Make Your “Online First Impression” Count – BiY Talk, June 2013

You don’t HAVE to have a boring profile shot these days…. Had a great time talking to fellow business people at BiY today – part of a creative “trio” with Rob and Andy of Plump Digital and Video Advert. Just thought I’d note down my main points from the talk… The world has changed – people want to see “you” and your “everything” now, great photos “sell”, bad ones repel.  Get known as the “local go-to” person is helped with…

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small canon 500

Should I Buy? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself First

If you’re a “kit monkey” and have unlimited funds, you may as well stop reading this now. However, have financial limits, here are a few things to ask yourself when looking to buy a new gizmo for your collection. 1 – What “extra” will it enable me to do? This is the big one for me – what could I do with this kit that I can’t currently do? Lets take a “fast prime lens” as an example. This will allow:-…

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Leeds Couple Inspiring a Community to “Live Well”

Live Well Project – Chris and Anne One of the huge bonuses of running a photography business is meeting great people, and on Sunday I met Chris Jones and Anne-Louise Savery. They are starting a social enterprise in Holbeck to encourage and help people of all abilities, ages and backgrounds to improve health and build community spirit. Their motto is “We don’t see disability, only untapped potential”  You can read about their story at their website – . Looking forward to…

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Typical Exposure Settings

Exposure – Subject Cheat Sheet

Exposure is entirely dictated by the light conditions when you are shooting. There are no perfect settings – you need to use your light meter to “read” the light level, then set ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed accordingly. There are certain rules of thumb you can follow – generally landscape shots are sharp from front to back, so we use small apertures to achieve this. This simple info-graphic is a quick guide – it’s by no means conclusive and there…

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15 Photos of Kingsdale

Where in the Yorkshire Dales is Kingsdale? It’s that long valley which goes up the west side of Whernside, in the Yorkshire Dales. Why’ve I not heard of it? You’ve probably not heard of it, it’s not one of the main dales – it’s probably counted as part of the Ribblesdale region. What’s it like? It climbs steeply from Thornton In Lonsdale, with stunning views of Ingleborough to the right. It then levels off to become a flat-bottomed valley with…

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Lightroom Rescue in under 10 minutes…

Grim Day… Day 1 of the summer series of workshops and we get a winter night…. in may…. It wasn’t raining too much when  we got to the reservoir, so I showed a couple of new people how to expose using a meter. Here’s the shot I got – 4 seconds, histogram told me that the sky had not burned (I’d metered from the sky, so was expecting that!). It was also to show the effect of a polariser on the water…

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Yorkshire Photo Locations – 5 Great Dales

5 Dales – Perfect Yorkshire Photo Locations I’d been in Northumberland for a few days and had nothing major planned for the last day, so journey back to Leeds became a 10 hour epic, taking in 5 great Yorkshire Photo Locations, rather than 2 hours down the A1(M). I’m obsessed with Yorkshire Dales pass roads, the tiny roads which straddle the moors between each of the dales. So when I spotted one linking Teesdale with Arkengarthdale, I struck a path from…

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over the bridge

Commercial Photography – Made Easy

Rocket Science? Commercial Photography quotes can often be more complex than quantum mechanics, with so many variables to consider and charges for all kinds of things. We decided to make things a lot easier for clients by creating lots of new “packages” which are clearly defined and priced. Personalise… Our 2013 offering is Personalising Business – transforming your online and print presence from “generic” i-Stock type images, to stunning shots of you, your colleagues, your location, your local area, Yorkshire…. Many of…

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Trinity Leeds

It’s been a few years in the creation – at last the Trinity Leeds centre is open, so here are a few shots of the place for those who’ve not been yet. It’s full of well known brands, so no huge surprises to shoppers, and the architecture of the huge glass roof is remarkable and well worth a look if you’re into impressive structures. The name comes from the adjacent Trinity Church, an impressive building around which the shopping centre…

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McFade Blog in top 100 Photography Blogs

McFade’s Photography Blog has been included in the top 100 photography blogs to read in 2013 Here’s the list – fantastic to be recognised amongst such great company!   An infographic by the team at CouponAudit .

