Not too often these days I get the chance to set up a test shoot. Using my new background that took me two days to make I set to it. The look was nice & clean and we were looking for a classy, soft look with the lighting.
Shooting Chloe Bell from Nemesis models. When testing it is very important to try and remember what you are doing. I mean by that,in my real shooting life at weddings and kids shoots I have to shoot very fast. I don’t get too much time to relax into a shot and work my way through it. So for this very reason that is what testing should be about , for me anyway!
Using a mixture of Elinchrom lights, modifiers – 70cm softbox, stripbox, Deep Octa & 6ft Octabank, smoke machine. With some lovely styling by Zan Atkinson & for the firs time I also got the images retouched by a pro, Catherine Day. Here are a couple of shots from the day shoot.
Yesterdays training day saw us back at the wonderful Arley Hall outside of Nantwich in Cheshire. We started off the day after coffee looking at the business side of things, pricing and branding. Then onto some images to get the juices flowing.
After a break we photographed the B&G upstairs in one of the bedrooms keeping things simple looking at the use of daylight & exposure. After a great lunch we took to outside , using some of the architectural features of the surroundings. Using a mixture of daylight and flash in different situations. Having fun with a tree that very kindly gave us it’s blossom after a little persuasion!
A huge thank you as always to Zan Atkinson for her amazing styling & hair/make up skills. To Nemesis model agency in Manchester for our wonderful models , Liam & Naz and to the staff at Arley for making our day a success.
Here are a couple of images from the course….
When my assistant can do this then it means that we can do this! No tree was harmed in the making of these images!
This March saw us shooting at the wonderful Arley Hall in Nantwich in Cheshire for our two – 1 day wedding courses. Starting off with coffee & pastries I spent the morning session going through our business in detail. Looking at workflow, brochures, wedding fairs, client contact, sales and so much more. Giving us enough time to work with the Bride & Groom in the main bridal bedroom looking at natural light and getting the most out of the quick session after the bride has got ready.
Keeping things simple early on in the wedding is best!
After a fantastic lunch we headed off outside to numerous different location over the two days. Working in the grounds of Arley and also the little church that sits on the grounds. Looking at using simple flash, balancing it with the ambiance , over riding the ambiance mastering the technique of using Off Camera Flash. Using flash at Fashion or advertising shoots is a lot different when you have more time. With our weddings time with the B&G is premium and we have to work fast so we concentrate on techniques that you can execute very quickly when under pressure.
The 2 days were great fun and everyone had time with the B&G to shoot but most of all to ask questions all day on different aspects of their own business and method of shooting. The point of our courses for me is to teach people a method, to inspire people to push there own businesses & photography into different places. To create a style that is themselves and unique to them. This is what we all crave for and our desire to push our own photography into different places should be the driving force behind any successful photographic business. If you want to see what other photographers got up to on the day then check out the two links below!
We also due to demand ,have another wonderful day planned at the stunning Arley Hall. So why not join us for a day that just may change the way you look at the wedding world forever! CLICK HERE for more information..
Last week saw us at the wonderful venue of The Mansion in Leeds in the amazing setting of Roundhay Park. A huge thank you to all that made it there and for James Davies for writing up this brilliant blog post. So good I thought I would just link to it!!
Thanks to Lee for assisting on the day. Huge thank you to Zan Atkinson for her amazing styling and to Novakks Bridal Lounge for our gorgeous dresses. Of course to Emma & Nic for their modelling and for putting up with the cold so well! Also thank you to all the people at The Mansion for making us feel so welcome..
Here are some of the images that I shot on the training day but if you want to see what other people shot then take a look at James’s link above to read more about our great day of BHP training.
Our fantastic year of training continues with a visit to Newcastle. This course was organized from my Facebook Training Group with a bunch of photographers asking if we could come up to Newcastle for day of training.
You ask & we shall come! This is the second time this yer we have visited Newcastle for training and great fun was had by all. A huge thank you to Novak Bridal Lounge & Grooms room for the beautiful dress. To join our FB Training group click here.
