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AUGUST 2013 £4.20


Rita Ora








Shiver me timbers... R.I.P Focus on Imaging. It has gone the way of the dodo, and I am not too sad about that to be honest. It hadn’t changed for blinkin’ years and was in desperate need of invigorating. There is going to be a huge clamouring for companies to get their hands on the slot at the NEC and do something new with it... and that is bloody good news as competition breeds innovation. For my part I would like to see something that really reflects and celebrates photography now; greater interactivity and showmanship. I want to see technology in full swing rather than some saggy model draped over a highly polished custom motorbike, fat beardy blokes in a press-like scrum to get super close-ups of her boobs and crotch. Bored. It wasn’t right in 1982, let alone 2013! I want rock ‘n’ roll, not sweaty cheese roll... I would also like to see more women take an active role in proceedings too, only to reflect our industry really; weddings, portraits, sports, news... and lifestyle – perhaps the only true growth area in photography at the minute, except weddings of course. And weddings would be at the top of my list to sort out – seminars on the true cost of becoming a wedding photographer as a start... Anyway, mild rant over. Enjoy the issue and, as always, good to hear from you about anything from your latest purchase to a funny story. All the best,

Adam Scorey, Editor,



A selection of the best images you’ve posted online this month

23 PPOTY 2013 The 2013 awards to hunt down the best professional photographers out there is in full swing

INTERVIEWS & CHATS WITH... 67 Working Pro: Tim Tadder

Exploding water balloons on models, we introduce you to the creative mind of Tim Tadder

73 Big Interview: Zoe McConnell Girls, girls, girls, Zoe has racked up a pretty high profile portfolio of iconic females

100 Heroes: David Loftus Recognised for his food photography for maestro Jamie Oliver, who’s David’s photo flavour?


81 Gear: Mid-Range Lighting

91 Gear: Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L 1.4x Zoom From prime lens to telephoto zoom with the flick of a switch, is this a game changer?

97 Gear: Samsung NX300 At 20.3MP can this compact match up to the big boys in a professional lighting setup?

KEEP IN TOUCH 38 Subscribe Subscribe to Professional Photographer and get two years for the price of one!

Love Professional Photographer? Get £1 off September’s issue with code SF75 through – with free delivery! 4


In part two of our series we test out three twin head kits for under £1000


8 Kate Hopewell-Smith: Empowering, Not Greedy The cynical side to social networking has made Kate question people’s perception of boudoir photography

10 Fifty Shades of Craig Just when you thought Craig’s life was pretty crazy, wait till you hear this...

30 Middlebrook: I’m All Out of Headlines The man who never stops persevering, Middlebrook’s only gone and upped his game

34 Queen’s Honours Meet the photographers who have been recognised for their talents by the Queen

37 Double Shot Don’t try and hide it, we all like our caffeine fix. Sarah O’Neill outlines the pros and cons

39 Styling Your Shoot: The Sight of Sound Phil Sills takes us behind the scenes on his product shoot for Bowers & Wilkins

44 Catherine Connor’s Comment: Get Your Sales Face On We’ve got the craft perfected but how about the selling? Catherine from Aspire discusses

46 Nine Reasons to Hire a Pro Listening to wedding clients’ feedback, Neale James outlines why couples should hire a pro

49 New Networking With the collapse of Focus on Imaging, where do we now turn to for our networking fix?

53 The Business: Kevin Mullins Learning life lessons from the past, Kevin lists his 10 mistakes to avoid in the photography industry

56 What a Wedding Costs We set down the budget book and reveal the true cost of shooting a wedding

61 Five Tips to Better Insurance Cover You don’t need to be reminded twice that insurance is vital, here’s some mishaps to avoid

63 Out of Comfort Zone: Craig Fleming Kicking off a new series, we challenge a bunch of photographers to dive into something new





Empowering, not greedy


ow that we are finally in British summertime you can’t open a newspaper or magazine without articles about getting your body ‘beach ready’. Many women are secretly terrified at the prospect of getting into swimwear publically because whilst very few people actually suffer from body dysmorphia, most women have body issues. You may wonder why on Earth I am discussing this in PP and not Red Magazine but the truth is that I deal with this reality on a regular basis because I shoot a lot of boudoir photography. Last week I put a few pictures on Facebook from a shoot that both I and the lady in question loved. There was an incredible response and I had four enquiries that same evening, however, nestled among the positive comments was this: “No wonder women have serious body image problems, your [sic] setting them up as porn stars… you know full well what your [sic] doing to women. Your [sic] doing this for money not art.” The man in question is clearly an idiot and I retained my professionalism and refrained from pointing out the obvious. But in truth it does rankle because he is just so wrong about my motives – although of course I need to make a living, hand on heart I believe that every woman should experience a boudoir shoot once in their lifetime. When I get asked what I really, really love to take pictures of, the answer is actually women. I often choose to paint the female form, so it is no surprise that I also enjoy photographing it. However, the reason I enjoy boudoir as a genre goes far deeper than ticking an aesthetic box. It is without doubt the most psychologically rewarding part of my business. The truth is that most women, including me, would love to have some beautiful images of themselves that explore their sensuality. What is absolutely critical in my work is that the images are about the women being in control. She is choosing to celebrate herself on her terms and is absolutely not being sexually objectified or presented as a commodity. I don’t actually like the label ‘boudoir’ but I understand that the genre needs a name. It is still a misunderstood term and is open to stylistic interpretation – as in all photography, your own taste barometer will play a big role in developing and positioning your work. I am absolutely clear about what boudoir means to me and I attract the kind of women that I want to photograph – of all ages, shapes and sizes (despite what some think). Most have had children, which means they might not love the physical reality of their bodies but have a deep respect for what it is capable of. At

the start of the shoot all of them want to point out their ‘flaws’, which is why I always ask them what their partners love most about them physically. That’s the only way to get a positive out of a woman – sad but true. A boudoir shoot with me is an indulgent treat, a journey of self discovery and hugely empowering. Women leave on a high with confidence levels through the roof and yet they have not seen an image. I have learnt, with interest, that the end result is only one element of the return in investment and probably the least important. My boudoir work does not need a hard sell nor any marketing – each shoot leads to another through genuine word-of-mouth referrals. The emails that I get from the women I’ve photographed are wonderful and I am now quite used to this kind of reaction to the experience: “I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed the shoot itself and without a doubt it’s done more for my confidence than anything else in the past 10 years”. What I didn’t expect, but has delighted me, has been the response of the husbands and partners of my clients. Because whilst they obviously get to enjoy the resulting imagery, the biggest gain for them is a change in confidence in the woman they love. I visited one of my dearest friends in New York last year and suggested we did a shoot while I was there. We had a lot of fun – drinking vintage champagne and laughing together over a long afternoon. I remember telling her how beautiful she looked and that this was how her husband saw her. She immediately doubted what I was saying – that’s women for you. As soon as her husband returned to the apartment she wanted to show him the images on the back of my camera. She was clearly on a high and as he flicked through the images he turned to her and said: “Stunning, darling, but that’s how I see you”. It was a very special moment and I just kept quiet. The next day as we wandered through Soho he stopped me, looked me straight in the eyes and said a heartfelt thank you for what I had done for her. In his words: “My wife has always been beautiful to me but I have learned over the years that how women see their bodies and how men view them are two very different things. The revelation through the boudoir experience is that for the first time in 14 years, my wife now understands exactly how I see her body. The impact this realisation has had on her has been very liberating and the photos, which are tasteful, natural and in my view stunning, are an added bonus”. It took me a full year to persuade another of my closest friends to do a shoot with me – she was reticent following breast cancer and a mastectomy. It was almost like seeing a phoenix rising from the ashes and her husband is deeply grateful for the part photography played in his wife finding herself once again. With all these positives comes the negative that boudoir photography is really hard to do well. It takes a lot of practice and practice you should – for the sake of the delicate egos that you hold in your hands. PP @Kate_H_S_Photo



An ignorant comment on Facebook makes KATE HOPEWELL-SMITH think of how much a good boudoir shoot can do for a woman’s confidence

have a commercial brain and me saying it’s because I fell on my head in a football match in 1992. For whatever reason I don’t have a commercial brain, the facts are always the same. I basically need to change the way I do things. And so Kate set me a challenge, which seems to be a theme amongst PP columnists at the moment. She basically ordered me (yes, ordered, did I say fellow columnist or fifth columnist?) to set up a kind of lighting training course to offer to new photographers keen to learn a bit about the enigma of light. She’s not gonna take no for an answer either, so I’ve got to do it. To be honest, when she mentioned a challenge I thought it was going to involve a pack of Jaffa Cakes but no such luck. The moral of this story: don’t phone Kate. So yesterday I did a wedding. Yes, you heard me correctly. I did a wedding. Basically I’ve realised that the only really profitable area of photography, apart from advertising, is weddings. The problem is I have this face… which can look uninterested, some might say bored, a few have said utterly disgusted. With this in mind I’d already briefed the bride that despite what my face was saying underneath I was a happy bunny full of the joys of spring and wallowing in the romance of the occasion. Luckily the bride just happens to be a model friend of mine so I knew the photos would look amazing, and they did. Not only that, the sun shone like it had never shone before, well not for about nine months anyway, and the whole occasion was a success. It was a Jewish wedding too and boy do those guys know how to party. This is a good thing because it meant as they were dancing and singing I was able to steal food from the buffet. Overall the day was a huge success on my part and I may just do a few more. The moral of this story: “Bless you” is not the required response if someone says Mazel tov. Recently I made the mistake of telling someone I wasn’t very busy throughout June. I don’t know why this is but I’m never very busy in June and never have been. I don’t question it but I do generally use the time to go fishing. However, lately people seem to be cottoning on to the fact that I do have quite a bit of spare time. In the last three weeks alone I’ve been asked to feed someone’s dogs, decorate someone’s living room, babysit for the child that fell from the devil’s loins, bake cupcakes for a party, dig a tree up then plant another tree in the same hole, service a friend’s car, drive another friend to the airport and… this is the best one: ell what a month. Since I last put pen to paper, well finger to dig a grave. For a cat. Not a normal grave, it had to be ‘fox proof’ keyboard, many things have happened. Firstly, a woman apparently, which means deep. I dug it deep too, but apparently it wasn’t ploughed into the back end of my Honda and to this day she deep enough. Nor was it wide enough either. And here’s the thing swears she didn’t see me despite the rear profile of my about cats: when they’re alive, they’re incredibly bendy and pliable. But car being approximately a 5 x 5ft bright blue square, oh yeah, with lights on. once they croak, that’s it. As flexible as an arthritic wardrobe. Tried At the time my boot was home to the full compliment of Elinchroms soaking it in warm water, which didn’t work, I even got the saw out that I own and she didn’t seem to care about them, just bleated on but my friend came back, saw it and freaked. Had to pretend I was about how her day was ruined! I was on my way to pick removing a dead branch from her crab apple tree. In the end I dug it up a cheque from a client at the time, which is wider. The moral of this story: don’t tell anyone doubly annoying in this day of online banking. Five you’re not busy. an further insight into the life minutes after my stealth Jazz was rammed, my If you want any photog client phoned me to say she was where we’d of a photographer, you’ll be interested arranged to meet but not to hurry as she’d to know that in between writing this parag forgotten her cheque book anyway. Cue paragraph and the last one, I spent m my Basil Fawlty moment, branch and all. The 10 minutes laying on my side and ban moral of this story: get payment up front banging my head against a pillow low. try and paint Honda in pike bung yellow. trying to get some water out of my th ear I realise this is largely irrelevant I’ve just come off the phone with ear. my fellow columnist Kate but thought you might like to know j Hopewell-Smith. Our just how exciting my life can be herr phe tograp ho P g som conversations generally go sometimes. There is no moral at all in m le F Craig . t.. en t along these lines: I basically to this story, I just often feel the m ay p te Another la ne to share things... well, moan about the industry and need e Kate explains everything in a except cake. PP calm rational way. The outcome of our conversations generally ’t @CraigMFlemingPP ends up with her telling me I don’t


FIFTY SHADES CRAIG This month, the life of CRAIG FLEMING includes a car crash, a wedding and a stint as an undertaker





We’ve chosen our favourite images from Professional Photographer’s online gallery. Don’t forget to upload your work for a chance to be featured next month 13























all this for you FREE DIGITAL EDITION, REALLY? Did you know that, as a subscriber, you get access to digital editions of both current and back issues of Professional Photographer... for free? Just go to: to find out how to view your copy. * Note that your free digital access is via your web browser only, TWITTER If we were to say that the Twittersphere would be lost without our news feeds, we’d be telling the truth. Ask our 18,500 followers. With free breaking gear news, competitions, requests and off-beat photography fun, our following is growing every day. Hop onto for more than just an info blast. You won’t be disappointed.

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Judges’ Choices The competition to find this year’s best professional photographers is in full swing – upload your images for a chance to become our Professional Photographer of The Year! One of our favourite tasks here at PP is looking at the thousands of stunning images submitted to our Professional Photographer of the Year competition. This month the judges and PP’s editor have each picked an image they think stands out, but it was a tough choice. If you upload yours, we might showcase it next month, or better still, shortlist it for the PPOTY 2013 awards. There are 12 single image categories and one triple image category, plus there will be an overall winner who will earn the coveted title of PPOTY 2013. The shortlisted images will be shown in the December 2013 issue, and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in November 2013. The competition closes on 16 October 2013. Full terms and conditions can be found at 

Judge Adam Scorey’s choice: Redhead by Nikita Tarasov Super-dooper eye contact, a great expression, perfectly framed (I love the square crop) and well lit. What else can I say really? The girl is gorgeous too, and the subtle, low-key lighting style is perfect for the mood of the shot and expression the girl has. Using the right lens for the job also helps, the 50mm. It’s a very intimate, personal image that does not try too hard with lots of ‘fancy’ stuff. Its beauty (apart from the girl) is in that simplicity of approach and style. Personally I think the girl is just about to kiss me... and I am fine with that! A lovely, slightly haunting image.


Judge Dr Michael Pritchard’s

choice: Night Workers by Duncan Hill ‘Night Workers’ from the PPOTY student category shows a good technical command of exposure in what could be very difficult conditions. The photographer has made great use of the limited illumination from lamps while retaining the important background detail which helps to contextualise the main subject. I get a sense of something about to happen in what could almost be a theatrical set. I’d love to see it printed large.

Judge Kate Hopewell-Smith’s choice: Bright Night by Zap Shevtsov I like the peaceful nature of this documentary style image and it’s a moment that we can all relate to. I also like the sense of movement of the passing landscape and the story of the weather with the water on the window. The exposure strikes the perfect balance between interior detail and texture and the exterior rural backdrop. A gentle, well-exposed capture.

Art Editor Rebecca Stead’s choice: A. by Nikola Borissov This image stood out to me because of the colouring – muted but bright with the almost red stripe down her face and blue shadow round her hair as if to mimic a 3D image without actually creating the 3D effect. We have some amazing images in the PPOTYs but there are lots of black and white photographs – it was nice and refreshing to see a bit of colour for a change.




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Judge Mick Cookson’s choice: Chris Bird I’m not as much a ‘petrol head’ these days as I once was. The three images taken by Chris Bird show classic, Formula One storytelling. If the colour grade was a little more retro, these images would be perfect late 1970’s editorial sports images. But it’s the classic panned image of Alonso’s pit stop that grabs me. Full of movement, colour and drama, this ‘decisive moment’ could be Lauda, Mansell or Schumacher from by-gone eras – as the classic Ferrari arrives at the pit box, with the crew working as one to get the car in and out on ‘fresh boots’. A classic image – love it.

Features Editor Kathrine Anker’s choice: Top of The World by Chee Hong Have you ever found yourself at a breathtaking location, having a kind of ‘out of body’ experience as you realise how lucky you are to be there and how amazing this very moment is? That feeling is one of the reasons I’ll never stop travelling. As I saw this picture in the PPOTY travel category, the reflection of the subject in the window made me think of the sensation of really and truly experiencing a moment, and then realising what you’re experiencing. Whether or not Chee Hong wanted to convey that feeling, the picture really stuck with me as a strong travel image. Now, when’s the next flight to Melbourne? [Image on next page] 




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Here is the final list of categories for this year’s competition

Movie Short – Sponsor: Lexar We would like a movie shot on a DSLR that has a narrative and tells us a story. It has to be no longer than 90 seconds and can be on whatever subject you like; whether it’s a short story, a stills video or an abstract art film or homage.

Black & White For some, this is the only form of serious photography. We take a different view, but we do want to see the medium used to its full. Deep dark blacks, bright whites and every shade of grey in between. The subject matter of the shot should be perfect for mono.

In the Studio – Sponsor: Photo Leaf We want to see your mastery of lighting, modifiers, reflectors and styling, from high-end fashion to commercial still life, creativity and flair are what the judges want to see.

Medium Format – Sponsor: Hasselblad Medium format is about optimum quality, so to enter this category your image must have been shot on any medium format camera, and it doesn’t matter if it’s on film then scanned or a digital capture – the choice is up to you!

Student of the Year Whether you are studying how to shoot wildlife at university, going through your indentures for a newspaper on a NCTJ course, or enjoying training for a second (or third!) career, we want to see your passion and skill with camera and lens.

Weddings – Sponsor: Folio Albums Gone are the days of the grip and grin, Aunt Maude adjusting her hair piece or slightly out of focus twee images on soft-focus filters. The modern wedding photographer is as much of a creative artist, whether shooting candid or posed imagery, as any other form of professional photography. We need you to show us your talent.

Street Photography You may interpret this brief in terms of subject matter as widely as you like, and can shoot the images on anything from a CSC to a DSLR, or even a top-end compact. So from candid street shots of protests and news events, to grabs of couples embracing or evocative and funny narratives, have fun with this one.

News – Sponsor: Fixation From dodgy politicians to ‘papped’ celebs, show off your technique with a camera and lens, either in the bun fight of a press call or perhaps more of a feature-based image that creates a narrative.

Location Flash – Sponsor: Broncolor From a brace of new wireless speedlights to a full blown Bron Scoro S power pack and four Minicom 160 RFS Monolights, your submitted image should show your skill at lighting a subject. From an outdoor fashion shoot or environmental portrait to a car showcase or epic architectural shoot.

