November 27, 2013
For those of you who don’t know who Tim Andrews is i’ll share a little bit about him and what he’s doing.
A few years ago Tim was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and decided to go on a photographic journey and have his photo taken by lots of different photographers. And when I say lots of different photographers, I mean lots. He’s almost pushing 300 photographers now. And i’m very privileged to call myself one of those photographers, and am amongst the likes of Rankin, Chris Floyd, Spencer Murphy, Harry Borden and loads more photographers who’s work I really admire. But most of all what you need to know about Tim, is that he’s such an interesting and nice guy. I think I was with him for about an hour and we just didn’t stop talking for all of that time. I can’t really remember what we talked about, just that he is great company to be around.
So anyway back to the image. As usual i’d done a bit of research on my subject and I’d really enjoyed looking at all of the portraits of Tim, but wanted to do something that was a little different and find some way that I could put my creativity and what I felt about Tim into the image. I kept coming back to Parkinson’s Disease and what it meant to Tim to be living with this. I was also struck by how few of the photographers had tackled this issue, which after all was the catalyst for Tim’s project. So I wanted to convey a sense of the disease that Tim lives with and is always there with him, but how he hasn’t let it take over his life.
The idea for the image was to light Tim in an interesting way, using coloured flashes to paint him with light and create a dynamic looking image that way, but also to add a second level to the image with a faint shadow of Tim’s face to represent Parkinson’s Disease always being there. So during the exposure, which the shutter had to be open for a lot longer than usual, I asked Tim to move and I fired a fourth flash with a red gel over the light to give this slightly ghostly image.
I’m really pleased with the image that I captured of Tim (for Viva Brighton Magazine) and am honoured to be counted amongst such esteemed talents as well as having met Tim.
If you’d like to find out more about Tim’s project have a look at his blog here.
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November 13, 2013
A good friend on mine has been getting a lot of publicity recently for her business. She’s been featured in lots of magazines and national newspapers and won the John Lewis Pitch Up Award for new and innovative products. As well as given the title of ‘mumpreneur’.
She sell Toddlebikes. Which for those of you who don’t know are an amazing product. They are small sturdy bikes for toddlers also known as a pre-balance bike for small kids. They are great things and my kids have really enjoyed theirs. They have been a great introduction to riding a bike and teaching kids the skills they need to ride a big bike and they are so easy for them to carry and use being super lightweight. I can’t recommend them enough.
Jo asked me to take some photos of kids using them as well as a portrait of her that she can use for publicity purposes as The Sunday Times, Amazon and The Telegraph as well as a load of other magazines and websites all needed images. And John Lewis needed some lifestyle images to help them sell the Toddlebikes on their website.
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November 7, 2013
I’d met Brighton Crooner Matthew Van Kan a few years ago at a wedding I was shooting and Matthew was much earlier on in his singing career, so it was a pleasure to shoot him again for a magazine in Brighton.
Matthew now sings at the Savoy in London on a regular basis and its amazing to be entertained by this very talented singer and artist. Who describes himself as a modern day crooner. But is actually a lot more than that.
I’d had an idea to shoot Matthew in the street in Brighton and try to capture the hustle and bustle of a busy city and create a unique portrait. It was a bit if a technical challenge. How to you shoot a long exposure shot, using off camera flash, on a bright sunny day, in the middle of the city? Well I found a way. So this is lit with one flash and i’d played around with the white balance and shutter speed to capture Matthew in a fun way that had impact.
Matthew was a great sport and I hope to work with him again at some point in the future.
If you’d like to find out more about Matthew check out his website here.
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October 18, 2013
Here are a couple of portraits that I shot of the unique Jess Eaton, who is well known for here Roadkill Couture fashion, where she uses dead animals for amazing outfits and accessories.
I was asked by a magazine to shoot Jess in her studio and Brighton boutique for an article on her and what a great place to shoot in. I was like a kid in a sweet shop looking at all of the interesting things hanging on the walls and adorning the boutique.
Jess is a brilliant character and i’d actually met her a few years back, and we had a great time catching up on all of the gossip and reminiscing about Brighton. These images were also used in Woman’s Own magazine, so I can now count them amongst the publications where my images have featured!
I used a couple of flashes here to light Jess and to add a red colour to the background of the portraits to add depth but also in a nod to the animals that feature in Jess’s wonderful creations. Somehow any other colour just wouldn’t have worked.
