Welcome

Welcome to my blog! 

I am a fine art, portrait and wedding photographer based in Berkshire ( UK ).  I shoot with the Fuji X system mirrorless cameras.  This is my blog site and contains a lot of information for photographers, especially those interested in the Fuji system.

For wedding bookings and info this is my main website…Croshaw Photography.

 

 

General update for the start of 2016

Apologies for the lack of action on the blog.  I took a break over Christmas and while I’ve not been updating this blog much, I’ve been busy behind the scenes.  In January I’ve not had many images to post but I have…

  • booked 4 weddings
  • run a lighting workshop
  • been putting together a huge shoot for Beltcraft Studios in London

February is looking pretty exciting as well.  I’ve just gotten the 35mm f2 from Fuji, having finally sold my D750 and 50mm 1.4.  The X-Pro2 is on order, I’m hoping it arrives before my first wedding, which is in London on 5th March.  Oh, and I did an underwater shoot ( more on that below ).  So there will be some reviews of the 35mm and the XPro2 coming soon, once I’ve tested them.  There are a bunch of reviews out there already, but they are all by people who have not paid for the camera themselves, so I tend to take them with a pinch of salt ( Kevin Mullins aside, his stuff I do take seriously ).  The X-Photographers in general I think are great but its hard to be objective when the camera is given to you.  I know most of the time they have to give it back, but I’ve been reliably informed that many of them get to keep freebies.  I think maybe Fuji needs to take a hard look at this scheme, as they now have 700 X photographers, which dilutes the quality and impact of the whole thing in my opinion.

Anyway..before the underwater shoot stuff, here are a couple of cool links I’ve found recently that have given me plenty of food for thought  and things to work on.

http://www.diyphotography.net/using-gelled-lighting-color-theory-driven-stories/

http://petapixel.com/2016/01/30/10-myths-about-the-rule-of-thirds/

Both of these are great articles and well worth a read.

OK..the underwater shoot..this came about because a guy I taught is a qualified scuba instructor, we got talking after the tutor session and decided it would be a good idea to do an underwater shoot with models.  He had all the gear as he had been photographing fish on dives for years.  He kindly let me use his Nikon D7000 with full underwater housing.  We did the shoot and it went well considering I’d only ever scuba dived once, 20 years ago!  I picked it up again quite quickly but it was a steep learning curve and the keeper rate on a shoot like this is very very low unless you are using models who have a lot of experience in this sort of thing ( ours had never done one at all so they did really well ).  Here is my favourite image from the shoot.

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RIP Mike Hudson and a reminder of the importance of photography

My son plays for a local football team, Laurel Park.  So does my daughter now in fact.  For 6 years we’ve been going to matches almost every Saturday and training every Wednesday evening.  It’s not like we’re all best friends at the club, but it is a kind of family and we do all get along nicely.  We’ve all been through alot together and all the parents do have a chat on the touchline, and we go to the odd social event.  I hadn’t really realised how much of a family the team is until we lost one of the family this weekend.  Mike Hudson is the grandfather of the one of the players, Ben, and the father in law of the coach, Kelvin.  He was at nearly every match, cheering the team on and being a really positive influence on the boys.  He always made time to have a chat to all the parents, and he always brought shortbread for the boys, which he would hand out at halftime and at the end of the game, along with words of encouragement.  At the last game he was at I chatted with him for much of the match, while my toes slowly froze.  On Sunday he died suddenly in his sleep, and the emotional impact on his family has been catastrophic.  There is a sense of shock throughout the wider Laurel Park family as well, as there was no warning this was going to happen, he was not unwell.  One of the first things my wife said to me was “Have you got any photos of Mike?”.  I often take photos of the boys playing football and then give them to the parents.  They all love them and it’s one of my ways of contributing to the team.  Sadly I don’t have any of Mike, I rarely take any shots of the parents.

It does lead on to something I saw in a Jerry Ghionis video I watched this week though.  He was talking about the group shots at weddings.  The one almost every photographer dreads and secretly hopes the couple will say they don’t need or want.  Jerry made the point that while everyone is alive and well those photos don’t seem that important, but as soon as someone is ill, or does die, those photos will become incredibly important to that family, and as the photographer, your job is  important.  There will of course be candid shots of most of the guests at a wedding, but there are always some who do sneak off the radar, maybe they are not that active for whatever reason and you don’t notice them.  I try to get around everyone at a wedding but I’m sure I do miss people out.  I’ll go to my next wedding a bit less resentful of the group shots, Mike’s passing has reminded me that there really is a good reason for them.  RIP Mike.

