Second Outdoor Shoot

After posting of Facebook that i wanted some volunteers for outdoor shoots of kids , i took a friend up on his offer of shooting his 6 year girl Ruby. The shoot was to take place at Shibden Park , i knew the park well and thought  i would be able to get several different shoots out of it as it is such a large park with woods , play areas the boating lake etc .

The Boating lake

The Miniature Steam train

. i got there early so i could just have a quick check out to see if anything had changed from when i had been there a month previous , other than less leaves on the trees everything was the same , just as i thought it would be .

I had picked a few areas to use and just waited for them to arrive. When they did Ruby gave me a hand made card even though i had only met her once . I explained everything that i was wanting to do to both Ruby and her parents . Once we had chatted we started the shoot , i found a nice tree that had split when a sapling and created a nice v shape , i thought that this could be used to sit in or look through with the sun behind her.

The above shots are the first few just settling Ruby in .

After we took some shots in this area that i was happy with we moved onto another area .

The two shots above are unprocessed but i like them and may use them in the final selection .

Ruby was a joy to work with so chatty and helpful , i had made a good choice of picking Ruby and shooting one child at a time was also a lot easier and less distracting .There was a little wooden bridge that i wanted to use so we made our way round to that .

Whilst setting the two flash heads up ( the ones mentioned in previous blog entry) i nearly fell in a small stream , well that was it Ruby couldn’t stop laughing . She eventually calmed down and we continued with the shoot .

The above unprocessed images are possibles for the final selection .

We had a short break at the swings to let Ruby play , which would hopefully stop her getting bored. after that we walked for a bit further and took some final shots near Shibden Hall.I think by this time Ruby had had enough of being a model . Dont know if that was the playing on the swings or whether she would have been the same if we had carried on .Managed to get a few last shots.

The above images quite probably wont be making it to the final selection .

All in all a successful shoot and a most enjoyable one too , just hope upon closer inspection i have some good shots as i am running out of time and models .

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Facebook Site

As the weather has been pretty awful i haven’t had chance to shoot any more for the module. I put out a message on Facebook asking for volunteers for my shoot and got a lot of interest , had to turn a lot of it down though as the times they could do it wasn’t suitable with me , mainly weekends that i already had commitments on .I did make arrangements with two parents though to do shoots.

Whilst i was on Facebook i saw an advert for some software to change your face book page. i looked further into this and thought ” everybody uses face book it may be a good way to advertise and network” with this in mind i set up a facebook site for the business . it was fairly easy to do , take a template and adapt it your self , easy to upload single or group files and create galleries . The only problem is that certain pages didn’t show the images as sharp as they where when uploaded . Apparently this is an issue that is being looked at on the site. To get around this i created the images at the same size as the software showed them so that there was no increasing or decreasing of the file images by the software . this seemed to work .

I created the various pages i thought i would need to explain all the services that i provide . After using my girlfriends  account to view my site and make sure everything was correct , i made a few tweaks and published the site . As yet i haven’t used it until i have more time and images to publish on the site .


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Airbrush Outrage

Further to my quandary with regards to the moral and ethical implications on the airbrushing of images of clients children.Recently this has become main stream news .

This article went the rounds with most of the papers

When Nikki Allan saw the picture of her daughter taken at her nursery, she was delighted with the photographer’s work.The samples showed two-year-old Omnee posing happily and naturally,  and Mrs Allan was quick to order £10 prints for the family home.But she was horrified when the prints arrived to find that the photographer had airbrushed away the purple birthmark that runs from Omnee’s top lip to her cheek.

Omnee not airbrushed

Omnee after her image was airbrushed

‘I think it’s absolutely disgusting,’ said Mrs Allan. ‘Who is this man to decide my daughter isn’t perfect?’Luke Joyce, who runs Little Stars Photography, has apologised and said the picture had been altered by accident – it was the photo of another child which should have been changed.

But Mrs Allan, a 30-year-old retail merchandiser, said: ‘We live in a world which has all manner of pressures to conform and look perfect and for someone to decide that a two-year-old isn’t pretty enough because she has a birthmark on her face is scandalous.

‘Where does it stop? If one of the kids had wonky teeth, would he have altered them to make them “perfect”? It’s not up to him to play God. ‘There are enough worries about the prejudices she may endure later in life without having to worry about adult male photographers, especially when she’s just two years old.’

The photographer visited the Pebbles Day Nursery in Exmouth, Devon, around six weeks ago and took pictures of the majority of youngsters there. Parents were then able to view the photos and choose which ones to order. On these pictures, Omnee’s birthmark was still present.

