28 April 2011

Photographing Will & Kate at Westminster Abbey

While I was in London last week I happened across Will & Kate at Westminster Abbey.  It would have been rude not to have taken a photo (through the window of the Abbey gift shop), so here it is.  I saw them a few other times around town that day as well....  :-)

The final photo here shows the temporary studios and photography vantage that have been built onto the outside of the church opposite the Abbey.

So to celebrate the event, I'm offering 15% off any full priced photo shoot booked (with a deposit) over this long weekend (up to 23:59 on Monday evening).

26 April 2011

Cuppa tea?

My branded mug arrived in the post today.  Just a one off for a bit of fun marketing.

Put the kettle on, I'm on my way!

22 April 2011

Fine Art Print - No Entry?

The latest addition to my fine art photography website www.thisisthepicture.com was taken on request.  A previous customer knew I was visiting London, and had seen a picture of this slightly different no entry sign, so he made a special request.

Hidden away half way between Picadilly Circus & Carnaby Street I'd never have found the sign without him.

It's now available for purchase!

My first beach shoot of the year

Making the best of the early "summer" we're having in the UK this week I was able to book in my first beach shoot of the year with newly crowned Fitness Britain bikini winner Debbie Tyrell.

Sometimes shoots are booked and planned months in advance, but with Debbie we were meeting to shoot less than 48 hours after first talking about it, some 250 miles south of the event in Manchester.  Our destination was sunny Bournemouth.

Anyway, I'll shut up now and leave you to enjoy a few pictures of the lovely Debbie.

Cake update: Sadly no cake was eaten during the duration of this shoot.

20 April 2011

My own calendar

Thanks to a major calendar publisher in Hong Kong it finally it seems like my dream of having my own calendar is going to come true.  Featuring 12 very pretty girls from shoots I've done in Canada & USA over the last few years.

Just this sneak preview of the back cover for now.  Designs may change, but as far as I know the selection of 12 girls is final.

19 April 2011

Fitness Britain - Manchester

My first Fitness America event this side of the Atlantic.  It was hard for Manchester to compete with the glamorous locations of Florida & California where I've attended Fitness America / Musclemania events before.

I'd teamed up with follow photographer Matt Marsh to offer athletes a package of stage and studio photos that we thought would be hard to beat.  It seemed we've hit on a winning formula, at least for the girls.  100% of the female athletes competing took our £30 package, although the guys the percentage was much lower.  Not quite sure I understand the reasons why someone would put in that much effort into getting on stage and then not want a few professionally taken photos to promote himself with, or just to show the grandkids....

Numbers were low, but the quality of the athletes competing was high.  It's still early days for Fitness America in the UK, so "things can only get better", and I strongly believe they will.  The U-Phorm team who run the UK events are clearly passionate about it, and they ran a great show.

In typical Fitness America style it started late (but finished early), it wouldn't be Fitness America if things ran to schedule.  :-)

The stage at the Royal Northern College of Music was perfect, a proper stage in a proper theatre.  The stage lighting could have been better, and I'm going to talk to the organisers before their next event in Wales to see what we can do to improve things.  Not sure what can be done, but I'm gonna try.

I'm not going to list them all, but congratulations to all the winners!  Hope to see you all at the finals in St Albans in September, and then maybe at the BIG finals in Las Vegas.  Yup, I think I've decided I'm going to go out to Las Vegas in November.  Lou (the main man behind Fitness America) has been telling me for years that I would be better going to his event instead of Olympia, so I'm going to!

Update: I may post more photos from the event later, but for now only those who paid for a package are being featured.  :-)

16 April 2011

London from up high

Other than the London Eye and maybe the Monument (although compared to the new buildings around it its really not so high), I've never seen a view of London from "up high".

So when Lisa Carrodus offered to take me the Hilton on Park Lane and their bar on the 28th floor after our shoot I jumped at the chance.

Sadly due to stupid health and safety regulations you're no longer allowed out onto the open air balcony, which meant I had to shoot through the windows.

Tech Info: All photos taken with a Canon G12.


14 April 2011

Shooting Lisa Carrodus in London

I've photographed Lisa Carrodus probably more times than I've photographed anyone, and certainly in more far afield places, from Malta, to Las Vegas, to Bournemouth.

Our most recent shoot was on the streets of London.  Just the two of us, walking and taxiing around the city.

In what was almost a tourist trek around the city, we started off on the by the Houses of Parliament & The London Eye, before jumping in a taxi and heading towards the South Bank and Tate Modern (thankfully we didn't go in, made that mistake once, and it's full of cack!).  I saw Shakespeare's Globe Theatre for the first time before another short taxi ride took us to St Paul's Cathedral.

Next was Trafalgar Square and then The Mall.  Next were the two highlights of the day.  Lisa flirting with an ice cream van man got us both a free ice cream, and a fun backdrop for pictures.  Finally we ended up in Park Lane, where just opposite The Dorchester hotel (who I should thank for answering my question of whether it was still there when I called them!), is Lorenzo Quinn’s ‘Vroom Vroom’ sculpture which "features a vintage Fiat 500 being pushed by a giant child’s hand".

The shear number of b'stard tourists around The London Eye and Trafalgar Square made it almost impossible to shoot there.

With the shoot over, our final destination for a quick drink was the 28th floor of the Hilton on Park lane, and their Galvin at Windows bar.  With what just might be the best view of London I've seen so far.

I decided to do the shoot with my Canon G12.  While not normally the camera I'd use on a model shoot it had the advantage of not getting the same attention as a full size digital SLR would.  I'm rather pleased with the results from it.

Thanks for a great day Lisa!

New stickers!

My shiny new stickers from Diginate arrived this morning.

They're looking great on a couple of my lens.

13 April 2011

Sneak peak of Lisa Carrodus London photoshoot

My sugar radar was working well yesterday as I saw this sweet shop from across the road.

We went, we bought, we ate!

More photos of my London shoot with Lisa Carrodus coming soon.

Giant hand grabs car in Park Lane

The other week while I was in London I drove down Park Lane and saw this amazing sculpture of a giant hand grabbing a tiny car.  I wasn't able to stop then, but this week when I was in London for a photoshoot I was.

A little information on the sculpture...  Lorenzo Quinn’s ‘Vroom Vroom’ sculpture which "features a vintage Fiat 500 being pushed by a giant child’s hand".

For me this is modern art at its finest.  So much better than the cack that's normally found at museums like Tate Modern.

To purchase the above picture as a fine art print, click here, and to purchase the black and white one below, here.

11 April 2011

Fitness & Bodybuilding Event Photography

So I've decided to go on a mission to improve the overall standard of fitness & bodybuilding event photography here in the UK.  Although I've photographed a fair number of big fitness events in North America, so far I've not really done much at home in England.

This will probably come across as a bit bitchy, even though its not intended that way.  I've seen photos from the "top" bodybuilding event photographers in the UK over the last 5 or more years and the standard is quite frankly bloody awful.

This is partly due to the terrible lighting that so many of the events use.  It's also not helped by the tacky advertising banners that most UK event seem to insist on placing directly in the middle of the stage.  It wouldn't be so bad if they employed decent designs to make the banners look half decent.


When you add an average photographer into the equation who is more interested in the business of getting as many athletes as possible to sign up for their mediocre stage photography package, and well, the end result is not good.

Don't even get me started on the quality (or lack thereof) of the backstage photos.

I said don't get me started!

So back to my mission.  What am I doing to try and improve the quality of fitness & bodybuilding event photography in the UK?  Well, first of all I'm teaming up with fellow fitness photographer Matt Marsh for several shows this summer including Fitness Britain (England, Wales & Finals) and also FAME UK.  We're going to be offering athletes an on the day price package of just £30 for stage and backstage photos.

Obviously we only have so much control over the quality of the stage lighting and the amount of crappy banners the event organisers throw up on stage behind the athletes, but its hopefully a step in the right direction.

The backstage photos however we can get to a much higher quality.  Having spoken with Matt today, I know he's investing in some new studio kit so our end result will be hugely than a tatty bed sheet pinned to the wall!

Baby steps.  :-)

Funky business portraits

This was my second business portrait photoshoot with Lisa Blackler of Honesty Marketing.  The first shoot she hadn't given me a brief, just left it up to me.   Fast forward 18 months or so and Lisa had a specific idea of the photo she was after.  This is a good thing, gives me something to work towards.  I'll let Lisa explain in her own words...

"As part of the next phase of Honesty Marketing's development I wanted some images that reflected my no-nonsense non-corporate approach.  The brief to Mike was "attitude, rock chick, fierce".  He had to deal with my giggles and still managed to get some amazing shots which really reflect who I am and the overall feel that I want to convey for the business.  Mike works a certain kind of magic, and I'd use him again with no hesitation."

Thanks Lisa!  :-)  Another happy client.

If you'd like to book your own funky business portrait photoshoot, please check out my Business Portrait page for more information.   Check out my business portrait portfolio page to see more photos...

10 April 2011

I don't do 360 degree imagery, but if I did...

... but if I did, it would look something like this.

This is from when I had my tour of the Apache Helicopters a few years ago.

08 April 2011

Comedy Photography

I'd been invited back by Jan Jack to her regular monthly comedy (Jan Jack's Laughter House) night in Basingstoke.   Shooting comedy in a small club is a tough gig, the lighting is generally low, and of course there's always a chance of being picked on by the comedians (thankfully this has only happened once!).

Joining Jan Jack on stage last night were Danny Dawes, Markus Birdman, Ole and Jez O'Donnell.

For the first time at an event I thought I'd experiment using a monopod (a Manfrotto 694CX if you're interested).  Although it wouldn't be practical to use a monopod at every event, it actually seemed to work rather well here.  I shall definitely be using it again.

06 April 2011

Rewind Festival in Scotland


Last year I had the pleasure of photographing the 80's Rewind concert in Bournemouth last year where T'Pau, ABC, Go West, The Christians, Howard Jones, Sister Sledge & Kool and the Gang played.

I've just had news that I'll be one of the official photographers at the Rewind Festival in Scotland at the end of July.

If you like 80's music as much as I do, the line-up is rather impressive, with Tony Hadley, Rick Astley, The Human League, Billy Ocean, Kim Wilde, ABC, Howard Jones, Bananarama, Nik Kershaw, Go West, Heaven 17, Hue & Cry, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Toyah, T'Pau, China Crisis, Hazel O'Connor, Cutting Crew, Dr and the Medics, Modern Romance & The Bluebells amongst the line up.

It promises to be a rather special weekend indeed!

It seems a bit daft not to try and make my Scotland Photo Experience / Tour happen at the same time.  Worst case I'll probably just hit the road for a few days and head up into the Highlands by myself.

I will be available for photoshoots either side of the festival weekend, so if you'd like to book me, or can refer me to anyone else, please get in contact.   Thank you!

05 April 2011

Shooting British Army Apaches

One from the archives.   Almost 3 years ago (back in the days where I had hair in different places on my head) I was lucky enough to get a personal one-on-one tour at Wattisham Airfield, the British Army base where they keep (kept?) Apache helicopters.

The tour was for the whole day, and included inside the hangers, and outside within a few feet of them taking off and landing.  I was even able to sit inside one in the hanger.  It was so loud that even without the engines fired up you needed ear defenders.  All of the noise was coming from the cooling fans to stop the computers from overheating.

Amazing, and somewhat scary bits of kit.  Thanks to Darren & Krysia for making it happen.

Personalised camera straps

There's a company called Highkey that makes bespoke camera straps.  I'm currently trying to design myself a new strap.  The above is what I've come up with so far...

Update: If you order your own straps with Highkey, please mention me in the notes section of the order.  Their affiliate scheme isn't yet open to anyone living outside of the USA, but mentioning me should earn me a buck or two.  Thanks everso!

04 April 2011

Skip's Playtime

It was the perfect spring evening yesterday so I thought I'd video a little bit of Skip, my dog (the border collie) running around playing with his friends.  Not at all meant to be taken seriously.  I was filming it with my Dad in mind, he's been too ill to get out and about much for the last 5 months so hasn't been able to see Skip at play.


Positive Discrimination

This morning I saw a tweet from a woman who runs, and I'm quoting from her twitter profile here, "an online platform supporting European women photographers".

Sorry a what now?  The European bit I can kinda get behind...  but only allowing women only photographers?  Surely that's a tad sexist, and therefore kinda maybe against the law?

Surely photography is one of the few things where men and women can compete on a level playing field?   Of course when we move into the world of business, nothing is really level.  Is all about who you know, and what doors they can help you open.

However when it comes to actually picking up a camera and taking photos, then the level field is indeed level.  Some will excel, some will be a bit average, and others should probably sell their kit and get an office job.  I personally know of some excellent women photographers, and equally I know a few male photographers who fall into the latter category.

Maybe I should start up a support group where only photographers with silly beards who like cake would be allowed.  Of course if I did this in a serious way I'd be laughed at by everyone.  But ultimately is it much of a difference to saying "men not allowed"?

In conclusion I call women only photography groups and positive discrimination to be bullshit.

02 April 2011

Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls, Iguassu Falls, or IguaƧu Falls depending on where you come from are one of the most amazing places I've ever had the pleasure of visiting.  They split the border between Argentina & Brazil (and just down the road Paraquay).  The only other "big" waterfall I've visited is Niagara, which while impressive, doesn't come close to the almost 300 different falls at Iguazu.

It's been ten years since I was there last.  The snap-shots on this page were capatured with a Canon G2 camera.  While it wasn't my first digital camera, it was my first decent one.

If I had the chance to return to the falls I'd jump at it.  I'd love to spend a week or two there capturing them.

A quick on the shot below...  a long exposure lit only from the light from the moon.  Also the final image, lightning, a lucky shot captured from the balcony of my hotel room during a jungle storm.

I want to go back!