Friday, December 31, 2010

Year end musings

Well 2010 is nearly over and what a year it has been.  I was made redundant, setup my own business and decided to go pro as a photographer.  I have met so many wonderful and interesting people this year, it has been a real ride.

I am really looking forward to 2011.  Lots of people to photograph, lots of new techniques to learn, but mostly looking forward to all the new people I will meet and friends I will make.  I love what I do, why oh why did I not do this earlier?

To everyone I have met this year, clients, models, make-up artists and fellow photographers, I wish you a Happy New Year and health and happiness for 2011.

John x

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Inspirations: Jo Rutherford

What can you say about Jo Rutherford that hasn't been said many a time before?  This lady has possibly had more effect on the lives and careers of local photographers, models and make-up artists than anyone else I can think of.

I met Jo through the Scouts - we were both at one of their Waterside Lodge Dragonboat racing events, and we both had our trademark Canon white lenses on our cameras.  I remember her coming bounding over to chat to me, friendly, outgoing and full of enthusiasm.  At the next event she mentioned the walkabouts - the third one was happening at Waterside Lodge and would I like to come along?  I nearly bit her arm off...

It was a fantastic opportunity - I met so many people, got to try studio setups and photograph models in many varied situations.  There were make-up artists and a professional model was on hand to offer tips and advice to both the models and the photographers.  Some of the attendees had come from miles away, hundreds of miles in at least one case, such was the draw of this event being organised by Jo.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, Jo gave me the push and confidence I needed just as I was being made redundant to start offering my photography services professionally.  She even got me started in wedding photography which led to my first wedding portfolio.  I really don't think I would be where I am today without Jo.

Jo, you are an absolute star.  I know there are many, many people who will agree with that, and it really doesn't cover just how much love there is for you in so many people that come to your walkabouts and that you have photographed over the years.  You are kind, selfless, generous, super talented and just so damn lovely that I am genuinely proud to say I know you and have worked with you. 

Please, if you have read this, take the time to visit Jo's blog and website for some of her beautiful and stunning images.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

On location photo shoot with Fara

I had the pleasure of photographing the lovely model Fara Elizabeth yesterday.  The remit was to create some wintery photos before she had to leave Southport with work commitments.  We decided to go to Hesketh Park and the Botanic Gardens and see what we could come up with...

The rest of the photos are up on my website, click Image Gallery, Portraits and you will see Fara's album.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Winter frost

By 'eck it's been cold lately!  Southport has been under the grip of quite a frost, several degrees below zero, cold enough to freeze the sea on the beach and the marine lake.  I ventured out with my camera when I had the chance and got a few shots.

These were taken in my garden

This was the view of my neighbour's tree, completely white from the freezing fog the night before

Then I headed into town and decided to take my camera with me.  I knew the Marine Lake was frozen so wnated to get a couple of pictures.

This unfortunately is the mindless vandalism done whilst the lake has been frozen.  Dozens of the bridge handrail supports kicked onto the ice.

and these are some very brave / very foolish lads - walking on thin ice!  Rather them than me!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Manchester Portraits: Kim and Vicky

Kim and Vicky are two young sisters living over Manchester way.  I have known Kim for many years through work as we are ex-colleagues, and have met her sister Vicky several times on nights out.  Kim has a little boy who is nearly 2 and Vicky has just had a little baby boy within the last 3 months.  I was very honoured to go over and do some portrait shots as a surprise Christmas present for their Mum.

Rest of the pictures are up at my website,, click Image Gallery, Portraits.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Inspirations: Paul Marbrook

This is going to be the first of the occasional series of blogs about some of the people I have met along my journey into photography.  The first one I am dedicating to Paul Marbrook.  I first met Paul on one of the Walkabout sessions organised by the great Jo Rutherford (more on her in another post!).

Paul is one of those people that you can't help but like.  He is very approachable and friendly, offered me lots of good tips and advice and was quite happy to talk about some of the big dos and dont's he had discovered along his journey.  He is also the person who introduced me to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, without which I am quite sure I would not be where I am today.  So hats off to you Paul - quite an eye-opener that one!

Known affectionately by some of the regular models as TP or Tall Paul - something I am sure which is to do with his not insignificant stature, Paul is over 6' tall and what I would describe as ruggedly good-looking - a bit of a rogue maybe - you know what I mean.  He often sports some designer stubble and I seem to remember when I first met him if he was there as a photographer or also as a model too - sorry Paul!

