Digitalab Featured Photographer: Steve Mayes

At Digitalab, we appreciate the power of photography, whether it’s personal or professional. We asked Steve Mayes for one of his images and posed a couple of questions to find out exactly what it is he loves about photography and what he’d say to any enthusiastic photographer hoping to make a career out of their passion.

 

Tell us a bit about this image and why you chose it to be featured.

This is a negative shot of the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle. It’s shot from the top of a building in Gateshead with a large zoom lens, so the view captures part of Gateshead and Newcastle, divided by the bridge. One of the aspects I particularly love about this area is the fact that the Newcastle and Gateshead are built on hills that rise fairly sharply from the river, giving shots from certain angles a very layered look. As an architectural photographer I’m interested in shapes and form and so the decision to work in negatives came from that – wanting the shot to be about how the buildings all sit together, rather than representing what the view ‘truly’ looks like.

Which styles of photography most interest/inspire you?

I’m an architectural and landscape photographer, and I stick to those areas because that is what I’m interested in and passionate about. I have a particular fondness for black and white, and for dusk photography, particularly in cities. I find myself torn between striking panoramas and abstract details that many may miss, depending on my mood!

What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?

My advice to aspiring photographers is not to worry too much about whether you’re ‘doing it right’. Just get out there are photograph what you’re interested in. You’ll learn which of the ‘rules’ you’ll want to follow and which you’ll want to ignore as you go along, and discovering for yourself is the best way. The final image is all that matters.

Steve Mayes Photography

Digitalab Featured Photographer: Deb Parker

At Digitalab, we appreciate the power of photography, whether it’s personal or professional. We asked Deb Parker for one of her images and posed a couple of questions to find out exactly what it is she loves about photography and what she’d say to any enthusiastic photographer hoping to make a career out of their passion.

 

Tell us a bit about this image and why you chose it to be featured.

I chose the following photo of a father and daughter because it shows the unconditional love they have for each other. This type of image I think encapsulates the type of the work I mainly do of families and children in an environment that makes them relaxed and shows off their personalities without them necessarily being aware of the camera. For this reason I don’t usually use a studio but instead go out on location so the photos also reminds them of a great occasion where they have the memories captured forever.

What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?

Have fun. Take loads of photos of whatever catches your attention.

There is no right or wrong in photography, it’s like the saying goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.

Imogen Kate Photography

Digitalab Featured Photographer: Andy Martin

At Digitalab, we appreciate the power of photography, whether it’s personal or professional. We asked Andy Martin for one of his images and posed a couple of questions to find out exactly what it is he loves about photography and what he’d say to any enthusiastic photographer hoping to make a career out of their passion.

 

Tell us a bit about this image and why you chose it to be featured.

Photo of the moon rising over Roker Pier, Sunderland. 1 shot, taken on 5×4 film over a good few hours (processed by Digitalab). I chose it as it’s one of my more unusual images.

Which styles of photography most interest/inspire you?

I’m usually drawn to photography that has some extreme element to it, whether it’s the photographer has carter a load of heavy equipment up a mountain or through somewhere inhospitable to create the image; or resurrected an ancient technique that very few people practice; right through to extremely long exposures. I do love seeing how other photographers are using film, too. There’s some excellent work being created out there.

What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?

Believe in your own ability. Don’t be afraid to experiment and make mistakes. And most importantly – SHOOT FILM. (Then have it processed at Digitalab).

Andy Martin Photography

Digitalab Featured Photographer: Paul Berry

At Digitalab, we appreciate the power of photography, whether it’s personal or professional. We asked Paul Berry for one of his images and posed a couple of questions to find out exactly what it is he loves about photography and what he’d say to any enthusiastic photographer hoping to make a career out of their passion.

Tell us a bit about this image and why you chose it to be featured.

This image is a portrait taken in the contrasty lighting style of the old Hollywood portraits of the 30-50s a style which a find fascinating.  It was taken against a plain black back drop with two studio lights, one at front with a large beauty dish and grid attached to focus the light, another smaller light with grid as a rim light behind to catch the hair and separate my subject from the back drop.  I didn’t use a reflector for fill light in this instance because I wanted deep shadows, pale white complexion and contrast.  Some like to use soft focus techniques but I’m not a fan.