Shot with just daylight, exposing for the sun and getting the bride to look into the sun but close eyes is a great way of using the sun with a super bright background.
Shot using an Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS pack and a 70cm softbox with grid.
Again using the power of the Ranger kit and a 70cm softbox with the bride stood high on a statue base!
Shot using canon 50mm 1.2 and just holding the veil infront of her face in the wind
Again using Elinchrom Ranger pack with a very squashed grid so as to not spill light anywhere but the bride..
If you are interested in learning how to achieve images like this then checkout our training page & go to courses for more info on what courses we have coming up still in 2013!
June saw us host an amazing one day course in Oswestry, in north Wales. Due to the amazing success of our last course we held there last year we decided to secure the venue for another day course. Using mainly off camera lighting techniques and Elinchrom equipment using some of the amazing rooms at this great venue to compliment the models clothes & look.
Photographers had a chance to spend some time with each girl to practice some of the techniques that were passed on during the session. It was all about keeping the lighting classic and looking at backgrounds that complimented the clothes and simple , elegant look of the models. The techniques that we used on this course were fashion based yes, but techniques none the less that can be used in all aspects of social photography. Taking these techniques into weddings, family & commercial shooting is the next step for the photographers that were present on the day.
Last month saw us visit the zoo for a days documentary photography. This tough day was a test for everyone with only 50mm lenses being allowed as our weapon of choice! Normally you would visit a zoo with a big zoom to get great shots of the animals but not today!
The point of today’s courses was to teach the photographers how to shoot documentary of the animals with only a short focal length lens.Looking at how to see, how to frame, how to use leading lines to take the viewer into the shot. About using extreme framing to draw the eye in and using techniques that allow you to document every day events with a style and look that can become your own. Using amongst other things exposure as a weapon when photographing scenes of very different & extreme exposures. I use all of these techniques in my every day shooting allowing me to use primes in all kind of situations.
Here are a few images from the days course. Our new Autumn courses are coming out on the website this week!
Looking how to fill a frame with important elements in order to take the viewers eye to the subject.
Using color and timing as an important element to the composition.
The day after filming for our Creative Flash for Weddings DVD last year the weather was so nice we decide to stop by the beach on the way home and film some extra footage!
Showing set ups including Off Camera High Speed flash, big Elinchrom Ranger flash being used to it’s max against the sun, running with flash and so much more… Watch this footage and share it with your friends. If you have any questions about it please join us on our FB page, twitter @brettharkness or contact us through the site. TAKE A LOOK AT THE VIDEO ON OUR VIDEO PAGE BY CLICKING HERE
Take a look at our Creative Flash for weddings & Real Wedding DVD’s. We also have a NEW DOWNLOAD option so you can watch whilst on the run or easily from a different country.
It has been a couple of years since Bjorn has visited us at the studio so it was great to see him again. This time he brought his daughter & friend from Norway for their works experience! Not bad ! Over two days we looked at his imagery, ways to make what he does already even better! The use of different light modifiers, using the ambiance and other light sources.
Lighting is a very personal thing and I think everyone should have their own way of doing things. I certainly do and it has taken a while to bring that in and make it my style. Whilst there is a lot of information taught over a 1-1 session it is very important that you take the information back and mold it into your own style, make your imagery synonymous with you. A big thank you to Bjorn for coming over from Norway, it was a pleasure to see you again. Maybe see you in Norway for a wedding course soon!!
Shot using Octabank, with Emma stood against it in the street
Image shot with Ranger Pack & Maxi Spot Reflector 29˚ 40 cm. The same shape as the Maxi Lite Reflector, but produced with brilliant, glossy reflection material for very high efficiency, throws light even over longest distances. A narrow powerful beam creates deep, sharp shadows.
Shot using Ranger RX speed pack, 70cm softbox with grid, 1 – 70 cm softbox bounced & Quadra head with Snood for background.
Taken just using 2 Fluorescent lights above Emma, with K scale input for WB.
Yesterday was an early start with a 7am train journey to London for our first ever documentary course in London. A huge thank you to Dot, Debbie, Helen, Guy & Chris for joining us on this day. Documentary photography is without a doubt one of the hardest genres of photography to master & to teach.
