Manchester Arndale

The big wheel in Manchester City Centre



The big wind down begins here folks! Unless you sell tech, or toys, or Christmas Cards, you can say your year has drawn to an end. A friend of mine sells lingerie on-line, and she says, December is a big month for sales. According to this mornings news, today is the busiest day for on-line retailers, with customers placing orders for guaranteed Christmas delivery.

In my world, we are winding down somewhat. Christmas portraits are still sort after, and that side of the business is quite buoyant, but in terms of other work, we have reached meltdown. Everything halts while Christmas waves it’s cheery hand.

Yesterday, Sunday 27th, was my last studio model day. Over the last few months I have been running discounted model shoots, where the model does a few hours studio posing for clients, who hire her, and the studio by the hour.

The model days have been very enjoyable to produce, and we’ve had some great feedback from everyone who has attended. As the vast majority who have taken the time slots have been amateur photographers, they are now saving money for Christmas presents, which is quite understandable.

I haven’t been in my studio a year yet, I opened in March, but trends are trends no matter where you are situated. I am going to sit and reflect over the events of 2011 soon, and write about how we arrived where we are, from what was an empty shell of a shop. Also, this quiet time gives me some time to myself, so I may get the ol’ camera out for fun, rather than profit, and see what I can come up with.

Sounds like fun!



Aye Aye

I see the same old treads on forums, and linked messages on Twitter, and just about everywhere else togs go to bore each other rigid. That old chestnut entitled, “How to take better photographs”!

Like an idiot, I fall for the blurb every time, and I take a visit to see what tips are being given away free, only to find the same old shit which has been around for years. Tip one, buy better glass, Tip two, buy a better camera, Tip three, buy a tripod or a bag of rice!

Brilliant! What a waste of time! There’s another ten minutes of my life I won’t get back again.

So, it made me think, why does taking better photographs solely rely on buying better kit? Surely the way to take better photographs, is to use your imagination, and to also use your eyes. Look at what is in your background, to make sure there is nothing distracting, or use a quirky angle to add a little interest. Those things cost nothing.

If you are stupid enough to think the only way to take great images, is to throw money at the damn thing, you deserve what you get. All that will happen, with your new glass, and newly found higher megapixel count, is the crap you are shooting is sharper!

Here’s my tip. Take a couple of photos, come back, and explore every detail, the exposure, depth of field, composition, and learn from any mistakes you have made. The best images are not always taken by people who own the most expensive kit, they are taken by great photographers, who have a great eye!

Lime Street Station

This shot was taken 12 months ago, and it was never meant to be a street scene, it was just a snap taken on a lovely Summer Monday. I suppose if you leave me alone long enough, I get bored, and when I am bored, my mind wanders.

This photo was taken in Liverpool city centre, it’s shows the new steps which lead to Lime Street Station. The reason I was bored? My girlfriend had gone to the toilet. It doesn’t take long for my mind to start wandering!

Street Photography

“Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees”. Paul Strand.

Call it whatever you like, “Street Photography”, has all but died out. A form of documentary photography, which started around 1890, and continued in one form or another, to the mid 1970’s.

The style, is a candid look at the way we lived, documenting people, places, and notable events. Looking back on photographs from these bygone era’s, now gives us an idea of how people lived back then. Personally, I like the street photography which includes people, rather than the William Eggleston style, of just capturing inanimate objects and buildings. The inclusion of people in these images, somehow brings the scenes to life, and people, as always, add interest.

I thought I would do some street scenes, and based on the fact that a certain amount of urban decay adds to the overall theme and feel of this style, I chose this as my first subject. I also shot it at ISO 800 to add some grain, just to add some mood. And to cap it all off, I decided to turn the image monochrome.

This is Winwick Street, Warrington. The bridge is the railway which runs between Liverpool and Manchester.

Hard Copy

It would be a cliche to say we live in a digital world, and it would be obvious to say we have embraced the new technology, and taken the latest tech to our hearts. When I started out as a wedding photographer, there would be one or two guests shooting over my shoulder. Now, everyone has a pop at what I have set up, not only with digi cameras, but a whole host of smart phones are held to eye level all around me. It’s almost like being at a paparazzi convention some times.

It’s very true to say, digital technology has given people the confidence to snap away, at almost anything which stands still long enough to become subject matter. Party, this is due to cost. It costs absolutely nothing to take a picture these days, at least, once you have the kit it doesn’t. Whether that kit be a 5 grand Canon 1Ds or an iPhone.

One of the side effects of the digital revolution, which only started some 10 years ago, is, nobody owns photographic prints any more. Everything we snap is either stored on our phones internal chip, our on our computer hard drives. And while this may not be a problem right now, it will be a problem in the future.

The reason for the problem is this. There is no documentation for future generations to look back upon. You may think that is a ridiculous statement, because surely they can just look at our computers. You may consider this statement a little deeper though, and you may ask yourselves, how many gadgets from 10 years ago, do you still own? I used to use floppy discs, but children today don’t even know what they are. The PC’s and smart phones of today will be totally obsolete in a few short years from now, and much of what we have photographed during this last decade, will be lost forever.

Unless you make a hard copy and print them!