Working with people of different heights

How do you balance out height differences in a couple or group? This is my approach to photographing short and tall people together – and why sometimes it’s best not to manipulate height differences at all. I was recently commissioned to create a panoramic image for a company’s website, featuring everyone in the team. For this kind of job, I typically shoot everyone individually, then combine the images in post-production. This allows for a little manipulation to even out big …

Award-Winning Studio Dog Portrait

This portrait of Rufus, our studio dog, won ‘Dog Portrait of the Year’ at the 2018 Master Photographers Association Awards. Here’s how we created it. It’s always lovely to win an award. It’s extra nice to win one for a personal portrait. This shot was taken for Sarah, my wife, as a birthday present. Sarah loves Rufus (a slightly errant working cocker spaniel) possibly more than she loves the rest of us, so I knew she’d be delighted with a …

Working With Dogs

As your camera skills develop and your reputation spreads, it won’t be long before you are tasked with capturing a beautiful dog portrait or two. Whether it’s a beloved family mutt, or a beautifully groomed show breed, the tips in this section will guide you through successfully interacting with dogs (and their owners) to capture perfect pet portraits for your clients.

Striking a deal to get the shot

Alex wasn’t interested in having his photo taken, so I needed a strategy to encourage him to cooperate. Happily, one of the tricks up my sleeve worked a treat, enabling me to get him involved and even capture this joyful portrait. I still don’t know what the official term for this leaping heal-kick is. I’ve always called it a ‘Dick Van Dyke’ as, along with his decidedly dubious Cockney accent, this is what I most remember him for. When I …

When the puppy has other ideas…

So there I was, lying on the floor one (really) cold December day, capturing portraits of this family walking along with their new puppy. All of a sudden, the puppy hurtled towards me. What to do? React – quickly – and seize the opportunity for a totally different image: this one.   Families who rarely meet up during the year often make the effort to do so over the Christmas period. So, even though it’s too late to make sales …

Fun portrait of a close friendship

It was the last summer before four very good friends said their goodbyes and parted ways. My commission was to capture the joy of their time together for them to look back on. This was taken as part of a 16th birthday shoot for Sophie (on the far right of this shot). She was one of a group of four who had been friends forever and were about to be apart for the first time as they were heading off …

Movie-star posing for teen groups

Three sisters wanted a great shot of their collective pre-teen, teenage and young adult children. The kids were less than enthusiastic – how could I get them on board? This portrait was one of 20 images in my submission for the top professional qualification, a Fellowship with the Master Photographers Association. I took it during a session booked by three sisters. They were looking for a portrait of their combined offspring: ten cousins, aged between 10 and 21 years old. …

Creating triangles with a family of four

When you’re faced with a group of people, the easy option is to get them to sit or stand close together. Instead spend a little more time to position them so that the pattern of their heads in the frame creates a more interesting shape, like a triangle. Amy, Blaize, Kai and Callie spent the day with us while we were filming our promotional video for Paul Wilkinson Photography. Part of the video shows what our portrait shoots are like, …

Working With Groups And Families

Just when you’ve mastered posing one person, you’re asked to capture a whole bunch of them. How do you pose multiple people to achieve a visually pleasing composition? How do you avoid the totem pole and police line-up effect of stacking people head on head or side by side? How do you make posing look natural? This section has the answers…

Newborn Portraits With No Kit And No Time

With all the time and kit in the world, it would be easy creating spectacular newborn portraits all the time. Back in the real world, there’s often a balance to be sought: what kit do you really need, versus what would be nice to have, and what can you realistically achieve in the time that you have? This was taken before I owned dedicated kit for photographing newborns. When it comes to equipment, it’s easy to feel like you can’t …