Tuesday, 30 November 2010

DAnalogue Photowalk - My results

Saturday afternoon, and despite the bitter cold and grey skies I found myself amongst four exceptionally talented photographers for the first ever. "DAnalogue" photowalk.

The aim of the walk was to get us all to slow down and think more about composition and exposure by taking us back to the 'analogue' days of 36 exposures, a fixed ISO speed and no LCD display giving us instant feedback.

A roll of tape was used to blackout our displays and I have to say it felt immediately uncomfortable not to have the 'crutch' of seeing your results straight away. In fact I wasn't alone in instintively going to check the display after taking my first few shots.

Like most of my friends, I decided on 400ISO, but with the light levels low and dropping throughout the walk and with the 5D's great handling of noise, I probably should have gone to 640 or 800. Hindsights a great thing isn't it?

This meant that much of my time was spent looking for props to wedge the camera or my body against, so that I could get away with the lower shutter speeds necessary.

Here's a few of my favourite shots from the day:

St. Mary Overie's Dock

Moving towards the light

Winter bloom

Weathered Wood

Time for a coffee?  Please!


Winter Lighting


Lines & Curves

Tower Bridge Traffic

Some of the other guys on the walk have also published their results. Check out Callum Winton's, Mark Hewitson's and Quoc Huy's.

Let me know if you're interested in joining me the next time I do something similar (although I reserve the right to wait until the weather improves!).


Saturday, 27 November 2010

TODAY'S DAnalogue Photowalk Final Details

A previously mentioned the talented @GlynDewis and I will be putting on the first DANALOGUE (That's Digital Analogue) Photowalk in London THIS AFTERNOON


The walk will start at around 2pm from the Market Porter pub in Borough Market - nearest tube is London Bridge. Glyn and I will be there from around 1:30 if you wish to partake of some pre-walk sustainance.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Central London "Danalogue" Photowalk, more details:

A previously mentioned the talented @GlynDewis and I will be putting on the first DANALOGUE (That's Digital Analogue) Photowalk in London in a couple of weeks.


I can now announce further details:

The walk will start at around 2pm from the Market Porter pub in Borough Market - nearest tube is London Bridge. Glyn and I will be there from around 1:30 if you wish to partake of some pre-walk sustainance.

A stroll through the market ought to give us the opportunity for some shots of the shoppers, stall holders and colourful stalls before we begin wandering down the South Bank towards our Tower Bridge destination (where the River Bar will await our arrival.

To join in you'll need a Digital SLR which - by dint of a clever set of rules and some tape will be transported back to it's analogue equivalent. These rules are

* Before starting on the walk, you will be asked to select a single ISO setting, which you should stick to throughout.
* A maximum of 36 exposures are to be taken whilst on the walk.
* We will supply some electrical tape which will temporarily cover your LCD, taking you back to the pre-digital days of NO INSTANT FEEDBACK!

At the end of the walk we’ll meet up, and with the help of a couple of laptops can compare results and discuss our experiences. The aim is to remember the often lost skill of thinking before pressing the shutter, and upping our "shoot it right first time" rates.

If you’d like to take part, meet a few new friends and polish up your skills, then please fill in your details below or contact me via my website and we'll be in touch.


Friday, 5 November 2010

Blowing my own trumpet - I'm Published!

Time for a little "trumpet blowing" if you don't mind.

I've just received my copy of Where are they Now - Chelsea, a lovely book detailing what's happened to a number of players since retiring from the game and no longer pulling on the shirt of the mighty blues.

It's a perfect Christmas present for the Chelsea supporter in your family (and shouldn't every family have a Chelsea supporter in it!

Here's a few samples from the book:




Finally, a couple of reminders about recent blog entries:

With Bonfire night upon us, check out my post on how to take great fireworks photographs and;

Why not check out my DANalogue Photowalk at the end of November?

Happy shooting!


