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Welcome to our Brett Harkness Photography Training blog. This blog is full of published work, stuff that we use and so much more.To see our latest VIDEO's go to the VIDEO link above.If you want to see more of my wedding, commercial, fashion & travel work please click on the Landing page link at the top of the page to go to the other sections of the site. If there is anything that you would like to see on this site then get in touch, if we think it's a great idea then we'll try and do it!
10 Mar 2017
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Wild Rumpus Carnival Shoot

I made my annual pilgrimage to the wonder Lost Carnival. I first met the girls from Wild Rumpus last year when I met up with them at their first Lost Carnival to produce some portraits of the artists a day before opening. It was a great experience and I knew that next year I had to go back for more! So summer rolled around and we set up early arriving just after 11am , coffee in hand! Myself and assistant Ben scouted around the venue which was setting up for the bank holiday carnival experience. I knew I wanted them to look similar to last years images but a little more edgy!
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The shoot.. commercial photography uk

Taken on my Pentax 645z medium format camera of which I am UK ambassador, with 90mm lens, various Elinchrom modifiers and two Ranger RX speed AS packs with three heads. We also use my smoke machine to ad some atmosphere to the shots and a further back light with a CTO gel on it. I also used 2 – Lee 3 stop ND filters which are paramount for creating the look that I am after for this shoot as the maximum flash sync for the 645z is 125th sec.  Each performer came in turn as I had a few mins to chat to them about their characters and rolls within the carnival. We started shooting working with each character to get the most emotionally out of them that I could.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • (Thursday, July 27, 2017)
    Gorgeous work as always Brett!

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12 Jun 2016
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Article in Digital Photographer Magazine..

Incase you missed this alt year, a great piece about me and my work in Digital Photographer Magazine.. I regularly feature in numerous Uk Photography magazines. In this article I talk a little about my influences and how I got started in the industry! 
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30 Mar 2015
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Messing around in the studio….

Not often do I get the chance to take some self portraits and have a little time playing around in the studio, I think the last time I took a self portrait apart from on the phone was over 20 years ago at uni!
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 Sunday was that day or that hour anyway! With the rain beating down outside I though I’d have  little play with the lights and an ND filter or two. The shoot was gatecrashed at the end by my beautiful daughter who was shall we say not in the mood for picture taking but gave me a great opportunity to grab a quick picture with her. I don’t shoot with tripods but on this occasion it was necessary! Using an Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS pack, with an S head. 1 – 70 cm softbox with grid. Honeycombed to avoid too much spill onto the background.

The background is made from hardboard and I blogged about it a few months ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Carolyn White
    (Monday, March 30, 2015)
    Beautiful!
18 Mar 2015
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Testing Phottix Indra 500 TTL

( This test was just for a few hours so is a little limited but gives a real account of how it works in the field..) The Flash Centre were kind enough to loan me the new Phottix Indra 500 Flash unit for a day to give it a quick whirl. Using Elinchrom myself I wasn't really in the market for another lighting unit but had found about this from Russ at The Flash Centre in Leeds so grabbed the chance to try it out. 
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Firstly straight out of the box , the build quality really surprised me – in a good way! A nice case that comes with it – I do love a good case! Solid construction of the unit and head and great handling made it great start. Not having an instruction manual with it but all on a USB stick gave me the first test. I don’t really do instruction manuals! In around 10 mins I was good to go after I’d switched the Odin trigger from Nikon to Canon!

A very nice case comes with all the goodies inside ..

The power unit is very light as all of the techi stuff is in the head of the unit…

 

The head is solid and was quick to attach to the 70cm softbox that we tried it with. The LED display is great but the menu can be a little difficult in the beginning to find your way around. The leads are strong and the lead which attaches the head to the pack looks more like an expensive audio jack for a posh stereo system – pretty cool! The screen is large and you can change the colors – it is also bright enough to see in strong sunshine.

 

The pack has very little on it as most of the switches and info is on the back of the head itself. Its very well sealed against light rain and the sockets are easy to insert in a rush. I would like to see a carrying case for this on the market and no doubt there will be for sure. Just like the cases for the Elinchrom’s that give you a little more comfort when carrying.

Being a manual flash shooter myself the TTL function of the Indra didn’t really appeal to me although I am sure it will to many photographers giving that it does work very well indeed , but one thing that did appeal and that was the High Speed option, syncing up to 8000th sec with the Phottix Odin Flash Trigger. I have used High Speed sync with my Elinchrom’s before but with no definite guarantee of success! Shooting on apertures of F2 etc.. is something that really appeals to me and so this kit was immediately set to do just that!

Taking a few pix in my garden this morning of my little girl gave me the perfect opportunity to try it out. 50 ISO | 1000th sec @f1.4 – flash power 1/4. The wrap of the light is great and I saw very little fall off. Using high speed in Manual on the A channel on the Odin trigger is definitily the way to go as using high speed in TTL was a little hit and miss giving a few exposures that were + exposed. I am sure this will be fixed with the next firmware upgrade for the unit. It would be great to see Phottix include in the bundle the Odin trigger as it does have to be bought separately to the unit. Overall the color temp of the unit was very good and gave very consistent results shooting this way which is key for me.