Mrs Allan, who lives in Exmouth with her husband Stuart and other children Kelvin, five, and Brooke, three, said she did not accept Mr Joyce’s comment that the birthmark had been removed because of a mix-up with the photo of another child.‘What are the chances of another child requiring a birthmark to be removed?’ she asked. ‘I’m fuming. He’s offered us a free print but I don’t want anything to do with him.’

Sophie Edwards, manager of Pebbles Day Nursery, said several parents were unhappy with the photos. ‘Some children’s eyes appeared to have changed from blue to brown while others just didn’t look very good,’ she said.‘We feel very let down. Whether or not Omnee’s birthmark was deliberately altered I don’t know, but either way it’s a very unfortunate incident.’

Mr Joyce said he would not dream of altering a child’s photo for cosmetic reasons and Omnee’s picture had been altered because of a mix-up with reference numbers.‘I was mortified when I realised the mistake,’ he said. ‘I have spoken with Omnee’s parents and offered a free print.‘I hold my hands up and admit I made a mistake but that’s what it was, a genuine mistake.‘I would never alter a photograph in that way. How dare I? Who am I to decide what features should and shouldn’t appear in pictures?‘We are a small business with limited resources and this was a genuine oversight for which I am eternally apologetic. I thought the family were OK with the situation but obviously not.’

This has caused a lot of concerns with parents commenting in so many forums , a few of which are below

This is obviously  some concern higher up as well .An article published in the Evening Standard in May 2011 refers to a report by the government on the increase of of Body Image Anxiety in children and teenagers.

also see the small article by Sue Thomason       who is actually involved in the Parlimentry Group on Image Anxiety in the UK .

Another article that recently ran in the Metro Paper   states that children will be shown in class as young as 10 , before and after shots of airbrushed celebrities to help counter measure the false images that we see on a daily basis .

Another article stating that lessons are been given to children to spot the difference in airbrushed and non airbrushed images

Here is a video on YouTube stating the evils of Airbrushing


MP calls for ban on airbrushing

Here is another YouTube video showing lots of before and afters

Another showing how extreme Airbrushes can be

Personally i don’t like the skinny models used in the fashion industry or the overly done make up , but that is my personal choice . I however don’t find it offensive either. What i do find strange is that the amount of grief the fashion industry is getting , being accuse of causing all these people Body Image Anxiety . Yes the images are misleading , but surely any body who looks on the net or reads papers are fully aware of this and don’t take that much notice of it all . If they wanna look good like the models then work out do your make up regime but have enough common sense to live in the real world and not the fantasy world of the so called stars .I think the kind of people that diet to extremes or have too much plastic surgery are slightly unstable at the very least and if it wasn’t the so called media causing their problem to manifest it self as it does then it would be something else . Im over weight , that’s my fault no one else im too lazy to go to the gym , not me giving up because i can never become a super model . People should take charge of their own life’s and the decisions they make with out blaming other things , they should know right from wrong . i know that isnt a straight across the board answer but taking responsibility has to start some where.

As to the altering peoples images with out permission it depends on what the use of the image is for . If its for the client then changing it without permission is a definite no, if the photographer uses that image for their own use , competition advertising then yes it is allowed in my opinion .

The below vid shows just how much a difference make up can make so combined with photoshop the images can be changed so much .

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Outdoor Shoot One

Well after the shoot with all the kids , every body liked the pics , so i thought i would have lots of volunteers for the outdoor shoots , unfortunately this was the case . The weather was really bad for a few weekends so couldn’t shoot anyway , good job as i had no models. I eventually managed to get a day that the twins were free so was Lucy and Daisy , weather forecast was good and i had picked a play area in Halifax that was ideal ( Shibden Park). When i woke Sunday morning it was so foggy that i new the shoot was off .I rang the models parents and said be on stand by as it looks like the shoot is off but im gonna go to Shibden and see if the fog is as bad there.When i got there the fog was bad and seemed to be getting worse , so i rang them up and cancelled the shoot.

The following weekend the weather was better so i rearranged the shoot, unfortunately Daisy couldn’t make it , so i was down to 3 models , the twins and Lucy .I had also changed the venue for the shoot as i had found some where closer and quite nice Peoples Park

One of the Ornamental Bridges at Peoples Park

The Band Stand at Peoples Park

We met at peoples park , i wanted to start at the top and work my way round the park , straight away the twins started playing up they wouldn’t stay still started crying . i just knew that i wasn’t going to get very far here .

Eden Jumping Down Straight away

Eden fighting with Xander whilst Xander sulking

Xander Sulking

I decided to concentrate on Lucy as i could trust her to behave , hopefully.I tried a few poses but i just wasn’t happy with them .

