A Portrait of Two Halves

When Liv and Hannah turned up in opposite-coloured tops I had to adapt from my usual tendency towards portraits with narrow tonal ranges. Getting forced out of your usual habits can result in some of your most creative images, so use it as an opportunity to experiment. When all else fails, you can always exaggerate differences for creative impact. Liv and Hannah came into my studio as part of a project for MasteringPortraitPhotography.com. I prefer harmonious colour palettes when it …

Whizzing out the frame in a Little Italy Van

What happens when a commercial client challenges you to create an unusual portrait in a place where the light isn’t quite right? You get creative, work out what the final image should look like, then find out a way to make it happen, of course… This was a commercial shoot for Little Italy, an espresso bar a few hundred yards down the street from us in Haddenham, Buckinghamshire. In lieu of payment, Little Italy display my portraits in their customer …

Video: Easy natural light garden portrait of Nikki

Being flexible when things don’t go quite to plan often results in the best images of all. Ah, British weather. Here’s what happened when all our best-laid plans went out of the window. You can either complain about it or get on with it – we opted for the latter and ended up with a beautiful portrait of our model Nikki, framed by out-of-focus lavender. Sneak behind-the-scenes with us as I talk you though the thinking behind the portrait.

Video: Fine-tuning your subject’s position in a tunnel of topshade

Topshade occurs when your subject is shielded from the sun overhead, by trees, building overhangs and archways or tunnels. Tunnels of topshade provide a special lighting opportunity, and are worth looking out for. As Paul shows in this video, changing the position of your subject within that tunnel enables you to fine-tune the balance of light on your subject’s face compared to the light in the background. Then, in the second half of this video, Paul touches on taking opportunities …

Video: Striking teenager portrait compositions using urban street features

You don’t need to go far to find great locations and beautiful light for your portraits. Join us behind-the-scenes as we take a walk around the streets near the studio to capture stunning portraits of two teenagers using just one camera, one lens and Paul’s favourite light source of all, daylight. You’ll get inspired by how easy it is to find potential in everyday locations: a wall, a doorway, even a kerb! Paul shows the settings he uses, how his …

Video: Seven daylight portraits in ten minutes

Your location doesn’t have to be a limiting factor: with a little creativity, you can achieve a lot in a space most people would pass by without a second glance. In fact, you don’t even need to change or move much to achieve a varied set of portraits in one small area. In this short video, Paul shows how he created seven very different portraits of our young model, Kai, in ten minutes, using only daylight and a little creativity.

Video: BMX Multiple Exposure Action Portrait

In this video we head to a skatepark for an action portrait with a difference: five exposures combined into one. You’ll find out how I spotted the shot, captured the frames I needed to bring it together and worked safely (well, as safely as possible!). You’ll see my images straight-out-of-the-camera (with the exposure settings I used) as well as my finished edits.

Aiming For The Lens

My high risk strategy for getting young James to look directly down my camera lens (and why safer alternatives are a good bet for engaging portraits, too) To get this shot, I challenged James to throw one of his marbles and land it inside my lens hood. He thought this was very funny and set about the task with enthusiasm. This gave me plenty of opportunities to capture the right moment just as a marble went airborne. I happily acknowledge …