Saturday, 14 May 2022

Thinking about portraiture by Paul Lack

The May meeting of BPC included an excellent presentation about portraiture by local photographer, Paul Lack. 

The following notes are an outline of the main points he raised and apologies to Paul for anything that has been missed out!

Q.  What is a portrait?

A.  Portraits, generally, are photographs, paintings and even sculptures of a specific person, a person who can be identified by that particular image. If an image is a general interpretation of a man, woman or child, it's considered to be a representation rather than a portrait.

Before embarking on a portrait shoot, ask:

Q.  What is the portrait going to be used for?

A.  There is a vast difference between something that will be used as part of a resume and an image that will be framed and gifted to a loved one.

Q.  What's the image about, what message will the final image give?

A.  Caring mother of a newborn baby or harassed mother who is juggling work, homelife and children on a day to day basis. Same people, different story.

Q.  What are our choices and how do those choices affect the portrait?

A.  Lighting (natural or artificial), costume, pose, backdrop, composition to name but a few can affect the message and meaning of an image. A beautiful child, immaculately dressed and posed in a big, comfortable chair will charm any parent or grandparent. Now smear some jam around their lips and pop a plaster on their knee and it's a different story!

Q.  What is the difference between a 'subject' and a 'model'? 

A.  Photographing a model, or somebody who is trained to pose for the camera, is usually easier than photographing a 'regular' person or subject who may need encouragement and guidance if 'good' images are to be created.

Q.  How do I get the subject to understand what I need from them?

A.  The best portrait photographers are those who can quickly build a rapport with their subject, this relationship will be a the heart of a pleasant and productive portrait session. Subjects aren't telepathic. If you, the photographer need a look, pose of approach from the subject you simply need to tell them; this is where the rapport really comes into play.

Q.  How can I start to build my subject's confidence in me so that I get the images I need?

A.  Ask the subject to go somewhere in their head, to think about something that might create the expression you're looking for. Imagining walking along a beautiful beach or a meadow filled with wild flowers is more likely to capture a relaxed and happy expression, whereas being stuck in a traffic jam on the M6 or taking part in a particularly difficult interview is likely to present exactly the opposite.

Q.  What about safeguarding for both the photographer and the subject?

A.  Having a third person at the shoot; someone who the subject knows and trusts usually helps them to relax and protects both parties from any misunderstanding.

Q.  What should I take to a shoot?

A.  Apart from the regular paraphernalia of camera and lighting equipment etc. and depending upon where the shoot will take place, it's well worth considering what the subject may need. A coat, hot drinks, energy bars or other snacks and even a hot water bottle. Naturally, if the shoot is somewhere hot, cold drinks, fans and shade are essential.

Q.  What should the subject wear?

A.  Unless it's a wedding shoot it's best to avoid large expanses of white as it's all too easy to lose any detail under bright lights or strong sunlight. It's not quite so difficult with black, but comfortable clothing wherever possible, in mid-tones will cut the amount of post production editing and can present a balanced palette to the final image.


Thank you Paul for a most illuminating session and we look forward to your next visit to BPC.

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Portraiture course with Paul Lack

Portrait Photography Course, May & June 2022

 

It’s a six session course based in Whitbourne, near Bromyard.  We will have a maximum of twelve participants so that I can give everyone proper attention. 

 

We will be looking at:

·         What a portrait is, how to approach it, what makes a good portrait, planning a shoot

·         Lighting - studio flash and natural light

·         Posing and framing, and keeping the subject engaged

·         A photo-shoot with a keen amateur model(s) in a fabulous location

·         Reviewing our work, choosing what to show

·         Processing

 

Dates: 

·         Wed 18th May morning 10 - 12

·         Wed 25th May morning 10 – 12.30

·         Wed 8th June morning 10 – 12.30

·         Friday 17th June evening  6 – 9 pm

·         Wed 22nd June morning 10 – 12 or a bit more if needed

·         Wed 29th June morning 10 – 12 “    “

·         All at the Village Hall in Whitbourne WR6 5SD, except the evening shoot which is at Whitbourne Hall (the country house) WR6 5SE

 

Price:

·         Starting fee is £100, but if we get enough people I can reduce that a bit.

 

What you need:

·         Your camera.  Any camera will do.  More important to be familiar with it than to have a posh one.

·         There will be homework, including a pre-course task, and I will be strongly encouraging you to write reflections between sessions, as well as doing some practical work.

