Category Archives: General Photography


Back in  April I had the chance to shoot the small but beautifully formed …. JESS BOND

Jess is a wonderful model to work with …….. she`s polite, attentive and fun which makes the process so much easier.

The above shot was taken in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham on a beautiful bright Sunday morning in April 2011 and the general plan was to walk around with Jess and see what locations were available that might make for a good picture. The early morning spring sun was a little too harsh so I decided  that flash and brolly  was the order of the day and for the Strobist`s out there …… the SB28 strobe with shoot through umbrella was positioned on camera left and as close to Jess as possible at about 1/8 power.

When looking at the images at home this one really stood out and it reminded me of the `old Cadbury Flake adverts` , so I decided to try and process it with them images in mind.

The next image had a very different feel to it and I wanted to really emphasize one of her best attributes ….  Jess`s eyes , no matter how many pictures you take her eyes always look vibrant and alive and so during the processing I smoothed and groomed everything but her eyes which where left sharp to make them jump out of the picture.

ATB Karl


the sarah shoot

I recently had the chance to photograph Sarah Beech

Sarah is a lovely model from Shrewsbury who was hard working and has a very distinct look.

The shoot was arranged by the inspiring partnership of  Deb and Steve of  Tiptop studios  who always seem to `come up with the goods ` and deliver interesting and unusual things for my viewfinder to focus on and let me say a big thank you to them now.

The first thing to strike me about Sarah was her height, she was 5`8″ in her bare feet …. but with what looked like 10″ platform heels she made for a dominating figure in front of the camera. The second thing was the electric blue hair …….. bit hard to miss really.

During the first few shots I was trying to somehow make the height a feature but this was`nt happening  and I suppose in hindsight I could have brought in some form of prop in to give some indication of scale but whether it would have worked is anybodys guess.

What Sarah did have was the keen ability to make great shapes with her posing so I concentrated on trying to get her to make triangles which not only emphasized her figure but also added to her strong dominant look.

When processing the image I was very conscious that with a grey background and her all black outfit, pale skin and blue hair that it would look like a B&W image with selective colour added to the blue hair. This was something I was hoping to avoid but no matter what I tried it soon dawned on me that this image was always going to give that impression.

The next image I actually like more,  due to the fact that this image is closer to what I was hoping to achieve, I love the angles of the pose and  the fact her waist looks tiny.

The processing on this image was a deliberate attempt to try and get away from the `selective colour` look but I am still undecided as to whether the `tint` is working or not . I think I will return to this image at a later date when it`s not so fresh in the mind and have another play.  It can be good to return to an image 6 months or so later and try something different often this can have a ” Why did`nt I think of that before “ moment or the worst case scenario ” That image is crap, why did I bother in the first place ” . Luckily I have`nt had to many of the latter.

ATB Karl

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Portrait Of Louise

Those nice people at `Birmingham Loves Photographers ` were so happy with the entries for the first round of their `portrait challenge` that they decided to do it again and gave it the really inspiring title ……` Round  Two `.

This time I was paired up with photographer Louise Holgate and after the first attempt to meet up failed due to unforeseen circumstances we finally managed to meet in a car-park round the back of a WILKINSONS which was close by for both of us. Not a very glamorous location I grant you but having used this car-park for shopping etc I had often thought it might have some potential …. lots glass and modern architecture and I hoped Louise could draw some inspiration from it also.

Knowing the location, I kinda had this shot in mind and was hoping to keep within my `environment portrait ` theme,  this time though I wanted to try something different and that was to highlight the face of my subject and dial down the ambient light so that the face would be the most prominent feature of the picture but still try and keep the surroundings as interesting as possible.

After the first few shots I was using quite a wide angle to try and create some perspective to road but I was feeling that the road was`nt that interesting so I decided to zoom in to about 70mm to compress the image and bring the road further forward in the frame I`m not entirely sure this has worked but it has made for an interesting image none the less.

I would like to thank Louise for making time from her busy schedule so that we where able to meet and take a few pic`s.

If you`d like to see the rest of the pictures entered for round two of the Portrait Project including Louise`s picture of me follow the link :

ATB Karl


The Luke shoot

I recently had the chance to shoot Luke Carl Baker.

To start here`s a few words from Luke :

Hi everyone,

I’m currently an aspiring model, whose specialist areas are fitness, physique, commercial and music video. I’m a charismatic, vibrant individual whom strives for the best in life. I’m currently completing my MSc in Paediatric physiology whilst juggling my passions and talents in Latin & Ballroom dancing and track and field. I love the thrill and excitement of being in front of camera, and I thrive in pressure working environments. If you would like to consider me for future photo shoots or model work, please don’t hesitate to contact me on 07531341425, or by email: Secondly if you feel you would like to become a student in one of my Zumba/Latin fitness classes, it would be great to hear from you.

The shoot took place at the New TipTop studios …. …. They run a small and laid back photo club to which I`m a member and it was the first Club shoot to be held in their brand new studios and may I say a big thank you to Steve and Deb for making this shoot happen.

You may have gathered that the picture at the top was not actually shot in the studio……..  but in their car park .