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5 Tips on “Daytime City” Long Exposures

Get Surreal! Long exposures are common place in landscape photography, where the shots are usually taken in low light at sunrise or sunset. You normally get shots with lots of colour, milky water and foam like seascapes. So I thought I’d try this technique in Leeds – just after mid day on a bright, sunny day… with clouds blowing past. Here are some tips on how to do it… Get an ND Filter It’s sunny, to get a long exposure…

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CREATIVE Shoot – Dancer Shante Liburd

Location, Lights & Action! Shooting with dancers is as creative as it gets – they spend hours training, perfecting moves and poses you can never get “normal” people to do. Spending the day with fellow lighting obsessive and photography trainer, Jayce Clarke, we took Shante and Daniella to an amazing derelict building to use the graffiti-rich walls as a backdrop. A little like being a kind in a sweet shop really – the perfect backdrop and the perfect models. KIT… Most…

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Manchester Uni Union

We captured the student exec a few weeks ago, it was now the turn of the entire staff of the union! It’s always nostalgic going to the Union – I first walked into this building in October 1991, a fresher looking around for beer (which was 85p back then) and glasses… those lecture theatres were huge and I couldn’t read anything on the blackboard. So my first “round john lennon style” glasses came from this exact building Anyway – when…

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Bradford From Above

Don’t Look Down! When Richard Sara-Gray said that we may be able to get a decent view of Bradford, I never realised I’d be on top of the ice rink, looking down from over 150 feet onto the very heart of the city!       So up we went on a cold, windy but occasionally beautiful day – armed with everything from the 17-40 F4 to the 500mm L lens. Here are the shots I created from up there – in…

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Discover Wensleydale

McFade Training hits Wensleydale Our 2013 Landscape trips have been a cold affair so far – wensleydale was no exception with show and ice in just about every shot. Meeting near Skipton then traversing Wharfdale via Kilnsey Cragg and the waterfalls near Cray, we started at West Burton Force.  Its setting is as beautiful as the water itself – a small cliff with jewel like icicles all over it. From here we went to the main attraction – Aysgarth, where…

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Save Preston Bus Station!

Huge structures do it for me. Visually that is… I first saw Preston’s bus station in the 70’s, and it was probably the biggest thing I’d seen at that point – Clitheroe doesn’t have many huge buildings! Huge! It’s the shape and majesty of the thing – the curved edges, the ribbed reinforcement bars, the unchanging pattern along the length of the car park… On seeing the Culture Show’s report about proposed the closing and demolition of the building, I decided to…

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Sparks @ Kirkstall

Night Program Finale…. at Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds We spent 3 hours playing with torches, lighting the majestic ruins at the Abbey, then at the end, created these amazing sparks with wire wool. How did we do this then? There are lots of Youtube videos online, you just need a 9 volt battery, steel wool, whisk and a dog lead…. it’s very easy in theory, though the creativity comes in what you do… where you do it… how fast you…

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HDR Photography in Leeds… Armley

Famous for it’s monumental prison and a gyratory, Armley isn’t the first Leeds suburb you’d go shooting alone in – let alone on an incredibly dull February day. I took to the canal first first, to see how the graffiti artists are doing – these walls change regularly. Then down to the river Aire and over the footbridge for some more shots. All these are HDR shots – which means “High Dynamic Range”, where we take a few photos at different exposures…

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The 2 Poles of Photography

Why McFade Splits Beginners Workshops To total beginners, photography is a new, exciting pastime – but with a learning-curve as steep as Hardknott Pass! Where do you start? You can boil photography down to 2 things:- Finding interesting stuff to photograph Using camera settings to get an interesting shot This is the philosophy behind my Discover Leeds and Take Control workshops. Discover Leeds helps people think about “interesting stuff” Take Control teaches people about camera control To become a competent…