·         If you have a laptop for reviewing and processing then please bring it.  I have a few, but not enough to go round.

 

What I will provide:

·         Venue

·         Studio Flash set up & backdrop

·         Model(s) for the photo-shoot at Whitbourne Hall

·         Some refreshments

 

The tutor

I have been a keen photographer for much of my life, and started teaching it in community centres and libraries over ten years ago.  My main interest has always been portraiture, which I offer on a semi-professional basis here: https://www.paullackphotography.co.uk/, and I also use my photography to promote local voluntary organisations including Longlands:  https://www.longlandsfarm.org.uk/  .

 

What to do now

Email me to ask questions or give a definite yes/no to PhotoMalvern@gmail.com

I will collect fees near the start of the course.

Friday, 4 March 2022

Eckington Camera Club welcomes BPC members!

Fancy a photo walk?

Eckington Camera Club has just celebrated its first birthday. 

Organiser, Lorraine, says that the club is a relaxed set up with no formal meetings at the moment, but lots of interesting photography walks and visits for like minded photographers.

ECC has extended a very kind invitation to Birlingham members who may like to join them on their many and varied activities. Check out the Eckington Camera Club Facebook page for more information.

Thanks Lorraine!

Photopills

This tip just in from BPC member Jim V.

Jim says...

Further to Mark's presentation on landscape, lowlight and astrophotography, if you haven't yet heard of Photopills read on! 

Photpills is an app which costs £10 and is brilliant at helping photographers be in the right place at the right time to capture some amazing shots and, especially with fuel the price it is, it's well worth doing a little bit of advance planning to get the most out of a photography visit!

There's a short video on the Photopills website to show you what it can do.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Astrophotography and much more by BPC member, Mark Waidson

The March club meeting - one of the best yet!


Both images ©Mark Waidson


Members were treated to an absolutely stunning presentation by fellow member, Mark Waidson, as he unfolded his photography journey before our very eyes. 

Mark is renowned for his early starts and late finishes, perfect times of the day, he says, to capture beautiful shots of misty mornings and spectacular sunsets. However, he is a man of many talents and his photography takes him to some remarkable locations for landscapes, cityscapes, street and even astro photography.

Mark brought with him three camera set ups to give fellow members an idea of how much bang you get for your buck and, of course, it's no surprise that using a telescope generally produces the most spectacular work. However, some of his work was shot on kit with a more modest price tag and, consequently, available to the vast majority of club members. Mark said that most modern cameras will pick far more light than the human eye can detect, so even if things look a little on the dark side it's worth giving astro photography a go. He adds that it's not all about the big ticket items, simply doing a little homework before setting out and finding somewhere which has as little light pollution as possible is the key to astrophotography, but, he says, it takes patience, warm clothing and a Thermos of hot coffee!

Some of the work included in his presentation was made from a single shot and then put through post production software and some of this shots were created by stacking several images in order to get the depth and sharpness needed in astro images. Mark suggests the free software Sequator is an excellent package - more information and free download here 

Another of his go-to software, and one which isn't free, is the Audio Visual (AV) software Pictures to exe - it costs $75 for the standard Windows version and $149 for the Pro/Mac/Windows version. There are other AV packages around and most Macs have a factory fitted version of 'Movies' and, whilst this may not be as good as Pictures to exe, it is something to try for anyone who wants to give AVs a whirl without shelling out for very specific computer software.



Thursday, 4 November 2021

Lighting workshop - 2nd November

Many thanks to members who made it to the November meeting, which took the form of an interactive lighting workshop.

The hall was laid out with a several lighting setups including: studio flash, video, macro and even a handful of humble LED torches.

Everyone had an interesting evening as they got to grips with lighting angles, luminosity and those all important shadows in addition to checking out in-camera settings and trying some of those - something many of us never get the time to do.

Here are some of the results



Room in a ball by Kevin




Poppy seed head by Kevin




False Candle by Kevin



Archaeological dig by Kevin




Autumn leaves disco by Kevin




Blue hour in a bottle by Kevin



Budda by Robert



Peacock feather by Robert




Tiger by Robert


Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Create your own backyard bird photo studio!

Many thanks to BPC member Kevin for giving us the heads up on this Youtube video, which is all about how to encourage birds into the garden and how to provide them with natural looking perches whilst you, the photographer, take the photographs from the comfort of the house, shed or even a garden chair.

Click here