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Announcing the first Central London "DANalogue" photowalk with Glyn Dewis


Digital Photography is easy eh? All the technical advances of the past 15 years coming together to make photographing anything almost 'Childs Play' right?

Well – there’s some truth to the above statement, but it’s really no more than part of a bigger picture (pun intended!).

If you can get your exposure spot on first time, if you can frame quickly and effectively, and if you can get the right shot the with the very first press of your shutter button then you’re going to spend more time creating great images and less time rescuing average images with the help of hours of expensively acquired Photoshop skills.

As an aid to developing those “right first time, every time” skills and as a fun way for a few committed photographers to get together and spend a couple of hours in a supportive environment; I’ve got together with with good friend and all round photographic guru, Glyn Dewis to put together an “analogue” photowalk, which will take place in London on Saturday 27th November 2010.

Those of you who took part in any of Scott Kelby's World Wide Photo Walk’s last summer will know what a photo walk is – if you don’t then have a look back on the walks that Glyn and Dan hosted earlier this year

Of course DANalogue is a (pretty weak) pun on my name and the word "Analogue". When I say analogue, we’re not going to ask you to throw away your shiny new Nikon’s and Canon’s in favour of something from the ark, but we will be introducing a set of rules that will (almost) turn your DSLR into its pre-digital equivalent.

These are:

* Before starting on the walk, you will be asked to select a single ISO setting, which you should stick to throughout.
* A maximum of 36 exposures are to be taken whilst on the walk.
* We will supply some electrical tape which will temporarily cover your LCD, taking you back to the pre-digital days of NO INSTANT FEEDBACK!

At the end of the walk we’ll meet up, and with the help of a couple of laptops can compare results and discuss our experiences.

If you’d like to take part, meet a few new friends and polish up your skills, then please fill in your details below or contact me via my website and we'll be in touch.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

North London Photographer: Tips from a Professional #5 - Photographing Fireworks

With Bonfire night fast approaching, and the family dog beginning to cower in the cupboard on a nightly basis, Firework season is definitely upon us. In the course of photographing weddings through the years, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to hone my own skills photographing Fireworks displays. I therefore thought I’d bring you my top tips for creating memorable images of this November’s great displays.


The first thing to say is that to successfully photograph fireworks you will almost certainly need a digital SLR camera, and enough knowledge to shoot in manual mode. Apologies go to those who find this post a little more technical than my usual offerings.


To create striking photographs of light trails as fireworks streak through the night sky takes long exposures – usually of several seconds or more. However good your handholding technique, without a tripod you will introduce shake into your photographs, so make sure to get a good sturdy base for your camera – almost certainly a tripod. You’ll also need some kind of remote release so that you can open the shutter without introducing some shake as your finger depresses the shutter release button.

Many images can also be ruined by light “leaking” onto the sensor through the viewfinder. Most camera straps contain a cap that can be fixed over the viewfinder to prevent this, or do as I do and slip a lens end cap over the rubber viewfinder guard. The rubber keeps the end cap in place and I find it a little less likely to fall than the one on the camera strap.


Most people’s intuition suggests that to capture the low level of light from fireworks on a pitch dark night would require a high ISO setting, perhaps in the range of 1600 to 3200. This is not the case. The light from fireworks is very bright, but very localised. To maximise the quality of your images, set the camera’s ISO to a low number (maybe 50, if your camera has it or 100 ISO). This will give you the longest safe exposures, the lowest amount of noise, and the maximum recovery of detail around the bright highlights of the firework.


Well before the display is scheduled to start you need to have scouted a great location. You’ll probably want to go away from the main vantage point for several reasons.
1. It may be too close to the display to allow you to capture the entire scene
2. It’ll probably be too busy and your rock solid tripod will get in the way and probably be knocked at the critical moment
3. You might want to also capture some foreground images (maybe a bonfire, or the stately home or whatever hosting the display). This gives a sense of scale and point of interest instead of the photographs becoming almost abstract images, solely of streaks of light.



