The Photoless Photoshoot – no photos… guaranteed!

Wed 19th August 5.45pm – 7.45pm – Bury St Edmunds – £15 per person including light refreshments.

Why do we hate being photographed?

Why do we think we are not photogenic?

And can we do anything about it!

Turn what you learn to your advantage, for business and pleasure – come and find out!

Do you love your image?

Do you love your image?

Change your thinking with this two hour presentation and learn to ‘Love Your Image’.

BOOK NOW! Go to booking page.

* Find out where the dislike comes from

* Learn some valuable tips on being in front of a camera

* Discover the lasting benefits to yourself and your business

* Boost your confidence

* Never worry about being photographed again!

NO-ONE WILL BE PHOTOGRAPHED!

This presentation is part of the ‘Love Your Image’ program and all attendees will have the opportunity to book this shoot at a special rate – come and find out!

When?
Wednesday 19th August 2105, 5.45pm – to 7.45pm.

Where (and how to get there)?
The Active Business Centre, Bury St Edmunds

Cost (and how to book)?
£15 per person, (plus booking fee), includes VAT and light refreshment.
Places are limited, so book your place here NOW – Go to booking page.

 

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A – Z Photography tips and information … ‘E’

‘E’ is for ‘err… a bit of a delay since the last in this series, however I’m back on it now!

So ‘E’ firstly is for ‘exposure’. Do you understand what exposure means and is determined by on your camera? Let me clarify/simplify it a little for you. Three main things determine the exposure of shot:

Aperture – discussed under ‘A’
Shutter speed – will be discussed further on
ISO – or your cameras sensor speed and sensitivity.

‘Over’ exposed mean your image has had too much light allowed in and the results will be too bright and ‘under’ exposed means just the opposite – not enough light allowed in resulting in your image being too dark.

If you leave your camera on ‘auto’, this decides on the above three settings for you, according to the composition you are framing up. Understanding how to gain a good exposure also involves getting your head round your cameras metering – which I will cover further on.

Have attached a couple of very random examples of both over and under exposed images.

Over exposed Over exposed

Better exposed. Better exposed.

Under exposed. Under exposed.

Better exposed. Better exposed.

 

‘E’ is also for ‘expressions’ – in my opinion capturing a natural expression in people photography, is what rates a successful image and one that people will like of themselves, whether it’s smiling or serious. There can be a very fine line between a truly natural expression in a person and the one that displays a degree of tension, stiffness, or just not appearing quite comfortable. This is why many people like images of themselves when they didn’t know a photograph was being taken and their attention was elsewhere. Many many times, I see people become quickly uncomfortable as soon as a camera is produced!

So consider this, among other reasons, it can be a self perpetuating thing. You see an image you don’t like of yourself and next time you’r e in front of a camera, consciously or not, tension creeps in and you don’t know where to look or how to be – indeed, you may put on a brave face, but inside are wishing the whole process was over… and it shows! So you see yet another image of yourself you’re not particularly happy with and so it repeats itself – you just resign to thinking you don’t take a good photograph.

But, who was in charge of the camera, did they try to put you at ease and guide you how to stand/pose? The feeling ‘uncomfortable’ only likely crept in when the camera appeared (unless you were already not in the best of moods)!

People are a lot more photogenic than they think!! 

 

That Cycling Challenge…

You may recall I blogged back at the beginning of April about a cycling challenge I was committing to in order to raise funds for Action Medical Research. Well it all happened and the whole experience was definitely worth writing about. Not only about the experience, but also the parallels I drew from running my own business.

Have to go back to February when training started, after a potent cold, but itching to get back on my bike! As the weekends were the only real opportunities to do any distance, we started with a 30 miler, which was sort of within my capabilities then. I say ‘we’, my partner and I took the opportunity to go out together, where he helped pace me and initially take some of the hard work out of cycling into cold head winds. Each weekend, we would increase the distances… 36, 51, 55, 62, 71, and finally an 82. Some of these weeks, we would do a similar distance two weeks running, before increasing. During the week, would try and get out when I could and keep the legs turning and would be anywhere between 10 and 30 miles.

During this time, in addition to dealing with cold temperatures and blustery winter winds, we were chased by a St Bernard dog and had to turn on the pace very quickly! I fell off one day after mis-judging a junction and not getting out of my cleats in time, but mortified to find I’d holed a brand new pair of cycling tights (doh!). Managed to get rather dehydrated on the 80 miler and half way round was wondering if I would get home. Fortunately after stopping in Elmswell and buying water and lucozade sport, managed to get enough energy back to finish. Also discovered when tired, how much I wanted to curse my (lovely partner) personal trainer and warned him to ignore me if I did!!