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Claire’s Band Shoot…

Check out the amazing voice…. Had a fun shoot with Claire Colbran, jazz singer in these 2 bands, backing singer in the Chicago Blues Brothers and rather excellent on trombone too… a Colbran family thing apparently! The Photography Bit So we had 3 lights – 2 behind at 45 degrees, one at the front at about 20 degrees. Rears were un-gelled with shoot through brollies, front was 1/2 CTO on a softbox. Most shots were taken with the Canon 17-40 F4…

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5 Fairground Photography Tips

Got a fair coming to town? They’re brilliant to shoot at night – all those moving lights create amazing patterns; so much for the eye to see. Here are 5 tips for making the most of your night there 1 Long exposures – so take a Tripod! Every night photographer will use a tripod, so best to take it. You can capture so much more with a tripod – this ride was just 2 long stick spinning around – with…

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Sam’s Big Band!

Band leader, arranger and sax supremo (is that bigging you up enough Sam ?? lol) asked for some shots of his big band – so we got everyone into an empty office in Leeds and started creating some shots. Herding cats and musicians is never easy, though it didn’t stop us creating some cool shapes with the instruments and body parts! The main breif was white background stuff – though being McFade, we had to create some extra odd shots…

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Yorkshire Landscape Locations

Malham Sneak Preview….

    Yorkshire photography – Wet, cold, miserable, overcast…. Today was all of the above, so time to head to a stream and make the most of the low light conditions. Luckily the river was abnormally high so lots of white water and unusual flow patterns. Ideal for creating a milky, surreal effect. We’ll be taking a group to this exact spot on the 20th January 2013, there are still places left, so get your booking in – or just…

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5 Tips on Cropping Photos

  Cropping a shot is a great exercise – you can find completely new images within an existing frame. Here’s a shot with lots going on, probably too much to be an effective shot on its own. We have a few rocks in the foreground and lots of lines and circles from the moving foamy water. It was taken on an overcast day, so no interesting light.     Crop 1 – Most of the shot…   So to start with, I’ve…

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The Photography “Kit Obsessive”

Photographers fall into many camps, but one that really stands out is the “kit obsessive”. These tend to:- Talk incessantly about kit – above anything else Buy novelty items they rarely use Are never happy with their current kit Motivated by numbers and specifications Can compare and quote reviews of competing kit items More interested in the tools than the photographic results Are first to hear “new kit speculation”  blogs and forums Always think “if only I had a….” rather…

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5 Post Shoot Tips

After a shoot:- Get your photos off your card straight away – do not leave over many shoots! Cards corrupt… you may loose ALL YOUR WORK! Create a folder structure which is easily searchable – maybe with keywords and dates in the folder name Make a backup on a second hard drive Import the photos into Lightroom – apply appropriate keywords to them at this stage (including meta data about you, your copyright etc) Go through each shot quickly and rate…

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Sports Photography at Leeds Varsity

The biggest Varsity showdown after Oxbridge is held annually in Leeds. I was commissioned by Leeds University to capture 10 hours of action at many different venue throughout the Uni and Met campuses. The breif was to capture as many events as possible – so took the huge list of sports, planned the day and set off to capture the events. First off was Badminton at Edge – a lot faster than you think and the lighting was pretty low, so we’re…

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Photos from Durham

  After a week shooting Scotland and Northumberland, a trip into Durham was just a quick detour on the way home. The cathedral and castle are on top of a huge rocky crag, around which curves the river Wear. One of the UK’s most spectacular combinations of nature and man made beauty. The weather wasn’t great – over cast yet not raining. This is good for autumn colours as the rich warm tones really stand out from the duller surroundings. The set here…

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Newcastle Revisited

The Return to Toon! Newcastle was home before Leeds – 16 months doing an MSc in computing science, then looking for a job. Always love going back and always seems to be really cold and over cast…. just how I remember it! Parked up at Eldon Gardens and had a walk around the top end of town – taking in the UNI, St. James park and Stowell St. Even saw Professor Green parked up in his black Merecedes SLS –…

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Austria Workshop 2012 – Bavarian Town