Usually setting to infinity will be great. If you are particularly close, then find a lit object about the same distance away from you as the display is, focus once on that and then immediately knock your camera into Manual Focus mode.


Cameras are fiddly beasts, and it can be difficult in the best of conditions to find the right button to change the right setting. Photographing fireworks almost always means that you’ll be out in the cold and dark. Fingerless gloves keep your hands a little warmer without compromising precision and a torch can be invaluable to shine on your camera when you’re searching for a particular setting to change.



As with almost any type of photography, choosing to shoot in RAW mode will give you more flexibility to correct exposures after the event, but to minimise the amount of work you have to do in post processing you should be prepared to set the camera in manual mode, and bracket your exposures for best results. A good starting point is somewhere in the region of 8-20 seconds at f/8 ISO 100.

You will want the sky to be black and the fireworks bright but not “blown out”. The LCD on the back of the camera can only give you an approximation of this, but the histogram that can also be displayed can & should be used to give you the best exposure:

Good Exposure
This histogram image shows a large chunk of Black, meaning that the sky is nicely inky black, and the highlights are close to the right hand edge, but not so far right that they are “blown out” and thus recorded as pure white on the image.

Bad Exposure #1
Sky not Black
The gap on the left hand side of the histogram shows that the sky isn’t recorded as black. This will give you problems later when trying to combine images.

Bad Exposure #2
Blown Highlights
The right hand side of the histogram shows that the highlights are blown out – the detail is being lost in the lights of the fireworks.

For more information on how to interpret histograms see this excellent resource here.


Daniel Davies Photography

There are two easy ways to combine exposures – you can do this either “in camera” – at the time of shooting, or you can use Photoshop or some other editing program to do it after the event.

To combine exposures in camera, you’ll need to set the camera to “bulb” mode. Most remote releases will support this in that the first press will open the shutter and the second close it. A piece of black card can be used to cover the end of the lens up between ‘bursts’ of fireworks. If you remove it as the fireworks streak upwards and replace it when it’s more quiet you can combine several fireworks into one single shot. Just be careful not to knock the lens with the card and spoil your hard work.

Alternatively you can use an editing program to combine your exposures. Again make very sure that the black sky is actually black (use the “Levels” command in Photoshop or the “Blacks” slider in Lightroom to correct this if necessary). It should then be a simple job to select an interesting area of one image and paste it onto another. The “Screen” blend mode is your friend here.

Daniel Davies Photography


Photographing fireworks is great fun and not something that can be done all year around. It’s also very different from everyday photography, so give it a whirl and remember with digital it’s not costing you anything to try and fail. Follow my tips above and you’ll be on the road to success.

I’d love to see any pictures that you do manage to create following these tips. Please feel free to use the comments feature below to point me to your images!


Friday, 29 October 2010

Catching up: Family fun in the Studio

With apologies to blog readers, I'm still in catch up mode. Today I'm going to take you through a few family portraits taken recently in our North London Studio.

It's always great to get a family who are ready to be creative, have fun and really enjoy a photoshoot and so it was when Solomon, his wife and daughter joined me a few weeks back for a happy hour with me a few weeks ago.

Daniel Davies Photography
I love this image - no distractions but captures the love and sense of fun that only a mother and daughter can have.

Daniel Davies Photography
Young Ellie settled quickly into the role of international supermodel - maybe a portent for the future?

Daniel Davies Photography
Sometimes the best images come through play and not through posing. Ellie seemed particularly susceptible to the 'tickle treatment'!

Daniel Davies Photography
And having been the victim of a little rib-tickling Ellie seemed keen that she should turn the tables on her own Dad!

Daniel Davies Photography
In fact she found it so funny, that for a few moments she could only roll around on the floor in fits of giggles!

Daniel Davies Photography
In a quiet moment (and thanks to Ellies phenomenal energy levels, there weren't many!) I took the chance to make a few images of Mum & Dad...

Daniel Davies Photography
...Before returning to focus on the undoubted star of the show, who by now was loving the camera!

