Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Fotothon 2011 - Photo Tip

During the run up to Fotothon 2011 in Brighton we will be publishing a series of photography hints and tips which will be of use to some photographers on the day.

Mark Burton, author of  The Gadget Scientist has written a tip on street photography which is now available to read on the Fotothon website.

Watch this space for more photo hints and tips in the coming weeks and news updates from the biggest one day photo contest in the UK.

Fotothon 2011 Brighton

Well it's here, it's alive and ready to go - Fotothon 2011.

Fotothon is as far as we know the first event of the kind in the UK. One city, Brighton; one day, the 11th June 2011;  a load of clues, valuable prizes and hundreds of photographers. The concept is simple over a 5 or 12 hour period the photographers have to create 10 individual images interpreting the clues thay have been given. All of the clues will be accessible to all and reached by public transport, walking, cycling, or car etc.

All photographers are welcome, whether you're new to photography, an experienced enthusiast or professional from any genre. It does not matter what kind of camera you have, be it a camera 'phone, digital compact or top-of-the-range DSLR. What the judges are interested in is how you interpret the clues, not that you shot it with big name camera with an embarassingly large chuck of glass stuck on the front! Judging will be totally anonymous and will include a celebrity who will present the prizes.

There were even a couple of 400mm f2.8s in there, somewhere!

Brighton is easy to reach by road, rail and air, and has to be one of the most accessible cities in the world for anyone with disabilities. Fotothon will be based at the Brighthelm Centre which is close to the main railway station with a large car park in the same block.

Entry to Fotothon 2011- Brighton is £18 or £12 for concessions if booked in advance.

There are 13 or more opportunities of winning a prize or getting your work into print as there will be a Fotothon calendar available from September. Major prize categories so far are Overall Fotothon Winner, Student Winner, Under 16s Winner and Chimping Competition.

There will be a special trophy for the best camera club entry of the day - so now is the time to put Fotothon 2011 in your camera club calendar and do battle either as a club or club members.

During the run up to the event we will be publishing a series of photography hints and tips which will be of use to some photographers on the day. There's a clue here - we will not be publishing the clues before the event, but by following this blog and the hints and tips may well help you on the day. We will also publish as series of links for those of you not familiar with Brighton & Hove (the official name for the city by the sea).

There is a specific Hints and Tips page on the Fotothon website which will be updated regulary. You can also join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Mark Burton, author of  The Gadget Scientist has written a tip on street photography which is now available to read on the Fotothon website.

Talking of Twitter, during Fotothon one the clues will be sent via Twitter, so you will need to ensure that you are following @fotothon2011 Don't worry if you don't have a high-tech mobile phone as you can set Twitter to send Tweets by text to your phone.

Book your place now and become part of the biggest one day photography event in Britain and enjoy a day in one of the most buzzing and vibrant cities.

And don't forget to follow this blog for updates on the event and photography hints and tips.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Overheard in a Camera Shop

This is a true story, but the name of the shop and those involved have been omitted to protect the innocent:

Customer: I want to be a wedding photographer.

Store Worker: How much do you have to spend?

Customer: No more than £500.00!!!

Store Worker: Is that for the camera body, lenses, flash or the bag?

Customer: No, everything and it's got to be professional gear! I want the best. It has to look the part.

What can I say - the customer got the gear, but that customer has no idea?



Saturday, 19 March 2011

Brian Griffin Lecture: Survival and the creative photographer

22nd March, London

Creativity and financial reward don't always go hand-in-hand but renowned photographer, Brian Griffin, has
found out how to survive financially and make the work he wants.

On the 22nd March he'll be explaining how he's achieved this at a lecture organised by London Independent Photography (LIP).

Brian is widely acknowledged as one of Britain's most influential photographers. “In 2001 I decided that Iwould never take photographs again purely for money, and would find ways to survive purely on my creativity. Since adopting that philosophy I have managed to keep going - just!"
Brian is famous for his groundbreaking approach to portraiture and numerous high profile projects
stretching from ‘Work’ in the 1980′s, to his current project charting ‘The Road to 2012′, commissioned by the
National Portrait Gallery.

“This talk is a fantastic opportunity to hear first-hand how an internationally recognised photographer has
managed to develop their creative vision - and pay the bills,” says LIP’s Chairman, Adrian Capps. “Brian has
been at the top for many, many years and we're delighted that this inspirational photographer has agreed to
share his insights and experience with us.”

Brian's talk is part of an annual programme of lectures held in honour of LIP co-founder, Janet Hall. Previous
Janet Hall Memorial lecturers have been Simon Norfolk, Martin Parr and Paul Hill.
London Independent Photography is a community based organisation of amateur and professional
photographers with over 600 members.

7.00pm, Tuesday 22nd March 2011
Rudolf Steiner House
35 Park Road, London NW1 6XT
Nearest tube: Baker Street
Tickets on sale 21 February: £8 or £10 at the door
For booking details please visit:
For more detailed information or images please contact:
Mark Burton, Publicity Officer, London Independent Photography

FACEBOOOK: Survival and the Creative Photographer: March 22 lecture by Brian Griffin. Make the work you
want and pay the bills! Hosted by London Independent Photography
TWITTER: Survival and the Creative Photographer: Brian Griffin Lecture on March 22. Hosted by

Monday, 14 March 2011

Wedding Photo Tips - Confetti

This is the first in an irregular series on improving your wedding photography. There are any number of shots that your Bride & Groom will expect to see in their wedding album, and some are more difficult to achieve than others. The confetti shot can prove to be a challenge for many photographers, so here are 7 tips based on experience in over 20 years of photographing weddings.

Don't be afraid to get in close for a successful confetti shot at a wedding

1. Clearly communicate you intentions to the people with confetti - you want them close to the bride & groom, just out of frame.
2. The bride & groom need to be close together, get them to put their arms around each others waist.
3. Check the wind direction, you don't want the confetti blowing away from the image frame - you will only get one chance so make sure your camera is set to a fast frame rate.
4. Tell the confetti throwers to pitch the confetti up into the air and let gravity do its' bit, don't throw it into the shot like bowling a cricket ball or pitching a baseball.
5. Generally, rose petals, not the dried variety make better shots than the paper variety, they are heavier.
6. On a wet day try and avoid confetti and the bride's dress - generally the dye in paper confetti is not colourfast until it touches the bride's dress. A rainbow hue to the hem of a bride's dress is not a popular look.
7. Talk to you bride and groom before the wedding and offer advice regarding confetti and what you need to do to get the shot they want.

Good luck and happy snapping'.


Giottos Monopod - Low Light Tip

If you don't own a tripod or monopod, I'd suggest that if you're looking for a versatile and inexpensive option, buy a monopod. They are light, versatile, easy to carry and with practice you can evn us them for shooting in low light where you would usually use a tripod.

 Giottos MML 3260B Aluminium Monopod

It's simple really. All you need is your monopod and something with which to secure it to a stable verticle post, pole or whatever. In this case I have used a adjustable bungee of my own design. I carry a few of these in my bag as they are great for attaching kit to the bag and in this case securing a monopod for long exposures in low light. OK, so the above shot isn't exactly low light, it could be darker, use your imagination, you're creative after all!

Close up of the Gel Clip Bungee securing the Giottos Monopod to a railing support

The bungee starp or cord is stretched around the post and tensioned using the slide adjuster. If the post is thicker, or even a tree, you can string multiple bungees together. In this instance I only needed one securing point. If in doubt make sure you secure the monopod with more bungees further down the monopod.

I prefer this method of securing a camera for low light shooting or where there is a risk of camera shake to the Joby Gorilla pod as you know the camera will not move. Do remember that as with any solid object any vibration from traffic or walking will transmit through whatever you shoot and cause vibration which in turn will cause camera shake, especially if you decide to shoot when there is heavy traffic around!

Don't be fooled, when shooting in towns and cities this can be quite a problem, even when using a heavy tripod as a support, especially on bridges and raised walkways.



Friday, 11 March 2011

PhotoPLOD 2011

This post is from Timothy St Ather, founder of PhotoPLOD.

I am proud to be involved with this event and encourage you to support it, whether by entering a team or donating to AMR Action Medical Research, a worthy charity funding research into childhood illness.

Photoplod 2011
25 June

Although we are still coming to the end of winter, Plod fever will be on top of us in no time, so you will need to start finalising your teams.

For those of you unfamiliar with Photoplod, it is an annual challenge to complete the gruelling 40-mile route we have designed for you on the beautiful South Downs Way starting off at midnight.  The 40 mile route follows the ancient South Downs Way and heads east.  Your final exhausting push will be over the Seven Sisters to the finish line at Birling Gap, near Eastbourne.

This is a fantastic and challenging team event for friends, clubs and social groups. Also for corporate organisations looking to create some real team bonding or just some light hearted internal rivalry!  As indicated below, funds raised go to the leading children’s charity Action Medical Research

Your team must consist of 1 team ‘Captain’ (scoring walker) and 5 additional scoring walkers. You will also need at least 1 support team member – with at least one vehicle.

Some will know, but some of you won’t, that the full cost of the weekend for participants is £80 inclusive of everything; hotel, banquet, breakfast, St Bernard dogs, air ambulance, the lot. For anyone not staying in the hotel or attending the banquet the cost is £15 and for anyone attending the banquet but not staying at the hotel it will be £30. Any deposit already paid can be deducted from these amounts. You should send these payments with cheques payable to Photoplod to our Hon. Treasurer, Timothy St.Ather at:-

FOXX Associates Limited
14 Rocks Lane
London SW13 0DB

Please indicate whether you are entering as an individual or as part of a team. Individual walkers will be allocated to one of the Walker’s Walkers teams which are teams of our sponsor, Mary Walker of Focus on Imaging. Teams need to appoint a captain and submit a registration form which can be obtained on request and will shortly be available on the website.

You may all know individuals who would never dream of walking but who would enjoy coming along as a supporter, spending a summer weekend on the glorious South Downs and being able to gloat at the pain and suffering of the heroic plodders.

Whilst on the subject of supporters, it is a good idea for you to identify them as early as possible. Most new teams make the mistake of thinking that as long as they have the requisite number of walkers, supporters can easily be added at the last minute and that it not always the case. If you think about the psychology of it, if you ask a supporter about now, they are likely to view it as an attractive prospect, if you ask them at the last minute when you are desperate, they will probably expect you to pay for them!

We will be asking for firm sleeping requirements at a later date but provisionally, at this stage, individual walkers and supporters will be automatically allocated a bed at the Eastbourne Centre and teams allocated eight beds.

The Plod this year is again being done to support the wonderful work of Action Medical Research (AMR) and sponsorship forms will be sent out early next month. We have set you a target of raising £1,000 per team or £150 as an individual walker but of course these are targets which some will exceed with others managing less.

You are strongly advised to go onto the AMR website to set up a page for online giving. There are a number of substantial advantages for doing so. Firstly and most importantly, it makes the money so much easier to collect. You are likely to find lots of people, in your local pub this weekend, who will be happy to sponsor you for a fiver but if you go to them for the cash at the end of June many will have forgotten and will treat you as if you were a footpad or highwayman. Secondly, you have the money up front. Thirdly, AMR can use the money straight away and fourthly they can claim back the tax from UK taxpayers which makes the money you raise considerably more valuable.

Thank you for in anticipation of your support for our fund raising efforts.  Looking forward to seeing you in June

Timothy St. Ather

Photoplod Treasurer

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

So you want to be a wedding photographer?

Wedding photography is much more than just having a digital camera. This video did give me a laugh!

Watch this space for a fresh new wedding photography workshop and portfolio building day - coming soon to a country house near you - well not quite, actually in sunny East Sussex!