Hardeep Singh Kohli @ Keyhouse



Hardeep @ Keyhouse Kitchen Opening

The World Curry Festival’s star, Hardeep Singh Kohli, came to the opening of the new training kitchen at Bradford’s Keyhouse – a venue which helps house and train the homeless of the area. The kitchen is a new project to help train the homeless grow and cook their own food.

A great event and a great cause, love shooting events like these.

The star of the weekend gave generously of his time, a very passionate and moving speech about his journey with food and how he’d always dreamed of opening such a venue to help the homeless. He certainly left a fantastic impression with everyone I spoke to after the event, and we’re looking forward to him returning in the future.



Sleep Out

One of the main events Keyhouse runs to raise money is a “sleep out”, where people are given one the bags you see Hardeep in and spend one evening sleeping rough in Bradford. Festival organiser, Zulfi Karim, and Hardeep jumped into the bags and gave us some great shots to help promote the next sleep-out event – great sports.
And then they were off to do more engagements in an action packed festival day.

Master Chef

At about 7:30PM we went to see Hardeep cook a Lamb Bhuna live on stage at the festival. Very amusing and loads of great tips – if you saw him you’d know what I mean. Lots of anecdotes and banter with a long haired man in the front row!

A thoroughly enjoyable session from a charming and funny guy. Definitely recommend going to see him if he’s cooking/performing in your area.

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

You don’t HAVE to have a boring profile shot these days….

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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…

  1. The world has changed – people want to see “you” and your “everything” now, great photos “sell”, bad ones repel. 
  2. Get known as the “local go-to” person is helped with local images, images of you “in the locale” – be that a flyer with Leeds town hall on, or a bill board with your face on.
  3. Place your self or your products in the community, and get photos to blog/promote this – gets you a degree of “local fame”
  4. A great profile shot is often your first point of contact – make it count.
  5. Linked in searches – Friendly and approachable encourages people to pick the phone up – stern and grumpy makes them unsure and choose the next “supplier” on the list.
  6. Getting you portrait done is incredibly easy and should be fun

And a few tips…

  1. If you are going on a shoot, take a couple of outfits – smart/casual, just in case one doesn’t work well
  2. Take different coloured accessories (e.g. scarf, tie) to add variety to your shots
  3. Be yourself – vital 
  4. Get/Give feedback throughout the shoot – 2 way process gets the results, don’t let the photographer make ALL the choices, tell him/her which shots you like – and do more of those
  5. If you’re worried about weight – leaning forward a little helps hide an extra chin, and if the cameras higher than you, it helps too – so maybe use stairs or a balcony
  6. Black or white V colour – McFade supply you both, we love both and can never decide so we’ll do both for you.



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Which lens should I Buy?

Want some new kit?

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.

small canon 500

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?

Let’s take a “fast prime lens” as an example. This will allow:-

  • blurry backgrounds
  • shoot in darker conditions
  • shallow DOF creativity
  • pin sharp shots
  • small, discrete for street photography
  • lightweight for travel


So they can open up quite a few opportunities.

Conversely, there are things like “sound triggers” – devices which shoot when something makes a sound – like a bursting balloon or water droplet.

Now these things are cool – put some flour in a balloon, burst it and capture the shot of the flour cloud. Then set up your water droplet experiment – wow, you can get cool effects.

So they do enable you to capture a very specific thing – but is that enough to justify their cost?

Make a list of stuff your new kit will enable you to do, then sit on it for a while – make sure it’s worth it.


2 – How often am I likely to use it?

We all buy kit on a whim then months later find it gathering dust.

Take a “tilt-shift” lens – these are specialist items, used for architectural, archival and some landscape work. They’re really expensive too – around £2000 for a new one.

Being honest with yourself, how often would you use it?

For architectural photographers, it may be in constant use – others, it may never leave the kit bag.

The “sound triggers” mentioned above – you’ll probably use them once when you get them. Then never see them again till a mate comes round. Show them how cool they are…. before returning them to their bag, never to be seen again!

If it’s going to get used once or twice a year – why not just hire one when you need it?


3 – Do I need this “level” of kit?

We all aspire to top-level lenses and kit – but do we really “need” it?

This will vary depending on how passionate you are about a subject – if you are a bird photographer, dedicating hours in hides to get the perfect shot, then spending £1000 on the best tripod and head system, £5000 on a fast super-telephoto lens and a body with excellent autofocus may be worth it.

If you’re a general snapper who occasionally shoots birds eating peanuts you’ve put out for them, you’re probably better with something a little cheaper. A general “long zoom” lens maybe all you “need”. Or perhaps get a 1.4 times converter for £200ish to get you a bit closer to the action.