 

 

 

 

( What the PHOTTIX website has to say about the unit! )

The Phottix Indra 500 TTL is a 500 Watt TTL portable Studio Light featuring High Speed Sync. Under the hood is the
ultimate in control, via the award-winning Phottix Odin TTL Flash Trigger for Canon and Nikon, built-in. The Indra500 TTL
is the perfect way to unleash creativity. Use TTL to shoot during fast moving events like weddings. Shoot on-location,
under the harsh sun and control ambient light with high speed sync. Shoot wide-open with shutter speeds up to 1/8000s.
The Indra 500 TTL offers 8 stops of power adjustment – from full power to 1/128 – perfect for overcoming midday sun or
adding just a hint of light when shooting with large apertures. TTL exposures can be adjusted in +/- 3 EV levels. Using a
Li-ion Battery Pack the Phottix Indra is the perfect on location light with recharge times of 2 seconds and 360 full-power
flashes (High-Speed Mode) when fully charged. It’s small but extremely powerful. In the studio the Phottix Indra can be
used with an AC adapter and can fully recharge in 1 second. The Indra500 packs a lot of power and control into a
compact and versatile studio light.

 

 

This was taken today outside The Flash Centre store and Russ was full of a cold but I thank him although he won’t thank me for using it!  Part of the beauty of this pack is that you can bring down the ambience dramatically. This image was shot at 125 ISO | 8000th sec @f2! With the flash on M – Full Power. 70cm Elinchrom softbox being used. With 500 WS of power it isn’t the most powerful pack out there but when you consider you can ahcieve a shot like this below in mid day light then you wouldn’t need anymore power . We didn’t get to test the pack in perfect very strong direct sunlight but I am pretty sure that it would nicely overpower the sun when shooting this way – high speed ,  or normal flash – ie: 250th sec @ f11- f16.

 

Again even at these shutter speeds there is no to little fall off of light and the output is pretty consistent. You can of course change the flash output from the Odin trigger on the hot shoe which  saves returning to the unit all the time. It was different for me with all the info being in the heads themselves. I am used to working on the packs! The main thing for me was the weight of the heads, yes they are made to withstand the abuse that a photographer like me would give them and using them on stands wouldn’t be an issue for sure but using them on a pole with an assistant holding might be after a while.  They are certainly not as heavy as the Profoto B1′s but are still quite heavy so worth considering the weight factor. With two heads being able to work from the same pack at the same powers then the versatility of the pack is amazing when you consider the price for sure. With recycling times of around 2-3 seconds on full power and pretty much instant on lower power settings you shouldn’t really out shoot this pack. The heads are bowens fix but you can get adapters to fit your softboxes – we used an Elnichrom Softbox today with an adapter on it. You would have to check with Phottix of TFC to see if they make an adapter ring for your modifier of choice.

 

Being mostly a location photographer I think this kit will be a great addition to my lighting array – certainly giving me the consistency that I need when I am shooting amongst other things on wide open apertures. The TTL function would also offer another edge to this kit that manual flashes wouldn’t. I will always shoot manual but in the heat of the moment it is there if you needed it.

 

  • *Features / Tech Spec:
  • *500Ws Studio Light with LED Modelling Light
  • *TTL Auto, Manual and Stroboscopic (1-100Hz) Modes
  • *High Speed Sync – 1/8000s shutter speeds, Second Curtain Sync
  • *Manual Power 1/128 to Full Power in 1/3 Stop increments
  • *4-Channel Wireless Radio Control with Phottix Odin and Mitros+ systems
  • *Phottix Odin for Canon and Nikon Receivers Built in, Phottix Strato II Receiver Built in
  • *Large TFT LCD display, 3.5mm Sync Port and USB Port for Firmware Upgrades
  • *Battery or Mains Powered (400 full-power shots using 5Ah Indra Battery Pack, 0.1s to 2s recycle times)
  • *Weight: 2.1kg, Dimensions: 267mm L x 140mm Dia x 190mm H

PROS
  • Beautiful build quality
  • consistent light output at high speeds
  • heads can be used with larger modifiers too
  • great power for the money
  • nice looking and lovely case
  • can be used with existing Phottix flashes also
  • TTL if you need it (with Odin trigger)
CONS
  • Heads are a little heavy
  • menu screen on head can be a little difficult
  • Odin trigger should be part of the package

     
    The Flash Centre currently have this kit on sale and you can play with it at The Photography Show in Birmingham this weekend. You can also see it on the Intro 2020 stand where reps from Phottix will be standing by….Tell them Brett sent you!!

    It currently runs at around £999.00 inc VAT plus £120.00 for the Odin trigger.

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  • (Saturday, March 21, 2015)
    I got this a few weeks ago. do you have a big shift in white balance when going from normal sync speed to hss? When I shoot on 1/200, its a bit on the green side. And 1/250 and above it's a bit on the magenta side.

