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5 Photo Tips For Every Business

What are you Business Photos Telling People ? Business Photos used to be fillers on websites. Pretty pictures would just separate the text and logos, Photos would be bought off Stock Photography websites and have no connection to you Californian models with perfect smiles or sunset shots of the New York skyline would be used to sell the smallest Yorkshire plumbers business. Those days are over – or should be. Every pixel on your site should help tell your story, rather than distract. This is where great, personal photos of your business comes in. Here are our 5 Photo Tips for every business […]


How (not) To Clean Your Camera Sensor…?

Do NOT Try This at Home! I’ve got huge dust problems with my 5D2, so was excited to find a Youtube clip which shows you how to get rid properly… I really don’t think this is the right way… see what you think! I actually use a little device called an Arctic Butterfly, which uses a little brush and the gift of Static Electricity to remove dust from your sensor. The first time you do it is scary – but it gets easier… and saves you £50 on a professional clean.


Get Me to the Shoot On Time!

The Problem… Hard to say isn’t it – what are the roads like, is there traffic? Anything else? The “Geeky” Solution… Here’s what I started doing… Get your phone out Open your satnav – download “WAZE” if you don’t have one Type in the destination address Let it work out the route It gives you an arrival time… Just keep an eye on your phone – it knows about traffic updates, it has the route planned, it tells you when you’ll arrive IF you set off NOW! So maybe set off when it 10 minutes before your shoot (or meeting) […]

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HDR Photography isn’t Bad – People Are!

The Perennial HDR Photography Debate As someone who’s used HDR Photography to make a living and been a fan since 2006, I often get involved HDR debates. Sigh… The usual comments would be around or maybe and sometimes you get the odd concession… I know why people say they don’t like HDR - you can very quickly find thousands of images which make my mental pictures of Grimm Brothers fairy tails look bland… Google image search “bad HDR” or “overcooked HDR” and you’ll see endless examples. Here’s one of my wheat shots, given the Grunge treatment… horrific What is HDR? In a nutshell […]


Laura – Vintage Model Photography

Classic Vintage Model Photography Laura’s got that vintage look – the Monroe-esque hair leaves you in no doubt! She’s actually considering working as a Marilyn Monroe Lookalike in future. On this model portfolio shoot we went somewhere timeless, Saltaire. The park offered lots of props and backdrops for us to create that classic look. I also tried to create a slightly more dramatic lighting – the Hollywood look suits vintage model photography. Techy Stuff… The lighting was provided by 3 speedlites Light modifiers were – 1 gridded beauty dish – 42cm diameter, and 2 snooted flashes (using Flash Benders folded into a […]

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Business Profile Shoot – Illiya the Presentation Designer

The Presentation Designer Illiya Vjestica is a great designer – a strong typographic presence, uses powerful images which leave the “message” in no doubt and also happens to be great bloke too. His business takes these skills to the art of “presentation” – he creates slides for people to transform how they present in pitches, talks and seminars. In a nutshell – he creates Powerpoint images which make people go “wow”, rather than fall asleep. A fantastic niche.   The Shoot Being a fellow creative, the brief was wider than the usual profile shoot. The intention of the images was to appear […]


Does your “editing” change over the years?

Just having a look for some shots and came upon a sunset at Semerwater – which I photographed in January 2008…. 6.5 years ago.  2008 Workflow Back then my workflow was a little different :- Shoot RAW files Copy files onto hard drive after a shoot Import RAW files into Capture One – Version 3 I think Make minor and “global” tweaks there Export as TIFF Edit and sharpen etc. in Photoshop CS (2/3/4) Use action to resize and water mark if going to use it online All in Lightroom in 2014 These days a huge amount, if not all, […]

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13 Yorkshire Sunset Shots

Saddleworth Moor to Scammonden Bridge May seems to be throwing up some amazing sunsets Missing quite a few of them, I decided it was time to hit the road an get a few shots from the moors between Huddersfield and Oldham – loads of variety and drama there. So here are a selection from the 2 hour road trip – mainly taken with a 17-40 lens with 2-stop ND grad filter on a canon 5D2. The Photos…


