CAMRA Bradford Real Ale Festival – 2014

Real Ale on the UP!

Real ale is on the up – micro breweries are springing up all over the UK, nowhere more so than in Yorkshire. Every small town seems to have it’s own brewery producing everything from pale ales to dark porters.

Ossett, Salamander, Daleside, Rooster’s, Leeds Brewery, Wharfbank, Saltaire, Wendworth, Copper Dragon, York Brewery, Acorn, Goose Eye, Bradfield, Kelham Island and Ilkley… just a few to look out for if you’re after a great pint.

Celebrate in Style

We went to celebrate the UK’s finest ales at the Bradford Beer festival – again taking place in the magnificent Victoria Hall in Saltaire, just a few miles outside Bradford.

The goal of these photos was to capture the enjoyment of the event. People who attend are no a varied bunch, from the very young to the very old.

All the beer pourer’s are unpaid volunteers – the “games makers” in 2012 Olympics parlance!

Here they are… in reverse chronological order!


_MG_9957 _MG_9955 _MG_9948 _MG_9938 _MG_9929 _MG_9927 _MG_9922 _MG_9919 _MG_9915 _MG_9914 _MG_9908 _MG_9902 _MG_9891 _MG_9890 _MG_9889 _MG_9884 _MG_9883 _MG_9872 _MG_9867 _MG_9865 _MG_9864 _MG_9862 _MG_9855 _MG_9850 _MG_9849 _MG_9846 _MG_9845 _MG_9844 _MG_9840 _MG_9839 _MG_9836 _MG_9834 _MG_9833 _MG_9831 _MG_9828 _MG_9822 _MG_9819 _MG_9818 _MG_9813 _MG_9809 _MG_9806 _MG_9805 _MG_9803 _MG_9792 _MG_9786 _MG_9785 _MG_9783_MG_9955

5 Shots of Ferrybridge



2013 is no more… I needed some new shots so on Thursday 2nd of Jan, 2014 I hit the road over to Ferrybridge to see if the sun was hitting the steam clouds over the cooling towers.

It was to an extent, my usual spot by the canal gave some reasonable long exposure shots – and I found the bridge over the A1 which has become a popular place to stop for some dusk shots with the A1 in the fore ground.

The one above is a vintage looking thing – made with Nik Analog EFEX, a photoshop plugin which simulates techniques and cameras from a bygone era.

Just seems to give that 1950’s feel to the shot – like the earliest photos of motorways which we see on the telly.





So here’s another shot from the same vantage point

The railings on the bridge are too high for most tripods, so you can only really shoot from here.

The curve of the road mirrored the fence so thought a shot with that included would work. Also the little tree protectors looked pretty cool.





From the canal, a shot with a 10-stop filter making it a 30 second exposure in bright sunshine. Always surreal.

Reduced clarity and added blur give it a softer, dreamy effect, to compliment the soft steam clouds.





A slightly more zoomed in view of the A1 – taking in the carved hill side and path of the roads.





And to finish – a lovely warm shot of the canal.

Probably not a subject many would drive to, but giant cooling towers have always had a certain brooding appeal!






It’s All Good… Paul Dodd

The Ideas Man…




Paul’s business card really does say The Ideas Man, and it’s true – you’ll go along way before you meet someone with more ideas – on branding, marketing, web, life, music… you name it! His Design Agency, All Good,  is a one-stop solution for people needing innovative branding and marketing solutions… sure he can explain it a lot better than me, check out the website.












I’ve known Paul for a while as we’re both associates at the BiY business network, so I’d been looking forward to this shoot and we were treated to a great day for it. If anything, it was too hot and too bright. Extremely bright sunlight never helps the photographer, your subjects squint, it causes harsh shadows and if you’re using flash, you need to have everything on full power to compete with the bright sunlight.

Shooting in Roundhay Park helped though –  we were able to use the shade of trees and a band stand to avoid a lot of the light issues. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do much about the heat…





Paul’s a star at presenting, put him in a room of people and he’ll have them engaged from the moment he starts till the end of the talk… but in front of the camera, he was well out of his comfort zone to begin with. I don’t think the string of young mums and grannies walking by helped.






