I always find it amazing how much I'm still learning about photography when I've been snapping away for about ten years now. I feel like I've progressed hugely just in the last few months.
I think the main reason for this is due to my increased interest in photo editing. It's quite incredible how much an image can be transformed using tools such as Photoshop and Lightroom. I often find myself looking back over photos from a few months ago or perhaps even last year and opening them up in Photoshop to see how I can possibly work with them differently to produce a better image with the skills I now have.
See the example above. On the left is the image SOOC (straight out of the camera). For whatever reason, this shot had not grabbed my attention when going over the photos from Stockholm after the trip. I must have dismissed it as simply a snapshot. However, later, when looking over the photos once more it stood out to me and I saw how I could transform the shot into something more interesting and atmospheric. I find the more I go over my images, the more I learn to analyse how light behaves and what I need to look for next time I'm in a similar setting with my camera.
This shoot with Ruby was my favourite I've done for quite a while. I knew Ruby wanted to see the shots as we were going along but I wanted her to see them finished because I knew how much I'd be able to work with them. After the shoot, I grabbed some dinner and then went to see Dr Strange (awesome film) and almost the whole time I was thinking how I couldn't wait to get home so I could start editing the photos. I'm actually quite amazed myself just how much detail can be recovered using Photoshop. When I was doing this shoot, I had an idea in my head of how I wanted the images to look and I'm so happy that I was able to achieve that through editing. I know a lot of people don't agree with editing images but for me it is absolutely all part of the creative process and I just view it as a way to get the most out of an image. It's an art form in itself.
Even editing these shots taught me how I can improve next time. Examining an image in such detail really teaches you how to frame better and how to use the light and what you need to be looking for.
If you're interested in how I edit my images, please get in touch and I'll happily go into more detail in another post.
Lately, I've been asking myself, "who am I as a photographer? What am I trying to communicate and how am I different? Who are my dream clients?". It's a funny thing - I took up photography as a hobby about ten years ago and I'm still finding these difficult questions to answer. These questions have got me thinking about where I want to be as a photographer and that has been extremely motivating. It's very daunting, of course, but motivating nonetheless.
I think that when you are pursuing your dream career it's really important to continually ask yourself where you're heading. The more conversations you have with yourself about it, the more your dream evolves and the more specific it becomes. It begins as a vague idea and then you study and you grow and it all starts to come together as something that can really happen. When I launched Tinska just over a year ago (happy anniversary, me!) I of course had my business plan and the idea that I wanted it to be something different but I didn't know what exactly. I wanted it to be something bigger than myself which is part of the reason I didn't use my own name. Now, as I'm learning and meeting all sorts of creatives, I have a clearer vision.
Right now as a photographer, I aim to create images that are cinematic, atmospheric and moody but in a subtle way. I aim to capture moments that appear dreamy yet real at the same time. I aim to express emotion through imagery.
I look for a story. I try to see what my subject is telling me, whether that is a person or a place. I ask myself - what is the narrative here and how can I best show that?
I've thought for a long time that if one day I am commissioned by National Geographic for a project, I can die happy. It's a magazine that has inspired me to discover as much about our planet as I can. The incredible stories and photographs I've seen over the years of foreign lands and cultures have sparked a fire in my mind and an itch to explore. At the moment, I'm looking at expanding my portfolio to cover more travel/outdoor adventure photography so I'm currently searching for companies to cover my expenses so I can go out and cover their tours. I'm also thinking of all my adventurous friends who do crazy things like caving and white water rafting in hope I can shadow them, too. Really, I'm looking at any way to build up my portfolio in that area. It's a type of photography I really enjoy, amongst others of course. I'm finding it difficult to specify as there are so many styles I'm interested in and so many things I want to create.