Paul describes himself as a "lifestyle portrait photographer" and is one of the old school - or would be if it weren't for digital.  He has a love of the standard prime lenses and this shows through in some of the breathtaking pictures he produces.  His pictures have the most beautiful blurred backgrounds with jaw-dropping colour and bokeh, yet the main focus of the picture is pin-sharp and beautifully focused.  His recent images of the gamer girl are a good example of these:

See more of Paul and some his quite frankly stunning imagery at his site

Cheers Paul, it is a great honour and pleasure to know you and to have had the privilege to work with you - and here's hoping we can do some more of that soon.   :-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Photoshop practice - layers

A bit of practice with photoshop layers and blending.  Took a picture of the wonderful model Kayleigh-Jo and blended a nice light trail onto her upraised hand.  Then added a decorative swirl which I masked to appear under her arm.  Add a comment if you like it!

Monday, November 15, 2010

No flies on me!

Took this a while back with my EF-S 60mm macro lens - not had real chance to do this lens justice yet.  Anyway, here is a close-up of a fly that very kindly let me get up close 'n' personal with the lens.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Southport Wedding Photography

If you are in the Southport or surrounding areas looking for a wedding photographer, why not give me a call on 07944 567250?
Have a look at my website for sample photos - more are going up all the time!
Package prices start at just £895


Friday, November 12, 2010

Webpage slideshow working!

I have to admit it - I have been struggling with the HTML code required to get a working slideshow on my webpage.  I finally cracked it, and think it looks very nice in action - there are smooth transitions between photos and it even randomizes the photos on each load.  Marvellous!
Go to and click on the Portraits and/or Weddings links.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Had the pleasure of catching up with Jayne, one of my sister's friends, and someone I have known since primary school.  Although living down south, she popped back to Southport to visit family and had booked me in for a photoshoot with her gorgeous little girl, just 7 months old, and who had started crawling whilst here! Awww...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Aysha and Brett - Southport Wedding photos

More of their wedding photos in Southport are up at my website, now they have been seen by the bride and groom!
Please visit and click Image Gallery, Weddings.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Aysha & Brett - Wedding Photography Southport

I count myself extremely fortunate to have been asked to photograph the wedding of Aysha and Brett.  They recently got married at a large ceremony in the main ballroom of the Prince of Wales Hotel.

Here is a sneak peek of their wedding photos in Southport

Thursday, October 21, 2010


This is my sister and her kids.  I took these a while ago but wasn't happy with them - they have now been processed in LR3 (on the IPS monitor) and have come out much better.  Maybe I should go and reprocess my entire library :/

 Rest of the pics are at via the gallery link

Monday, October 18, 2010

Successful day!

Got all the pics processed from Sunday and uploaded to my Facebook business page.

Just been booked for a wedding over in Manchester. Doing another wedding at very short notice this Friday, also had enquiries for a family portrait in Eccles and a pet portrait locally. Quite the successful day, let's hope there are more like this in future!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Macro work

Had the lovely Victoria Ward over this morning as I tried to help her with some Macro photography.  Bit of a nightmare as we couldn't get the light right at all.  It was for a small diamond bracelet, so we needed a dark background.  My homemade lightbox (from Ikea!) had various pieces of dark material put inside and we eventually settled on using my wife's black velvet dress as a background.  The light just wasn't right though so after much trial and error we settled on the dress draped over a table in the window with natural light and the bracelet in a circle on top.  I was directly above the bracelet and got the following shot.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bonkers child

LOL.  Had the official school photo leaflet through - the sample photo of my son was awful, too much black and a bright red background.  Not good with the blue school uniform.  Anyway, decided I could do better myself and took some nice shots of him when he came home from school.  Then he wanted to do a silly pose...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The joys of editing

Another morning into the wee hours, and the wedding photos are mostly processed.  One last check through in the morning and should be good to go.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Lightroom tips

Some great lightroom tips I discovered yesterday: I knew that when using the adjustment brush, you can scroll the mouse wheel to make it larger and smaller.  What I found out is that holding the shift key whilst scrolling the mouse wheel adjusts the feathering and pressing the ALT key is a quick way to select the ERASE brush. Brilliant, and makes editing that little bit quicker!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wedding shoot

I was over Warrington way yesterday for a wedding shoot with the fabulous Andrea Ellison. What a star! Picked up lots of great tips and ideas, a very useful & productive day indeed. Took 450 photos, 300 of which are good enough to process. Hopefully will get some of them posted up soon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Shoot for friends

Sent some emails out to friends to see if they would like a photo shoot doing, on a TFCD basis.  Hopefully get some takers and increase my portfolio!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Knowsley safari park photos

I thought I had lost these - took them in July of this year and then couldn't find them.  They were on a laptop I had used temporarily for a week or so. Doh!

 See them here

Here we go

Blog up and running.  I have been meaning to do this for such a long time, it is very remiss of me.  Anyway, I hope to put all sorts of photo-related thoughts and developments here.

Please don't forget to check out my website for new images (you can use the RSS feed for updates from the gallery).