Views of the Vale

This was captured at the end of a family shoot. We’d walked through the woods together, which I’ve found to be a really good way to get everybody very relaxed. As we left the woods we came across the edge of a hill, with a monument in front of us and Aylesbury Vale spread out at our feet. It was too good an opportunity to miss… I don’t head out on shoots with a planned shot list. I might have …

Location Scouting & Cloud Cover

We had a tight brief for this portrait. Here’s how playing games, careful location scouting & controlling diffused daylight all played a part in its creation. This image was commissioned to promote a local beer festival. The brief was very specific: they wanted a red-headed girl playing hopscotch, to be used in a very tall, thin format (you can see the final ad below). If there’s one thing kids love, it’s playing games. Especially when those games involve movement. Enter …

Feminine Urban Portraiture

Find out the most important thing to look for in a location, and how to create a simple, authentic and feminine portrait with a subject who isn’t a model. It’s easy to focus on the problems with a location (gutters, street signs, cables etc), but a slight change of angle or a different crop can solve all of these. As long as the lighting is good, there is usually a way to make the location work. It would have been …

Outdoors Groom-To-Be Portrait

For outdoor portraits on location, I’ll often walk around an area with a subject. This keeps things relaxed and means when we come across a great location, we can set up a shot right there. However, although my general approach is spontaneous, I’m studying and checking every detail of the frame before I press the shutter release. This was shot as part of an engagement portrait session at Black Heath, in Greenwich. Phill is one of the most fashion-savvy grooms …

Using Location To Avoid Portrait Fatigue

I share my method for avoiding portrait fatigue then discuss light direction, visual balance/tension and why the unplanned portraits are often my favourites. One of the questions I often get asked is, “When photographing all day, every day, how do you avoid repeating images?” For me, one way of avoiding portrait fatigue is to head out to new locations with my clients. We meet up and go for a walk somewhere that I believe will provide good opportunities for aesthetically …

Wintry Woods Portrait

Wintry Woods Portrait Rushing out to capture a snowy portrait, I took inspiration from Winnie-the-Pooh by imagining the scene as a drawing. This method can help you convey narrative. Our little village of Haddenham is iced with snow only once every few years – and even then it’s usually the lightest dusting. Its rarity makes it a novelty, so we ran from the warmth of the studio as it began to fall and headed to the woods to make the …

Running In The Rain

As a professional portrait photographer, you can’t always wait until the weather is perfect. And sometimes it is perfect when you start a shoot, but then everything changes… and a different, even more unique opportunity emerges than the portrait you had planned. As so often with the British weather, the rain on the day of this shoot took us all by surprise. We had started proceedings on a bright, clear and warm day, when suddenly the sky started to darken. …

Posing A Couple In A Tourist Hotspot!

When you want to include a famous city landmark in a portrait, you need to arrive very early, arrive very late, or be prepared to wait. And wait. And wait… This was taken below the Hertford Bridge in Oxford. The distinctive design of the bridge (thought to be inspired by this bridge in Venice), coupled with its proximity to other landmarks in the city mean that it is continually crowded with camera-welding tourists. Nevertheless, I was determined to get the …

Intrigue In The Abbey

Want your subject to shine, and your background to fade into the shadows? Make it happen by positioning your subject in a brighter patch of light and exposing for his or her skin. This portrait was taken while I was waiting to photograph a prom in an abbey. The room we were in was pleasant enough. However, as a portrait photographer I want your eyes to be drawn straight to my subject’s face, not what’s behind them. Lighting their face …

Group Graffiti Portrait In London

What’s the best way to include a variety of locations in your images from a single shoot? Go for a walk with your subject(s), just as I did with these five friends. This graffiti wall was just one of the perfect locations we came across. These five friends are all from Norway (although the woman who contacted me to arrange the shoot, Cathrine, now lives in the UK). They wanted some portraits together in London, so I arrived there bright …