These types of classic black and white images may not be in great demand, but I love producing them.  I chose it because I love classically styled portraiture.

Which styles of photography most interest/inspire you?

I have to say without hesitation that portraiture is above all my prime interest.  I enjoy meeting people, working with people to create great portraiture, whether that be for personal or commercial purposes.  I love capturing people at work, doing their hobby or enjoying life, I love making portraiture a special moment in time yet crafted in a way that makes the photograph something special, a piece of art, thoughtful, intelligent, not just a snapshot taken off the cuff.  Commercial portraiture too can be a powerful thing if given this treatment.  I love working with light, crafting light, be it artificial in a studio setting or natural light in all its forms.  The three photographers that inspire me most are Yousef Karsh, Helmut Netwon & Cecil Beaton.

I am inspired most by the classic age of Hollywood studio portraiture and especially by the black and white photography of that age, it has so much character and atmosphere.  I have a passion for working with film and traditional analogue cameras, my Bronicas, not because of any notion of nostalgia but because it is such a tangible medium, you can touch it, feel, smell it, it’s very hands on, you can interact with it in a way impossible with digital which I find so impersonal and distant.  The whole process for me has never lost its magic and most of all I enjoy it, I will keep film alive as long as possible; its qualities make photography a pleasure.

We live in a modern world dominated by computers, where the need for speed and instant gratification rules but if I could I would move my entire operation back to film, it feeds my soul, the craft of it, the slowness of it, the way it encourages thoughtfulness and consideration, works with me and my nature. Digital switches all my buttons off, it’s convenient and has it’s attractions but I get very little pleasure from it.

I am making every effort to get out and about to do landscape, scenic and street work, again in black and white using traditional methods.  It’s another excuse to keep using film.  Quite opposite to all of the above I strangely enjoy macro photography too, of anything outdoors or in, I am fascinated by small details, parts of things as opposed to great vistas.

What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?

Learn and enjoy; explore every aspect of photography open to you, explore the craft and technical aspects as well as the aesthetic or commercial.  Learn the skills but don’t let them rule you, use them as tools to achieve your passion.  I love teaching but I also love learning and spend time with other photographers as often as I can to learn from them.

Paul Berry Photography

Digitalab Featured Photographer: SDS Photography

At Digitalab, we appreciate the power of photography, whether it’s personal or professional. We asked Sarah-Jane & Simon at SDS Photography for one of their images and posed a couple of questions to find out exactly what it is they love about photography and what they’d say to any enthusiastic photographer hoping to make a career out of their passion.

 

Tell us a bit about this image and why you chose it to be featured.

This image is one of our absolute favs so far! It’s a beautiful moment between the Bride and Groom shortly after they became Husband and Wife. We love the way that they are looking at each other and the way that everything has fallen into place naturally, it’s something that you can’t force or re-create.

Which styles of photography most interest/inspire you?

We are interested mostly in photojournalism; it’s a lovely thing to be able to tell a story through a set of images. We are so lucky that we are able to incorporate this kind of style in with our wedding photography, we’ve found that the world is full of very different people with different emotions and whether they are happy or sad there’s nothing more beautiful than capturing those raw moments, that inspires us the most.

What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?

Always remember that your career won’t take off over night, in our eyes this is a positive thing as it allows precious time for you to develop your own personal style, skill and the confidence that you need to keep on improving.

SDS Photography

Digitalab Featured Photographer: Angela Carrington

At Digitalab, we appreciate the power of photography, whether it’s personal or professional. We asked Angela at the Bigger Picture for one of her images and posed a couple of questions to find out exactly what it is she loves about photography and what she’d say to any enthusiastic photographer hoping to make a career out of their passion.

 

Tell us a bit about this image and why you chose it to be featured.

I chose this image as it perfectly sums up the type of work that we do here at The Bigger Picture. We are specialist PR/marketing photographers with images appearing daily across the regional and national press/media.

The specific reason I chose this shot was to give an insight into what lengths we will go to to get the required promotional image for a company.