So rather than dictating how stand and pose, I just chatted and got Paul talking as much as possible – I find this gradually takes people’s mind away from the fact they’re surrounded by lights and have me stood there with a huge camera and lens pointing at them. Also getting a “reaction” by saying daft things or asking strange questions creates unexpected expressions – though you have to be fast to catch them on camera.





We picked 4 distinct “locations” to keep things moving and add a bit of variety. One didn’t really work due to sunlight… the other 3 all delivered some great images.

As ever, the best shots came towards the end of the shoot – by the Mansion House. As you progress, you work out what “works” and the kind of thing your sitter likes, so your “hit rate” rises dramatically. This is why I usually suggest a 2-hour shoot – often the first hour is all about getting into the zone, the second is where the great shots come from. Everyone is different though – you get those who are amazing to begin with, which is an unusual bonus.



Business Profile Shoot with Gayle Partridge

Gayle is director of Boroughbridge’s IRYS Ltd, providing a wide range of services including training, coaching and mystery shopping.

When we were planning the shoot, we quickly discounted the typical “corporate office style” shots  in favour of using Leeds’ Victoria Quarter – a place Gayle knows VERY well and is very at home in!

Along with being a cool location, showing shops and boutiques is also appropriate for her mystery shopping business – it’s all about telling a story.

We then popped into the luxury office complex, Broadgate, on the Headrow, to get a few more formal “meeting” style shots; lucky we had Emilio along to pose as a client.

Here are a few of the shots, you can see the huge variety you can create by walking 100 meters in a city!


_MG_5412 _MG_5558 _MG_5560 _MG_5587 _MG_5500_MG_5436

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

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

_MG_9887 _MG_9728 _MG_9695 _MG_9444 _MG_8821 _MG_5262 _MG_4784 _MG_4081 _MG_3891 _MG_1784 _MG_0166_TT john_thompson_shoot104 chris_rae_guitar_04

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.



_MG_9446 1

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 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” ( fundraiser afternoon – the Strong Man competition.

Perfect weather for it – bright sunshine all day.

Local entrepreneur and star of “Secret Millionaire” Terry George ( 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.

_MG_5057 _MG_5051 _MG_5030 _MG_5027 _MG_5028 _MG_5007 _MG_4994 _MG_4995 _MG_4974 _MG_4944 _MG_2928 _MG_2917 _MG_2905 _MG_2894 _MG_2892 _MG_2842 _MG_2845 _MG_2836 _MG_2819 _MG_2816 _MG_2810 _MG_2800 _MG_2787 _MG_2784 _MG_2765 _MG_2759 _MG_2728 _MG_2718 _MG_2707 _MG_2689 _MG_2680 _MG_2676 _MG_2668 _MG_2640 _MG_2626 _MG_2618 _MG_2610 _MG_2598 _MG_2590 _MG_2585 _MG_2558 _MG_2551 _MG_2528 _MG_2507 _MG_2496 _MG_2482 _MG_2451 _MG_2455 _MG_2435

Volunteering Days – 5 Reasons to Hire a Pro Photographer

A Great Way To Build Teams_MG_1974

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 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 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

_MG_2094 _MG_2037 _MG_2022 _MG_2019 _MG_2017 _MG_2011 _MG_2008 _MG_1987 _MG_1978 _MG_1970 _MG_1967 _MG_1966 _MG_1964 _MG_1957 _MG_1948 _MG_1936 _MG_1921 _MG_1917 _MG_1913

Yorkshire Dales Photography – 17 from Deepdale

Where in the Yorkshire Dales is Deepdale?

Deepdale is long valley in The Yorkshire Dales which borders Whernside and drops into Dentdale, in the western Yorkshire Dales.

Why’ve I not heard of it?

It’s dominated by the near by Dentdale, Deepdale is an offshoot which leads steeply into Kingsdale. Deepdale could easily be confused for Dentdale.

What’s it like?

It’s beautiful – when you enter from the Kingsdale pass, you’ve got Whernside towering over you to the right, then a sweeping, rounded valley greeting you – with the Howgills in the distance, showing you how close Cumbria is. The landscape is green fields lined with trees and hedges, not too many barns compared other dales. The initial drop into the valley is very steep, and there are 2 gates and a cattle grid to navigate.

Any highlights?