“Britain’s got Photographers” – A new TV Format

If TV Did “Popular” Photography In the wake of the deluge of “talent” shows, which has seen “talented” people battle, week in week out, to survive to the next round – including riveting subjects as:- Baking Cakes Cooking Food Modelling Being a Drag Queen Growing Vegetables oh – and singing…   Here’s an idea for a Photography Format… based on the tried and tested formats above.   Overview So we start with a new format, which we will of course send to the americans, with the word “American” tagged on the front of the chosen name. The name will be hooked […]

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14 Photos of the City of London

If you like Architecture, you will love London’s huge variety of styles, periods and sizes. The City of London’s skyline is rapidly growing taller, from the lone Natwest Tower in the 80′s, then Lloyds and the Gherkin appeared, now we have several new ones of various shapes and sizes. On a recent trip I enjoyed a couple of hours around this area, walking from London Bridge to the Gherkin and back. Using mainly 70-200 and 12-14 lenses to get different perspectives on the buildings.     The Walkie Talky – 20 Fenchurch St. This strange looking building is one of […]


Coast – Trinity Leeds

Coast Trinity Leeds Glamour Magazine and Prom Events Trinity Leeds most recent events, Glamour Magazine and Prom Night, have seen fashion shop Coast bustling with customers, champagne, chocolates and we’ve been down capturing events on camera. Thanks for the invite go to Chloe Chong, in Yellow on this next shot, who remembered us after doing some modelling a few years ago. Great to catch up and meet the team. Photo Booth and Action Photos We set up a few lights to capture anyone who wanted to a photo of the dresses they were trying on and got loads of shots of […]


13 Photos of New (Clarence) Dock – Leeds

Clarence Dock or New Dock Leeds? I’ve always referred to it as Clarence Dock, but the area was rebranded “New Dock Leeds” in 2012 according to Wikipedia ( Either way, the blend of architecture and water makes for a great place to photograph – even on dull days, dusk photos look great once the lights come on. New Dock Leeds through a Sigma 12-24mm Lens The purpose of this shoot was to try out a Sigma 12-14mm lens – I’ve shot with the Canon 17-40 dozens of times, would the extra 5mm make much difference? Here’s a shot with the […]


Leeds Shopping – 9 Photos from Briggate and Beyond

Leeds Shopping – Knightsbridge of the North? Leeds does seem to have its fair share of shops. Posh shops. Harvey Nichols. Designer stuff. I like the shop in the Victoria Quarter with Panerai watches best – often found lusting after the PAM 372, a huge watch which looks just about perfect on my wrist… shame it’s £6000. 20mm HDR So trialling my trusty new 20mm prime lens, I took the tripod around Briggate and the shopping area – weird light meant HDR, just to eek out a bit more detail in the clouds and dark areas. Bracketing at -2/0/+2 EV […]


7 HDR Photos of Leeds

7 HDR Photos of Leeds – Swinegate & Calls In Leeds, where the canal and Aire merge, there’s The Calls and Swinegate. Streets on the inner ring road with some fantastic brick buildings to photograph, especially great for HDR as you can pull lots of detail out of those walls. Maybe not the obvious place to go shooting! Along with the Brick, there are some new buildings going up down there – nice to see cranes back in Leeds, recession finally over ? A fantastic sign – both for the economy and the architecture enthusiast. Sigma 20mm F1.8 Lens Anyway – […]


Photographer Type 6 – Fantasy HDR Creators

Reality Sucks Transforming reality into an uber-detailed, fantastical coloured fantasy world… No highlights or shadows are allowed – they shoot loads of different exposures to make sure not one pixel will be clipped black or white. Even on flat light days, when you don’t need HDR, they still bracket away – it’s all part of the process! Full Throttle Then they put them into Photomatix (other HDR products are available) and tone map to make every colour as saturated as possible, turning up the local contrast so even the mildest variation in tone becomes a hugely contrasty detail. Aged cartoon […]


