Bridal Shoot

I had the fortune to have worked recently with two great professionals on a Bridal shoot. This was the second style of shoot this day with Make up Artist Bruno DeSousa Model known as Lady of Shalott. Lady of Shalott is also a fabulous Brighton based dress designer know as Sarina Poppy where she wore of her own design silk wedding dress and veil.

Sarina Poppy brought along a beautiful white silk Wedding Dress designed and made by her together with a silk veil . It looked fabulous. The first of the set of images were taken in a derelict orangery which created a wonderful contrast between the beauty and the ‘beast’ of the the decaying site. The light was changing all the time, although the area was tree covered it was quite thin in places and the sun was being covered with cloud and the back ground was quite dark. I was seeking to ensure the background was not hidden in the shadows. I used as a light source a Bessel portable flash mounted with a Calmunet two way umbrella set up as a reflective umbrella.I set the shutter speed quite low to ‘drag the Shutter’ to allow for the ambient light from the background and the flash was lighting the ‘Bride’.

The second set was taken in the trees and to my amazement, once I hade gathered up my equipment I found Sarina had climbed into the tree still wearing the dress and veil. With the breeze blowing I was able to capture the veil in flight.

I was really pleased with the results.

Androgynous style shoot

I had the fortune to have worked recently with two great professionals on an Androgynous style shoot. The style is the combination of feminine and masculine characteristics. I was approached by a make up Artist Bruno DeSousa to work on a variety of styles and contact was made with a Model known as Lady of Shalott. Lady of Shalott is also a fabulous Brighton based dress designer know as Sarina Poppy.

Details of the shoot were explored and arrangements to meet up in a location in Brighton. It turned out to be a warm sunny day which was just as well as the whole shoot took place outside, including the application of the make up, which was carried out under the shade of the trees.

Sarina Poppy brought along a variety of clothes including a long tailored coat that had been hand sewn by her. It looked fabulous. As a Model, Lady of Shalott was by no means timid and in fact was quite the opposite with a real sense of adventure finding a delightful shoot location albeit rather derelict and over grown and great care needed to move around, she was not fazed by it at all. It did present a few problems from my point of view as a photographer.

The bright sunlight was casting a number of shadows from the building structure and the chosen alcove location where we shot. There was a small pond situated between the location and where I could stand and I had limited options from a shoot angle as a result. As a light source I was using Bessel Studio Lighting mounted with a Calmunet two way umbrella set up as a reflective umbrella I wasn’t trying to overpower the sun but I was trying to add some fill light to the shadows. We did a couple of images using a silver reflector but this did not have effect I was seeking.

We shot a couple of different styles both with a vintage androgynous style and we came away from a satisfactory shoot.

Ravenswood Sharpthorne

Ravenswood Sharpthorne is an Ideal weeding Venue. Prior to a Wedding shoot, I make a point of attending the venue. Ravenswood is one such wedding venue, at Sharpthorne West Sussex. I like to look around the venue identifying opportunities for taking photographs on the day, establishing the type of available light there is inside the venue and importantly to introduce myself to the staff and in particular the Wedding Planner. Undertaking this task in advance, assists me on the day to ensure the photography sessions go as smoothly as possible.

Many Wedding Venues are hired out to more than one party on the day and this can restrict access to all areas. It would not be right to intrude on another wedding parties space and knowing the areas available to work in assist in the day moving on smoothly.

Knowing the venue in advance further assists when talking through the ‘shoot menu’ for the day. Having an idea of what will make a good backdrop and where the group photos can be setup.

Ravenswood is a wonderful venue in a splendid location, set in the countryside of the High Weald in West Sussex, in its own grounds with a lake a boat house. This makes for a fabulous back drop and ideal for Weddings. I was given the opportunity to wander around the grounds and the venue itself and took a number of images both inside and out.

It was during my wanderings in the grounds that I saw a deer appear out from the vegetation and skip across the the grounds. Of course it is highly unlikely that I will manage to get a shot on the wedding day, with a deer running through the background.

