Campaign portraits

Occasionally I'll send photos directly to a designer or retoucher straight from camera. Here are a couple of recent portraits to be used in an upcoming campaign.

They will likely be cropped to simple headshots and left on a white background, so while normally I wouldn't do any editing myself on these (especially as it wasn't required), I rather liked them and so had a play around with the background to make them presentable.

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Vauxhall animation

Vauxhall put together a stop-frame animation about the typical frustrations drivers experience for their new Mokka. (Above) I photographed our model running through the gamut of expressions. Then (below) from every angle:

(Below) We then covered dozens of gestures and reactions as sequences, both left-handed and right-handed, with different expressions. 

(Below) BTS:

Take your parents to work

I had the great privilege of running my own photography/Instagram stall at Facebook's first "Take your parents to work" day. I gave visitors pointers on photography, helped them understand the IG app, and edited a few pictures.

Questions ranged from, "What is Instagram?" to "Why don't I look nice in photos?" - as well as the ubiquitous, "How can I get more followers?" (which was my question). It was a lot of fun!  

Mixed bag (3)

Here's a collection of (mostly) recent shots:

For this portrait, I used the Magmod gobo to create a window light. Really lovely bit of kit!

For this portrait, I used the Magmod gobo to create a window light. Really lovely bit of kit!

A quick portrait for the charity Sense, who were working with Wayne McGregor dance at their new studios at the Olympic park. 

A quick portrait for the charity Sense, who were working with Wayne McGregor dance at their new studios at the Olympic park. 

Product photography for Fruitflow, a natural supplement which improves blood flow.

Product photography for Fruitflow, a natural supplement which improves blood flow.

Noma Dumezweni, who plays Hermione in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, wins best actress at the Mousetrap Awards. 

Noma Dumezweni, who plays Hermione in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, wins best actress at the Mousetrap Awards. 

Shot for The Times, there weren't many options for this portrait of an entrepreneur. They wanted him photographed outside next to some goalposts. Sadly, the goals were half-size and we only had a few minutes before the kids' teams took over the pitch. We did what we could, but it quickly turned into the photographer's (dreaded) "Man in a Field" situation, which I obliged but - well, let's just say there won't be a blog post about this shoot. As the saying goes, "I don't want excuses -I want pictures."

Shot for The Times, there weren't many options for this portrait of an entrepreneur. They wanted him photographed outside next to some goalposts. Sadly, the goals were half-size and we only had a few minutes before the kids' teams took over the pitch. We did what we could, but it quickly turned into the photographer's (dreaded) "Man in a Field" situation, which I obliged but - well, let's just say there won't be a blog post about this shoot. As the saying goes, "I don't want excuses -I want pictures."

Roy G. Biv and all that. Apparently, Isaac Newton added the indigo (previously they used to think there were three colours, then five, then six in a rainbow). And nobody knew what a rainbow was until the 17th century. The Greeks thought rainbows were a path created by the goddess of the rainbow, Iris, linking us to the immortals. Anyway, there aren't three, five, six or seven colours, but millions, all blending into one another. 

Roy G. Biv and all that. Apparently, Isaac Newton added the indigo (previously they used to think there were three colours, then five, then six in a rainbow). And nobody knew what a rainbow was until the 17th century. The Greeks thought rainbows were a path created by the goddess of the rainbow, Iris, linking us to the immortals. Anyway, there aren't three, five, six or seven colours, but millions, all blending into one another. 

Huawei - The New Aesthetic

At the end of 2016, MA Design: Ceramics, Furniture, Jewellery and MA Industrial Design students at Central Saint Martin's College were tasked with a brief to create new accessories for the brand, based around the concept of "The New Aesthetic". The winner and runner-up designs were developed into models and showcased at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to coincide with the launch of Huawei's P10 phone.

David Kim, Huawei Brand Director, introduces the brief and gives a background to the company. Not so well-known here, yet Huawei is the world's 3rd largest smartphone vendor, after Samsung and Apple.

David Kim, Huawei Brand Director, introduces the brief and gives a background to the company. Not so well-known here, yet Huawei is the world's 3rd largest smartphone vendor, after Samsung and Apple.

Two design masterclasses followed later from Mark Delaney, Head of Huawei London Design Centre, and Abi Brody - formerly of Apple, PayPal and eBay - who is Chief Designer + VP at Huawei Consumer.

 Abi Brody - Huawei Masterclass at CSM
 Abi Brody - Huawei Masterclass at CSM
In February, students presented their ideas in front of the panel of judges from Huawei and CSM.

In February, students presented their ideas in front of the panel of judges from Huawei and CSM.

The winning design - Spectra - is a necklace which scans colours and textures, transforming them into sounds. The user can "collect" sounds to create a kind of music as a way to document their experiences of a place.

