Family Portraits

A new year and a new determination to get out and make more use of my photographic skills. I decided to start the year by capturing a few portraits of the two ladies in my life. My talented wife, Julie, and our daughter Ashleigh.

Julie is a very talented writer and writes under the name "Jessica Redland", her work is well worth a look if you're interested in reading romantic fiction. She has recently parted company with her publisher after releasing her first three books, we will be publishing her books ourselves in future under the name of "Little Bear Books".

Julie Heslington aka Jessica Redland

Julie Heslington aka Jessica Redland

My beautiful daughter, Ashleigh, with the bear she has been photographed with every year since her birth ten years ago.

My beautiful daughter, Ashleigh, with the bear she has been photographed with every year since her birth ten years ago.

Mummy and baby

Mummy and baby

Neglect!

Having set this blog up in 2016 it was soon neglected. I didn't get out with the camera half as much as I would have liked so had nothing to write. This is all going to change in 2017.

My photography related New Years Resolutions are as follows:

  1. Dedicate one day a week to getting out with the camera and practice my photography skills. The only way to improve as a photographer is to get out there and shoot. Trial and error is the only way to learn. Even if you head out with the camera and return without at least one good shot its all experience.
  2. Last Christmas I decided that I was going to work on a book. Sadly, that never happened and I didn't get out enough to capture the necessary images. This year will be different, I am already planning the locations I want to shoot and working on the best times of year to shoot them. I will keep you all updated as this project takes shape throughout the year via my blog.

I ended the year by capturing a few frosty scenes in the areas local to me but will be venturing further afield in the New Year.

Happy New Year to you all and I wish you all health and happiness for 2017!

   Frosted Hedgerow

   Frosted Hedgerow

Focus Stacked Macro Photography

On those days where the weather isn't the best for a photographer there is always something to practice. Today, for me, I decided to blow the dust off my macro lens and try a spot of focus stacking.

Focus stacking is a technique whereby a close-up image can be capture with plenty of detail while keeping the blurred background.

If anyone is wanting help with this technique then just get in touch. Always happy to help if I can!

Bellis

Bellis

Bellis Perennis

Bellis Perennis

The Challenge of Weather!

The main challenge that faces a landscape photographer is the weather. The key ingredient with all photography is light and that can come from many different sources. 

On a clear sunny day the sun provides a hard light that produces harsh shadows and lots of contrast. This can make for great black and white image but does not suit all types of photography. A cloudy day can provide soft light that wraps around your subject. The best light can usually be found around sunrise and sunset. This is the time we get soft light and fantastic colour in our images.

Whatever the weather, the fun of photography is working with what we have available and trying to create beautiful images. This is not something that is always possible and there are many times that I don't even get my camera out of the bag. Learning all the different techniques involved with photography means you have more options to try.

This shot was taken on a wet, overcast, windy day and options were limited. In the end I decided that the shot I wanted to capture was of the waves flowing over the steps leading down to the beach. I could have used a fast shutter speed and frozen the action but by using a longer exposure I could capture the movement and hopefully produce a more dramatic shot. This technique involves the use of filters, a technique that many photographers don't use. For many photographers they feel that they can recreate any effect using Photoshop. Sadly, this is not the case and the only way to achieve this type of shot is to use more traditional photographic techniques.

The Big Day!

As a photographer it seems to be a common assumption that we all capture every kind of image imaginable. The reality is that generally photographers specialise in a particular area, that which interests them most. For some it is portraits, others prefer macro, wildlife or events, but for me it has always been landscape. Capturing the beauty of the world that surrounds us has always been my passion and although I have yet to venture very far I am lucky to live in North Yorkshire, a very beautiful part of the country and the world.

One of the common questions that photographers get asked is "Do you do weddings?" Up until now it has always been a question which has been answered with a very swift reply, "No!" The thought of the stress involved in capturing the big day for a happy couple was just too much. The thought of making a mistake and missing those special moments, moments that happen only once and cannot be repeated was just too much to risk.

A few months ago my sister Linda contacted me to ask if I would consider being the photographer at her best friend Alice's wedding. Alice was not going to be having an official photographer and Linda wanted to be able to give her a nice album of prints as a wedding gift. After a bit of thought I agreed, I took it as an opportunity to find out whether I could cut it as a wedding photographer.