Daniel Davies Photography
A final shot of Ellie on her own, where I tried to create a sense of her smallness and vulnerbility with this shot.

Daniel Davies Photography
Sometimes it's not just about the single images themselves. Here I've combined two complimentary shots to create this one canvas that I think really showcases Ellie and her Dad perfectly.

A huge thank you to all three of you for the fun, energy and spirit you brought into my studio last month. It really is a pleasure to create great images of such great people!


Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Catching up: Hyde Park, the perfect pre-wedding photoshoot location?

Another in my series of catch-up blog postings today as I look back to Abi & Ricardo's pre-wedding shoot in Hyde Park last month.

An early arrival and a scout around the park confirmed what I had originally imagined - that there were a million possible locations for shooting. One of the many great things about this career is that it frequently gives me the opportunity for new discoveries.

As a Londoner for most of my (ahem) 40 years, I pride myself on having a pretty good knowledge of most of the capital, but it's frequently when walking around a location having arrived early in case of possible travel delays that I make new discoveries.

I must have been through Hyde Park more than a thousand times in my life, but I still didn't know of it's police station and I had never spotted the fact that each plinth on the Albert Memorial depicted a different continent. Being a photographer encourages you to "look" really closely and in London there's so much to learn.

So, onto the shoot itself. I offer every couple whos wedding I photograph a complimentary pre-wedding shoot. Actually I almost insist upon having one. Quite apart from being a load of fun, these have a very defined purpose. On your wedding day, as bride & groom you'll spend more time with your wedding photographer than anyone else (apart from each other!). Imagine how difficult that is if you don't know or feel comfortable with that. A pre-wedding shoot allows us to continue to build a relationship that serves us well on the nervous big day. It also allows me to try out various styles of photography and find out which the couple is happiest with - meaning that we don't waste any time on your wedding day taking photographs that will never see the light of day.

We met at the beautiful Serpentine Cafe (great Eggs Benedict!) before heading off to begin the days shooting.


We started on the Bridge over the Serpentine. Couples who are not used to being in front of the camera (i.e. pretty much everyone) often find it easier, at least to begin with if they aren't looking directly at the camera & the photographer so I often begin with an image taken with the couple looking adoringly at each other. Quite apart from that it's great fun to see how long any given couple can "hold" this look without dissolving into fits of laughter!

I think that we came closer to the "moment of giggle" in this second shot taken in front of the Diana memorial fountain!


The Albert Memorial gave us our next location, and next challenge.


The technical set up of the image was relatively easy, the pose was easy (for the couple at least - any excuse for a kiss!) but the challenge was negotiating in several languages with the hoards of tourists who randomly walked across the frame, or even took a seat behind the couple. I'll have to insist that my next pre-wedding shoot in the park begins at 5:00 am.


We moved slightly for the next shot, allowing the Albert Hall to share top billing with Abi & Ricardo. I underexposed the background slightly, allowing some detail to be recorded in what looked at first glance a flat grey sky, using the flash to bring the light back for my relaxed couple in the foreground.

Walking from location to location, I glanced down to see my couples hands entwined. Asking them to stop for a second I grabbed this:


The bright colours of Abi & Ricardo's clothing help this one to sing out and confirm that good images are everywhere if you only keep your eyes open. I call it "looking with intent".

Finally for today, we took the chance to try and grab a deck-chair without being accosted by an attendent looking for our daily fee for doing so:


I worked through a variety of colour and black & white options in Lightroom, before deciding that this fun mix complimented their relaxed pose.

So, at the end of the shoot I felt I knew Abi & Ricardo a little better, was aware of how relaxed and easy to direct they were (thanks guys!) and in short can't wait to Photograph their wedding at the end of October.


Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Catching up: London Style at Nicola & Ben's Chancery Lane Wedding

September was a mad, but hugely fun month at Daniel Davies Photography. As a result, I've been rather naughty with regards to my blogging. It's time to catch up!

