72 hours in Rome

A postcard from Rome. St Peter's Basilica  in the Vatican City.

01. A postcard from Rome: St Peter’s Basilica, the colonnade by Bernini, and a 3,300 year old obelisk from Aswan in Egypt. The Vatican city has it all.

I recently read two tips on how to become a successful travel blogger. The first one said “Be unique, have a different approach.” That sounds like good advice but being unique is not always an easy thing to do and the other nugget of advice said “Always have a human element in your pictures.” Yet again it’s good advice, people like something or someone to relate to. So I decided to Continue reading

Fuji X-T10 ~ A mini marvel – My first 80 portraits

Ooh La La

My first workshops in France for over 10 years got off to an amazing start. The Fuji X-T10 arrived the day before we left and that gave me the time needed to set it up just how I wanted (or so I thought). I’d spent a couple of hours working out how I was going to set the ISO without a top plate dial and how I was going to trim my exposure to 1/3 stop increments. I thought I had it sussed then I started shooting for real in France. It was only when I had shot with the big zoom, the small primes, in the dark and with flash that I had gathered enough experience to make the final changes to my X-T10 set up. All will be revealed below. Every shot I took in France was with the X-T10 camera (in silver).

Locations: La Romieu and environs in the Gers region of France
Models: Chantelle Hole and a guest appearance by Maxime Paquet
Location Scout: Simon Whitten
Event coordinators: Laura Haskins and Blaise Parsons at Lovegrove
Styling: Dresses by Molly Mishi May and Lisa Keating
Camera: Fujifilm X-T10 with 16mm, 23mm, 35mm, 56mm and 50-140mm lenses.

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01. It was hot, around 36° as expected for mid July and the shady places in the sun drenched back streets of La Romieu made perfect shoot locations. I love simple compositions like these that utilise the primary colours of light and pigment. These three photographs were all shot with my favourite lens the XF16mm.

I was in France to lead a portraiture and fashion workshop event over three days. We had delegates from Oklahoma in the US, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Surrey and Bristol. The group gelled really well and it’s fair to say we have all made new friends. Here are 80 or so portraits from our three days in paradise. Enjoy Continue reading

Amber Tutton ~ Fuji X-T10

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01. The colour pallette on the Fuji X-T10 is sublime. Delicate brilliance straight out of the camera.

Here are 28 photographs taken with the new Fuji X-T10 at the Amateur Photographer reader day event in London with Fujifilm UK

I was asked by Fujifilm to inspire, educate and demonstrate to a group of 60 AP readers how I use the Fuji X series cameras and in particular to share my strategies for switching from a DSLR. I started the day with a Continue reading

Scattergels – pictures and inspiration

A lighting style defined by a £40 accessory

It was just under three years ago that I decided to create a set of gobo (go between) filter gels. I wanted to utilise the clips on the barn doors of the then new Lupolux LED spotlights. Luke and I set to work and between us we created the Lovegrove ScatterGel™ collection.

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01. I usually just use one light with a Scattergel to create my looks. The shot top left however has three lights, two of them with Scattergels.

Here are my favourite shots taken with Scattergels. They are all taken using Fuji X cameras. In this post I share and the tips and tricks needed to get Continue reading

Chantelle Hole ~ In and out of fashion

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01. A single Lupolux LED 1000 created all the drama needed for this simple shot of Chantelle. See how the crisp hard Lupolux light defines Chantelle’s cheek bones. This kind of simple styling is perfect for perfume adverts. There is even room bottom right for a bottle shot. I used a 125mm setting and f/2.8 on the XF 50-140 f/2.8 zoom lens.

Chantelle and I are off to the South of France on Wednesday for our sell out workshops. Here are a few frames of Chantelle Hole from my last UK workshop held at Manor By The Lake near Cheltenham last month. As you can see Continue reading

Pregnancy shoot ~ picture ideas

01. I started the session with a low key set lit with a pair of studio flashes.

01. I started the session with a low key set lit with a pair of studio flashes. For the picture on the left and the one top right I used Rotalux 25cm x 130cm striplight softboxes in an upstage position. I let the grey background wall sit to black and I used my Fuji X-T1 with the ‘preview exposure in manual mode’ set to off.

Here are 10 shots, low key and high key from a recent pregnancy shoot session with my friend Leanne.

Continue reading

Fujifilm X-T1 Firmware V4 review

When I was asked for my opinions on version 4 of the X-T1 firmware I was a little scared and excited in equal measure. Excited because the opportunity to shoot in a more dynamic style is quite appealing. Scary because relearning shooting procedures is never easy. I’ve never been one to shy away from innovation and I’m certainly not a luddite when it comes to tech so I jumped at the chance. Here are my findings.

A pair of Fujifilm X-T1 cameras set up the same way but with differing firmware versions. Let battle commence.

01. A pair of Fujifilm X-T1 cameras set up the same way but with differing firmware versions. Let battle commence.

I decided to do a side by side comparison in each of my test situations and write up my findings. Writing up experiments and drawing upon the exif data really helps my learning process. I started with two X-T1 bodies running FW 3.11. I set all the parameters on both cameras to be identical and then did an upgrade to X-T1 firmware v4 on the black body only.

I found that firmware V4 affects Continue reading

1 to 1 ~ foundations of studio lighting – pictures

1. One light is often all you need to make great studio portraits. All the shots in this series were taken with one or two studio lights.

01. One light is often all you need to make great studio portraits. All the shots in this grid were taken with just one light. Incidentally I love my Chinese fighter pilots helmet. What a great addition to my props store.