On the 14th of August the big day arrived and surprisingly I was totally relaxed on the day. My plans went out of the window as it was a wet, foggy day and all the shots that I had in my mind were not going to be possible. The combination of having to think on my feet and a laid back bride and groom meant that the day was always going to go well. 

The result of this chance to photograph the wedding of Alice and Tony was that I have come to the conclusion that I would like to take on more weddings. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and the opportunity to record the special day for posterity was a great experience. 

A great evening with the Rat Pack

Last night was my big chance to try event photography. A select group of us from the Photographic Society were invited to be the official photographer for the Rat Pack Show at the Scarborough Spa.

Although this is something I wanted to try the nerves were there before the show. I know that I have the photographic skills but could I apply them during a fast paced show. Below you will find a few of my images from the evening so you can judge for yourselves.

At the end of the day my experience was that I loved it, the time flew by and I thoroughly enjoyed capturing images of the show. It was a great show and although it was difficult to manage taking the photographs while the lights were constantly changing I had a fantastic time. Today has been spent in front of the computer processing my files but I am really pleased with the results.

Next month I am shooting my first wedding and after last nights experience I am really looking forward to it. Who knows this could be the start of a career in event photography!

Anyway, I'd love to hear your comments on the images I captured. Maybe you have an event coming up and are looking for a photographer!

I own a good camera so I should be a wedding photographer!

In August I will be shooting my first wedding. This is not something that I have thought about trying before but I agreed to do this one as a favour to my sister. One of her best friends is getting married and I was only too happy to do this favour for her.

My blog post today is about the skills required to be a wedding photographer. Recently a request was posted on Facebook asking for recommendations for local wedding photographers. I was absolutely stunned by the number of names that were put forward to be considered. I didn't realise there were so many out there in the local area.

When you start to dig a little deeper you find that very few of the names provided are professional photographers. Many of the recommendations are for people that have a camera and feel that their technical ability is at a level where they can charge for their work. Many just have a Facebook page and no website. There are no portfolios to look through, some have hardly any examples of their work on show.

Having seen quite a few wedding photographs posted on social media I am stunned that some people have the audacity to call themselves professional photographers. The technical standard of a lot of images posted could at best be described as "snaps". Of course, if the client is happy with the quality and the price they have paid then there is not a problem. As with all things in life "you get what you pay for".

As a pro wedding photographer I would say that the qualities required would be: 1. An ability to manage people in an efficient and personable manner. 2. Excellent photographic skills and an ability to capture those special moments whatever the conditions. You should know your equipment inside out and be able to deal with any situation that may arise. 3. The photographer is at the wedding to record the occasion and should not interfere with everyones enjoyment. He/she should blend into the crowd, after all the photographer is not the star of the show, the bride is! You hear of too many photographers that act as if they are the centre of attention and that is just not the case.

My advice to anyone looking to book a photographer would be as follows: 1) Never book a photographer without seeing their portfolio, especially images of the type required. After all its no good looking at landscape images when you're booking a wedding photographer. 2) On your big day you need everything to run as smoothly as possible. Never book a photographer that you can't get on with. No matter how good a photographer is don't even consider booking them unless you connect with them. 3) Always check out recommendations yourself, don't take the word of others. After all the recommendations could all be from friends and family of the photographer. 4) A professional photographer will be insured to cover any eventualities, check this out. 5) Make sure that you agree a contract with the photographer so that both parties know exactly what is expected and what will be delivered.

The wedding that I will be shooting in August will be my first and I will be doing my best for the happy couple. My part in the wedding will be well organised and I will be working with the happy couple to produce a shot list so that I don't miss any shots that would be especially important.

Who knows this may turn out to be a side of photography that I enjoy and the start of something new. On the other hand I will be putting myself under pressure to do the best job on the day and it may be my first and last wedding. 

I will post a few shots after the big day and you can all judge for yourselves whether I did a good job or not.

The adventure starts here!

Up until this point photography has always been a hobby that has been pushed into the background, something that I've always struggled to find the time for amid the day-to-day tasks associated with having a family and running a business.

Now, after 15 years of hard work I have a successful typesetting business and loyal clients. The business is streamlined and I'm finding more time to devote to my passion, photography. Sadly, I don't think that my photography will ever be a full-time job but if I can find a balance with my day job then that is a good start and I foresee interesting times ahead!