A couple of weeks ago, I spent an hour working with Alison to create a professional head shot for her new business.  We had hoped to do the shoot at the Oxford Union (lots of options with very different light and great background options – see another pro head shot shoot I did there here), but access was limited that day, so after a bit of head scratching, we headed to the newly redone Ashmolean Museum.  The Museum is worth checking out purely for its light and architecture, let alone its contents – and after trying some shots in different places, we found the light we wanted on the steps outside the cafe – fantastic bright white light, plus bit of interest created by the diagonals of the hand rails.  Great to identify another reliable location in the town centre (ideas for new ones always welcome – just drop me a line:) ).  Results below, and thanks Alison for a fun shoot, and for following me round the museum!

Top of the stairs in the Ashmolean = great location for a pro head shot



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professional head shot photography, Oxford
portrait photography, Oxford

It has been a pretty busy week, with the first wedding of the year (yay for Karen & Paul!), plus snapping at the Low Carbon Communities Network Conference – leaving me with a couple of thousand images to edit between them…  As a break from the editing, I’m working back through a few past jobs from the last few months, and picking out some favourites to share.  These images are from a one-hour shoot I did the day after boxing day with a family of four.  Andy contacted me looking for family shoot over the xmas break, as it was a rare opportunity to catch the family all together.  We chose Shotover as our location, and I had a great time working with them – they were relaxed and happy to try lots of different poses, and the warmth and affection between them was evident, making my job easy, and leading to many shots I’m really happy with:)

The one the clients chose as their free print

My favourite… although… I have many from this shoot

Another favourite…

Father & daughter

Siblings

Big brother!

Andy and his mum

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As promised, my prime lens portrait shoot with a sleepy Bee – cue several yawns, distant stares and wide eyes, not a glimpse of her cheeky grin.  This is my third post about using this lens – first is here, second here.  Again, I’m really pleased with these portraits – they’ve got a very different quality from my usual portraits of the Bee, an intimacy I have been craving, which comes using a lens that allows me to up close and use a very shallow depth of field.  The result, as you’ll see, if that only small areas of her face are in focus – usually the eyes; I knew this could be special in portraits, but now I really understand why – these portraits capture how she often appears to me, as her mum, cuddling her and holding her close, and it allows me, as a photographer, to place emphasis on those beautiful eyes and long lashes, a pink cheek, an open mouth with a baby tooth or two… I love the Bee! And I’m falling fast for my 50mm prime too.  Some are in both colour and b&w – this is because I feel they offer something different as such; I have kept editing to minimum (exposure and white balance adjustments in a couple of places), so no digital retouching – personally, this is how I like portraits, as I want to see the Bee as she is, not how she would be if we all lived in a magazine (however, note I’m always happy to do some retouching if that is what portrait clients request).

Eyes in focus, nose not – holy grail of shallow d-o-f portrait photography!

Possibly my favourite

:)this really captures the Bee I know and love so much

Looking tired

Yawn

Those eyes

Another yawn

Little teeth – another favourite

Love the feeling of soft light on this – another favourite
Looking out of the window – love this

Again, loving the soft light

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Two friends and I took Ses and the Bee to Blenheim yesterday afternoon, and we arrived just in time to catch the last twenty minutes of winter sun.  As we reached the bridge over the lake, the sun was close to disappearing, and leaning over the side of the bridge to catch some pretty unexciting shots of the lake, I noticed the beautiful moss and lichen that grows all over the concrete.  I’d brought only my new 50mm f/1.8 lens (this is my second post about using this lens – see my first post here), determined to give it a go, and it was perfect for the job – shallow depth of field in low light – beautiful.  I love how these pictures of the sunset over the lake have come out – very other-worldly – some of them look more like a duney desert landscape – and they’re definitely not your usual Blenheim snaps.  It felt so good to have a chance to play, as in recent times I’ve been focused on creating images more for clients rather than just for myself and much creative energy gets absorbed playing mum to the Bee (both things I love doing mind you).  A moss-eye-view on the Blenheim lake sunset…

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I recently got my hands on a beautiful Nikon 50mm f/1.8 prime lens (‘prime’ means of fixed focal length, i.e. 50mm, as opposed to a zoom lens), and I’ve had lots of fun playing with it over the past two days.  The brilliant thing about this lens, and others like it, is its wide maximum aperture (f/1.8), meanings it is brilliant in low light conditions (it allows sufficient exposure with a very fast shutter speed), and you can get really cool photos with a really shallow depth of field (check out some examples here).

I love this effect, especially in portraits, so getting this lens is exciting – and what’s more, it cost just over £100, which is cheap for a good lens.

Last night I shared a bottle of wine with a friend, hedgehog expert and photographer Hugh.  It was great to spend a few hours looking at each others’ photos, discussing kit and our various attempts make a living from photography, and it reminded me of why I love photography, and left me itching to play portraits with my 50mm prime (Hugh showed me some lovely portraits done with his 50mm f/1.4).  So, this afternoon, Ses the dog napped as usual on the sofa, and I took a set of portraits – from time to time, she opened one eye to see if I was still bothering her, sighed and closed it again.  Below are some Sesi pics – I’m really pleased with how they came out – and the lens allowed me to do exactly what I wanted to do.  I also took a set of portraits of Maya, as well as a bizarre set of photos of moss at sunset, and will share these shortly.  Thanks for the chat, Hugh :).



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