Faces in places

Recently I have had a few requests for portraits in let’s say; less than ordinary locations, this type of photography is exciting for a number of reasons, it makes you think carefully about your lighting and how you can use it to emphasise or enhance the subject, sometimes there is no light there at all to start with so you have to add it yourself, another big factor with this type of shot is the direction required for the subject and the relationship you build and then there’s the time pressure it often forces you to think quickly. Finding a good and suitable location and spending some time there before your sitter arrives is key to being comfortable and ready for the time the actual main part of the photograph arrives!

In these locations below I have used small speedlight flashes with various means to either soften or direct the lighting depending on the desired result.

This first shot was fun, I had someone to hold a lightstand with umbrella and flash and position it over the water just above the subjects head  (I taped the flash to the stand as an extra insurance to prevent an accident!) I had to get really low, almost level with the water surface to get the prospective I was looking for.

_NCH6518-Edit-3 This next shot was a little more complex with a few lights and also someone throwing flour and small stones into the shot from the right to add to the drama of breaking a wall!

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This last couple of shots were taken in the plant room where there were plenty of interesting backgrounds that are suited perfectly to an engineering portrait. As there was very little existing light I had to add some hard light for the background and softlight for the subject.

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Thanks for stopping by, more soon.

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Strawberries and cream

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_NCH4442-2Well it’s a big part of the summer pretty much everywhere I guess, I’ve certainly had fantastic strawberries from Romania to The Netherlands plus a few places in between like Denmark and Sweden and most certainly France. Strawberries and cream are one of the natural partnerships in the food world you know like; lamb and mint, asparagus and hollandaise, bacon and tomato ketchup (?) Pancakes, sugar and lemon etc etc…

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These photos I _NCH4434-2took in a banquet room in a hotel for a summer promotion and I wanted to recreate the look of being outside on the grass (think Wimbledon) on a sunny day. The setup was simple with some artificial grass and a large net-curtain with a couple of flashes to simulate some sunshine.

What are your favourite food partnerships?

hit me in the comments section and I will see what I can create for you in pictures.

Bread and asparagus

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A really nice loaf this one with a good tasty crust and a yeasty taste

You need:

  • 160g strong bread flour
  • a small pinch of instant dried yeast from a 7g packet
  • 115g water

Mix the above into a dough, knead for a few minutes then cover and store in the fridge over night.

Next day, heat your oven to 200 C/gas 6

  • 270g strong bread flour
  • 8g salt
  • the dough you made last night
  • 145g cold water
  • the rest of the 7g packet of yeast

Make a dough with these ingredients and knead for a good 10 minutes, leave to rest for 30 minutes, then divide into 4 equal parts and form them into balls.

Place them in a greased loaf tin, cover and leave to proove at room temperature until at least double in size.

Bake for 25 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 180 C/gas 5 remove from the tin and put back in the oven for 5 minutes.

As for the asparagus, best just boiled al-dente and eaten with salt and butter.

Really happy with the light on these shots, 3 speedlights with a blue gel on the background. Have a good week everyone!

Creating mood

So another Eurovision song contest comes and goes and the Scandi fever can subside at least for a year, it would have been a bit much if Sweden had won (was a good song mind) having hosted it last year oh goodness me was it really 40 years ago that ABBA won …etc etc

A couple of fun shots recently made with a couple of chefs illustrating how you can change the mood of a photo with light, expression and some attitude. In addition to the energy and personality of the subject in a photo it has been said that sometimes it’s not what you light in a photo it’s what you don’t light and a closer study of the portfolios of masters such as Gregory Heisler and Dan Winters illustrate this point to the max. Shadows are most definitely your friends.
In fact a photographer can make you look any way he/she wants just with a few adjustments of lights, hands up who as a kid has ever held a torch under your chin in the dark and laughed at the ghoulish image! Yes under normal circumstances faces don’t look great lit from below.
These pictures below were all shot with basically the same lighting which was 2 flashheads to the left of the scene bouncing their light off a big white sheet hanging between 2 trolleys, very simple. A reflector was positioned or removed on the right hand side as needed.

Bread rolls and beer

I used beer instead of water in the dough for these rolls but the thing is the beer here from the supermarket is limited to a maximum of 3.5% alcohol so it doesn’t taste that beery, it looks like real beer but the taste is a bit on the watery side if you want to learn more about alcohol in Sweden…this from Wiki:

Sweden has a government alcohol monopoly called Systembolaget for sale of all beverages stronger than 3.5% by volume. Minimum purchase age at Systembolaget is 20 years, but 18 at restaurants and bars with proper permission.
Beer is legally divided into three classes. Class I (maximum 2.25%), called lättöl (“light beer”), is sold without restrictions (although shops often set their own age restrictions). Class II (up to 3.5%), called folköl (“people’s beer”), is sold in regular stores, but with the minimum purchase age of 18. Class III, starköl (“strong beer”, over 3.5%) is sold only in Systembolaget stores.
Here is some Guiness at 3.5% and another supermarket beer, I like the bit where it says “same great taste as the pub” never-the-less the rolls tasted great!

The Spring Equinox

 Like every year at this time on a clear moonlit night they gathered around the stones and waited

…and like every year nothing happened! sorry chaps it’s just a photo!
Today it’s the Spring Equinox at least according to Julius Caesar when he created his calendar back in 45 BC. In loose terms (according to some) it’s when the day and night are of equal length although today, here in Sweden however it means another rainy day as far as I have seen.
But we do have some Daffodils in the garden threatening to come out and the shrubbery is also looking about ready to green up. So this weekend will be the first official gardening weekend and no doubt the neighbour hood will be alive with the buzz of electric garden tools and the chug-chug-phut of poorly maintained mowers. Happy spring!

Comparing apples to apples and the difference between dark and light

Sounds heavy eh? bear with me…

Here’s the apples to apples bit, two shots I made yesterday of the same subject from two different angles, different lens’s as well. Who can guess how the lighting set up was, in other words what kind of light did I use and how many and where were they placed?

 
And now the dark and light, I was looking at notable blogs and came across this one which had great photography in fact it won the Saveur best food blog 2013 in the photography category, called vkreesphotography.com it is a food blog by Vanessa Rees who is in Brooklyn USA and what particularly caught my eye was two of the sections in her portfolio called dark food and light food, on closer inspection it turns out it’s the overall colour key of the image so more dark in the picture especially background is dark food, and lighter background equals light food right?
I have included two screenshot examples from her excellent portfolio below to illustrate the point.

Photo credit: VK REES PHOTOGRAPHY

Photo credit: VK REES PHOTOGRAPHY

Check out her blog and photography portfolio here vkreesphotography.com