RSPB Campaign at Highclere Castle

I was asked to shoot the portraits of Lord and Lady Carnarvon at Highclere Castle (or Downton Abbey as it has become known) for a new RSPB campaign called ‘Homes for Wildlife’. At Highclere the Carnarvons have taken many measures to attract and develop wildlife in and amongst the grounds of their lovely home. I got to the location early after picking up my asistant at Newbury and set about taking landscapes of the house in the early morning light. It really is a magical place early on as the mist hangs in the valley and all you can hear are the birds gradually waking up and the hum of Bees in the wildflower meadow. I only had an hour with the Carnarovons so I paid the house a visit earlier on in the week to sort out places to shoot in my head. I wanted to keep it simple really, shoot where possible in the shade and use my Profoto with a softbox on to light them. This would mean I could control the daylight on the house (as it was to feature heavily in the images) as well as lighting them in a flattering way. If the house looked overexposed in the background I could either up the power of the flash which meant I had to close down my aperture or increase the shutter speed. As I was shooting on a relatively long lens (this brings the background closer in the frame but can also give a lovely blown out feel too) I had the shutter speed up high on about 200th of a sec anyway and as it was a bright day it meant my flash had to be on a relatively high power to match it otherwise it would be overexposed in the background.

Considering the time we had we managed to rattle off a good selection of portraits and the client was a happy bunny, which is always nice. Below are a few images from the mornings shoots.

Portrait 1

Establishing shot of of Lord & Lady Carnarvon

Portrait 2

Double page spread shot- right hand side

 

 

Portrait 3

Double page spread shot- Left hand side

 

Lord & Lady Carnarvon in the Wildflower meadow at Highclere

Lord & Lady Carnarvon in the Wildflower meadow at Highclere

 

 

Very little in Post was done to the images, a few tweaks of the levels and processing it in my own way and maybe a few blemish removals, but pretty much shot as is in-situ.

Hope you like the images, feel free to read my other blog posts and please do comment if you so wish.

 

 

Family Run Food and Drinks Business Portraits – Session 1

I have started a project in coordination with my agency Image Source to produce a series of portraits of family run and owned business’s who produce food and drinks. This could be Ice cream makers, Cheese producers, or even (as in this instance) Champagne makers. The emphasis is on well made products that have not been tampered with and are made with love! The first of my projects was a Champagne maker called Cottonworth, who are based in Hampshire. The owner was one of two brothers called Hugh. He is young, knowledgable about Fizz production and passionate about what he does. He made an ideal candidate for the project. As he was my first subject (more to follow, so watch this space..)

I have decided to shoot two types of shots and keep them consistent. The first is on a black background with a gridded softbox from the side and a gridded spot at the back to give a key light to lift them from the background a bit. I want the portraits natural in every way, i want the clothes as they are, no grooming with the focus on strong lighting and simplicity. Attached is the Black background shot (image 1)

Hugh Liddell - Cottonworth Champagne and Vineyard

Hugh Liddell – Cottonworth Champagne and Vineyard

The other images  were shot using the location as a backdrop, therefore showing the working environment in the background to give a sense of ownership, See image 2 and 3 below.

Hugh Liddell - Cottonworth Champagne and Vineyard

Hugh Liddell – Cottonworth Champagne and Vineyard

Hugh Liddell - Cottonworth Champagne and Vineyard

Hugh Liddell – Cottonworth Champagne and Vineyard

The Last two images were shot in the Golden hour, I wanted the tips of the vines illuminated with warm light and hugh to be softly lit. I used a small of fill light with my profoto from camera left just to give a small trace of detail on his right side.

Hope you like them!

Fitbit and Kaizo PR Shoot

Last week i was asked to shoot some stills to promote Fitbit (a nifty bit of kit that allows you to track your steps, calories lost and general activity). The shoot was based on the concept of making the most of your lunch break during work and getting out and being active. We thought we would make it fun so got 6 actors in and dressed them in a mix of suits and luminous sports gear and then hit the streets of London to get some shots…

I kept my kit quite basic for this. I used my usual collection of lenses (12-24mm 70-200L lens and my trusted 24-105L lens) Prophoto 7b pack and head and some shoot through brollies so we could use fill in flash and get generally a cleaner light if required, 5d mark2, pocket wizards. Attached are some of the images

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Here is a link to some usage.

http://www.kaizo.co.uk/newsroom/kaizo/walkinglunchworkinglunch/attachment/fitbit-walking-lunch-crossing-london-bridge/