How I did This…. 5 Photoshop Steps


So you can do most things in Lightroom these days.

I thought I’d meddle with this shot of the Royal Armouries to show a few things you can’t do in Lightroom…. yet!

Start point

canal and armouries


So to get to this point, you could probably have used Lightroom. Its been through these steps…

  • Capture – 1 minute exposure
  • RAW Conversion using ACR in Photoshop
  • Vertical correction using Lens Correction Filter
  • Conversion to black and white using Silver EFEX 2
  • Selective sharpen – High Pass Filter method, using masks
  • Selective Contrast – curves adjustment layers (6 of) using masks

So you can get this far with Lightroom, but here are 5 things I then did in Photoshop…

1 Add writing

I don’t often do this, but it seems popular, so I did a Google for “handwriting brush” and found some free brush presets which had writing.

Created a new blank layer – set the foreground to white and flow/opacity to 100% and just clicked on the scene a few times with different brushes. One’s full of maths…

2 Cracked Texture

I added a photo of some old paint which was falling off a wall – its a great texture I captured in an abandoned bank. This went on top of the writing and photo, with the blend mode set to Soft Light to give a softer effect. I faded it in and out with Opacity Slider and came up with about 80% opacity

3 Coloured Texture 1

I thought a bit of colour may add an extra dimension, so found a texture layer with a flare like set of colours. This added a too much colour and darkened the image a lot. So I used a Hide All mask to get rid of it, then painted in lightly to get a minor effect.

4 Coloured Texture 2

So the right had a slight hint of colour and extra texture, but the left was looking a little bare. So I duplicated the layer in step 3, flipped it horizontally and then painted in the effect on the left side too. Obviously a lot more colour on the left, due to the main focal point being on the right.

5 Frame Action

The little frame you see on there – I just play an “action” and up it pops… I clearly forgot to change the “title” in my enthusiasm to write this blog! But that’s the only manual part of the process. With Photoshop you can record complex or simple actions to play back at any time.


And here it is… you may well prefer the clean original shot, but it’s always interesting to see where you can take an image with a bit of meddling in Photoshop.



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.


Our 2021 offering is Personal Branding and Business Stock Libraries – 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….

Our packages are aimed at this, from the Personal Brand shoot (where we have a relaxed hour or 2 to create warm, friendly shots of you) to the full day “Business Stock Photography” shoots – where we capture images of every aspect of your business.

Use these images on LINKED IN, Twitter, your blog, your website, your flyers, your brochures, your wall art…. the list goes on.


We’ve put lots of packages on this page – with a few examples from previous projects

We value your feedback as this is a very new, novel approach to choosing and booking photoshoots., Please email us at



Don’t take our word for it – see what our clients have to say… we’ve got a small selection on the ABOUT page

So if you’re thinking of updating your business’ image, we will have the perfect package to help – and if not, we can create one!

Trinity Leeds – The New Shopping Centre Goes LIVE!

TRINITY LEEDS goes live!

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 was built. The tall tower can be seen through the impressive glass roof, creating a huge monolithic shadow in the sky.

Trinity Leeds on 3 Levels

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Trinity Leeds – before it was the trinity

If you want to see what the centre looked like BEFORE it was complete, there’s a great blog by JOHN HOWE on it at My Life in Leeds -> Click Here


According to the Wikipedia entry….

"Trinity Leeds is a shopping and leisure centre in Leeds, England, named after the adjacent 18th-century Holy Trinity Church. It opened on 21 March 2013, with over 130,000 recorded visitors on opening day.[1] The development is in two parts: Trinity East, a new build development on the site of the former Trinity and Burton Arcades, and Trinity West, the redeveloped Leeds Shopping Plaza. The development has a catchment of 5.5 million people offering a spend of £1.93 billion annually.[2] It will lift Leeds from seventh to fourth in the CACI UK retail rankings[3] and create over 3000 jobs.
The combined scheme has 93,000 m2 (1,000,000 sq ft) of retail floor space for 120 stores anchored by the flagship Marks & Spencer and Topshop/Topman stores. These units exist as standalone stores and are being expanded and remodelled into Trinity Leeds. Other retailers signed up are H&M, River Island, Next and new names to the city such as Apple, Hollister, Cult and Mango.
The shopping centre has a food court in Trinity West. In Trinity East, YO! Sushi, Carluccio's, Giraffe and Handmade Burger Co. opened. D&D London opened two restaurants, their first in the UK outside London. Everyman Cinemas opened its first premises outside London, a 3,700 m2 (40,000 sq ft) four screen art-house cinema.
Trinity has attracted ten international retailers new to the UK market whose names are yet to be released. A 9,900 m2 (107,000 sq ft) Primark will open in Trinity West in Summer 2013. Costing Land Securities £350m,[5] the development was 66% let a year before opening. It is the only major retail development under construction in the United Kingdom and the only new retail development to be completed in 2013. The Lead Architect for Trinity Leeds is Chapman Taylor."

5 Tips on “Daytime City” Long Exposures Using a 10 Stop Filter


Get Surreal with a 10 STOP ND Filter!

Can you use a 10 stop filter do to long exposures in cities? They are commonplace in landscape photography, where the shots are usually taken in low light at sunrise or sunset. 

You normally get shots with lots of colours, milky water and foam-like seascapes.

So I thought I’d try this 10 stop filter technique in Leeds – just after midday on a bright, sunny day… with clouds blowing past.

Here are some tips on how to do it…

First step – Get a 10 stop filter 

It’s sunny, to get a long exposure you need to stop the light flooding in so fast. There are lots of “ND” filters around these days, right up to the 10-Stop ND – sometimes called 1000x, ND3.0 or the Big Stoppa. They’re not the cheapest things out there, but are essential.


Use a polariser with your 10 stop filter


Second to the ND really, polarisers help you darken the blue areas of the sky and control reflections on water, and also take away 2 extra stops of light. The main cost is that you may see the corners vignette slightly and if you have cheaper filters, they may affect the clarity of the shot.


Cable Release and Bulb Exposure Mode

Most cameras have a maximum of 30 seconds exposure time; to extend this you’ll need to use the “BULB” setting, and use a cable release. This allows you to go as long as you like – the shots from today were all 59 seconds.

If you have more modern cameras like the Canon 90d or the 5D Mark IV then they do have an internal intervalometer and bulb setting which can be set to as long as you like. This can usually be found in the red menu on a Canon system.


Use “Live View”

You just can’t see through the camera when you 10-stop ND is on there – so I was fully expecting to have to take the thing off to compose and focus every shot. But I tried putting on Live View and was amazed to see that I could see everything brightly enough to compose AND use autofocus! So if you’ve got it, give it a try.


Shoot the “bright” side of buildings

And finally, I found that shooting the brighter edges of buildings was far more effective than the darker sides – a bright building to contrasts against the sky. It’s up to you of course, but if you shoot at 90 degrees to the sun, you’ll get maximum polarisation (so a dark sky) and hopefully a nicely lit building. 




We hope you found this useful 

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.


Most of it was the basic strobist kit I use daily –

  • 3 manual Youngnuo flashes
  • Pixel Rook Trigger system
  • Small softbox
  • CTO and Blue Gels
  • Canon 5D Mark 2
  • Canon 70-200 F2.8 L IS


With the light levels being relatively low inside the building, the flash powers were low and batteries lasted all day – a huge bonus and the fast flash-recharging times kept the shoot flowing.


Where do you start in a location like this ?

We just picked backdrops with interesting patterns and lighting, set lights up and let Shante do her thing. Obviously the walls created an amazing textured backdrop, and also the old lift with its half open doors created a sense of depth. We also went into a collapsed building and used the girders as silhouettes – with the opening of many James Bond films in mind, Shante got making shapes with her arms.







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 shooting the exec, we liked the colourful Union logo as a backdrop, so we set up 3 lights, put on “X” on the floor and shipped the staff through – all 47 of them!

I thought shooting in the main entrance may be daunting for the staff – but I think it had the opposite effect… the busy, bustling atmosphere, pockets of staff waiting for their turn to be “shot” and the lack of “waiting around” made for a pretty painless experience.

