Two Day Literary Themed Photography Workshop – 24th & 25th July 2016

My lady in a Jane Austen themed portrait, shot in a strong, cold wind!

My lady in a Jane Austen themed portrait, shot in a strong, cold wind!

This intimate, hands on two day workshop is limited to just 8 participants. It will take you on an exciting journey of creating beautiful themed costume portraits, inspired by classic romantic literature, on location in the stunning Peak District of Derbyshire.

The workshop will be held on Sunday 24th and Monday 25th July 2016 with a literary classics theme inspired by the authors Jane Eyre and Charlotte Brontë. The imagery will be created with the expert supervision and guidance of internationally acclaimed Photographic Artist and Trainer, Martin Grahame-Dunn. In essence, costumed environmental portraiture where the mastery of light, posing and composition will be developed. 
Martin will instruct you how to see and use natural light, control it and create visually powerful images that will be transformed from your camera, into photographic art. He will teach you how to pose your subjects, in various locations, to not only complement your subject but to tell your story.
This workshop will have a significant impact not only on those who simply love photography and want to explore their creative side, but for all levels of photographers from enthusiasts, amateurs as well as practicing Wedding & Portrait photographers wishing to push their boundaries. For beginners, support will be provided so don’t worry, he will not let anyone feel out of their depth.
What you will learn
  • How to use natural light and shade to create stunning images.
  • How to select backgrounds and environments to bring interest, emotion and drama into your photographic artworks.
  • How to find flattering and interesting perspectives through the art and science of physiognomy.
  • Which lens(es) to choose and why.
  • Effective techniques to create a rapport with your subjects.
  • How to create a unique portrait experience in your day to day work and look to compliment each subject’s personality and style.
  • How to use wardrobe and posing to bring out the drama and personality of your subjects.
  • How to create ‘Photographic Art’ through creative processing techniques.
What you will need
  • A DSLR with a full battery and empty memory card and a basic understanding of how to use your camera and its settings.
  • A laptop to download and edit your images
  • Any lenses or accessories you want to use.
  • A handheld reflector if you have one.
  • An umbrella if it looks like rain.
  • Sensible clothes and shoes you can easily move around in.

Both days will encompass briefings, literary themes to inspire the images, shooting sessions, creative retouching and presentation as well as a wind up group session to discuss the day. It will also include an Album Epoca ‘Event Book’ designed and compiled by Martin Grahame-Dunn containing a selection of images from the day, lighting diagrams and other information. It will also include picnic lunches and refreshments.

Bookings are being taken now with a £100 deposit per person. Contact Martin at or to secure your place.

WHEN – Sunday 24th & Monday 25th July 2016 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM each day 
WHERE – Hope, The Peak District National Park, Derbyshire.

Martin’s thoughts on Wedding Photography – Back to Basics and Taking Control

I have focussed on Portraiture for many of my posts but it occurs to me that as a pretty successful and accomplished past wedding photographer, that I should spare some thoughts on what made my business a little different.

Think before you shoot – The Art of Visual Choreography

This is and was one of my real specialist areas. Over the years on assignment and during workshops I have explained and demonstrated my philosophy of  ‘Visual Choreography’. In short this involves the direct interaction between the Photographer and their subjects to ‘Stage Manage’ the event in the quest for the best images possible. The concept that everybody wants their wedding to be the most unique and special day in their lives must be amplified through ‘Visual Choreography’. Perhaps nowadays those couples who simply state that their day should be recorded as a ‘Fly on the wall’ assignment are embarking upon a potential recipe for disaster. Indeed any recipe without key ingredients or precise preparation times is likely to be a nasty tasting concoction, ready for the bin!

Visually Choreographed Images

Visually Choreographed Images

Perhaps ask yourself the question “Who is the REAL best man (or woman) at the Wedding” and extol the virtues of your organisational skills to your clients. Traditionally the timing of a wedding event is based around the core principle that there will be a photographer there who will make the constituent parts of that day hang together as a coherent event that will be professionally recorded forever.

Martin Grahame-Dunn 2016


Critique: Mohamed Mahdy – Egypt – Through the Childhood

Through the Childhood - an image by Mohamed Mahdy of Egypt

Through the Childhood – an image by Mohamed Mahdy of Egypt

This is the first of a new series of Image Critiques for young and aspiring image makers, most of whom are from the Gulf and Arab States. At the HIPA 5th season awards in Dubai in mid March 2016 I was privileged to meet Mohamed Mahdy during the Photo Forum at the new D3 design district, the venue for the Photographic Exhibition that featured the work of so many Photographic Artists. For me the works of the young Egyptians, curated by my friend and colleague Ayman Lofty, were outstanding. Mohamed is just 19 years old and already making a significant contribution, so here goes…

For me the strength of this image is its content. Stories within stories. The viewer is invited to travel into the image led by the vanishing points and dynamic lines that take the eye directly to a centre of interest. I do wonder if a more decisive crop outside the 3:2 ratio offered by the DSLR may be more appropriate.

Cropped image - illustrating the lines of dynmaic, vanishing points and decisive crop

Cropped image – illustrating the lines of dynmaic, vanishing points and decisive crop

The additional subject matter above the level of the plank could be viewed as more distracting than complimentary. In short, I encourage you to ‘think outside the box’ and utilise powerful and decisive cropping that will make your images stand out from the rest.

MGD April 2016

HIPA Grand Awards and the Dubai Photo Forum 2016

Moderating the Dubai Photo Forum

Moderating the Dubai Photo Forum

It’s only a week or so since the event of the HIPA Grand Awards and the new format, Dubai Photo Forum 2016. The Grand Award ceremony was a glittering affair attend by nearly 1000 people to celebrate the culmination of their 5th season, “Happiness”. But that wasn’t all. Under the guidance of 18 international curators and the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashi Al Maktoum the first Dubai Photo exhibition proved to be a resounding success.

A passionate discussion featuring Henk Van Kooten from the Netherlands, Adeeb Alani President of the Arab Union of Photographers and Ayman Lofty from Egypt

A passionate discussion featuring Henk Van Kooten from the Netherlands, Adeeb Alani President of the Arab Union of Photographers and Ayman Lofty from Egypt

Instead of the customary workshops attached the the week, HIPA decided to host a vibrant series of forums with topics to discuss and highlight issues in the world of photography. I was honoured to moderate a particularly lively discussion on standards and judging practices. With issues aired and possibilities abundant, I can’t wait to see what the future will bring!

Dubai PhotoWeek – New venture, new website!

This week has seen the launch of the Dubai Photo Exhibition website that features the host of activities following the HIPA Grand Awards event on Monday 14th March.

Dubai Photo Exhibition Website - The Photo Forum

Dubai Photo Exhibition Website – The Photo Forum

The Dubai Photo Exhibition presents artwork from 23 countries spanning numerous regions across the world. The 18 curators, guided by Head Curator Zelda Cheatle, have carefully selected each of their region’s most important photography based on their precise expertise. Running alongside the exhibition is a series of thought-provoking talks and forums, not forgetting various photography related activities that are fun for adults and kids, across the four days.

Running alongside the exhibition will be a community street style open-air carnival that includes a range of colourful and vibrant activities; musical entertainment and catering bringing further energy and life to the event along with fun for all the family.

For further information please visit

HIPA Grand Awards – Dubai Photo Week – Dubai Photo Forum

Its hard to believe another year has passed and we are about to witness the climax of the HIPA “Happiness” Competition. The glittering ceremony will be held at Burj Park on March 14th as a reprise to the very first season awards. Lucky or should I say deserving and talented winners will be recognised and awarded with some $400,000 dollars in prizes as well as stunning trophies by His Highness, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, HIPA’s Patron and Crown Prince of Dubai.

From 16th – 19th March the new D3 Design District will be the host for the inaugural Dubai Photo Week where Curators and Exhibitors from all over the world will exhibit photographic works of art.

Dubai Photo Forum 2 - Judging: International Standards and Judges personalities

Dubai Photo Forum 2 – Judging: International Standards and Judges personalities

For me, a real highlight will be to moderate a new format of Photo Forum on the 18th March where the key subjects will be the processes, ethics, mechanics and intricacies of International Judging and image evaluation. I have high hopes that with the participation of my learned panel, it will be a real eye opener for those who have entered or will enter competitions and awards globally. See you there!


Mentoring for success – The importance of investment

Working towards a ‘Professional’ qualification from either the BIPP or the MPA is no easy task. Its certainly not a journey one should take alone or without guidance and support. This is widely described as ‘Mentoring’, the working relationship between the aspiring photographer and their guide, tutor, supporter and teacher, commissioned to guide them to success. Each of the two representative bodies has their own systems in place where members can access a ‘Mentor’ for a limited period. This is an invaluable resource but nothing beats a proper financial investment in an experienced and successful Mentor. The basic service, in practice the means feedback on images that may form part of a submission, but a more formal arrangement can achieve so much more.

