I’d finished creating my latest wedding book the other day so decided to get some fresh air by going for a shoot on the moors between Manchester and Huddersfield. It’s really gritty up there, not beautiful like the Dales, but more imposing, like a Gothic horror novel or some 80’s werewolf movie.
Wandering down to Scammonden Dam, the biggest earth embankment dam there is apparently (check Wiki for that, may have changed – who knows) and found a lovely black Audi R8 parked up.
Not one to miss an opportunity, I grabbed the camera and shot off as many HDR’s as I could do given the constraints.
First up, it was really harsh, bright sun shine – so the scene has massive contrast and shadows. Ideally I prefer something a little more subtle, evening light is best, you get a bit of colour in the sky and less shadow – or better, really long shadows. Think of the early Dracula films, they had those long shadows – they evoke something a little sinister!
Second, it was in a car park with other cars around… the last thing you want are other cars in the background, they just distract you. So I had limited options on the shooting angle – luckily one side of the car was clear, all the useable shots are from the driver’s side really.
No idea who’s car it was, so if anyone recognises the reg plate above, maybe they could let the owner know and ask if they’d like a print 😉
I’ll be using one of the mono images on a new McFade Automobile Art flyer soon – get that in to the Audi dealerships of west yorks
If you’re looking to get married you’ll no doubt be in the market for a photographer to cover some of or all of your big day.
A little research will probably show you that there’s a huge range of prices, from the £250 “shoot and burn” type, to the £2000+ mega wedding packages.
You’ll also see that there are all sorts of different styles of photography, off the top of my head there’s….
- Reportage – usually black and white, candid photos where people don’t know they’re being photographed
- Traditional – beautifully posed shots, everyone perfectly positioned
- Natural light – people who refuse to use flash
- Studio – guys who set up some lights inside and get people to come in and be lit as though they’re in a studio
- Strobist – people who use flash outside, often 2 or even 3 flashes, with umbrellas sometimes
Obviously they can be mixed and matched, you usually get a bit of “traditional” for the group photographs, “reportage” whilst the photographer’s waiting for stuff, natural light outside and maybe a bit of flash indoors.
I often get asked what it would cost for McFade to shoot a wedding, and for a days work it does seem very lucrative – but after a bit of explanation of where the costs are, the biggest one being “time”, people start to understand why we charge what we do.
To help with this I came up with a spreadsheet to estimate how long things take. Its actually quite surprising how many activities are involved from the photographers point of view.
You’re not only getting a person who can take photos, but a project manager, an MC, a planner, a shepherd…. lots of roles!
Anyway – here are the main activities a photographer would be prepared to help with on a wedding…
|Travel to/from venue|
|Edit engagement shoot shots|
|Wedding Plan Creation|
|Creation of photo list|
|Phone calls etc.|
|Pre wedding shoots|
|Total hours shot|
|Rating of shots|
|Pre edit of the shots|
|Retouch of best shots|
|Add shots into album|
|Total time to shoot|
|Total travel for day|
|“Screening” of shots|
|Pre edit of the shots|
|Retouch of best shots|
|Add shots into book|
|Showing of the Book|
|Time editing at the showing|
|Sizing photos for prints|
|Sending files to printer|
|Extra book edits|
|Number of edits|
|Uploading to website|
To coin a cliché, the 8 hours a the wedding are just the tip of the ice berg – you will typically spend more than 8 hours in the preparation phase, with the travel to and from the venue to view it, plan the day and produce a time line etc. etc.
Even on the day, if you’re getting 8 hours of shooting in your package, the photographer’s probably got a good hour or more travel time to add on.
The real work is in the editing – screening the shots (to choose the absolute best, the second best and then the stragglers) can take a couple of hours if you’ve done a long shoot.
Then dependant on how the photographer works, the pre-edit (converting from RAW files to a useable file format like JPEG) and retouching (making everyone look their best) can take up to a few days.
Once you’ve got the photos all ready to present, you need to create your album – be that in software or printing photographs and sticking them in a traditional album.
Well not yet!
If you’re creating a book, you’ll probably give the couple a chance to look over the book and change things around – this can easily add another day on to the process. You do need to factor at least one round of changes into the package.
Pretty much – there may be other tasks like uploading all the photos to a site where people can purchase them, or converting every colour shot to black and white, but these are usually things you can set going and leave the computer to do.
The final thing worth mentioning is that all the editing and book making “effort” is related to how long you shot at the wedding… so if you went for just a 3 hour shoot, then the edit and book making may just take a day. But if you go for 8, it’s more like 2-3 days, if you have 12 or more hours shooting, then you’re looking at a maybe 4 days or a week.