If you want to see more of Jess’s work and check out the Boutique yourself, click this link.
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September 27, 2013
“Adam, would you like to shoot Simon Price; who describes himself as an Award-winning, devil-horned music critic. And is also a biographer, club DJ, radio presenter. Welsh. Atheist. Lefty. Veggie. 80s throwback.?”
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September 18, 2013
I’m so behind on blogging. I’m a bad blogger. I don’t give good blog.
It’s just been such a manic year that I haven’t actually blogged for almost four months. How bad is that!!!!!
So here we are, yes you are actually reading a blog post from me……I know.
This is Ice Skating Olympic Gold medalist Robin Cousins, who I shot much earlier in the year. I remember watching Robin when I was younger and being in awe of him on the ice, so it was an absolute pleasure to meet him and talk to him about his career.
Like with most portrait shoots, I tend to work quite quickly as I don’t get much time with people, but also want to keep the energy up and get as much done with my subjects as I can in a short space of time. I’ve got to say that Robin was a total professional and didn’t mind me running around with lights and getting him to climb on staircases. It’s always cool when you meet people you admire and they are brilliant!
These were shot for a magazine and featured in an article on Robin. I used a couple of flashes off camera, to make it easier and to also create a blue background for one of the shots. I’m fascinated by the dedication and drive that Olympic athletes have and for the first two images I asked Robin to remember that dedication and think back to those days and what it meant to him and his family.
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May 24, 2013
So i’m not really sure where this all fits in with my photography.
But I was just experimenting at home with a few things and started taking images of some of the toys my kids like to take to bed. I’m also not really sure what to say about these pictures, so please let me know what you think about them. Do you like them, do they work, are they interesting, a waste of time, don’t really go with anything else that I do, nice to see something different etc.
Please do leave a comment and let me know what you think.
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May 20, 2013
I’ve been doing a lot of magazine work recently and really enjoying it.
I don’t know if you’d call it environmental portraiture, or editorial portraits or just plain old traditional portrait photography. Well i’ve been shooting people in the way that I want to shoot them and have been really enjoying the challenge and being a bit more creative with my photography.
This particular set of images was taken when I was asked to shoot Simon Fanshawe the broadcaster, presenter, comedian, speaker, consultant and general all round good chap, at his Sussex home on Brighton seafront. I didn’t have very long with Simon, just long enough for a cup of tea, but working fast we managed to produce a handful of portraits together in a couple of different locations, which expressed his personality.
The images were published in Viva Brighton Magazine.
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May 13, 2013
I had a hard drive fail on me once. It was a total nightmare. I lost two years of digital photos and all of my music that i’d digitised.
Thankfully this happened to me before I was a professional photographer and it was just my own images. Not a wedding clients. If you charge people for your photography, you need to be professional and have a proper bomb proof backup strategy.
There is a famous saying that ‘data doesn’t exist unless it’s in three different places and two different locations’. Read that again. It’s very important to get that into your head.
So sometime last year I took a good hard look at my back up strategy and decided that I wanted to improve it and future proof my workflow. I asked a load of people, I read articles, I did a lot of homework on this subject. Now following on from a conversation on Facebook, i’m gonna share with you how I back up. It may be overkill, but I’m pretty certain that i’m covered should something go wrong.
So lets start at the beginning:
To put this simply without too much technical jargon, this is an external hard drive with a difference. Its the mother of all external hard drives. It’s basically a big black box, which is the housing, that can hold a number of hard drives.
The data in a Drobo is stored across all the hard drives in the housing (in a RAID system). So my Drobo houses five of them. If one hard drive in there fails, the drobo will move the data across the remaining four. This allows me to replace the failed one and when the new hard drive is placed in there, the data gets written back across all five again. This is a great backup strategy as the data is safer than if it were in a standalone hard drive which if that fails, its gone.
The other good thing is that as I need more storage space, I can swap out the hard drives in there for bigger ones. I think I have five X 2TB drives in there at the moment. But in a few years I may need to change them for 4TB drives, and I can easily do this.
The only downside of a Drobo is the expense, as you need to pay for the Drobo itself and also the hard drives separately. You are also limited to using Drobos in the future as I believe that it uses it’s own code thingy (i’m not that geeky) that isn’t compatible with other types of storage drives. But I didn’t mind these two downsides, as 1. I earn a living through photography and need to be covered and 2. I liked the Drobo system and it’s used by a lot of photographers, so I hope it’s gonna be the market leader for a long time.