20 minutes before Minuch Airport is this little town – the name evades me sadly. We called in to capture the last shots of our weekend away. It’s got a delightful centre, lovely square, colourful houses and shops, stream and lots of sculptures. Also lots of shops for those last minute gifts… It’s another location to build variety into the images you take away from our workshop – a mix of both old and modern architecture, perfect for long and wide lenses. We…

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Austria Workshop 2012 – Bavarian Church

Homeward Bound – Church, Coffee and Cake Beautiful landscape is one part of out workshops, but we’re partial to a bit of architecture too, and when the weather is lacking, we can always pop into something interesting like this church. It’s on the way to Munich Airport so we pulled off the Autobahn and had a pleasant 45 minutes getting creative away from the rain. I was shooting for HDR mainly, interiors benefit from the extra data you capture from…

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McFade Photography in Blackpool

Blackpool – Vegas of the north! Friday night saw me playing with the Blues Brothers band at the Empire in Blackburn, so I stopped in the area for the weekend, calling into Blackpool for a few hours on Saturday afternoon. Interesting light – sunny in one direction, overcast in the other, so decided to get lots of HDR shots of the iconic, and less well known structures around the north pier area. I also got loads of silly “kiss me…

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Austrian Landscape Photography Workshop – Day 1 at The Gorge

Austrian Landscape Photography Holiday McFade Photography’s “Austrian Photography Holiday & Workshop” took 5 photographers over to the stunning Tirol area of Austria in the middle of October 2012, an area of outstanding mountains, lakes and gorges. A long weekend, from Thursday to Monday, with 3 full photography days in stunning locations, fantastic food and accommodation with Keith and Manu Holt on their traditional Austrian farm, with Keith being the perfect location guide, and Ade teaching you photography skills throughout. We also spend time in the…

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Night Photography Programme Starts

Just a few shots from the first Night Photography session. We used Leeds as a base to learn the theory behind taking long exposures at night – how things like Aperture have more unusual effects than you’d think at night! We’ll be meeting to discuss each others images in a fortnight and share ideas on how to process them If you’d like to be a part of the Night Programme, it’s running over the whole of winter, 2nd and 4th…

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Photographer Meets Celebrity Look Alikes in Leeds

Celebrity Look Alikes in Leeds Had the great pleasure of meeting and photographing:- David Beckham Mr T Austin Powers Simon Cowell Britney Spears Will Smith Or at least I thought I did! These were a great bunch of actors who make a career from looking like the actual celebrity – and it is uncanny when you meet them and they adopt the “celebrity pose”. The day was a pop music video shoot in Leeds which I was documenting – I’d…

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Light Trail Photography

Light Trails I was looking for a few example light trail shots to promote the Night Photography Programme’s first session, which is on Tuesday 9th October. I ended up looking in my 2006 folders and got these shots from a bridge over the M621 between Morley and Gildersome. So for the first session, we’ll be showing you how to do this in leeds – using the A58(M) as the road form a good few vantage points around the city. Once…

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TVR BNG at Sherburn in Elmet

A fine collection of TVRs at the BNG You couldn’t ask for a better day for the BNG, hot and sunny and loads of multi-coloured TVRs. Here’s ALL the shots we got on the day – in a 6 minute video – see if you can spot your car!

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She got it right - how to hold your camera properly

Chefs and Photographers – 10 Things They All Do

10 Similarities Between Chefs and Photographers Everyone cooks, and everyone takes photos – so there must be some similarities between Professional Chefs and Professional Photographers… here are a few:- 1 – Everyone can use the tools I’m not a professional chef, but I can use a hob, oven, knife and many other things you see in a professional kitchen…. I can cook a decent curry most days, lots of different thing with mince beef taste lovely…. Most people will have…

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New Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage Matt Netherwood of Further Reflections did an amazing job of detailing his new Kia Sportage. Here is a selection of shots taken in the Pennines – sunset was a bonus!