Lessons learned!!

However, further lessons had to be covered in how to remove both front and back wheels to repair road side punctures, which did happen on one of my training rides.

Also learned how to feed myself along the way. It was no fun in eating too much at a fuel stop and then feeling very sick on the first hill after setting out again! Recovery drinks and food once you’ve finished, plus stretching exercises, are all important to help your energy levels afterwards.

An unexpected occurrence was that the distance rides interrupted my sleep at night… not what you think really, so tiredness was a factor to endure to also keep working.

Yes there was the feeling of incredible well being the day after, so it kind of balanced itself out. So fitness increased and so did my average speed 🙂 Was taught how to keep the cadence going and how to attack and handle hills. Oh believe me, Suffolk has hills! It might not be quite the Lake District, but still!

So challenge day was with us on May 10th – up at 5am to get ready and down to Framlingham College, in time to sign in and register and get ready to leave in one of the early waves at 7.30am. There were three different distances people had signed up to do and we were on the 100 miler. Although we set of together, it was never the plan to do the challenge together, my effort was all about pacing it so I could complete the course… and him indoors, wanted to get round in the best time he could achieve.

At the start line

The day was forecast to be good as far as sunshine and temperature; however the winds were going to be a bit blustery. All the training truly paid off!! Enjoyed the large part and made sure I kept hydrated, and fueled. Even found myself watching all the different cycling shirts around and the most amusing one read ‘The fat lad at the back’!

The first segment was about 20 miles, with a fuel stop at Sutton, all good so far, with some encouraging words from a friend! Second segment was about 33 miles and the longest. Along the way came across couples, individuals and several cycling groups came streaming past, but largely did it on my own. The second stop was at Leiston and when I turned into the venue, a sea of lycra and bikes met my eyes!!! More to drink and eat and still felt ok. The third segment was about 25 miles which took us to Metfield and after a brief drink, eat and loo stop got on my way for the last push. After enjoying a tail wind while travelling up the coast, now had a side wind and shortly after Metfield the route took a sharp turn left and headed south again. This was straight into a head wind and a hill! So the last 20 miles were hard… and there were more hills. I started counting down the miles… after a left turn in the last 10, with a steep hill ahead noticed a paramedic car on the side of the road… thinking good idea! The steep hills saw my speed reduced to just over 6 mph, but could never stop and get off… never! Things were starting to ache… I don’t really remember which, probably felt like everything. The signpost ‘FRAMLINGHAM’ appeared, oh joy, nearly back!

The finish line!

So entering the college gates, to see my lovely partner waiting for me and waving his arms and I was timed over the line at 8 hours and 24 mins – JOB DONE!!!! Actual cycling time was 6 hours 48 minutes which gave me an average of about 15.1mph, was pleased and within the time I’d hoped.

After getting off my bike and trying to walk back to the car, found I couldn’t walk up straight and kept leaning forward as if on my bike 🙂 – So big sense of achievement! Never felt so tired in all my life that evening, but kudos to the training, bounced back the next day and did a 12 mile recovery ride.

Proof!

This time last year, wouldn’t have believed I could do this and now looking for the next challenge. So like all the challenges of running your own business, have learned never to underestimate what you can achieve if you try. Yes there will hard times; yes you will get a few things wrong and want to give up along the way, but by preparing and getting it right, you’d be surprised what you can do.

If any of this has helped you, it’s not too late to donate to Action Medical Research, the children they support have much bigger hurdles to address.

http://www.action.org.uk/sponsor/pennymorganphotography

Thank you for reading.

Can you help me reach the finish line on the 10th May…?

Somewhat nervous, but hooked all the same, have set myself a challenge to cycle the Suffolk 100 on May 10th this year – www.action.org.uk/suffolk-sunrise-100

Action Medical Research are a great cause to raise funds for and I would really be encouraged not to give up, when every part of me is hurting, if I know by doing this, not only as a personal challenge, will be raising money for this charity.

Now while I love cycling, the thought of spending a minimum of 7 hours in the saddle to cover the 100 miles, is seriously daunting… there will be hills… yes Suffolk has hills (!)… and would really appreciate your help with whatever you feel you can donate.

