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


A different view – John Warwood

Over the next few weeks I will be posting Interviews with other photographers I know and admire.

I have conducted these interviews by email and have posed the same three questions to them all. I think you will enjoy reading their replies.

The first up to bat is JOHN WARWOOD

I am a Semi-Pro photographer based in Wythall ( Worcestershire ) and I have been into photography since the early 80`s . When I met my wife ( Her brother is a keen photographer) I had enjoyed photography before …. but her brothers photos  inspired me to want to be able to take photos of the same quality. I tried to do as much photography as possible …. but with a wife, family and the high costs involved with photography at the time , always held me back.

When digital came about, it became much more affordable and so my photography really started to take off. I was always a landscape man until about 18 months ago which is when I joined a photography club ( TipTop ) and they really lit my fire with taking images of people/models etc.. I now just want to spend all my time doing this. This is just something which fascinates me so much.

QUESTION 1 :  ” Why is Photography important to you ? “

Photography is very important to me as it enables me to capture (hopefully forever) the split second that photo was taken. It can show so much, a moment frozen in time. It can show emotions/feelings of what the photographer/person were feeling when the shutter was pressed. I love looking at old photos, it gives such an insight into the past and hopefully one day people will look at my photos the same way.

QUESTION 2 : ” What do you find most challenging about your photography ….. Whats your motivation ? “

What I find challenging about photography is pushing myself every time I use the camera. I want to explore the boundaries as much as possible. I always have the perfect photo in my head of what I want to take and this is what motivates me more. There is always something out of my control stopping me taking the perfect picture but I will endeavour until that moment arises.

QUESTION 3 : ” Name another professional or amateur photographer , who you think we should checkout ? “

Lord Lichfield and David Bailey. Both outstanding photographers. I also look upto Steve and Debs of TipTop as they have taught me so much is such a short time and would like to thank them for that.

My photography mate Paul (Yampy) Hancox ( ) He is always looking for different angles to take photos and often takes photos which I miss.

Many thanks to John for sharing his thoughts and insight into his photography …… If  you`d like to contact or see more of John’s images , here`s some links :!/FlickrJRT

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