New Workshops for 2017

Throughout 2017 I am offering a number of workshops in the UK based at my Leamington Spa Studio. Easily accessible from the M40 and Train links. Plenty of reasonable accommodation and parking nearby. Each workshop is for a maximum of 8 delegates ensuring quality of delivery and enough time for everyone to absorb themselves into the content.
1. Posing Workshops – 8 places – £250 per place
2. Environmental Portraiture – 8 places – £295 per place
3. Studio Portraiture – 8 places – £295 per place
4. Fine Art & Photography – 6 places – £395 per place
Each workshop will include refreshments, lunch, 2 models (1 model in costumes for the Fine Art Workshop), materials where appropriate (printed output on the Fine Art Workshop) and notes. I anticipate that the Fine Art Workshops will be very popular as they are very intensive so early registration of interest is essential. In the early Summer and Autumn the Fine Art Workshops will also be available in a slightly different format in Pembrokeshire.
For further information and to register your interest please contact me via direct message on Facebook through my various pages or by email at

Creating a Timeless Portrait – Part 2

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Designing a successful portrait
Tips on preparing for your portraits
-Turtle necks or V-necks are flattering provided that neither is exaggerated in style. Avoid very wide or particularly drop V-neck garments or bulky cowl neck sweaters that completely hide the neck.
-For close-up portraits, long sleeves are critical for teens and adults, as bare arms call attention to themselves and will overpower the face.
-Women being photographed in full length should wear long skirts, trousers or dark stockings in order to keep the eye from being directed toward the legs and away from the face.
-If feet are to show in the portrait, assure that shoes and stockings/tights are in keeping with the visual intent of the portrait.
-Men should be clean shaven or facial hair should be carefully groomed, with their hair cut about one week before the portrait session. Women should be photographed whenever they are happiest with their hair in relation to the time it is styled.
Memorable portraits take careful planning. The clothing you choose is very important to your portrait’s success. These guidelines will help you to make important decisions about the clothing and style of your artwork.
Clothing for individuals
The goal of any fine portrait is to direct the viewer to the face(s) in the portrait. All other elements should be secondary. For individuals, simple long-sleeved garments in medium to dark tones of brown, grey, burgundy, green or blue are pleasing choices when photographed against a medium or dark background.
Because darker clothing is slimming, it often is a good choice for close-up, full-length or three-quarter length portraits in which a medium to dark background is used. Bold stripes, plaids, checks and prints are visually confusing and do not photograph well. Bright colours such as pink and orange will overwhelm the face and ruin a portrait. Light colours that approximate flesh tones will overpower the face and make the subject look unusually pale.
Decorating your home with Portraits
“Giving life to your personal art work begins with a planning session, during which you and the photographer or design consultant can explore your ideas and discuss creative possibilities.
When the finished work is on display in your home or office, it will serve as both a tasteful reflection of your individualised decorating style and a tribute to the ones you love.
A well-designed portrait, when it is properly sized, creates a decorative focal point that can add both drama and personality to any room in your home.”

Creating a Timeless Portrait – Part 1


Planning the best decorative investment you’ll ever make…an investment in yourself and your family’s heritage.

About clothing, colour, tone and style
When more than one person is to appear in the portrait, or when a special stylistic effect is desired, clothing and prop choices can make or break a portrait.

Skin tone considerations
Whether working with light ir dark complexions, the objective is for the face to dominate the portrait. Accordingly, skin highlights must be the lightest or brightest, most intense areas of the portrait. So, when a medium to dark background is used, all subjects photograph best in medium to dark tones, whatever the skin tone.

Clothing for small groups
Couples or small groups should choose simple garments within the same tonal ranges. When subjects appear in a mixture of light and dark tones together, there is a visual confusion – as the light colour comes forward and the dark colours recede. When this happens (e.g.) one person dominates and appears heavier than in reality.

Clothing for families
In a family group, proper clothing consideration is critical. When decorating a home a major consideration is to coordinate the colours and tones of the walls, carpets, drapes and furniture. Similar coordination is necessary when selecting clothing for a group portrait. Choose clothing in the same tonal ranges so that no single member of the family stands out because the clothing is too light or bright as compared to the rest of the group.

Proper clothing selection makes the difference between a portrait that appears to be a group of seemingly unrelated individuals and one in which every member of the family “belongs” to the group. Casual clothing compliments portraits made in outdoor environments.

Creating style and personality
Your goal is to create portraiture as individual as the subjects we photograph. Tools include various styles, techniques and settings that make each portrait a unique artwork.

Taking back control – Medium Format IS the way forward!



Seeing the world through a viewfinder smack bang in front of your face sure hides everything outside that tiny field of view. When we as Professional Photographers used film, most especially those bastions of image quality, the medium format camera, mounted on a tripod, we were forced to initiate the process by taking care of the technical requirements of FOCUS, APERTURE and SHUTTER SPEED relevant to obtaining that perfect exposure.

Once done, our ‘Focus’ became the command, control and observation essential to capturing that perfect image in one solitary frame by looking at our subjects, engaging with them and eliciting that expression appropriate to the mood and flattery of our subjects. We saw the world as it should be seen and the camera was the tool of capture over which we had control.

To shoot like you are using film, that precious and costly silver based commodity made us conscious of doing our job efficiently and in a manner that set the professional apart from the enthusiast and amateur. With this in mind, let’s take back control and consider the enormous advantages and virtues of Medium Format once again. My aim? To get my hands on a new Pentax 645Z and go back to doing what every ‘Pro’ did so well.

Masterclass Lighting Workshop – 23rd April – Leamington Spa

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This  inaugural Masterclass Workshop 23rd April at Victoria House, 59 Willes Road, Royal Leamington Spa, CV32 4PT is designed to examine and implement ‘best practice’ in professional portrait studio lighting. The course will cover ‘Low Key’, ‘Mid Key’, ‘High Key’ and a glance at ‘Beauty Lighting’ for good measure. How often have we been told to simply place your lights at position ‘X’ and at forty-five degrees and it will be OK? What does this mean and why? I will take the myth and legend out of studio portrait lighting and cut to the chase with a common sense, practical approach that will be understood and above all, a workable solution.

Who should attend and why? 
This is an ideal course for those wanting to firmly establish and understand lighting techniques for consistency and profit in a successful professional business. The term ‘Studio’ can mean any location in which we set up a controlled lighting scenario so this will work particularly well for those who work in clients homes or other non-permanent situations. This is the ideal “Pop Up Studio’ scenario.
The Workshop will run from 9.30am until 5pm. The day will be split into 4 sessions with Q&A to finish. Every delegate will have access to educational materials at no extra charge.
Workshop Fee: £60.00
A light lunch and refreshments are included.
To book your place simply email: with your request and we will take it from there.

Photographic Studio for Hire – Leamington Spa


I am pleased to announce that the Studio here at Victoria House, Leamington Spa, England, UK will be available for hire at extremely competitive rates from next week. So if you’re looking for a place to develop your photography, look no further and contact me on 07854 249710. If you need help, my Mentoring services are also available.




Keep it simple and start the right way with Studio Lighting

It’s high time I put together a post on getting started with lighting in studio and the simple principles to help you along. On the premise that ‘less is more’ my studio flash heads of choice are the extremely well engineered and constructed iLux range available from Photomart. Starting with the 150’s to the popular 300 & 500 RD powered heads and culminating in the new 600 Summit Cordless, there is really a unt for every purpose. In a subsequent post I’ll chat more about the cordless range and its versatility.You really can’t go wrong with the superb RD 300’s that I have in everyday use in my Leamington Spa training studio. But, what is also critical to me is the choice of light modifier or softbox.


Photomart have a healthy number of kits on offer at prices that are extremely affordable, but they will also help you put together a kit to suit your personal needs and I’m always here to give advice. Just send me a message and I’ll be pleased to help.

I must admit I’m not a huge fan of umbrellas as I’m a total lighting geek who wants to exercise maximum control in the emulation of directional, natural light. After all, the most gifted of Renaissance painters had just that to work with, hence my plea to keep it simple.

As yet I have not had the opportunity to play with the iLux 150’s but would say quite clearly, that for any newcomer to Studio Portraiture that they have a great build quality for such an inexpensive unit and with individual heads at around the £80 plus VAT mark and kits starting at £237 plus VAT they represent excellent value. In forthcoming post I’m join to look at lighting starting with just one head complete with simple lighting diagrams and examples. So, get online and order your starter kit now. You won’t regret it, I promise!

Simple portrait with a single studio head, modified with a soft box, flagged in the foreground and filled with a simple reflector only.

Simple portrait with a single studio head, modified with a soft box, flagged in the foreground and filled with a simple reflector only.