Despite mainly being a link between Ingleton and Dent, this valley is well worth a look…

  • fantastic view of Whernside
  • Breathtaking views over the valley – especially from the highest point of the pass
  • Wall and tree patterns all over the valley below
  • Views of the Howgills
  • Faces to west so good for sunsets – not sure about sun rises
  • Lovely waterfall and bridge near the lower gate

Here are some Photos

_MG_1233 _MG_1232 _MG_1230 _MG_1227 _MG_1226 _MG_1225 _MG_1222 _MG_1220 _MG_1212 _MG_1211 _MG_1207 _MG_1206 _MG_1205 _MG_1202 _MG_1201 _MG_1199 _MG_1198

22 Yorkshire Dales Photos – Ribblesdale

Where in the Yorkshire Dales is Ribblesdale?

It’s one of the major ones, with a west watershed, that starts at Ribblehead then goes via Settle into East Lancashire – ending up at Preston where it enters the Irish Sea. Most people think of Ribblesdale as a limestone heavy location, with the 3 Peaks all around – Ingleborough to the west, Whernside to the north, and Pen Y Gent to the east.

What’s it like?

It’s one of the big ones really – the most scenic part is between the staggering viaduct at Ribblehead and Settle, winding through Horton in Ribblesdale and Stainforth. There are the river and rail lines following each other all the way, waterfalls and crags all over the place. There’s a huge quarry too – not the best bit really. It’s mainly limestone though – so lots of weathered rock to play with, trees growing in improbable places and those 3 peaks to inspire.

As it flattens out you head down through a flat, pastoral landscape – lots of farms and livestock, the river slowly flowing – great for reflections.

Any highlights?

  • Well the Viaduct at Ribblehead is truly amazing – not only its size, but the location – on a desolate hill far away.
  • Waterfalls – one at Stainforth is pretty impressive
  • Huge lime kilns.
  • Patterns of walls through out the valley create some cool patterns if you get your long lens out
  • Trees, livestock, barns… typical dales fayre

Here are some Photos…

…taken on a bright sunny day, alas most of the dale from Stainforth to through horton was closed due to an accident, so most shots are taken from Little Stainforth and Ribblehead – with the middle chunk missing, I hope the people in the accident are ok. They’re in the “stock” style rather than arty images for fine art prints.

5 Other Yorkshire Locations


5 Dales in One Day

Cow and Calf, Ilkley Moor

West Burton Force – Waterfall



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 a stream flowing down the middle. It then steeply climbs to the summit, which affords magnificent views of Whernside to the right, then Deepdale appears in front. It’s a very high pass with up to 4 gates to open

Any highlights?

Part way up you can pop down to Thornton Force – the beautiful 45 foot waterfall at mid point of the ingleton waterfalls walk.

The valley itself is stunning

The stream is often dry, but when flowing you can use it as a great foreground.

Views of Ingleborough at sunset – you’ve got lots of limestone pavements for foreground and the setting sun lights the side of inglebrough you’re looking at, turning it orange.

Here are a few things I’d recommend you take on such a trip:-

Here are some Photos

These were taken on a location rekke – running a workshop in the area and was checking for distances and highlights. They’re more like “stock” shots than fine art – for use in promoting the workshop and maybe sales to local business.

_MG_1195 _MG_1191 _MG_1189 _MG_1185 _MG_1179 _MG_1178 _MG_1169 _MG_1162 _MG_1165 _MG_1172 _MG_1158 _MG_1142 _MG_1141 _MG_1137

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 the A1 at Durham to Barnard Castle in Teesdale.

Weardale… kinda


Technically I only skirted Weardale, the dale the Wear river flows through – and didn’t really get any photos there, unless Raby Castle is in Weardale? That was an unexpected treat actually – it’s a very intact looking building, the kind of look from those Crusader era movies.


_MG_8582 _MG_8592 _MG_8600 _MG_8609 _MG_8620

From there I carried on to Teesdale, stopping in Barnard Castle to capture Egglestone Abbey – a small ruin high above the tees. Its free to enter and park, so worth a quick visit if you’re passing on the near by A66. From there you can get a view across to the Bowes Museum, which must have been transplanted from france – looks like a chateau, not a museum!