The outfits were just wrong and there was too much in the above shots . I decided to crop in tighter to concentrate on the items ie the head band .

I was a lot happier with this type of shot , so tried Lucy with more of the knit items .

I liked this shot more but couldnt really see the scarf properly .

This was better for the items of knit wear but didn’t like all the grey sky behind Lucy.

Another attempt at a full length shot , but not happy with it as it doesn’t show the hat properly.

Another Pitch Invasion , although why i don’t know as he didn’t look very happy in the shot .

Total chaos

At this point i decided to wrap the shoot up as it had just got out of control with the kids running riot . This was mainly down to the parents not taking it as sensibly as i wanted . As they were volunteers and relatives i couldn’t really say much . After this fiasco i think i will be shooting individual children

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Preparing for the Outdoor Shoots

After my lighting course and being given a good introduction to the world of off camera flashing , i decided that i was going to use them for all my outdoor shoots for this module. So i needed to research into the best prices for the equipment i wanted .

  • New Flash Unit ( so i had two units)
  • Remote triggers
  • Soft boxes

To research what i needed i used mainly a site called  , it is dedicated to everything for off camera lighting , its basically the bees knees . It does reviews on equipment , gives in depth tutorials and info on other sites . Using the strobist site , advice from my course  and ebay i managed to get some great gear at bargain price.

I bought a GN58YN-560 Flash Speedlite from Ebay , brands new for less than £50 and its brilliant it doesn’t have ETTl settings but i didn’t need them which is why i bought it , i cant go wrong at the price and the flash specification.

Above the GN58YN-560 Flash Speedlite

Next i needed a trigger system to set both flash heads off.I also wanted a system that i could add to at a later date for when i got another flash head which would allow me to do 3 lighting set ups. Again using strobist and ebay i managed to get another bargain .

I ended up settling for some similar to these they cost approx £15 and i could buy separate ones to replace or increase the kit , they also had a holder for the umbrellas which could be useful .

Above the flash trigger units

I already had stands that the triggers would fit on , so all i needed now was the soft boxes.

I knew what kind i wanted as i had been shown them on the lighting course , it was just a case of locating the best offer . Good old ebay again

Above the soft boxes i had wanted.

I bought two for under £70 , unfortunately when they arrived one was faulty but that was replaced straight away and i was allowed to keep the faulty one , this meant i had spare support and diffuser and carry bag which would all come in handy .

That was all the equipment i needed , it was just a case of some good weather now , which was possibly going to be difficult in the UK at this time of year .








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To Airbrush or Not to Airbrush

As part of the normal post processing , i remove some small blemishes on the children’s skin.  I wanted to try and experiment further with this as it was obvious by some of the shots i had seen that airbrushing was used . So i took some of the images and used Portrait Professional ( an add on for Photoshop that allows for smoothing of skin and facial alterations ) on them . i just wanted to see if they made a big improvement .

Above Pre Air Brush

Above Post Air Brush

Above Pre Air Brush

Above Post Air Brush

I could tell the difference but im not convinced that  a parent would or that if done well would mind . This however got me thinking , my sisters twins both had scars from when the were born at 24 weeks.There skin was so delicate it was like tissue , injections caused scarring the breathing equipment caused scarring , their skin could tear at the slightest thing.We look at them as war wounds that are well earned and wouldn’t change them for anything and would be upset if this happened. Some parents may want them airbrushing and some may not , the degrees they want it doing may also vary .How could i tell parents that i could do this with out offending them.

If i did it as a matter of course , it would take me a long time and eat into my profit and may also cause offence .Like wise i didn’t want to not provide a service is it was wanted and could be lucrative to me .

In the end i came up with a peaches and cream package and placed it in amongst my literature and on my site . this left it up to the parents and wouldn’t cause offence .


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The Processing

I processed the images removing any that i didn’t like ,bad poses kids disappearing of screen etc . i did get my sister to look at the images and she suggested keeping some that i wouldn’t have . She said that even if i thought they were sub standard the parents would still like them as its their child and they love most things their children do. I went through the shots again and wasn’t as severe with the culling of images. I still removed ones that i thought were poor technically and missed faces etc but i kept most of the rest in . i didn’t remove many at all which i was pleased with .

I balanced exposures on each set and made small adjustments , i then converted them to black and white and burnt them to discs. The discs had an image printed on of the child and my Logo on each disk, the discs where then placed in envelopes with my Logo on again and a price list of printing costs and a business card . They looked professional which is what i wanted , the details make a difference and making it easier for the customers will hopefully make them want to buy more images.I then delivered them myself .

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