Tag Archives: photography

What to do with a Camera in Winter

pedestrians and traffic in the snow

tall trees under a blue winter sky

explore the structure of trees

What to do with a camera in winter is the question many photographers seem to ask themselves. The autumn is irresistible to most photographers. With the passing of the rutting season in the Royal Parks of London, the herds of stag-shooting photographers have retired to the warmth of their computers. Which is a pity because photography in winter offers some great opportunities to have fun and be creative.
ice on a pond

The patterns in ice and the reflections of the trees can make some fantastic patterns

For instance, with each gust of wind and flurry of leaves the trees are getting ever more naked. Look up at the shapes of their bare limbs, who knows what inspiration you may get! Nature’s putting on her drab winter coat, but there’s so much texture and pattern in the bark, or in the fallen foliage in ponds and streams. The mist and fog is a cloak of mystery that can utterly change a landscape.
I love the frost, especially when the sun comes and everything sparkles. In a proper freeze ice throws incredible designs across standing water and creates amazing sculptures around running and tumbling water. For those who care to look, it’s all there in the parks.
Winter is also a great time to photograph the built environment. The sun never gets high in the sky so when it does come out it casts huge, dramatic shadows. The sun creeps into the nooks and crannies of our townscape that never see it in the summer, illuminating surface textures and the rich colours of stone and brickwork. After sunset man-made lightshows fill the streets with twinkling jewels, particularly around the shops at Christmas. The open-air markets make vibrant subjects with their steaming food stalls, colourful products and characterful faces. Even the traffic going home has a romantic appeal as the stoplights of braking vehicles string rubies along the road.

freezing water in a woodland brook

it’s been freezing for days and the ice has grown like glassy fruits

I got very excited when it snowed and spent several days sliding around hoping not to fall on my camera. When it snows, everywhere is quieter, softer, somehow transformed. On its own, snow is a challenge for the camera to capture well. It takes good light to make snow into a good picture – light that can create or form a texture on what is potentially just a white sheet. But look at the people instead. The smiles and rosy cheeks of those enjoying the snow make marvelous pictures. Young children’s sheer wonderment, noses tipped with a dew-drop, laughing office workers snowballing in their suits. Photograph the brief lives of snowmen before they melt away, sledge pilots before they tumble into a drift and leaping dogs as they catch a snowball. But watch out for snowball fights lest you become a target!

 

These blogs have some ideas – winter photography ideas, winter photography projects. This one has tips on photographing ice.

Scarves and Wraps made from Japanese Silk – Handmade Products – Photography in Teddington

Handmade products, photographed for our neighbour Valerie Timmis who makes beautiful scarves and wraps. We spent an afternoon in my Teddington studio photographing for her website. Val asked another neighbour, Graham to model. Such fun!

Val’s business is called Kumadori, have a look at the website. Her gorgeous scarves and wraps were a joy to photograph. They are unique, made from the silk of vintage kimonos which, Val says “combines Japanese aesthetic, luscious quality silks with fine, innovative decoration.”

A few doors up from me – and a few doors down from Val is the home of Charlotte Duff, who created the Kumadori website.

Food and Product Photography

Chessington Business Expo – Event Photography

Celebrating business in the South of Kingston BoroughKingston event photography

Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames, Councillor Margaret Thompson opens the second Chessington Business Expo, organised by Kingston’s Chamber of Commerce. The event was buzzing, full of energy, lots of great business people to meet and a chance to catch up with old friends. With Ed Davey, the parliamentary candidate for the Kingston, Chamber President Martha Mador and Chief Exec Forbes Low.

 

The Chamber of on the river

 

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


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


Banking Conference Photography

banking conference photographyThere used to be three bank branches on our high street, now there are none. I didn’t use them, so I can’t complain. Banking is changing a lot, which I assume is the excuse for a banking conference in a London hotel. I’ve covered several, photographing the accompanying exhibition and getting shots of the speakers in the conference. They’re really interesting, no honestly! Getting to peak inside other worlds is one of the great things about this job. More exhibition and event photography…

RBR London Conferences

To discuss photography at your event, call me on 020 8977 2529 or message.

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.



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.

Kingston Chamber of Commerce Double Tree Event Photography

This Kingston Double Tree event gave the lie to the lazy prejudice that chamber’s of commerce are full of full of middle-aged white men. Many of us are actually beyond middle-age!

Kingston Chamber of Commerce growing membership is youthful and almost gender-balanced, so its events are all the more interesting and enjoyable. There are many great people in it’s membership happy to offer help and advice, and most importantly, pass on referrals for jobs.

I started my business after a career as an employee, so the Chamber’s been a great way to become a part of the local business community.

The Chamber sets out to be be fun, so this year’s President, Forbes Lowe of Forbes Design gave the annual charity fund-raising President’s Ball a Las Vegas theme with casino tables and an ABBA tribute group.

Get in touch to discus photography at you upcoming event. More event photography.


 

Kingston Guildhall Event with the Chamber of Commerce and Mayor

Bentall Breakfast – Photography at the Business Networking Event

Election Hustings in Kingston