.
Exploring colours in studio photography and post processing to create different moods within my photography is something I have been considering lately.
Here are a few examples of playing with colours in the studio:
Portraits on Location
This is an ongoing project where I can practice and hopefully improve on my location portraits. I love to shoot reflections, patterns and interesting light with my portraits to create visually interesting images.
Here are a few shots from over the years:
Monochrome Studio Portraits
This is an ongoing project where I photograph people in the studio and play with lighting for varying contrast and impact in the images. I do love shooting portraits, especially when people don't realise how photogenic they are and then they get excited when they see the images.
Here are a few of my favourite mono images from over the years:
Both Betty and Eva travelled all the way from Romania to be with their new owners here in the UK, Eva is my girl and Betty is my friend, Claire's dog. We took them both to Exmouth beach to have a photoshoot and to play with their tennis ball flingers. They made lots of new friends and we got some shots too:
Step 1: Evaluate
Who are you and what are you trying to achieve? Does your website, social media and marketing material support this? Are your goals SMART? Who are your customers?
Where and how are you using visual aids to support your brand, show off your business and improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)? Are those marketing methods effective and representative? Are there any professional connections you can make to benefit your business?
Are you using an efficient bookkeeping and admin system?
Step 2: Plan
We will produce a clear written plan to help you get to where you want to be, i.e. Do you need to set up a studio to photograph products consistently? What kit do you need? How can you get set up within your budget?
We will create your visual identity including font styles, colour schemes and the type of images that suit your branding for all marketing materials you create. We will also plan how you will market, is online best for your type of business? What marketing plan can we create for your year ahead and what images do you need to support each promotion in line with your business brand?
Where can you find valuable contacts? What suppliers do you need and where are they? We can also research appropriate admin and bookkeeping software and look at website options.
Step 3: Action
This is where we can action everything written above, we can set up your work space/studio with your new kit, I'll show you how to work the lights and your camera, where to position everything and how to create an efficient workflow once you get your images on the computer. I will also show you how to embed keywords into your images to help your website appear higher in search engines (google).
We can get started on the content and format for your marketing materials, take photographs in line with your branding and use effective copy (wording) to create your online ads, business cards, fliers etc. We can then put together all your content with your marketing plan and schedule posts online or use a calendar to prompt you in posting fliers etc.
We can set up your email marketing and create lead forms to connect with potential customers. We can write up email and invoice templates for customers, set you up with an efficient admin and book keeping software and also create you a website (saving you thousands) and connect to google analytics so you can see how people move around your site, track sales and views and see how they get to your site.
We can also find professionals to outsource any of the above to if you want to focus solely on the work with your customers.
Quick Start Guide In Visual Marketing For Your Small Business
The Aesthetics of Photography
The Aesthetics of Photography session is a great way to learn how to improve your imagery without having to get too technical with camera settings. You can use any camera for this session, phone or DSLR.
We will learn how to work with the following formal elements to improve the look of your images:
This is a heavily practical session so make sure you wear comfortable shoes and appropriate clothing.
We can either start in the studio or I can come to your home.
Studio based sessions are £139
Home visits are £169 additional fuel costs may be incurred if you are outside of Honiton.
All sessions include worksheets & homework tasks to support your learning and a range of memorable practical and theory based learning activities.
Continuing support is available via email or through our popular Facebook training group where we hold free weekly lives, competitions, share our work and socialise with other photography students.
Fill in the form below if you are interested in this session:
Enquire About The Aesthetics of Photography Course
This evening I met up with a lovely lady who came to me for photography training and we went out and took some photographs together. I wanted to capture the tide washing over the steps near Jacob's Ladder in Sidmouth and also wanted to have a play with creating some HDR images where you merge multiple exposures to get one shot with lots of detail in it.
Here are some of the shots I got with the settings used:
Above: Taken with 1/125th of a second to freeze the movement in the water. My aperture was set at F2.8 to allow enough light in the camera for the correct exposure and ISO 140 for a good quality shot.
Above: This photo was created by merging 5 different exposures together which allowed me to get detail in all the shadows, highlights and mid tones throughout the image. The light on the rocks was lovely so I just had to get a shot of this scene. I used a tripod for this HDR image.
Above: This shot was taken wit a fairly fast shutter speed of 1/200th of a second to help freeze the movement of the water splashing on the rock. The ISO was set to 125 for a good quality image with minimal noise and the Aperture to F3.2 to allow a good exposure (I slightly overexposed in camera to allow more detail in the rocks.)
Above: This shot was taken with 1/5th of a second to show more movement in the water, with an aperture of F11 to cut down on the amount of light entering the camera and to give a fair amount in focus and an ISO of 31 for a quality image with no noise.
Above: This shot was taken at 0.8 of a second to show the movement in the water even more, F22 to cut down on the amount of light entering the camera through the lens and to give more in focus. The ISO was 31 for a good quality shot.
Above: A shot of the moon taken with a long exposure over 5 seconds with an aperture value of F7.1 and ISO set to 31 for a high quality image. Sidmouth doesn't get as good a sunset as North Devon beaches do but these subtle pinks and blues make for a nice image, and the moons come out to say hello. This one was taken with my ND Variable filter on the front of my lens to cut down on the amount of light entering the camera so I can use a slower shutter speed to show movement in the sea.
Above: Another long exposure shot at 2 seconds, F2.8 and ISO 31 The water moving over those rocks caught my eye.
Above: I love the warm tones in this image and the sky is looking prety impressive too, I used a slow shutter speed to get movement in the water and the figure looks a little ghostly where she has moved over the 13 seconds I took this image (Using an ND filter to cut down on the light coming into the lens)
Above: Practicing with bracketing and HDR to try and get more detail in the rocks which are in hard shadow if I tried to just take one correctly exposed image. This is 5 exposures blended into one but I don't like how the cliffs further away look a abit hazy and blue.
If you would like to tag along with me on a photo session and/or have a tuition session please do let me know.
Our Mission Statement: