Welcome to annual review of the year in photos. As some much of my work this year has been about weddings, I have dedicated the last two blogs to that subject and this one a brief round up to give you a brief taste of my commercial and portraits work.
At a PR job in January, Olympic athlete Dame Mary Peters was the official opener of a new McCarthy & Stone housing complex in Lancaster. Certainly good for jogging my memory to get fit in the New Year!
In March I was commissioned to take some photos inside Morecambe’s Winter Gardens by the ‘Friends’. Marveling at this beautiful building is always a joy and I jumped at the chance to explore it from top to bottom through the lens. You can see all my photos HERE and appreciate some of the wonderful work so far done by the volunteers who are gradually restoring it.
Visiting a local school with my PR photographer hat on is very familiar and much enjoyed work for me. On this particular occasion, booked to photograph a visiting children’s author, I was met with the all too familiar challenge of being asked not to identify the children. Alas, this is a tricky and rather sad restriction nowadays, as cameras in schools seem to be becoming increasingly ‘taboo’.
Another job I really enjoyed was when I was commissioned to photograph a vintage car enthusiast from Arnside in April, with his immaculate MGB sports car. We didn’t have to travel far at all for some great backdrops and the weather was very kind that day. A blue car with a near matching blue sky, broken with just enough white clouds, gave a perfect colour balance for this magazine shoot. My second shot in contrast focuses on movement as I pan the camera along with the passing car. I wanted a sharp car but a background showing a touch of motion blur; a tricky process that took several attempts.
Perhaps one of my favourite photos of the year was snapped, or rather carefully posed, at Lancaster University’s Communities Day in May. I was in my element, spending a day wandering around photographing visitors exploring experiments and sampling what each department had to offer. It was quite tough too though, as I had a long list of specific activities to capture, all of it carefully timed. Particularly satisfying afterwards to see a number of local (and less local) publications give the event a good spread. Definitely a case of a job well done and really lovely to be working again with my old friend and ex-editor boss Anne Rothwell.
This PR job for Virgin Media also in May (an exceptionally busy month) was great fun, especially when visiting Bay Radio’s mascot unintentionally lost his trousers in the middle of the photo shoot! And then Lancaster’s Mayor Coun Roger Mace, not the talest of men anyway, looked small indeed next to the big red chair.
I had a surprise back in August, when I was approached by an Australian restaurateur holidaying locally, who wanted a promo shot to publcise his new pizza restaurant in Sydney. I was only a week or two back from holidaying there!
With much of the summer months consumed with wedding work I pick things up again here in the autumn.
A lovely day at Lancaster’s Crook O’Lune beauty spot was the perfect autumnal backdrop for some family portraits; lifestyle photography (ie natural outdoors and not studio posed) is something I’d like to do more of. It comes with extra challenges though, as the lighting can’t really be controlled bar a bit of fill-in flash (left). You need to be careful with shutter speed too if you are capturing movement. There’s nothing more frustrating than a great shot that’s not perfectly sharp.
Another magazine shoot came in November, when I was commissioned to photograph three farm profiles stretching from Morecambe in the west to near Burnley in East Lancashire.
This was another really satisfying assignment that also meant a delightful return drive over Pendle Hill and through the Trough Of Bowland.
And finally and bringing us up-to-date, I’ve just completed a really difficult piece of photo restoration from a customer’s very badly damaged old photo. Alas (as far as I know) there’s no clever button you press to do all the work for you. It’s down to painstaking work on a computer digitally retouching out the damage bit by bit. It’s always very satisfying though to see the result and have a very happy customer.