The Celebrity Who Wasn’t

It’s been a busy and varied month: 2 big boxing shows, product shoots, fashion shoots, and the offer of a “celebrity” shoot at The Drum centre in Aston, Birmingham. One morning, I was called by friend and top Birmingham photographer Richard Battye asking me if I could cover a shoot for him. He was unable to do the job because he had a full day’s work booked in the studio. He hadn’t been given any details other than that it was a “celebrity” visit and would happen some time that afternoon.

Sadly, I too was fully booked at the studio all day and so I passed it onto Samantha Davis (are you following all this?). Luckily Samantha could shift her schedule around to attend and was surprised to find that the “celebrity” was none other than the Prime Minister, David Cameron.

So I turned down the chance to photograph the PM. Am I bovvered? Not really. I had a good day anyway. I’m so lucky to enjoy most days doing what I do and it was nice to have the opportunity and then to be able to pass it on, just as Richard had passed it on to me.

David Cameron at The Drum - NOT taken by me.

David Cameron at The Drum – NOT taken by me.

 

 

No Shoot Like Home

When I can, I like to do the odd “fun shoot” – shoots intended to be nothing more than a test for new equipment, different lighting, different looks, to try new themes and post-production styles. My most recent “fun shoot” was all about seeing what I could get squeeze creatively out of a familiar environment, in this case my apartment and apartment block. I also had some vague notions of creating something “filmic”, perhaps capturing some noir-ish lighting and hinting at some kind of imagined narrative.

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

I put out a casting on a certain well-known social networking site (I doubt they need the name-check) asking for a volunteer non-model model. On other words, someone who was prepared to pose for me given the vaguest of briefs but ideally not someone who models on a regular or professional basis. I was chuffed when Samantha tentatively stepped forward.

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha has a great look: loads of tattoos, and with eyes that seem to change colour depending on the light. Dodging other residents and the cleaners, we started by shooting in the communal corridor and stairwells using only available light.

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

As you can see, I’ve also had a bit of fun with the post-production on these images. everything was shot on RAW, processed initially in Lightroom and then a bit of grunge texture mood added in Snapseed.

More to follow…

 

 

 

Pride: In The Ring

In the last of my boxing-related posts for the moment, I’m going to show you some action shots from Wolverhampton Civic Hall earlier this month where three of Priory Park ABC‘s boxers (Luke Paddock, Ricky Summers and Ryan “Tank” Aston) fought – and won – their bouts.

Luke Paddock

Luke Paddock

Luke Paddock

Luke Paddock

Ricky Summers is in the ring!

Ricky Summers is in the ring!

I’m sure I’ve said this before but boxing is never an easy thing to photograph: the boxers’ main intention is to move quickly and keep their faces covered as much as possible. A sports photography company I used to shoot for used to insist that a face was at least visible in all shots. At this particular venue, the light comes only from high above so when shooting upwards from ringside there’s the added complication that the hunched boxers’ faces are usually in strong shadow. The light levels here are also generally quite low and so to achieve 1/500s shutter speeds, you’ll need at least 3200 ISO much of the time even on a fast lens.

Ricky Summers in action

Ricky Summers in action

Ricky Summers gets a pep talk from trainer Paul Gough

Ricky Summers gets a pep talk from trainer Paul Gough

Ryan "Tank" Aston has his opponent on the ropes.

Ryan “Tank” Aston has his opponent on the ropes.

Let's face it, you really wouldn't want to get in the ring with Ryan Aston.

Let’s face it, you really wouldn’t want to get in the ring with Ryan Aston.

 

Waiting for a decision. Eventually, Ryan's opponent was declared unable to continue.

Waiting for a decision. Eventually, Ryan’s opponent was declared unable to continue.

I could have filled this page many times over with images from each of the bouts but hopefully these give you a bit of a flavour of the evening.

The Visor Conundrum

In these cash-straitened times, some companies, especially smaller ones, have taken to photographing their own products for their websites. In a way, this is bad news for professional commercial photographers who are losing commissions or at the very least are having to cut their fees to attract what few commissions are up for grabs. In another way, this is good news for some photographers, especially those who offer training and studio hire.

I have noticed quite an upturn in people hiring Fotofilia to shoot their own products – so that’s good news for me! It’s especially good when, as often happens, they massively under-estimate how long it will take to set up and shoot their products to a high standard. And ┬áthere’s another benefit to me: I have people coming in for 1-1 training on how to photograph their products, some having spent a small fortune on equipment that they now realise they have no idea how to use. Sometimes I have to break it to them that the equipment they have bought, though good in itself, is not suitable for photographing their product.

Occasionally, clients will have a go, give up, and come back to have their products shot professionally after all. Often, the product itself proves too tricky to photograph. Either way, I’m rather happy that people are having a go.

Over the years I have photographed many and varied products and I actually quite enjoy this kind of work. The following images are from a shoot for a regular client of mine who, for the record, does value the experience of a professional photographer. But this particular product range would prove to be a nightmare for most beginners.

The products are motorcycle visors, all of which are reflective to some extent, some completely clear, and must be shot against a clean white background in 4 different positions. To photograph the range of visors in just one position each is hard enough as every one is a different shape, with different reflective angles, necessitating a new lighting position for each shot. Shooting in a light-box is not an option because the reflections would just be too “flat” for the client’s taste.

And so I have two choices…

  1. A new lighting set-up for each position of each visor (which adds up to almost 400 lighting changes for the range – time-consuming and thus expensive), or…
  2. A “best fit” lighting set-up which will suit the widest range of items with the minimum amount of light movement.

Not surprisingly, the client went for option “2”. Here’s some pics to show you the problem…

See what I mean?