Anyway – I’m sure every photographer who does weddings will have a different take on how they explain their pricing, but I hope by explaining how much time we spend to make your day run smoothly and produce a book/album that you can treasure for years to come, it’s shed some light on the mystery of wedding photography prices.
I don’t usually just link to other people’s site in my blog, but I discovered this lovely set of 40 self portraits taken in the late 50’s and 60’s – shows a real sense of innovation and lateral thinking on the self-portrait genre.
Most to the ones I like are where you see her and the camera reflected in things – this is something we photographers try to avoid like the plague of course. The last thing you want to see is you.
Well I may just start looking for self portrait opportunities a bit more often now….
Here they are
ok… here’s my best known self portrait, won an award on-line one Xmas and I got a huge canvas print of it on my wall – it scares the burglars off if nothing else
My friend Hash Parmar recently started up a beauty treatments business in Leeds.
We did a few shots of Kat, who’d had a Hash make over, down by the Aire at Kirkstall Abbey. A lovely location, leafy and green, with the added bonus of a 12th century abbey in the background.
The shots here are just a few “experimentally processed” shots, to show a few different looks we can achieve from what was essentially the same looking shots.
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A new dawn in Bradford Networking
Rob and Jag – the guys behind Bradford Switch
Yesterday, a new networking group was born – the brainchild of Jag Panesar and Rob Ives, Bradford Switch is a relaxed, friendly way to meet new business contacts and build relationships.
The first meeting was in The Sparrow, a lovely new bar opened in the heart of Bradford. We were in the cellar which seemed to create a warm atmosphere, the room was buzzing with people from the off at 4PM
I took along a couple of flashes and the camera kit to get a few shots for their opening night. The flashes were in opposing corner of the room to create a couple of pools of directional light, which bounced off the walls. It’s a more “hit and miss” approach than the traditional editorial approach of “on camera flash”, but when it works, you get very creative results.
In the processing of the shots, I’ve created a “cooler” look by reducing the warm colours (red, yellow, magenta) a little and adding in more blues. It’s a look that’s present on the Apprentice this year, so thought it may add a little extra “zing” to the shots.
The next meeting’s date has yet to be announced, so keep an eye on @cabture on Twitter as Rob will be broadcasting it soon. A meeting well worth going to, especially if you’re new to networking as it is a very open, relaxed and friendly event.
Here are some more photos from the evening.
One of the most useful “rules” in photography is the Rule of Thirds
The best way to describe it is to imagine a noughts and crosses grid over the scene when you look through the view finder on your camera.
Put your subject (or a point of interest) on one of the lines – or better still, where the lines intersect.
Its as simple as that really, but is quite a powerful concept when you start to use it.
Lets look at a few shots and show you where the rule has been used.
This first shot is of Liege train station – the roof is impressive, huge girders making really nice patterns as you walk around the place. I decided to include just the clock to break the pattern – to add in something different to the ordered roof. Note that the clock is about 1/3 of the way in from the right… would this have worked as well had I put the clock in the middle? Probably not, things usually look better when you’ve got them off to one side like this.
This next picture is a small village in Lancashire, here we have the main farm building on the right side of the image and also the brook takes the viewer down the left hand side of the shot. So there are 2 examples in this image.
This shot of Wakefield has a similar composition to the village – the kerb and yellow lines lead us down the left 1/3 line to the lamp post and the people walking, the Art House takes up the other 2/3 of the shot.
Here we have Broadgate in Leeds – the edge of the building which we see most of sits on the left third line.
So there are a few architecture scenes – we’ve got lines and features on the third lines in each shot.
The rule applies equally to other areas = lets take a look at some portraits….
Here we have a photograph of writer Will Self – he’s standing on stage, looking out into the audience whilst doing a reading in Morley. Here I’ve placed him on the right third of the image, leaving him looking into 2/3 of the image – its often a good idea to leave more space on the side of the image where a person (or animal) is looking. If anything, you could maybe chop off a bit of the right of this shot to make Will appear even further to the right of the shot – but that’s just down to taste really.
In this shot of Anthony Caton, I placed his head on the intersection of the top and right third line. I also shot it at a quirky angle, something I rarely do, but seemed to work on this shoot. The lighting’s interesting too – 3 lights, one had a red gel on to give a bit of atmosphere.
A pretty normal kind of portrait of Dave Higham, the lighting lifts him from the dull background – but placing him on the left 1/3 of the shot adds a little more “interest”… hard to explain why, but I don’t think him being central would work so well.
Here we’ve got Chris Mills looking to the right, so I put him on the left 1/3 yo give him space to look into. It also gives us a large area of that wonderful sky to look at.
