Corporate Photo Project

7 October, 2015

My last day of shooting for the Penrith Lakes Development Corporation project today.

Over the past month or so I have photographed 35 people who have played an integral part in the development of the Penrith Lakes scheme. These portraits will form part of a visual display at a handing over event in November, along with becoming a book of images and an exhibition of work.

This work was commissioned to celebrate the end of mining the Lakes and the valuable contribution of so many of the workers.

I’m very excited about the whole project and happy with the results from the weeks of shooting.

For the technically minded – each of the shots involved setting up three Elinchrom BX500s with 21 degree reflectors. As I needed to photograph each of the subjects at varying times of day from 9am to 4pm and anytime in between I wanted the lighting of the subject to be consistent as much as possible, therefore the three lights and reflectors.

The black and white images were captured in an old storage shed. These ‘hero’ shots are consistent in appearance and lighting and intended as an exhibition body of work.

The colour images will make up the book along with a brief bio for each participant.

I placed one light on camera axis and the other two out of frame over each shoulder of the subject. Large diffusers were also used to remove hard shadows from the sun.

Worker in front of excavator, Penrith Lakes Scheme.

Plant operator ‘Bluey’ with his excavator, Penrith Lakes Scheme.

Retired worker in front of old excavator, Penrith Lakes Scheme.

Retired worker Harry in front of the old 5130 excavator, Penrith Lakes Scheme.

Worker in front of weir, Penrith Lakes Scheme.

Rob pictured in front of the weir, Penrith Lakes Scheme.

Vegetation rehabilitation worker, Penrith Lakes Scheme.

Vegetation rehabilitation worker Richard pictured with some of the trees he helped plant over 10 years ago, Penrith Lakes Scheme.

Worker in front of final mine cut, Penrith Lakes Scheme.

Jim Stokes in front of the former Holchim site, Penrith Lakes Scheme.

Worker in front of final mine cut, Penrith Lakes Scheme.

Worker in front of final mine cut, Penrith Lakes Scheme.

Tree loppers

Tree loppers Tom, Dale and Kris.

Control Room operator Kearney.

Control Room operator Kearney.

Blue Mountains Photography Workshops

19 February, 2015

I recently had the pleasure of running a photography workshop at Wentworth Falls and Leura with a great couple, keen to advance their skills with the camera.

Julie booked the session as a Christmas present for her husband Mark. They take travel and family photos for their website www.havewheelchairwilltravel.net

Mark wanted to improve his landscape images and understand how to avoid the common issue of over or under-exposed images.

We talked about using the Rule of Thirds to help compose your shot. We also looked at using naturally occurring lines in the landscape to help draw the viewers eye into the shot.

Blue Mountains Photography  workshop at Flat Rock Wentworth Falls. How to shoot landscapes.

Blue Mountains Photography workshop at Flat Rock Wentworth Falls. This example uses the naturally occurring lines of the landscape to draw the viewer into the shot from foreground to background.

Another tip I gave Mark to help achieve correct exposure is to look for the brightest area of his (usually the clouds), expose for them and then ‘open up’ 2-3 stops from there. This method allowed him to use the inherent brightness range of his camera (5 stops) and keep his exposure within those limits.

Blue Mountains Photography  workshop at Flat Rock Wentworth Falls. How to shoot landscapes.

Blue Mountains Photography workshop at Flat Rock Wentworth Falls. Creative editing is another great tool for creating interesting landscapes using the Rule of Thirds principle.

Here is Mark, dwarfed by the amazing Blue Mountains vista.

blue mountains photography workshop

Mark enjoying the view.

I run regular group workshops and individual tutoring by appointment. If you or somebody you know would like to improve their photography skills and further enjoy your camera, get in touch by phone or email.

Beautiful Wedding Portraits in the Blue Mountains

12 January, 2014

Every so often I’m lucky enough to be a part of something very special.

The wedding of Alena and Lawry at Yestergrange, at Wentworth Falls in the upper Blue Mountains is just such an occasion.

Not only was the weather perfect, the location was stunning, but the couple were a joy to work with as they laughed and joked with each other, enjoyed their family and friends and seemed to really soak up their big day.

I was enjoying myself so much it didn’t feel like work!

All of this contributed to producing some great shots.

Alena and Lawrence-2-2

Enjoying the sunset.