The link to my donation page is – www.action.org.uk/sponsor/pennymorganphotography

Cycle challenge

Cycle challenge

Thank you all in advance :)… can I be the fastest female photographer on 2 wheels?

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A-Z photography tips and information… D

D … Is for DO’s and DON’Ts –

DON’T underestimate how good an image you can take. Did you see the head shot images under the previous blog (‘C’ is for Confidence) and think, perfectly achievable for ‘others’ but not for you? Have you asked yourself why? Why can everyone else seem to take good photographs but not you – so what does that tell you? Could you identify why you feel like this?

In the past, did you have a bad experience, or did you see a photograph of yourself you didn’t like?

DO read the previous blog – ‘C’ for Confidence.

DO consider that you can change the way you feel – by having an enjoyable photo shoot with an experienced photographer, getting better results, be given the right information to help you understand – could you see yourself in a better light?

DO explore why you might dislike being photographed, or your opinion of your image.

DO ask yourself, what it would take for me to change the way I feel/think about my image?

DO consider, everything you DON’T like about your photograph, is actually what makes you different and unique and pretty dam good! – DO give yourself a break!

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D is also for Depth of Field – now don’t switch off and think, I’ve heard of that and it sounds technical! Depth of field is a term used for the amount, or range of your composition that is in focus i.e. from front to back. It is mainly achieved or influenced by the aperture used (talked about under the letter ‘A’), focusing distance and your camera type. I’ve attached a couple of samples; the first has quite a large depth of field, showing most of the famous Sydney Opera House in focus and the second is a shallow depth of field – the petal and stamen of the foreground poppy are sharp, where the poppies behind are definitely not.

Sydney Opera House

 

Poppies

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A – Z Photography tips and information… C

I’m going to devote the letter ‘C’ to one of my favorite soapbox subjects…

C is for CONFIDENCEconfidence in front of the camera… not taking photographs, but being photographed. Come with me on this one, it may go on longer than the normal bite size chunks of information!

The larger part of the population feels uncomfortable being photographed, assuming they either don’t photograph well, or are just not photogenic. There is quite a ‘love/hate’ relationship, whether it’s with the experience, the results, both, or something else!

Yet we are photographed more than ever these days… wouldn’t it be such a change for the better if we could resist jumping to the ‘same old’ assumptions when seeing an image of ourselves we don’t particularly like. With a greater awareness and understanding of why we feel like this, many people would start to have a change of heart, greater confidence and a huge improvement in how they feel about it. There seems to be an assumption, that if someone picks up a camera, points it at someone and ‘clicks’… the results are down to the person being photographed … and yet the success of any other photography, be it landscape, structural, still life, animals, wildlife … it’s all down to the photographer!? – odd that one!

There are numerous reasons that contribute towards people feeling like this and yet time and time again I hear people referring to something they didn’t necessarily create (unless it’s a selfie!), but were the subject and assume it’s down to them and how they look in the results. It’s sort of understandable, when we look at an image of ourselves, that’s all we see and don’t consider elements beyond it.

To start with, a photograph captures a moment in time and the decision the person in charge of the camera made of when to press the shutter. If you suddenly find yourself in front of a camera when someone (for example) has decided they want to capture a ‘hearty’ moment among friends, you can be captured with any number of expressions according to how you reacted at the time… and if it was not particularly flattering, it doesn’t mean you cannot take a good photograph! 

Many people refer to images taken, not knowing it was being shot, that they really like, this is due to the person in charge of the camera capturing the best moment. There is a tension that comes with being self conscious and we very can quickly lose our lovely natural expressions.

There are many other reasons that affect us, external influences, our own experiences, technical – I challenge the saying ‘the camera never lies’ – it’s not strictly true, for example phone and tablet camera’s are notoriously bad at distorting facial features!

… and then there is light(!)… this can be your friend and foe. Cameras do not interpret shadows and highlights as well as our eyes do. Soft diffused light is much more flattering than say bright, high, outdoor direct light.

However I want to conclude with an earlier point about our wonderful natural expressions. They are there in every one of us and the person in charge of the camera who captures this in you, whether a professional photographer or not, is the one who captures the best in you. As an illustration, I’ve included one of my ‘walls of fame’; being a small selection of people I’ve had the pleasure to capture. I appreciate many of these are studio lit (not all), however, it’s their natural expression that were captured.

