Two Hahnel wireless speed lights and trigger, two 80cm Wescott soft boxes, two stands and a light meter (for speedy readings) plus a 2-meter black backdrop and I’m set to go, did I pack the camera – yes – phew!
I’d arranged with the owners, Claire & Alistair to pop back over to Mellington Hall and shoot the kitchen staff, which they seemed very keen for me to do for some reason !
Most occasions, I never really know what the shooting environment is going to be like above asking roughly via an email or over the phone – it’s always hard to guess but with the above trusty equipment you are pretty much set up for most scenarios and with them being light and portable, you can basically dive in, shoot and go.
I did find out that the kitchen at Mellington is very busy with staff moving fast around the kitchen to get food cooked, dressed and sent to tables. The challenge was going to be getting enough good shots of the chefs working in the kitchen and not get in the way – or cause any disruption to the running of the kitchen. I’ve watched Gordon Ramsay enough times to know not to upset the chef.
I asked the Claire if there was an area away from the kitchen where I could set up my flash kit and make a mini studio so I could get some decent shots of the chef’s dressing the dishes – possibly!
I arrived, met up with chefs Tom & James, Tom then introduced me to Claire, Sam, Phil and Sian.
Tom was brilliant, he explained the working of the kitchen, we confirmed where I could shoot from and the best part, Tom had set up a table away from the kitchen where I could set up a mini studio and he was more than happy to bring sample plates of food in for me and pose for some set up shots – brilliant.
A great experience and opportunity to get in close and see the team-work involved to produce some amazing down to earth dishes, something Mellington is known for. I didn’t get shouted at, I nearly leant against a big red button that turns off the power to the kitchen, but that’s between you and me. In fact, there was no shouting at all, a kitchen full of good buddies producing outstanding dishes.
Another complete interior photo shoot at the beautiful Checkers, a Michelin star restaurant in Montgomery. A wonderful building whose size, from the outside, is quite misleading. Five rooms with en-suite bathrooms, beautifully decorated plus a large restaurant and lounge area.
Mellington Hall, set in the most beautiful landscape, a Grade II Listed building with spectacular views in every direction. Recently under new management, the owners, Alistair & Claire, required photography of the building, it's rooms and general life around the estate.
The photography needed to reflect each aspect and detail of the building, architecture, features and portray the life around Mellington Hall, even allowing a glimpse behind the scenes and the unique character and dedication to service of the staff and the tight team work that makes Mellington Hall such a delightful place to visit.
With the majority of the rooms now photographed its time for the staff to fill the frame, so up next, kitchen staff and food photography - watch this space :)
Big project coming up involving the beautiful Reegan and an amazing Victorian Hotel to provide the perfect setting for a "Breakfast at Tiffany's" themed photo shoot. Met up with Reegan and went through a couple of relaxed test shoots in preparation for the main event which should take place middle / late March.
I've recently had the chance to photograph some amazing interiors recently, from Gothic, Art and Michelin-Star establishments. An amazing experience and one where you need to take the time to look and adsorb every little detail around you while also being able to look at the bigger picture. A completely different experience from model or corporate photography where more often than not, time - or the lack of time, becomes the challenge.
Kinda liking these weather warnings, good excuse to stay inside and catch up on those little jobs that never seem to get done. Today it was high time to sort out my printer profiles and get some decent lighting set up in the studio. Printing and viewing under artificial light can be such a pain as you end up wondering if the printer is playing up, if it's me going bonkers or those pesky gremlins are having a laugh! Well the installation of a 5.5k kelvin tube should make all the difference and allow me to spend time to concentrate on the print and not worry about the light....a few test prints and it works a treat - phew!
Getting a printer to print exactly as you see it on the screen can be a nightmare but there are things to assist in getting it right. G17 uses the Xrite ColorMunki Photo that not only allows me to get the colours right on my 2 IPS panel monitors but also can be used to calibrate my printer so the print matches what is seen on the monitor. It does not end there though, even if you get to print your calibrated images onto paper the look of the final output can look wrong depending on your environment. A quick way to check your prints are correct would be to view near a window on an overcast day, which we get most day's here in Mid Wales, but even overcast days can change depending on the time of day so not an ideal plan without a proper reference point.
Luckily for us photographers, there is an answer, in fact a few, depending on how far you want to go. Artificial daylight bulbs, LED's and Fluorescent strip lights.
With my studio having 4 halogen bulbs rated at 6000 kelvin, this was providing the wrong type of light, almost a sunset look, plus they are dimmable, so the light temperature (Colour) could change easily. Not a good idea while trying to print in the same room. So out went the dimmable lights and in went a 5000k kelvin fluorescent tube - and what a difference it has made, no more prints that look to saturated and one happy photographer knowing that each print will be as it should be - colour perfect :)
A wonderful morning shoot with such a lovely family from, well, all over the UK.
Helen contacted me to see if I would run a family photo shoot at a house that was being hired for the weekend just outside Montgomery. Helen explained that it was her Mothers 75th birthday and that the family did not really have many photos at all over the years so Helen did not want to let that happen for this occasion.
Everything in place and not knowing the location too well, how big the house was, the light etc, I took with me various speed lights, my trusty ICE Light and a couple of lenses. It was great to meet Helen and her family, every one a unique character, her Mother Pam was a dream to photograph and more than happy to pose in front of the camera. One thing I do love about this job is meeting new people and learning about them, Pam and John had travelled the world due to John's work and as such, getting to meet all family members as they grew up and moved further away was getting harder to do, so this was a very special occasion.
Normally there is a brief period where the photographer needs a little time to acclimatise to their customer(s), but not in this case, family members were all for posing in front of the camera, suggesting various poses and looks, tongue in, tongue out - that sort of thing. One thing was very obvious about this family though, there are very close. :)
Very honoured to be asked by Melissa to take a set of studio shots to story board her business in Newtown. Melissa had organised a client, who knew why I was there, a hairdresser and make-up artist for this shoot - my role was to capture the essence of a typical mornings MJ Portrait Fashion shoot.
Melissa does not like to use flash for these kinds of shoots, only natural light - which is a skill in itself especially when the available light on an overcast day is at best minimal. As Melissa normally shoots near to a window and uses reflectors, I needed to capture her and her client from all angles which meant the light for me was difficult to embrace - to say the least - luckily the ICE Light stick is an incredible tool to have. Small, portable and very bright but a good kind of bright, providing a natural level of light that can be fully adjusted to suit all situations, that and a fast Sigma Art, 1.4 lens.
It was great to see how Melissa works, chatting and joking to her client and creating a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere putting the client at ease - and me as well !
Thanks to Melissa for inviting me into her studio - a great mornings photography. I need to think of some better jokes next time, your husband knew them all - darn!
Was asked to come and photograph a local running groups charity run which I was more than happy to do. Set in the most beautiful grounds, rarely seen by the public on Powys Estates which had been opened up just for this event. The icing on the cake of course was the lovely sunshine oh, and spotting Iolo Williams without his binoculars !
Cheryl contacted me and asked if I would run a photo shoot for her for an exhibition and content for her Twitter, Pinterest and Blog sites.
Cheryl produces her art using steel tubes and finishing them off using vitreous enamel which produces some intricate and delicate patterns.
A challenging photographic project. Working closely with Cheryl while carrying out the shoot - we managed to produce a photographic style that reflected the atmosphere of Cheryl's work .
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