” Why ”  I can here you ask,  did you shoot outside when there is a lovely big studio, full of lights and equipment just waiting to be played with …. well the answer is simple ……

Steve ( the owner/boss/top bloke ) ….  hates us

and he also hates Luke , see how he made him remove his shoes ( cruel )

Just kidding  , the real reason is …. when you have four models and  fifteen photographers in one studio … mayhem ensues ….. so Steve did the right thing and kicked half of us outside.

So after the first few ` getting to know you ` shots I was sorely lacking in inspiration then somebody had the brilliant idea of getting him to sit on the wall ,  at last I felt this was something I could work with …. great sky as a backdrop ( how many times can you say that in England ) and if Luke could give a killer pose  I felt we could have a picture here.

It`s strange that with one small change to the angle of approach and …. all of a sudden the ideas start flooding in.

For next shot we all moved into the studio where Luke was patiently waiting to be photographed against a stunning graffiti wall that Deb and Steve had commissioned by two local graffiti artists.

Having shot against graffiti backdrops before albeit not in the studio I know it can be difficult to separate the subject from the background  and all to often they tend to blend together and look messy. So I decided to move Luke away about ten feet and light the background separate and have a second light source high above him to really bring out those abdominal muscles also if I`d had the time ( Club shoots are always on a time limit, I think we had ten minutes )  I would have gridded a speedlight and positioned it to lighten the face and perhaps another on the rear right to give a little more `rim` light.

But overall I`m very happy with the result and I think the photo does have some depth to it.

ATB Karl

Taking the Pooch

This is my `Hound from Hell `……….. he`s a Siberian Husky…. but he thinks he`s Steve McQueen from `The Great Escape` always looking to get out ………and when he gets out does he try to blend in and not be noticed ? does he hide in bushes so as not to be detected ……… No ……….. he runs down the middle of the road frightening the life out of oncoming motorists and yours truly.

Now I do have some sympathy for him, being the pet of a photographer is not an easy life. Not only do you have do all the cute stuff but you are also a model on call 24/7 and everytime your owner wants to test a new lens or is bored …  your the one who is going to get it.

Now the picture above has one technical aspect which I think might be worth mentioning … it was taken using the `pop-up` flash on the front of my camera. Now this piece of `lighting equipment` has to be the most lambasted of them all with every knowledgeable photographer believing you should be burnt at the stake for using it and for nearly all situations their absolutely right.

The one thing this small bare harsh flash does is enhance details , now if your taking a picture of a human face this is not a good thing and it will also bounce off the reflective surfaces of the flesh giving an all round horrible light but in the case of pooch picture above enhancing the details of the fur is a good thing … no reflective surfaces here….and it also gave a nice catch light to the eyes.


My second Pooch picture is of ` Freedom`

Sadly no longer with us. He was a working Greyhound who was tossed aside like so many before him when he was no longer profitable for his owner.

Luckly he was rescued by a friend of mine who made sure his last years where full of love and happiness.

This image was one of the first where I felt the `crop` actually enhanced the picture, you can imagine my delight that this small `photographic manipulation` could do to an otherwise average photo and like every photographer before me who finds something that works , I went on a `cropping ` frenzy for the next six months ……. luckly I`m over it …… but only just.

ATB Karl


Portrait of Alan











I recently participated in a photographic challenge ( I say challenge because ` photographers ` make the worse models ) run by the really nice guys at

Birmingham loves photographers ”  heres a link :

The idea, was for all the photographers who follow the blog and wished to take part to be partnered up and each take a photo of the other …. nice and simple , then they would post the results on the website and then we could all sit back and cringe about how bad we look in real life.

This gave me the chance to try something different to what I  `normally`  think of as a portrait   i.e  head shoulders, blurred background etc.

What I really wanted to try was an `environmental ` portrait …… these portraits are usually reserved for pictures taken of people in their work  `environment `to give the viewer an insight into who the person is and what they do and the unusual thing that these portraits have is the background to the image is as much of a focus point of the image as the person.

The real art to these pictures is to separate the subject from what in all likelihood is a very busy and distracting background and to keep the subject in the forefront , after-all  it is a portrait where after here.

Anyway here`s my first serious attempt at this style and overall I`m quite pleased with the result.

I would like to thank Alan who I was partnered with for this venture and was very nervous of having his picture taken, we`d never met before and after the usual introductions was straight down  to the picture taking.

If you would like to see the rest of the photos from the blog post here`s a link :

If you would like to see the picture larger just click on it and it should be displayed larger.

ATB Karl



The First Post

Welcome to my Photography blog …. ( I wait for the loud cheers die down )

I know what your thinking … “ how many more photo blog`s can there be ” or ” I hope this is something different

Am I going to tell you that this blog will change your life or that I personally have a unique insight into all things photographic ……err…. ..NO

My intent for this blog is to post some of my recent and maybe not so recent forays into photographic image creation ( or snapshots ).

I hope you enjoy the posts and tell all your friends and dont forget to leave comments ( only nice ones …I`m sensitive )

ATB Karl