Travel Capturing the ambience and character of a destination is what travel photography is all about. The judges want to get to know a location through your stunning photo, whether you use a landmark, local inhabitants or even its wildlife to inform the viewer through imagery.

Lifestyle – Sponsor: Sigma From a creatively shot wedding, to a boudoir masterclass, family portraits to pets, carefully capturing your subject in great light and with a sensitive environment can show your subject’s character to the full.

Portfolio of Three – Sponsor: ChauDigital This is the ONLY category in which you are able to submit more than one image, in this case a total of three. Treat this as a triptych; a story made up of three connected elements from one single shoot.

50MM This is the lens that is often left in the kit bag on shoots but, in our opinion, it should be a lens that gets as much use as your 24-70mm or 70-200mm. Yes, you have to move your feet, but look at all that lovely bokeh! Go on, have some fun with your 50!

The Photographer of the Year Award 2013 Coming only from the winners of the above categories, the judges will decide who will be crowned our prestigious 2013 Professional Photographer of the Year.

Our Sponsors PHOTOLEAF


It’s your brand. You built it. You own it. So show it. Nothing happens in this world until someone somewhere sells something.


nd to be successful in the pro-photo world every photographer must demonstrate creativity, build trust and credibility and have the ability to ‘paint the big picture’ for customers. SmugMug Pro, the website and ecommerce solution for professional photographers, provides the ideal environment to do all these things. It’s the perfect tool for growth – with image safety and security built-in. SmugMug users can upload unlimited high-res photo files and unlimited numbers of true Hi-Def 1080p video clips each up to 20 mins long (available to SmugMug Power and Pro subscribers) Plus, they benefit from customizable websites and businessbuilding marketing tools; share galleries on social networks and can completely relax about image safety and copyright issues.

Says Chris MacAskill, co-founder and president of SmugMug: “Now photographers at any level and across any discipline can effortlessly bring their images to the marketplace, fix their own prices, sell their work and deliver it to their clients.” SmugMug has been a must-have option for photographers in the US for well over a decade now with some of the biggest names in the world - like award-winning travel shooter Trey Ratcliff completely hooked. Trey says that after just twelve months of using the site he had over 40 million views on SmugMug – whereas it took him five years to get to 22 million on Flickr. And he adds: “In years past you might have been forced to spend thousands on a website and integrate a clunky ecommerce solution that was more trouble than it was worth. Putting together a

payment mechanism for your customers is no small task. There are a lot of pros on SmugMug that have really helped to shape the photographer and client experience so everything is perfect.” “You can charge people to download digital versions of your photos and set different prices for professional and personal use. You can set pricing for prints and pick the size offerings and costs. And you can get up to 85% markup. That’s a great profit margin – plus you can also sell merchandise.” Top cycling photographer Graham Watson admits SmugMug is his ultimate commercial ‘pain reliever’: “SmugMug are at the top of the tree as far as I am concerned”, he says. “Their technology has made my life so much easier now. I no longer have any stress when it comes to getting prints fulfilled for clients. They do take a commission on my sales of course but it means I no longer need an office. If you just want to

SmugMug Pro/Loxley Colour: a snapshot - Easy to customize and branded photography website - Heroic support 365 days a year - No ads or promotions surrounding your images - Full screen slideshows and HD Video playback - Watermarks, right-click protect and copyright - Galleries can be public or unlisted. - Integrated sharing opportunities on Facebook, Twitter and mobile Apps for iPad, iPhone and Android. - Boutique packaging and order branding Time to find out more?


The SmugMug view on planned copyright law changes around ‘orphan’ images

The SmugMug view of ecommerce for pro photographers: ‘You price. We process. You profit’ get on with your photography SmugMug is the way to go.” Chris Davies, a travel and adventure sports photographer adds: “To me photography on a website is like graffiti on a wall. You want people to notice it. SmugMug gets you noticed.” When I turned professional I knew my website had to look superb so I upgraded to SmugMug Pro. This enabled me to customise my site. SmugMug customer service is the best on the planet and I love their unequivocal ‘can do’ ethos. This is simply an awesome company. No matter what the challenge SmugMug has experts to solve it for you.” Chris pays just £90 a year on his SmugMug Pro Portfolio account which includes unlimited uploads; zero ads and spam and 365 days a year support. (NOTE: There are four SmugMug account alternatives in total – two of them Pro options). Notes Chris “It’s a total no-brainer if you want to get on with capturing images and not struggle with coding and associated web issues.”

One of the first photographers in the UK to sign up to the SmugMug/Loxley Colour solution was multi-award-winning Edinburgh-based portrait shooter Trevor Yerbury. He says: “SmugMug is just a perfect solution all round. They create unique sites, enabling you to stand out from the crowd. And we can store our entire database on the SmugMug hosting site - the security factor of that alone is worth the annual subscription. Photographers just set their own price for their work and offset the 15% SmugMug fee by building that into the fee. It’s a drop in the ocean.” He adds: “And when it comes to order fulfilment we have been using Loxley Colour for over twenty years. Their work is consistently brilliant. If anything goes wrong they have a ‘No Quibble’ guarantee. And they mean it.”

Many photographers across the UK are both angry and deeply concerned about the new Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, now passed by parliament. It includes a clause allowing ultimately for free commercial and non-commercial use of ‘Orphan Works’ – copyrighted images where copyright owners cannot be contacted. Millions of images found on the internet are missing metadata that identifies the photographer. If there are no lastminute amendments this will soon become law. Photo icons like David Bailey are incensed. He recently wrote to Chancellor George Osborne: “I am appalled at what the government is doing to our rights. Social media, and everyone else for that matter routinely strip our names and contact details from our digital files. They should not get away with this.” Unlike some sites SmugMug does not strip key metadata from customers’ images. SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill says: “Assuming a customer uploads their images with the proper metadata we will always maintain the important fields in their display copies (except thumbnails).” And SmugMug educator and account manager Sean Rogan told a recent webinar audience: “We are watching this situation carefully. It is a huge issue right now for photographers. But they can rest assured that we never strip the important ownership/copyright metadata. If some blogger in Indonesia sees a photo of yours online, screengrabs it and uses it on a local flyer that never leaves Indonesia, then you will probably never know that your image has been lifted. But there is a due diligence issue that corporations must embrace. So if your original file is out there and is lifted from SmugMug and ends up in a national newspaper, you can state that they have used your image. They will not be able to argue because the original source file will have all its necessary metadata.” SmugMug’s approach was also noted by BBC Click: “SmugMug has become popular with photographers because it was one of the first to acknowledge the importance of metadata and leave it intact throughout the import, storage, export and distribution process. Some websites strip it without warning, to save bandwidth costs.”

I Am All Out of Headlines! In a month of photographing an NFL quarterback and Europe’s most famous burlesque performer, Middlebrook cracks the tricky Slavic market, launches a workshop and picks up another award Well, last month was a right old moan, so you could be forgiven for thinking that I was in a miserable mood. I can assure you that I was not, it’s simply that some things are just too important not to face up to. Adam Scorey and the team at PP very kindly allow me this platform to say pretty much what I want, for which I admit to being most grateful. I am not sure how many other magazines would just leave me to get on with things, never ask questions or edit my words, but PP in their mad sagacity do. What comes with that of course is an open honesty and a desire to at least try to enhance the standards and value of this thing that we love – and if under that rather vague banner I offend occasionally, then I am sorry, but um… I don’t really mind. However, to address the balance, a key component to keeping readers happy and my inbox sparkling clean with happy well-wishers, this month will be an uplifting whizz-bang trip around my last four weeks, a canyon crossing of

crazy photography, ambitious planning and strange, unimagined happenings. Never knowingly undersold, you should be bloody disappointed by the end! Okay, first to crazy photography. It’s not often that in the space of two hours you photograph a famous American quarterback on a boat on the Seine whilst riding pillion on a scooter, and follow it up with shooting Europe’s most famous burlesque star in a Parisian recording studio a couple of hours later. I think paparazzi are the lowest of the low, in oh so many ways. We all have our ethical standards, below which we will not sink. It’s unlikely that you would find me shooting porn movies for example, and you will never find me in a tree with a 600mm lens photographing the Queen having a pint – it’s just not my style. So when I was asked to secretly photograph a famous US sports star who was spending a luxury day in Paris with his wife taking river trips and the like, I was, what’s the word, reticent. “You will need to be anonymous, hide behind a telegraph pole, wear an invisibility cloak, keep your motorcycle helmet on.” “Well hang on a New York minute, this is me you’re talking about, international photojournalist of little note.” “We’ll pay you.” “Where do I sign?” Ah, the simple lure of money, it seems we are all corruptible in the end. It’s merely a matter of time before the remake of Debbie Does Dallas hits the screens. In fact it wasn’t really like that at all. The couple just wanted a memorable portfolio of their day, without interference. And it was fun, really fun, and for afters we had a lovely dinner that evening with a quality red, where we talked about the irreplaceable feeling of playing in front of 80,000 people and other such giddy things. I have said it a thousand times, so it’s often worth repeating, it’s the people you meet that make this job so enriching, the sharing of stories and life… well I love it. But before all of this giddy consumption I had to hack across Paris to photograph Lada Redstar, who is by all accounts Europe’s finest exponent of nipple tassel swinging, a much-underrated skill I am assured. As we gaily wandered the streets of Paris in search of a location, I asked how she had managed the journey from war-torn Sarajevo to becoming the star of her industry. What had motivated her? “Well, I wanted to do something with my creativity, and I realised I had great tits.” Fair enough. She then swung from a lamp post whilst French builders careered their white vans into passing pedestrians. Happy days. So that’s the crazy photography bit! Onto strange, unimagined happenings! Norman Wisdom was, as I recall, a huge star in Albania. He would land at Tirana airport and thousands 

Left: All that jazz… there’s always something to shoot in Paris. Right: ‘I realised that I wanted to use my creativity and I had great…’ Lara Redstar aka Audrey Hepburn.





would turn out to greet him. It was Beetlemania for small people. Well, I am on the verge of becoming a phenomenon in Bulgaria; they are probably putting the Champagne on ice in the Sofia Airport VIP Lounge as we speak. That’s how I imagine it as I stare out my apartment window at the processional rain set against a gloomy vista, though of course it probably won’t turn out quite like that. However, in this global village my name has travelled far, and not without consequence it appears. Last year a publishing company in Bulgaria that wished to translate my Afghan book into their mother tongue, and also exhibit my work in the capital, approached me. Well to cap it all, they have just purchased the rights to turn my first three E-zines into a 60-page eponymous magazine for their local market. I know, I know, it’s amazing stuff. I am cowed by the enormity of it all but so be it, it’s an accolade that will sit nicely on my mantlepiece next to my ‘Fielder of the Year’ trophy for Ballinger Waggoners CC First XI 1992. It’s easy to be satisfied with a Pulitzer but as Norman Wisdom allegedly said: “Not even an


Above: The pleasure of looking through old portfolios… it’s a far cry from my present existence, but one that I am increasingly missing. Left: Finally I have begun to upload the vast majority of my day to day shots from Afghanistan, to be available for the first time. Right: And a little street music at a Parisian wedding – it’s been a diverse month.

Oscar could replace my love of Albanian cuisine.” And firmly within the strange, unimagined happenings category is this rather neat news. A couple of months back I submitted some images to a new photo competition that set out to do something that I have been preaching (you will have noticed and endured) for a very long time, namely to highlight the true human condition through photojournalism, and not to major on war and misery. I was particularly pleased to submit because their philosophy could not have been more in line with mine, and the whole thing had gained substantial credibility because the head of judging was Ruth Eichhorn – doyen of picture editors around the world – a former juror for World Press Photos and Director of Photography for Geo Magazines worldwide. The idea for the competition was to produce a book of just one hundred images from those submitted. In the end the competition was so successful that the


judges had to sift through over 11,000 submissions from 159 countries. And bugger me if they didn’t go and choose one of mine – bless them all. It means that along with my Slavic success, this month’s coffee budget has tripled to three and sixpence. My life is a dream. In other news, and under the ‘ambitious planning’ moniker, ‘The Conflict Photography Workshop’. My buddy JPH (UK Picture Editors Guild Photographer of the Year 2012) and I, are planning a hostile environment/ conflict photography workshop in late autumn of this year, to be held in Andalucía, Spain. I have received many requests from people asking to shadow me, and increasingly those with more ambition than sense are taking themselves off to crazy places without any experience or understanding of what is actually involved (as indeed I was when I first started). It seems all ‘swallows and amazons’ when you are tucking into your tea in Kettering, but it can be just a little bit nastier than that. As JPH says: “There are, I believe, more less experienced people than ever heading to war zones to tell the rest of the world what is happening there. They already have the two most important qualities required; passion and drive, but neither of those alone will keep one alive in a dangerous situation. By pooling the resources and knowledge gained by the instructors who have collectively spent more than 60 years working in the most hostile places on Earth, we are confident that anyone attending our course will gain multiple skills in everything from battle field first aid drills, general field administration, IED awareness right through

to body language that will increase their ability to work safely. Additionally throughout the course they will also be honing their photographic, editing and workflow skills, making this a unique package.” Here’s the rub; if you wish to attend you will have to get yourself to a smallholding high in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere, by yourself. When you arrive in Mogadishu for the first time, without a fixer, accommodation or comms, you have some problem solving on your hands, and it’s not for the meek – see it as a test of your tenacity. I think that’s about it, apart from I also managed to slip in a quick and thoroughly enjoyable interview with Jodi Cobb, legendary National Geographic photographer for the pages of PP. quarterbacks, great tits, combat first aid, an award, and now my sheep can freely roam the streets of Sofia… three and sixpence. So there you go, a whole article without a single moan or gripe – normal service will resume next month, you can bet your house on it! PP

Follow Martin’s journey on:


Sir Norman Parkinson CBE

Paul Hill MBE

Norman Parkinson CBE

Dr Andy Gotts MBE

A Royal Flush To celebrate not only her birthday but also the 60th anniversary of her Coronation last month, JESSICA BRACEY looks at the photographers the Queen has recognised for their talents


h to be called upon by Her Majesty the Queen and rewarded for our talents to society. We’re not worthy. Many photographers aspire to grace the cover of Vogue, sail the world with our camera in tow; to have your work hung in a gallery for the public to adore, or for people to hand over their hardearned cash to own a piece of your work, is considered a job well done. To be recognised by the Queen for your services is above and beyond our wildest dreams when we first start up in the industry. As Don McCullin said: “All I did was stand up very tall and wave the flag for photography. I’m only another human being. I’ve always known where I belong, but I probably don’t belong any more than where other people think I should be.” I think this message stands true with many photographers who have had the pleasure of being acquainted with the Queen; they have their passion, their career, but they never call it work, they call it love. And to have that even looked upon by the Royal realm, let alone awarded, is quite something. Faced with celebrities and public figures on a regular basis, portrait photographer Dr Andy Gotts who received a MBE in the 2012 New Year

fact It’s not just photographers in the industry who have been awarded in the legendary list, manufacturers such as Ilford have also been recognised with the Queen’s Award to Industry in 1970 for their pioneering products that have helped develop the art and craft of photography.


Honours List said: “It was an immense honour to have been a recipient of the MBE. Normally awards, especially in arts, are given at the end of a career so being given an award at this stage of my career was quite staggering. Especially as I am doing a career I love. I would not say I am a royalist per se but I am more of a cavalier than a roundhead and I think the royal family are a magnificent figurehead for the Commonwealth.” Continuing with how it felt to receive the honour, Andy said: “Like with degrees and other awards, getting the MBE will not affect my career as people who commission me are more interested in my book rather than how many letters I have after my name. But the personal joy and pride of receiving the MBE is far beyond my wildest dreams.” As coincidence has it, Andy Gotts’ lecturer, Paul Hill, was the first art photographer to receive an MBE. “It was the first time that under John Major they had the idea of the people’s choice, instead of it going through the establishment, and got suggestions from the public. So it really pleased me that it came from that source and to be recognised in that area of photography. I was absolutely gobsmacked. You think ‘maybe I have made a small contribution’, but to be recognised by the wider community is nice.” Remembering the ceremony, Paul says: “The atmosphere at Buckingham Palace was very friendly and relaxed. I had a few words with the Queen about my work, she’s very professional, and then she moves on as you only have two minutes with her. As a press photographer, previously, I’ve photographed her before at royal occasions, but this was the extreme version of that sort of world. It’s a day I will certainly remember.” The talent and services of such people have

been well and truly marked in history and is set to spotlight future photographers to come. Who knows, it could be you. And as for the official Coronation photograph taken back in 1953, who else could have been fit for the royal duty other than Sir Cecil Beaton CBE. This iconic photograph stands with a plethora of other portraits taken by the master, but this certain image is unique and defines that special relationship between the photographer and Her Majesty. And with more and more photographers being awarded in ‘the list’ it appears our craft is being more appreciated than ever before – and about time too! PP

Over the years, photographers across Great Britain have received recognition from the Queen for their talents, some dating back to a time when film was king. Highlights include: 1956 – Sir Cecil Beaton CBE 1981 – Sir Norman Parkinson CBE 1993 – Don McCullin CBE 1994 – Paul Hill MBE 2001 – David Bailey CBE 2003 – Eve Arnold OBE 2003 – Arthur Edwards MBE 2008 – John Harrison MBE 2009 – Harry Benson CBE 2011 – Gillian Wearing OBE 2011 – Bob Langrish MBE 2011 – Jeff Vickers MBE 2011– Sam Taylor Wood OBE 2012 – Dr Andy Gotts MBE 2012 – Kevin Capon MBE


Enoch Powell Electioneering 1970.




So do you know your MBEs from your OBEs, CBEs and GBEs? Unless you’re a true devotee to the lingo of the land then your head might just be as muddled with letters as ours. In ascending order of importance starting with the MBE, received by the likes of celebrity photographer Andy Gotts and art photographer Paul Hill, this is the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Higher up the list is the Officer of the British Empire awarded to photojournalist Eve Arnold in 2003 before her passing last year, and conceptual photographer Gillian Wearing for services to art in 2011. Moving up the ranks to the Commander of British Empire (CBE) awarded to living British icons Don McCullin and David Bailey, it’s then onto the highly acclaimed photographers crowned Knight Bachelor, a title that dates back to the 13th century reign of King Henry III. Awarded to the extraordinary Sir Norman Parkinson, it’s the most basic rank to be knighted with, but in our eyes is still pretty darn good. Then it goes onto those who have received a knighthood, and the name that stands at the top of those ranks? Sir Cecil Beaton CBE.

...the personal joy and pride of receiving the MBE is far beyond my wildest dreams. AG

Orlando Bloom.

Coronation Portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II, 1953, Cecil Beaton.

Celebrate The Queen’s Coronation this summer with an exhibition that documents the momentous day with art and objects on display, along with those iconic images taken by Sir Cecil Beaton. The exhibition is held at Buckingham Palace and ends 29 September 2013.


Fit for Work Blogazine


by Sarah O’Neill

Watch my workout videos – click

We’re in denial here in the office, but our health and fitness guru SARAH O’NEILL takes a look at just how bad caffeine is for our health


y name is Sarah and I’m a coffee-holic. I love it, can’t get enough of it, and generally you don’t want to meet me at 9am unless I’ve had at least two cups of the delicious steamy stuff. Am I addicted? Perhaps. Is this a problem? Depends who you ask. Caffeine swings in and out of favour, is periodically banned from competitive sport, and yet an estimated 1.6 billion cups are drunk worldwide every day. It is the most popular drink across the globe, which explains why literally thousands of research studies have been dedicated to deciphering whether caffeine is good or bad for our health.

So on to the good... + Caffeine boosts mood and mental alertness; the ‘pick-me-up’ before a shoot, or when you’re on a deadline. It releases dopamine which stimulates the brain’s pleasure centres, boosting mood. Researchers have found coffee decreases the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease due to nervous system stimulation. + Caffeine can boost physical performance. A cup of coffee preexercise can increase endurance and therefore training output. Caffeine plays a glycogen sparing role, encouraging the muscles to use fat as fuel when training. It can decrease glycogen use earlier in the session by up to 50 per cent, which has the effect of both saving glycogen for later in the session (increasing endurance), and upping fat burn. Caffeinated sports drinks are a good shout if you have a really physical shoot, and can tolerate caffeine well. + Caffeine is a great antioxidant, which is compelling if you spend a lot of your working day in smoggy areas. It has four times the antioxidant levels of green tea. Switch to decaf. and you reduce the antioxidant content by 15 per cent. + Further studies have shown caffeine prevents crystallisation of cholesterol, reducing the risk of gallstones. It increases colonic activity, reducing transit time (time digested food hangs around before it is excreted) and thus the risk of colon cancer. Meanwhile the theophylline can protect against asthma. And on to the bad… + Although caffeine can stimulate the metabolism by up to 10 per cent, it’s not always positive. The diuretic effects of caffeine coupled with decreased transit time mean that some vitamins and minerals

can be poorly absorbed – such as zinc, magnesium, iron, potassium, B vitamins and vitamin C. Vitamins and minerals are wide ranging within the body so excess caffeine could pose a threat to various other systems. Taking morning vitamins with coffee is a no-go: you’ll massively reduce the impact. + Excess caffeine can leach calcium from bones, leading to osteoporosis, while chemicals within both coffee and decaf. can irritate the lining of the stomach causing digestive disorders, especially when consumed on an empty stomach. Not something you want to be worrying about mid-shoot... + The release of adrenaline and cortisol produced by caffeine can raise blood pressure due to narrowing of the arteries. It can reduce quality of sleep and also interferes with adenosine in the brain, which has a calming effect. If you’re frequently feeling stressed out, caffeine could be contributing. Weighing up both benefits and potential risks, it seems to me (disclaimer: I love coffee) that moderate coffee consumption is beneficial. The FDA gives coffee ‘GRAS’ status (Generally Recognised as Safe), when consumed within suggested limits. However, shop-bought coffees can send you over this 300mg/day limit in one fell swoop – beware the mega-sized cups!


+ Caffeine can give you the shakes if you’re unused to it – approach with caution if you need to capture a steady shot + Fitness is so important for a photographer – if you’re too tired for the gym an espresso could give you the boost you need, and help burn fat too + Make sure you are drinking plenty of other fluids to ward off dehydration and gut issues + If you’re concerned about your caffeine intake (moody, struggling to sleep, jittery... but enough about me) it’s definitely worth limiting your coffee shop trips to one a day, and adding in a couple of decaffs. You may find you’re as addicted to the flavour and habit as the substance + If you’re wired too late at night, stop drinking coffee after 3pm – as a rule!


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Styling your shoot

The Sight of Sound Luring you into a quality like no other when it comes to audio technologies, Jessica Bracey speaks to PHIL SILLS about the sound of the still image with Bowers & Wilkins


s photographers one of our most vital senses is our sight. Our eyes are the tools and inspiration to our craft in this industry and can make the impossible, possible, with some know how. For others, the wonders of sound stand at the top of the list, and if ever the question arises, which sense you would rather lose in a toss up, it’s a pretty tough decision to make. Specialising in product and drinks photography, Phil Sills has been the pioneer for the imagery of high-end audio manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins for some years now. Directing the consumer with photography that encapsulates the brand –

whether it’s the latest speaker or pair of headphones on the market or an in-house audio setup – Phil has managed to present sound in the still image to the utmost highest quality. At a time when music was the beating heart of the swinging sixties, Bowers & Wilkins was established in 1965 West Sussex and has since developed, designed and distributed audio solutions for the likes of Abbey Road Studios and Apple. But it’s the photography of the products – the slickness of the speakers, the classy yet modern positioning in the home – that personifies the end user and attracts them to the best yet. “I got a call through my agent that Bowens & Wilkins were looking at new photographers and asked if I would be interested.

I said of course,” says Phil about the collaboration. “They gave me a simple black monitor speaker with the iconic yellow Kevlar drive unit and said ‘show us what you can do with it.’ I did some radical angle stuff because I didn’t want to shoot it just square on, and so it went from there.”

On Location Of course each individual image of the Bowers & Wilkins products has a purpose, whether that’s for packaging, marketing, online presence or press, each final shot is tailored to its end user and its location plays a vital role in this factor. “When we shoot on location it’s because we want to emulate a lifestyle,” says Phil. “Through the original direction about what they think about the brand, 


the lifestyle work shows the products in a real life situation on location.” Choosing not to include people in the frame for fear of distraction, Phil says that the photography is driven by the product – where attention to detail and materials used is key – and asks what is it? How is it made? And what do you have to do to bring out those qualities. Locations sourced by Bowers & Wilkins internal marketing department decide what home to use and recce where the products would fit in. “With locations it’s a question of styling. Whether it’s too old fashioned or the furniture is not quite right, we have to be careful about the locations we shoot at. They have to be fairly clean, fairly modern, with interest. We don’t want to shoot in a white box. It needs to look lived in, aspirational, has nice things in it, and then most importantly a location that will suit the photo shoot at the time,” he says. “Floor standing speakers require quite large rooms as you want to illustrate different set-ups that they can stand in. Sometimes it becomes about shooting the room in an evocative way with some mood to try and keep it looking real.” Opting for natural light, Phil believes that: “When architects build a building and put windows in certain places there’s a reason for that, and the light that comes through an open window is a great resource to use. Of course it depends on the weather outside, so if it’s grey it’s going to be a bit flat, if it’s sunny you get a nice contrast, and then that changes the way the room looks. When we’re in a room we say ‘look, the window is over there, if you shoot straight on it’s going to look terrible, if you come round here there’s nice cross lighting, nice shapes’, then you automatically know that you’re going to get a nice shot.” Despite using ambient light while on location, the occasional use of flash is a helping hand: “Within the scope of a room perhaps the product is quite small and won’t jump out very well, so we want to give it a bit more edge, more contrast, more detail and so we light accordingly for the product,” he says.

In the Studio Away from promoting the Bowers & Wilkins lifestyle of an affluent audio enthusiast, the studio shots, as Phil would call them, are the real heroes. “I’m strong when approaching objects in a singular fashion and composing something based around that one product. I started off by saying that I can take the simplest of objects and make it look nice


through composition and lighting. At the end of the day they need to be styled as products, they pay a lot of attention to the design, make-up and build; they don’t want to complicate it with fluff. It’s a very clean approach that works so well,” says Phil about making the mundane in ours eyes, amazing, and has proven this with his track record of working with the likes of Guinness, Mercedes and Costa Coffee. “I still like the creative side of what I do but I have to apply that to a commercial product. There’s a certain cut-off point and you have to do what’s right for the client.” While the majority of Bowers & Wilkins products are shot in the home and studio, headphones are the exception. “We use various studio rigs to support our headphones in certain positions which are then taken out in repro. The difficulty comes when they design different colour headphones and we have to match everything in,” Phil says about one of the

It’s better for us to shoot that way than try and do a lighting set up that’s going to suit that product, it’s just quicker. The strip light is designed to light just the edges, and then you can control how much fill light you inject.” In this instance with stilllife product photography a standard softbox used for a model just won’t do. “With headphones, for example, if you start putting softboxes over it you’re going to get a blanket of light, it’s not going to look very nice. It’s good for some things where there are big matte areas, but most technology items are reflective, have a lot of corners and edges and you’re not going to achieve shape or contrast.” As with many high-end products such as watches, jewellery and cars, reflections can be a photographers’ biggest demon. “The 800 series were the worst because there’s a big black shiny dome on the top which just reflects everything. You know that there’s a certain amount that you can achieve

With headphones, for example, if you start putting softboxes over it you’re going to get a blanket of light, it’s not going to look very nice. It’s good for some things where there are big matte areas, but most technology items are reflective, have a lot of corners and edges and you’re not going to achieve shape or contrast. PS challenges. “We use previous images as an overlay and try to match it up as much as possible. We spend a lot of time matching because it’s important for continuity on the website and printed media. And then the lighting approach has to be consistent as well. I don’t do diagrams, for me it is about visualising and understanding how the final image will look. This dictates how the product needs to be shot.” Lighting the technology products with five feet long fluorescent tubes that are daylight balanced, Phil then shoots different frames of the best possible lighting and then pieces them together when in post production. “With strip lights we put them on stands, we hand hold them, sometimes we have them moving; whatever it takes to get the right highlights and gradients. We also use mirrors and Perspex. Sometimes a headphone shot might be a ten-part composition just to look like a normal headphone.

in lighting, you know you’ve got to light the highlights and show the shape. You just need to control the different sides of the speakers. When looking down you’ve got three sides – one of them might be shiny wood, one might be shiny black, or matte black – the main thing is to have an understanding of how it’s going to look in the end,” Phil says and continues as to why this factor determines composition: “With any products there’s always going to be its best side. There will only be a small number of angles you can shoot from, but we have pushed it a few times though,” he says. “There are certain things I want to show and that includes the drive unit, the yellow speaker, the middle unit, the bass unit, detailing that goes around the drive unit and then a certain amount of casing and body work. It’s a bit like a car really, you’ve got to show enough of it so that it gives the consumer a true representation of what it’s like.” 

Styling your shoot






< Understand your client, what the product is and who the consumer is < Shooting on multi-shot function for product shots and then piecing together in post-production is valuable < Bring out the qualities of the products â&#x20AC;&#x201C; what is it and how is it made? < When on location think about where the product would best stand and where the best lighting is < Best not to use softboxes for small products, strip lights are a better alternative for achieving definitive edges < In post production only the tiniest bit of added reflection will transform a matte surface to a shiny one


Styling your shoot

Then if there’s wood or laminates we’ve got to be careful with textures, if it’s gloss it’s got to look like gloss. Sometimes we have to use techniques in post to get that across. PS Technique and Post-Production Shooting on the mighty Hasselblad H4D with a combination of 120mm lens for macro work, 35mm for wide-angle shots on location and a 50-110mm Hasselblad H series lens for a vast majority of his work, it’s the 50MP digital back which is vital to his Bowers & Wilkins collection. “It means that you don’t have to fill the frame so much and provides a big enough file for me to use,” Phil says. “In the studio I shoot six-second exposures using the multishot function which is very important for speakers because they often have grills on them for the drive units to protect it, and you can get moiré. It has been a real problem for photography in the past. Sometimes multi-shot does not work, as moving clouds stop the light being consistent.” Recording each element shot and its purpose as the shoot goes on, Phil’s process throughout the day ensures ease when it comes to post production and layering up to eight shots with the best quality light for the final image. “When retouching you need to be careful with retaining the edges so that there’s a

clarity to them. Almost everything we do it shot on Perspex for that clean look of the brand and then cut out and put into a background,” he says about doing his reproduction in-house. “Then if there’s wood or laminates we’ve got to be careful with textures, if it’s gloss it’s got to look like gloss. Sometimes we have to use techniques in post to get that across. If you put in too much reflection or gradient you can end up with it looking matte so you have to be careful about making sure that a surface looks like it is. Sometimes we add in reflections to control it in such a way that it gives a hint of reflection – it doesn’t take much to make a matte black surface a shiny one by just adding the smallest amount of reflection,” Phil says about maintaining optimum viewing experience to sell the product as you would see in a shop. Following eight years of collaborating with a brand that personifies high-quality audio beyond impeccable standards, Phil’s development with Bowers & Wilkins has stood the test of time with challenges the brand has brought forth with

innovative design, but that hasn’t fazed him: “We’ve already generated a style which has grown in the last few years. Over time we have seen our look strengthen in terms of style and lighting and it would be interesting to see how it develops in the future, and what products come into the market place.” PP

SHOOT STATS Photographer: Phil Sills Client: Bowers & Wilkins Gear: Hasselblad H4D, 50MP digital back and Hasselblad H series lenses including 50-110mm, 35mm and 120mm Lights: Bespoke design for Phil Location: Phil’s studio in London and various sourced locations Shoot duration: A collection over eight years



Get your sales face on Do we give enough attention to the selling of images? This is the question CATHERINE CONNOR from Aspire PT raises in this month’s comment piece about our industry One of the most significant stages in the business flow is in the latter stage, the actual selling of the images. In my experience of speaking to many, many photographers, this is fast becoming the most neglected step shared with the client. You invest a great deal to gain the client; you give a massive amount of attention to the client prior to the shoot – and naturally during the shoot – yet so very often the final stage is where many simply run out of steam and morale. And morale is important for all of us creatives – I class myself in the gang too. We are fragile, emotional, passionate and totally in love with what we do. It goes without saying that we would feel a sense of hurt and alarm when discs and discounts are on the agenda of the clients who we serve so passionately. But as I stated today to a gang of budding photographers on the A-Z in Photography and Business program Aspire runs, what we learn in this room is how to make a living.

EARNING A CRUST Gaining an income, even though all that we do is done with passion, is not a game – this is a way of life and of living within the business. Remember we are in retail and what we retail is photography; art for the walls and story books that will inspire generations to come. I am not the first to have written that sentence, nor will I be the last, as it is so important. My motive is to share that statement and whenever and wherever possible I will remind all that we are in retail! And let’s not forget, what we retail is magical, emotive and an incredible gift for all families.

PREPARATION IS EVERYTHING So how do we solve the sale? Preparation, preparation and raised expectation. Start speaking like a photographic sales person; that is, gently


with consideration and grace, yet speaking as a retailer. From the first phone call through all the emails or letters sent, ensure that you always include a reference to what your clients will be investing in. What clients will mostly invest in will depend mainly on the advice you give them. The best retailers are those who retail through solving a problem or a situation, so become the solver of photographic dreams. Plan what you aim to sell from each aspect of the business, from those babies through to teenagers and your wedding clients, and leave nothing, nothing to chance. So plan in detail.

YOUR ‘MENU’ What do you expect clients to buy? Which product? How many images? And does this contribute to providing you with enough income? If not, you have a gap that needs urgently filling. As I said earlier, this is not a game. Inform your clients, speak about the products and become very, very comfortable with all that you retail, from your prices to creating collections. Think like a store and create collections, just as fashion retailers do. Create collections that complement; wall art that looks stunning together and never present anything unpriced – this is a big mistake. Clients need to see prices, and not sense that you are plucking figures from the air. Clients want to feel special, cared for, so give time this week (do it now!) to plotting the changes required to improve your sales.

GIVE YOURSELF TIME Finally, time – the biggie. Give yourself a period of time to really consider the impact of the images you are about to present. Practice your run through and anticipate what the clients are more than likely to spend on. Most photographers can change the way a client retails with them by simply placing themselves under stricter guidelines. Give yourself an expectation prior to the sale and set yourself an objective for the client; not because you are going to be tempted to over sell, quite the opposite in fact. Because you are going to sell them what they

need, even if they don’t know this, prior to the sale. Remember, this is about creating clients for life. Don’t fall into the trap of leaving all to the last minute; the moment you gain the booking for the shoot, allocate the time for the sale, production and processing time – all stages vital in the life of a successful professional photographer. Fill the gaps, take time to evaluate what clients buy, and what they walk away from. Is your range of products right, do you have gaps? Study your collection of frames and albums with your retailer’s hat on and the consumer in mind – ask yourself, ‘anything missing’? And good luck! PP For further natter and conversation, join Catherine through: Or on Facebook: aspirephotographytraining



Why choose a professional wedding photographer? By asking his own clients for feedback, NEALE JAMES built a persuasive list of reasons why all weddings should be shot by a pro As we continue through this digital age where technology improves on an almost daily basis, many DSLR cameras targeted at the ‘amateur’ or ‘enthusiast’ consumer are incredibly impressive pieces of kit with which you’re able to capture some superb imagery.

Having said that, I’m still commissioned to photograph 70+ weddings a year, so I asked couples I worked with during 2012 what is was that made them spend money hiring a professional, rather than giving that responsibility to a keen friend or family member with an eye for a great shot.

“At the end of the day, other than your memories, it’s the only thing you have to look back on”

“We knew Neale had worked at our venue before and they said he was really helpful and great to work with”

Clare & Keith, Hampshire Of the couples I asked, about 80 per cent of them said that finding the right photographer was a priority because of the importance they placed in having a professional set of wedding photographs that would forever remind them of their day. Yes, it’s a phrase bandied about in the wedding industry, but the old adage ‘after the cake’s been eaten, the dress dry cleaned and the flowers have wilted, all that’s left of your wedding day is your photographs’ does seem apposite.


Joe & Amy, Berkshire

You’ll never hear me criticise couples that choose a keen amateur to capture their day, but for all those that believe the rise of the iPhone will see the demise of the wedding photographer, I’d steer you in direction of the points made here as I truly believe there will always be a role for the professional.