2015 look back and review

I’m a bit late to the party with this, as 2016 has already started.  I had a bit of a break over the Christmas period, but now it’s time to get back into it.  This weekend I’ve got some one to one tuition on speedlights to deliver, the weekend after that I’ve got my first underwater shoot and the weekend after that a band shoot in a venue I’ve not been to before.  So it’s a good time to review last year, before I get too caught up in this year.  Last year was my busiest ever in photography.  What really surprised me was how much private tuition I did.  I don’t advertise it, but every month I had enquiries from people wanting to learn how to use studio lights, or speedlights, it was very flattering.  Here is some other stuff that happened last year..

Weddings..some of my favourite yet..here are some images..

Jenny and Simon by Croshaw Photography
Jenny and Simon by Croshaw Photography
Chris and Leasa confetti - Croshaw Photography
Chris and Leasa face the confetti cannons!

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Jenny and Simon - Croshaw Photography
Jenny and Simon complete their wedding vows

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Family stuff..I didn’t shoot as much personal stuff as 2014, mainly because I was so busy with other work, but family shots are a priority for me.  Here are some of my favourites from this year.

 

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Fashion with speedlights and wide angles.  One of my main goals this year was to shoot more wide angle stuff and also use speedlights a lot more.  I’m happy to say I managed that and here are a few images.DSCF1828_2 _DSF8598 DSCF1971 DSCF4653-2 DSCF5041

I also shot some great gigs last year and got some of my favourite ever band images.  More of that this year hopefully.

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I shot a lot of fashion/portrait stuff this year, mostly with the new 90mm f2 from Fuji which I absolutely love, but also with the x100s and the 56mm and the 50-140mm lens.  Also did my first maternity shoot and my first shoot with flour.  Here are some images…

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Finally, I shot a few more landscapes than I thought I would, both in Cornwall when visiting my parents and also in Iceland, which was another highlight of last year. Mostly I used the awesome 16m 1.4 from Fuji for this, which along with the 90mm is one of my favourite ever lenses.

DSCF4519-1 DSCF4886 DSCF5012 DSCF7205 DSCF7197 DSCF7159 DSCF7144 DSCF70812015 was a great year, 2016 has a lot to live up to! Thanks for reading.

18 months with the Fuji X100s

It’s now been 18 months since I got my x100s.  It was my second one, the first was sold after a few months to make way for the 23mm 1.4 on the X-T1.  However, I missed having a carry everywhere sort of camera and I realised I’d not fully utilised the capabilities of this mini beast so I bought another one.  18 months on and I’ve taken some of my all time favourite images with this camera, so I thought I’d summarise my experiences and throw around a few images.

The Positives..

1.The look and feel of the camera.  Some people just don’t get on with it, but after taking the time to really get to know it, I love it.

2.The OVF – I don’t always use it, but its there when I need it and I love being able to see people walking into the frame.  Like at this wedding…

Berkshire wedding by Croshaw Photography
Berkshire wedding by Croshaw Photography

3.Sharpness..when used correctly, images just have a great feel and tone to them and are super sharp ( with one exception, see negatives ).  I’ve used it for group shots at weddings with no problem and the clients have loved the results.  And I’ve used it on my kids..alot.

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4.The leaf shutter – this is a big one for me, as this year I’ve really been pushing myself to use flash more in my fashion work.  This camera is a sunlight killer, you can do great things with it once you figure out that the sweet spot is 1/1000 at f2 with the nd filter on.

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5.The pop up flash..the above shot was taken using an SB700 flash, the flash was off camera and triggered by the x100s using its pop up flash in commander mode.  I was at f2, 1/1000 and iso 200.  The sun was in a horrible spot, awful shadows all over the place, but my little x100s killed it.

6.The silent shutter.  I love using this thing at weddings, no one notices you, the priest/vicar loves it.  It makes candid shots a breeze, like this one, where I was very close to the couple and the priest had given me a stern talking to about not making too much noise.  After the ceremony she thanked me for being so quiet that she never knew I was there.

