Childrens Portrait Shoot

I had the pleasure of doing some Kids Portraits with Lucy and Emma recently, and while photographing children can be challenging there are some simple things you can do to make things run smoothly.

Emma, Childrens Portrait
Emma, Childrens Portrait

Firstly be realistic. Kids have a relatively short attention span, so don’t expect to get more than twenty mins with them before the Natives start to get Restless. Try to keep your setup as simple as possible. In this case I pulled a few curtains and used window light and a white reflector. This means that there are less things for you to worry about and also less things to distract the kids.

Secondly, you absolutely need to know your camera settings inside out. While adults will be patient while you work out some technical difficulties, kids won’t. If it tales you ten minutes to work out your camera settings, then you have just lost half your shooting time.

One of the things I always do when I first talk to them, is advise the parents to dress the kids in relatively plain and simple outfits. While kids love strong colours/patterns/text, it can date very quickly and be very distracting. I also warn them that there is a €5 fine for using the S Word (SMILE).

After that it’s just a question of engaging with the children and working with the parents, and hopefully they will sit/stand still long enough for you to get the shots.

Finally, as they say in the Boy Scouts, Be Prepared. Often the best images are the ones you get in between the posed shots. In the first image Emma was starting to get tired and her Mum was helping to calm her and comfort her. I really like this image, as you can feel the bond between a mother and her child.

In the second image, just as we were finishing up, Lucy started messing and pretending she was a model without being prompted. So I picked my camera back up and got this shot.

Lucy, Childrens Portrait
Lucy, Childrens Portrait

Two Light Portrait Setup

I think it’s important to constantly  try different Lighting Setups  so that you are always adding to your skillets. This means that when you are faced with different/difficult lighting situations, you will always have options.

Low-Key Portrait/Headshot
Low-Key Portrait/Headshot

In the shot above I used two speedlights with a softbox and a snoot. I placed the key light very close so that we have a very quick fall off of light across the face to give that moody look with the shadows. It also means that the background falls into darkness. I then used the second light to subtly light the background to separate the subject from the background.

Low-Key Portrait/Headshot
Low-Key Portrait/Headshot

This is the same shot processed into Black & White. I will always do this to see which best suits the subjects skin tones and complexion.

Photography Workshop for Fashion Retail Outlet

Great workshop with Jiliana, Lorraine and Ciara from Place Gorey. In this session we worked on basic camera settings and played with several different “Three Light Setups” so that Juliana and the team at Place can take consistent, high quality images for use on their Web Site and Social Media.

Place Gorey, Photography Workshop
Place Gorey, Photography Workshop

Next session will concentrate on lighting for product images, jewellery/accessories and some post processing using Adobe Lightroom.

Place Gorey, Photography Workshop
Place Gorey, Photography Workshop

We will also be checking homework! Start taking lots of images for next week.

P.S. Sorry Lorraine, the only shot I had of the behind the scenes setup was one with your eyes closed. I promise I’ll make up for it next week.

Showing Motion Blur to convey the speed of Fast Moving Action.

One of the big problems when photographing fast moving action is how do you convey the sense of speed.

Ferns Motorcross
Ferns Motorcross

Modern Digital Cameras are fantastic at getting a perfectly exposed image that is in focus, but on a sunny day that will mean that you have managed to freeze the action perfectly, which in this case makes the riders look like they are standing still.

Ferns Motorcross
Ferns Motorcross

The trick is to drop your shutter speed and pan with your camera at the exact same speed of the rider you are trying to photograph. This will mean that the rider is sharp, but the background is blurred, giving you a much greater sense of the speed the riders are travelling at.

That’s the theory. The practice is much, much more difficult. At the start of the day I was getting one “ok” shot in twenty, but with a lot of practice, by the end of the day I was getting one in five.

The harder you practice the luckier you get.

Business Headshot for Boutique Owner/Fashion Brand

Great to work with Niamh Byrne from Ruby Rouge Gorey this week.

Niamh contacted me to say that she needed some Headshots and some Full Length shots in the boutique, to be used for an article in the business supplement of a National Newspaper. The catch was that the photos had to be shot, edited and emailed to the paper by 7:00pm and Niamh would not be finished with Hair and Make-up until 5:00pm.

Niamh Byrne, Ruby Rouge, Gorey, Wexford
Niamh Byrne, Ruby Rouge, Gorey, Wexford

Luckily for me, one of the things I always do after each project is check all my lights, charge all my batteries and download/backup/format my memory cards so that I am ready to go at very short notice.

The most important thing when taking Headshots is to talk to the client and find out what the shots will be used for and what image they want to portray. For example there is a huge difference in how you would light/shoot a headshot to convey CEO/Master of the Universe and Happy Go Lucky/Not a Care in the World.

Niamh Byrne, Ruby Rouge, Gorey, Wexford
Niamh Byrne, Ruby Rouge, Gorey, Wexford

In Niamh’s case, she had a very clear view as to what image she wanted to portray and how it would fit in with her overall branding for Ruby Rouge that she has worked to build up over the last number of years. This meant that the process of taking and selecting the shots went smoothly leaving just enough time to edit the shots and make the deadline.

Event Photography, My experience photographing a recent Charity Fashion Show.

