Archive for January 2010

Bringing back the craft

January 27, 2010

2010 marks the start of my 10th year in business as a professional photographer!!! 

It’s been a fascinating ten years, and the one thing that has remained constant is this; the need to continually change!   My latest change is that I’ve launched a new portrait photography service and a new wedding photography service, and updated my website to reflect these changes. 

The reason for the change is simple; now that nearly everyone has a digital camera, I think that the very informal “reportage” style of image popular in the “Noughties” is undervalued.  I reckon that professional photographers need to demonstrate their skill and creativity by using a wide range of lighting techniques inside the studio, and by taking carefully composed, unusual, and distinctive portraits when shooting on location – so that’s what I’m doing!  

Here’s an example of what I mean… 

"Directional light studio portrait" by Gale Photography

"Directional light studio portrait" by Gale Photography

This studio portrait uses a hard-edged strongly directional light to create a pool of light with areas of shadow.  It allows us to concentrate on the person’s face. 

Contrast it with the next studio portrait, where natural light from a window gave much softer lighting (nature’s softbox!), yet still produced a very powerful image.

"Window light portrait" by Gale Photography

"Window light studio portrait" by Gale Photography

In both cases the background is dark, but the difference in lighting creates a different mood in each image. 

The same emphasis on lighting is used for location portraits.  This image uses off-camera flash, and that flash was balanced with the ambient light to create a dramatic mood, again with areas of light and shadow. 

"Off-camera flash outside" by Gale Photography

"Off-camera flash location portrait" by Gale Photography

This style of portrait is much harder to get right than using more diffuse light, but the end results are definitely worth it.  They’re more dramatic, more individual, and more different.

The same philosophy applies to the new wedding photography service.  All of your friends and family will be taking loads of informal images, so instead of doing the same, I’m now offering a bride and groom “wedding fashion shoot”.  In this shoot the emphasis is on producing a great set of distinctive images of the two of you, and of each of you.

"Bridal Fashion Portrait" by Gale Photography

"Bridal Fashion Portrait" by Gale Photography

Sounds interesting?  You can find out more about this exciting new portrait and wedding photography service at the new Gale Photography website at   Have a look and let me know what you think. 


Gale Photography


Whiter than white.

January 12, 2010

The snow in Britain has been great for photographers wanting to try some creative photography!   All of a sudden there’s lots more light about as the snow acts as a giant reflector, filling in shadow detail.  Snow builds up on familiar objects, such as this wire fence, makes them look unfamiliar, and produces interesting patterns. 

"Wire fence and snow" by Gale Photography

"Wire fence and snow" by Gale Photography

The snow can also make a sharp object into something much softer, as can be seen in this shot of the razor wire on top of the Defence Academy fence! 

"Razor wire and snow" by Gale Photography

"Razor wire and snow" by Gale Photography

With the sun out, all that light bouncing around on the snowy landscape can make getting the correct exposure a bit challenging.  One of the turbines of the Westmill Wind Farm standing in a snowy field definitely looked worth the effort – even though it was bitterly cold walking to it in order to photograph it.  I’d forgotten just how hard it is to walk in 8 inches of snow!  

"Westmill Wind Farm No. 5" by Gale Photography

"Westmill Wind Farm No. 5" by Gale Photography

I used a polarising filter to intensify the blue of the sky.  As it was very windy, and the turbine blades were rotating quite fast, I used the high-speed continuous drive to make sure I got an image with the blades in the right place.  Sure is a good way to fill up a memory card! 

The sun is very useful because it melts the snow and, if the air temperature is below freezing, this can lead to icicles forming.  Like many transparent things, they benefit from a bit of back/side lighting. 

"Icicles" by Gale Photography

"Icicles" by Gale Photography

Here I’ve had to push myself against a wall so I could shoot them from behind against the blue sky.  The sun is low down off to the right.  I’ve cropped it vertically to accentuate the shape of the icicle. 

Whilst out taking these shots, I had the camera inside my jacket to keep it warm.  This improves battery life, and reduces the risk of condensation forming on the camera when it’s taken back into the house.

Finally, don’t put your camera away when the daylight ends.  You can take long exposure images of snowy scenes, which can be very moody.

"Twilight snow scene" by Gale Photography

"Twilight snow scene" by Gale Photography

Here the tungsten light on the building has made a nice warm-coloured patch of light on the snow.  This contrasts with the overall blueness of the rest of the image.

If these images have whetted your appetite, why not get out there and take some yourselves before it all melts?

If you would like to know more about creative photography, we still have some spaces on our “The Creative Eye” course on February 20th.  For details go to our website at