A lot of the moments are over so quickly that it is hard to share that moment but you can teach techniques to make an image once you see that moment. For me documentary photography by its definition is to document the happening of something. To stop someone in the street and take their picture is not documentary , it is environmental portraiture. A different thing altogether. I did make each photographer approach someone and try and get a portrait so there was a little of that also but most of the day was about looking at the ordinary , looking at a situation and making an image from it. Everyone was armed with a 50mm lens so we were all looking at the same thing. It was not the aim of the day to photograph all that is London particularly but to use the streets to make imagery from it. A lot of the imagery have people in them, some don’t and it is all about looking at something in a different way and I hope that’s what we did throughout the day.
Making pictures not taking pictures, a huge difference.
It has been a great start to the New Year at BHP Studios. Kristie’s office has seen a revamp, a new addition to the Harkness clan!! We have shot three weddings already and have a very busy year ahead of us. Our training has got off to a great start also with numerous sessions taking place at the studio.
Last week saw us Host Ray Tan Photography on his 1-1 session and the week before with David Foden Photography. Both sessions were initially spent looking at their portfolio and their current methods of shooting. We then looked at weddings and the whole process of what goes into one of their own weddings and also one of mine. We spent the pm session shooting with a model , looking at numerous lighting setups in and out of the studio.Huge thank you to Nicky & Laura for modelling for us .Our bespoke sessions are very relaxed and we make sure that we cover as much as we can what you need to know.
If you are interested in our 1-1 or small group session please CLICK HERE or call the studio on 01706 340792 for more information.
Here are a few images taken on the 1-1 sessions.
Shot outside with Elinchrom Ranger, 1 head. 400 ISO 125th sec @f18
320 ISO, 250th sec @ f14. Using Quadra. 1/4 power.
ISO 400, 25th sec @f22, one head shot with Elinchrom Ranger & 70cm softbox.
It has been a few weeks since I had time to write any posts but that doesn’t mean we have been twiddling out thumbs with nothing to post. Quite opposite. In the last three weeks, we have driven to France & back, Barcelona & Glasgow, oh and three trips to London!! It is back to the first place that this post is written about. So as there is a lot of content I will probably split this post up into two or three parts!!
So,on October 9th after shooting a wedding in Devon we headed off for the Channel tunnel and our trip down to Bordeaux in France. The Channel experience was great and we arrived in Calais only 28 mins later! A rainy and foggy Calais it has to be said but the weather vastly improved the further South we travelled. Our destination was the beautiful Chateau Rigeaud in the St.Emillion area. We had hired the chateau for 3 days for our course. We had been planning this course for many months and it was very important that we looked at all the finer details of the 3 night course. We are known for putting on a good show and have put on courses in Newcastle & 3 in London over the last year. When you are dealing with models abroad and organizing from a far it’s always hard.
I had photographed my sisters wedding a few years ago at the Chateau and we knew that this was the place to use when the right time arose. A big thank you to Anna from the chateau for helping us source flowers & make up amongst other things. Moment to thank them, flowers by Hayley Sutherland & make up by Laura.
It was the first time we had driven to France using the Channel Tunnel and it was a great experience and we will definitely do it again. Like a typical man I did get rather excited!!
So, after a 10 hour drive, a few stops, many coffees and a load of chatting and planning for future projects Kris & I made it to St.Emillion. Here are a couple of shots of our very very full car and all the kit before hand in the studio..