I was recently asked to photograph the Ruby Rouge Gorey, Downton Abbey themed, Charity Fashion Show at Marlfield House Hotel.

Ruby Rouge, Downton Abbey, Fashion Show, Marlfield House
Ruby Rouge, Downton Abbey, Fashion Show, Marlfield House

The idea was to get a series of shots that conveyed the Downton Abbey theme, highlighted the venue, show the main organisers, photograph the outfits and capture the atmosphere. As you can see there are a lot of balls to juggle and seemingly conflicting requirements.

Ruby Rouge, Downton Abbey, Fashion Show, Marlfield House
Ruby Rouge, Downton Abbey, Fashion Show, Marlfield House

The first thing I realised was that I can’t be in multiple locations at the one time, so I enlisted the help of two fellow photographers, William and Heather to help out.

Ruby Rouge, Downton Abbey, Fashion Show, Marlfield House
Ruby Rouge, Downton Abbey, Fashion Show, Marlfield House

The second thing we realised was that if this was to go smoothly we would have to do our preparations properly. So to that end, even though the Fashion show was not starting till 7:00pm, we arranged to be on site at 3:30pm to scope out the venue and meet with the organisers.

We were able to;

– Get a full walk through the venue and see the exact route of the models would take.

– Get the itinerary for the event, even though we were told that this could change.

– Meet the staff from the Organisers, Hotel, Sound, Hair, Make Up and some of the models, so that we could address them by name should we need their help at any stage.

– Get a Required Shot List.

– Get agreement that several of the models and actors would be made available to us at a specific time and location for key shots.

– Test fixed lighting and mobile lighting in several locations so that we had a fair idea where we were going to get the different types of shots and that we had backup locations if required.

– Test cameras and lighting so that we would not have to work out settings on the fly later.

Ruby Rouge, Downton Abbey, Fashion Show, Marlfield House
Ruby Rouge, Downton Abbey, Fashion Show, Marlfield House

While all this may seem like an awful lot of effort, believe me, it makes the difference between being relatively calm and able to adapt to the changing situation (because the goal posts will be moved on you several times) and running around like a headless chicken trying to figure out what will happen next and who you need to talk to to get something done.

Ruby Rouge, Downton Abbey, Fashion Show, Marlfield House
Ruby Rouge, Downton Abbey, Fashion Show, Marlfield House

As a famous comedian once said “The best Ad-lib is the rehearsed Ad-lib.” and this particularly applies to Event photography.

Oh, one other thing, make sure you eat properly and drink lots of fluids (Non-Alcoholic). I made the mistake of not having eaten anything since 8:00am and as a result, by 11:30pm found I was fading fast and struggling to maintain concentration.

Photographing a Service Based Business.

When taking photos for a service based business you have to strike a balance between making the business/people look professional and still make them seem warm, friendly and approachable.

Make the photos bright and open. This will convey a sense of openness and invitation. And the most important thing is to have fun. It will show in the images.

Headshot
Headshot
Beautician at work.
Beautician at work.

Oh, and don’t forget the detain shots.

Beautician detail shot.
Beautician detail shot.

Do you really need a Headshot?

Today image is everything, pardon the pun and this particularly applies to your Digital Footprint.

When you meet somebody new, whether it’s in a personal, business or particularly applying for a job, the first thing they will do is Google your name and check you out on-line.

Headshot, Greta Doncova
Headshot, Greta Doncova

How would you like to be portrayed? By a badly lit Selfie from your Smartphone or by a Professional Headshot which is tailored to a specific audience.

Remember, People do business with People and a good profile picture will mean that people are much more likely to interact with you in either a Business or Personal context.

Self Portrait Headshot

I was told that I looked very stern and cross in my profile picture, so I decided I would take some new headshots. However when there is nobody behind the camera and you are not a pro professional model, it’s hard to get a genuine expression.

I’m not sure these shots were entirely successful 😉

John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot
John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot
John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot
John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot
John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot
John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot
John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot
John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot
John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot
John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot
John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot
John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot
John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot
John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot
John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot
John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot
John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot
John Timmons Self Portrait Headshot

Event Photography Tips and Challenges.

When photographing events, particularly public events, you generally have no control over your environment. You have to deal with bad and changing light, schedules and itineraries are a moving target and the event organisers have no idea how minor changes can have huge implications for photographers.

The image below was take at a recent public street music festival. The light was very low level LED Lighting which was constantly changing in intensity and colour. The violinist was right at the side of the stage and only lit infrequently.

Tasmanian Dust Devils, Party in Pink
Tasmanian Dust Devils, Party in Pink


After moving five or six times, I finally found a spot where I thought I might be able to get a shot. I then spent several minutes figuring out what camera settings would work and then after taking shots for another ten minutes I finally got a few images that I was happy with.

If you want to get that difficult shot you have to;

– Be patient and spend time figuring out which is the best angle to shoot from taking the available light into account.

– Know your camera settings inside out, so you can get the most out of your equipment. (RTFM, Read The Fecking Manual)

– Don’t expect to get the shot straight away. It will often take several minutes, but sometimes a lot longer, before the right opportunity presents itself.