A new world restaurant was opening in Newcastle upon Tyne in December and the PR agency involved in the launch wanted to create an inspiring image that would encapsulate the accompanying media story. It had to firmly root the new restaurant in Newcastle, so we needed an iconic location yet it had to be the type of image that people aren’t used to seeing. Obviously it also had to involve a restaurant ‘theme’. The idea was to line up over

30 of the new chefs along the Newcastle/Gateshead Millennium Bridge. An interesting shot no doubt, but I knew we could make it even more striking from the water and  give a viewpoint rarely seen in PR photographs of the region. Luckily I had access to a powerboat through a nautical charity I am involved with and as such we organised the shoot for an early (cold!) morning on the Tyne. The lighting was difficult; low, bright sun which meant that the entire bridge was shadowed by the Baltic Art Gallery – exposure was challenging but we got the shot needed as you can see. I yelled up to the chefs to wave their kitchen props and circled in the boat a few times to get a variety of shots using different focal lengths and exposures. We then allowed the media onto the boat to do a quick ‘piece-to-camera’ for a local news channel. We also covered the VIP launch event and additional press calls for the project as part of our package.

Which styles of photography most interest/inspire you?

I have always been inspired and in awe of gritty social documentary photographers such as Sebastiao Salgado or war photographers such as Don McCullin. Their ability to capture emotion and beauty amongst the deprivation in society and horrors of war fascinates me. I’d like to be able to embark on photographic projects such as theirs perhaps a little later in my career when time and the constraints of running a commercial enterprise are lessened somewhat.

What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?

Keep calm when under pressure. I’m often in situations where I have to get the ‘money’ shot in difficult conditions – that may be the weather, the light, the intensity of a press call or the time allowed to get the shot that is needed for the media. Stress in those situation can lead to mistakes such as having your camera on the wrong settings, forgetting about effective composition or simply missing the moment due to faffing with equipment. Use less kit, learn how to use it REALLY well so that it’s second nature and check your stuff over before the job commences. And enjoy!

Angela Carrington, the Bigger Picture

Landscape Photography 101

Watching the sun set behind a truly impressive landscape is a perfect opportunity for some breath-taking photographs. But unfortunately it’s rarely as easy as picking up a camera and taking a cheeky snap – photography is a fine art involving a great degree of skill, massively benefited by having the right gear for the job. If you fancy making the move into landscape photography or turning your weekend hobby into a full-time profession, you’ll need to know a thing or two first. So for those of you struggling to make sense of apertures and lenses and filters, we’re here to help – here’s a comprehensive guide to capturing landscapes like a pro.

Jason Chambers

Stunning Landscape Photography by Jason Chambers of Photolakedistrict.com

1. Capturing a landscape.
Unlike taking portraits, a landscape requires you to focus on the background rather than the foreground. This means you’ll need to switch to a wide lens, allowing you to capture the background while keeping it in focus. Different cameras have different names for their wide lens, so make sure to Google your camera and find out what the widest lens is for that specific model.

2.  Depth of Field.
One of the most common photography headaches for beginners is figuring out how to focus the camera when both the foreground and the background need to be sharp. There are so many settings to mess about with in order to highlight your chosen feature – but when the landscape is the feature, you want everything looking nice and crisp. To do this, you’ll need to change the aperture size. The smaller the aperture size, the more focused both the foreground and background will be. If you choose a large aperture size, the background will blur, highlighting your foreground if that’s what you’re looking for.

3. Equipment.
Sometimes the freehand method works, but when your subject is going nowhere fast, we’d suggest you use a tripod to eliminate human error as best possible. This might sound like you’re overly mechanising the process, but a massive proportion of photography takes place in the selection and composition – and these happen in that creative brain of yours. Using a tripod will allow you to stay as steady as possible throughout exposure, reducing unwanted blurs for those of us still using cameras without anti-shake. Insider tip: the extra special thing about tripods is that you can always use a spirit level (old-school, we know) to make sure that the camera is straight in relation to the subject. If you’re not making wonky angles a feature, they have no reason to be there.

