Six Of The Best From Ten Of The Best

Every couple of years, the photography club(s) I run (now called FOTO-CLUB) stages an exhibition but I decided to do something different in 2016 and opted instead for something that became known as “the book project”.

Club members were offered the opportunity to each submit a series of six themed images and ten brave souls rose to the challenge. Some of the group attended my five week evening course called “The 6 Pic Project” to guide them in the development of their submission. The result is a wonderful 8″x 8″ softback book which was launched officially at the club’s December meeting at the 1000 Trades bar, just over the road from the studio. Club member Andrew Crawford is responsible for superb design finish of the book.

I think the book was a very welcome and inexpensive alternative to our usual exhibition and so I anticipate us doing it again next year. We were given an excellent printing deal by Dunns in Cradley Heath and I’d like to thank them once again for their support. Dunns were so pleased with the book that they chose to display it at a recent trade show. But most of all, I’m incredibly proud of the club’s photographers for their excellent work.

Rapid Descent

Every time I’m doing a Photoshop demo for my students, I like to dig out an image I haven’t used before if possible, just to keep it a bit “fresh” for me as much as anything. This week, I trawled one old hard drive and found a very static image of the lovely Bethanie Stokes which I’d taken during a workshop in Digbeth, Birmingham, a couple of years ago.

I used this image to briefly demonstrate the “quick selection” tool and a couple of the motion filters, settling on the “motion blur” filter to give an impression that Beth was rushing down the steps, sliding the hands down the handrails as I used to do as a  kid. All done in about four minutes so not the finest piece of editing I’ve ever done but for once, I decided to save the image at the end of the session rather than delete it. I kinda like it.

Roseanne

I’m very much looking forward to photographing the gorgeous Roseanne this Monday on the FOTO-CLUB “Special Studio Evening“. It will be the last studio evening for quite a while and I’m hoping that if the weather permits, we’ll shoot for a while outside in the yard at the back of this studio. Keep watching for images…

On Safari, Brum-style.

I’m very much looking forward to this week’s FOTO-CLUB “Night Photo Safari“. It’s been quite a while since we ran one and I’d almost forgotten to schedule any. Of course at this time of year, at least part of the 7:30-10pm slot will still be pretty light but that’s fine – we’ve done Springtime walks before and it’s actually a very different experience to the wintertime ones with a few other locations becoming usable. Less opportunity for light trails etc perhaps but more chance to photograph the model I’ll be bringing along (which I’m sure most people would consider a decent trade-off). All of these images used on the flyer were shot on Night Photo Safaris and the one of Emilie (in the hat) was shot at roughly this time of year.

Here’s the flyer if you fancy bagging one of the last couple of spaces…

 

A Bit More Bond

Some shoot concepts lodge themselves in my imagination for years before I actually get around to making them happen. Such was the case with the “Bondesque” studio evenings that I ran at FOTO-CLUB  recently. I’d long since decided that model Mark Hoban would make a great James Bond  and when I mentioned the idea to him he was very keen to take part. Luckily, the lovely Sasha also agreed to be our “Bond Girl“.

I ran “Bondesque” over two evenings: the first featured Mark (as Bond), and Sasha. The second evening featured Mike, a very charismatic model I’d worked with before as the “Bond Villain” and Liliana (another favourite at the studio) as the other Bond Girl.

I haven’t edited the images yet (it’s been a busy couple of weeks) but I did manage to plan a sort of sequel – this time on location, complete with a car, and again with Mark as Bond. Here’s the details…

The cost is £90 (£75 for FOTO-CLUB members) and before the event had even been added to my website, half the places had been taken. If you’d like to join us, get in touch.

Daniel In The Photographer’s Den

As a nice little finale for the Portfolio Booster II course, I arranged two very different male models. One was Daniel Specta, a heavily tattooed young fella with a great look and wonderful taste in sunglasses. Like most of the group, I photographed Daniel using only the continuous modelling lights of the flash heads and then the ambient lighting that can be found in the corridor outside my studio. And that is where I took this shot. Daniel’s ace shades were just crying out to be messed with in post-production, so I did.

Robyn Stainrod

Just to prove that size doesn’t matter, I somehow managed to put on a dance-themed session as part of the “Portfolio Booster II” course. Planned when I was still in the previous, much larger, studio, it was touch and go whether I’d pull the plug and go for something “safe” and small-studio-friendly instead. But no, two highly energetic dancers and a full group of around 8 photographers all managed to cram into the li’l Alto Studio and still pull off some cracking images.

I previously pasted some images of the male half of the evening’s dancing partnership, Nathan Lafayette, and so this time it’s the turn of the equally talented Robyn Stainrod. Here she is, doing what she does best…

Nathan Sebastian Lafayette

When I was looking for models for a dance shoot a year or so ago, fellow photographer Richard Battye suggested I contact dancer Nathan Sebastian Lafayette. I did. He was brilliant.

So I booked him again last week for the fourth of five of the “Portfolio Booster II” workshops. I’d considered cancelling this shoot because we’re now working in a much smaller studio and the prospect of a dance shoot on paper backgrounds in a relatively low-ceilinged room didn’t seem terribly feasible. But I was wrong. Nathan and his colleague Robyn (more about Robyn in future posts) really made the space work. We were all rewarded with some cool images.

Tanya Atherton

The great thing about scheduling shoots and workshops for FOTO-CLUB is that I get to pick models that I’ve wanted to work with for ages and just needed the slightest excuse to make it happen. Such is the case with the scrumptious Tanya Atherton who will be putting the “special” into next week’s “Special Studio Evening“. Previous “specials” have included Ivory Flame, Stephanie Dubois, Amber Tutton, Salleh Sparrow and Natalia Fox so Tanya’s in good company. I’ll post an image or two from the shoot afterwards.TANYA