Landscape is probably the best place to use the rule of thirds – if we take a look at this shot of Malham, there are 3 elements that use the rule.
First the horizon is on the top 1/3 line – it’s often more creative to put your horizons on either the top or bottom third, so you get either 1/3 or 2/3 sky. If the sky looks amazing, go for 2/3.
Second, there’s a long crack in the rock that runs up the left third.
Third, the tree – this is placed on the top third, but also on the left third.
So there you go – one of the fundamental rules of compositions and a few illustrations.
Of course, these “rules” are really just “guidelines”, so you can use or ignore them as you fancy really. For example, if you’re shooting a “reflection” in a river or canal, it’s often nice to have the horizon in the middle, rather than on a third line.
….making Hull look great!
The latest AimSpace project is to transform an office space with inspiring photography, for a newly acquired building in Hull. Our clients need the photographs in the show office to look fantastic and local to the city, so out with the camera and around Hull I went – with my trusty assistant “Geordie” Dave Higham.
Given a shortlist of things to shoot; The Deep, world trade centre, town hall, princes court etc. we set off on what was the hottest day of 2011 so far .
Here are some of the results, starting with Hull Train Station
This is the Hull World Trade Centre, by the Humber
Hull’s “The Deep” – a massive aquarium
Trinity Church – an amazing building in the centre of Hull, but amazingly tricky to photograph.. not a lot of room around it
So I had to take a “mcfade special” photograph, taking in the road markings….
Hull’s main precinct, the Princes Shopping Centre – long glass thingy
The one on the right is the Hull Maritime Museum – not sure what the thing on the left is, but it’s quite nice
Here’s the maritime museum again
Hull Town Hall, which is a massive building incorporating the courts as well – huge thing.
A walkway heading to the Deep – loved the shadows on this one
Some bridges over the little river – I think it may be called the River Hull, not sure though
And finally, this is next to some locks on the harbour – there is a marina with lots of yachts right next to the client’s offices, so got a few shots down here
So there you go – the impossible photography task, making Hull look half decent
Truth be told, there’s a lot of really cool stuff hidden around Hull – we had a 3 hour shoot to get this selection, it pays to take time and wander around the back streets as well as going for the obvious iconic buildings.
Where next? Barnsley……….. 😉
I like a photographic challenge – in fact, I had a project called “something from nothing” in the past, where I’d go to places with seemingly no photographic interest and then diligently crawl around looking for something interesting. They usually ended up with really dark skies and became broody and moody…. it’s easier to make dramatic dark shots from such situations.
Well I had a similar challenge last week where I was invited to perform my “mcfade magic” on a waste disposal site in Sheffield. Its a place where companies send their used waste – things like old paint and waste chemicals come to the site and are dealt with in a clean and environmental way.
Having seen my HDR and strobist work on this website, I was asked to go along and use those techniques where I could to create something that would stand out from normal industrial images – so that’s what I did.
Above is a “colour popping” HDR of the inside of one of the buildings – using HDR allows you to make the place look really bright, especially getting detail into the roof areas which were very dark to the naked eye.
Here we have one of the guys in a oxygen face-mask pouring waste paint into a tank ready for processing. We had a single flash on this one, high to the left, and then underexposed the background for a bit of drama. I did of course create “normal” shots too, just in case this dark-skied look wasn’t appropriate.
A little creative licence with the fluorescent tubes which they recycle…
This reminds me of the end scene of Raiders of the Lost Arc….
So something different to the norm – really enjoyable project and a great bunch of people on the site who were only to happy to join in and help.
How much difference does “location” make to your images?
Obviously landscape and architecture are totally reliant on location, but with subjects such as portraits, products and cars, you can choose to shoot in the studio or choose a location to create something totally different.
Getting outside with the camera and lights is definitely a technical challenge, and also a gamble with the weather conditions. But you can usually find something like a bridge to hide under when it’s raining, wind can had a dynamic feel to the shots and ideas come from things you find on your travels.
I choose to shoot outside to get something completely different to studio results – having done lots of landscape photography in the past, I tend to go for a “dramatic” landscape look.
I’ll use ND Grad filters to make the sky dark, just as you do with a shot of a mountain.
I’ll use speedlite flashes, maybe with a brolly or little beauty dish, to light the car/person in the shot.
But its really the location that creates a lot of the effect I go for.
So when you’re next thinking of doing a shoot with your car or family and friends, think about “where” to do it… because all of the shots on here are about the location AS WELL AS the subject 🙂
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McFade Photography is a commercial photography service based in Leeds, working UK wide helping brands and agencies promote their products and services.