Alena and Lawrence-30 Alena and Lawrence-43 Alena and Lawrence-58 Alena and Lawrence-67-2 Alena and Lawrence-96 Alena and Lawrence-149-2 Alena and Lawrence-183 Alena and Lawrence-197 Alena and Lawrence-207 Alena and Lawrence-335 Alena and Lawrence-403

Blue Mountains Portrait Photographers Meeting

22 September, 2013 elderly woman with her hands together looking at the camera

What do you call a group of photographers gathered in the one place? A capture, perhaps?

I recently had the pleasure of being part of a capture of photographers at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre.

To coincide with the National Portrait Prize Exhibition showing at the Cultural Centre, and as an initiative of Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC), a list of all of the many portrait photographers practicing in the Blue Mountains has been formulated.

BMCC is pro-actively promoting the Blue Mountains as a centre of Artistic excellence and this ‘capture’ of photographers is part of that. Known as a creative cluster, it will form part of an overall combination of clusters within the region and help to promote the area and its many practitioners.

Here is a link to the Cultural Centre website for the full story.

Dads Enjoy More Time With Their Kids These Days

19 July, 2013 blue mountains family portrait photographer

Blue Mountains Family Portrait

Looking at this family portrait of a dad and his daughter in a leafy park in the Blue Mountains got me thinking about all the great dads I’ve met and photographed with their families.

blue mountains family portrait photographer

Dad and daughter photographed at Corridor of Oaks, Faulconbridge Blue Mountains.

Good news for dads and great news for their kids!
In 1975 fathers spent an average of 15 minutes per day with their children; by 1995 it was 2 hours. Today, 23% of British fathers spend around 28 hours or more with their children per week according to this article.

Apparently it has something to do with the increase in fathers now being present at the birth of their children rather than out in the waiting room nervously pacing the floor. This has an effect on the feel-good chemicals that new mums produce to help bond with their baby. Apparently dads experience the same thing!

I wonder what the stats are like for Aussie dads?

Here is the link to the full article.

This dad had a great time at our family portrait sitting with his young daughter and she loved all the attention!

How to Appear More Attractive in Photographs

13 July, 2013

Here is a tip for looking your best in your family portrait photograph. Your mum will love it!

Did you know that a direct gaze and a smile are considered most attractive to the viewer? I read in a psychology journal from the Psychology School of Aberdeen that an averted gaze without a smile is perceived as more attractive than an averted gaze with a smile. In addition to this the study found that a direct gaze without a smile was less attractive than a direct gaze with a smile.

This all sounds fairly obvious I know, but it is surprising how powerful this information is when you are shooting a portrait of somebody.

When my clients view their family portrait images they inevitably have ‘favourites’ and they are more often than not those images that have them or their family smiling and looking at the camera. This information allows me to concentrate on capturing these types of images on the portrait shoot and not spending time on averted gazes (even if I like them).

The only time I would bend this rule is when shooting groups or couples looking at each other such as with a wedding couple or family. The interaction between people can be attractive in itself and make for beautiful candid images.

Look at the examples below and draw your own conclusions.

Blue Mountains family portrait

Direct gaze and smile give this image an attractive feel.

 

Blue Mountains wedding photographer

The Happy Couple looking at each other makes for an intimate feeling to the image.

Blue Mountains family portrait

Direct gaze without a smile can give a particular feel to the image.

 

Blue Mountains family portrait

A mix of direct and in-direct gaze helps draw the viewers eye through the image toward the baby with the ‘most’ attractive gaze.

 

 

 

 

The Secret to Print Sizes for Your Wall

10 July, 2013

How to Size Your Family Portrait Photographs

Have you ever wondered what size you should print your enlargements?

It depends on a number of factors such as;

– resolution of your camera

– which room in the house you want to hang the image (living room, bedroom etc)

– how far away you will be from the image

Did you know that the viewing distance of an enlargement is best determined by the resolution of the image and the diagonal width of the print? Billboards usually have a resolution as low as 22ppi (pixels per inch) because they are viewed from such a vast distance.

Some photographers use the formula of 1.5 to 2 times the diagonal width to determine the viewing distance.

I was pleased to deliver this image last week. Shot at one of my favourite Blue Mountains locations, this order was a 48” framed print of this family from Epping standing at Flat Rock, Wentworth Falls. At 48” x 25” and 300ppi it has a diagonal distance of 54” meaning it would be best viewed at 2-2.7m away.

Think of that next time you are buying a new 80” tv. You would need to have your lounge at least 4 meters away from the screen to see it correctly!

Another formula for the resolution of the image is 3438 divided by the viewing distance.

