Category: Behind the scenes

This week, I had the good fortune to work with Mari…

…the owner of a fabulous showroom of unique, high-quality, restored furniture. You may have noticed I said “with” and that’s exactly how I like small business photography to be; I was working with the client to a common goal. We worked together on the ideas, we worked together to dress the sets and we discussed the future… together. A partnership is motivating for both parties and the results are far more likely to meet the customer’s expectations. Mari is a wonderful creative and restores all of the furniture on-site in the attached workshop. Small Business Photography Here are some of the behind the scene images. working with the client - BTS for Customer Photo Session working with the client - BTS for Customer Photo Session working with the client - BTS for Customer Photo Session working with the client - BTS for Customer Photo Session Other than furniture, there are plenty of other interesting items that proved very useful for dressing the set. working with the client - Customer Session For our next shoot, we are looking forward to introducing some models to create more lifestyle images. Not only will this add some scale, it will add fire to the buyers imagination. working with the client - Customer Session

Small business photography is about working with you within your budget and often at your location.

It’s a partnership, where we meet in advance of the session. This provides me an understanding of your business and your values and gives us time to sketch out ideas and set our expectations before the day of the shoot.

Photograph some high heel shoes! Now, how hard can that be?

I immediately called my fashion-conscious daughter to provide a selection of her favourite heels.  I soon realised the design and construction of shoes present a far more complex subject than I had anticipated.  The intricate combination of shape, line, curves, and material pose a demanding but ultimately fascinating challenge.

High Heel Shoes BTS

High Heel Shoes Behind the Scenes

To get the image looking just right, required a more complicated lighting set-up then I would typically use. Introducing a number of speedlites to complement the studio strobes is a great way to add and quickly adjust the fine details with a wink of low-powered light as required.

Red High Heel Shoes Shoes

Dorothy’s Dance

Hanging High Heel Shoes


Adding a splash, introduced a few new challenges. As a glass tank reflects, it’s no longer an easy process to place a light. Also, it was crucial not to water damage these expensive shoes.  Problem solving hat on…

High Heel Shoes Tank bts

High Heel Shoes in Tank – Behind the Scenes

The extra effort paid off…

High Heel Shoes Splash


Photographed as part of a Project 52 assignment

Yesterday, one of my friends mentioned ‘the lost hero’.

Suddenly, it was clear; I had lost sight of the reason for creating a particular image over my desire to create a well composed image. Here’s what I see, hopefully you get the feeling from my sketching. The left shows my final, nicely composed image and the right an attempt that seems more like it’s been thrown together:

lost heroIn both images, the lost hero is the baseball.  It is not immediately obvious, and this is further impacted my my use of an eye-catching but slightly inappropriate prop… The popcorn of course!  I have since found that popcorn does not bring back memories of the big baseball game in the same way that peanuts do – my US friends immediately connected with the right image.

I will be re-shooting a series of these images as a mini-project,…

…so getting back on track (thanks to my US friends) is very important to me.

Here’s one of my other ideas for the series, it needs work but the hero certainly stands out.

lost heroI’m aiming to complete this project within the next couple of weeks where the lost hero will be found. If you are interested, then please choose the option “Notify me of new posts by email” and post a comment at the bottom of this article.

If you would like to view my current work, please visit my Projects page


Direct sunlight can be an issue…

…but it’s possible to use some basic techniques to solve the problem and use a cloudless sky to your full advantage. Here are five of my favourite methods.

1. Shoot directly at the sun using your subject to partially block the light for that sunflare look.

Sinaia Monastery - Direct Sunlight Challenge

2. Work a hard edged shadow into the design to add a little extra interest.

Sinaia Monastery - Direct Sunlight Challenge

3. Shoot in the shade and light up the subject with an opposing white wall or board for that beautiful soft look.

Sinaia Monastery - Direct Sunlight Challenge

4. Find an old guy hiding in an ancient dark church. In other words, move the set inside and make good use of window light.

Sinaia Monastery - Direct Sunlight Challenge

5. Create your own shade by stretching out a length of semi-translucent material to defuse the light falling on your subject. No example as, on this particular day, I didn’t use this method.

The takeaways are simple… Pause for a moment to look around, shoot to suit the conditions, get the safe shots (misquoted from Don’s workshop), be prepared to try something different and there really is no one best way but there is your way.



This is the tale of a finger hurting couple of days from back in August 2013…

When the P52 assignment “Red Balloon” was posted I already knew I was clean out of stock of these entertaining little rubber bladders! I immediately searched the Internet for some supplies and found a whole host of balloons including those clowning favourites “modelling balloons”. With an idea forming in my head, I ordered a range of colours and sizes, making sure that red was the most numerous.

YouTube, being the great visual resource that it is, has a multitude of tutorials on creating basic balloon flowers.  Oh yes, a balloon vase filled with balloon flowers seemed like the perfect idea.  I soon found that even the most simple of the instructional videos was beyond me. With much sweating, cussing and many misshapen and exploding balloons later, I conceded. One thing was for sure, following the strict instructions of balloon twisting is not for me.  Well, not all was lost, I had learned some basic moves so maybe it was time to go freestyle and forget the rules.

Starting with a backbone and ribs, Balloon Man started to take shape. Arms, legs and joints soon followed!  Sure, there was some popping and a little deflation but something was forming; and hey, this was going to be big, super-size even.

Here’s the elements that were used in the finished image.

The elements of Balloon Man

Today, I can see what I would do differently but this was a great experience that I am unlikely to repeat. However, one should never say “Never” and the lessons learned are simple; you should play to your strengths, bolster your weaknesses and realise there are often alternative routes to your goal.

Balloon Man - the final image