Commercial Photographer London


The place ….. Wembley Stadium
The event ….. the JDM AllStars Drift series – round 4

The scene is set.
For 2 days in late August the locals around London came to watch the 2 day specticle of a bunch of men skidding in their pants.

I say that, but one of the skidders was just a boy …. of 13 (I kid[sic] you not).

I went along to see what was occurring ….. waved my golden ticket (aka my NUJ card) at an Oompa Loompa, donned my fluro jacket and chased the cars up and down the carpark like a 14yr old chav princess looking for a DSS handout.

Ok, not quite, but while I was there I took some shots of the action. Got some shots as well as totally drenched in a downpour … thank you Nikon engineers for creating cameras with better water sealing than a fish’s butthole.

Did a small accompanying video … 5 minutes of HD goodness. Grab a cuppa and a biccy and enjoy 🙂
As always – feedback and/or comments welcome

If for some reason the video doesn’t show below, refresh this page or go directly to the video …… here

HDR Single Exposure

This is a follow-on to my previous post HDR Explained

To recap – HDR is a method of blending images to get as much detail as possible from multiple exposures.
In this post I’ll (hopefully) explain why it’s best to avoid it if possible and show you an example of why you don’t really need HDR.

So ….. you’ve taken a picture of a landscape and created an HDR composite.
You like it.
Your family and friends like it.
You share it on Flickr and a bunch of sheep say that HDR is rubbish and false and rubbish (x2 so it must be true). Probably because they heard a friend or an ‘internet Pro’ dissing it.

The fact is that people can’t say someone is wrong when it comes to a personal opinion or personal taste.
If you like it then you like it, if you don’t then you don’t – there is no right or wrong. But nobody should tell you not to do it just because they don’t like it.

So, do I use HDR?
…. er… no

I know I just did the big "in defence" thing, but the reality is that, unless you’re a landscape photographer (which I’m not) then in most cases HDR isn’t really practical. It’s a possibility when you have a static subject, but when you want a dynamic image and you’re photographing something like racing or sports or doing portraits then it’s really a no-go.

So to still make your images "pop" then you need to start digging into the areas of lighting and/or more advanced post-processing.
This means you actually have to do some work instead of pressing 2 buttons and letting your computer do the heavy lifting for you 😉

At this point you probably want me to show an example so …..

Here’s an example image which I took waaaay back in March this year.
You will see that the image has almost bleached the sky and yet under the car is still soooper dark.

I take the Raw file from the camera and enter it into Lightroom. From here I’ll start making some non-destructive adjustments to the file to the point that it looks something like the file below.

As you’ll see, I’ve recovered a lot of the details back into the image and it now has a better balance. At this point I’d normally export it for a client to see as part of their online gallery/contact sheet so they can make their selections.

Normally this would be 95% there, but cars can usually take quite a hard edit, so from Lightroom I’ll export the image as a 16bit TIFF (for maximum detail) into Photoshop.
In PS I’ll start running through some actions that I’ve built with an aim to get to the image I have in my head. In the example below – this took me a little while to do which is why I’ll only do it on client selected images, not all of them.

This to my eye is the way it should look with perhaps some final polish to finish it off.
Part of my editing involves "painting" in the detail and dynamic elements to the image, whereas with HDR it’s like pouring a bucket over the picture and what you get is what you get.

Generally speaking HDR looks quite flat because the contrast has been eliminated during the blend, but it also tends to look "soft" too. You’ll see the processed single image is 100% pin sharp and has depth and form created by the contrast.

So, by taking the time to build some PS experience I can create something I’m happy with.

So there you have it. HDR Vs Single image editing. No composites or pulling elements from other pictures. It’s enough to catch someone’s eye and if you look deeper you can see it’s edited, but not enough to make it too detailed and flat the way HDR does.

For more examples of single exposure editing – see my earlier post on Colonsay Panoramas. Some of those were stitched together from up to 19 images to create 1 huge panorama which was then edited once in photoshop. I shudder to think of doing those in HDR (PC meltdown).

Click the split images to see a direct before and after:

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Following my trip to Colonsay, I have finished editing some of the panoramas I took.
They are a combination of 3 to 15 images depending on the image and how wide I went with a couple being a complete 360deg sweep….

They range in sizes with the biggest ones being around the 5ft mark, so they could easily be blown up to 20ft and beyond.
Pictures this size are a huuuuge amount of data which are slow to put together and edit, but now they’re complete they’re ready for action.

All the images are available for licensing and I’m in discussions with a few companies as well as the Scottish Tourist Board.
Here’s hoping they like what they see and can make use of them.

Feedback or comments are welcome.

I was asked recently to do some promo shots for up-and-coming rock band Luminaire

So we found ourselves on a warm sunny day running about in Hearfordshire looking for interesting backgrounds and shots.
The bassist said they wanted dark shots … as they’re rockers, but when I asked what Luminaire is supposed to mean, he said light

In the end I incorporated light as a theme into some of the shots and they were veeery happy with the results 🙂

Below is a selection of the 30 images they chose for their posters and CD sleeves
Although they look serious, we had a blast on the day, jumping around and laughing – but as a rock band they went with the ‘serious’ selection 😉




A couple of the shots as used by the band:


A Link to their online prescence is here:
Luminaire on Facebook:
Luminaire on MySpace:


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