Published in Photo Professional Magazine – March 2012

McFade in the Pro Photography Magazines

Hot off the press this week is our latest article to go in to a glossy photography magazine.

Previous published articles have been on “inspiration” and “painting with light”, this one’s our first in Photo Professional and discusses the merits of small flashes on location shoots – and it’s got 4 of our photos in there too!

Click on the thumbnails below and you’ll get to see the gallery – to see the full sized screen shot, click on the bigger thumbnail in the gallery 🙂

Gallery Notice : Images have either not been selected or couldn't be found


New Leeds Photos for 2012

We’ve taken advantage of the amazing sunny January days by getting a new set of images of Leeds for you to enjoy.

Here’s a pretty extensive selection from the new set – there will be more to come!



Buy a copy for your home!

They will all available for purchase on Photobox very soon.

My shop is and I will create a new gallery there ASAP.

They’re also available to liscence for use on print/web, and in large format prints to give your office environment a boost!


Gallery Notice : Images have either not been selected or couldn't be found

Free “Street Photography” Action

It’s true, here’s a FREE Street Photography Action…

Here’s what it does

Transforms a street candid from this…

To this with one click…


“Street” is photography in one of the purest forms. We capture the environment as-is; people going about their business is the subject, rather than moody hills, the relentless sea, colourful birds or clever lighting and posed models.

Candid or Interaction?

We can interact with the people or shoot candidly.

Candid is more random, and because the people are unaware of being photographed you capture them completely naturally.

If you interact, it may just be a smile and wave, or a long conversation, you will get a “connection” with the person – usually eye contact and a smile. It’s still “street” as you still capture people in their usual environment.

Many street photographers present images as black and white – it releases the viewer from the distraction of colour, leaving the story bare for all to see. Hence the creation of this action… to create a consistent black and white look and feel to my street photos.





The McFade-Street action

There are so many ways to go “black and white”.

I’ve created a “Street Action” which I’d like to share with my readers. It takes in a colour photo and gives a quite “punchy” mono version a look which suits many street scenes.

It was created with Photoshop CS5 using standard filters and adjustments, so hopefully it’ll work on all versions (apologies for those for whom it doesn’t work).


Install the Street Action

To get and install it, do the following:-

  1. Send an email to asking for the Street Mono Action
  2. When you get a reply, we’ll send you “MCFADE-STREET.atn” – a photoshop action file
  3. Open Photoshop and drag MCFADE-STREET.atn into the Actions panel – it should be on the right of your screen
  4. MCFADE-STREET will now appear in your Actions panel

Ok it’s ready to use now… or should be!


Use the Street Action

Now you can give it a go on a photo – so:-

  1. load a photo into Photoshop
  2. open up the MCFADE-STREET folder
  3. highlight the STREET_MONO action
  4. Hit the Play button



  • The action flattens your image, so DO NOT USE it on files where you need layer information
  • It works best with unedited, single layer images – straight out of the camera
  • Use the photos created where ever you like, but please credit the action to mcfade photography 


Here are some more before and after shots…

What Award Winning Wedding Photographers do?

McFade approach to Wedding Photography

The McFade approach to wedding photography in 2011 was to create classic shots with off camera flash adding that extra bit of magic, leaving minimal processing in Photoshop. Actively been trying to avoid things that would look dated – there are enough “filters” out there which are in fashion for a few years, then look as current as a Ford Cortina Mark 2.

Wedding Photography Course

Just seen some info on a wedding photography course being run by a multi-award winning wedding photographer, so decided to take a look at their work to see what they’ve been up to.

The “Heavily Processed” Look

So on looking at the course outline and the work on this guys site, I was firstly impressed, you can see why he’s got awards, and secondly, surprised at how “processed” they looked.

The shots with skies lo0ked like they were tone mapped using HDR software, the colours very saturated indeed and a very distinctive, photoshopped look.

Nothing wrong at all – just surprised.


