Portraits

After going on a portrait and lighting course today with Paul Wolfgang Webster I’ve been inspired to add a new page of portraits on my site here.

Blog to follow about today’s course, but I’m really pleased with a few of the studio shots and had a great day.

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Week 6 of 52: lightening eyes and smoothing skin

Last week’s photo is one I took a few weeks ago. For this one I:

  • Kept it in black & white, which was how I edited it for the 365 project. I think it has a much nicer feel than the original colour photo, and the whiteboard edge in the background is less obvious in b&w.
  • Lightened the whole image a bit in Camera Raw. While some of the background is a bit blown out, the face was a little dark on one side, despite my makeshift paper reflector (note to self – buy a proper reflector). I don’t usually do edits in Raw as I tend to stick to Photoshop, but thought I might as well try it as an experiment. I think it worked okay.
  • Lightened the eyes to make them whiter – being careful not to overdo it, which I did initially. In fact, I’m still not sure whether they’re a bit too bright…
  • Softened the skin using layers.

Here are the before and after pictures, just to prove there’s a difference. And big thanks to Kelly for being this week’s muse 🙂

 

Good for nothing’s latest gig at Hyper Island

Hyper Island was the rather lovely venue yesterday for the latest gig from Good for Nothing‘s girls crew. As always, it was fantastic to meet so many new people, coming together over just a few hours, and getting through an amazing amount of stuff to help budding social enterprises.

As a collective, we worked on all sorts of stuff from branding to marketing, research, strategy, target markets and finances. We even had a bash at graphic design, as we didn’t have a designer (do you know one? Get them to sign up for the next gig!). I don’t think any of us will be taking up logo design any time soon after that, but at least there’s now a brief for a designer to work from.

Vegetarian community cafe Cowherds provided a a hearty curry lunch for us (thanks guys!) and it was great to see Paula and Jon again after meeting them at a previous gig. I’ve booked a table for one of their upcoming Bistro nights and am really looking forward to it, their food is amazing and it’s great to see them going from strength to strength.

It was a good opportunity to designate myself as official photographer, and it was and nice to practice photographing people – something I enjoy and do a fair amount of on Market Street in Manchester but it’s quite different when you’re having to be sneaky 🙂

Good luck to both ventures, Shapeless and Modst Fashion – hope what we did was helpful. And thanks to Jo, Rach and Bex for organising another great event – hope you’re feeling better Bex!

Portraits, shooting from the hip and various other photo experiments – days 14-22 of 365

A bumper crop today as I have some catching up to do. So far I’ve remembered to take a photo every day, I just need to get better at writing down a few thoughts about them and getting them on here! I’ve tried to use a few techniques in the last week or so, to test myself and see how varied I can make my photos. I’m fairly pleased with the results, and already I think it’s helping me improve my photography.

Day 14 was a close up of a pineapple. I used an external flash attached to the camera as it was taken at home in the evening with no natural light. I wanted to create an abstract pattern from the shapes, but a tighter crop might have worked better as you can see the rounded edges at the side. I haven’t re-edited because I’ve made myself a rule of not going back and fiddling after I’ve done an initial edit (I’d cropped it a bit already), just to keep momentum going or I don’t think I’ll ever get to the end of the project.

014 pineapple resizedDay 15 is a reflection of a building in a puddle in the Northern Quarter in Manchester, taken at lunchtime. The colours could do with being a bit more saturated but I don’t seem to have mastered puddle photos yet – one to practice a bit more.

015 Manchester puddles resizedDay 16 was taken looking out of our office window first thing in the morning. I liked the contrast of the dark and the bright street light. And it was the best of the bunch – the rest were either wonky or a bit out of focus.

016 one way resizedLast Friday was day 17, and I went to a voiceover recording as part of a video we’re making at work. We recorded at a home studio in Heaton Moor, and it was great seeing Rowan, the actress who played our narrator, in action using the script I’d written. Rowan said she’d have a look at my photos so Rowan, if you’re reading this, I didn’t choose one with you in it because they were a bit blurred – sorrrryyy! It’s nothing personal, but this was the best of the bunch. I should have taken a few more, and got some close ups really to get some better variation, but you live and learn I suppose.

017 in the recording studio - we're missing the sound guy resizedI bought a car on Saturday and despite lugging my camera all the way to Derby (and back) and having cars and all sorts to photograph, I managed to avoid taking a photo all day. So this is one of Kev the parrot, taken using a flash. It was only afterwards I realised I’ve already featured Kev in this project, I just haven’t posted it up yet as I need to convert it but don’t have the software at the moment. Oops. Note to self – no more Kev photos for a good while! At least I have the tortoises for all fall-back next time, they haven’t appeared here yet…

018 Kev the parrot resizedOn Sunday, I went to visit my niece Sadie, to drop off her birthday present. I cropped this shot to remove some of the background and get quite a close up of her face, and converted it to black and white as the phone cover she was holding was pink and very distracting. I like the fact I managed to get the light reflections in her eye – which was more by luck than design, but that’ll do me! This is probably my favourite of the batch. It’d be even better if both eyes were in focus.

019 Sadie at 364 days old resized

On Monday it was back to work and another lunchtime trip around the Northern Quarter. I chose this picture because although it’s slightly out of focus – I did the old ‘shooting from the hip’ thing, sneaky sneaky like – I liked the way it was framed. Who is the person with the coffee? I don’t even know myself, I didn’t really notice them. I was just snapping away at everyone I walked past. You need a lot of attempts to get anything decent with this type of photography; I mainly end up with pavements or buildings, rather than actually getting people in the shot!

020 coffee time resizedYesterday I decided to have another bash at a bit of street photography, sneaky sneaky style, so again I tied my camera around my wrist, and stood in Piccadilly Gardens for 20 minutes, snapping away. I ended up with a couple of decent shots, but chose this one because the subject looks like she’s looking straight at me while I’m taking her photo. Which is sort of true, but not quite because can’t have known  I was taking the photo since I was actually looking the other way as I took the shot 🙂

021 I might have been spotted resizedAnd today I walked out of the building at work, looked up and spotted these patterns on the façade of the building, directly overhead. I’d never even noticed the arrows before, shows you what you notice when you actually bother noticing. And it saved me a walk around town trying to find another photo – job done straight away. I still can’t decide whether it would have been better to have more of it in focus, or whether I like the blur. Too late to change it now anyway.

022 arrows pointing resized