Blossoms Cottage Albourne

I was recently asked to take some images for the owners of Blossoms Cottage Albourne

Not only am I a Portrait and Wedding Photographer in addition I undertake commercial work. In this case the my clients, the owners of the Cottage, also happen to be friends of ours. Blossoms Cottage is now a Holiday Let set in the wonderful countryside of West Sussex. It was originally originally a brick single storey agricultural building, housing machinery and livestock. One in particular was named Blossom, a British Alpine goat.

Although in the countryside it is no real distance from Brighton and about 10 minutes drive from the London to Brighton Main Line, making London a straight forward 50 minute Train Journey away.

The building itself has been beautifully restored as a Holiday with all modern facilities and I was asked to take some images for their website and of course their page on Stilwells Cottages Direct.

The point of this story is that The owners are still rearing livestock and have a number of Hebridean Sheep. This year the ewes produced a number of lambs. Sadly the Foxes managed to destroy several of them and at the the time of the photos being taken, one of the lambs had been rejected by its mother. This meant that she had to be reared by hand. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take some images of ‘Mary’. Since then, another of the lambs has been rejected so an really busy time for the owners.

Sayers Common Community Shop

Sayers Common Community Shop and Village Hall have come together on 26th April for a grand opening following the refurbishment of the Village Hall.

You may ask why as a photographer am I witing about this on my blog? The reason is simple; I live in the community and my images taken on the day were published in the Mid Sussex Times on 1st May. A double whammy really. I shall continue

Sayers Common is a small community in Mid-Sussex and is part of the Parish of Hurstpierpoint. The Village has been without a shop for some 10 years and one of the residents, Malcolm Heather, took it upon himself to effect a change.

His determination brought together a committee of local residents to raise funds to develop a shop that would be for the community and run as a not for profit charity, for the community.

One of the main problems for the shop was finding a location. The Village Hall was to provide a solution by offering space at the front of the hall. The hall required some extensive refurbishment, which between the Hall, the Shop and donations from a variety of community support projects, the hall was completed and the shop opened. The Hall refurbishment was project managed by another local resident and committee member, Wim Winters.

Peter Griffiths the West Sussex County Councillor who had provided support and advice, cut the ribbon to officially open the hall.

The celebration attracted about 200 local residents and were treated to refreshments and live music. Since the opening there has been a steady stream of local residents, people working in the village and indeed those passing through, justifying all the hard work that has gone into making the idea become a reality.

Portraits On Location or Studio

I would like to discuss the option for having a photo shoot for portraits on location or studio. I have noticed a trend in recent years for most family portrait shoots to be studio based predominantly high key with a white background. This style of image has become very fashionable. However, I believe that a portrait can say so much more about a person and a family when it is taken in a location that can speak for that person or group.

A portrait taken in a studio can be rather sterile as it isolates that person from their surroundings. Your home, garden or office can speak volumes for you as a person. The lotion chosen for the photo shoot can put a personality to an image.

I was recently looking at some of our old family photographs. Not only is this a rather nostalgic experience but further more it is a historical record. I saw the style of clothing, which could put the image into a historical context but also the location, in some of the photos I looked at, some of the buildings in the location, no longer exist.

Another advantage of taking portraits on location, they provide information about the subject. Their environment, their occupation and something about their Character. These can all be lost when shooting with a plain background.

In any event, when you book a portrait session with me we will discuss your requirements and how you would like to see the finished prints. Remember, it is what you want from the shoot.

Brighton Lanes During Night

Another evening with the Photobudies MeetUp Group, this time visiting Brighton Lanes during Night. This time the idea was to explore some of Brighton’s Famous Lanes. The Lanes is an area of Brighton that was part of the original settlement of Brighthelmstone.

From Middle Street we entered Ship Street Gardens. The purpose of the exercise was once again to explore long exposures or working handheld and using a high ISO. One of our group entered into the spirit of the evening wearing a cape and mask.

The narrow walking routes with flint stone walls and single street provided some excellent atmosphere.
The images were taken hand held with an ISO of 1600. White balance was set to auto, which resulted in some very orange cast images. When taken the intention was convert them to monochrome to enhance the atmosphere.