    And in some shutter and aperture combos, I get a bright or a black bar on the bottom. most noticeable when using bigger apertures in hss. (F4 and bigger)
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  • michael
    (Saturday, March 21, 2015)
    Did you get a big color shift in HSS? Mine is 1200° K out of spec, wondering if it's my unit or they're all that way.
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  • (Wednesday, March 25, 2015)
    Hi Michael, I haven't experienced this personaly but I know a few guys that have. Are you using HSS on TTL? Try putting the Odin trigger on A channel M - leave the head on ETTL - the trigger should overide this. Shooting in manual should do the trick, also give a little time inbetween shots for the bulb to recycle properly. You will always get a little color shift on HSS anyway - let me know how you go on?
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  • (Wednesday, March 25, 2015)
    Hi Tor, see the answer I gave to Michael - it may do the trick!
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  • (Thursday, April 02, 2015)
    Hi Guys, Russ from The Flash Centre here.

    Cheers Brett, I certainly won't be sending my mother a framed photo of that one!

    Have spent the last few weeks thoughtfully testing the Indra. Jeez it's good! BUT you need to understand where it works and where it doesn't! Shall I be a geek (like me) and explain? ....
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  • (Thursday, April 02, 2015)
    Russ. Be my guest!
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  • Chris
    (Friday, April 03, 2015)
    hi guys, this unit looks awesome. thinking of buying either the elinchrom elb 400 or this phottix unit. I've weighed out all the pros and cons of both and my only concern is this .whenever i see the elinchrom being used weather its brett harkness on the beach...or some ski resort in the alps it gives off a lovely whitish colour temperature on the subjects all the time. whereas with this indra its very warm/yellow looking. is there anything elinchrom does different in either their bulbs or heads to make the colour temperature look really nice and white. thanks guys
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  • Keano
    (Thursday, April 09, 2015)
    Hi you said the TTL is hit and miss with HSS. How is the TTL without using HSS? It's flash duration seems to be good for freezing motion. HSS is said to be good by most interviews. What I find hard to get more details on is the TTL. Thanks
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  • (Friday, June 12, 2015)
    Thx for this review.
    Will buy this or b1.
    Can you tell me what adaptor you use or ekinchrome softbox please?
    Is it easy by adding too much weight dimension to the unit.
    Mixed reviewin Elinchrome mount for b1!!
    Much appreciate!
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  • (Friday, June 12, 2015)
    Hi Mary. Hope all is well? The adapter you have to buy separately from elinchrom or TFC to be able to use the phottix with elinchrom modifiers. It's not go heavy and is maybe a little tight sometimes. I would say the B1 's are good lights but too top heavy for me. It would be between the b2 & phottix for me. Hope this helps. Cheers. Brett.
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  • (Wednesday, October 28, 2015)
    Great review.. keen on getting some lights sometime soon.. also still waiting for Russ to explain in his comment :P
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  • Nigel James Hughes
    (Tuesday, January 05, 2016)
    Hi Brett
    Liked the article on the Indra and the one thing I am concerned about is the colour shift which is mentioned.
    I have hired some B1's and B2's both of which perform really well, but I have now looked at the indra which seems to have thrown a curve ball into my plans!
    The new Indra 360 has a smaller pack than the B2 and has all the functions of the B2, is a bit more powrful and is to say the least cheaper on the wallet.
    From your article I see you are more than pleased with the Indra 500 light, my question is given the option would you go for the 500 or 360 unit?
    In a lot of ways the 360 is swaying my decision one being the portability of the unit with the smaller battery pack, maybe I am answering my own question.
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  • (Tuesday, March 01, 2016)
    Ditto to Nigel's comment. Just finished reading comments on dpreview.com and am only worried about the color shift. Don't use TTL much but would like the option if I am paying for it. Any suggestions or thoughts? Thanks for the great article.
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  • (Tuesday, March 01, 2016)
    Hi Laurie, I would say the color shift only comes when shooting very fast really. It tends to hold its own when shooting normally. Still a great piece of kit for the money. You could also look at the Elinchrom ELB, my weapon of choice. Still unbeatable in my mind.
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  • janis
    (Tuesday, November 08, 2016)
    I am interested to know how you are getting HSS while in Manual mode. The manual states that you can only do HSS while in TTL mode. Can you explain that in more detail please?? Thanks!
05 Feb 2015
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Testing the Pentax 645z

