Friday, 29 January 2010


Do I want to be in a position where photography is my main source of income? I'm concerned I'd soon lose a lot of the enjoyment if photography became work and I was dependent on it to pay the bills. Then again, if someone was to pay me lots of money and fly me around the world to exotic locations I'm sure I'd change my mind.

I also wonder how many people think that, because they take good pictures, they can make it as a professional photographer - and fail. Many will consider photographic talent to be all that is required, but we're talking about a business and lots of businesses with good products fail because those involved simply don't have a clue about how to develop and run the business.

It's definitely a much harder market now. Digital SLRs are so common and recent consumer kit will easily equal or surpass the image standards of professional level gear from a few years ago. It's certainly not uncommon for wedding guests to have "better" gear than the pro shooting the wedding - not that the gear creates the image. While the pro might not have the latest camera body, the pro should have a spares for the critical bits of kit (camera body & flash) and I'd expect a serious pro to be using better than the consumer range lenses. Decent kit is now generally affordable and that makes it easy for a lot of people to offer "professional photographic services" for ludicrously low prices as an extension of their hobby. Sadly this will suit a large part of the market who are unable to see beyond the cheap price. Of course, "you get what you pay for" and that's probably not much beyond someone turning up to take the pictures and burning straight from the camera JPEGs onto a CD.

Maybe it's just experience (I'll avoid using "maturity" because that makes it sound like I've grown up), but I really value my time - the cheap, low quality and high volume space just doesn't offer the work/life balance I need. Finding the entry into the high-end market and developing that to be a steady and reliable source of income is the challenge.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Nostalgic? not me!

A few people I know tell me they are having a lot fun using film cameras.

I don't miss film. I like the instant gratification of digital images (and more importantly knowing that I'm somewhere close to right when I've taken the image). I did the darkroom thing a long time ago and it was never practical for me as a home endeavour. The limitations of using film (lack of a darkroom to allow me to control my results and the hassle of displaying slides or prints) essentially killed my interest in photograpy for a long time. I probably still have a roll or two of undeveloped film knocking around.

Nope, I'm definitely not nostalgic about film.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Re-touching Charlie

Charlie Banks hadn't noticed I'd uploaded some of her chosen edits.

Charlie Banks, make-up by Taiyyibah BashirThis shot has a different treatment from the others and maybe doesn't sit so well in the same a gallery. In discussing it, we did notice a couple of minor flaws so it got some extra work.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Slow progress

I'm not getting to do much image editing in the evenings just now. Ellie is staying with us and tends to want to occupy the space next to me on the couch where I'd normally put my graphics tablet.

This is Ellie (not a recent shot though) - we love her to bits:
Ellie - black Labrador cross-something

Friday, 22 January 2010

Bill Baber

Bill Baber has been in touch - he'd like to be able to use some of the images from the PETA charity fashion show at an upcoming trade show.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Does your wife not mind?

I've been asked this a couple of times - I suspect more in relation to nude shots than general fashion and portrait work. The answer is that Fiona is completely cool with it and she's normally there to assist - the shoot is generally a team effort.

Without Fiona's support and encouragement I wouldn't be doing this. Her assistance with reflectors and lighting during a shoot is invaluable - though I could sometimes do without her making the models laugh :D

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

EPS 3rd Monthly Projected Images Competition

From our limited experience this year, portrait work isn't generally common in the society competitions. With lots of nice shots to choose from recently, I went with one of Billie Lister (make-up by Ruth Evans) and one of Charlie McInally from our recent nearly cancelled shoot.

18/20 - "Billie":
Billie Lister, make-up by Ruth Evans

16/20 - "Charlie":
Charlie McInally

I'm very pleased with the scoring.

I really like the shot of Charlie, but have this nagging feeling it could be slightly better. I suspect I'm being overly critical and seeing faults with it that aren't really significant - the judge certainly didn't pick on what I considered obvious weaknesses, so maybe I just need to re-calibrate.

Surprisingly, there were a lot more portrait/people shots entered tonight.

The competition was judged by Duncan Macdonald (Kilbarchan).

Thursday, 14 January 2010


Puppy! Puppy! Puppy! Puppy! Puppy! Puppy! Puppy! Puppy! Puppy! Puppy! Puppy! Puppy!

... little things can make my day :D

If it's not obvious, I love dogs and Millie was making her first visit to us. Charlie McInally and Keith Morrell stayed for dinner too.

This is Millie - she's a Weimaraner/Labrador cross and great fun:

Millie - Weimaraner/Labrador cross

(taken in the kitchen - 50mm lens with the flash bounced off the ceiling).

With a need to display the lovely Millie to the world, I've created a new gallery of my favourite pooch portraits.

Monday, 11 January 2010

EPS Creative Group

EPS Creative Group competions have an open pictorial section and a set theme section. Tonight's theme was "minimalism" - definitely subject to interpretation.

I entered this shot of Billie Lister (make-up by Ruth Evans) for the pictorial section - it scored 18/20:

Billie Lister, make-up by Ruth Evans

For the minimalist theme I was finding it hard to choose, but in the end went with this older shot which scored 16/20:

farrier's hands, smoke, hot-shoeing

Tonight's judge was Steven Kay.


Charlie Banks has signed with Stolen Model Agency and wants to use a couple of my shots on her portfolio.

This one even made the news section on their front page:

Charlie Banks, make-up by Taiyyibah Bashir

The other choice is a tighter crop of this shot from the Hot Sauce music video:

Charlie Banks, Hot Sauce music video

I'm delighted.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

PETA charity fashion show

Haz Still had organzied this charity event in to raise funds for PETA and invited us to bring the gear.

Another good networking opportunity - though I need to be less shy and put myself about a bit more. Still, the resulting photos aren't too bad given the limitations of the environment.

[Full gallery (Facebook)]

Fiona was also covering the event - this is her gallery on Facebook

We grabbed a few shots with Charlie Banks afterwards - the shadows are a little stronger than I'd like, but I still like this shot:

Charlie Banks

Make-up was by Tatiana Ashakova and Ruth Evans.

Of course, with a bit more of a brass neck would have been displaying shots with lots more of the models.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


Woo-hoo, six of my shots are in use as avatar shots on Model Mayhem.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Charlie McInally 3/1/10

Charlie McInally was booked for the EPS Beginners' Studio evening, so I'd cheekily suggested a warm-up shoot since she hadn't shot since getting her nose operation (and nobody had posted any shots with her new haircut either). She made it to us through the snow, but having managed to hurt her back/shoulder driving to us we changed plans and had hot chocolate and bacon rolls instead. She did insist that we shoot something before she left, but we kept it simple and she didn't need to move much.

Charlie McInally

[Full Gallery - Charlie McInally]