Urban portraits and fabulous artworks

Sisters in bus stop- Urban portrait photography in Merseyside

I took this urban portrait of two sisters in Wallasey one November afternoon. I wanted something different to the usual close up portraits we had been shooting during the session and the bright yellow bus stop caught my eye. In colour it looked really garish but I knew that it would look stunning in black and white especially as the winter daylight was starting to fade.Read More

Tango!!

I love doing something a bit different. So when Jan’s friends decided to buy her a portrait session with me as a birthday present (I still think it’s novel being part of someone’s birthday present) we talked about what Jan would like to do. She told me about her passion for dance, and particularly Argentine tango. Although I have no sense of rhythm at all, I love watching tango and I love the music.

So we decided to capture Jan doing her favourite thing. Jan persuaded her dance partner Chris to come along and we went into Manchester on a cold November morning. A street location was important as I wanted to stay true to the origins of the dance, and a studio setting just wouldn’t work for me. Here’s a small selection from the day.

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An urban family portrait

Kate, my friend from English Regalia wanted a family portrait session with her daughters but wanted to do something a bit different. So we headed off to Castlefield in Manchester. Castlefield is a favourite location of mine as it provides such a rich variety of backdrops in a small area (and some cracking cafes and bars for a break).

A wonderful couple of hours spent wandering and making pictures together. That’s how a family portrait session should be. Here’s a small selection from the session.

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Jan & Graham's family portrait session

You know the saying ‘blink and you’ll miss it’. Well this session was a bit like that. It had taken Jan ages to get everyone organised but had to keep rearranging. At hte last minute we managed to get a date. Jan told the family they were going out for lunch but didnt tell them about the littl detour until they were on the way. A bit sneaky but it worked. We only had a short time, maybe 25 minutes tops for the session as everyone was starving and expecting a fabulous lunch! The location was Wallasey town hall and promenade. Working quickly, we did the family portrait, some quick shots of Jan and Graham and then I went looking for locations for Naomi & Shiobhan’s photos. Then I found a bus stop. The colours were horrific but I knew it would be perfect in black and white, and some stone doorways. What a fantastic location and a fast but fun session.

One of my favourites from 2012.

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Rob & Kerry's urban portrait shoot in Castlefield, Manchester

I love doing urban portrait sessions and they’re perfect for young people, and families with older children. Everyone who knows me and my style of photography knows how much I hate studio portraits and having to use flash or artificial lighting.

Rob and Kerry’s session was on a cold but bright March Sunday last year and we met in the coffee lounge in the Hilton Hotel for hot cappuccinos and then went for a wander around Castlefield. I never have a definite plan, just a basic idea of what I want to capture. The number one goal is to get my subjects completely relaxed in front of my camera and to trust me. As we wander, chatting and getting to know each other, we’ll see places which will make great backdrops for their photographs and I’ll show them exactly what I want them to do, so they don’t have to worry about posing.

For me, its really important not to use the same settings again and again, so when I go to castlefield we may start in the same place but I never take the same route and I avoid settings I’ve used before unless I can make them look completely different. We work quickly, shooting and moving to a new location to keep the energy levels up and to stop my clients getting bored or worrying about being photographed.

Urban portrait photography is a particular favourite of mine and we have quite a few new shoots planned over the summer and autumn. They’ll be featuring on my blog from time to time over the coming months. In the meantime, here are a few photographs from Rob and kerry’s shoot.

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Natalie & Paul’s pre-wedding shoot

A few weeks before Natalie and Paul’s wedding we all went to Nunsmere Hall in Cheshire, where they’d decided to have their wedding in July 2011. I knew Natalie didn’t really like being photographed and I wanted to make sure that we’d had a chance to have a practice session before the wedding as it would make so much difference to the wedding photographs.

I hadn’t photographed at Nunsmere before so it gave me chance to explore and find places to take a few statement images, and meet the wedding team at the hotel.

We had a fabulous couple of hours and tried a few ideas that we then used on the day. We also produced a Queensberry signature book for guests to sign on the day.

if you’d like to see the blog post about Natalie and Paul’s wedding, click here.

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Dom & Louise's pre-wedding shoot

At the beginning of April last year, a few weeks before Louise and Dom’s wedding we went to Slaidburn in North Lancashire for a morning out to get to know them better and to do a pre-wedding shoot. Pre-wedding portrait sessions are really important and a great way for a bride and groom to experience being photographed before their big day. In my experience, where we do a pre-wedding shoot we get better photographs at the wedding.

Here’s why. If the bride or groom are a bit camera shy, or simply hate being photographed the pre-wedding shoot gives them chance to practice being photographed. As well as giving the photographer a chance to see how the bride and groom will react in front of the camera, it also gives everyone time to get to know each other better in a really relaxed session and takes off a huge amount of pressure on the wedding day itself.

The pre-wedding shoot also gives us a selection of images to use. For framed signature boards, guest signature books, thank cards, bespoke wedding invitations, and even to open the wedding album itself, the images from the pre-wedding shoot gives us so many opportunities.

Here’s a selection of pictures from the day.

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Summer family portraits in Manchester

Early last summer Carol and Neil asked me to do a family portrait session for them. I met Carol and Neil when they’d asked me to do their silver wedding photography which is another story on my blog. I was introduced to them through Scott at Cheshire Building Contractors who’d told them about my wedding photography.

Carol and Neil live in Warrington but we went to Castlefield in Manchester for the shoot as it’s ideal for a teenage and grown up family. We created some fabulous family portraits in an edgy, urban setting.

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Jessica's prom dress

High school proms are amazing events, filled with so much joy and expectation. And the two big questions are what to wear and how to get there, everything else seems less important. The school prom is probably one of the first opportunities for young people to be celebrities for a night!

In the summer of 2010 I was asked to do a prom dress shoot for Jessica just before she set off for her high school prom. It was the first prom dress photography shoot that I’d done so I was really looking forward to it. We only had ten minutes to take the photographs. Jessica looked truly fantastic and her dress was amazing.

Here’s a small selection from the session.

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Beth and Beth (or Bib and Bambi)

I’m still not sure how we came to do this shoot. I met Beth and Beth through my friend Angie. Angie has the amazing Puure Bridal and Lingerie boutique on Eagle Brow in Lymm, Cheshire. I’d photographed Angie & Danny’s wedding the previous November and one of the Beths had modelled for Angie at a couple of bridal fayres locally. Anyway Angie and I had been chatting about prom dresses and she told me about Beth’s amazing prom dress and then we did a shoot for Beth and her friend Beth last summer.

We did the shoot one sunny afternoon and Jake, who did work experience with me, came to help me. We started in Angie’s back yard and the middle of Lymm village, which was really funny as we stopped the traffic quite few times, partly because some of the best shots were in the middle of the road under one of the canal bridges and partly because the drivers were interested to see what we were doing.

The last part of the shoot was done in a corn field on Cherry Lane. It was a great afternoon and here’s a small selection from the day.

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