Re-Creating the Wedding Photography Look in a Photoshop Filter

One of the shots was from a venue I’d shot in 2011, so I got to work in Photoshop and created a filter set to re-create that look. Then applied it to several shots to see how well it worked.

In a nutshell, the filter extracts detail, warms things up, increases saturation a little and gives thing a slightly soft feel.

Here’s a shot


Bridesmaids and Mum

So for starters, here’s a lovely couple of bridesmaids and their mum in North Yorkshire

For this shot I used 2 off camera flashes and a 2 stop ND grad filter to retain detail in the sky – so lots going on for a wedding photographer, but I do this all the time anyway, so it’s kinda second nature…

So put the shot through the “new filter”, and here’s what happened…

So more colour generally, more detail in the clouds and a slightly more “heavily processed” look. I guess the use of flash and filters on the original gives it a heavily worked look to begin with.


The guys enjoying a pint


So next onto the boys before the wedding in Harrogate – colourful enough scene, beers in hand and got them all looking away from the camera.

So through the filter it goes, and we see the same scene, more colour, brighter dark areas, slightly softer edges…. worked well really.

Black and White Bride

So lets try a black and white – lots of clouds on this one and lots of detail in Claire’s dress.

Here’s the result below

It’s certainly pulled details out in the sky, but also on the skin – which ain’t bad if you’re pretty toned I guess, but really you’re after something softer… so maybe the filter’s better for shots where the bride/groom are small in the photo?


Kiss in a Tree Lined Avenue

So here’s a shot in a beautiful covered pathway, dappled light in the trees, a brolly lighting the couple front right, and a bare speedlite behind then creating the glow on Jo’s dress. A shot we’d planned weeks before and which turned out just as we wanted.

Put it through the filter and you’re certainly getting more light and detail in the greenery, but the lighting, and great couple of course!, are what make this photo – and the filter just adds a bit of “warmth” to it.


So do you go natural, or go processed?

I guess if you’re winning several awards a year producing heavily processed work, the industry is recognising the processed look.

I do wonder what people in 50 years will think of the look though – maybe get the same reaction as those 1970’s brown kipper ties 😉


Why should you shoot RAW?

Should I be Shooting RAW?

RAW is a Mystery

RAW is a mystery to many, resulting in them using JPG when taking photos. There’s nothing wrong with JPG, but you are throwing much of the baby out with the bathwater each time you hit the shutter.

RAW is your Digital Negative

RAW is just the base data that your camera captures – think of it like the exposed film in your camera. Full of information, but no processing or printing done on it.

RAW is the key to your Digital Dark Room

If you go back to the dark room days, then this is just the very start point of the creative process – they did all sorts of magic with chemicals and dodge/burn tools… I’ve never used them but you hear about it.

Shooting RAW is just like this, you have the opportunity to get truly creative with your base RAW file.

Would you let Boots develop your treasured photos?

If you shoot JPG, it’s just like putting your film into BOOTS and getting your photos back in a wallet – they make all the decisions for you. Would you be happy to do that with your prized photographs you spent hours planning and composing? Letting Boots sort the saturation, levels, contrast and sharpness out for you? How do they know what you wanted anyway?

JPG throws the baby out with the bath water

And that’s just what JPG does – it makes many of these decisions for you. Now in many situations, this is fine of course – reportage wedding photography and sports photography are examples.

Keep your options open with RAW

But for most work, you’re far better keeping your creative options open by shooting RAW. Little things like warming a sunset up are easy in RAW, but unconvincing in JPG – one of many reasons to go RAW.

New McFade Course coming soon

Learn the power of RAW using Capture One or Lightroom with McFade Training – the course ready to go and is available as a 1-2-1 half day course. Group courses are to follow, watch this space.

Deja Vu?

Not convinced – well all the photos in this little gallery were from 1 RAW file and never went anywhere near Photoshop… just Capture One!

So yes, you have been getting a Deja Vu 😉