So to find the new pass – the one linking Barnard Castle to Reeth. Happily, it is sign posted on the A66, so pulled off and set off up the narrow, twisty road – stopping at a ravine with a high bridge in. For a tiny, inconsequential road, it’s a hell of a structure, at least 60, if not 100 feet above the stream below. Very hard to get a clean shot of the bridge from the river banks due to trees… so got a few narrow angle shots. Also, there’s a weir with fish counter about 100 yards upstream.

So off up the hill, the road starts to get steeper till you get to some proper hair-pin bends which get you above the tree line – well to a place where they farm fir trees. They’d been harvested recently, leaving a desolate landscape in their wake.






Once over the pass, you’re gradually lowered into the best-named dale… Arkengarthdale. It’s a steep sided offshoot of Swaledale with a little village at the foot of the pass. Very dramatic stuff to drive through. Turning right you have an 8-mile trip to Tan Hill, the highest pub in the land at over 1700 feet up. The road there is steep at first, then very flat when you hit the top – the most surreal part looking across to the right to see trucks and cars flying past on the distant A66. I stopped for a few shots with the 70-200 when seeing sheep, but other than that, it’s a bit of a photo-op-free few miles.

Then at Tan Hill take the road to keld, this is your trip into Swaledale.

On the way down I found a waterfall from a previous trip and used the 10-stop ND filter to create some smooth water shots – then went walking downstream, via a bog which soaked my leg upto the knee when I sank. Found another waterfall with lovely bowl like surroundings.



_MG_8665 _MG_8668 _MG_8671 _MG_8675-2 _MG_8676 _MG_8680 _MG_8686 _MG_8709 _MG_8713 _MG_8714

At the foot of the Tan Hill road, turn left towards Keld. There are loads of great views on the way – pull over, shoot, carry on. I popped into Keld to check out some waterfalls I’d heard of. This was lovely – about 1/4 mile out of the village and you’re there – though you’ve a steep path to navigate. It was incredibly bright so was far from ideal, but with a 10-stop filter and polariser, managed to get about 5 shots of each waterfall. Some nice bubble circles too, a bonus of long exposures.

Once into Swaledale proper, you go through Thwaite and Muker on your way west. If you’re into passes, there’s a great one just after Muker which has the steepest ascent of all the passes – with stupidly severe switch backs before it mellows out. Towards the top of this, you are greeted with a beautiful grey cliff to the right of a ravine – one of the grandest scenes in the dale. Then you’re over the top and enter….


_MG_8718 _MG_8720 _MG_8733 _MG_8736

It’s a long drop down into Askrig, and the hills around you change constantly – the one on the left start off looking very stepped before you see it change completely as you get towards the bottom of the valley. The views up Wensleydale are amazing.

At this point hunger was winning, so over to Hawes for fish and chips, which never fail to impress.

Now to probably the highest pass in the dales, going from Hawes to Buckden, via Oughtershaw. it’s a long, desolate run with a steep ascent from the foot in Gayle. Gayle is worth a stop, it’s got 2 lovely waterfalls and a ford going through the top of the village.

As you steeply rise up the side of the hill, Wensleydale disappears and you quickly hit the summit. There’s a broken wall on either side of the road. Pause here, get out and have a look around – you’ll see Ingleborough looming large, and deep in a hollow, Semerwater, Yorkshire’s largest lake looking like a puddle in the distance.

Following this road you go through several distinct stages, moorland, steep descents, long flat bottomed valleys, river edged roads till you steeply descend to Hubberholme in….




By this stage, I was fading photographically, 10AM start and it was now 6PM – so other than the odd pit stop to capture the delightful Kettlewell and a few barns on the way. Wharfdale is an enigma. It is stunningly beautiful, yet elusive to capture. I’ve driven through it, stopped and walked along paths, down to the river, and have yet to find that “wow” shot. You have Kilnsey Crag of course, that’s impressive with it’s ever-dark overhanging cliff. The wharf is shallow and fast running, with pebbles abound, and bridges offering themselves as focal points. I’m sure there will be a place to get the ideal view and will keep going back over and over till I find it.

When you hit Grassington, you can choose to follow the Wharf through Burnsall or head off over to Skipton and Airedale. I went the former, the lower Wharfdale is a different beast to the upper – wide and grassy, Simon’s Seat looking over it, Bolton Abbey and Burnsall both look amazing towards dusk. Stopping again to get a few shots of the valley and its long shadows. There’s a weird viaduct/aqueduct which pops up now and then – I spotted this and Captured the last shots of the trip…


So there you go – a 2ish hour blast down the A1M to Leeds, or a 10 hour epic detour through the hills and dales of Yorkshire… the choice is yours, and if its a half decent day, take the latter – you’ll not regret it!

