Fashion Looks


Fashion Looks is taken from a series of test shots with the agency model Jordan Ebbitt; this was taken using a single light and shows what can be done with a well thought out look a great model  and the right attitude to retouching.

Why use an agency model it is an advantage in creating a look if you have someone who will hit the mark every time; it means less repeat shots and more time to create.

The clothing was selected to be as simple as possible as we were going for bold shapes and aggressive styling; the lighting as mention was a single light with a parabolic reflector to create the wrap around in a limited space.


Simple Shot great result http://www.mjfphotographer.co.uk


Summer Beach look

Zara Watson Portrait

OK the title could be misleading we are not shooting on a beach in a beach hut, what we have here is a studio shoot in a small local studio in a wooden outbuilding.

The aim was to create a summer look to do this we worked the image through multiple adjustment layers including a high pass and smooth and blend layer we also have a black layer within the image to add midrange punch.

The lighting for this was a large close in beauty dish with a diffuser and grid and off to the side a large strip box and grid all balanced to expose to F8


Fashion, Photography

Shooting Strong Black & White Fashion Portraits

Black & White images in fashion are a cliche , however when done for valid reasons they do work well although they do require forthought in order to look natural and not forced all the usual rules apply set your white balance correctly.

It may seem strange but get your colour balance right using colour checker as it will aid in having a good tonal balance in your final black and white , examples of this can be seen below

Simple outfit aggressive look

Black & White Aggressive look

This was a very quick shoot with Melissa Tongue a model I hadn’t used before so the initial stage with this shoot was planning and creating the moodboard so when we arrived we had foundation to build upon.

This is the cornerstone of my work , when I step through the door of a hire studio I want to hit the ground running knowing my lighting set up roughly what look I want also the model knows what is expected from this point you can get creative.

An old saying holds true “never run before you learn to walk ” Now you can start to work a look in this case we went for very simple outfits and changed the look just through posing and lighting set up and also a small amount of post to clean up skin textures and hairline .

Only a small amount of curve adjustment and dodge and burn was used the rest was in camera, FIXING in post should be your last option  post production is a creative process to finesse a look really you shouldn’t need to correct if you set up the lighting and white balance correctly.

May be that is a little harsh on my part but if we are to argue that we need to be paid for our work then we should be getting the basics right first time and that only comes through practice and getting accurate meter readings.

The rest is up to your creativity and that of the model who if you come in knowing what you want and knowing your set up is more likely to trust you as a professional and thus be much more open and confident to push a look.

To me this is how you create strong looks be it black & white or colour in whatever portrait genre you work in , it is my opinion and you my take it for what it worth afterall I am not selling you a training course or a secret sauce to photographic success or any other snake oil.


Canon 5DS Needed or Not

Ok Folks

20150205_hiRes_eos5dsr_3qlensLets put our cards on the table , I am a Nikon user and no Canon fan boy however I am also a camera whore like most photographers who have a less than secret addiction to all that is new and of high pixel count.

Like all addicts our addiction blinds us to a truth that we dare not admit to , most of us pro’s and semi pro’s whatever that means don’t actually need that higher a pixel count 24 mpixels will print at 300 dpi across a double page spread in a magazine.

“But we need it for editing so we can correct imperfections!”

Question , how many of us actual work in beauty and fashion and need to correct to that level

Question , How much of your work  goes straight to web at 72 dpi and no more than a 1000 pixels

Answer truthfully and we are narrowing down a bit aren’t we to a smaller group of Photographers who have been looking seriously at the Pentax 645Z medium format camera.

This is the true reason why this Camera was created, for when you look at its limitations it makes no sense as a tool for a general photographer.

The same logic applies to the Nikon D810 for the majority of photographers once we stop being blinded by our desire for the latest and greatest both cameras are a workflow menace in many situations.

Wedding Photographer, anything above 1600 iso is a mess of digital noise

Event Photographer , 200MB+ file size and lack of video support stick with the 5D MkIII

News & PR Photographer, See above

Oh and here is the kicker think your current glass is up to the job , Think again  from someone who has used a Nikon D810 unless your glass is the best on offer don’t bother it won’t be able to resolve the detail the sensor can pick up.

The truth is at the pixel density both cameras use there are only a few lenses out there which can do them justice a couple of Sigma’s a couple from their own range and a few Zeiss lenses.

So do I want one , hell Yeah

I am a camera whore and I am not in denial , I admit it and shout it from the roof tops however £6000 for a camera and lens set up which I can only use on 20-30% of my work at most.

That makes no sense to me, Like the Nikon set up I have if a job needs a high pixel count I will hire it and charge it to the client and only when it makes economic sense buy outright .

So why the Post

As photographers we get caught up in the hardware its in our nature and we loose sight of the truth in what we do is that we  create images and that starts with an idea and the talent to see it through until its finished and delivered to a client .

It does not involve reading so called reviews by people trying to sell you their training course or DVD or Reading a 1000 and 1 forum posts


Just ask yourself and answer truthfully a few simple questions.

1, Can I afford it based on my current work ?

2, How much use will I get out of it ” its a tool not a Leica ”

If you can answer both of those truthfully then you are doing well doing what you love .



Shooting Hi Key

This shot was taken as part of a small 4 hour shoot at a local studio the aim of which was to create a series of strong looks, for this one we decided to go for a high key look using a reflection of the model.

To create this we upped the light onto the white background and butted up against it a mirrored acrylic sheet for the model to crouch on.

This was a very simple shot set the key light to be correct for F8 then set the background a stop or so over and balance , the most time taken in any shot like this is in post removing marks etc other than this its a simple shot which has real punch.