Saturday, 29 March 2008

Composite cover

A quick dip into the archives for this post, and another illustration of how composite images can be created for promotion and/or product placement.

The magazine cover shown here was produced for a company taking the lead feature in this particular edition of trade publication "Call Centre". It was made up of three separate shots.

The 'main' image was first created with focus centred on the foreground monitor, adding separation from the background and so depth to the picture. For logistical reasons,
the two screens were left blank at the time, knowing that I would drop specific displays in later.

It's always important to remember, when setting up a shoot for cover publication, to leave plenty of space for text and title banner to be dropped in - the last thing you want is a cluttered appearance. For this reason, we shot all images with roughly the top third left 'empty' (as it happened, the company in question had a nice neutral ceiling and windows - sometimes you just get lucky!)

Lighting on this occasion was supplied by one 800-watt tungsten lamp bounced off the ceiling.
I often work in this way as the diffused constant-light approach works well for ensuring continuity across multiple image elements in composite pictures. No additional lighting was required when photographing the screens themselves.

Being a feature piece, we also needed supporting images - these were created in and around the premises, and included informal portraits of key members in the team, general office location shots and pictures detailing a bank of monitors which was arranged along one wall.

Virtually all industries have their own trade publications, with content supplied by both small business and corporates alike. As ever, all it takes is a little thought, planning and know-how in order to promote yourself to a wider audience... and for this, you can be sure of reaping the rewards in the months and years that follow.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

It must be wide angle week!

We like our toys, us photographers. Cameras, lenses, tripods, clamps, flash guns, bells and whistles - they're all great.

But owning these things is only half the fun – we want to see just what they can do in 'real world' scenarios. It's a bit like owning a Ferrari (I would imagine!) - looks good in the garage, but you really want to take it on the road to see what all the fuss is about.

Sometimes I get to play with toys before deciding whether or not to purchase them. Prime example - todays shoot, at White Hart Lane, the home of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. Nothing glamorous for this one, just some standard product placement photography in and around the stadium. And the toy – Nikon's ultra-wide angle 14mm lens.

Part of the brief was to shoot some supplementary images alongside those of the products, for use in national, trade and local press – and I jumped at the chance of giving the football pitch/stadium the 14mm treatment. With its angle of coverage set at around 114 degrees, it takes in a huge vista which allows plenty of cropping options, if required, at the design stage.

Incidentally, this was the lens which I also used in the course of a recent shoot on the water, as described in this post, and came in especially handy for a set of pictures of a motor boat interior. So it's now had a couple of outings, and by all accounts is a great piece of kit.

Just to push the boundaries that little bit further, I am also getting to play with another ultra-wide angle lens this week, in the form of Sigma's 10-20mm, which offers an impressive 102.4-63.8 degrees coverage! Yes, I am like a kid in a sweet shop, and no, I make no apologies for it. I even have some test shots lined up already for the weekend. I can't wait!

Of course, these lenses have many more uses other than simply capturing wide scenes and interiors where space is at a premium. They enable me to create pictures which are just that little bit different and when combined with powerful lighting, as you will see in future posts, the results can be incredible.

Monday, 24 March 2008

When nature and technology meet

If you went down to my local woodland this last weekend, you would have seen me putting some equipment through its paces in this outdoor environment - specifically, I was playing around with wireless lighting. As many will know, I am a big fan of the countryside and when I get to combine this with photography and call it 'work', then all the better!

It's often nice to travel light, taking the minimum amount of equipment to a shoot, and modern technology really supports this approach. The picture above (view larger) was shot with a very simple set-up - one camera and two portable flash guns.

Thanks to nature lending a hand, only one lighting stand was required as I used what's known as a Super Clamp to attach the second flash unit to a branch. These things really are so versatile and I always keep them in my portable lighting kit; they will attach to virtually any surface, so long as there is some form of lip jutting out or an object which they can wrap around.

This kind of 2-light arrangement is a great way to add depth to pictures, and is ideal for profile and feature portraits in all manner of areas from corporate websites through to magazine features. And because there are no wires involved, there is much more freedom and versatility to be had in any given space. In fact, we are now able to remotely trigger our lights and cameras at ranges up to 1600 feet!

My somewhat basic diagram here should give you an idea of the setup as seen from above. As you can see, Flash 1 is the main light source (combined with the natural light) and Flash 2 creates a nice rim-light down the subject's left side (as viewed), which helps to distinguish him from the surroundings.

Using a complimentary or meaningful background adds colour and interest to pictures, at the same time holding the viewer's attention longer than if a dull backdrop or flat lighting were used. The whole idea of creating photographs is most often to show the subject in an exciting, compelling or distinct way - no matter whether it is a member of the family, your latest whizz-bang product or even a day-to-day object that you wouldn't ordinarily give a second glance to.

Photography - and photo shoots - should be fun. And by keeping on our toes with such matters as new technology and lighting techniques, we can ensure this is the case.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

All at sea

I am tired this evening - and understandably so, I think. Why? Well, it may have something to do with the 5:45am start, the 7am meeting or the 10am shoot. But most likely it is due to all of these, combined with the shoot that then followed at 12pm.

You see, this second job was on the water - and as we all know, spending any amount of time down by the sea can leave you somewhat worn out by the end of the day! I cannot reveal the details surrounding this assignment, I'm afraid, as it is part of a new project due to be launched in the coming months - but rest assured it is all very exciting stuff, and I will be explaining more when the time comes.

The weather was not completely ideal, but at least we were done before the clouds really set in and the spots of rain began to fall. The pictures you see here
(view larger) are just three examples of those taken within a matter of a few hours - and with typical GBP flexibility.

In total, we shot somewhere in the region of 500 pictures, giving a wide visual selection across the subject matter - including everything from the smaller details right the way up to wide all-encompassing vistas.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Simply done

Big studios, big lights, big fees - that is the perception a great number of people have when they consider commissioning professional photography.

Of course, we could exploit this and charge a small fortune - but how would we sleep at night?! No, we're far too honest for that. However, it is true to say that, in all reality, the elements of time and money are big factors for most people - and often at least one, the other or both is in short supply.

When thinking about your photography, two questions are no doubt going to be at the forefront of your mind - "how long will it take?" and "how much will it cost
". Simply put, it needn't take a long time. Nor does it have to cost a lot. Tip: Planning is everything!

The images displayed here (view larger) were shot
in the corner of a back room on-site, at short notice, and were lit with a single light. Nice, bright displays were dropped into each screen as required after the shoot; it was then a matter of arranging the 'complete' pictures in the layout of the promotional brochure, before sending the design off to print.

A simple set of photgraphs, simply approached - and simply effective.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Welcome to the GBP blog!

Welcome to the very first blog brought to you by Giles Babbidge Photography!

Here I will be posting news, views, thoughts and musings about our day-to-day activities and the world of photography. Anything which is of interest and benefit our customers (and indeed those interested in photography) will get a mention - including any links to complimentary sites and organisations of interest.

I'm always interested to hear what you have to say, so please feel free to post your comments to any of my ramblings.

If you haven't already, why not take a look at our website to see just what it is we do at GBP.