However, if you shoot sports and action and are always in the wet, you may “need” a waterproof body, like the Canon 1D series – the 5D image quality is on par, but get them wet and they stop working… in this instance, buying the expensive kit is needed.

Put your money where you spend most of your time – and invest more in lenses than bodies if money is tight.


4 – What am I going to use the resultant images for?

Investing thousands of pounds in professional bodies and lenses may be overkill if you never print or sell your shots. There’s nothing wrong with taking photos for pleasure and to share online – but do you really need 36 megapixels if they only ever get shown on Flickr at 1000 pixels wide?

Think about what your ultimate goal is.

If you’re shooting for bill-boards, then you may need a Hassleblad with a 60 megapixel back.

If you may occasionally print something out at A4, then my old Canon 10D (6 megapixels) did a fine job.

Again, shooting with better lenses reaps more benefits (in many instances) than spending lots on bodies.


5 – If I slept on it would I feel the same in the morning?

And finally – are you bored? Been looking on EBAY all day and just fancy a bit of kit for the sake of it?

Or has that new lens been playing on your mind for weeks?

Use the “sleep on it” test before hitting the “buy” button. I’ve saved thousands of pounds over the years.

Photographic retail therapy is a very expensive and ineffective way of inspiring you to go take photos – they best way is to get your shoes on, pack your bag and go out to take photos. Force yourself… don’t blow the credit card and expect the new kit to make the difference.

However, if it’s been niggling away for weeks, or years even, then maybe it is worth the investment.



The only person who can decide this is YOU – hopefully these questions will make you think before buying something you’ll never really use.

A sizeable group of photographers are motivated by the technology, numbers and reviews, rather than creativity, human interaction and the joys of “taking” photos. So if you are in the former group – then go for it, feed your lust for “new toys”.

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 – http://livewellproject.co.uk/goal.html . Looking forward to watching them grow and make a real difference Holbeck folks’ lives.

Strong Man Day….



On Sunday they were running the main event at a “The Ciaran Bingham Foundation Trust” (http://www.cbft.co.uk/) fundraiser afternoon – the Strong Man competition.

Perfect weather for it – bright sunshine all day.

Local entrepreneur and star of “Secret Millionaire” Terry George (http://www.terrygeorge.co.uk/) was hosting and got proceedings going.

Then the competitors “endured” 3 challenges:-

  • flipping tyres 15 times
  • holding 9kg weights at arms length for as long as possible
  • farmers walk – 60Kg in each hand, walk as far as you can!

Great to see everyone getting behind the “strong men” and loads of encouragement from crowds.

I’ve forgotten the winner’s name, but he’s the one in the dark blue tee shirt below… sure someone can help with a comment.

The Future

The Live Well Project are looking for a permanent location in Holbeck, but till then, are out and about in halls and community centres helping people with diet, fitness and motivation.

The Photos…

Here are a few memories from the day.

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Volunteering Days – 5 Reasons to Hire a Pro Photographer

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Volunteering days are the best team building events – spending time with good people doing good things for a good cause… what could be better?

Having been on 2 when working in a corporate environment, I can vouch for them – getting out of the office and tooled up is great fun, and working on totally different “stuff” to the day job helps everyone bond.

Participate Projects

Organisations like West Yorkshire’s http://www.participateprojects.org.uk/ are bristling with projects for amazing causes, and is always on the look out to help managers put Employee Volunteering Days together.

If you are looking for a great team building day, get in touch with Anthony and the team at info@participateprojects.org.uk or 01274 288787

5 Reasons to Hire a Pro Photographer

1 – Make Your Team FAMOUS!


If you’re in a huge corporate there may be a healthy rivalry and competitiveness between teams – what better way to get “one up” on your colleagues than to get amazing shots of you “doing good” in the newsletter. Surely that along is worth hiring a photographer for!

2 – Impartial photos


The photographer probably doesn’t know who’s who in the team, so you get a far more balanced set of images – not just loads of shots of the managers and directors to massage their egos 🙂 Depending on how the photographer works, you may get great “fly on the wall” shots which tell the full story of the day.

3 – Team stays Together


Rather than one guy taking photos with their i-phone all day, missing out on the team activities, let the professional get the shots.

4 – Quality Images


A quality photographer sees the world differently. They’ll be looking for key moments, when people are working together, concentrating on a task, helping each other out – but not only that, they will use the best quality lenses to ensure even in challenging darker conditions, you’ll get images which

5 – Great Team shots for your PR


Imagine a great shot of everyone, together with their tools and the team leaders…. now imagine it in the local press, or industry magazines. A really crisp, professional team shot is priceless for PR.

And here are a few more shots from a Participate Projects volunteering day

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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 are many exceptions so please read it as a quick reference.

Typical Exposure Settings