External Hard drives
I also have separate external hard drives, which house back ups of the finished images, my documents etc.
The main two that I use, i’ve called HD3 & HD4 (when these get full, i’ll get two more and call them HD 5 & HD6). They both have duplicate backups on there of all my important information.
These are failsafes as my info is in three places in my office.
This is my Mac’s backup utility and is included with my Mac’s OS. Time Machine makes incremental backups of files that can be restored at a later date. It allows me to restore the whole system or specific files. If i’m honest I don’t totally understand Time Machine, but I know that it copies my Mac’s Hard Drive and if I need something that I’ve been working on there I can go back to where I store my Time Machine backups and retrieve something. I use my HD3 to store the Time Machine backups and this backs up every so often and writes over old backups, so it just does it in the background without me having to worry.
So now we go into the off-site / online storage. What happens if (please let this never happen) my house burns down and the Drobo and other external hard drives are lost in the fire?
I need some kind of off-site / online storage solution and after asking around quite a few professional photographers, I settled on BackBlaze.
“Backblaze is an online backup tool that allows Windows and Mac OS X users to backup their data to an offsite data center. The service is designed for end-users, providing unlimited storage space and supporting unlimited file sizes. It allows the user to backup data continuously, manually, when the computer is idle, or on an hourly schedule.”
How good is that. A total off-site / online storage solution and it only costs around $5 a month. This works in the background as well and I don’t really notice it.
There was only one time in the last six months that i’ve needed to retrieve a file and I ended up going to BackBlaze and it was easy to get it back. This service just gives me peace of mind.
My Online Client Gallery
For my wedding clients I use an online gallery service called Zenfolio. Others are available, but this is who I use. I upload all the high res images to the gallery, for clients to view and print should they need to.
This also gives me a belt and braces option, as I can always download the images from there myself and I take comfort knowing that my final files are stored in two places off-site / online.
To cover myself yet again. In my contacts it states that, it is the clients responsibility for ensuring that the high-resolution digital files are safely stored upon delivery and that I’m under no obligation to store them and that I recommend that the client stores them in at least two different places.
That may be a bit harsh, but I’m covered for all eventualities and I will always try to keep copies of clients files, but you never know what may happen.
So thats about it in regards to different storage solutions. It may seem like a lot of hassle and work, but as a professional photographer it’s just part of the job. I think this is what clients are paying me for and it’s what sets me apart from the weekender / hobbyist photographer who charges next to nothing for their work. Making sure your files are safe, is all part of the job.
I suppose that I should talk though workflow really, so that you get how all this goes together.
Ok so I’ve done my shoot. My camera has two card slots, one for the Compact Flash card and one for a Secure Digital card. I had a couple of cards fail on me once after shooting a wedding. I’ll probably write a blog post about that and what to do when that happens (it will happen to you) at some point.
I use the Compact Flash card to write the RAW files in camera and the Secure Digital card to write high quality back up JPEG files. I love that I’m already backing up in camera as I shoot.
So when I upload the RAW files from the cards to Lightroom, they go straight to a folder on my Drobo and I check the box to make a second copy of the RAW’s to my external hard drive HD4 (when I have the finished images, i’ll delete the second copy of the RAWs on HD4 when I remember). This way the RAW files are in two places in my office and still on the Compact Flash cards. Sometimes I won’t erase the cards until i’ve worked on the final images. Sometimes I have a shoot the next day and I have to use the cards, but at least I know that I have two copies of the RAW files, at this point.
Once I’ve finished editing and exported the final JPEGs to the final folder on my Drobo. I’ll make a copy of them to HD3 & HD4. BackBlaze is also working its magic in the background and in the case of wedding photography I’ll upload the images to my Online gallery. As well as burning a disc for the client.
So the final images are stored in three places in my office. One of them on the Drobo that will write the data across different hard drives should one fail. They are also stored in two different off site / online places as well. So that’s five different places and two different locations.
Can you say that your data is that safe?
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May 9, 2013
So as you know I LOVE portraits.
Well one of my favorite photographers is a chap called Platon.
I’ve spent many an hour just looking at his work. In books, on his website, individual images, his whole portfolio. They guys a magician. Really.
I came across this video of him the other day, talking about some of the images that he’s taken that involve power. It’s around 30 minutes long, but I really really really recommend that you make the time to watch a master talk about his work. You won’t be disappointed.
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