On a wedding day, it’s a real advantage to employ suppliers that understand how a day will flow – the order of service if you like – and can work alongside a wedding coordinator at a venue and ensure the day runs just as you planned it. For example, I once photographed a wedding where the main oven broke so a new oven had to be brought in during the drinks reception! This meant the wedding breakfast was over an hour late but, although the bride and groom knew, none of the guests were aware of the change in timings as I worked with the wedding coordinator to space out our planned group shots throughout the afternoon, rather than shooting them all in a row. A little adjustment maybe, but it certainly helped the flow of events that day.

“My brother had an arty friend shoot his wedding and the photographs were terrible. He was so disappointed” Paul & Kirsty, Oxfordshire The more people that opt out of booking a professional supplier, the more this type of story will appear. I had three (that I know of) couples who, in 2012, told me of a scenario where a friend, work colleague or family member had offered their services as a photographer but simply hadn’t been up to the job. One even pulled out a fortnight before the wedding as he decided it was going to be too much pressure and he wouldn’t be able to enjoy the day!


“We saw our friends’ photos but they were only on a CD, and we wanted a proper wedding album” Ruth & Graham, Berkshire As a professional wedding photographer, I have access to companies that supply the very best wedding albums in the world. These include superb British firms employing true craftsmen such as GF Smith to those based in Australia, with a heritage dating back to the late 60s. Some of these manufacturers require an investment in partner schemes or design software to be able to offer products to clients, and indeed others exclusively work with professionals, ensuring their own exemplary standards are upheld.

“We booked you because you’re full time” Sara & John, Berkshire

To me, being full or part time doesn’t matter as such, but it is about being a PROFESSIONAL wedding photographer. Hobbies are great, and indeed 10 years ago I was very much an ‘amateur’ photographer, but when you become a professional photographer – start earning a living from it – that’s when your clients can be confident you’ll still be shooting weddings this time next year, you’ll honour the contract they signed with you and you’re as committed to their wedding day as they are.

Here are some other reasons for employing a professional wedding photographer: • The backup processes we adopt to ensure all files are safely stored – personally, I copy files to three different hard drives, have an off-site backup and a catalogue of DVDs. • The support network we have as professionals. I’m lucky to be in close contact with a fantastically talented group of wedding photographers with whom we can discuss issues and generate new ideas. It also provides an invaluable support network in case of emergencies; for example, I helped a friend who was stuck in traffic during a motorway closure by photographing bridal preparation until he arrived. I know many, many peers that would do the same for me, giving that little extra peace of mind to clients. • The considerable investment we make in equipment, not only to ensure we have the best technology available, but also to carry around additional equipment in case one piece fails. • As a professional, it’s my responsibility to invest in training. Even with almost 10 years experience, I’ll never stop trying to improve what I do, to increase my knowledge, to challenge my abilities and to offer my clients THE BEST. PP



New Networking Whether you’re a photographer, entrepreneur or a mixture of both, innovative networking is the way forward to get your talents noticed. Jessica Bracey looks at the options out there


ith the collapse of Focus, Europe’s largest annual imaging convention, our heads now turn to what networking events can match its pull on photographers to get out of the digital darkroom and into the social sphere. Luckily there’s no reason to feel like headless chickens looking for the next big way to get friendly with fellow photographers – there are networking opportunities aplenty if you search for them. Now, we’re not talking about the conventional canapé and small talk scenarios or getting the ‘them and us’ impression when at a trade show barriered off by a mere trestle table, we’re talking full-on discussions, styled photo shoots and of course the exchange of business cards – your social calendar won’t know what’s hit it. Festival season is in full swing and the advent of it being just a green-grassed music affair is well and truly over, as photographers have put it upon themselves to launch their own mini photography festival. Boo Marshall has stepped into the shoes of Michael Eavis in the imaging industry and did just that. What started off as a styled shoot collaboration between herself, a florist and a handyman of shepherd huts soon tumbled into a full-scale event just outside of Norwich with a festival vibe featuring

food, drinks, photo shoots and fun. “At first it was for us to get decent images, new clients and a new collaborative working venture between three like-minded companies,” says Boo. “Then we offered selected local businesses a free mini shoot of their products over the two days with our amazingly styled ‘englampment’, and then the businesses would receive the photos free for their own marketing. All with business networking and photography remaining at the forefront of it all.” A free event that attracted over 120 people, the companies complemented each other creatively, and the payment in return was their talent in an informal setting but with a professional mindset. “We definitely wanted to attract businesses whose products would feature well in our styled shoot. It was very important that they had a similar client market to our own. For example, customers of the children’s clothing boutique Coccolino, would be likely to use The Maddermarket Kitchen as a caterer, Libby Ferris as their florist and go glamping in The English Shepherd Hut’s holiday lets,” says Boo. Fun and frolics aside, it was a networking event after all. So from a photographer’s point of view, what did they walk away with? “It was an opportunity to build your portfolio and share knowledge, either business or 



If you’re looking for alternative networking events, here’s our list of highlights across the country FRONTLINE CLUB - A legend in the freelance video news industry, the not so secret club was founded in 2003 in honour of colleagues at the Frontline News Television agency who died on assignment. Attracting photojournalists to its clubhouse complete with an award-winning restaurant and exhibition that showcases iconic images from the likes of Robert Capa in its first-floor London base, the second floor is home to its events and film screenings. There is also an opportunity to become a member of the club, which entitles you to free entry to events, access to the private clubroom and members-only evenings, with a young persons membership in the pipeline. Upcoming events include an investigative journalism workshop with Iain Overton on 19 July and a video journalist’s toolkit workshop on 2 August.

REDEYE - A not-for-profit organisation for all photographers, no matter your ability, it aims to support and improve the health of the craft. Based in Manchester it’s a hub for photographers to showcase and discuss the current climate of the industry and offers events, opportunities and advice which would prove difficult to find elsewhere. A group that strives to be inclusive, it works with others to promote photography in the most ethical way possible with the best practise. Upcoming events: 6 July - In conjunction with the Royal Photographic Society the event focuses on sharing photographs and photography at the University of Westminster. SWPP - One of the biggest collectives out there is the Society of Wedding and Portrait photographers. A legacy that has spanned over two decades, it welcomes those with a passion for people and its membership scheme offers a number of benefits. Now we’re all familiar with their annual convention, but the SWPP also present mini conventions around the country as a means of meeting up, finding out about new products and getting an insight into the industry with a series of talks. The upcoming events are held in west Yorkshire on 5 September and Norfolk on 17 September. MINICLICK - A series of monthly talks held in Brighton, Jim Stephenson established the free regular events for photographers and film-makers alike. Previous speakers include Peter Dench and Clare Strand and the genres stretch far and wide, but have a flavour for works out of the ordinary. From guest speakers to panel discussions, Pecha Kucha events and workshops tied in with the Brighton Photo Fringe festival, as many as 150 people gather to praise the positives of photography and not mourn its supposed death. A free event that shares a passion for what we preach, it appreciates the thought process of why an image was made, not just how.



equipment knowledge, which is invaluable. I also strongly believe in a collaborative ethos. So, I knew that if I tried to handle two full days of commercial styled mini shoots, plus a festival in the evening, it would be much more efficient to ask for second shooting help,” says Boo. “Although I belong to a group of local wedding photographers who I respect and like immensely, I wanted to develop my own client contacts and asked photography partnership Todd & Moore, who are based in York, to come along too. Firstly, I knew that they were looking for opportunities to develop their own commercial portfolio and felt that they could do that with Norfolk businesses,” she continued. And what about the feedback from the first-time photography festival goers? “The event was really special,” said photography pair Philip Barnes and John Harris who are branching out to videography. “We couldn’t believe our luck to be filming our first music video here for a great band, The Arlenes. What was even better is that we found that we could use a beautiful English shepherd’s hut as the main backdrop for the film.” Norfolk business Elm Hill Brides said that the event was: “Probably one of the best, innovative and enjoyable networking events I’ve ever been to – and I’ve been to many! A memorable, pleasurable day of classy, rustic charm,” and one that is set to happen again. But I can’t get to these events, we hear you cry. As professional photographers, time is of the essence but making those key connections is top of the to-do list. Our answer? The internet. It might have turned us into midnight trolls trawling through Twitter feeds and Facebook friends to spark up conversation, but there are other online tools that hold the answer. Among the social networks there are also online portals just for photographers, one of them being Purple Port. The new Model Mayhem, Purple Port is a showcase, networking

site for over 10,000 models, photographers, make-up artists and related creatives. “We’re not just a portfolio hosting site, the aim of Purple Port is to provide a hub for talented people to create awesome images. We do the introductions and then they get on with it,” says Purple Port founder, Russ Freeman. “If you want to learn, if you want to find a mentor, if you want to do a shoot with someone, then you can find people to work with. If you were just starting out as a professional photographer, a site like this is a great source for contacts because we’re all about networking.” Featuring an ‘account health’ tool that tells you what you’re not doing to network efficiently, it encourages you to post new updates and like others’ work, guiding you on the networking highway. “We incorporate the best of the social networking features on the internet, such as like buttons and mood boards, and tailor them to photographers,” says Russ who also understands the importance of pioneering good work by hosting 24 photographers’ best images on the homepage every day. “Your profile sky rockets if you receive one of these awards. Their profile includes links to their external sites, which some photography networking sites don’t do, so it’s all about that sharing and social aspect. From photographers’ point of view you want to create images and models want to be in them, so we do everything we can to facilitate that and nurture that relationship. It’s all about community.” So whether you’re an active busy body with bags packed for a photography adventure or just looking to add to your portfolio, the options out there are vast and wide to suit everyone’s needs and taste. The days of the one-time networking event is over as photographers are taking it upon themselves to innovate and create. Just don’t forget your business cards. PP



From the successful photographer and business man who quadrupled his bookings during recession, we bring you...





Despite my youthful good looks, wit and charm (Okay, well maybe not then), I’ve been around the block a bit. Apart from a very small stint as an employee of Microsoft when I left university, I’ve always been self-employed, preferring the flexibility and opportunity that running my own business afforded me. I’ve run sports memorabilia companies, novelty merchandise companies and for a very long time my own web design and online media marketing firm. Each of those businesses were successful, at least for a while. Two of them always had short term exit strategies and one of them hit the rocks during turbulent times. None of them gave me the complete outlet artistically and entrepreneurially that my present job as a full-time wedding photographer gives me. I’m in a good place with the business, in a good industry that, despite the ups and downs, I am confident is strong and capable of sustaining all of us (that work hard!) for the long term. I’ve learnt some very harsh lessons from my businesses in the past, and believe it or not, I keep a crib sheet of some of these lessons, to hopefully make sure I don’t make them again. In no particular order, here are 10 of those notes to myself that I’d like to share with you.

IT’S OKAY TO MAKE MISTAKES Pressure generally comes from within when you work for yourself. I’m a hard task master and I used to be so angry if I did something that didn’t work, or missed out on a project or job because of an error of judgement. We all make mistakes and whilst we don’t


...believe it or not, I keep a crib sheet of some of these lessons, to hopefully make sure I don’t make them again. KM want to make them, when we do, we need to dust ourselves down and learn from them. Not wallow in them. If you speak to any of the industrial entrepreneurs in this country, they will tell you that they have made more mistakes than successes. Indeed, the word ‘entrepreneur’ is described by Wikipedia as ‘an individual who organises and operates a business or businesses, taking on financial risk to do so’. Risk is inherent in any business and a symptom of risk is mistakes. It’s okay to make mistakes and it doesn’t necessarily have to mean failure. Admit your mistakes and move on. I’ve made loads and continue to make them too.

DO IT RIGHT, NOW! This has two elements to it effectively; if you have a task to do, don’t put it off. The biggest barrier to getting something done is starting it. Just get on with it when it needs doing. Procrastination of the boring elements of your business will not help you in the long term. At the same time, do it right, first time (if you can). Often we are guilty of just ‘making do’ with a project or an element of our business, normally because it’s uninteresting. I know I’ve been guilty in the past of rushing something in order to move on to something more exciting. Invariably I end up going back to correct the mistakes, so taking time to do even the less interesting things,

correctly, first time, will yield results. ‘Do it right, now!’ Is a phrase I have pinned on my wall and it’s quite motivational for me.

HAVE CONFIDENCE When I first started work at Microsoft I was a lowly software developer. I had a great mentor there and I constantly asked him questions regarding the best way to address a piece of code. One day he explained that pretty much every time I asked him something it was for confirmation, meaning I knew how to do it, I just didn’t have the confidence to do it without first running it by him. He said “If you don’t have confidence in yourself, how can you expect anybody else to have confidence in you?” That statement has remained with me and especially in the very subjective world of photography it rings true. We need to be confident in our ability, our prices and our business practices. There seems to be too many of us who lack confidence in our own convictions – especially in the wedding photography industry.

GET HELP I’ve talked about this a lot before so I won’t dwell here but I firmly believe we should hire experts for tasks we are not naturally capable of doing; accountancy, web design, advertising,


marketing, album design. Are we the ‘Uncle Bobs’ of other industries?

MAKE A BUSINESS PLAN I wrote in depth about this recently here, but it’s worth adding to the list. My first ever business didn’t have a business plan and it lost its way quite dramatically in the first year or two. A business plan is my blueprint of sanity. It keeps me on the level and as well as giving me work-based targets, I also add bonuses to my business plan such as an extended holiday if I turn over X amount.

and I bear it in mind these days with almost all aspects of my business. I try not to keep all my eggs in one basket and this extends from financial institutions to album manufacturers, web hosting and equipment. Pretty much every aspect of my business can carry on running if one of the core suppliers disappears overnight. What is your recovery plan if your web hosting company went bust over night? What happens if you are hit with a Google penalty? How would you deal (heaven forbid) with burglary the night before a wedding, if your cameras were lost?

KILL THE EMOTION POSITIVITY BREEDS POSITIVITY Related in some ways to the confidence point, but I have garnered over my time that having a positive attitude, especially externally, breeds positivity around your business. A good friend of mine who is a wonderful wedding photographer, Sanjay Jogia, exudes this practically in his entire being. I can’t quite compete with him on the ‘PMA’ stakes but you only need to take one look at his work and his business to see the effect it has.

KEEPING ALL THE EGGS IN ONE BASKET Probably one of the sagest lessons I learnt in my previous business is to spread out my risk exposure. My business had all of its cash in the Bank of Iceland when that went bust. It wasn’t a huge amount, but it took me the best part of three years to get it back. That hurt, a lot. There was no support network for businesses to recover from that

A few months back I finally got the message that my beloved and toiled-over website wasn’t doing the job. It was too dark and was missing the target audience in many cases. I loved that website. I’d probably spent more time with it than my wife for certain periods. It was my wife who told me that it was too dark, and cramped. Something needed doing. I ignored her because I loved it. It was my hard work and surely if I loved it, it was doing a good job. No. It wasn’t, and even though I loved it, I had to let it go and re-design and re-brand. I once invested in one of the most sought-after pieces of rugby memorabilia in the world. I would buy it, and sell it. Right? Wrong. I bought it, and coveted it, I had offers for it but I just couldn’t let it go. In the end the bottom fell out of the market and it plummeted in value and I made a relatively huge loss. Sometimes the industry moves on, technology moves on, marketing moves on and I’m very aware that I need to be able to leave elements of my business behind to move on too.

GET THE MARKETING BASICS RIGHT By this, I mean the essentials such as website and business cards. In the early days of my first business, ALL websites looked like they were developed by primary school kids with crayons. In 2013 there is absolutely no reason why a photographer should have a poorly designed site. Even the free templates are attractive. In the art industry, positive first impressions are imperative and that usually starts with the website.

GET THE MARKETING BASICS RIGHT The reason I moved into photography was because I’d fallen out of love with the web design and corporate world. It took me a long time to realise and make the move. One day I came home and Gemma told me I looked shattered, and I just slumped in the chair. “I hate doing this,” I said. “So stop,” she said. So I did. I will remember that. I have ups and downs like every wedding photographer. Most weddings leave me buzzing, some less so, but generally I love the business and the people. If I ever get to the situation where I think, ‘whoa!, this is too stressful’ or where it becomes so difficult to make a profit that I’m flat out and simply not enjoying it anymore, then I’ll know it’s time to move on. But I’m hopeful that time won’t come. PP


WHAT A WEDDING COSTS: This month we’ve expanded KEVIN MULLINS’ pages and asked him to lay out the true cost of being a wedding photographer

I’ve had lots of feedback on this subject, some controversial, some supportive and some a bit negative. I’m sure many people think shooting a wedding for £500 is great – it’s £500 right. Four of those a month is £2,000 a month. What could be better? Well, whilst we all know you have to start somewhere, we are also well aware of the amount of photographers charging an economically impossible rate. Getting your foot on the ladder is cool and necessary. Staying on the bottom rung will lead to misery in the long term and without considering costs thoroughly a business will always struggle. In order to make more sense of this, I’ve broken down the costs that I incur for a typical wedding into 11 categories and seven often overlooked subcategories. I’ve always been candid in this column and this is no exception. I’m sure there will be many professionals out there nodding their head sagely but really, I want to help the new photographers out there to consider just exactly what costs are involved in running a ‘successful’ wedding photography business. Costs are essentially bracketed into fixed and variable costs. Fixed costs are business expenses that are not dependant on the level of goods or services produced by the business. They tend to be time related, such as salary and rent (often referred to as overheads) whereas variable costs are expenses that change in proportion to the activity of a business. PP


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SALARY The most important fixed cost of them all. What is the point of being a business owner if you don’t draw a salary? Can you honestly say you draw a proper salary from the business?

TAX Coupled with the above. Tax & death – the only certainties in life, so we are told. Well tax is a considerable expense if your business is making a profit. I chose to operate as a limited company which means I have to pay Corporation Tax as well as PAYE, National Insurance contributions (as both and employer and employee).

GEAR You can’t be a wedding photographer without gear. We’ve all seen the articles in The Daily Mail of the photographer whose camera broke, etc. We are also all well aware of the ‘Uncle Bobs’ and the one way we can be more professional is by making sure we have good gear AND backup gear. In total, there is around £15,000 worth of investment in gear alone.

INSURANCE I pay around £320 per year for insurance which covers my gear, and my indemnity.

SOFTWARE I’ve just subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud to keep my photography tools up to date. Whilst this year is a special offer, that is likely to be £500+ per year. I also have fixed licences for Microsoft Office (let’s say £150 per year via upgrade paths), and my accounting software (a further say £50 per year). Operating system costs also have to be paid. I also have to pay £150 per year for my online gallery via Zenfolio.


NON-PHOTOGRAPHIC TOOLS OF THE TRADE: I have two high-powered PCs, a laptop, a mid-range Canon printer, an office printer, professional NEC monitor, colour calibrating tools and external hard drives. A look at my past accounts tells me that on average I spend around £1,500 per year on office machinery.

PRODUCT COSTS Album costs, to us, are always on the rise yet it seems a lot of people are practically giving them away. At the very basic level you have to take into account your product costs when pricing.

RENT I’m lucky enough to not have an office which I need to pay rent on. Oh, and business rates.

YOUR TIME It’s so important. For me at least. If you do a simple calculation of ‘time spent on wedding / profit’ you will get your base hourly rate. Including time editing, shooting, meeting and travelling… Some photographers I know would be below the minimum wage level.

COST OF ACQUISITION Essentially marketing. To include your time spent at a computer doing your website, cost of advertising, cost of Facebook investment (time and financially).

PENSION AND HEALTH INSURANCE As a person with a young family these are very important to me.

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And here’s a list of things that are very easily overlooked, but all add up:


Postage: Last year I spent over £1,000 on postage (stamps, sending albums and courier costs).


Fuel: If you are claiming tax allowance on your fuel, great, if not it’s a direct cost your business is incurring.


Sustenance: Heaven knows how many Mars Bars I ate on the road last year.

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Dry Cleaning: It costs me £23 to get two suits cleaned. I do this approximately twice a month during the busy season.

Window Cleaning: It’s only £8 a month but that’s nearly £100 over the year.

Client entertaining: How many coffees and teas do you buy for potential clients?

Mobile phone, internet, electricity, etc.



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TIPS TO BETTER INSURANCE COVERAGE With the wedding season now upon us, ADRIAN SCOTT, head of photography insurance specialists Photoguard, joins forces with seasoned wedding photographer Rebecca of Rebecca Wedding Photography to provide some practical tips on avoiding mishaps on the way


Professional wedding photographers face competition at every turn, so ensuring you are well prepared and have the best cover in place will help avoid any hiccups on the day. Remembering these tips will enable you to deliver the best quality and service possible, giving you a happy pair of newlyweds and ultimately another successful wedding to add to your portfolio.

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While it might be tempting to get your insurance over and done with quickly – it is possible to get immediate approval for many online policies – taking the time to ensure that you select the right policy for you is highly recommended. Adrian advises: “Insurance policies can vary greatly, so photographers need to look beyond the headline rate, and read the small print to ensure the cover is fit for purpose. Some policies, for instance, will not include professional indemnity cover or could carry a high excess.”

2. GETTING TO THE CHURCH WITHOUT A HITCH Modern weddings often involve travel between wedding ceremony and reception venue, with potentially different lighting and/or photography requirements at each venue. This could mean you’re obliged to leave valuable equipment in your vehicle unattended for long periods of time. To minimise the risk of theft, Adrian recommends ensuring that your valuables are locked away at all times and left out of sight. Failure to do so could invalidate any insurance claim you may make if the equipment is stolen. On a similar theme, if you’re staying in a hotel overnight make sure you lock all your equipment away in the room safe, or ask to use the hotel safe.


4. FINALISE THE BACK-UP PLAN Some photographers hire their second body and lens, especially at the start of their career. If you do choose to go down this route, Adrian advises you check the small print of your insurance policy to ensure you’re covered. Photoguard, for example, covers rented equipment as long as it is stated on the insurance schedule. If something does get damaged – a lens gets scratched or the camera body is dropped – always swap to your back-up camera rather than trying to soldier on: making a DIY fix may make the problem worse and could even potentially invalidate your insurance claim. The best course of action is to contact your insurer as soon as is practical, allowing them to start dealing with the claim.


3. KEEPING EVERYTHING SAFE AND SOUND Working with the general public means it isn’t just your photography equipment you need to look after. Adrian explains: “Public liability insurance will protect you should you or any of your equipment accidentally hurt a guest or damage any of the wedding venue’s property. A worst case scenario could see a guest suing the photographer, but public liability insurance would mean the photographer is protected against these costs. If you’re shooting a wedding in a hotel, they may require you to have this type of insurance, so the responsibility lies with you.”

5. ENSURE YOU INSURE Even if you have done all your preparation, accidents do happen so a comprehensive insurance policy is a must. Specialist photography insurance safeguards many photography essentials: not just the camera, but a wide range of props and accessories including laptops, memory cards and software. Probably the most important type of insurance for a professional photographer is professional indemnity cover. This is essential because it covers a photographer if they fail to deliver what they have been contracted to deliver, subsequent legal action by an unsatisfied client and for the costs involved in having to reshoot if negligence is proven. Adrian adds: “If an incident happens and you’ve had to make a claim, it’s essential you don’t lose out on income by having to cancel weddings while your equipment is being repaired, or suffer damage to your reputation by having to let people down. Insurers can arrange to hire equipment until yours is repaired or replaced, which will allow you to honour your commitments. And if you choose to be with a specialist photography insurer, they can make sure your equipment is repaired at a retailer of your choice.” Rebecca also advises photographers to check whether their camera manufacturer offers a trade camera club. The Canon Professional Services, for example, offers free membership if you purchase certain Canon equipment. She says: “The benefits of this membership can include a quick repair turnaround. My Gold membership means my equipment is repaired within three days at my local repair centre, significantly faster than standard timings.” PP



no need to tie the knot When the aisle calls but you’re just not ready to make that commitment to a new high-spec lens for your wedding commission, a stand-in best man in the form of the 24-105mm and 24-70mm from Lens Locker is just the ticket As a frequent wedding photographer you want a workhorse that will carry you through the whole day and not let you down – whilst also being versatile enough for portrait work away from the ceremony. But when that workhorse is getting tired or you’re far too tempted by a prettier and younger model, you can dabble in the high life without the regret thanks to Lens Locker. At a fraction of the price of signing the dotted line and making that commitment, you can hire the lightweight Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM with a three-stop Image Stabiliser from just a touch over £30 – that’s less than your bar bill for the night! Or you can hire the high-performance wide-angle Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED complete with fast-aperture, ED Glass and Nano Crystal Coat for just under £40 – ready and waiting for both FX and DX-format sensors. And the best thing is that the lens can be yours for up to 28 days, giving you many opportunities to make sweet images with a fine companion. Just think how inspiring and memorable those final prints will be for both you and the couple, something they’ll be sure to thank you for. With quality this spectacular, and the hiring process a walk in the park, you’ll never look back again. Simply give Lens Locker a call or log onto our website and book your lens online. @LensLocker 62


BOOKINGS It EVER AFTER Over the next few months we’ll be following a bunch of photographers as they swap the complacency of their comfort zone for the thrill of the unknown; first off, CRAIG FLEMING is let loose at a wedding!

seems like everyone has a sideline shooting weddings these days. Odds on if you asked your local butcher he’d not only photograph your big day but also throw in a pound of sausages as a sweetener. So why am I taking what seems to me like a step backwards and shooting weddings professionally again? Well there’s a lot to be said for that old adage ‘If you can’t beat em… join em.’ A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I used to shoot weddings regularly. To be fair my heart was never in it, I always dreamed of being a portrait photographer, getting paid to fly to various parts of the world taking pictures of actors, politicians and royalty. I have done a little of that albeit without the travel and I still harbour those ambitions, more so than ever. But the cold hard truth is it’s never been harder than it is now to make a living out of photography. It seems to me the top one per cent of photographers are earning 95 per cent of the money, leaving the rest of us fighting for scraps. It’s a pretty depressing picture but luckily I have in my armoury an attitude that means the tougher it gets the more I’ll dig my heels in. The trigger for me to return to shooting weddings came after meeting a few photographers who do this as their only means of income and make a good living out of it while I, particularly over the last 18 months, have seen my portrait client base whittle away; the ones that have stayed with me always seem to be on a budget. Last year whilst working on a fashion and beauty test the models were discussing their impending weddings. It was at this point that I offered my services as a second shooter for the day. Doing it this way meant I wouldn’t be getting paid but it also meant there was no pressure on me either. It was a win-win situation for me, both girls were beautiful and both of them were getting married in spectacular locations, one a country house in Cheshire and the 


other a two day wedding with the ceremony at none other than The Ritz itself. Both girls jumped at the chance and I knew the images I’d be getting would be a good start for my wedding website. The wedding you see featured here is that of my good friend and model Charley Rose, who was marrying her long time sweetheart Louis. I’d arranged with Charley that I’d concentrate on the groom and his entourage getting ready, while the main photographer for the day took care of the bride’s shots. Arriving at his Didsbury apartment for 8.30am I set about just documenting what was happening really. It wasn’t particularly chaotic and everyone was quite laid back about having me there, that said you do have to know when to back out of the room and give them a bit of space. An hour and a half later and I was on the road to the wedding location, which was a beautiful country house near Knutsford in Cheshire. The weather had been terrible for the run up but I promised Charley the sun would shine as it had done 12 months earlier when I photographed her on a beach. She actually believes I’m her good weather charm too as the day was absolutely glorious, meaning the ceremony could go ahead outdoors just as she had wished. I’ve always been a laid back kind of photographer so my prep for the day was basically charging the batteries, cleaning the sensor and writing ‘memory cards’ on my hand just to make sure I didn’t forget them. Armed with my 5D Mk II and 24-105mm f/4 L series lens. I’ve seen a lot of photographers at weddings and they often seem to be not far off breaking point – if it gets to you like that I really can’t see the point. I prefer working with a cool head as it seems to rub off on others too. The wedding itself was a Jewish affair and not knowing what to expect I was more than pleasantly surprised to find that these guys really know how to party. That helped with the shots too. Charley had organised the whole day herself with various entertainment such as a pair of Irish rappers and a human beatbox ensemble. This really helped to get the party going too so I got some really good images of everyone laughing and having fun. To be fair it was hard not to get good photographs. During the ceremony a white voile canopy stood in the centre of the grounds with the blossom trees as a back drop. The canopy meant the light on the bride and the groom was beautifully diffused, giving me some corking shots, helped also by the fact that the photographer from Cheshire Life lent me his 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens. Given it was my first wedding for a long time I have to say I felt truly blessed given the weather and the generosity of the attending photographer. The one thing I didn’t like was a three-man video crew, one of whom seemed to be closer to the bride for most of the day than the groom and it was difficult getting shots of Charley without seeing this videographer pointing his 50mm directly at the bride from a distance of about a foot away. That’s something I’d have discussed with the couple beforehand if I was the main shooter. I’ll keep some laxatives in my gadget bag for future weddings and slip them into a drink for him if it happens again. That should sort it. Overall I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed shooting both weddings. My background in fashion means I can react to changes in light very quickly and know when to put movement into shots and when not to. My style is very much reportage/documentary, which is not to say I can’t do the traditional stuff, I just think it’s important that as a photographer you develop your own style and stick to it. Then your clients know what they’re getting. I am planning to do more weddings so I’ve set up a partnership with



Charley had organised the whole day herself with various entertainment such as a pair of Irish rappers and a human beatbox ensemble. This really helped to get the party going too so I got some really good images of everyone laughing and having fun. To be fair it was hard not to get good photographs. CF my friend Louise, and we’re already taking bookings for next year. Louise has an interest in photography and is keen to learn more so she will be secondshooting alongside myself. What Louise brings to the weddings for now though is the personal female touch that I feel wedding buyers want. With a background as a PA at a high level, she brings efficiency to our service, which was always my weakness if I’m totally honest. Would I advise other photographers to break out of their comfort zone? Of course, as a creative you never stand still. Stand still, and you’re effectively going backwards. Pushing boundaries and trying new things shouldn’t be a conscious decision, it should always be a given. PP





Internet sensation and commercial photographer TIM TADDER chatted to Jade Price about wow-factor water wigs 67


Well, without giving away the exact setup, let’s say it involved a sound trigger, many helping hands, a stool set in a kiddie pool, and lots and lots of very thin, clear balloons in round and long shapes. TT 68

im’s work first crashed our radars when his mind-blowing water wig portraits became something of an internet craze. The concept was to have bald models, initially burly men, posing while a water balloon was popped over their heads. The aim was to capture the shape of the balloon as it popped, lighting it with vibrant colours and punchy backgrounds to make the finished product quite the visual marvel. A strange yet wonderful idea you would agree, so we just had to pick the colourful brain behind it. Tim explained that he and his team toss ideas around the studio on a regular basis to keep creativity levels crackling and at the time he had been shooting other watery projects that mimic obscure fish heads, with people posing half submerged in the water. Leading him through his watery theme, Tim clicked onto the potential that water balloons could hold, aside from practical jokes or a slot on TV’s You’ve Been Framed! “We liked the idea of water balloons,” Tim said. “We had this sound trigger and we wanted to do something totally different that I hadn’t seen before. I thought using bald people would be cool since the explosion is so much like hair. So it just kind of evolved.” So the next stage after creating the concept was to persuade some hair-ily challenged men to pose with large balloons filled with water balanced on their heads. You might think that being approached by someone for the pure reason that you lack hair, and asked if you wouldn’t mind a giant water-pumped balloon laid over your scalp, would put a few people off. Quite the opposite for Tim who had more than enough willing volunteers pulled from all over his work space and beyond: “We had the best models. Such good sports. I think they thought, ‘why did I agree to this?’ Until they saw the finished images and then they were amazed. Now they have the coolest Facebook profile pictures ever!” said Tim. The made-over models included the UPS delivery man who got roped in for his lack of hair and beefy package-hauling build. The list of models also featured a few of Tim’s assistants, actors from a local casting site and another unsuspecting co-worker who worked in Tim’s building. The shots capture the full shape of the balloon with the burst pieces nowhere to be seen. The models have been sworn to secrecy as to how the amazing bursting balloons were captured so cleverly, and Tim’s not telling either: “Well, without giving away the exact setup, let’s say it involved a sound trigger, many helping hands, a stool set in a kiddie pool, and lots and lots of very thin, clear balloons in round and long shapes.” So the actual mechanics of the shoot may be sealed in a wax-stamped envelope and kept in a bolted safe, but we’ll accept that for these stunning shots of ingenuity. Though humbly, Tim never expected the water wigs to be such a hit, “We just had fun with it and I’m happy that it made so many people smile!” And unfortunately there were no videos taken of the shoot’s setup, so it looks like this will be a secret taken to the grave, though Tim said he wished he had taken videos for further commercialisation of the images and because people enjoyed the shots so much. To create the overall image, Tim used coloured lights on a plain sweep background to go behind the models, adding to the overall effect of the image with rich, contrasting colours. The images were shot mainly on his trusty Nikon D800 coupled with a number of lighting setups ranging from Profoto models to Paul C Buff Einsteins, and a mysterious sound trigger setup that holds the secrets to Tim’s success. The last piece of the puzzle was the hundreds of thin, see-through balloons that served as the key ingredient to the stunning final outcome. Tim explained that it was pure luck that the pieces of balloon cannot be seen in the shots once they had burst, one of the main reasons for choosing such thin and see-through balloons. 


It was great shooting the women actually, they were far better than shooting male models. I prefer beautiful women over bald men any day! TT

KIT Nikon D800 Phase One 645DF with P65+ back Schneider optics Mixture of Profoto lights and Paul C Buff Einsteins

It wasn’t all perfection as expected; Tim admitted that there were literally thousands of failed attempts, and the soaking wet models endured a long process on the road to perfection. “This was a very labour-intensive shoot. We shot it over four nights and maybe got four good images a night,” said Tim.

WHEN WOMEN DON WIGS Perhaps the most surprising step was when Tim announced that he would next try the water wigs with women. Bald women? Yes. With his previous water wigs being so popular, Tim gathered a number of female models to have a new bonce created with colourfully-lit water. Again Tim produced some visually impressive shots where the balloons burst in such a way that it truly complemented the women posing and looked as though their real hair had simply been Photoshopped into a water wig. But we know Tim’s the real deal. When asked the highly important question of who is top of the wigshooting ladder in his preference books, Tim said, “It was great shooting the women actually, they were far better than shooting male models. I prefer beautiful women over bald men any day!” Re-launching the water wigs with women boosted Tim back into the limelight and he received further media coverage, all of which modest Tim is amazed by. “Its been amazing, we have been in too many media productions to count; magazines from Russia to Japan, TV shows in Japan, the US and Europe, as well as hundreds of blogs, both photography and art, and human interests sites around the web. Oh, and we also had a speaking arrangement at Google headquaters!” It was no surprise then that all this media coverage brought more work Tim’s way. He has produced two commercial projects with the water wigs, one for the chewing gum brand Dentyne Gum and interestingly another for a tourism ad for the States.

AN EXHIBITIONIST With so much press and web coverage it was inevitable that Tim should want to run an exhibition for his water wig images. “We are planning on doing one later this summer. We have one planned in Toronto at the international film festival.” And given his previous secretive approach to his shoots, Tim’s next experiments are being kept under the hat for now. “We have three shoots lined up, and are hoping to get two additional, very exciting shoots,” Tim shared. “Not sure what I can speak about, but regardless we are very happy to be working on good projects.” So it looks like we will have to keep an eye on the web again but it’s safe to say that when Tim’s next installation comes up it will be undoubtedly recognisable. Stay tuned to the Professional Photographer website for any updates. PP

Tim is a commercial photographer who was born in Baltimore. Tim worked for newspapers and became a photojournalist before he set his sights on the editorial and commercial side of photography. Tim has been commissioned to shoot famous portraits such as that of George W Bush and Bill Gates, and has worked with the likes of Michael Phelps, Kid Rock, Ice Cube and Tom Brady. Tim is best known for his high action sports photography for global brands such as Adidas, Budweiser, Coca Cola and many more.










