Food, glorious food . . .

Back in my favourite field of photography last week at the Southampton Mercure Dolphin Hotel, shooting food for a forthcoming Daily Echo supplement. Gorgeous high windows in the hotel’s Georgian dining room meant it was natural light all the way with just a couple of carefully placed reflectors as kickers. Shooting direct to the laptop with Breeze System’s brilliant NK Remote software allowed GM Neil Brailsford and chef  Steve to check they were happy with what we were doing at any point, and we had the required six  shots in the can in under two hours.

“Please Fasten Your Seat Belts”

..or how to get that “in-flight” look without leaving the ground !

A very wet Tuesday morning saw Karen and I in the Sussex village of Lavant, loading cameras and a full lighting rig onto a Boeing 737 . Well, not exactly, as this was a fuselage section owned by Leki Aviation, who had kindly allowed us to use it for a day’s shooting for our client, Alan Mann Aviation. I’d done a location recce a month ago, so I knew the “look” we had to achieve – regardless of the weather outside. The product we were shooting was a child restraint system and our brief was to provide some convincing images of the product in use onboard an aircraft in flight.

Scouting shots – on a sunny day !

The crew from Leki had already fitted the seats we had chosen and hooked up the 240, so already our shell was beginning to look more recognisable. All we had to do now was to light this somewhat restricting space convincingly…

Nice seats … now where are the models ?

Kate, Barry and Kevin from AMA arrived around 11 o’clock, by which time we had rigged the remaining lights, checked all our levels and finally managed to stop the rain from coming in horizontally through the cabin door ! Our aircraft was now warm and cosy – at least I tried to prove this by working in a T-shirt for five minutes – before finally agreeing with everyone that this would have been more pleasant in the summer – and putting my sweatshirt back on !

Before the babies arrived we shot a series of detail pictures illustrating the storage and assembly of the seat . .

The children arrived bang on time at 1 o’clock and (wary as ever about the old adage of working with children and animals) we planned to get the next stage of the shoot done before either of them got to bored or too grizzly. Our two month-old was first up and he sat contentedly throughout. The smiles were doubtless attributed more to wind than my witty banter, but we achieved the desired results before he was whisked back down to his Mum for a feed !

Next up was our two year-old, who took a little more persuading to climb into the seat until Kate’s timely intervention with of a packet of crisps – which did the trick !

This little lad was rather more patient and with an i-Phone video playing just out of frame to keep him amused, we shot away happily achieving exactly what we’d set out to do.

Here are a couple of the final images to show just what can be obtained from a situation like this with careful planning. None of our final images have had any Photoshop work done on them other than level and colour balance corrections.  What you see is what we shot !


Special thanks go to Andrew Newell and his team at Leki Aviation. We couldn’t have done it without you !

Alan Mann Aviation

Leki Aviation

Board photos don’t have to be boring !

Last week I was commissioned to shoot the executive board of the ACS International Schools group for their Annual Review.  It’s a shot I’ve done for any years and we normally go for a safe and steady picture – not too conservative, but not off-the-wall. This years format gave me a letterbox shape to work within and after discussions with their publications manager we lined up a shot he was happy with and waited for the seven board members to turn up.  They arrived right on time, but to my surprise I was handed a photocopied  page from a management magazine and asked” Can we do something like that ? We want to look more modern and approachable “.  I agreed that it was certainly possible, but could we please do the “safe” shot first just in case !  No problem with that so we duly shot the “boring” version before moving on to attempt something new.  I switched to a longer lens, briefed them on their positioning and within five minutes we had the shots in the can. I leave you to judge which one they liked best !