Dr Lovelution

Joe Cusimano Founder of the Lovelution Movement, Joe Cusimano met for a shoot in Halifax – sheltering from the rain under a few of its viaducts! What is Lovelution… From his Viva La Lovelution Facebook page, Joe says… Join the Lovelution: Follow your Heart, Shine your Light,Seek the Truth and Reunite! This is YOUR revolution! Lets Synergize our unity and change the world.  Love unites all, with love there are no boundaries, no separations. We are all One. Get involved by Sharing this page with your friends and family ♥ This is YOUR revolution! The world is changing, there is […]


5 – Flash Addicts – Strobists…

Light it at All Costs The Flash Addicts are driven to introduce their own light to everything – whether it needs it or not. Their enjoyment is in adding that rim lighting, colouring backgrounds, and playing with the latest flash modifiers. Stacks of Kit… Armed with “poverty wizard” style radio triggers, light stands and a few Youngnuo speed-lite flashes, they head out literally “anywhere” and light stuff – usually people; anyone can model, usually unwilling mates will do… it’s the lighting which matters, that’s the enjoyment. They use different coloured Gels in an attempt to atmosphere – reds, greens, blues […]


4 – Die Hard Landscaper

Sleep Deprivation Up well before the lark, usually 2 hours before the sun rises, so they can drive an hour and walk 40 minutes to be in “that” position for the sunrise they’ve planned for the last 4 years. They say a prayer before bed – “Please god, let the light be good this year” – then in a leap of faith, they gamble a night’s sleep for an unlikely lovely nuclear sunrise. There better had be a great sunset – the last 50 times they’ve been there it’s never been right… they are persistent, they never give up till […]


Photographer Type 3 – The Compositor

Who are they….? Tortured Visionaries who take photos of stuff, cut it out and bung them all together in a hybrid shot. There is usually some deep story behind the image and the challenge is for you, the viewer, to work it out. They go for months without touching their camera – they need inspiration, unable to take photos for mere enjoyment. They have to work towards a vision. A Project. Photos are just components in a larger creation. Photoshop Gods….. They have become masters of photoshop, they need to balance colour temperatures and hide edges of the 26 layers […]


Photographer Type 2 – Floral and Lace

Or digital artists – these are very popular on all the photo sharing websites, their natural home is Deviant Art. Often young and female, with attractive friends who resemble extras from “Skins” – they take moodily posed photos, often with a bag, teddy bear or some other large prop, in woodlands or derelict buildings.   I’ve not got any of these shots in my portfolio, but here is some fur which could be used on the photo…. read on…  Then in Photoshop, they lavishly apply filter after filter to introduce “lens flare”, layers of lace textures, maybe some words or […]


Fire on the Moors!

The Grande Finale! We started a series of Night Workshops back in November 2013 – 15 workshops taking people from Nidderdale in the north to Huddersfield in the west, Parks and moors, city centres and saw dozens of photos edited for the attendees. The final night was thankfully a dry one, one with hazy moon light and little wind We met at Saddleworth Moor and traversed a route around 3 stops where we did some light painting and wire wool spinning. The still water in the reservoir was perfect for reflections – the result being a pair of glowing eyes […]


1 – Geek and Tech Addicts

You’ll know these as they’ll ask you what camera you have before anything else. Then move on to whether you’ve heard about the new camera they’ve heard speculated about on the forums, and how it’s ISO performance “blows out of the water” your camera… He is in a state of “always craving more kit”, and longing for a Canon 1DX or a Nikon D4 camera body, and a 500mm F4 L lens, that’s what keeps him interested. Conversation always get around to what he could do if only he had a #insert new bit of kit here#. Then they’ll quote […]


Photography appeals to EVERYONE!