I was using an ISO of 3200 with f9 at .04 sec. I used the wall to support the camera and the slow shutter speed allowed for some blurring to accentuate the movement. The street light created a very orange image, which in itself was quite a good image but I felt the B&W image was a better finish. Adjustments were made using Adobe Lightroom 5.

The second Image was taken in the same location where one of the attendees brought along a cape to add a little more atmosphere and fun. The third image was taken in Black Lion Lane and the two figures were guest players who happened upon our scene and provided some character detail to the image.

The purpose of the evening was to assist photographers to explore their camera settings in more detail, moving away from the the ‘automatic’ settings and provide more confidence in using their cameras and become more creative.

Any good evening out in Brighton should end with a drink in a good pub and we found one at the Hop Poles Pub Middle Street Brighton, which offered a good variety of real ales with a warm welcome.

Brighton Pier at Night

I have recently joined a photography meetup group organised by Trevor. I headed down to Brighton one evening where I met a fabulous group of like minded people who enjoy taking photographs. The great thing about this meet up is that it is for everyone of all abilities where we can learn from each other.

The idea of this meetup was to take images using high ISO or tripods and long exposures. Brighton Seafront has many attractions not least of which is the large Wheel and of course Brighton Pier formally known as the Palace Pier.

The Wheel and the traffic along Madeira Drive provided opportunities for Light Trails and patterns. During the winter months the Brighton Pier closes down to public early evening and the pier takes on a completely different appearance and a long exposure was required. The sea was flat and the long exposure flattened it still further.

We took the opportunity of using the night sky and the back drop of the pier to ‘paint with Light’. To capture this I mounted the camera on a tripod and using the ‘bulb’ setting with a remote cord to reduce camera shake. One of our group stood on the beach while I ‘wound’ an LED lamp round him. We were able to move around without being caught on camera because of the darkness around. I was able to set the camera shutter open move down the beach use the light and return to close the shutter. I was really pleased with the results. We carried out a number of shots using sparklers and torches. Everyone had a great evening and there were fantastic images captured.

Sunny Day at West Wittering UK

Although my photography work is primarily portraits and Weddings, I do enjoy taking landscape and sea scape images. Following the sustained period of wind and rain through December into January, Saturday provided the first opportunity to get out in some sun and take a trip to the beach at West Wittering UK.

One of my favourite locations is Chichester Harbour, West Sussex, where I have a sailing vessel moored. This is a fabulous natural harbour and at its entrance to the East Solent, on the South Coast, is a fabulous sandy beach Known as West Wittering. This beach is favoured by families, windsurfers and Kite board enthusiasts. The Sandy beach has a number of beach bathing huts strung along the edge. Some of these had been invaded by sand from the beach during the recent storms, leaving the entrances with mounds of sand

The tide was continuing its ebb for about another hour leaving a firm sand area long the waters edge. This provided plenty of scope for dog walkers and families.

Being winter, the sun is still low in the sky even at mid-day, but this provided an few photo opportunities along with the colourful beach huts. I was aware of shooting into the sun but I wanted silhouettes of the people at the water edge and reflections of the sun on the sand. Where the tide had gone down, what had been the sea bed had been left with the patterns created by the receding sea in the sand.

Model Portfolio Shoot


This was a Model Portfolio shoot taken on Saturday 16th November 2013. I have photographed Joyce before although on that occasion it was a studio session.  We decided that as the weather was great with a clear a blue sky, albeit rather fresh, we would head outside to the the side of the River Thames.

Nearby was a park where there is a children’s playground and some lovely open space where the trees and benches provided a super stage for taking photographs. The bright sunshine was a challenge and created dappled shadows under the leaves  and some harsh facial shadows. This was going to be a challenge to balance the light and reduce shadows.

I used a speedlight off camera using a wired connection and wireless to try and manage the shadows. We shot in the nearby park taking advantage of the tree shapes to obtain some portraits.

River side t this location had been quite industrial and some of the industry although changed, remains and that which has gone, has left its scars along the bank. This provided some and rather gritty back ground . So we then moved down to the riverside where we took advantage of the graffiti and the old industrial river wall with the cage effect and barbed wire in the background.