The advice given may not always be what the photographer wants to hear, particularly as ‘critique’ is all too often taken personally due to the huge emotional attachment to their images that so many display. This factor alone is a major contributor to the failure of an application. I know how hard it is to stand back from one’s work and look at it as a qualifies assessor may do. But to learn the art of self assessment from your mentor is central to one’s own continuous professional development. An experienced Mentor will be that crucial support mechanism who will offer the support needed and guidance through the process.

This week, one of my Mentees had a double achievement. Joint winner in the BIPP Provisional Photographer of the Year category and his Licentiate professional qualification of the same Institute. This didn’t come easily and alone, it can be a daunting task.

Supporting evidence book prepared for a BIPP submission - printed by One Vision Imaging (courtesy of Allen Thomasson LBIPP)

Supporting evidence book prepared for a BIPP submission – printed by One Vision Imaging (courtesy of Allen Thomasson LBIPP)

So, access the complimentary services but also invest in a great mentor. Commit to that investment. Always remember that its their investment in you that ensures your success. Want more of this? Then feed back to me on Social Media channels and it will be forthcoming.

If you’re looking to invest in a mentor then contact me at

I’ve got a new Nikon D750!

It’s been quite a while since I changed my DSLR as I am a creature of habit. My faithful D700 has been an amazing workhorse that has accompanied me all over the world on shooting and training assignments, indeed it has been my camera of choice together with my much loved 105mm f2 DC lens and will still be used to complete the current series of images I am working on, purely for consistency of result.

But I now have a shiny new D750 armed with the deliciously bright 85mm f1.4 lens to commence the next phase of my photography in and as Art journey. There are so many features that make this a perfect successor to my current kit. Not the least the tilting screen that opens up a whole range of possibilities to me that in certain locations I use had previously been almost insurmountable. My huge thanks go to the support team @nikonMEA for steering me into the best decision I have made for a long time.

Nikon D750

Nikon D750

In due course I will be posting images shot on the D750 with a short run down on each personally driven assignment.

Creative Workshop in the Derbyshire Peaks July 2016 – Places still available!

This “Pride and Prejudice” meets “Wuthering Heights” creative workshop is being held on Sunday 24th and Monday 25th July 2016 and is suitable for just about any photographer wishing to explore their creativity and indulging in it as an art form.

The Old Cottage Hope Valley. Our base for the Two Day Creative Workshop

The Old Cottage Hope Valley. Our base for the Two Day Creative Workshop

There are just 8 places available and the extremely affordable fee of only £495.00 per person will cover all tuition, models in period costumes and a post event produced Album Epoca Event book designed by Martin incorporating some of the best images from the workshop. Picnic lunches and an evening meal on the first day are also included. This will be two days indulging in art through photography and literature. For more information or to secure your unique place either email Martin at or call 01926 335247 or 07854 249710 very soon. A deposit secures your valuable place!

To look for Hotels and Guest Houses go to

10 things a Photographer should know – Part 10 – Real artists create!

Do you just sit around and think of stuff you could create, photograph, build, ship, or design, but never output anything? Then you’re a poser. Take a new approach and make stuff. Maybe what comes out of your studio isn’t perfect, but there should always stuff leaving the door and hitting the web, the page, the billboard, the gallery, or the street. If you are for real, you’ll be pumping out work on the regular.

Chase Jarvis

This is a subject to which I have given a great deal of thought. Indeed it is shaping my future not only as a trainer and educator but also as a serious creator of Art. I have long wished to return to my roots and now believe I know the journey I must take. I realise that for me, the creation of Art simply utilises the tool that is the camera as no more than a sketching device. Indeed it creates the ‘underpainting’ or skeleton of my finished canvasses. As a Trainer I am making the conscious decision to develop workshop to bring out that creativity in every photographer who truly wishes to use Photography as an art form. To give them room to express and the tools to create. To encourage pre-conceptualisation of their Art. To learn to see, master and control directional light used by our forefathers. In short to be artists of a new Renaissance that this time, uses the camera as no more than a brush dipping into the colours of the palette of life to create the extraordinary.

I do hope that many of you can join me on this ‘journey’ and on my “Workshops for Creatives” that will be taking place this year and for many years to come. Let me help you open up a new world of imaging and expand your creativity. There are still places available on my Pride & Prejudice meets Wuthering Heights two day workshop in the Derbyshire Peaks on 24th and 25th July 2016 but contact me soon.

Martin Grahame-Dunn