Monday, 11 March 2013

Lawson Champion Tour, 02 Academy, Bristol, 5th March 2013

 On Tuesday 5th March 2013 I was given the amazing opportunity to photograph Lawson during their Champion Square Tour at the 02 Academy in Bristol along with two supporting acts, Mike Dignam and ROOM 94.

I have been very fortunate to photograph in a variety of press pits before, some outside such as The Big Chill, and some inside such as Pilton Party, so I had a good understanding of which camera settings I wanted to use beforehand, however that always changes when you get to a venue. It was all very exciting for me.

I arrived at the venue just before 7.30pm, just in time for the first act, Mike Dignam. Mike Dignam is made up of five members; Mike Dignam himself, a 23 year old singer/songwriter from Preston, Roo Walker a guitarist, Sam Hocking a mix engineer, Sam Lord a bass player and Charlie Keeny on drums. Altogether the different members of the band have worked with a variety of A-List musicians such as Janet Devlin and McFly.
Mike Dignam.

The video on the left was made by Mike Dignam's videographer/photographer. The name of this gentleman is unknown as I did not have enough time to ask, but if I did, then credit would be given where credit is due. If you watch the video all the way through, you will see me numerous times in the stage pit. The video on the right is a Mike Dignam cover of a song written by Ella Henderson 2012.


To view more information about Mike Dignam, see their website: Mike Dignam.

Four membered band, Room 94 from London, of which three are brothers, were the following act to appear on stage. Kieran Lemon, lead vocals and guitar, Dean Lemon, backing vocals and drums, Sean Lemon, backing vocals and guitar who are joined by mutual friend Kit Tanton on bass.

During ROOM 94's performance, I kept seeing their sneaky photographer popping up in different places on the stage. I can't begin to imagine how difficult it was to move amongst the bands equipment.

These two left images are of Kieran Lemon, ROOM 94's lead singer. He was incredibly active, so I had to be able to think on my feet in order to make the right photograph of him. Kieran didn't make it easy, but I enjoyed the challenge. I have never known a lead singer to play with their hair so much! He was playing with his hair in the majority of the images that I made of him.

The video on the right is a new single from ROOM 94 called 'Chasing The Summer' that will be released shortly. The video is not the official video. Have a listen. ROOM 94 do not currently have a website, but they are on Twitter: ROOM 94. By the looks of it they have a lot of exciting things planned for the next few months, and they are currently on tour with Lawson, so I would definitely keep an eye out for them in the future.

LAWSON. The moment I was waiting for had arrived, the London based band Lawson were about to walk onto the stage. It was all very exciting as I could feel the adrenaline running through me. Lawson is made up of four members; Andy Brown, lead vocals, Ryan Fletcher, bass guitar and backing vocals, Joel Peat, lead guitar and backing vocals and Adam Pitts on drums. They played a variety of their best songs including 'Standing In The Dark', 'Taking Over Me', 'Learn To Love Again' and 'Die For You'. It was all very exciting. For the majority of the time that I was shooting, the band were stationery so without knowing, they made it so much easier for me to make photographs.

Here are some atmospheric images. The left image is Lawson's song list, and the right image is a sign that says "crowd surfing and throwing objects will get you thrown out".

The image on the left was taken by ROOM 94, and the image on the right was taken by Lawson. I didn't realise quite how busy and packed the venue was! If you look carefully at the image on the right you will be able to see me in the press pit.

Overall I am really happy that I was allowed the opportunity to photograph in the 02 Academy, so thank you to Aaron Buckingham and Mikey Jirku (Lawson PR) for making this possible. I'm very pleased with some of the images. What do you think? Have you ever been to a Lawson gig before?

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Focus On Imaging 2013

I have been very busy lately, so I apologise for not blogging in a while. A lot of exciting things are happening soon.

In the past few months I have seen a lot of advertising for Focus On Imaging, the amazing photography convention that allows picture making lovers the opportunity to view a variety of seminars, try out different lenses, and meet other photographers along with much much more. So on Monday 4th March 2013, my mother kindly drove us on the 280 mile round trip to the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham where the convention was taking place.

We arrived at around 10.00am after leaving Somerset at just after 07.30am. It was a long long road trip, but it was definitely worth it in the end. The first exhibitor I wanted to visit was Canon, and lucky for me, it was right in front of the entrance to the convention. Canon had one of the biggest stands at the convention, with their space being split into two. On one side, they had their smaller cameras and lenses on display with a variety of other accessories including battery grips, but on the other side, my favourite side, the public were given the opportunity to test out the more professional lenses including the 70mm-200mm F2.8, and my dream lens the 400mm F2.8. This is a lens that I am saving up for and I am pretty determined to own one day. It is an absolutely beautiful lens, and I was lucky enough to test it on my 7D body.