The month started with a very lovely wedding in Central London's Chancery Lane. I arrived at the Knights Templar pub bright and early and was amazed at how beautiful it is. The walls and ceilings are so much prettier than I had imagined (and I even had time for a tour of the ladies - before any guests arrived I should add - which were truly stunning). Jan Swords, the pubs manager was incredibly helpful and couldn't have done more to make the bride & grooms day go swimmingly. Massive cudos to her and her friendly team.


I spent a lovely hour or so before the session strolling around Fleet Street, Chancery Lane and the local area. I always leave a good couple of hours spare before a wedding just in case of any traffic delays, and spending this quiet time in such lovely surroundings made for the perfect preparation for my long days work as well as giving me a few more ideas for locations for shots later that day.

Bang on time, the ceremony began, meaning that there was just time for me to capture this lovely image


of the nervous groom with his sister, waiting impatiently for his bride to make her entrance.

The registrar's were great, very relaxed and the ceremony itself flowed easily. Here's the great moment when the new Mr. & Mrs. Minto took their first kiss as a married couple:


We headed outside for the posed part of the day, a mixture of traditional, formal family groups and some more relaxed shots of the Bride & Groom together, enjoying a quick half hour away from the throng of guests. As we walked up to the location for the formal shots, I couldn't help noticing the immaculately dressed young chap in front of me and as he turned to look for his parents, captured this lovely moment:


How grown up does he look!

After the formals, we headed into nearby Lincoln Inns Fields where together with the newlyweds, I created this fab shot.


I decided to slightly mute the colours to give the image a timeless feel - you can see how the Bride & Groom are lovely and relaxed now the scary part of their day is more or less done!

We finished these shots in Chancery Lane itself, where I deliberately took a low position so as to include the street sign in the image, so that it had a sense of place. A little photoshop work removed the stray "stop the war" sticker from the corner of the sign and we were done.


Back into the Knight's Templar and scandal ensued! It seemed that the Groom had been spreading his love around and that another woman wanted to snatch him back.


No sooner had the cake been cut and there she was, desperate to drag him away from his bride! Grandparents are truly a blessing and it was lovely that she was around to see her Grandson so smart and so very happy.

When the first dance comes, I usually try and set up some lights away from the camera. This creates drama and allows me to focus attention on the bride and groom in a way that's not otherwise possible.


I love how this image echoes the feeling that most brides and grooms have at this time (I know I did when I got married) that you are the only people in the room as you move gracefully across the dancefloor.

I finished with some silhouette shots, and these were enhanced by the light bouncing off the bubbles blown across the dancefloor by the younger guests at the wedding:


It was only when I got home and processed the images that I caught sight of the beautiful young face, eyes wide and smiling broadly in the corner of the frame in this lovely shot.

Nicola and Ben were kind enough to ask me to stay on and relax for a while once my work day was complete - this was typical of the generosity that they showed to everyone throughout the day. Nicola, you looked stunning in that beautiful dress and Ben and the boys defined "dapper" with their matching outfits. Thank you so much for inviting me to record your day - I hope that you'll be happy with the images and that you'll look forward to viewing them for years to come.


Tuesday, 31 August 2010

North London Photographer: Lindsay & Steve get married - Sneak Preview

The bank holiday weekend meant a chance for a lovely Sunday wedding in Edmonton, North London where I was delighted to capture Steve & Lindsay Sluter's big day.

From the moment I stepped into Lindsay's parents house in Ponders End to the time that I left the reception, with many thanks ringing in my ears, everyone made a special attempt to make me feel welcome and as a result I really enjoyed my day.

I've had a first look at the images from the day - here's a few that jumped out at me.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Everyone here wishes Steve and Lindsay a long and happy marriage and we hope they're busy enjoying their honeymoon. We'll have the full gallery ready for selection from pretty soon.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

North London Photographer: Short Notice Outdoor Portraits

I took a short notice call last week from a client who needed some professional portraits for her own use. She told me that she needed them provided back to her that same day as this was her only free day in the near future.