Fun is rarely in short supply when a model turns up to one of ZOE MCCONNELLâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s shoots, she tells Keith Wilson As house parties go, this takes some beating: young actress Taylor Momsen crawls over a cooker in the kitchen; singer Rita Ora stands on a desk with her right arm held high to the ceiling; outside by the pool, American Legal star Sarah Shahi spins a hoola hoop around her waist; meanwhile superstar Rihanna lies on the floor, legs splayed in front of a mirror and starts taking pictures of herself. As the song goes, these girls just want to have fun. And so does Zoe McConnell, who has photographed all these celebrities.  Taylor Momsen for FHM.




Just to avoid any confusion, there was no house party where Rita, Taylor, Sarah and Rihanna were all present at the same time. But flicking through a book of Zoe’s images, and noting the way she poses the stars, suggests there is a party atmosphere to most of her shoots. She readily agrees: “I think my shoots are fun. I love to get hair flying, mouths open and shocked expressions. People laughing, jumping, legs in the air. Anything goes.” In a remarkably brief time, Zoe’s style of spontaneous, carefree fun has found favour with a rapidly growing client list on both sides of the Atlantic. It was only last December that she photographed Rihanna for the cover of Complex, a US lifestyle magazine, spending two days working with the award-winning R&B artist. What was it like photographing the ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’, whom Time magazine had named as one of the ‘100 Most Influential People in the World’ in 2012? “I was completely and utterly captured as soon as she walked in,” says Zoe. “It’s amazing because of her high profile, and she’s obviously very attractive, but seeing her in the flesh, she’s even prettier. Her features are perfect and her skin is amazing. Her figure is so good. She’s a natural beauty with a great personality and she knows how she wants to be portrayed. It was a good collaboration.” It most certainly was because the shoot produced no fewer than seven covers for the magazine. “My personality matched hers on that particular set up,” says Zoe. “There was a good vibe going on and it all worked. Don’t we love it when that happens!”

CREATING CHARACTER Zoe’s reputation as one of the music industry’s most sought-after photographers was further enhanced last summer when her black and white image of British R&B singer Rita Ora became the singer’s debut album cover. The closely cropped portrait of a surprised, open-mouthed Ora, her hand pulling hair across her face, was one of the most recognisable album covers of 2012. Although working to a tighter brief than the Rihanna shoot, Zoe was still able to inject some of her own style into the session. “We were shooting that for an hour,” she recalls. “They knew what they wanted – which was a close crop of the face – but we hadn’t art directed it that way. She’s a great mover. That was just Rita working her hair and wanting to get her hands in and adding some motion into it. I love to get motion into my pictures. It’s all part of the posing, and that shocked expression,


I’m a big fan of the shocked expression.” Ora herself had a similar intention: by adopting an unmistakeably animated expression, she revealed a side of her personality that would have remained hidden in a more formal, static pose. Commenting on the album cover at the time of release last summer, the singer remarked: “Everything was inspired basically by being bossy, by being independent. We made sure that everything had character. Everything about my pictures, I wanted them to be moments and to be something that you caught.” Character is also a word that Zoe uses to describe what she wants to draw out from her models – whether they are natural performers like Rihanna and Rita Ora, or friends and acquaintances. “I want to see something behind the model’s eyes,” she explains. “There needs to be character there, a bit of fire, an edge. Obviously Rita Ora is a performer, so as soon as she got in front of the camera it was just (Zoe clicks her fingers) bang, bang, bang, six frames. Okay, next one, bang, bang, five frames. I love to perfect the pose and work with the girl, to get the best out of her and her character. For me this is the main goal of the shoot.”

MODEL LOOKS This compulsion to produce portraits with an edge, fire and shock to reveal the character behind the face, is a reaction to Zoe’s own experience as a glamour model where posing was far more static and formulaic. For ten years from the age of 18, Zoe regularly posed for Page 3 in The Sun, as well as lad’s magazines FHM, Maxim and Loaded. Looking back, she describes herself as a reluctant model for whom modelling was “just a job,” a means to pay the bills without much stress. “For 10 years I was reluctant,” she says. “It never clicked with me. Some girls took it, ran with it, loved it. I was the quiet one in the corner who was there and for whom it was just an experience, and obviously I got paid well and didn’t have to go to work every single day. That was it really.” Although she didn’t realise it at the time, all those hours spent sitting in the corner proved to be something of a subliminal apprenticeship in photography as she watched The Sun’s Page 3 maestro Beverley Goodway working the studio. She has nothing but admiration for Goodway, who shot Page 3 for more than 30 years and passed away last year. Zoe remembers: “His lighting was impeccable. He had everything set up. That was the good days of Page 3, when you went in and had your own day. I wouldn’t say you felt like a princess, but you definitely felt looked after and you felt special. Now, as a photographer, I think ‘God, he knew how to light a girl’. He knew exactly where to have everything and he knew every body type. That is really important when you’re shooting women and that’s 

I would love to work in America. The vibe in my photography is well suited to the US market, so thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s my next step. ZM Elena Fernandes.




I love to perfect the pose and work with the girl, to get the best out of her and her character. For me this is the main goal of the shoot. ZM the thing I carry into my photography. I have an obsession with poses, and perfection within the pose, that as a model I didn’t have at the time.” Once she had convinced the editors at The Sun that she was serious about embarking upon a career behind the camera, Zoe was handed a Canon EOS 1Ds and a single Elinchrom light and told to come back with some photos that they could use. She didn’t let them down. “It spurred me on and as soon as I had the chance and the reason, that was it. I just loved it.” Although she succeeded in producing Page 3 images and lads’ mag covers as a photographer, Zoe has steered clear of trying to emulate the style made famous by Beverley Goodway. “When I started photography, the main thing for me was not taking pretty or sexy pictures, because there were lots of people doing that and that’s been done throughout the ages. I wanted to move into showing the girl’s character and working to her strengths rather than posing her to an idea of what is sexy. I took glamour models and started putting clothes on them. Some of the time they might have been falling off, but I put the clothes on because that is where the sexiness came from, the fold of the fabric falling off. It’s the


suggestion of seeing the nudity rather than, ‘here it is and I’m smiling about it’. I’ve got no problem with that but it’s not the way I see it.”

STYLE AND CONTROL Zoe no longer shoots Page 3, but glamour remains a small part of a diverse repertoire – my interview fell between two trips to Ibiza, one for a fashion brand’s summer campaign, the other a front cover of FHM. She is comfortable with both location and studio, but expresses a preference for commissions that allow her greater influence over the styling. “I like shooting outdoors if I’m in a really great place, like Ibiza, or by a pool, but I like the control of being indoors,” she says. “I like studio stuff but it can get a bit samey. And I like to get a bit of action or craziness in. It’s obviously a bit more limiting in a studio unless you have an amazing set. I’m obsessed with styling, so if the styling is right with a shoot, then that’s a big thing for me. Obviously I don’t always get to style the celebrities, but I do style a lot of my own shoots, so I can get it looking exactly how I want it to look.” Of course, not all of Zoe’s ideas are the result of a paid brief. Between commissions she will sometimes act on impulse, bringing a surreal vision to life with the help of her model friends and her own panache for set direction. One recent personal project involved a tall leggy model, a yellow and white background and a plastic pink flamingo. “Of course, no-one is going to commission me to do it,” she explains, “but I just wanted to do the bloody shoot. So I hired some flamingos and some grass and thought, ‘right, I’m just going to do it’. I knew the set that I wanted, I wanted the grass and the yellow and the white. I didn’t realise I was going to use the flamingo as much as I did. I knew I wanted it but I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with it until I had it. And we played croquet with it! Everything I do is more spontaneous than not. It’s kind of like controlled chaos.” Naturally, the controlled chaos of her personal work finds its way into her commissioned photography, even if the mood of a celebrity model like American singer and actress Taylor Momsen makes it harder to predict. “She was a character,” says Zoe. “I really got on with her but the client was freaking out because Taylor wanted that really dark make-up, which 

Singer Rita Ora.




Girl Band The Saturdays.

is obviously her look, but they wanted her to be more natural and girly. She wasn’t having any of that. She was next door putting even more on!” Momsen didn’t baulk when Zoe asked her to climb over a cooker on her hands and knees either: “I just said I want you to crawl across it, and she did, and I took the picture.” Momsen is still clutching a cigarette in the image. Did she not ask her to ditch the fag? “I don’t think there was any chance of that,” Zoe replies. “Not ditching the eyeliner, not ditching the cigarette either. She was real fun though. I like the way she’s touching her shoulder with her lip. I think that’s a really nice touch. She did that.”

AMERICAN DREAM Given how many of her high-profile shoots involve American stars, companies or publications, it comes as no surprise to hear that this London girl’s working ambitions lie on the other side of the Atlantic. “I would love to work in America. The vibe in my photography is well suited to the US market, so that’s my

GIRLS OR BOYS? Whether fashion or glamour, celebrities or friends, commissioned work or personal projects, Zoe McConnell almost always uses female models, but what is her preference? “Definitely girls. I do like shooting guys. It’s a completely different thing because it strips away all my obsessions with curvy poses. Obviously, boys are straighter and they’re not as flexible as girls but I don’t mind that because it takes me away from my usual mindset, which is quite nice. It’s more of a challenge. But overall, it’s just no one asks me to do it! Everyone’s just obsessed with the girls. I’m happy with that because I have an obsession with the girls too.”

next step. Maybe I’ll get an agent, but I don’t really want one. I like being a free agent and working for myself.” A more immediate possibility is collaborating with her partner, fellow photographer Steve Neaves, but Zoe is quick to point out the difference in their styles and preferences. “We’ve talked about it,” she ponders. “It’s a possibility for the future, combining the two styles. Everything with him has to be so specific and safe, because he is literally setting things alight, whereas I’m the more spontaneous style, so mixing those two could be interesting. We’ll organise one collaboration and it might end up in a massive argument!” That said, the couple seek each others’ advice and opinion about their work without coming to blows: “Steve is a very rooted person. It’s great because we’re completely different in our photography styles. After a shoot we’ll go and have a few beers and talk over what happened today, what was crap, what was good. He loves the way I shoot girls. He’s blown away sometimes by what I’ve done with just one light and a girl. But then likewise I’m blown away by his big production stuff. I like simplicity, he likes explosions and fire. He’s the Hollywood blockbuster. It’s a good vibe because it means we’re not in competition with each other.” There haven’t been many models who switched to a career on the other side of the camera, but those who succeeded in doing so now rank among modern photography’s elite: Lee Miller, Sarah Moon, Helena Christensen, Ellen von Unwerth. It may be too early to add Zoe McConnell’s name to that esteemed list, but if her vibe does indeed take her to the other side of the Atlantic, it can’t do her chances any harm. PP



ZOE MCCONNELL ON CAMERAS & STUDIOS KW: What was your first camera? ZM: The Sun gave me the Canon EOS 1Ds and one Elinchrom head, patted me on the head and said, ‘Off you go’, probably not expecting me not to come back with anything at all, ever! KW: That was then, what do you use now? ZM: I’m a Canon girl, so now I use the Canon 1Ds Mark III and I use a Hasselblad H3D 31. Now, I’d like to upgrade to the new one, the H5D. KW: And you’re using more than one Elinchrom light? ZM: Yes, although sometimes not. I like the simplicity of one light photography at times. KW: What about backgrounds. Do you prefer all-white? ZM: Hmm, yeah, but sometimes I like to work against a colourful, weird wallpaper. I use various studios around London, or various location houses. I work at home occasionally, but I don’t have a fully-fledged studio set up. Natasha Gilbert.



Midlight trio In part two of our studio flash review series, MATT HENRY takes a look at three mid-range studio lighting kits

Getting the right kit for the job in hand is not easy these days, especially when you have so much choice, and studio flash lighting kits are no exception. Here we take a closer look at three kits under ÂŁ1000 that would make good midrange studio lighting setups and give an opinion on the good, bad and the ugly. But ultimately the choice will come down to your budget and individual needs.


ELINCHROM BRX 500 2-HEAD KIT Elinchrom and Bowens are the two most popular lighting brands in the UK and the BRX is Elinchrom’s mid-range product line, featuring a speedy 1.13 seconds recycling time at max. Priced above the super-budget 100W DRX and the budget 200W and 400W D-lite RX models, but below the pricier 300W, 600W and 1200W Style RX models, it comes in 250W and 500W flavours. Aside from the power ratings, there are marginal differences in terms of recycling times and flash duration between all these product lines, but nothing to really worry about unless you’re shooting fast-moving subjects day in and day out – and even then you might not notice. The 250W modelling light featured on the Style RX models is a bonus and could appeal to you if you plan on using your heads for capturing video footage; the jump from 100W to 250W can really help. Flash power can certainly be a factor in deciding which setup to go for. If you light from a good height or distance – preferring to stick to ISO 100 and relatively narrow apertures, or you want to use large softboxes with internal baffles – then the 600W or 1200W Style RX is probably your best option (or a 2400RX power pack if you require all of the above). If you’re flexible with these factors then you could get away with 400W, though 200W is probably best avoided. The 500W BRX on test is certainly a good compromise. What about the competition? The price competitor to the BRX 500 from Bowens is the mid-range Gemini 500R Pulsar, which has a marginally slower recycling time at 1.3 seconds, a slower flash duration at 1/800sec but a more powerful 250W modelling lamp and a substantially better build. The Bowens are 150k less stable in colour temperature across the power range if this is important to you. Again, none of these stats are really deal breakers for most. The Interfit Stella is slower again at 1.5 seconds, which is starting to get a bit more sluggish, though the Stella is more powerful at 600W. More pertinent is the fact that these Elinchrom heads are just so light, made as they are of


plastic external casings rather than the metal chosen by Bowens and Interfit. The two head kit comes in a bag that can be easily slung over the shoulder and is just soooo much lighter than the Bowens kit whose suitcase-like carry bag really needs to be wheeled. If you’re someone who needs to travel to different indoor locations, the Elinchrom heads could be the way forward; especially when you consider that you really need between four and six lights for most professional jobs. It’s worth noting too that these heads are multi-voltage for use abroad (only the Bowens Pro series carries this feature). The downside is obviously the delicate nature of the units; the plastic won’t always survive a drop – this clumsy writer has broken the rear handles, the main casing and the locking rings at the front on four different units. The best lesson is to make sure you use sand bags on your stands

at all times. You’d want to do the same for toughened units like Bowens, but for those nightmare situations where you forget, Bowens units will probably survive to tell the tale. Of course you can get new casings for Elinchrom units, but there’ll be a labour repair bill to come with it. The design is decent though; the handle to lock and unlock the tilt head is better in use than the Bowens version, though it doesn’t have the grooves to help prevent accidental slippage. The locking ring at the front is probably the Achilles heel of the Elinchrom system; it’s fiddly and often difficult to work out whether it’s locked or not without looking out for the embossed locking symbols on the ring edge; and it’s a particular nightmare with large softboxes. Bowens and Interfit both have better designs. The rear plate got an upgrade from switches



and dials some time ago and now has a fully ‘digital’ design, complete with LCD. There are those who will still prefer old-school switches and dials, but it’s nice to have exact read outs in tenths of a stop and you can hold down the up and down buttons to move through the range quickly; not as quickly as a slider or dial but not that far off. The modelling light setup is pretty straightforward; a button between up and down toggles Full and Off. Hit the up and down buttons and you get independent control should you need it; a light appears on the middle button to indicate Free mode. The power reading flashes to indicate when the unit is charging or discharging, and you get the usual options of turning off the audible beep as well as the slave cell. The power unit readings go from 2.3 to 6.3, which is a little confusing. It would have been nice to toggle a read out for

+ Price: £970 + Power output: 500W + Recycling time: 1.13 seconds at full power + Flash duration: 1/1558 (t05) OVERALL VERDICT power in at full power Elinchrom narrowly beats watts as + Colour temperature: 5410k at full Bowens in terms of flash well as power (+/- 150k across range) duration and recycling times in flash + Modelling light: 100W tungsten this price class and they’re also duration, (max 150W) so much lighter. If weight is an though to be + Power control: 5 f/stops in 1/10th issue, these units are the ones for fair, both of stops, 500W to 15W you. If build is more important, you’re these options are + Weight: 2.05kg head only better off with the price equivalent generally limited to Price: Bowens 500R.  much pricier brands. Good that the kit features two softboxes rather than brollies (and they’re very easy to put together); but bad that there are no reflector dishes at all. These should really be a part of any basic kit. Great though that Skyport receivers are now built into all of these VERDICT 8/10 Elinchrom units. You get an on-camera (((((((( transmitter with the two head kit and the whole setup is a pleasure to use.