4. Experiment.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different angles and filters. If you’re just starting out or expanding your range, it’s all about finding a style of your own. Find a landscape you like and spend the day taking photos with different cameras, different lenses and different exposures. You’ll find that, after a few hours, the light will have changed and you start afresh. Find out which time of day is your favourite to work with and which equipment captures it best. Have fun! At the end, you’ll have hundreds of photos to review – from this, you can filter out the ones you like and the ones you don’t. Remember: practice makes perfect, so keep at it.

5. Printing.
Once you’ve found your style and the photographs are ready for your wall, it’s time to print. This is just as important as taking the photo, since different paper and ink can impact heavily on your pictures. In the spirit of professionalism, it seems only fair to print your images like the pros do. Digitalab offers an immense range of professional printing services to really showcase your hard work in the quality it deserves. If you’re looking to turn your photographic passions into a professional career, compiling a strong portfolio should be top of your list – this is the work that prospective clients will see. You’ve taken these lovely photos – now make sure your work is presented with the same care and professionalism so you can really do yourself justice.

Digitalab Featured Photographer: Tom White

At Digitalab, we appreciate the power of photography, whether it’s personal or professional. We asked Tom White for one of his images and posed a couple of questions to find out exactly what it is he loves about photography and what he’d say to any enthusiastic photographer hoping to make a career out of their passion.

 

Tell us a bit about this image and why you chose it to be featured.

I chose it to be featured because I don’t think I’ve ever seen colours quite like that before, with just the right amount of clouds to reflect the sun. The sand had also turned a beautiful purple colour with parts of the sky reflected in pools of sea water. Driving across the causeway the sky was starting to light up and I could tell it was going to be an amazing morning.

Which styles of photography most interest/inspire you?

Landscape photography is what I am most passionate about and in particular I am inspired by those photographers that push themselves to get the picture they want. The buzz of getting to places that require a lot of physical effort and then to compose a good picture is something I really enjoy.

What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?

The one piece of advice I would give any photographer early in their career is to never lose the enjoyment of what you do and don’t be confined by what others may label as original or unoriginal.

Tom White Photography

What’s Your Photography Alter-Ego?

If you’re an aspiring photographer looking for your trademark style, this can be a perplexing process. Anything worth doing is worth putting your stamp on, which is why it’s so massively important to find your niche – and it’s no different in the photography world. We know it can be difficult committing to a niche when you haven’t got that sense of direction – but fear not. Most professional photographers will tell you that their subject matter of choice says a lot about them – and it works both ways. So take a cheeky peek at your options and see where you fit.

Portrait Photographer

You’re a people person with a great zest for life and are respected for your compassionate nature and genuine sensitivity. You’re a pro with advice, an excellent judge of character and rarely think on a superficial level – these qualities make you a person that people can trust implicitly.

Fashion Photographer

You are most definitely a visual person – you have a great appreciation for aesthetics and fully understand what it means to be a perfectionist. Your attention to detail is excellent and you’re renowned as someone with an inherent sense of style – being a part of the cultural zeitgeist is a huge concern of yours and something which comes naturally.

Wildlife Photographer

You are very much in touch with your spiritual side, regularly thinking outside the confines of your own existence. You are powered primarily by curiosity and a desire for understanding. You’re fascinated by the natural world and compassionate and receptive as a result. You like to stand for something and are respected for it.

Event Photographer

You’re a spontaneous person who lives for the moment and seeks thrills. It makes you happy to see other people happy and you’d take experience over material possessions any day. You thrive on atmosphere and never miss an excuse to socialise.

Documentary Photographer

You’re someone with a real sense of purpose. You have a real thirst for knowledge and are fascinated by other people’s experiences. It’s less important to you to think about yourself than to consider what someone else is feeling, if only to gain some understanding of their identity.

Commercial Photographer

You’re charismatic, sharp and people savvy. You think with your ego and are very perceptive when it comes to others’ behaviours and motivations. You’re brilliant at getting what you want thanks to your powers of observation and natural charm – your social skills are something you can easily use to your advantage.

Art Photographer

You’re an abstract thinker with a vivid imagination and a whole lot of depth. You don’t take anything at face value, preferring instead to think outside the box and deconstruct what others don’t think or care to question. You think in whys rather than whats and are the genuine article, plain and simple.

So what’s the verdict? Drop us a comment and let us know.