Anyway – here’s a load of preview shots from the day – enjoy!

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PR Shoot – Phil Allum

Telecoms expert, Phil Allum, helps people & business talk through his company TGE Solutions.

An urgent need for some new PR profile shots arose, so we got together to shoot at his offices in West Yorkshire.


We created a wide variety of looks for all kinds of uses – the obvious shots of Phil using the phones he supplies, and some more generic out door shots along with a few “working at the PC” type images.

The opening to the shoot was “I hate having my photo taken!”

It’s always a challenge to take this attitude and “flip” it – to make the experience fun, relaxed, informal and to leave them feeling that they’ve not had the usual “photographer experience” – but one they’d enjoyed.


Once outside and we were chatting about the world and it’s problems; Phil had got into it. Occasionally I’d ask him to look at a tree or something – but other than that, it was simply 2 guys having a laugh.

After we’d finished shooting, I returned to base and put the previews on DropBox straight away so Phil could choose the shots he needed – which again were delivered on DropBox as soon as he’d chosen.


And all this done in the midst of a nasty bout of “man flu”!




PR Shoot – Louise Lapish


Louise Lapish runs Gatewood Consulting, training UK-wide in all aspects business from CV writing to sales.


We’d met through Yorkshire’s most exciting new business support network, BiY. She needed some great new shots for her personal PR, so we went to meet at Regus near Elland Road and used the building around there to capture some new shots.


Using small flashes means you can quickly and easily move around the building to get a large variety of looks with minimum of fuss. Louise needed some colour and black and white, so we used flowers in the background for a few “warm”, and the metal architecture to vary the look with a “cool” background.

After a fun hour or so, we’d got about 150 shots from all over the building – these were all delivered on Dropbox later that day for Louise to choose from over the Easter weekend.

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Muay Thai Boxing Champion

Brad Stanton….


At just 19, Brad has conquered the UK and Commonwealth – just turned 20, he’s now headlining stadiums with his amazing Thai Boxing skills.

He’s based at Leeds premier gym, Edge (, and needed some great shots to help lift his profile – so we did a shoot in the actual gym.

To say he’s quick is like saying the sun’s warm… I asked him to do some jumps and round house kicks – up he went, nearly hitting the cieling, then round he went – so fast I couldn’t always hit the shutter in time!

So these shots are a mix of flash lit shots, some designed to freeze his motion, others were as low as 1/10 second to add a little motion blur – give that impression of movement.

Anyway – here are a few of the shots, we’ll be trying to get him along to a McFade Training evening soon…. see how you get on capturing him in action!


Bradford From Above will Blow Your Mind

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 a really fulfilling 2 hours of discovery… it’s grim up north? Maybe, but it’s infinitely fascinating looking at it!


Discover Wensleydale

McFade Training hits Wensleydale

_MG_5412-2 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. _MG_5123 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 we enjoyed the lower falls – from all angles. They are especially beautiful from below the lower falls – looking back up the cascades of water, using the pocked rock as a foreground. _MG_5281 Next was lunch – the chippy in Hawes. A proper treat, always great chips from there and gives you little break before heading out again. With the snow and ice, we had to see the Buttertubs – so headed up the 1760 foot pass to gaze down the huge holes. the waterfall was a huge column of ice, disappearing down to the foot of the tub. _MG_5273 As a bonus we popped down into Swaledale, a narrow, deep and dramatic dale just north of Wensleydale. Keld has a lovely waterfall, so we went to see what the ice had done there… it was like a cathedral of white, with icicle after icicle surrounding the place like icing around a wedding cake!  _MG_5099 As sunset approached we slowly headed back towards Semerwater, taking in a few stops for the dramatic views over to Ingleborough and the occasional sheep, standing to attention. _MG_5375  At semerwater we saw the classic “landscaper” quandry… the light seemed to have gone, so most headed back to the car to pack up… but I stuck it out a little longer, to be treated to 10 minutes of red sky. Needless to say everyone unpacked quickly and got in on the action. _MG_5295 All in all, a great day with a great group of people – and lots of new skills passed on to help them make the most of the landscape. _MG_5433