So, to view this image from 3m (120″) away, I would divide 3438 by 120 to find the minimum resolution of the print as 29ppi. This is obviously very low res but as long as I wasn’t standing inside 3m from the image it would appear to be quite sharp and detailed.

What this all means is that your small mega-pixel camera need not prevent you from creating big enlargements, as long as the minimum viewing distance is not exceeded they will look sharp and detailed.

I’m not sure how practical that is but its worth giving some thought to I reckon.

family at Flat Rock, Wentworth Falls

Here is a link to a good discussion on print resolution and viewing distance.

Kevin Rudd in Springwood, Blue Mountains – news, commercial photographer Darren Edwards

1 July, 2013

For 15 years I worked as a news photographer for Newsltd, covering everything from news, sport and events as it happened. I left News almost 5 years ago to pursue my passion to run my own photography studio and to teach photography to the many keen and eager to follow their own dreams.

I was surprised and excited to receive a call from AAP (Australian Associate Press) last Saturday morning asking me to ‘cover’ PM Kevin Rudd appearing in Springwood. With only 30 minutes notice I set off with my camera and lenses making mental notes in the car on my way there, recalling the many times before when I’d been a part of the media scrum that inevitably follows a PM.

It has been nearly 5 year since I worked in newspapers but I reckon I’ve still got what it takes. Its so much about anticipation when it comes to covering these events. Trying to anticipate what will happen next so you can be in the right place to capture that moment as it happens. At times your ears can be just as useful as your eyes, such as listening to the ‘minders’ or ‘drivers’ talk about where ‘he’ is going next or how this visit is planned to unfold can help you stay a step ahead. I overheard the PM’s driver speaking to NSW police officer about which stops ‘he’ would make in Springwood, from café to cake shop, book shop, butcher and church sausage sizzle.

The result was selection of 12 images on the AAPnewswire and a front page image on the Sun Herald. I still get a buzz from it even after all these years.

Wedding Photography is a Seasonal Thing in the Blue Mountains

2 December, 2012

Spring time in Sydney is ideal for getting married, and with the warm days and long afternoons its no wonder.

This is by far the most popular time for shooting weddings and the busiest time of the year for me. Over the last 6 weeks I have photographed some lovely and memorable weddings in Leura, Emu Plains and the beautiful Yarramundi House on the grounds of UWS Hawkesbury.

Each of these weddings was unique of course and I’d like to share some of my favourite images from each.

The first wedding was at Leura and the location was Leuralla open-air amphitheatre. This location is brilliant because of the stunning valley backdrop.

Leura amphitheatre makes a brilliant backdrop.

The happy couple arriving together.

Another shot of that valley just for the sake of it!

The reception venue was walking distance from the ceremony and shared the same valley view.

The second wedding was at the quaint little Uniting Church at Emu Plains. The service was very much a family affair with the grooms siblings performing the music, a friend delivering the vows and both parents joining the couple for a prayer at the end.

Here comes the bride. I love this shot!

The newlyweds leaving the church.

Don’t they look happy together!

Talk about upstaging the bride!

Speeches and toasting the couple.

Finally to the wedding of an old school friend of mine on his 40th birthday at the beautiful Yarramundi House at UWS Hawkesbury.

Congratulations Jason and Christina!

The girls preparing to walk down the red carpet.

A happy couple is easy to photograph.

Their daughters were flower girls and they did a great job.

The great location meant we were spoilt for choice when it came to backdrops.

 

Corporate and Commercial Product Photography

16 September, 2012

Glassware and liquids are some of my favourite products to photograph.

They require quite technical applications of light and photographic technique.

This wine bottle and glass were shot using a bright field technique to illuminate and give shape and form to the glass itself. I added a orange gel to a reflector and 12 degree grid for the background to give the shot its colour and form the graduated spot of light on the background.

To light the label simultaneously was a bigger challenge.

I used a snoot on the foreground light to give me a spot of light just on the label. When photographing glass one has to be constantly aware of specular highlights on the glass, these are the enemy of bright field images! It is extremely difficult to avoid all specular highlights but the careful use of a gobo or 2 can help to mask off just the area you would like to receive the light.

I used 2 gobos to mask off the label on the front of the bottle and keep any light from appearing on the glass.

The first image is straight out of the camera, note the odd specular highlight in the neck of the bottle and rim of the glass.

The second image is the ‘retouched’ version with the highlights removed and the tone curve slightly tweaked.

This type of photographic technique is great for most glass objects including drinks, vases and glass art pieces and of course crystal.

Image as shot in camera

Retouched image minus the specular highlights