The winning design - Spectra - is a necklace which scans colours and textures, transforming them into sounds.

The user can "collect" sounds to create a kind of music as a way to document their experiences of a place.

The entries are debated until late in the afternoon, and the winning team announced.

The entries are debated until late in the afternoon, and the winning team announced.

The winners - Spectra.

The winners - Spectra.

Battle

I came across one of these online the other day so dug out some more - they're from a dance competition a while back with a variety of styles for each battle, including Krump, Breakdance, Tutting, Boogaloo and House:  

War Horse in Brighton

The amazing Joey again, this time around various Brighton landmarks to publicise the upcoming UK tour.

We started early on Brighton beach, with the sun to the South-West - low and strong - exactly what I didn't want. Ideal for a silhouette - but Joey doesn't make for a silhouette.

Yes, we could have moved to the other side of the pier to have the sun lighting it from the side, but that would have been a bit of a hassle to move, and too easy to shoot. He's quite large, so I doubled up flashes (a first for me) and set them to full power to overpower the sun. A third flash was held up, pointing at his face.

 Joey visits Brighton ahead of his UK tour

Moving further down the beach, something similar but facing out of shot:

 Joey visits Brighton ahead of his UK tour
 Joey visits Brighton ahead of his UK tour

After a public launch event, we went to the Royal Pavilion where I shot similar from a stepladder. Other than rearing (which I liked less) there's not much for Joey to do, so it actually comes down to Jack (who controls Joey's head) to take more of a role. When I couldn't see Jack's face, it just didn't work. Finally we went inside to this lovely room (below) for one more quick photo to the bemusement of the many visitors just off camera left.

It's an amazing show - see it if you can.

 Joey visits Brighton ahead of his UK tour

Jane Eyre

Following a critically acclaimed season at the National Theatre, Jane Eyre is touring the UK from April. I was commissioned to photograph the cast and crew on their first day of rehearsals.

Normally, these take place in a large, open space with chairs which we arrange so as not to have everyone just standing in a line. It's a quick group shot, a smaller group of the cast, and then a shot of the lead(s).

This time, I walked in to see this great set: 

Finally, a chance to place people on different levels, where they can have different poses in, on and around a relevant and interesting location.

Except...

The first thing is that when something looks good, it doesn't necessarily translate well or immediately in a photo. This angle is ok, but I didn't much want to include the fire exit to the left of A, nor the lights above the stage. Also, somehow I always feel I want to get in "among" a location, but by shooting from points A or B, at once I lose 1/4 of the useful area of stage, as well as showing the doors, tables, fire exits etc. (out of shot).

 

It seems something from around the bottom/left of the ramp is probably the best option. 

As for lighting, the yellowish ambient is 1/60 at f5 on 1250 ISO, but I've brightened it up here so it's perhaps a stop or so less. Ideally I want a better depth of field, as there are a lot of people and I'm intending to spread them around the set.

I have three speedlights and my stands reach about 8 feet high.

On the right (C) I can't use (any kind) of light on a stand, because it won't be high enough for people around point B: it would light them from below. Apart from the fact the ramp is sloped, the end of the stage is higher than the floor. Moving it further away would begin equate to side-lighting - as well as distributing the light more evenly across the image from right to left - I'd need a huge amount of power, and due to to numbers, some of the forty or so people would likely fall into shadow. It could be done at full power perhaps, but recycle times would be slow. 

On the left of A and running behind towards me, there's a wall, limiting lighting options there. It's white and it can be bounced off, but its relative proximity to those on the ramp means they'll be lit, but those around B won't be.

Bouncing isn't a good solution either as the ceiling is high and dark brown wood. A lot of power for a limited return. 

The messy diagram above shows what I ended up doing. On the left, a reflective umbrella at point A (which you can see in the final shot below). It has less effect as the light falls off moving across to the right, becoming more of a fill. 

The second light, also on a stand, was pointed at a grey curtain several metres away at C. Pointing it upwards at a 60° angle created a high bounce, which made a soft fill light, from above right.

I kept one light on camera and also pointed it up and backwards (roughly 75°), again to bounce high off the wall right behind me. This acted as a fill for those at the front, who had no light on them. 1/100 at f6.3 was enough (just barely) to keep people sharp throughout.

A simpler shot ie without flash, using a higher ISO (perhaps 2500 or 5000) and sorting colours and general muddiness later in post might have been preferable: the portrait below of the actress playing Jane used one light and took less than 30 seconds!  

1000 Pieces Puzzle

1000 Pieces Puzzle is a Belgium / UK dance & education exchange. Artists on the programme went on a two-week residency in Brussels and London, taking part in workshops around choreography and dance, as well as developing their entrepreneurial and leadership skills.

I photographed the culmination of the project, a performance at Rich Mix in Shoreditch: