Category Archives: photography

Love the Autumn – Do Photography!

sunbeams in an autumn forest Trevor Aston PhotographySummer has holidays, winter has Christmas. Autumn, sandwiched in between has nothing but colour.  But, oh! What colour

moss and ivy-covered cottage in autumn Trevor Aston PhotographyAutumn’s the best. Yes, photography in spring is beautiful when everything bursting into life. Winter is wonderful in its sharpness and starkness. And of course, long, sultry, summer days are magnificent. But Autumn? Autumn is golden, it’s crunchy underfoot and smells of sweet wood smoke and musty damp leaves, it’s the sensual season. We should love autumn.

Autumn should be walked in, listened to, breathed and touched. Autumn is definitely a time for photography. In fact, producing half a dozen good pictures of rich, autumn colours should be compulsory for anyone with a camera.

The colours are fantastic – the oranges, reds, yellows and browns. All made more spectacular by the light from the sun shining low in the sky, streaming through the trees, punching out the colour. Unless, in the dark of the night, the chilling mist has risen to shroud the landscape in mystery.

Bloated spiders spin colossal webs, strung with tiny lenses made from morning dew, focusing sunbeams into lines of fairy lights. While birds come back to the gardens searching for treats to fatten them up for winter, squirrels scamper through branches and flower beds burying family-packs of conkers and acorns.

The camera might almost have been invented for autumn – a tool for saving splendours to savour in the grey of winter.

bench in Bushy Park Teddington Trevor Aston photography

Stag in Bushy Park Teddington Trevor Aston Photography

The Lords of London’s Bushy Park, the growling grouches, noses in the air, nostrils twitching, sniffing for rivals, strutting stags watching over their herd.



Six beautiful words to describe autumn

Can you identify these autumn leaves?

Find your nearest National Trust property to enjoy autumn colours

10 mindful walks to enjoy in the autumn


Wow! Canada!

No one really wants to see someone else’s travel (holiday) photography, in which case, click away from this post now!

Vancouver skyline Trevor Aston Photography

Reaching an age milestone (I won’t see 39 again) we decided to take a family trip to Canada. We had high hopes for the trip, and weren’t disappointed.

We loved Canada, the word ‘awesome’ should be reserved for describing it. Not just the incredible landscape, but the wonderful people of Canada, so friendly and welcome. We were never left to doubt our welcome!

We travelled with Canadian Affair

We loved riding at the Montana Hill Guest Ranch

The Eagle’s Nest at Spences Bridges, BC was an amazing place to stay

Please don’t leave your holiday pictures languishing on the memory card, share them!


Green is the Colour that Should Always be Seen

conifer forest

Who doesn’t love the colour green? It’s a bringer of hope when the first shoots pop up from germinating seeds. It’s diverse in the seemingly endless variety of shade and tone in the tree canopies, the garden borders, the verges and the hedgerows. It’s fruitful and fertile – even if it’s the lawn needing mowing yet again. Green appetises on the plate in summer salads and winter leaves. A green light sets you free, a green wall calms your soul. It’s beloved of the eco-warrior, it’s my favourite, and it’s the colour that every other hue wants to be. Yes, they are green with envy.

I wondered who decided red in the colour of danger?

I do like colour in photographs

Jennifer Bourn reflects on the meaning of ‘green’

For the Love of Ice Cream

Lazy afternoons in the sunshine, running through the surf with the children, long, long days, no need for jumpers or jackets.

How we love all the things of summer. Whip them up with sugar and vanilla and you get the best thing of all – ice cream! 

Woman in ice cream parlour serving an ice cream cone Trevor Aston Photography
"Ice cream Makes Your Sadness Go Away"
photograph of a boy with ice cream cone sticking out of his mouth -Trevor Aston Photography
"Don't let your ice cream melt while you're counting someone's sprinkles"
"I followed my heart and it led me to the freezer'
teenager with ice cream candid portrait Trevor Aston Photography
"Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy ice cream"
Woman with 2 cartons of Oppo non-dairy ice cream Trevor Aston Photography
"My head says go the gym, my heart says ice more ice cream"
photograph of a young boy with gap teeth eating an ice cream -Trevor Aston Photography
"Tomorrow we eat broccoli, but today is for ice cream"
girl licking ice cream in a cone - Trevor Aston Photography
"Thinking of you is like remembering there's ice cream in the freezer"
man serving ice cream cone from an ice cream van Trevor Aston Photography

Who Decided Red Means Danger? Reflections on the Colour Red

If red colour was a dog, it would be a barking Alsatian. Red is the colour that people go both when they’re angry and when they’re in the throes of passion. It’s the colour of the boy racer’s throaty sports-car and the warning colour of the poisonous berry. ‘Roses are red’, so are shiny apples and plump tomatoes. But if noses are red, then the photographer needs Adobe Photoshop and the subject needs AA. Unless it’s Rudolf the Reindeer. Red is the colour of the sky at night that gives shepherds delight, but it spells danger if put in a light.

Red is a shouty colour, it makes its presence felt, you know it’s there. Eyes will snap to the red thing in a photograph like a compass needle finds north. Which is great if the red thing is also the subject of the picture, but a hopeless distraction if it’s not.

“Red protects itself. No colour is as territorial. It stakes a claim, is on the alert against the spectrum.” (Derek Jarman)

“A thimbleful of red is redder than a bucketful.” (Henri Matisse)

“Nothing attracts attention like a red dress.” (Laura Bush)

photographs containing the colour red

“Put on your red shoes, and dance the blues.” (David Bowie)




Colours can make a photograph

Photographer and writer Tony Northrup explains colour science. (Really well) (I understood it)

Jacob Oleson writes on the meaning of red.


Journalism Awards Ceremony – Photography for the Medical Journalists Association

some of the trophies for the Medical Journalist awards event in Lonodn

Being lauded by your peers is a wonderful thing, (I’d imagine) but nerve-wracking to go up on stage in front of them to receive the award. The Medical Journalists Association invites entries for 18 categories of awards to be judged by figures from journalism, medicine and pharmaceutical worlds. The awards event was at the Barber-Surgeons Hall near The Barbican  

Venues for Events in London

Event Photography – Awards, Conferences, PR, Exhibitions

 

Colours Can Make a Photograph

Colours – bright, vibrant, striking, resonating or complimentary, blending, gentle and pastel. Colours often provide the urge to pick up the camera and take a picture. Something in the photographer’s brain is forever on the lookout for that chance arrangement colour, texture and form that strikes a chord and tells us there’s a picture to be taken.

Sometimes I envy the painter because they can choose where to put colours, and what they’ll do in the picture. The way colour is rendered on the painter’s canvas can affect how the composition is perceived, bluer tones can help depict depth or distance, warmer colours might help objects to stand out. Colour helps the artist set a mood or atmosphere and manipulate emotion. The artist might choose to use colour naturalistically; grass is green, sky is blue. Or they may not, Henri Matisse said: “When I put down green it doesn’t mean grass, and when I put down blue it doesn’t mean sky.” The photographer looks at a scene, and at the moment they press the button, the colour they see is the colour they get in the photograph. (Ok, cameras differ and there’s a whole bunch of settings that can change the colours)

It is perfectly possible to train the eye, or rather the eye and the brain to look for elements in a scene that will make a photograph better. Here are a few…..