Well, it's that time of year again where I get the Medium Format bug, just this time it could actually be for real! It seems that every New Year I get a little time to get my hands on the latest MF camera and take it for a whirl . This 2015 is no exception. Thanks to Calumet for loaning me the latest Pentax 645z for a few days to run it through it's paces.
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This small review is by no means technical , just straight forward talking as to whether it’s a viable camera for todays market and social shooting. As soon as I got my hands on it it felt normal, chunky yes but more like an oversized DSLR. Not a bad thing for a camera that I want to try and use like a DSLR! I wanted to use it on my first test in bad conditions, with bad light and rain! Not too hard to find in the streets of Manchester in January! So I headed off into town to meet up with a model that I know called Michael. I knew we had an hour or so before we lost the light completely but using no reflectors made the job even harder. This however was the whole point. I have used many different MF cameras before including, Leaf, Hasselblad & Phase , all great in their own right but nevertheless not too good when the going gets tough. The rain started to fall and I got to work, quickly pushing the Pentax above the norm for  an MF body to over 400ISO! Not a lot to ask I think when paying so much money! The buttons are in the right place for me, I’m a Canon shooter and things seemed to make sense on the camera lay out. The front finger dial is slightly inset which makes scrolling it a little hard with my big fingers but I soon got used  to it. The focussing was pretty good especially comparing it to the Phase & HBlad MF bodies that I had used in the past. I only tend to use centre point focussing anyway. I want to use a medium format camera in the same shooting situations that I use a DSLR in. Is that too much to ask? I really wanted to see how much dynamic range was in this beast and I wasn’t disappointed. With the same sensor from it’s IQ PHASE 250 back rival it had to be good!  Shooting intentionally in bad shadowy light made the camera come into it’s own. As the shoot moved on it got darker and I had no flashes or reflector with me so the ISO was pushed, to 3200! Amazing! Again usable up to this ISO for sure. Over this the noise started to kick in a little too much for me but still usable if you had no choice. The buffering was probably the only majorly annoying thing about the camera to be honest. A little too long when shooting jpg/RAW together to show the model how we were doing.

The camera could benefit from a vertical grip also, yes I mostly shoot in landscape but the odd time I feel the urge to go portrait and here I felt the camera slip a little. I wouldn’t use the two tripod options on the bottom and side but I am sure others would. I used it in a variety of modes, TV, AV & M to see how it metered up against my metering and it was pretty good. I had to – expose the files quite a lot as the camera wanted to dig out the shadows a little too much but nothing that couldn’t be fixed inPP. The WB was nice and the LCD screen rendered really well. The flip screen is a little gimikey for me and I cannot really see the point of it but again I guess others may do.

As the shoot came to an end we headed off for a coffee and I managed a couple of shots in the yellow inside of a cafe where it wasn’t too disappoint. Pushing it to over 3200 ISO the grain was beautiful and it focussed every time in the dimly lit interior. Hand holding a MF camera at 60th second is crazy as the shutter is like a car door! But it worked!

 

The second test I did was a very quick shoot and I mean 5 mins with a daughter that was shall we say not in the mood! But with a little bribery we managed to get a couple of shots. Shooting in our lounge using her Wig – Wam as a background. I wanted to test the Pentax with flash. I use a lot of flash in my work and this was an important test for me. I knew that the main sticking point with this body was the fact that the fastest flash sync speed is 125th! Crazy yes I know!! Hopefully something Pentax will do something about in the future with Leaf lenses! Just like ( Mamiya – PHASE!) It has to happen! Anyway with a x sync of 125th I cracked on. The camera again focussed very well even through a 3 stop ND filter which I had to use to help me get to a wider aperture! It worked a treat! The files were fantastic , with beautiful shadow details as well as colour tone. Personally I like to use Capture one for my RAW files. Which  I don’t shoot to often! So you have to shoot in DNG for C1 to recognise them as it’s a PHASE software and shall we say I don’t think the two companies love eachother! But thankfully C1 recognises the files and that’s good enough for me!

 

So , conclusion, will I be buying it? …Yes I am pretty sure this is the one especially if Pentax can come up with affordable Leaf lenses that allow the x sync to gooo crazy then wow!!  what a beast we will have on or hands! For me as a social photographer shooting more and more commercial , fashion & portraiture then this could be the camera that changes the direction of my life as a photographer. It ticks all the boxes but the flash sync and I am sure Pentax will do something about this. You can also use older M focus lenses on it and also Pentax did make a few leaf  lenses in the past and I see no reason why they wont fit the mount. For a price of around £7600.00 its not cheap but when you consider what it’s got and how beautiful the files are and in my mind they cannot be matched by any 35mm DSLR. Then it’s a no brainer. I think now is the time to jump on the MF bandwagon before they finish bolting on the horse!

All in all it slows you down, it makes you start to think again like a photographer and whether the files can be beaten by a 1dX or a Nikon it doesn’t really matter to me, it makes me feel alive again! And that is priceless…

Pros :
Great to handle and easy to use
High ISO’s make it so much more versatile than any other MF i’ve ever used
Bright viewfinder and LCD make it easy to use

Cons:
Highest flash x sync – 125th ( come on pentax bring out the leaf! )
Slow buffer
No Vertical grip

 

 

 

 

 

200 ISO – 125th sec @f3.2 – 55mm

200 ISO – 125th sec @f3.2

1600 ISO – f3.5

1600 ISO – 60th sec @f3.2

 

1600 iso @f4

3200 ISO – 60th sec @2.8

 

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08 Dec 2014
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Check out Jan edition of PHOTO Professional Magazine

Check out January edition of PHOTO Professional magazine. We have a 4 page piece on our wonderful Asylum course in Liverpool a couple of months ago.  
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01 Aug 2014
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Queensberry Albums – awesome offfer

For those of you thinking of switching Album suppliers or have been looking at what Queensberry Albums can offer you then we have teamed up with our album supplier to offer a discount on setting up your account with them. Until we get an offer voucher set up please just mention Brett Harkness Training as the recommendation to receive the discount.
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Here’s the link to the starter kit so you can see what’s in it. http://www.queensberry.com/sales-kit
The cost is normally £250 + VAT, but my group members can purchase the kit within 6 months of receiving the voucher code you will save 25%, making it £187.50 + VAT = £225.
**Included in the kit are 3 x 50% off vouchers, which you may use on sample albums ordered within 3 months of receiving the kit.** To see more of our beautiful Queesnberry albums then please click on the link below:

QUEENSBERRY ALBUMS & Brett Harkness

 

 

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07 Jul 2014
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Tour de France

Believe or not I have a day off now & then! But even then I take my camera with me! This day was no exception. A day out to watch the Tour de France go past my sister's house up in the hills of Ripponden. I new I didn't want to miss the day by having my head buried in a camera all day so I just took a few shots.
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Playing with my little baby girl seemed more appropriate for today’s event. The sun was shining and the food was sizzling away on the BBQ. Having camped out in the garden the night before the morning started early with fresh coffee & baby milk!! The build up was long to the cyclists going by and the mood was relaxed and laiden with copious amounts of food & beverages! Mixed with many appropriate games for the kids and adults alike, a perfect summers day you might say!

My mind was made up to stay on the deck overlooking the road to get the shot I wanted. This turned out to be the best choice as the roads were packed as were the paths with not too much room to get down and shoot the riders coming up the hill without knocking one of them off! A huge thank you to my family for an amazing day and for leaving us with memories to remember forever. Here are a few of the snaps from the day….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • (Sunday, January 18, 2015)
    Amazing series! I love the photo of the woman in the window!

    Lynzi
24 Jun 2014
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Portrait Photography

  Brett Harkness / Portrait Photography KEEPING IT REAL: ( I wrote this piece for a photography magazine last year & it's about time I posted it here for you all to read! ) Flash is big business these days but that doesnʼt mean that you canʼt create amazing images just using daylight, even with the British Summer weather! This guide will take you through what it takes to shoot with confidence just using daylight, indoors & out.
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Arm yourself with the knowledge to take on babies, families, kids & Teens using nothing more than a reflector. King of Portraiture Brett Harkness has become known for his use of natural light mixed with the use of flash in all aspects of his successful social photography business. In this guide he will take you through hints, tips & tricks to use to pose your subjects easily, get the most from your shoot, shoot with intent using only available light.
” I have been a “ people photographer “ in one way shape or form now for over 20 years and I have come to recognize one thing, whether walking down the river bank in India, shooting a family on the beach or a baby at someoneʼs house, the key to successful natural light portraiture is to know beforehand , before you even press the shutter how you want to use the light. Daylight can be hard to use and mastering it is the first task at hand. Posing your subjects is the key to image success but making this process as easy as you can will make the shoot flow with ease and give your subjects an enjoyable experience , which at the end of the day is what itʼs all about. Donʼt make your poses too messy, keep it real and instinctively pick up on what the subject feels comfortable doing.
Sometimes I donʼt pose at all, I allow the subject to do their own thing. Trying to pose kids on the beach say can be a very hard thing to do because the kids just want to play!
Successful lifestyle portraiture is all about having fun! The more exciting you make it the more you will get from the children & adults ,yet be prepared because the more the kids have fun and run around the harder it can be to get the shots you need. There will be moments throughout any shoot that you will have a better chance to get the “ money shot!” It may not seem so but these shots donʼt happen by chance. They are carefully planned at certain moments to get the best out of the subject without them realizing it!
Lifestyle portraiture has evolved over the years form very staid studio portraiture to all day shoots on the beach. There is still a client for every style but I would rather give the client an experience to remember than confine them to a studio and expect them to perform.
We find that our clients come back to use year after year or recommend their friends to us. The need for me as a photographer to adapt and constantly evolve my shooting technique is very strong. This is what makes the world of photography so exciting is that you can try new tricks and ways of shooting whilst on the shoots themselves. Donʼt be afraid to experiment, making sure that you are taking your style to the next level. We try and keep it simple for our clients. This means keeping equipment to a minimum and using natural light as often as we can. We do mix it up with flash at certain times to create more of a funky outdoor lit feel but on the whole I am looking to craft the light to my subject and keep it real.
START OFF IN THE HOUSE:
The moment you step out of your comfort zone and take the shoot on location or outside this opens up a lot of possibilities for things to go wrong. With a little bit of careful planning,foresight and a back up plan outdoor shooting or shooting at the clients house will afford you a host of opportunities that would otherwise not be present. We always plan our shoots depending upon the time of year with maximum light in mind. I use the word “we” as my wife and partner Kristie is a key to our lifestyle success also . More on her role later. If we are planning our shoot in the summer then we may do a little later in the day to use the low, evening sunshine( if we are lucky!) If the shoot is later on in the year it may take place around lunchtime to take advantage of the daylight. Your shoot must also be timed around any feeding patterns ( where babies are concerned) school timings, etc….I would say that 9 shoots out of 10 start off at the clients house. This means that you are starting the shoot on familiar ground and with kids this can be invaluable. Start off the shoot in front of the biggest window in the house, either in the lounge, conservatory or French doors. This soft indoor daylight is a beautiful light and can yield some fantastic results. Usually I would turn off all interior lights to avoid any yellow light casts , sit the kids or family in the 3-ft pool of light that is coming through the door. If shooting a family we will usually start off with the child that is youngest. This way the other kids can see that it is easy and nothing to be sacred of.
If you donʼt have an assistant then use the parents to interact with the children. We also use a Lastolite Trip Grip reflector , sunfire/softsilver to throw as much light as we can back into the room.