It’s unique isn’t it – this photography thing. It appeals to retired men and teenage girls It’s used by bohemian artists and geeky computer programmers. It’s as slow and contemplative as fishing, or as fast and furious as grand prix racing. It’s a fun pastime, or a serious competitive sport. It can take hours of planning or be completely impromptu To do it, you can have zero knowledge or understand every concept After many years I’ve met many types, and it’s truly amazing how diverse people are, and how differently they enjoy their hobby. Over the next week, I’ll introduce […]


CAMRA Bradford Real Ale Festival – 2014

Real Ale on the UP! Real ale is on the up – micro breweries are springing up all over the UK, nowhere more so than in Yorkshire. Every small town seems to have it’s own brewery producing everything from pale ales to dark porters. Ossett, Salamander, Daleside, Rooster’s, Leeds Brewery, Wharfbank, Saltaire, Wendworth, Copper Dragon, York Brewery, Acorn, Goose Eye, Bradfield, Kelham Island and Ilkley… just a few to look out for if you’re after a great pint. Celebrate in Style We went to celebrate the UK’s finest ales at the Bradford Beer festival – again taking place in the […]


It’s All About YOU!

You business really is all about you….! Not in an egotistical way, but any business owner knows that they are the “face” of their company. It’s unavoidable really – the business idea, the hard graft to get it going, the risks you take, the people you meet are all down to you. So on their websites and print and social media, why do so many hide their “true” face away – when they could say so much with a great photo that shows them as they really are? Hiding… ? When I say “hiding”, it could be that they do […]


60 second interview….

Just been asked to do one of these things… so thought I’d share!   Q. What do you do for a living? I help add personality to businesses by replacing tired, generic “stock library images” with stunning photos of their people, place, products, suppliers… to make their website tell their story.   Q. What makes you good at it? Infectious enthusiasm, lighting mastery, fun approach and my right eye…. it sees the photos for me   Q. If you could start over what would you be doing? I did start over and I’m doing what I want to do right […]


5 Castleford Photos

  The Aire was high, roaring as it fell over the weir in Castleford – so for these first few shots I went to the banks to get some watery shots. All with the 70-200mm lens at the short end. It’s a great structure to photograph, with it’s lit, curved deck, neighbouring weir and odd angled legs.       After 30 seconds, the water smooths out, no more roaring waves, just this textured blueness.       This wider view shows the extent of the bridge – it’s probably 15 to 20 feet tall, and a good 100m long. […]


5 Shots of Ferrybridge

  2013 is no more… I needed some new shots so on Thursday 2nd of Jan, 2014 I hit the road over to Ferrybridge to see if the sun was hitting the steam clouds over the cooling towers. It was to an extent, my usual spot by the canal gave some reasonable long exposure shots – and I found the bridge over the A1 which has become a popular place to stop for some dusk shots with the A1 in the fore ground. The one above is a vintage looking thing – made with Nik Analog EFEX, a photoshop plugin […]


So you want to be a pro photographer… what they don’t tell you

After running a workshop on Anglesey in the late Noughties, I got chatting to a professional photographer from Somerset. Great guy, had a few beers and his main comments on his 20 years in the photo business were stock photography wasn’t worth doing any more and assignment pay rates had dropped and not to even consider going into photography as a career – it’s “dead on its arse” At that time I was a reasonably well paid software engineer and was pondering what to do when we inevitably got made redundant by Lloyds TSB, who’d just bought HBOS. Well with […]


Can I Drill Your Teeth?

The answer is of course, yes. Give me a dentist’s drill and I’ll have a good go at it! Never done it before, but I used drills in Woodwork at school, and many times on the farm I worked as a kid.   Would you let me do it – based on that experience? I’m guessing not…. and really, you’d be wise to go elsewhere. Who would you trust? So who would you trust to take a spinning piece of metal to your most sensitive bits? A joiner – they use drills? Maybe an oil rigger – they use drills? […]


5 Yorkshire Coast Photography Locations

Visiting Yorkshire? The coast is well worth a visit for anyone, especially photographers. Here are 5 places to call into with your camera. All these photos were taken on one day – Sunday 1st December 2013 – during a McFade Photography workshop, proving you can get a huge variety of subject in 20 miles of coast! Robin Hood’s Bay   The steep road into fishing village Robin Hood’s Bay takes you through a labyrinth of tiny, steep cobbled streets and colourful cottages. On a bright day, contrasting black and white photos are perfect. This photo is next to the sea […]

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5 Tips For Photographing Holiday Parties – GUEST BLOG

Title: 5 Tips For Photographing Holiday Parties The holiday season is nearly upon us, and for photographers that may mean a number of Christmas events and similar holiday parties coming up. People love to have professional quality photos of these special events, and indeed it’s a great time of year to create some lasting memories. That said, however, there are certain steps a photographer can take to make sure holiday party photos come out as nicely as possible! Here are 5 tips for photographing a holiday party. 1. Shoot Groups From An Angle This is a wonderful tip from Design […]


Fireworks Photography Tips

Here’s a selection of photos from Leeds’ Roundhay Park firework display on 5th December 2013, and a few tips on how we did them. Get a good place to watch them A good clear view is best, you get to watch the entire journey of all the fireworks. Too close and you may end up with some great explosion shots, but getting further away allows more options. Don’t expose for too long You need a long exposure, but not hugely long, because the additive effect of lots of explosions will be a burned out photo. Most of these image were […]



Casvegas…. Pontecarlo…. West Yorkshire’s casino district? Well maybe not, but between the 2 or them, they have a couple of real photographic gems. The boating lake at Pontefract’s racecourse is fantastic for sunsets, and this bridge in Castleford is pretty spectacular after dark. So what brought me here… Well 2 things really – I’m starting the huge McFade Winter Nights series of workshops, 17 in total, so wanted to get out there and do a little warm up shoot. It may not be obvious (intentionally) but there’s quite a bit of added torch light on some of these shots – […]


40 Photos of Seville

September’s travel photography trip included a surprise trip over to Seville, we were 2 hours away so it was well within range. We’d been recommended by the car hire bloke AND a cab driver who said it was the “home of beautiful architecture – and women”. SOLD! So we got there on Saturday afternoon when it was a mere 40 degrees, parked and went for a wonder around the city. I’d taken the decision to use only the 5D2 with 17-40 lens, plus the Cokin Z-Pro filter kit which goes handily in the belt-bag you get with the kit. There […]


Austria Workshop – The Lake at Kufstein

The lakes in Austria tend to be green – a bluey, greeny Jade kine of colour. But on an overcast day, they weren’t really shouting “colour” at us – so I decided to create a series of black and white images from our morning walk around the lake on the German border. The passers by reassured us that the wind would clear the are of mist, but alas it never came. So we had to re-think our approach, doing a more “nature” based shoot than the stunning landscape we had in mind. First off – shooting with wider apertures across […]


Austria Workshop – Day 1

Waking to see rain was never what we wanted, but you just have to go with what you get… and what we started with was a hearty “Austrian farm” breakfast of yoghurt, meats, cheese, bread, butter, jam, orange juie and lots of coffee. Huge thanks to our hosts Keith and Manu for this each day – just the start you need. So we headed out for a gorge, on the premise that it’d offer some both shelter and some great views – we got the latter, alas no shelter… a little wet! So onwards with a few pit stops to […]


Happy Customer… huge Leeds print

One of my Leeds prints has found its way on to a client’s mantelpiece – Laura’s just sent over this shot. Love seeing them in place – you send them off not knowing where they’ll end up, so it’s a real buzz seeing them in place like this. I think this one was about 45 inches wide – has a real sense of presence in the living room. I’m thinking of doing some special offers for Xmas – would you be interested in getting a canvas or acrylic as a gift for someone this Xmas?