Fortunately I was able to jiggle a few things out, but unfortunately I didn't have access to the studio at that short a notice. We therefore agreed that we'd take a walk in Enfield's Town Park and take some photographs that featured her in it's beautiful surrounds.

We met in the early afternoon and strolled into the park. Fortunately the skies were cloudy - which made for a beautiful soft light we could use to both of our advantages.

Here are a few of my favourite shots that we took in our hour together:

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

I returned to the office and spent a short while processing the images, before uploading them to my website where my client was able to choose her favourite six shots. These were then emailed out the same evening and the job was complete barely 12 hours after the original call.

Great fun, and very pleasing to be able to react so quickly and give my client what she needed. An email of thanks from my client later that night gave me a final warm feeling of a job well done and then it was "time for bed"!


Tuesday, 10 August 2010

North London Photographer: Guerilla Portraits @ My Coffee Stop for Chicken Shed

I spent a few hours last week with my good friends, Karen & Gunther from MyCoffeeStop (the best little coffee shop in Enfield!) running what I called a "Guerilla Portrait" session for their customers.

I say "Guerilla" as we caught customers as they arrived for their morning refreshments and spent only a few moments with each of them taking some inpromptu portraits.

I arrived at 6:00 a.m. and set up my lights & camera and spent a few hours photographing anyone who was up for it. Each of my subjects made a donation to the Chicken Shed Theatre group as a "sitting fee" and their photographs have been placed on my website from where they may purchase prints or files for their social media profiles. All profits from this will also be donated to Chicken Shed.

A few of my favourite images can be viewed below:

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

and this video shows some more:

We all had a lot of fun, overcoming the difficulties of taking photographs and serving coffee, all against the clock (the trains were running to time unfortunately!) in a very small space. We'll look to do something similar again soon.


Sunday, 8 August 2010

Scott Kelby's 3rd Annual World Wide Photo Walk - ENFIELD: We have a Winner!

After a great days shooting with a fabulous bunch of people, Michelle & I had the unenviable task of picking a "winner" from the shots submitted to the World Wide Photo Walk website from our Enfield walk a fortnight ago.

I say "winner" in quotation marks, as the day really isn't about competition - it's much more about having a great time with some really interesting people and coming together to take some shots that you perhaps usually would not - maybe even learning some more in the process.

However, a winner does need to be selected - with a choice of photo editing books by the great Scott Kelby as a prize, and our winner is the perfectly captured candid from Tyla Arabas.

We love the simplicity of the black & white transformation, and the way the branches of the nearby tree frame the image. The stolen moment between two lovers completes the capture. Congratulations Tyla.

Can't wait to do it all again next year!


Thursday, 29 July 2010

North London Photographer: Sneak Preview of Steve & Lindsay's Pre-wedding Shoot

Despite the ever present risk of rain, I spent a very pleasant evening with Steve & Lindsay at Forty Hall in Enfield yesterday. I really enjoy these pre-wedding shoots as it gives me a chance to get to know my wedding couples a little better.

It's always great to photograph a couple very obviously in love, and Steve & Lindsay fitted together really well, in the way that only a couple completely comfortable in, and confident with each other can do.

Lindsay was a natural poser (and I mean that in the best possible way!) and Steve a quick learner.

Here's a sneak preview of some of my favourites from yesterday.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

The full gallery will be posted to my website shortly, from where Steve & Lindsay will be able to pick their most loved image for a complimentary print.

Can't wait to see you two married, guys!

Monday, 26 July 2010

North London Photographer: Wonderful #WWPW in Enfield


Just a quick note of thanks to everyone above here (and the wonderful Mrs D. who took this pic) for making my first ever photowalk such a success.

I had a great time and made some lovely new friends - I really look forward to making next year's walk even better.

You can view some of the images from the day in the Enfield PhotoWalk 2010 Flickr Pool

All the best