Keeping DOF fairly shallow for me is a good thing, especially when you are shooting back into a house where you might not want to show any clutter etc..

INDOOR TIP: When you are shooting young babies with fair skin with a black background make sure you underexpose the shot. This will not only make the skin tones more accurate but darken down the background. Thus getting rid of unwanted or distracting items. People often ask me about posing and how do I make the subject pose. For me it is more about putting the subject in the best light, the best environment and then watching them. I would classify my posing as “ documentary posing with an element of still posing. Patience is a virtue with portraiture of any kind but you have to be quick. I have done the hard work, it is important to let the subject do the work for you. As a photographer look at the subject within the camera frame. Think out of the box, how can I make this look different. By simply standing over the baby I took made the shot look different to the ones that are in front. It is very hard to actually pose children or babies. I can guarantee that if you ask a kid to do something or hold a pose it will do exactly the opposite! So looking to change the pose by you yourself having to change your composition, your lens, your angle or all of the above is the key to getting great images, fast. Using an empty bathtub us a great way to photograph babies, as long as the bath is white. It is a perfect natural reflector. Once the kids realize that is fun, you can then get the other kids involved and take everyone outside and start looking for backgrounds to use.
GETTING OUTSIDE IS HARDER BUT MORE REWARDING:
Taking the family outside is where you get the chance to experiment a little more. Avoid bright sunshine and if you have to shoot at mid-day then try and put the subjects backs to the sun. This way you will get nicely backlit subjects. This can work really well as the sun is setting with a lovely glow around the subject as in this kids party below. When shooting into the sun like this your shutter speed will want to be faster than is required. Try going onto manual setting and shooting a couple of test shots to get it right. With all that is going on outside you will undoubtedly spend the next half an hour running after the kids on the beach, chasing them around a park or up a tree! Donʼt be scared! Use this time to practice your “ documentary posing” This is probably the hardest part of the shoot as it is up to you to make the shot, to compose it. You are creating an image from very little. This take some mastering but once you have it in the bag your dependance upon having to sit the kids down all the time will get less. Try giving the kids things to do instead of having them run around! Pick apples, count flowers, skim stones in the river, throw grass at you! Get the parents involved! Anything that keeps them in one place to give you chance to get some images.
POSING KIDS or ANTI POSING! : ( Keep them still and entertained!)
When the time comes to pose you will then be ready. A secret to getting kids to pose is either to do it when they are tired on allow them to go somewhere where they wouldnʼt be allowed to go or somewhere where they feel like king of the castle and all the attention is on them!!!! By this I mean, standing on a park bench, sitting on top of a tree stump etc.. This way you will be able to get a great shot with them not moving, even if it is only for a few seconds. As in the these shots below. For young kids the posing comes in as far as how you crop it or compose the shot. Itʼs almost posing without them realizing it! Look at your backgrounds, how messy are they? Do you need color? Look at what they are wearing, does it match? You will have to shoot quickly here as all the kids will want to do is run off and get dirty! Donʼt forget the details as well. Pictures of feet, fingers, clothes, tiny shoes, little hats, favorite pet etc.. are all great memories to capture.

LET THE SUBJECT DO THE WORK: Quite often when I am on a shoot I look for a simple way to pose my subject and keep each image looking the same but the content is different each time. I usually use my 50 mm 1.2 lens for this but you can use any lens you feel comfortable with. The key is to keep each frame looking the same but let the subject do the work and hope that the subject does something different each frame! Usually this is a sequence of images I am looking for whether it is a little girl jumping into a puddle or someone sticking there tongue out at me. This is where you might have to play, interact, offer encouragement etc.. These sequences of images often are our best sellers because of their simplicity. This can be a good way to finish a shoot as the children are often more at ease with you.

