Photo Friday: Guest Blog – GJB Performance Photography

There’s one final part to the fortnight of madness I haven’t mentioned yet. In between Eastercon and the final rehearsals for the DCYC Messiah concert, I popped up to the Toon to catch up with GJB Performance Photography – aka ace photographer Graeme Baty – for a wee bit of this:

Dogbank - 23rd April 2014. Photo by GJB Performance Photography.
Dogbank – 23rd April 2014. Photo by GJB Performance Photography.

However, I think I’ve done enough talking for this week. So today’s Photo Friday is a Guest Blog of sorts, with Graeme giving us a little insight into how he managed to get shots like these. Take it away, pet!


Where did you pick for the shoot, and why?

I decided to go for the Dogbank area near Newcastle’s quayside. I’ve shot there before, and it has a few visual variances which I’d hoped would be beneficial to the shots and brief for this location shoot. Also it was very handy, as I had to dash to a gig photoshoot straight after!

What equipment did you use for this one?

I used my typical setup for a portrait shoot. This includes a Canon 7d, 85 mm Canon prime lens, my beloved Sigma 18-35 mm art series (these are amazing!) and a 40 mm Canon prime as a backup. Lighting wise I used two speedlites and a tripod to mount one of them. This increases the light options and can lead to extra creative possibilities.

What look were you after for this shoot?

I was aiming for a kind of author promoshoot with the typical GJB alternative feel. I was pretty much given the green light to try anything I liked, which is always fun, but still I have to keep the client’s requirements in mind and not get too carried away!

Was there anything different you wanted to try with this shoot?

One idea popped into my mind. I like to have at least one experimental idea per shoot. It helps keep it interesting and pushes my creative side. This time I had the idea of merging two shots using layers. The subjects face would be covered in one shot and visible in the second, merging key parts of the image. I’m working on this one as we speak! It’s different and may not ultimately work, but we had fun trying it, which is the main thing for me.

Is there one shot you’re particularly proud of from this lot?

I’d say the one on the stairs with the suitcase. Some dark clouds rolled in just before and it really added some drama to the scene. I love flash photography, and it shows just how much strategically placed lights can affect the mood of a shot – well, in this case, wedging my flash in a hedge!

Dogbank - 23rd April 2014
Dogbank – 23rd April 2014.
Photo by GJB Performance Photography.

How did it go?

I’m happy with the results. I aim for around five keepers per hour. I think we got about twice that or more.  1 awesome shot is much more desirable than 100 mediocre shots.

Some of the 85 mm shots were a bit hit and miss, I was aiming for bokeh style head shots, which is a lovely effect which can be achieved with shallow depth of field. Results looked great on location using the LCD screen. Sadly the depth was a bit too shallow on some shots, but this worked for softer style photos, adding a few tweaks in photoshop helped create a dreamy like feel. Still I’d prefer crisp sharp shots. That’s where the Sigma excels – it’s much easier to control and is highly accurate at focusing.

You’re also known for your gig photography. How does going into a location shoot like this differ from your live photography work?

It’s more personal and I find they’re really good fun. Live photos are reactionary and you don’t really have to think about anything but your settings and framing. Location wise you have a lot more to control and I find it helps creative ideas. I’ve worked in studios in the past but I find them rather uninspiring.

Finally, what’s your top tip for photographers?

Have fun! Don’t take it too seriously. Charge your batteries and DO NOT lose your tripod. That gets expensive, I learned that the hard way!

Graeme Batty (GJB Performance Photography) and me.

Thanks Graeme! For more on GJB photography, head to http://www.gjbperformancephotography.co.uk/ – or follow him on Twitter and Facebook for more updates and limited edition discount shoots.

Here are some of my favourite shots from the evening’s shoot, along with some of Graeme’s other recent live shots. Enjoy!

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