Portrait Shoot with Andrew and Rosie, London

london, Photography Technique

If you’ve read my blog or looked around my website you might hazard a guess that I’m in love with photography.

That’s kind of true, but I’d rather say I love is the way the world looks. By that I mean people, places, objects, colours, light etc. There is nothing more magical than a stroll through an area with interesting sights and scenes – at home or abroad.

It’s not just the stereotypically beautiful scenes, it’s also the abstract and even conventionally ugly. Although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find some people and places beautiful in the traditional sense.

But it’s often more than. It might be that a scene and a moment tells an interesting story about a person, place, or culture. The possibilities are endless.

If you look at my photographs you will find it’s a mix of mostly candid shots of either street scenes, travel destinations or architecture. This fits my interest in simply looking at the world and trying to capture interesting moments.

I’ve done less in the way of traditional portrait photography. In part because I am extremely shy about attempting to direct a model / subject.

However lately I find that I want to work on some projects with people to try and document something about their life, personality, interests, passions, skills etc.

As a stepping stone towards that I decided to spend a few hours with a portrait expert and model to learn some basics of working with models.

I was lucky enough to meet with Andrew from 36exp photography and Rosie; a London based dancer / model.

The session with Andrew was just what I needed. As I hoped, the focus wasn’t on the camera, gear etc. but it was on working with a subject, I got lot’s of great insight and tips from someone who lives and breathes portrait photography.

In this post I am going to share the top 15 or so photographs. However I have 100 or so (from 500) that came out not bad on flickr.

I’ve also been studying photoshop re-touching and I thought it might be interesting to highlight the difference from ‘in camera’ to ‘post photoshop’.

In Camera

Here is one of my favourite shots as it came straight out of the camera in RAW format (i.e. not processed at all by camera / laptop)

Post Lightroom (basic developing)

Here is the photograph after basic processing in lightroom. Note I normally process the highlights, shadows, clarity etc. a bit more aggressively in lightroom, but as I didn’t want to affect Rosie’s skin much I kept it to minor adjustments:

  • tiny adjustment of exposure, whites, shadows
  • tiny bit of contrast and vibrancy
  • I also cropped in to 4:3 dimensions

Here we go ‘lightroom edit’:

Post Photoshop (editing / re-touching)

Now for the photoshop edit. The photoshop work is based on a study of re-touching techniques. I’ve kept it relatively subtle, however keeping in mind I am new to this, it may still be a bit off in certain ways. I changed

  • A bit more volume to hair (to capitalise on Rosie’s already amazing hair)
  • Smoothing skin texture under eyes and colour
  • Removing minor blemish and some of the stand out hair strands
  • Adding a bit of light and colour to the iris of the eyes
  • Adding a bit of colour to the highlights in the hair
  • Slight teeth whitening

Here we go ‘photoshop edit’:

For a beginner it takes quite a bit of time to make even small adjustments, do you think it’s worthwhile from picture 1 to 3? Hopefully it’s subtle so that it is still clearly Rosie, but just a tiny bit polished.

Other than the re-touching topic, here some of the other images that came out well. Note these only have minor lightroom adjustments – no re-touching.














I don’t like to focus on equipment; but for any reader that’s interested, I use a simple combination of a Nikon D610 and a 50mm prime lens.

What do you think, how did my first real portrait shoot come out?

Chiltern Street

london

Today I went for a walk around Chiltern Street in Marylebone. I think it’s quite a famous spot with it’s beautiful red brick town houses.

I also spotted a couple of nice cars.

I normally take candid street photos, but I’ve been wanting to work on my confidence to ask people if I can take their photo. I saw some friendly looking people outside of ‘Trunk’ store, it was a lovely scene, so I asked if I could photograph them. They kindly agreed.













Stairs – A Short Study, Dongdaemun, Seoul

south korea

I’m really getting on board with the enticing blog post titles; “Stairs – A Short Study” – hardly groundbreaking clickbait.

There is relatively modern design plaza in the centre of Seoul. I decided to take a few photographs as the architecture is quite unusual.

This post is about one set of stairs.

I was drawn by the wonderful geometry. I love how they widen as they descend. I like the grey concrete of the stairs, floor and wall and how while they are similar they have different angles and textures. I think it’s a wonderful piece of subtle design.

But the stairs aren’t the full story, the interest was completed by watching different people walk up and down.

A single guy strolling down slowly.

A middle aged couple marching up in bright winter coats.

A young couple romantically staggering up.

One of the things I love about photography is the frozen motion especially mid step, jog, leap..  I think that’s why some sports / action photographs can be so striking.

Looking back on images of people frozen in time as they ascend or descend is more interesting than the real moment; sometimes life goes too quickly to catch the details.

Note: these photos are unadjusted from RAW in the camera, I like the natural unedited low contrast. I think it’s the first time I haven’t wanted to process a photo at all (I’m not talking about photoshop, just the normal in camera automatic processing).

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Am I crazy, or do these stairs hold any interest for anyone else?

Dànshuǐ / Tamsui, Taiwan; Blue Skies And Fishing Boats

taiwan

I took a trip to Dànshuǐ just north of Taipei on Wednesday. The weather was beautiful.

Let’s take a look starting with the view back towards the north of Taipei. This is from a waterside park / promenade just next to the MTR station (Taipai Subway/Overground).

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Hello Taipei

taiwan

I’ve had three days in Taipei. I’m feeling good about this city; it has positive vibe. Today I went for a walk along Dihau Street. It’s a fairly traditional area with a lot of shops selling things like tea and herbal medicine.

There are some vibrant, busy scenes. But even in amongst those you can catch people taking a rest from the hot afternoon sun. Check out the guy in the truck cab.

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Through the Window (On The Bus In Bangkok)

Poetry, thailand

Young or old,
Is there anywhere you want to go?

Look out for them,
Charging around, in a bright flash of red or blue.

You have to share,
But a sense of community can be found their.

Relax in your seat,
A moment of freedom is found.

Books, music, snooze or chat,
What will you do?

I will simply sit back and enjoy the view.

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Getting Wet In Bangkok

thailand

As I left my apartment I looked carefully in all directions; making sure it was clear, I immediately flagged down a taxi. I had to be quick, I knew they could be waiting, just out of sight, ready to get me. As soon as I was in the taxi the driver locked the doors and warned me not to open the window. We both knew the danger.

The roads were busy, but the driver was good, he rushed down some side streets. I might still make my appointment.

The trouble was, how would I get close enough to the building by taxi to get inside safely? The driver took me to the back entrance, making sure no one was around, he pulled over. I paid and got out.

It looked clear, I could see the stairs to the entrance. I made a run for it.

Half way, a black SUV came careening around the corner. As it came towards me the rear windows started coming down. Too quickly two barrels appeared. I wasn’t going to make it.

As I put my first foot on the step, two powerful streams of water came out the rear of the SUV and soaked me.

Despite my best attempt, I became the latest victim of Songkran; the Thai new year celebration. I didn’t reach the cafe for a coffee with my friend without getting soaked.

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A kid on the bus with a supersoaker ready to soak some pedestrians