TEENS: You will come across families of different ages when shooting your lifestyle imagery. Often there will be teenagers involved and trying to get them to run through a field with their younger brothers and sisters is an almost impossible task! The last thing that you want to do is to alienate them and make them feel self conscious. The key here is to take them aside, away from the parents. We will go for a walk with them for 5-10 mins and look to do something more ‘modally’ or posy with them.
I like to keep my posing to a minimum, look at the subject, see how they stand and how they hold themselves. Teenage boys donʼt know what to do with their hands so putting them in pockets or folded is a simple way to make them feel a little more cool! Never get guys to lie down , squatting is a good way also of making them feel a little more comfortable in front of the camera. Get the guys to lean on a wall or in a doorway, again making them feel more at ease.
Every teenage girl wants to be a model so you can look to spend a little more time with the girls. Even a change of clothes might be in order! Look for colors that compliment what she is wearing. Look for contrasting or complimentary colors in your clothing choice or backgrounds. i.e.; she has red hair look for a green background. Again keep the posing relaxed, use walls to lean up against. We often ask the girls if they want to bring any hats or scalves with them, this way they can hold onto things other than just standing there. I always look for angles also, if we have a teen sat at the bottom of the stairs using daylight then I look for how they are sitting, are their any angles that can take the viewer to the face. Again we are always looking to use the best light we can and will use the reflector as often as we need to. It is important when shooting families etc.. to quickly get a gauge of how old the kids are. By this I mean that sometimes we shoot 12/13yr old kids like teens, other times 12/13yr olds we shoot like kids!! There is a big difference and one which you must figure out quickly. By talking to the parents or by talking to the children.
DONT FORGET THE PARENTS:
Often on our shoots we will hear the parents saying, “we donʼt want any pictures, just the kids!” On our shoots no-one gets away with it! We will always use the parents in the background, maybe to hold small children etc.. Then later on in the shoot they will completely forget that they are in it! Again sometimes I may go for a walk with the two of them and do a few shots. Kris can stay with the kids. These images are always used either for our multi frames or purchased by the parents for themselves. Posing parents!
This is pretty easy and can if done correctly be the easiest part of the shoot. We often look
for poses that ordinary people feel comfortable with, holding hands, walking, giving each other a hug, sitting down on steps is a great starting as it gets the couple used to being together in front of the camera. Avoid harsh light as this can shot show up wrinkles. I always try and shoot down also, this allows people to look up at me creating a more flattering jawline etc… Interaction is key also, getting them to laugh and look at each-other is a great way for some lovely interaction. A great one is too tell the couple not to smile! This works every time!! They will laugh the first time!! Use props if you have to, I donʼt mean roman columns or backdrops but park benches, steps, blankets, chairs. Anything that will make them feel more comfortable.
FAMILY GROUPS:
The hardest thing to get right is the family shot, don’t put pressure on yourself thinking you have to get everyone looking a the camera all the time. Posing the family group is a necessary part of a a daylight portrait session but not the only thing. Use the parents to hold the kids down for a few seconds! ( I mean on their knee or round the waist! Not pinned down! ) Get them all to look at the plain on the sky or the horse over there, see you looked! This way all of them will be looking in the same direction. I often get people to look at Kristie as she is the one holding the reflector and playing ‘Peek aboo’ with the kids & adults! Getting families all to hold hands is also a great way to pose them and have them all looking relaxed. Thinking out of the box whilst shooting the family group as in the shot below , making them all silouetted can be a cool way to finish the shoot. Get each of them to stand in a way that they want to. itʼs fun and they will all know who they are! Again look to use steps or gates to stagger the group. When sitting make sure you get down low also for a few shots, this gives a different vantage point to the images. One technical thing to remember here is that you must use a smaller aperture than when just shooting single people or kids. For most families I am looking for f8 if I can get it without putting my shutterspeed too slow. If you are starting to shoot with too slow a shutter speed then find better light or increase the ISO! Again family interaction is key and might be the kind of image you are after. Get everyone to look at each other and laugh! It works!!
TAKE IT TO THE MAX:
Try finishing the shoot with a shot that you have never tried before! I wouldnʼt suggest that every shoot should finish in the local lake but if the couple are game and you stay safe then hey go for it! Try getting on next doors trampoline with the kids and shoot whilst you bounce! Get out in the snow and shoot , shots of the kids throwing snowballs or making their first snowman are invaluable. Get out in the rain with your kids, get them jumping in puddles or inside making a cake with face covered in flower. If you make the moment happen the kids will do the rest!

 

TOP 10 TIPS

• 1/ If shooting in the sun look for shade or backlight, this will work best with your subjects.
• 2 / Always use a reflector to throw light back into the subjects face. I use a lastolite reflector. You could use a white wall, a white umbrella or even tin foil wrapped around a piece of cardboard.
• 3/ Keep the posing easy. Real people are not models and will look uneasy if asked to do something that they find uncomfortable.
• 4/ Look for brightly colored backgrounds to ad sparkle to your portraits, Try the skip at the end of the road or the bright green recycling bin!!
• 5/ Keep it simple, put a chair in the back garden and let the kids play around it! Seemples!!
• 6/ Have fun!

• 7/ Shoot in the house, turn all the lights off and shoot near an open door or french doors.

• 8/ Use your mind! Play games with the kids. “Whatever you do , do not stick your tongue
out!” Thatʼs if you want them to stick their tongues out!

• 9/ Be patient, when dealing with kids & adults sometimes the best shots will come at the end of the shoot.

• 10/ Get the files printed!! Too many jpgs/pictures never see the light of day so make a book every few months with all your family images in them. A great keepsake and a great way to relive some happy memories. Photobox make some great little ‘ journals’ that are great to show off your family pictures.
To see more images from Brett please visit his website at
www.brettharknessphotography.com
you can also catch him on twitter @brettharkness & facebook

 

Also check out July issue ( OUT JUNE ) of Digital SLR Photography magazine for more tips & tricks & behind the scenes shots from a great recent family shoot on the beaches of North Wales.

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  • (Wednesday, February 18, 2015)
    An excellent blog article on portrait photography.
  •  
  • (Friday, April 08, 2016)
    Some great tips here, acheiving natural looking posing is tricky!
03 Apr 2014
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20% off a new Flotheme site just for you!