After I had finished being overwhelmed by the beauty of these professional lenses, my mum and I made our way to our first of many seminars. Marc Aspland - 'The Art Of Sports Photography' on the Canon stand. I was dying to see this seminar, and it was definitely first on my 'to see' list. Marc Aspland is The Times chief sports photographer, and has been for a number of years, more than 17! Listening to his passion for photography was second to none, and I couldn't put a price on the knowledge and wisdom that I learnt during this seminar, the way he described his photographs, but also let them speak for themselves, it was overwhelming. He showed us a showcase reel of his best photographs from a variety of years and events, one of my favourite images of his that he showed was one from the Olympics this year. You can view my favourite image here: The Times, Marc Aspland, Olympics Pictures. He described the way that he made this image, and its story. For more photographs of Marc Aspland's, please visit: Marc Aspland. I would definitely recommend anyone vaguely interested in photography to view his website, and I'm pretty sure that he would answer any questions that you may have, depending on his time schedule too!

We also viewed two other seminars, Christian Hough - 'Expanding Your Lighting: Softboxes and umbrellas can only do so much, lets get creative' on the Bowens stand and Karl Taylor - 'The Secrets Of Product Photography'. Christian Hough showed us how a variety of different studio lights and accessories can be used in portraiture photography such as a 15° Snoot with a honeycomb fitted, and a Fresnel 200. I found it very interesting to look at the way that he set up his Bowen lights as he only used two to three lights at any one time including a main light, a hair light, and an additional light that was focused primarily on the background. Each light had a different effect on the final image that was made, and I enjoyed seeing the different steps that was taken in order to achieve it. It was such a simple set up,  and one that could be achieved on numerous occasions. Check out Christian's website if you have a bit of time, or if you are interested in studio photography with a twist: Christian Hough.

Karl Taylor showed us a completely different use for studio lighting. He showed us how to take product photography to the next level using a variety of everyday items including tracing paper, and silver metal from B&Q. In his display, he also used two or three studio lights, and orange acetate paper as he was photographing a bottle of Scotch. I don't want to explain his secrets to you, as that's what they are, but he was one of the many photographers that achieved the 'wow factor' with the images that he was producing. I was shocked many times during his seminar as he was using everyday items that I admittedly would never have even thought of using before, to achieve his final photograph including a piece of gold paper that was cut out to the size of the bottle. It was the use of simple things that made me think that you do not need expensive photography equipment to achieve a brilliant image. I would definitely recommend checking out his website: Karl Taylor. He makes everything seem incredibly easy to achieve.

There was also a variety of additional things to see, and stalls to look around including: The Royal Photographic Society, Calumet, The Flash Centre, Fujifilm, Manfrotto and Sigma Imaging to name just a few. There wasn't enough time in the day to look at every stall, but we tried our best.

During the day I accumulated many photography magazines thanks to my mum including the latest editions of: Amateur Photography, What Digital Camera, Professional Photographer, and The Photographer's Guide To Turning Pro. I was also lucky enough to be bought a rain cover for my camera body and lens, an LCD screen protector, and a battery grip. Very happy. I will hopefully be returning next year. If you are vaguely interested in photography, or want to know more about picture making, I would definitely recommending visiting this exhibition next year. You can learn so much, and gain so many contacts. It's brilliant. Did you go this year ?

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Exciting News!

I feel that these two images reflect today...

I received the best news ever! You know that feeling when you get butterflies, and everything feels like it is coming together for the time being? That is the feeling that I received. Excited. Nervous. Ecstatic. I wasn't quite expecting it, I was so excited, yet in shock at the same time. It is all very exciting, the best thing that has happened to me in quite some time, but I can't tell anyone anything yet as everything is still yet to be confirmed. However, I can tell you that March is going to be an INCREDIBLE month for me, it is going to involve a lot of travelling back and forth from different places during the month, and then my brother turns the big 21 at the end of it. Celebrations all round.

Watch this space...

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Mickey Mouse's Valentine Outcome

I am really pleased with the outcomes of this shoot, each theme is very different to the next. The Valentine's theme worked incredibly well, mainly because of the little accessories that my Mum made, thank you. I loved experimenting with each theme, especially Mickey Mouse as face paint is something that is rarely seen in images.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Mickey Mouse's Valentine

My shoot on Wednesday went fantastically well despite it being an incredibly long day. I'm so happy that it all came together as I had spent a lot of time preparing for it! 

I was really excited about the shoot. Working with fantastic people and being creative again. Woohoo. During the preparation for the shoot I used different internet search engines and magazines to look for inspiration on my two themes including a copy of the Digital SLR Photography magazine from 2006 which my boyfriend kindly bought me from the "book barn" a few weeks ago, where everything was £1.00! On Sunday I uploaded some of the best photographs that I found using Google that I believe were the most relevant to my themes: Preparation for Wednesday's Shoot.


Sophie wanted to do the Valentine's Day theme as the 14th was the day after. With this theme Jody included different shades of red and pink as they are the colours associated with love, but she also included some silver above Sophie's eyes to emphasise them. From doing my research I knew what sort of images I wanted to produce so I decided that I wanted her hair down in order to produce a 'fan' effect with her hair. With some photographs I knew that I wanted little flowers stuck into Sophie's hair, so my Madre (Mum) had sown some little rose buds onto hair grips to make them easier to stick in, otherwise they would have fallen out. These were so easy to use in photographs and it is proof that sometimes the little things are the most important. We also used a variety of other accessories including candy love hearts sweets to form a necklace, little gems, and big hair flowers that my Madre produced. I enjoyed using the candy love hearts to form a necklace as it was something very different, thank you Jody for suggesting the idea. It worked very well, so I'm glad that I didn't eat them all.