Jenny and Simon - Croshaw Photography
Jenny and Simon complete their wedding vows

7.That 23mm lens..good for so many things, from landscapes to weddings to people/portraits if used correctly.  I’ve also used the teleconverter a lot this year and its amazing.

The Negatives:

1.Battery.  Everyone knows this.  Plus in a hurry its easy to put it in the wrong way round.

2.If you get too close at f2 your images come out soft.

3. AF could be snappier but I’ve found it pretty good over all and fine for my uses.

4.Soft skin at 3200 ISO above if using the otherwise excellent jpegs.

OK..overall its basically my favourite camera of all time.  I didn’t upgrade to the x100T as the upgrades were not big enough for me to justify the cost, plus, this thing does pretty much everything I want as it is now.  OK, time for more pics..I’ve used the x100s for just about everything except sports and wildlife, and increasingly I’ve been using it in the studio.  The shot below was using an x100s and 3 flashes.

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Leasa and her father
Hug before the ceremony

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How to get started in fashion/model photography

OK, firstly, I’m not talking about high end/commercial photography where you are shooting magazine covers and billboards.  I’m talking about the hobbyist market, people who just want to get better photographing other people and hopefully create some interesting images along the way.   I’m talking about how to get to a place where you can easily find people who want to work with you and create images that you are happy with.    So, you’ve got this camera, you want to go shoot a fashion model, how to start?  I will intersperse random model pictures so the wall of text doesn’t look so boring.

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1.Get to know that camera really well and learn to shoot on manual mode.  If you end up shooting in the studio, you will absolutely have to be able to shoot in manual mode and understand the role aperture, shutter speed and ISO all play and when to use which values.

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2.Don’t spend a ton of money on gear.  Unless you are shooting events like weddings, or sports, you don’t need high end gear.  Do not get sucked into GAS ( Gear Aquisition Syndrome ).  Almost any modern DSLR or mirrorless camera will be fine for model photography/portraits.  If you are trying to shoot kids running around that’s a different story, but again, knowing your camera well will help a lot ( zone focussing for example)

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3. You need a basic portrait lens, which means something longer than 70mm.  If you are only going to be shooting in a studio the aperture doesn’t need to be super wide, but if you want to shoot outdoors shots with lovely bokeh, then something like an 85mm 1.8 would be ideal.  The 135mm f2 is also generally considered an excellent portrait lens if you have the space to use it.  Zooms are great, but generally a lot more expensive so if you are starting out, maybe stick with primes.  Get a 50mm 1.8 or 1.4 if you can afford it, as this is a very useful focal length and the 50mm primes are very good value.

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4.Get on social media and set up a photography page.  Once your work starts getting good, you can pick up a lot of shoots via social media.

5.Join an internet modelling site, like PurplePort in the UK, or Model Mayhem if you are abroad.  There are others, but those two are the ones I use.  Internet modelling sites come and go so find out which one is the hot one at the moment and use that.

6.To start with, you will need to pay models.  There is no getting around this, and even further down the line, you will need to pay to shoot with the best models.  Treat the people you work with with respect, don’t attempt to use the sites as a dating service.  After about 10-20 shoots, you should start  to have built a decent reputation as a non serial killer, and hopefully your images will be getting better.  You can then try and get TFP shoots if money is an issue.  TFP is Time for Print ( when you used to give prints in exchange for time ).  These days it means time for images, effectively, as most of us are on digital.  TFP is great, but there are many pitfalls.  I’ll be writing an entirely separate article on that shortly.

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7.Use the internet.  Youtube is full of photography tutorials, many of them excellent.  You will need to learn lighting, how to help models pose, and photoshop.  It can be overwhelming, so I would start simple.  Book a model for a natural light session, get the sun behind them and put a reflector in front of them and have a go.  The best way of learning is to practice, and practice some more.  Assuming you are paying the model, if you mess it up, it doesn’t matter, they won’t mind and most experienced models will be able to help you out with where to stand them etc.

8.Push yourself on every shoot, try something different every single time.

9.Find a photographer whose style you like, and invest some money into a one to one session with them, or go on a workshop.  If you do go on a workshop, pick carefully, some are good, some not so good.  The ones with huge numbers of people, not so good generally ( from personal experience, 6-8 is the maximum number of people I would want on an all day workshop ).  A good training session can really accelerate your learning.

10.Use pinterest to make moodboards for shoots to give you ideas.  You can share these with your model for the day to give them an idea of what to bring.

11.Network like crazy, if you want to shoot fashion then you will need a team, or at least need to know a few designers.  There is only so much stuff from Primark you can shoot ( although I’m not knocking Primark, I’ve seen some amazing shots done with stuff from there ).

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12.Related to the above point, get to know some good makeup artists, these can make a huge difference to your portraits, especially at the start when your photoshop skills are likely to be a bit basic.  You will almost always need to pay for make up artists, because their material costs alone are quite high, but a good one is well worth it and will elevate your shoot to a new level.  Just make sure you allow a lot of extra time for the shoot, the first set of makeup will usually take 60-90 minutes depending on how chatty the MUA is!

There is a lot more I could say, but this is just my first attempt at putting down some thoughts.  I’ve been doing this for 4 years now.  I don’t make any money from shooting models, but I’ve gained a lot of other things and it’s been amazing fun.  One thing that may surprise you is how many new friends and contacts you make in this industry, that alone makes it worthwhile.

 

 

 

 

Shooting a gig with a D750 and the Fuji X-T1

I was asked to photograph a live gig this weekend, its a band I’ve seen before called Dirtbag.  They are really good and I’ve shot them before, but they wanted more shots with the crowd in this time.  From past experience in the very dark venues they go to I knew the Fuji might need some help, so I took a long a D750 and a 50mm 1.4 lens.  I got some great stuff with both cameras, here are some images ( I did use the flip screen on both cameras as well, it was very handy when trying to shoot above the crowd ).

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Some Iceland landscape shots

*Disclaimer* I am not in any way a landscape photographer.  However, as I was over there and had a wide angle lens handy it seemed a shame to not take a few shots of such an incredible place.  Most of these were taken on the 16mm 1.4 lens on the Fuji X-T1.  _DSF4026 DSCF4582 DSCF4886 DSCF4519-1 DSCF4976 DSCF4979 DSCF5012 DSCF5553

The northern lights shots were shot on a tripod.  There were a bunch of us taking them and everyone got some nice shots, but because I had a 1.4 wide angle, which is quite unusual, I was able to keep the ISO at 200, over a 30 second exposure.  Also, the 16 1.4 is weather sealed, and in Iceland, that makes a huge difference, as there is almost always water hitting your camera!  I’ve heard some people moaning about the dynamic range of the Fuji’s but I’ve found it pretty good, not as good as a Nikon with the latest Sony sensor in it, but better than my old 5d mk 3, especially for pulling back highlights.  In conclusion, the 16mm 1.4 is an awesome landscape lens, which I also use for fashion work ( see image below ).

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Iceland Fashion part 3

Apologies for the long delay before getting back to this, I’ve been incredibly busy with photography related tasks over the past two weeks.  While in Iceland we found a brief hour to do some waterfall fashion shots.  I shot these on the 90mm f2 again ( possibly my favourite lens for portrait and fashion at the moment ).  I put the camera on a tripod and went back a fair bit.  The poor models did suffer a bit as it was bitterly cold and there was a howling wind and lots of spray coming from the waterfall.  I shot multiple exposures, some to blur the fabric and the water and then some faster ones to freeze the models ( well, they were already frozen, but you get the idea ).  The other reason I used the 90mm rather than the 56mm is because the 90 is weather sealed, and there was a lot of water flying around.  The weather sealed lenses on the Fuji was essential on this trip.

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Fashion in Iceland Part 2

So in the previous post I dealt with the plane shots.   I also did some available light shots not using flash ( it wasn’t practical and I didn’t have an assistant ).

This first shot was taken on Diamond Beach, so named because of the diamond like lumps of ice that litter it.  It’s an amazing place but very cold and there are a lot of tourists.  We moved down from the main area and I shot this with the 90mm f2.  If there is good light and room to shoot this is my favourite lens.  I had to tell Natasha to face the sun and hope the light didn’t look too terrible.  We tried putting the sun behind her but I couldn’t make an exposure work without flash, which I couldn’t use at the time.

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The next shot was taken on the 16mm 1.4.  We had arrived early at the glacier and the morning light was still really nice, and a very warm colour, which contrasted nicely with the blues in the background, so again I opted for available light.  I love the 16mm 1.4 for epic fashion shots and it again performed beautifully here.

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That’s it for this episode of Fashion in Iceland!!  Next week I’ll post some more, with waterfalls in:)