BOWENS GEMINI CLASSIC 500 Pulsar TX Twin Head Kit Bowens has the luxury of being one of the two most popular lighting brands in the UK (Elinchrom is the other) and has been a popular choice for the amateur and professional alike for many years now. The Gemini Classic 500 on test is the second cheapest of four product lines currently offered by Bowens. The 200RX and 400RX Geminis are the cheapest, the Classic comes next in 250W and 500W options, then the Gemini 250R and 500R and finally the Pro which has 500W, 750W, 1000W and 1500W flavours. The R series adds infrared remote compatibility, a digital display and more LEDs onto the Gemini Classic as well as marginally faster recycling times (1.3 seconds instead of 1.5 seconds) and a separate dial for tenth of second power control. The Pro series adds faster recycling still (1.1 seconds), multi-voltage for use abroad and a very fast flash duration of up to 1/2900sec. Those working in commercial genres that

feature moving subjects such as fashion may require the increased speed of the Pro units. Everyone else will most likely only need to dip into this range for one powerful head capable of being used at real height or distance, or with very heavy diffusion. The infrared remote on the R range could tempt some to shell out for the extra over the Classic, and the tenth of a stop power control with LCD readout could please those given to control freakery, but the 0.2 seconds saved on recycling is probably not enough to make the jump. If you do need to fire burst relatively quickly, the 0.4 seconds saved with the Elinchrom BRX could be more appealing and worth spending the extra ÂŁ100 for the kit. Elinchrom units are indeed marginally faster pound for pound in recycling terms, as well as for flash duration, until you hit the Bowens Pro range which beats the flagship RX range by a few hundredths of a second for duration (good for 




those working with fast-moving subjects), though still loses out on recycling times (which is more important for most). Other than at the top end (the Elinchrom 1200RX recycles at 1.5 seconds and the Bowens 1500 Pro at a terrible 2.8 seconds), the differences in recycling probably aren’t great enough to make you choose one brand over the other in price equivalent terms. But the faster flash duration of the Bowens Pro series may appeal to those freezing action who can’t afford Profoto or Broncolor. The most significant difference is in the build. All of the Bowens lights are significantly better built than the Elinchroms, using metal casings rather than plastic and featuring superior locking mechanisms for the light modifiers. The drawback here is the weight. The Classic 500 Twin Head Kit is very heavy (though the case has wheels), so if you’re regularly travelling with these heads for work (you may need two or even three of these kits for professional work), then Elinchrom may be the better option. If you’re mostly based in the same studio location, Bowens may well be your preferred choice; they’re certainly going to last longer if you’re the sort that doesn’t treat your kit with the ultimate respect. The wheel-based kit case on the Classic 500 is well organised and has everything you’d need including stands, a brolly, a softbox as well as Pulsar radio triggers and a receiver that slots into the back of the Classic head. There’s only one reflector dish though; a second should really be

+ Price: £850 + Power output: 500W + Recycling time: 1.5 seconds at full power + Flash duration: 1/900sec (t05) at full power + Color temperature: 5600k at full power (+/- 300k across range) + Modelling light: 250W halogen + Power control: 5 f/stops in 1/10th stops, 500W to 15W + Weight: 3.0kg head only

provided (though the Elinchrom BRX kit has none). As mentioned the casing is very well made; even the lighting filament is mounted on a metal plate. The stand handle is very sturdy and has thoughtful grooves on the tilt section to prevent slippage. The locking mechanism for the light modifiers is much better than the Elinchrom locking ring, though it seems to work better with speed rings and reflectors than the plastic safety caps, which are a bit fiddlier to get in. There are the usual Proportional, Full and Off settings for the modelling lamp (as well as user control with the dial on the side), and additional settings to allow the light to turn off after a flash burst and on again once charged. It’s a nice addition to the beep, which is sometimes easy to ignore. The downside of having six options for modelling is that it means two separate switches with three settings; none of these are very well labelled and there are no LEDs so you’d have to check the manual and learn what they do over time. The addition of LEDs for these settings on the R models will definitely be of

some help in the short term. The 250W halogen modelling light is a good step up on the cheaper Elinchroms, which are just 100W, and great for those wanting to use the lights for capturing moving image. The radio triggers function perfectly and all the buttons on the back plate are very solid and well made, as are the power dials on the side. And one great advantage of the Bowens kit that we haven’t mentioned is that it can be used with its Battery powered Travelpak; no need to buy a whole new set of heads.

OVERALL VERDICT The Classics are basic heads with traditional switches and dials that function all the better for it. They’re fantastically well built with decent enough recycling and flash duration times for the price. And the kit accessories are made to a very high spec indeed.

VERDICT 7.5/10




LENCARTA ULTRAPRO 300 2-HEAD KIT Lencarta doesn’t command the sort of following in the UK achieved by Bowens and Elinchrom, but a first look at the stats offered by this manufacturer suggests that things might be due for a shake up. Only one of their six mains powered flash heads on offer exceeds a one second recycling time at full power, beating all of the Bowens and Elinchrom units across their entire range. The 600W mid-range unit also has five f/stops of power control, matching that of mid-range Bowens and Elinchrom. This enables you to get down from 600W to just 18W. The Ultrapro 300 goes down to 9W from 300W and has a recycling time of just 0.8 seconds. Flash duration is similarly impressive, with the unit clocking in at 1/2800sec at full power (the 600W model is 1/2500sec), beating all of the Elinchrom and Bowens units bar the Bowens Gemini 500 Pro. Yet despite all these impressive statistics, the two head 300W Ultrapro Umbrella lighting kit sells for just £450 (the softbox edition is £590). There’s currently no kit option for the 600W heads, but assembling the kit from scratch from their website works out at about £810 with two softboxes and a radio trigger. Considering that the competitor kits that these heads statistically demolish all sell for over £850, this is not a bad price point at all. The radio trigger also takes the form of a complete remote that controls all functions, much like the keyring remote available for the Bowens but with over 10 times the range (it’s radio rather than infrared based). You also get an extra 100W on the mid-range Bowens and Elinchrom kits with the 600W kit, which isn’t a great deal in real power terms but shouldn’t be sniffed at either. It could get you into the right ISO bracket when things are really tight. The recycling times and flash duration are certainly advantageous for those working with fast-moving subjects in genres such as fashion, where strobes need to fire time after time after


time, and jumping and twisting models need to be frozen in their entirety. A 0.8 seconds recycling time is nearly twice as fast as the Bowens Gemini Classic, and this can become really noticeable when you’re working quickly. Even the 600W UltraPro clocks in only at one second. The next model series down, the ElitePro, slows down to a two second recycling time for 600W, though the 300W version is still one second (flash duration is still over 1/2000sec for both). The feature set is also good; there’s a 250W modelling lamp (nice for those venturing into moving image), auto power dump (beats having to wait for discharge or do it manually), slidable head to balance out heavy light modifiers, an independently controlled modelling light, and a setting for the modelling light to dim whilst charging (a good reminder for when the unit is ready as the beep can get ignored). The latter feature is probably especially important, as the beep on this unit is actually pretty paltry; it could easily be missed at the wrong end of the studio. However, and it is a fairly big however, the unit is really let down by the digital controls on its rear, much like the Interfit Stellar. Everything is in there feature-wise, including proportional modelling options and the ability to turn the beep and slave cell off, but it’s organised in a bizarre menu form that means that you have to move through each option to make a change. Shooting in the studio can be a stressful time, and the last thing you want to do is to be faced with a heavy menu to work through when changes are needed; each and every function should have its own dedicated control. It’s marginally more user-friendly than the Interfit Stellar, but still a long way off from the speed of use of the Bowens or Elinchrom models. There is a Mode button that you can use as a

‘Hotkey’ shortcut, adding different buttons to toggle the beep, modelling lamp and slave cell, but you’ve still got to remember which button does what. Not a real solution to the need for dedicated controls. Sadly only the entry level SmartFlash200 and ElitePro units feature analogue controls instead; the SmartFlash is underpowered really and the 600W ElitePro has a sluggish recycling time. If all you need is 300W, then the ElitePro could be a great alternative; cheap, fast and straightforward in use.

OVERALL VERDICT Statistically fab with great recycling times and flash durations that demolish more expensive competitors along with a full feature set to boot. Let down sadly with poor controls at the rear that are likely to frustrate the working pro. If speed is vital and you’ve a bit of patience, these represent a good alternative to the mainstream. PP

VERDICT 7.5/10



SPECS + Price: ÂŁ450 + Power output: 300W + Recycling time: 0.8 seconds at full power + Flash duration: 1/2800Ws (t05) fastest + Color temperature: 5490k at full power (+/- 180k across range) + Modelling light: 250W Halogen + Power control: 5 f/stops in 1/10th stops, 300W to 9W + Weight: 2.51kg head only





At the flick of a switch, the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L 1.4x turns from prime lens to telephoto zoom â&#x20AC;&#x201C; JONATHAN LEWIS investigates whether this is the beginning of a one body, one lens era for wildlife and sports photographers

The Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x zoom lens has been eagerly awaited for some time and is the pioneer of a new generation of lenses. For several years Nikon has offered their version of the 200-400mm and Canon users could only patiently wait for something similar to arrive. Finally the wait is over. The 200-400mm has been designed by Canon to fill a gap within their product range. It aims to provide similar performance, in terms of sharpness and image quality, to the prime lenses whilst also offering the flexibility of covering a wide range of focal lengths. Canon has gone one step 



further; not only does the lens cover the 200-400mm range but it also has a groundbreaking built in teleconverter which extends the range to 280-560mm. All very neat, but the real question of course is, how well does it perform and does it match up to the quality of the prime lenses used by professionals? To test this out I took the 200-400mm with me on my annual trip to the island of Skokholm off the coast of Wales. This tiny island – only a mile across and half a mile wide – is heaving with puffins and other birds and is therefore a great location to test out a lens aimed directly at the wildlife photography market. My first impression of the complete package when it arrived was very positive. The lens is accompanied by a high-quality hard carry case that it snugly fits into; perfect to keep it safe for longer journeys. Straight away this gives a great initial impression, consistent with the usual high quality Canon provides on its top end range lenses. It is immediately obvious that the lens is built to an incredibly high standard. It is weatherproofed and the build quality is quite simply second to none; magnesium alloy casing, specialised lens coatings and environmental protection make it ideal for mobile use. You can

tell this lens is made to last and survive everything a professional photographer can throw at it (sometimes literally!). As you would expect with such a high-quality piece of kit, it is fairly heavy, weighing in at just over 3.5 kilograms. Whilst this may be a drawback for some, it is comparable with the weight of prime lenses around the same focal length and so comes as no real surprise. Despite this, it feels well balanced and handholding is possible, at least for short periods of time. It has a maximum aperture of f/4 to provide consistent results throughout the focal range. The first and most important test of the lens was how sharp it is. Professionals using prime lenses are accustomed to pin sharp images and this lens needs to be of a similar standard to compete. The 200-400mm produces very sharp images throughout the focal length and definitely doesn’t disappoint. In comparison to Canon’s 100-400mm telephoto offering, it is vastly superior and while the quality does not quite match the prime lenses, it is very close and produces sharp and crisp images. What is lost in a small amount of quality to the primes is easily gained in flexibility and it’s on this point that the lens really stands out. Instead of lugging around multiple heavy fixed length

lenses, or being stuck with just one focal length, this lens offers the flexibility of changing focal lengths whilst at the same time providing high quality images of publishable quality. This could well be a game changer for some photographers. With my prime lenses I sometimes miss shots because subjects come too close or I miss creative opportunities because I can only shoot at the one fixed focal length. With the 200-400mm lens the minimal focusing distance is just two metres, so I can continue to shoot should the subject come closer. On top of this, the ability to easily change the focal length allows a much more creative approach to photography. With my prime lens, once a subject appeared I would be stuck shooting at one focal length, the only option being to either change lens or move back or forward, both of which very likely to spook the subject and ruin the shot. With the 200-400mm you can easily change focal length and make the decision to either get a close-up shot or zoom out and capture more of the landscape and atmosphere of the scene. This allows for more creativity with composition and I found myself enjoying the new approach it allowed me to experiment with. I feel that Canon have got the balance between flexibility and quality just right, which will appeal to many pro photographers. 

Professionals using prime lenses are accustomed to pin sharp images and this lens needs to be of a similar standard to compete. The 200-400mm produces very sharp images throughout the focal length and definitely doesn’t disappoint. JL


QUICK SPECS: + Price: £12,000 + USM Extender 1.4x lens + Focal length: 200–400mm (280–560mm w/converter) + Min/max aperture: f/4–5.6 / f/32–45

+ Minimum focusing distance: 2 metres + Dimensions: 5 x 14.4” / 12.8 x 36.6cm + Weight: 8lb / 3.6kg + Filter size: 52mm (drop in)



The inclusion of the teleconverter is not only a good move as far as focal length is concerned but also means that once the lens is on, you can keep it on all day and you don’t have to keep swapping lenses. JL Combine this flexibility with the inclusion of the inbuilt teleconverter and this lens is really onto being a winner. With one easy flick the teleconverter is enabled, changing the lens to a 280-560mm which allows for even more reach for more distant or smaller subjects. When the teleconverter is enabled, the maximum aperture drops to f/5.6 throughout the range, still very reasonable considering the focal range it provides. Image quality was still high when the teleconverter was enabled, a result I expect as Canon has engineered the converter specifically to the lens (as opposed to it being a general converter to fit all lenses) to minimize image degradation. The inclusion of the teleconverter is not only a good move as far as focal length is concerned but also means that once the lens is on, you can keep it on all day and you don’t have to keep swapping lenses. As I know all too well, this constant changing of lens, often in dusty conditions, leads to dust spots on the sensor and also allows moisture to enter the camera body, so not having to change so frequently is a major benefit. Next up for testing was the autofocus. I tested

the AF of the lens by photographing puffins in flight, which is a gruelling test! To put this into perspective, puffins are 25cm long and travel at up to 55 miles per hour, so they are an incredibly challenging subject and really pushed the lens to its limits. I found that it performed very well in terms of both the speed of the focusing and also locking onto the subject, and it performs faster than my 500mm f/4. If the lens can track onto a small black and white speeding ball of feathers, then it can track onto most subjects and therefore excels in this area! Also important is the ability to focus in low light situations. I tested the lens photographing puffins at sunset while the light rapidly diminished. The focus locked on consistently and rapidly even when the subject was far away, so again the performance of the lens in this area was outstanding. The lens is also equipped with excellent 4-stop Image Stabilisation. This worked exceptionally well and allowed me to handhold the lens, even when shooting in lower light conditions. Three modes of stablisation are provided with the lens; the first for stationary shots, the second for


+ Flexibility to change focal length + Very high image quality + Excellent autofocus and Image Stabilisation

+ Expensive, same price as a brand new VW Polo! + Heavy at 3.6kg

panning and a new third mode that applies stablisation at the point of exposure. I found this third mode particularly useful when panning after fast moving subjects like the puffins and it’s a welcome addition to the lens. At £12,000 this lens isn’t going to be an addition to everyone’s kitbag. It is firmly aimed at professional photographers who will gain from the high quality/flexibility combination. For wildlife photography I can’t see this tempting away bird photographers, who will probably still prefer to stick with their 600mm prime lenses, but I can see that it will be a fantastic addition to safari photographers where subjects often move in close. Why carry around a 300mm and 600mm when one lens will fit all? For sports I can see it potentially becoming the main workhorse of some photographers who would gain from the flexibility of being able to change focal lengths quickly throughout the session. The long wait for many is over and I think it was worth the wait. PP




THE PERFECT PARTNER? If you thought Samsung were only ‘smart’ about their TVs or phones, think again as Samsung now give us the ‘smart’ camera in the NX300

It’s easy to dismiss a company like Samsung when it comes to high end camera manufacture. Basically if it plugs in, Samsung usually have an all-singing, all-dancing, more budget-friendly version of their own. And with the possible exception of Sony, I can’t think of another camera manufacturer who dabbles in other areas of electronics – okay, Canon do produce printers, but it’s still to do with imaging. With Samsung, if there’s something electrical, no matter what, they’ve got it covered. Would we be mortified if Nikon, Pentax or Fuji suddenly announced the 7kg, 1400rpm spin-speed washing machine? Probably. Would it cheapen the brand – would we think any less of their cameras? Maybe. The thing is, we’d all like a little bit more for a little bit less and Samsung seem to offer this with almost all of their products. Now, you’re reading this; you’re clearly interested in photography. You could be a total newbie or a seasoned pro. Unfortunately it’s impossible to tell, and therefore any scribblings have to appeal to both ends of the spectrum. So, it’s difficult to gauge what

reaction you’ll make to the price of the Samsung NX300. If you’re a professional photographer, ‘weekend warrior’ or a serious hobbyist then you may be comfortable, well, okay, not exactly ‘comfortable’, maybe accustomed to spending thousands on your equipment. Whereas, if you are totally new to this crazy business, the thought of spending £500 on something to take photographs with makes you come over a little feint. You see, £500 is a lot of money in anyone’s language. Even to a professional, £500 goes a long way towards a new lens, studio equipment or even the rent. To a novice spending half that amount will get you a very good camera. But it won’t get you an NX300. You’ll have to dig a little deeper and pull out £600 to become the proud owner of this new ‘smart’ offering from Samsung. So, if I can get a camera for half that amount, that takes half decent pictures, then the NX300 had better be pretty bloody good. We know it’ll be highly spec’ed, we know – even though it’s relatively expensive – that it will offer good value for money and we know that it will have a few tricks up its sleeve. For starters, it looks very good, with that 


Fear not, the large sensor retains a lot of detail and produces artifact-free photographs even at fairly high ISOs. KS trendy, retro design that seems almost obligatory with any new camera. It’s also very well made with a crinkle leather-like finish and a silvery finished metal top plate. There are a few colour options, but the black and silver version I have here certainly looks the business. It feels nicely weighted too – even though with the lens attached the camera does feel a tad front heavy, there’s enough weight in the body to balance things up. Size-wise, think more Fuji X-E1 than Nikon V1. Round the back we have a 3.31” (84mm) AMOLED Tilt Display which flips up 90 degrees and down 45 degrees. The display is also a touch screen, but more on that later. There are a grand total of 11 buttons on the back of the camera, which take care of the usual suspects from playback to EV compensation. And my particular favourite; a dedicated ISO button. Not every manufacturer sees the importance of this but, trust me, it makes up the holy trinity alongside shutter and aperture in terms of nailing the shot – it’s the one thing that makes or breaks a camera for me. Anyway, the NX300 has one, so all is well in the world. It also has a nicely machined main dial on the top plate, sporting the usual P, A, S, M as well as few other options. There’s also a distinct lack of built-in flash.