Natural expressions

You may have noticed, I’ve been highlighting the phrase ‘the person in charge of the camera’ – so take heart, you can take a good image and it’s not all your fault, or all down to you :)!

A – Z Photography tips and information… B

(B) is for black and white – sometimes the success of a shot is in its simplicity and removing the colour can aid this and change the focus. Plus, mixed with the right lighting (covered under ‘L’) it can bring a great ‘mood’ quality to the image, shown below in a small selection of very different examples.

Black and white photographs

(B) is also for… background – not so obvious, to the point it’s easy to forget them altogether – especially when you are concentrating on your foreground image! Then you end up with objects suddenly appearing in your finished composition that you hadn’t seen at the time of capture! A telegraph pole sticking out the top of someone’s head is never a good look!

So look out for them! A shifting of the camera or your position (often quite small) can save the whole composition of your image. The photo below of the young lady sitting on the beach is a simple example, positioning her in between two upright posts in the background that have strong shadows. If you have a tricky background, observe if it’s possible to use it to your advantage, i.e. frame your image with the background… or move altogether and get another angle.

There are other factors to consider with backgrounds covered further on in the series, so watch out for those 🙂

Background example
I’ll try and remember to refer back to comments mentioned under previous letters that may be relevant to another tip 🙂

 

A – Z Photography tips and information… starting with A

Thought it would be worthwhile and interesting to create an A to Z of photography tips and information… in bite size chunks, not too technical or long winded. While I’ll cover some photography ‘jargon’ and try and make it as ‘non techie’ as possible, will introduce a few less obvious things to consider… all relevant and my own take on the subject.

So (A) is for… aperture (an obvious one)! Very simply, this is the hole in the lens that allows the light through to record your image onto the sensor of your camera. Measured in something called ‘F’ stops, these just represent a ratio between the diameter of the aperture (hole) and focal length of your lens. The lower the ‘F’ stop number, the bigger the aperture (or hole) and more light gets allowed in – the higher the ‘F’ stop number, the smaller the aperture and less light gets allowed through.

(A) is also for ‘angles’ – an important part in the composition of an image. Just one example below regarding portrait images – notice body angles, face angles… angles are all over these images, all creating an interesting an appealing position, BUT, kept in perspective and looking natural. The same angles are not right for everyone in a given situation and it’s important for the success of a shot to find those that best suit your subject… even if you are taking a selfie!

TipsInfo(a)

Subscribing to the blog will keep you up to date with the next letters and more pieces of the information puzzle will fall into place – enjoy your camera… 🙂

You can Love Your Image…

Sometimes blogs can be a bit like waiting for a bus… however…!

In January of this year I gave a talk on a very common subject, but very little discussed – those who dislike being photographed and think they’re not very photogenic.

If you think it’s all down to you and there’s nothing that can be done… think again and read on. The cause can be very different from person to person, but the result is very similar.

Hear me out… it’s not all down to you and there is something you can do about it.

Imagine being completely comfortable in front of the camera and not let it become a repeated challenge to your self esteem.

I’ve launched a specially designed experience to help you explore this further and discover a fresh new outlook and confidence.

Click on the image to read more, or, the following link, for full information on the website – LOVE YOUR IMAGE:

LYIPromotion Leaflet A5 (P)sm
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et in touch if you would like to learn more:

Telephone: 0845 257 2038

Contact: Via the website

 

Awesome Autumn 2014 promotions…

Well it’s been a long and busy summer, with shoots as varied as I can remember!

I have a bag full of blogs waiting to share with you, but in the meantime have launched a couple of Autumn promotions.

The first is so important to those of us in business and was recently reminded by a clients quote… a strong indication that good profile photographs can draw people to you.

“I get a lot of compliments on the photo’s that you did! I ask all my clients where they found me and a good majority of them reply from my website.  They chose me because they like my photo and I look approachable! ” 🙂

I will be arranging the first session dates in the next week if you would like to take advantage of this promotion.

Click on the image, or, the following link for further information – LATEST PROMOTIONS.

Head&ShouldersPromotion

The second is making the most of our lovely autumn colours that have started to appear and a great opportunity to enjoy some valuable downtime to yourself or with your family.

I won’t mention the ‘C’ word yet, but a promotion worth considering if you would like gift ideas!

These shoots will be arranged and held at a beautiful outdoor Suffolk location – flexibility with our lovely British weather will be allowed for!

Click on the image to read all the information.

Awesome Autumn promotion
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ou can get in touch via email, phone, or my website for any further information.