Another area of my portfolio I'm growing at the moment is fashion photography. I've managed to make a wonderful new connection at a modelling agency in Manchester and I have what seems to be a dozen shoots coming up. I've been so excited about coming up with new concepts that I'm finding it difficult to focus on the other less interesting things I need to do such as book-keeping…
If anyone has any connections in the travel industry, please give me a shout and I'll throw in a little discount for you on anything you book :-)
Don't forget: gift vouchers are available for Christmas.
I really thought I'd never see the day when I would willingly place myself in front of a camera and allow someone to take my photo. This week, not only did I volunteer to be a model but I also dressed up and then posed in front of a smoke machine and neon lights while approximately seven people took photos of me all at the same time. The strangest part of this is that I actually enjoyed it. It felt natural. I managed to avoid the deer-in-the-headlights look I usually adopt when a camera is pointed my way and I felt myself moving fluidly and comfortably from one pose to another. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I'm considering doing more of it. I suppose it reminds me of when I used to act on stage. For a few moments, I can slip into the mindset of somebody else and channel a character very different to my own. It's like a light-hearted form of escapism. I'm quite interested to see where I can go with this now and what's more, being on the other side of the camera will give me a great insight into how to direct models when I'm back on the shooting side of it.
Thank you very much to the photographers at Haslingden Photography Club for these brilliant photos. I'm pretty excited to work with you guys further.
It's been a while and I have been pretty busy! Things have sort of taken off recently and I am really grateful for it. I'm in a position where I can spend much more of my time working on creative projects and I'm surrounded by amazing people I get to work with so I really can't complain. I'm extremely excited for an upcoming project I have and I don't want to give too much away but it's got a Manchester focus and I'm collaborating with an incredible artist. I've spent a lot of time lately location scouting for this series of shoots and I'll share a couple of images here to give you all an idea of the sort of themes you'll be seeing...
So, recognisable as Manchester but with that grimy urban feel we all know and love. Hoping to start shooting within the next month so you should see some new stuff from me very soon.
In other news, I currently have some work up at Rise on Deansgate in Manchester. Here's a goofy picture of me standing with my prints:
They are still up for the time-being and I'm going to be having another collection of my images available to buy at Central Working, and we'll be having an event showcasing that too. It's all pretty exciting and I'm really looking forward to what's next : )
On that particular day where I got to be on the other side of the camera (I was even filmed for an interview which was broadcast on That's Manchester) I got to meet the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Carl Austin-Behan, who was super lovely and gave a great speech to the young entrepreneurs at the MyBiz event.
I think that's about all my news for now anyway and I'll update soon with some new work!
For those curious, this is my gear! All the stuff I need for a big job and all fits in my bag. So from left to right and top to bottom we have a ND filter kit, a spare SD card, notebook and my cool camera pen from Fotografiska, lens pen and cloth, spare battery, battery charger, lens hoods, Nikon D7000 backup body, lens rest for my telephoto, business cards, Nikon SB600 speedlight, my main man D810, my nifty fifty, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II and finally my manfrotto tripod which has been by my side for a number of years now. As you may have noticed, I love Nikon...
Oh and of course I can't forget my Macbook Pro, that's usually hanging out with me as well for checking out my images as I'm on-location.
I find it hard to believe how quickly the past two months have gone. There have been some big changes in my life. I moved home and now I get to see the sun rise over the horizon like this morning...(excuse the phone pics)
I mean, c'mon, look at that...that is ridiculous. I feel so fortunate to live in such a beautiful place. A five minute walk with my dog this morning led to this incredible view...
Luka loves it because he gets to do his psycho running face whilst his back legs go past his ears. I think for where I am right now with my new business and with everything I've experienced in the last year, this place is pretty perfect for me and it's actually where I grew up. I'm close enough to Manchester that I can travel in without too much hassle and I'm far enough away that I have the entire countryside right on my doorstep.
Not many people are aware of this but a few years ago I began writing a novel. The idea was never completed and I found myself thinking of the characters often as though they were real people and over time, the story developed in my head. I realised that the reason why I was never able to fully translate the images, sounds and feelings from my mind to the page was because I was putting them down in the wrong format. It should have been obvious to me really. I've always been so fascinated by film and by creating a scene, I should have known that words would never truly accomplish what I wanted them to. I'm a very visual person, as you may have guessed by the fact I've gone into the career of photography.