Not only was I behind the camera during the photo shoot, but I was in front as well! I'm so used to being behind the camera that it was ever so strange to be in front of it, but I tried to give it a go. I liked so many make up ideas that I had seen during my research that I asked Jody to try and reproduce a specific photograph using different coloured gems, a bit of mascara and lipgloss, so nothing too drastic. I enjoyed including the heart shaped balloons in my photographs as they were fun and interesting.


I think Jorden was excited to try out the Mickey Mouse face paint theme as it is not something that is usually seen in photo shoots. During my research I had found a similar photograph that I wanted to try and replicate. Harriet is very clever as I have worked with her before so I knew that she would be very precise about getting it right. First she drew the outline on the face, then filled in the blacks and whites - it took her over an hour to produce! The photographs that we were making involved a lot of contrast because of Jorden's outfit, the colour of her hair, and the face paint so Alex came up with the idea of throwing a balloon into the image to add a bit of colour. As it was nearing Valentine's we decided to use the heart shaped balloons. I think it worked really well, but what do you think?


Alex even had a go at being in front of the camera! She had been so helpful during the shoot that I wanted her to have her make up done and have a go at being a model. Harriet included different shades of purple and green for this look calling it a "mermaid look" as when Alex's eyes were open the eyeshadow looked purple, but when they were closed, it looked green, it was very clever. I think that this make up suited Alex.

Some 'behind the scenes' images...

From top left to bottom right photo credit: Alex Compton, Alex Compton, Jody Amner, Alex Compton.

Thank you to everyone involved in making this shoot a success; Alex for helping me with the lighting, Harriet and Jody for creating such great make up, and Sophie and Jorden for modelling. If anyone is looking for great make up artists then I would definitely recommend Harriet and Jody, they work well individually, but also as a team.

I think all of these images and themes work really well on each model, but what do you think? Do you agree? 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

The Swan Hotel, Wells

Due to the recent weather conditions I was only able to make photographs on Saturday evening in The Swan Hotel, Wells, Somerset due to the other events being cancelled or postponed.

I have previously visited the hotel back in January 2013 when I was working towards one of my university projects entitled 'people at work'. These are some of the better photographs from that visit...

I arrived at 7.30pm to a very busy and hot kitchen as the first tables had just sat down for dinner, so their starters were already being prepared and cooked. "Service" was being yelled every few minutes and I had to work around the six people that were working; Head Chef Leigh, Chef Luigi, Chef Jake, two waitresses and a kitchen porter. On my previous visit  I had only photographed Chef Luigi and Chef Lilly. It is always challenging to work in a busy restricted kitchen, but as a photographer you have to be able to think fast on your feet, and keep an eye on what activities are happening around you.

There were two menus available for the guests to choose from that evening. A dinner menu specific for the 9th February, or an a la carte menu, so I frequently saw two of my favourite dishes, Hecks cider steamed River Teigh mussels, and overnight bread from the a la carte menu and whole lemon sole, parsley butter from the special menu being made and sent out to the guests.

I love being able to watch food being prepared and made, especially when the chefs take as much care as they do at The Swan. All three chefs Leigh, Luigi and Jake have a very careful hand when it comes to decorating and displaying the food that is on the plate. When I spoke to Jake about the decoration of the food in the right hand photograph, he made it sound so casual. The presentation is second nature to him. I thought that I would share some of my favourite images that I made last night with you...

Food in right image: Braised beef wellington, mixed peppercorn cream from the dinner menu for Saturday 9th February 2013.
Food in left image: Red onion tart tartin, quantock blue custard from the a la carte menu.

If you haven't visited The Swan Hotel then I would definitely recommend it. You can find some more information here: Everyone at the hotel is very warm and welcoming, and you can tell that a lot of care and attention goes into the little details. A warm welcome awaits you.

Thank you to Emma Wheatley for organising my visit, and for Chef Leigh, Luigi and Jake for letting me make photographs in the kitchen once more.

Preparation For Wednesday's Photo Shoot...

This coming Wednesday, 10th February, Alex and I will once against be collaborating with Harriet: and Jody Amner, a South Wales based make up artist: on another creative photo shoot.

I have decided on two themes for the photo shoot, Valentine's Day as it is the day after, and body painting. I like the idea of body painting as it can be very striking in an image and there are many different forms of it. I have done a lot of research in preparation for the shoot and I thought that I would show you some of my favourite images...


The photographer/make up artists of these images are unknown.

My favourite image has to be the Mickey Mouse face painting as I have never seen an image like that before. For this theme I plan on using black and white throughout in order to keep the consistency as using colour would form a distraction. For the other theme I am hoping to use different shades of reds and pinks throughout with different forms of accessories such as heart shaped balloons, flowers, and love heart sweets. Thank you to my mother for helping me with everything.

Look out for my blog post on Thursday for the final results.