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 

Discovering Malham

The cold doesn’t stop us.

We wrapped up warm and forged our way to Malham in the Yorkshire Dales and created great images anyway.

Our group of 5 intrepid explorers on the McFade Training “Discover Malham” workshop visited the full range of highlights the area has on offer – Scalebar Force, Highland Cattle, Janet’s Foss, Gordale scar, Malham Tarn and Malham Rakes – with opportunities to shoot the colossal Cove from afar.

Flexibility and variety is made possible with a people carrier – courtesy of Suki, who drove us around the slights – huge thanks 🙂 We can quickly stop, jump out, grab a few shots, then get back in and be on our way – getting warm!

That’s a feature of our workshops – we like to give people as much opportunity as possible. Rather than stopping in one location till “the cows come home”, we stay a sensible time then move on. The exception is of course the sunset shot… that really depends on what happens with the weather!

Great day with McFade regulars and new people – hope to see you all in Wensleydale in March!

So here’s a flavour of what we got up to….

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 paypal £75 us at, and we’ll show you how it’s done.







Urban Photoshoot – Gateshead


Never posed before?

Never had your photo taken before?

Nervous in front of the camera?

These 2 Cramlington girls answered yes to all of these – but that didn’t stop us having a great shoot with some cool results.

We’d got a location in mind with a bit of graffiti and in a reasonably quiet area, so all met up there and started to shoot. Alex and Kerry were both completely stuck for what to do, where to look, what expression to make… we’re used to this, unless you’ve got a model or someone with PR experience, it’s always the same.

After the lights were set up it was a case of chatting and getting to know them as we photographed them. As soon as  take their mind away from the camera, you start to get the more creative shots…. though we did get loads of “crying with laughter” type shots…

We offer this “urban portrait” service around the UK – anyone who fancies creating something a bit edgy, different to the usual “studio” feel need look no further.


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 is a quick loop around the river, view from a bridge and then up to the colleges around the back of the cathedral, with their distinctive cobbled streets.

View from the M62 – Light Trails

Night time means long exposures, things moving through your images, high contrast scenes, a new world of creativity with you camera, a change for your imagination to run wild.

To most, the M62 is a car park they traverse every morning and evening, a place of wasted time and torture.

To a photographer, it’s a scene packed with potential – from this vantage point there are around 10 lanes of traffic.

Add in the occasional blue light from an emergency vehicle, or the flashing yellow lights of the constructions vehicles on the hard shoulder – you get a real mix.

Processing these images in many different ways adds variety – go for ultra high contrast, low clarity for the softer focus, cool white balance for the blue tones, toned black and white…. options abound.

Also don’t assume that you just use your wide lenses – zooming in on a lane can create something pretty spectacular – and highlight the path vehicles take, with the direction the light trails go in

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 taken the lights with me and set them up in the back garden to get some shots of Simon Cowell (aka Andy).

As the day progressed, all of the look alikes came along and had a shoot and chat. At first, its totally surreal talking to Will Smith – he looks, acts and when he does the voice, sounds just like him.

Anyway – here’s a few shots from the day.

Night Photography Workshops in Leeds

The most complete night photography workshop series in Leeds today?

Does your camera go into hibernation over winter? Join our Night Photography Workshops in Leeds. Embrace the dark to create amazing images!

We’ve listened to your feedback from the recent survey. People wanted….

  • a “collaborative” approach, one where we learn from each other
  • to know more about “processing”.
  • an end-to-end process – from capturing the RAW file to final edit

What you’ll learn in our Night Photography Workshops in Leeds

We’ve developed a 5-month course which has fun evening shoots AND review evenings

For the 5 practical nights:-

  • Learn about long exposures
  • Learn about movement – of camera or subject
  • Light trails
  • Light Graffiti
  • Painting with Light
  • Creative use of XMAS lights
  • Fun fairs at night

For the 5 feedback nights:-

  • bring photos from practical session to be discussed
  • work together to constructively discuss the good and improvement points on each photo
  • learn about cropping creatively
  • learn the basics of composition
  • learn how to do basic edits – Lightroom or Photoshop
  • learn about cloning and removing junk
  • Noise reduction
  • Sharpening creatively
  • and much more

It’s your opportunity to see both how to shoot at night, but also how to transform the shots in the computer. Even if you’ve been on last year’s night-workshops, you will learn a vast amount of new information.