So, the reason why this is coming up now is because all these years I've been thinking about these characters and this world, I've been getting vague glimpses of this place. I've thought before about creating a visual side to this story but my circumstances have never been right. The house, the area, the vibe, the people...none of it matched this imagined place. Now, I'm really glad I waited. Looking out of my window, I know this is the right place. This is exactly what I wanted and what I needed to create this photo series. It's an ambitious idea and I don't yet know how exactly I'll achieve it but I know I'm heading in the right direction. The funniest thing about it that I never really expected is that I've actually had to come back home to see it.
I recently visited Stockholm. It is such an incredible city filled with very impressive architecture. One of the things that really struck me was how many beautiful and unique doors there were. The effort that had gone into the design of these doors contributed to the atmosphere of the city. Everything I saw was of such a high quality with obvious thought having gone into the design. I was given a lot of fantastic photo opportunities whilst exploring Stockholm and I have plenty more to show you all.
Working with Yan Tan Tethera, what an absolute JOY!
Stepping into the Cabin of Curiosity was like walking right on to a movie set. The cabin was full of so many interesting little artefacts, it was quite overwhelming. Professor Jigget stepped into the cosy cabin and sat in his armchair by the fire in a very impressive tailored jacket. It sort of felt as though I'd actually stepped back in time and was photographing a Victorian professor in his hideaway. He nonchalantly discussed with me goblins and dragon's blood and other such things throughout the shoot, as though these were perfectly ordinary things to talk about, which I found very refreshing.
The cabin was quite small for the two of us really and I was frequently crouched in a tiny space between the studio lights and the Professor's desk, trying my hardest to get the shot I wanted whilst not knocking anything over in the process. I often find that times like that are the ones where I capture my favourite moments. It's good to be challenged! Sometimes folding yourself up and bending over backwards to get the frame just right (something that must look totally ridiculous to any bystander) is not just necessary but invigorating. I think like a lot of photographers, I sometimes get stuck in the same posture when it comes to taking shots. Standing upright, camera to my eye, shooting in landscape. Something as simple as turning the camera around to portrait, or even lying right down on the ground can make all the difference.
I keep thinking lately how amazing it is that years on, I'm still learning so much about photography every time I pick up my camera. I love that feeling I get when everything lines up just right - the lighting, the subject, the focus, the mood - and in my mind I'm going eeeeeeee as I press the shutter button and I can't wait to see it on a bigger screen. It's that feeling that keeps me so in love with photography and always wanting to improve upon my skill.
One thing I love about working in photography is the range of jobs I get and the people that I meet. For example, last week I worked at a corporate event for NHS England, snapping photos of smartly dressed men and women passionately discussing the country's healthcare. Tomorrow, I'll be working with Professor Jiggett of Yan Tan Tethera creating portraits in a cabin.
Meeting people from all walks of life is really interesting to me and a great learning experience. As a photographer - a spectator, really - I observe and document the lives of others. I get to see how people are contributing to society in different ways and the various strengths and weaknesses they have, and well, I guess what makes people people.
Anyway, I've got off track a little. Last week I worked a corporate event for the NHS which I'm hoping will be the first of many. The event went very smoothly, aside from some initial difficulty with harsh lighting (very bright spotlights in some places and very dark in others) and everyone was a great sport. I was thinking it must be pretty strange being at a corporate event and having a photographer tiptoeing around and I did get a few shy glances every now and then but even so, everyone was really polite. Looking forward to the next one.
Tomorrow, I shall be working with Yan Tan Tethera! More to come soon.
I'm the founder of Tinska and aside from photography, I spend my time practicing yoga, reading anything from Beat poetry to Science Fiction and running around after a cheeky puppy.