In this series of shots I show how applying knowledge to lighting can result in very marketable portraits for both the social and corporate markets. It’s not how many lights you have in the studio that matters, it’s what you can do with them that counts. Here are 26 frames from a recent 1:1 session that show what can be achieved with just one or two lights, enjoy… Continue reading

Lighting demo with Fuji X at Wilkinson Cameras

On Friday I was in Liverpool to give two half day lighting demonstrations to the customers of Wilkinson Cameras. I divided the sessions into Hollywood style lighting using the Lupolux continuous lighting and working the Fuji X cameras with flash systems from Cactus and Elinchrom.

01. Hand held shots taken using my Fuji X-T1 or Fuji XPro1 and the 35mm lens at f/1.4 I used just 1 Lupolux LED 650 spotlights to light these too.

01. Hand held shots taken using my Fuji X-T1 or Fuji XPro1 and the 35mm lens at f/1.4 I used just 1 Lupolux LED 650 spotlight to light these too.

Here are a few more of the pictures I shot of the lovely Natasha Beardmore Continue reading

Fuji X-T1 settings

My trusty Fuji X-T1 has been my principal camera now for 16 months and in that time it has travelled the world with me to Cambodia, Spain, Italy, Germany, Hong Kong, and Japan. It's

My trusty Fuji X-T1 has been my principal camera for the past 16 months and in that time it has travelled the world with me to Cambodia, Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Hong Kong, and Japan. It’s the camera I use day in day out to make my living. I use it for shooting portraits, weddings and stock library submissions. Here is how I set up my Fuji X-T1 to deliver wonderful pictures and a perfect shooting experience.

Continue reading

A guide to perfect panoramas using nodal shift

Multiframe panoramas have the added advantage of many more pixels than a standard frame shot taken with a single exposure and as a result lend themselves to the production of large prints.

The pixel dimensions and file sizes from stitched panoramas are considerably bigger than single frame images

The pixel dimensions and file sizes from stitched panoramas are considerably larger than single frame images. This one from my Fuji X-Pro1 with the XF16mm lens is 8322 pixels by 3668 pixels. That is more than 30 million pixels and it would need a 46 million pixel camera with a 3×2 sensor to capture it like the Canon 5Dmk4. But Canon don’t make a lens that will resolve this kind of detail – yet.

By using the latest software like Lightroom 6 (cc) with built in RAW photo merge we can create stunning multi image panoramas. No matter how good the software is it needs great source images to work with. Here is my guide to making great panoramic photographs using Nodal shift. Continue reading

Chantelle Hole dans le boudoir

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01. I let a hint of daylight glance into the room under the Roman blind to simulate moonlight. I gave the blue a bit of a boost in Lightroom too. The light on Chantelle comes from a Lupolux LED 1000 spotlight with a Scattergel to break up the light into patches. The light also has a 1/2 CTO gel. There’s more about that gel later in the post. Chantelle is sitting on pillows in a pair of jeans. I try to keep the shoot as comfortable as I can.

Here are 45 photographs taken Continue reading

Spain 2015 ~ The recce with Mischkah Scott

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01. Blaise, my PA chose Mischkah for this assignment because of her Mediterranean looks and effortless beauty. She made a great choice. In the pictures above I shot into the light using my Fuji X-T1 and 56mm prime lens. I opened the lens right up and set my exposure with the shutter speed to make the shots sing. I wanted the white dress to be white. I’ve never been an advocate of expose to the left and I never use the highlight warning feature on my camera. There is something magical about the feed forward process of shooting by EVF or LCD on a Fuji. I can take risks without taking risks because I get exactly what I see.

Here are 65 photographs of Mischkah Scott, the story behind them and how they were created. NSFW after the break. Enjoy Continue reading

Fujifilm XF16mm lens ~ picture samples and first thoughts

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a couple of copies of the new Fujifilm XF16mm prime lens so far. The first was a pre production unit I picked up in Japan back in February and I later swapped it out for a newer version at The Photography Show last month in Birmingham. My latest copy has serial number 00029 from the final production run. It came boxed and is in full retail guise. I’ve shot over 1000 frames with XF16mm lenses so far and I love this lens.

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01. XF16mm, ISO 200, f/14, 1/180th second. Lit with a Cactus RF60 Speedlight.

I’ll be linking the shots here in this blog post to their full size counterparts as soon as I’m allowed to do so. The full res images Continue reading

Carla Monaco in Munich ~ Boudoir, nudes & studio pictures

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01. One Lupolux 1000 was all I used for these shots of Carla on the bed.

Here are 60 shots from three days of workshops. All the shots were taken on my Fuji X100t or my X-T1.The ratio is about 50/50. I’ve edited the shots using Adobe Lightroom 5 to replicate a high contrast style reminiscent of printing on grade 4 using Ilford Multigrade fibre based paper especially evident on the images at the end of this article. Enjoy. NSFW after the jump… Continue reading

CP+ Show Japan ~ An explosion of colour

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01. Our arrival in Yokohama signalled the start of a 9 day adventure that will leave a lifelong memory of fun and good times. 

Here is my photo essay from our trip with Fujifilm to Yokohama for the CP+ Show Japan 2015. It didn’t take long for the culture of work hard and play hard to really kick in. Japan is a land of contrasts. The bit’s I saw were mainly made of concrete or tarmac and exhibited a distinct lack of colour. It is not common to see painted buildings or walls. This was well and truly made up for with the rich use of colour in graphics and signage and I used signage as the key to my visual record. Enjoy Continue reading