The information we’ll be sharing over the next 5 months may completely transform how you work.

Full details on the dates and course content – CLICK here NOW! 

5 Tips – To Pose, or not To Pose?

A few people mentioned to me that they’d like to know more about “posing” people, and in on of the McFade Training Taster workshops last year, I covered some ideas – maybe ones which surprised people.

The “by the book” posing techniques will produce just that – by the book, traditional shots of people. They remind me of those Victorian family portraits, everyone looking stiff and uncomfortable.

With creative photography, the McFade approach, we’re after something a bit more interesting – wanting to reveal something about the person rather than duplicating tried and tested formulae.  So these tips will hopefully help reveal a few of our techniques….

1 – Be friendly, fun and open

When taking photographs of people, you need to bear in mind that they are sentient objects, ones which move, talk – yet more importantly, have feelings and react to how you behave around them probably more than anything else you do.

So Tip One is to be friendly, interested and try to establish some kind of “rapport” with your sitter.

2 – Give Positive Feedback

If someone does something which looks great, tell them; tell them they look amazing – this positive reinforcement will enourage them to do “more”.

If they are doing everything wrong and look terrible, don’t tell them – but make suggestions, point out something you “like” – usually hair, shoes, clothes… it should be obvious. One example was a girl who totally hated the camera, to the point she nearly ran away… she had amazing auburn hair. I said I liked it, and did she ever play with it – you see girls chewing the “twiddling” with it… she said yes, I told her to “twiddle away”… 5 great, fun shots straight away.

3 – Show them the pics

Add to the feedback by showing them the pic on the back of your camera – if you’re getting results they don’t like, you need to know ASAP – if they don’t like them, ask them “what specifically” they don’t like, or what they would change. It gets them away from just being negative, to making them think about what it is they don’t like – you can then change it!

The positive result is for them to love the shot, and this happens more often than the negative result. You get them on side – they start to trust you – you can start to tell them to do “stuff” and they do it!

4 – Get them acting

If you’re running out of ideas, then ask them what their favourite film is – or if they watch Corrie – or anything that gets a reaction. Get them to tell you which characters they like… then get them to pretend to be them!

I love Goodfellas and Taxi Driver for guys – everyone loved their “You lookin’ at Me” impersonation, or Joe Pesci’s “How am I Funny” monologue…

You’ll get people who react badly, that is a shot in itself – screwed up faces are fantastic! Then you’ll get those who just love it, get acting and make all kinds of gestures!

5 – Move regularly or change props

If you’re on location then you’ve got the beauty and challenge of infinitely varying backgrounds. When you exhaust the potential of one background, and it always happens, don’t soldier on pointlessly – move on to somewhere new. Even 10 paces can create something totally refreshing.

You can’t really do this in some studios, so the equivalent is to throw in new props – this is why you want to be getting them to bring a change of clothes – shades, cigars for props, hats etc.

A quick change is magical!


So it’s not a list of “stand with your body at 45 degrees and look over your shoulder, hand on hip and chin up slightly tilt head to left…..” kind of instructions.

People are people – so it’s up to you to treat them as humans rather than maneqins. Given the right encouragement, you can develop a shoot pretty fast and get great results.

Standing in one position, in silence, twiddling with lights and your camera is going to leave your sitter cold and uninterested, so get stuck in with your worst jokes and best flattery…. it’ll transform how you shoot!

Learn more in August

If you want to know more, we’re running a Flash Portraiture session in August where we’ll offer more advice and tips – you can book here now!

Fake that sunset in Lightroom 4

So many landscapes have these amazing sunsets, nuclear red skies with amazing orange hues….

Do you think they “really” looked like that when the photographer was there?

Here’s a demo of how easy they are to fake in Lightroom 4….

  1. Original Look
  2. Tone and Saturation changes
  3. Tidy up dust and lift the dark areas
  4. Lens correction
And that’s it really – just click on the photo to advance through the images