 

Photograph of an office block and orange lampposts. photography photographer

Rhythmic, or repeated colours
the repeating orange of the receding lampposts stand out, but the blue/grey in the building has rhythm

 

Photograph of waving child in daffodils. photography photographer

Dominant Colour
yellow is dominant to my eye, others might say that red will always dominate
 

abstract photograph orange tree against a painted wall. photography photographer

Economy of Colour
fewer colours can add strength to an image
 

T

The Campo Sienna photograph photographer photography

Complimentary Colours
The dark red and the yellow somehow enhance each other
 

Photograph showing clashing colours

Clashing Colours
A collection of colours that give the picture life and vigour

 

Photograph of a painting on the Berlin Wall. photography photographer

Colour is the picture.
Is the subject of the picture the cyclist or the painting?
(Eastside Gallery, Berlin. One of 105 paintings by artists from around the world on the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall)

Digital manipulation makes it very easy to change the colours in a photograph, and very tempting. (Save us from any more purple skies) There are many reasons why a photographer might want to alter colours, but the reason should come before the ‘doing’. Adjusting tone and hue, brightness and contrast can enhance a picture, but it can’t turn a pig’s ear into a silk purse. It really is possible to post a picture on Instagram without using filters. However, the colour can be distracting. In this picture, I felt the red barrel and the yellow signs were too dominant….

 

Don’t make all your pictures black and white for the sake of it – colour is good! But there are occasions when the colour is so insipid it contributes nothing, even weakens the picture, like here…

photograph of swans. photography photographer

A winter scene, in winter light. The weak colour adds nothing to the picture

photograph of swans. photographer photography

Taking out the colour has made the swan’s posture stronger, and the image has a rhythm; black-white-black

Using the Same Stock Pictures as Other Websites

Stock pictures of beautiful people sitting around a table smiling, beautiful people standing around a water cooler laughing, a beautiful person, usually female wearing a telephone headset, smiling. Web picture cliches we all recognise. They’re boring, and an opportunity wasted – a better chosen image could say so much more about the business. But look at these examples below, it’s actually the same stock picture on different websites. It’s not likely that anyone will spot these because the businesses are quite different. But Google will. The web search behemoth encourages original content, so using an unoriginal picture might count against your page ranking. At the very least using the same stock picture as other websites is a form of plagiarism which can’t be disguised.
Not every budget can stretch to bespoke photography, so the use of stock pictures is only going to increase. Designers shouldn’t pick the first suitable image they find, and some reverse image searches are a good idea, to see where else they appear.

I have some stock pictures on Alamy.com, and when I get around to it, there’ll be more. It’s just really boring searching for them, quality checking, uploading and key-wording. Ok, I’m a bit lazy.

 



My post on taking website pictures seriously.

Here are some more posts about using stock pictures on websites…

Why You Should Never Use Stock Photography

Pros and Cons of Stock Photography

Create Authentic Images


Practice Photography and Take Better Photos

practicing photography skills with Handmade WorkshopsPractice photography with me and Handmade Workshops at The Railway in Teddington.

We’re aiming to get more people taking better pictures, and it’s amazing how much you can learn in 3 hours. It’s intended for enthusiastic mobile phone camera users who want to move on to using a real camera. We cover the basics of what looks good in a picture, and how to get the camera to give us the picture we want! This is our ‘syllabus‘.

Best of all – we get cake! Plus tea or coffee and some time in lovely Bushy Park practicing photography.

Book here. 

Take Better Photos!

 

What’s so great about leading lines?

Edvard Munch, The Scream. Lithograph, 1895. CC BY 4 The Munch Museum.

Leading lines capture the gaze of the viewer and then lead them by the hand into your picture. They might be ruts in a road, ripples in the sand or tracks under a train. Almost any line, hard or soft can set a trail for the eye to follow. The lines might be more like a ‘zone’ – a transition between land and water, dark and light or one colour to another. Leading lines are the easiest of compositional tools – they give a picture depth you dive into, or take you irresistibly to the subject of the picture just as surely as Holmes follows the clues to the culprit. If artists like Munch use leading lines, mere photographers should too!

Bent is Best

The best leading lines to my eye are those with a curve, sensuously meandering this way, then that, roaming through the picture, unhurried but always certain in its eventual destination destination.



A good background can completely transform a portrait, the leading lines can emphasise or frame the subject, it can catch or sometimes contrast with personality that shines from the eyes.

If you’d like a portrait photograph, get in touch. More portrait photographs.