Its all about the lighting….

After a shoot with personal trainer, Victoria Wood, she made the comment:- “who knew that lighting was such a big thing!” And it go me thinking about this blog… All we do as photographers is use a device which records light – it’s called a camera. We use things called “lenses” to focus and manipulate the light – bringing things nearer, or making them look further away, getting everything sharp or blurring out things… it’s our main tool However “lighting” is most important. For landscapes we rely on sun light – or the lack of it – to create the […]


Photographic Therapy

Snow Blind? I’ve used the term “snow blind” a lot recently – it’s refers to that moment when you’ve been shooting the same thing over and over again, to try to get that “perfect” shot – usually for an art director or designer who’s looking on. You’ve tried all sorts, move the lights, changed the background, stood on a ladder, led on your stomach, added in all kinds of things…. and it’s still not quite working. That’s snow blind…. Doesn’t happen often – just now and then, usually after a sleepless night or something! Clear the cobwebs So you take […]


30 Surreal Seconds in Leeds….

  It’s mid afternoon… The sun is bright There is a slight wind blowing the clouds There are people and cars around I’ve just left a meeting in Leeds… So do I take more bright day shots of Leeds Town Hall – or do I go home…. Then I remember I have one of these “10-stop filters” and the clouds are moving… so decide to get some long exposure shots of the city, something a little different. The Techy Bit… A 10 stop filter is to the eye, a piece of black glass you can’t see through – a bit […]


Team Shoot for Ardent – York City Centre

York based financial advisers, Ardent Financial Planning, are having a new website site and brand built by digital agency “Plump Digital” – Rob Colley invited McFade over to capture some great new shots of directors. Being a York based company, I was keen to create some images with York in the background – it’s a stunning city; including the river and bridges would show to anyone viewing the website. Before we hit the city, we needed some head-shots of each staff member and the office “in action”, which we did over an hour at Arden HQ – then headed into […]


Wind Farm Workshop with McFade Training

Wind farms are, by definition, positioned in windy, desolate places. This makes for truly atmospheric shots – given the right lighting conditions. The best time is sunset or sunrise, because the sun light comes in low and lights 1/2 of the turbine, leaving the other half in shadow. It gives a 3D feel to them. Also you get coloured skies at sunset/rise. This provides a dramatic background to your stark, white turbines. The other thing to look for is the “interaction” between turbines. When you look at them, try make them “sit” together in the photo nicely – I usually […]


Business Profile Shoot – Mark Broscombe

  Mark’s been in the shipping game for 15 years – mainly sending containers around the world for clients. He’s just started a new role in a brand new business so needed some new shots to promote both him and the business. Images of Shipping… in Leeds? So the challenge of finding a suitable location began – we discussed the vibe of the shoot, and I always try to get a bit of a story in there… then I remembered there’s a huge container storage facility in Strourton, but not only that, there’s the canal and Aire flowing past there […]


5 Photos from Ribblesdale – the McFade Workshop

Coming from Ribblesdale, this is one I’d been looking forward to leading. The Ribble is around 70 miles long – we were at the source, I’m from about 35 miles downstream… so it wasn’t really “my hood” – but I’ve been around Horton, Settle and Ribblehead many times so knew a few gems to show the delegates. 1 – Catrigg Force – Starting at Stainforth Stainforth is about 3 miles out of Settle and has a handy car park in the village – you have a 1 mile walk up a steep track (it’s worth taking water to lubricate the […]


Sunny Holbeck

I’d just put an exhibition in the Midnight Bell pub and had the camera with me… so decided to get all nostalgic for 15 minutes and capture the end of town I worked in for 2 years – Holbeck. It’s had one hell of a face lift since 2000, now housing lots of businesses, 2 new bars and lots of eateries – a long shot from the red-light district reputation of old. So here’s my nostalgia set for August 2013 – Water Lane and Marshall Street in Holbeck.

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