LOOKING FOR A NEW SITE? I am delighted to announce that the guys that designed our own site - Flosites have given me a fantastic opportunity for everyone on the group to receive first! If you are looking for a simple/elegant site that is no fuss then Flothemes are for you.
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As someone involved in the creative industry I am particular about every detail and I expect whoever I work with to be the same. Flosites built our custom site some 4 years ago now and we are currently using them again for a brand make-over! They specialize in custom built sites for professional creatives.
You only have to look at the list of photographers using them apart from ourselves – Lara Jade – Loey L – Jeremy Cowart to name but a select few!

SO WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
Recently they launched a pre-made / affordable solution that works for getting your images live & fast! Flo-themes. This is a great way to start before you could move on for a custom site.
Click on the link www.flothemes.com & take a look what’s on offer.
To make things even better we have secured a fantastic discount of 20% off, when you consider that themes start at only $230.00 then it is a great saving!
They are simple & refreshing themes that show your images off to the max.
All themes are WordPress, are responsive for mobile devices & retina as a portfolio and blog all in one.
If you want to buy one and if you are looking to upgrade your site or look for a complete no fuss package then click on the link to check them out. If you have any questions then message Flosites on info@flothemes.com.

Use Offer code – “floharkness” to get your 20% discount when ordering.

Don’t miss out on this & if you know anyone that is looking for a new blog /portfolio site then let them in on our secret!

 

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02 Apr 2014
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My home made Background..!

Well,earlier this week I decided to make my own background, having searched high and low for a suitable background without success. So I found a wall, got the bits and am pretty happy with what I managed to do!!
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To see what I did & how I did it CLICK HERE to read the blog post on USA blog DIY Photography! Together with a post from Dave Kai Piper , a fashion photographer from the UK and how he made his!

 

 

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  • (Wednesday, April 02, 2014)
    Very creative, love the look, and much better than option 1!
  •  
  • (Wednesday, April 02, 2014)
    cheers Ed, I know the look Dave is going for , kind of an old school , when photographers used to travel with their backgrounds. I guess the two just have a different feel!
  •  
  • (Wednesday, September 09, 2015)
    very cool look, great stuff

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21 Aug 2013
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Sep 10th Training Course in Norway

We are very happy to tell you about a great training opportunity that we are doing in Norway! September 10th this year sees us head to Norway to give a 1 day course all about weddings. In association with the opening of the new INTERFOTO store in Oslo. Come and spend a day to remember.....
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HERE’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT…..
Wedding photography – learn from the master!
Whether you are an established wedding photographer, want to learn more about wedding photography or need inspiration,  this is the day to set aside for yourself!
Interfoto is pleased to offer you a day with Brett Harkness, one of Britain’s most sought after wedding photographers. Recently described in the British press as “a photographic phenomenon.”  Digital Camera World.
We have invited Brett Harkness to us September 10th. Take the opportunity to learn the techniques of the master.

This talk will focus on what makes Brett’s business stand out from the rest. Brett will be talking about his wedding structure, how he runs a wedding to get the most out of it. Talking about some of his favorite images, techniques used and equipment used. Brett’s business has gone from strength to strength since opening his first studio in 2002.
This open forum will give you the chance to spend a day with Brett and ask any questions you want! No holes barred, Brett is known for his straight talking approach and willingness to discuss his business and approach to all that he photographs. Spend a fantastic , informative day with Brett, a coffee and plenty of questions!!! We will also be shooting a couple looking at lighting, using flash in the dark and for drama, posing, backgrounds and so much more. This is a day not to miss.

Time: 9-17
Price: 4000,- NOK
Date: 10 september 2013
Sign up: kurs@interfoto.no
When signing up we will need your full name, address, email address and phone number.
The course takes place in  Interfotos premises in Drammensveien 130, Building C-14 as well as on location
Trainer: Brett Harkness
You can also follow Brett on Twitter @brettharkness, Face book @ Brett Harkness Photography Training Group, www.brettharknessphotography.com, You Tube, Vimeo & Flickr

A little about Brett – Weeks after graduating from a photography degree at Nottingham Trent University in 1995, Brett Harkness joined a Caribbean cruise liner where he worked as an on-ship photographer for six years. In addition to gaining a grounding in photography, Brett met his partner Kristie onboard who together now run Brett Harkness Photography, a thriving social photography company near Manchester. Specialising in lifestyle, fashion, commercial and editorial photography, Brett Harkness has gone from charging £150 for a wedding to regularly earning double figures for many of his shoots overseas in Europe and America.

Med vennlig hilsen / best regards

Interfoto AS
Karen Norton
Markedskoordinator

Ny adresse
Drammensveien 130, Bygg C-14, 0277 Oslo
Mobil:      +47 97 07 05 04
Telefon:   +47 97 11 55 00
Telefaks:  +47 67 11 04 55
interfoto.no
Norges nye treffsted for deg med lidenskap for fotografi

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A true photographic phenonemon.Brett Harkness is a man in demand— Dan Lezano. Digital SLR Photography