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Twisted Theatre Photography in Leeds…

Theatre Rehearsal Photography in Leeds…. Destination Holbeck… Driving around Holbeck (Leeds) slowly caused a few long, suspicious looks…  parts used to be the red light district and it’s not improved much in the last few years. The road I was after didn’t seem to have a name on it… there were just lock ups and arches with mechanics tinkering away. Eventually caving in and asking directions, I find myself outside the venue after all, it just doesn’t look like I…

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Cyclic Photography

Round and Round Surely even steak gets a bit dull if you have it every day for a year? I certainly found that with Photography, looking back over the last few years you see the gradual transition from a landcape to a people bias. Though on the way, there have been regular patterns which stand out. Locations which demand re-visits. Though each cycle, things have changed. You have changed. Your tools may have changed and certainly the software you use will…

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Landscape Interview….

Just been asked to do a piece for Ephotozine, on Landscape Photography. Thought it worth sharing on here with you all. It’s just 3 questions, with my ramblings on each. How did you get into landscape photography? I’m from the countryside originally, rural Lancashire by Pendle Hill, so was always at home there. When affordable digital came along around 10 years, and petrol was cheap, I used to spend most weekends in the car pottering around the dales and north…

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Leeds Musician Photography Shoot

Leeds Musician Photography Wind Farms are popular locations for landscape photographers – the moving turbine blades offer a dynamic feel to the shot, the rigid towers stand out of the ground like huge white trees…. but I’ve not really seen many musician photography shoots at them. So we went up with Sam, a professional saxophonist, arranger and band leader, to create some new profile shots for him. The sky was initially pretty over cast and grey, which gave us a…

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Castlefield – Manchester

Castlefield – Central Manchester A more imposing set for a northern city shoot is hard to find. Castlefield has a mix of huge bridges, canals, brick, steel, pagodas, bars, locks, tow paths and bars…. Add to that the imposing Beetham Tower looming over you constantly, you’ve got an incredible array of backgrounds to play with. This shoot was just for stock, creating some new images to fuel the portfolio, whilst gathering inspiration for future shoots with business folk and models…

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20 years ago, I was a fresher at UMIST, the highly regarded science and technology uni in Manchester – so when I was invited back by Trish to shoot some photos of the new Student Council, I jumped at the chance. Proper nostalgia – I’d not actually stepped into the Union since 2005 when I graduated! Anyway – here they are, all very excited to be photographed….. actually, nothing could be further from the truth We got a few group…

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Getting Floral….

On the way back from my sight test today, I called into a park and grabbed a few floral shots – thought I’d give it a bash, they’re not really my thing to be honest but you never know who may need them…. The park’s usually full of all kinds and colours of flowers, but today, I was greeted mainly with soil and dandilions… so here’s a bunch of shots… all done in Lightroom V4…. see if you like them,…

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Cars in The Park – Newby Hall May 13th

Photographing Cars in the Park Prints of some of the cars can be bought here – email if yours is missing and you want a print. The rain was happily absent at Newby Hall, near Ripon, today, so the Cars In The Park show was a great success. A mix of sports cars from all eras converged on the greens in front of the hall – we were there taking photos and chatting with their owners along with…

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McFade Edits.. Phil Gledhill’s “Sam” shot

As part of the Lightroom 4 exploration, we’ve been editing our student’s shots for fun – using just Lightroom 4, no plugins or photoshop. Here’s one from the Lyric of Sam chilling on the stair with his sax… Original Shot Lift shadows with Tone sliders slight toning with duotone sliders vignette to add atmosphere selective brushwork on Sam’s Face and slight darkening around him on the walls etc.

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McFade Edit of Dave Goodman’s “Chris” Shot

Here’s a shot by Dave Goodman, who came on our Brass Workshop in the Lyric. It’s a shot of Chris playing Trombone on the stairs up to the projector room. For me, the main thing here was the shadow and brick textures, so all the emphasis was dragged in that direction, leaving chris himself very shadowy. Original Image Tone and clarity added – used a GRAD effect to alter the texture on the left side of the shot Subtle change…

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