Most of the kit was mine but may I take this opportunity to thank The Flash Centre for loaning me some kit for the course also. They are are a great bunch and I choose them for all of my lighting kit needs. Here is a brief list of the kit that we took:
Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS pack ( 2 heads )
Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed pack ( 2 heads )
Elinchrom Quadra pack x 2 & 4 heads
Elinchrom Deep Octa / 2- 70cm softboxes
Elinchrom High performance reflector 48˚
Elinchrom Beauty Dish 44cm
Elinchrom Indirect Lightbank Octa 190cm
Elinchrom Snoot reflector & grid
Canon EOS 1ds Mark III & 5D mark II for video
Avenger 10ft stand with 40″ boom / An amazing Boom arm that goes to over 11 ft
Canon 70-200/ 50mm 1.2 / 16-35mm 28 /
Think tank belt system & travel bags
Lexar 16GB 600 speed CF cards
When Kristie & I arrived at the chateau we were greeted with champagne and cake!! Music to my ears!! After freshening up we went for a walk and a drive around the chateau looking for places to plan out for our shoot. Finding some very cool places. We then set up most of the kit and got all the clothes ready that we had bought or borrowed, matching up the outfits with the backgrounds that we had already scouted out.. Kristie modelling some of the clothes to give me a visual idea of how to piece things together…
May I also take this opportunity to make a big thank you Kate Edmondson for the loan of her beautiful wedding dresses, you will be seeing them in the next post & to Victoria Mary Vintage for her wonderful hair accessories. Also to Denis Hope for the loan of a great suit that fitted our male model perfectly!!
The aim of the course was not only to teach people how to use lights but also how to style, look at exposure and to create gorgeous images. We also wanted the course to be about more than learning. Whenever a group of photographers get together like this in this kind of environment it is a recipe for success. And the ingredients were all there! Everything we do at our studio whether training or our own shoots we do to the best of our ability. From our customer service to pushing the boundaries on our shoots; we live for what we do and this shows in not only the images that we produce but also how we feel when we are doing it!
Monday morning Kris & I set off in the mini bus to Bordeaux airport to pick up all of the photographers which were mostly flying in on the same early morning flight. We knew that it would have been too much to expect the delegates to start shooting as soon as they arrived so we laid on champagne and cake upon arrival and the photographers had the rest of the day to play with our equipment, take a book and a drink under the large tree at the front of the chateau, take a dip in the pool or rest in one of the beautiful rooms in the chateau, ot go for a walk around the vineyard…which many did, whilst a few made a splash in the pool!!
This is the first time I have ever used the 5d for video,we had no equipment with us for video or indeed any hands spare to do it with! It is an art by itself but we had fun trying when we could, the camera was usually left on a tripod and when people got the chance we all had a go! We also used mobile phones on occasion just to document our day, so the quality isn’t great so all you video buffs out there don’t judge us on our video skills! Next time I will certainly take a stabilizer rig with me but the course was about photography and for the time being we will stick to that!!
First group shot taken on a crappy phone, it’ll only get better!!
So the first day ended with us all having a great meal cooked by our own personal Chef Tom who also has his own great business The Flavoursmith! Who we all thank so much for feeding us over the 3 days, it was amazing.Waking up to a great breakfast every day, cake & cookies in the afternoon followed by 5 star food & service every night. The talk was not only photography based but also many other topics floated around the room. The atmosphere was very easy going from the moment everyone arrived at the airport. With a great mixture of photographers and characters.
May I also thank Fiona and her team for looking after us at the chateau and for making our stay even more special. The night was spent drinking, chatting , laughing and planning the first days shooting to come….. Some chatting into the night with numerous bottles of wine being drunk! Here are some of the video highlights from the first day. I will be posting soon on day 2, our first shooting day!! Watch this space….
Hello,I"m looking for some good advice on a canon lens that I can use to shoot at concerts and also for travel for fast shooting and low light also. I have a canon 60 D that i purchased last fall. Thanks for your help!Laura
— Laura Cornish
Hi there. It is worth saving up for a either a fast zoom, 70-200mm 2.8L or a fast prime, 85mm 1.2L. Both are great lenses but you might get more use out of the zoom. Hope this helps? Remember that there is focal length magnification with the 60 d as its not full frame so your lenses will shoot longer than they are.
Welcome to our Training blog, full of information just for you! I have been a professional photographer in the uk now for over 15 years, previously working in the USA in Miami as a cruise ship photographer. In my eyes I am a photographer. I don't see it as a job, but who I am. I could be seen as the "go to" guy for all things people! I love to take photographs; whether it is a wedding, family shoot, commercial or travel assignment, fashion campaign or whilst teaching on one of our many courses. See more