I’m guessing that given the nature of the camera, Samsung want you to invest in a more substantial and more serious flash unit rather than the smaller, less useful built-in variety. If I’m honest, and given the price, I’d like to have seen both a built-in unit for those instances when you just have to record something in poor light, no matter what, and a hotshoe adapter for more creative options. So, now that we know what Samsung have excluded, let me take a deep breath before I tell you what they have included in the NX300. Drum roll please. We get a 20.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor – the largest used in a mirrorless camera measuring 23.5mm x 15.7mm. We get 8.6fps continuous shooting. Smart Camera 2.0 (Dual Band Wi-Fi) – a dedicated direct link hot key lets you wirelessly send images to your mobile phone, tablet, computer or Smart TV directly from your camera – that’s the card reader in the bin then. AutoShare – simultaneously send every picture you take to your mobile phone via a Wi-Fi connection. Remote Viewfinder – control your camera by using your smartphone as the viewfinder. True 3D Creator – the NX300 is the only interchangeable lens camera that lets you shoot stills and movies in 3D via Samsung’s 45mm


2D/3D lens. Full HD 1080/60P video. Smart Mode – hit the Smart Mode option and the NX300 chooses the perfect setting for a variety of shooting situations. There’s also Smart Filters which, as you can imagine from the name, adds a few effects and colours to your shots – the miniature filter is particularly effective. And the list goes on. To be honest, there’s not enough column inches to explain every feature in detail, suffice to say that this is one hell of a well-spec’ed camera – you also get a full version of Adobe Lightroom 4. I mentioned earlier that Samsung have introduced a touch screen on this camera. Now there’s an old saying that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Given there’s no viewfinder, the only way we can compose our shots is on the back screen. We all know how difficult it is to keep screens clean at the best of times without having to touch the damn thing when setting shutter, aperture or any other menu-dependent option. Call me old fashioned, but it just feels a bit too removed from properly driving a camera. Luckily, you can use buttons and dials instead. Having said all that, it’s quite addictive sweeping your finger across to review your images and you can choose your focal point by touching the screen

in the same way you would with an iPhone, sorry, smartphone. This was a godsend when shooting at floor level. It also works very well in combination with the i-Function button on the lens. So, I ended up using it more than I’d first thought after all. So it looks good, handles well and is spec’ed to the hilt, but all that falls by the wayside if the images are lacking in any way. Fear not, the large sensor retains a lot of detail and produces artifact-free photographs even at fairly high ISOs. The files hold up to a lot of manipulation, if you’re that way inclined, and although some of the images appeared slightly cool in colour on the rear screen, all is as it should be once the files are opened up on a computer. And, because you have as-near-as-damn-it a 21 megapixel sensor, you have plenty of scope for cropping while still retaining a large image. All in all, there’s no flies in the ointment – there’s nothing to not like. The NX300 looks great, handles well, takes great photographs and has enough features to keep the most ardent tweakers and fiddlers very happy indeed. PP

Quick Spec: + £600 street price with 20-50mm lens + 20.3 Megapixels + CMOS sensor + ISO: 100-25,600 + HD Video: Yes + Cards: SD, SDHC, SDXC, UHS-1 Support + AutoShare + File formats: JPEG, Raw MP4 + Shutter speed: 30sec / 1/6000sec + Weight: 284g


David Loftus

Kathrine Anker chats to DAVID LOFTUS about art, books, heroes and Jamie Oliver He’s the reason many of us have attempted a recipe from the Naked Chef, a 30-minute meal or even a 15-minute meal. All the mouth-watering dishes we know from Britain’s grub darling, Jamie Oliver, first have to be captured and conveyed to the masses of home cooks wanting to recreate a bit of Jamie’s magic in their kitchen. This is where David Loftus is added to the mix; Jamie Oliver’s official photographer inspires Britain and the world to recreate the visual feasts of Britain’s favourite recipe books, and David’s even created a lens for Hipstamatic to encourage foodographers to shoot and share their own culinary creations. But who inspires him? KA: Where does a food photographer find inspiration? DL: From chefs and cooks themselves, particularly when travelling. I’m lucky to be sent to some of the most extraordinary places on earth to shoot food, people, landscapes and interiors… how could I not be inspired? KA: Very true. Do you have any heroes in the art world? DL: Anish Kapoor and Caravaggio for their grand visions, Wes Anderson for his movies, Alexandre Dumas for his writing, Joseph Cornell for his beautiful boxes and graffiti artist JR for his ‘Inside Out’ project. All make such an extraordinary mark on the world.



KA: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt from another photographer? DL: Ha! From Nick Pope... to clean my cameras and use my lens caps!

KA: Haha! When was the last time you saw a piece of art that made you go ‘WOW’? DL: My local gallery is the Saatchi and I often say ‘wow’ for completely the wrong reasons… I have literally run from the building at times! Last good ‘wow’ was looking at the work of Stephan Vanfleteren. Made me feel I’d barely scratched the surface.



KA: It’s on my to-read list now! If you had to pick one favourite photographer in the whole world, who would it be? DL: It changes all the time, when I was young it was Cartier Bresson, when I was an illustration student it was Paolo Roversi, then when I thought I was going to be a fashion photographer it was Ruven Afanador and Sally Mann. I think today it might be William Abranowicz for his Greek photos or Stephan Vanfleteren for his portraits.


KA: Which of Dumas’ books is your favourite? DL: The Count of Monte Cristo is my fave; revenge is a sweet dish when served Edmund Dantes’ style!

Alexandre Dumas’ adventure novel from 1844 follows a man who is wrongfully imprisoned, escapes from jail, acquires a fortune and seeks revenge on those responsible for his imprisonment. The story takes place in the Mediterranean during Napoleon’s return to power and the following reign of Louis-Philippe of France, and the book has become a classic along with Dumas’ other famous novel, The Three Musketeers. The Count of Monte Cristo can be downloaded for free on iTunes.



Above: Belgium-based Stephan Vanfleteren specialises in portraits and has won numerous awards, including five World Press Photo Awards. Publications include Tales From a Globalizing World (Thames & Hudson), and Vanfleteren is a co-founder and Art Director of Kannibaal/Hannibal Publishing. Left top: William Abranowicz photographed for Condé Nast Traveler for 20 years and his work has appeared in nearly every major publication in the United States, Europe, and Asia. His Greek work, which Loftus is a big fan of, can be found in his books, The Greek File: Images of a Mythic Land (Rizzoli) and Hellas: Photographs of Modern Greece (Hudson Hills Press). Abranowicz’s work has been exhibited in many galleries and museums around the world, including The National Portrait Gallery. Left bottom: The Indian-born British artist and Turner Prize winner will be exhibiting his sculptures at the Berliner Festspiele, Berlin. About 70 pieces of Kapoor’s work, including some pieces especially designed for the venue, will be on display in the beautiful Martin-Gropius-Bau museum in Kreutzberg until 24 November 2013.


KA: What do you do if you feel uninspired? DL: I’m constantly travelling and shooting, and read as I travel, so it’s very rare to be honest, I feel so lucky to be where I am. If I need visual stimulation I may look at the website FFFFound and go from link to link. Also, as a Hipstamatic fan I love their online magazine Snap and their new ‘copyright protected’ version of Instagram, Oggl, which I look at every few hours. But rarely indeed do I feel uninspired. KA: How do you hope to be remembered? DL: Hopefully for creating gentle images that make people smile… and we designed the Loftus lens for Hipstamatic to help ‘soften’ the mobile photography world. I’ll never be a Don McCullin. KA: Is Jamie Oliver as inspiring as his recipes? DL: I’ve never met a more inspiring and extraordinary person. Every year is a new adventure, always testing and pushing me further. He’s a great snapper too, and if he hadn’t been successful in all he’d done I’m sure he’d have been a great photographer or director. PP





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The essential guide for freelance photography newcomers. 164 pages of need-to-know advice, insights & inspiration – don’t do it until you’ve read Turning Pro INSPIRATION


Cool and the gang


at present is hot in the industry We take a look at who y rat pack? it into your photograph and ask who would make bothered; we’re for it, some aren’t too ome have it, some strive turn, the work quality that makes heads talking about that certain that puts an and ‘pin’ online, the ‘edge’ that makes people ‘share’ masses: coolness. radar of the consuming artist on the popularity stars arrive on an intangible trait? New How do you judge such imagery that makes captivating us with cutting-edge – the scene all the time, one thing to pin-point and laugh. There is no us stop, think, stare, frown ways of being cool. there are just so many if everyone outside the for engaging a wide audience; Some deserve credit you’re probably up there knows who you are, then photography community did before they you what know If people half your age on the coolness scale. cool. And if you’ve you’ve managed to stay deserve were born, then congratulations, of coolness, then you after your first round continued to innovate for our deepest respect. but they are favourites we all have our favourites, or simply Here at the TP office it’s their originality, entrepreneurialism different reasons; whether pages all have something these on the photographers their creative genius, to share it with you. about them, and we want pick the cream of the sit here and single-handedly you But we’re not going to readers to tell us who help of our super-cool ones crop, we’ve enlisted the ones on the rise and the up in their game, the admire. The ones high Rat Pack. this is the TP photography making waves in the industry,

Jade Price’s Multimedia Writer Choice: Tim Tadder and all think,

‘commercial photographer’ We might hear the words But not Tim. Tim first shots or cheap gags. yawn, boring product where bald models stunning water wig shots, caught my eye with his captured bursting lit water balloons were posed while meticulously utilise CGI – which wigs. Tim’s style is to around their heads like from the – but it doesn’t take away I wouldn’t normally appreciate style gives his images adds to it. Tim’s HDR photography, rather it CGI, produces which, coupled with innovative a sharp, punchy edge what he’s up to next! I always check in to see mind-blowing results.

PUBLISHING PRODUCTION MANAGER Kevin Shelcott, 01603 772165 PRODUCTION TEAM LEADER Mikey Godden, 01603 772876

Portraits — Readers’ Choice: com Neil Snape www.neilsnape. o @NeilSnapePhot

Jade Portraits — Lara Readers’ Choice: om @LaraJade_ www.larajade.c

love because I would “Chris Craymer, Fun, feel images he has. to create the to me.” All inspiring good and fresh.

Kathrine Features Editor Rankin Anker’s Choice: out

photographers There are so many cool one I can’t help there, but if I have to pick a mention. Not but feel that Rankin deserves status or his model because of his celebrity persona, but because wife or his obnoxious on from all of that. As featured in he has managed to move PP February employing 60 plus He is a savvy businessman and issue a wealth of beautiful books people, he produces channel content, he runs a TV magazines with first-class Passing time to be a photographer. and somehow still has his parents, he has ‘grown a father and sadly losing the age of 40, becoming he no longer needs the and pleasant to be around; up’ and become pensive that. attention. His work does w*nker attitude to attract


Craymer Portraits — Chris Readers’ Choice: @ChrisCraymer .com


17/05/2013 12:25:53

16/05/2013 16:48:10

LORNA DOCKERILL looks at how professional photographers their brand with innovative can tools and alternative entrepreneuria extend l ideas

ou have it all. Your branding is spot on, your spangly new website is ticking over brilliantly and business is running smoothly. So what is the next step when it comes to shouting about your photography? There are a plethora of ways to reach new audiences and extend your brand with clever marketing add-ons and business ideas that could help boost your profile and profits. TP digs deeper and discovers how photographers new avenues to become can explore more business-savvy professionals in addition to

being first and foremost,

From vintage styled printed confetti cones and guestbooks to festival themed invitations and seating plans, Mandy Carter and Zoe Vawser’s quirky wedding stationary design business, Dottie Creations, is ideal for their target market – couples about to tie the knot. Originally from a design background, the enterprising pair found their feet at a printing company creating labels and packaging for clients including M&S and Quality Street. When Zoe, who has a background in theatre set design, created her own wedding stationary and asked keen photographer Mandy to photograph her big day, a joint business was born and nearly seven years later the brands’ Dottie Photography and Dottie Creations are booming. “Dottie Creations provides bespoke and off-the-shelf wedding stationary, from table plans to invites,” says Mandy. “My main passion is the photography and Zoe’s is stationary but we never had a business plan when we started out, and didn’t have a clue which direction we were going to go in. We just knew that we liked making stationary, it would be brilliant to create it for wedding customers, and it would get us

nicer weddings with more creative people. By can be quite hard work, tying them down with that’s one thing that a wedding and stationary we’ve found. It is high package, we knew we’d maintenance and you have pretty table plans can easily end up with and nice things to photograph.” little money left in the pot afterwards, what Channelling two services with amendments and allows Zoe and extra design work you Mandy to get a head don’t get paid for. We start when weddings are haven’t always got around booked with them, because this but we’ve got a often clients don’t lot better at it. consider stationary until further down the line. “We now create guest “We’ve found that people books and sell them will spend money on www.notonthehighstree on photography for and are planning weddings but will cut back to put them on Etsy too. on things like stationary, We also plan to do but 50 per cent of the ranges that people can time we do get both. download, which will Photography is something be loads easier as they’ll they tend to book 18 just be able to pay for months in advance the artwork which will whereas stationary they make money but save tend to sort six months on printing,” Mandy adds. before the wedding,” says Mandy. The advice that Zoe and Mandy offer is that in order to extend your Thinking Business brand, you must have a vision and that it’s okay to For Zoe and Mandy it’s aim for the stars. not all been plain “It can be important sailing though and people to extend your brand, were sceptical at but it depends on whether first. Yet the duo have you just want to be cornered the market a photographer with downloadable packs and are not interested and deals with online in doing anything else. We always shops demonstrating had visions of being success. a big multi-national company “It took a long time and we knew that for people to understand photography was never that you can be good going to make us rich at two different things. because you can only We didn’t want to be shoot so many weddings wedding planners, but a year.” we wanted to do more styling during shoots so we could come up with concepts. You do need www.dottiephotograph to do a lot of stationary to make money and it m





pg 46-49 Brand Extensions.indd

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there’s little point the aim of any serious photographer; what are the An exhibition should be it done and gets to see it. So how is producing work if no one pulls apart the process gallery owner MATT HENRY pitfalls? Photographer and

should really be looking has to be decent; you 18 is a good figure to at upwards of 12 pictures, or got this many works, aim for. If you haven’t down, go in with three, you want to keep costs and produce a four or five other photographers theme. group show with a clear the works might go Try and visualise where as well as how the before choosing a venue, Lighting won’t be visitor flow might work. pointed in the gallery standard, or necessarily and find somewhere right direction, but try won’t be hidden in where things at least a solid proposal and darkness. Turn up with you’d like to show concrete dates of when to be in with a (you want at least a month and make clear than pushy bravado. chance of selling anything), be available for night with space a remote possibility. Some of the spaces may that you’ll need an opening a rewarding experience in showing you from which you can For everyone else, it’s hire if they’re not interested for visitors and a table share your labours of but expect to pay a drinks (unless this is a and a great chance to as part of the programme, provide complementary nonetheless for which the nod for a programmed your guests will probably love, but an experience premium. If you get licensed venue, where even on a single show. out whether they own). You’ll need to you’ll be lucky to break event, you need to find be expected to buy their at heart, and love the to be can use, or whether hooks into the walls We’re all creative souls have stock frames you bang double picture that communicates cost. Do they charge fall (the Blutack-type idea of producing something you have to cover the sure your artwork doesn’t has aesthetic that does the private view? What safe) unless the venue a concept or a beautiful you for marketing or stuff for pictures isn’t to sell product. So this on sales? (50/50 on you’ll need to let people more than act as a tool percentage do they take a hanging system, so or a show; a chance to they hang your work used are small and leave is the best way to approach profit is normal). Will know. The panel pins with others and Ask hanging? endeavours the do to holes nonetheless. share your creative will they expect you tiny holes, but they are but your work. If you’re on too worried or pushy! artwork being stolen, spread the word about nicely without sounding Mirror plates prevent of being taken seriously to take the DIY holes in the wall. the long-term treadmill If all this fails, it’s time you’ll also need to drill then it’s also an local framers, cafés, bars, for the hanging as a fine art photographer, approach. There are Give yourself two days And remember that and even cinemas with two), and aim to finish investment in your career. restaurants, museums (and enlist a friend or you’ve got it might also be glad of it always takes much once the artwork is produced, the space to show that a day before the show; the chance of selling not the interest in also it’s by if there’s so especially generated good, traffic for the extra longer than you’d expect; show down the line at there’s an opening night. regularly. For wire something at another the work, especially if something that you do above a row of work, you’ll need to little extra cost. Sticking four or five images The and picture hook-based itself a real toughie. really going to constitute is taught on the back Getting to exhibit is restaurant tables isn’t measure where the wire look at you unless you’ve people too, so the space major galleries won’t a show worth inviting into this world, and already made big inroads


to the howing and selling artwork hardest method public is possibly the from your of generating income Getting people photographic works. work and to enjoy looking at your are two very different actually purchasing it the the best chance with things, and you have or dealer. Getting backing of a major gallery process of exhibiting, this backing is a long your work, meeting possibly writing about in the press about projects curators, and getting take many, many years right magazines. It can stage where making before you get to this print sales alone is some sort of living from

usually like to find even the smaller galleries research (it’s the fun their own artists through will have programmes part of their job) and more in advance. There’s in place for a year or sending links to projects nothing wrong with a couple of years down across, but it could be that all important email. the line before you get nothing to lose in asking; That said, you’ve got out of a show at someone may have pulled may be in. Provincial short notice so your luck are more of a galleries outside of London with a card with a link possibility; wander in be nice and be humble; to your website and to get you interest there’s nothing less likely

into this world, already made big inroads the look at you unless you’ve artists through research (it’s The major galleries won’t usually like to find their own and even the smaller galleries for a year or more in advance will have programmes in place fun part of their job) and produced as you of frames you’re having same place, as if they a discount. A and mounting at the should be able to negotiate off another print and 20in box frame if you’re mess up, they’ll just run good price for a 30 x and go Trends in framing come between £60-70, for mount again (it happens). having a few made is the traditional or local framer the trend is away from stick to white, black Hunt around for a good example. Colourwise, which now central shopping areas else risks distracting window-mount approach, somewhere out of the stained wood; anything box frames are add mark ups for high people’s tastes. looks very dated. Currently where they’ll need to from the work and offending on as variations like the at the quality of work really popular as well you’ll need to add it rent and rates. Look If you want a border, options such as they’re able to produce floating box, as are glassless non window-mount display and check that to the print itself for frames. Unlike the you’re after; some is finished, check each tray frames and keyline the type of frame that frames. When the work these options of anything and dust on the window-mounted approach, framers have little experience thoroughly for fingermarks mounted is clear print it your Make frames. at the corners of the normally require that but window-mounted inside of the glass, gaps so be prepared as these prints are to some sort of substrate, the glass edge is visible that gloves need to worn frame, and whether Foamboard at 5mm marks will show up be). Don’t hesitate for this additional cost. going on sale and any from an angle (it shouldn’t as will bow with frames (3mm the rethat or option up and is the cheapest to be cleaned under gallery lighting, to ask for something options are available be spotless (you can’t sell big prints) and pricier otherwise you won’t a whole will need to done if it’s not right, – more impressive in aluminium and dibond anything that isn’t). able to sell it. hefty price tags on a price for the number if you’re intent is to put It’s worth asking for that you do your printing your works. It’s best


Š 16/05/2013 16:06:14

16/05/2013 16:06:00

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excellent at their craft.


Did anyone ever tell you that you can’t excel at more than one thing? They obviously didn’t meet the next couple of professional photographers who united their breadth of skills to form a unique brand. Feel inspired to utilise your knowledge, think outside of the box and plough it into fledgling business with a their insight.

and Vintage Style


Dottie for Photography

pg 46-49 Brand Extensions.indd


Brand New Avenues Y

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