Physical Novel

You’re very honoured. You know that, don’t you? I’m about to share a few straight-out-of-camera and behind-the-scenes images with you. There, don’t say i don’t spoil you.

One of my regular and, I have to say, more fun clients is designer Ricky Simpson and his Birmingham-based unisex fashion company Physical Novel. Ricky has a particular look in mind from the shoots – studio shots are on white backgrounds as you would expect for an online business (although Physical Novel also have a boutique at Birmingham’s Custard Factory) and have to be the same angled views plus a few more creative poses. Here’s a clip from their webpage with images by me…

And more…

This is from their "lookbooks" section. Pictures by me.

This is from their “lookbooks” section. Pictures by me.

And a behind-the-scenes shot of Ricky straightening (a lot of this happens)….

Ricky "straightening".

Ricky “straightening”.

A couple of shots lifted straight from Physical Novel's "Lookbooks"

A couple of shots lifted straight from Physical Novel’s “Lookbooks”

And a couple of images straight from the camera, taken at Key Hill cemetery, with two of the models trying not to look terrified (quite an achievement)…

 

And speaking of models, Ricky has an uncanny knack of finding and selecting great models for his designs. I’ve taken the liberty of stealing a few for Fotofilia events.

Find out more about Physical Novel at http://www.physicalnovel.co.uk/ and on Instagram as @physicalnovel

Photoshop Day Cream?

I lifted this jokey pic from a friend’s Facebook page. I don’t tend to post things like this but not only is this quite amusing, but it also has the ring of truth about it. There are people, a growing number of people it seems, who genuinely think that Photoshop is a simple cure-all for everything from the odd pimple to chronic obesity or child-frightening ugliness.

The statement, “It’s okay, you can always Photoshop it, right?” is becoming very familiar. Over the years I’ve been asked to Photoshop dead relatives into wedding photographs (I didn’t) and remove sacked band members from line-up photos (I did). For the record, I am a pretty competent Photoshop user – I even teach it. But it’s important to know the difference between a bit of “tweaking” and unrealistic transformation.

PS. Just found there are lots more of these! Thanks to Wezism for the heads-up – http://www.barnorama.com/adobe-photoshop-day-cream/

No Shoot Like Home (continued)

Continuing the story of my shoot with the lovely Samantha at my apartment block (nice to get away from the studio for a change), after doing all I could in the communal corridors, and stairwell, we took a few shots in the lift…

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

…and then moved into the apartment itself. I started by photographing Samantha in one of my white shirts, again using available light.

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Then I decided to play about with some off-camera strobe in the hall area. I placed the flash behind Sammy and positioned myself carefully to maximise the great rim-light produced…

One of my favourites. Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

One of my favourites. Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

And finally, again grunged up on Snapseed…

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Many many thanks go to Samantha for giving up her precious time and being such a great sport in return for only copious amounts of tea and the odd biccy. Or two.

 

No Shoot Like Home

When I can, I like to do the odd “fun shoot” – shoots intended to be nothing more than a test for new equipment, different lighting, different looks, to try new themes and post-production styles. My most recent “fun shoot” was all about seeing what I could get squeeze creatively out of a familiar environment, in this case my apartment and apartment block. I also had some vague notions of creating something “filmic”, perhaps capturing some noir-ish lighting and hinting at some kind of imagined narrative.

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

I put out a casting on a certain well-known social networking site (I doubt they need the name-check) asking for a volunteer non-model model. On other words, someone who was prepared to pose for me given the vaguest of briefs but ideally not someone who models on a regular or professional basis. I was chuffed when Samantha tentatively stepped forward.

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha has a great look: loads of tattoos, and with eyes that seem to change colour depending on the light. Dodging other residents and the cleaners, we started by shooting in the communal corridor and stairwells using only available light.

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

As you can see, I’ve also had a bit of fun with the post-production on these images. everything was shot on RAW, processed initially in Lightroom and then a bit of grunge texture mood added in Snapseed.

More to follow…

 

 

 

Grab And Grin: A Sign Of The Times?

Every year I spend 1-3 weeks, mainly in July, shooting graduations at English universities. I do this through one of the country’s leading graduation photography and gown hire companies who contract me to work on a daily basis. I won’t pretend it’s the most exciting thing I do all year but it usually falls in the quieter times of year and you can stand a couple of weeks of pretty much anything, right?

My workspace for 6 days in July.

My workspace for 6 days in July.

 

As a Midlands-based photographer I tend to be allocated the same Midlands universities each year which means I often find myself working with the same group of photographers. And this is one of the real benefits of shooting graduations (or “grab and grin” as some photographers have been known to refer to it), the chance to chat, swap ideas/news etc with people in the same position and industry as yourself. This especially good because many photographers work in a very solitary environment. Yes, they’ll be speaking to clients, suppliers, the bank and so on, but for a week or so they’re able to chew the fat with perhaps a dozen of their peers.

Over a period of years, people come and people go but it’s possible to get a good idea of the state of the industry from the interaction with the others. And this year was no exception – but the impression given wasn’t a great one. At the university where I worked for 6 days in July, I worked alongside around 10 other photographers, all of whom I’d met previously, and all of whom had, until this year, presented a very positive impression of the state of their businesses.

But this year was different: out of the ten photographers present, four were no longer full-time photographers. Of these, one was now working in a car body shop, one was selling photographic services for another company, one was working 9-5 in accounts, and one was going off to live on a remote Scottish island a couple of weeks later. All of these talented and experienced professionals had previously had successful businesses. If this is an accurate barometer of the state of the photographic industry from the position of freelancers and small businesses in the sector, I wonder what i will be told next summer.