still life space

I have enjoyed access to a studio for many years, I was lucky to have had one in the grounds of my old house in Wimpstone till I moved in 2007, then it was somewhat 'interesting' with moves to Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, London and Spain. Then back to Stratford on Avon! In 2013 I helped set up a studio near Stratford and until the owner sold and moved away in 2019 it was a great base and I was able to shoot most studio portraits and product shots there.

As change happens, I managed to work from a home base with a great production facility and use hire studios, however I did miss a studio, a place I can easily set up, have kit on site and feel it is my creative space. I still shoot most of my work on location, however when a suitable location recently became available I...


It was a great honour to be commissioned to photograph the author Dr Chris Laoutaris, a world authority on William Shakespeare and in the year of the 400th Anniversary of the Bard's First Folio, it is a fitting book that Chris Laoutaris has written about the folio and its publication, as a past resident of Stratford upon Avon, I was aware that Birmingham University had a centre for the study of Shakespeare, where Dr Laoutaris is an associate professor at the Shakespeare Institute, I have passed this building thousands of times, so it was a great treat to use this location to meet and photograph the author. I love the challenge of an unknown location, as it throws inspiration and problems in equal measure.

It was also cool, as in February in England, so outdoor had more...

A typical set-up for Headshots

What Professional Photographers kit do they use for Headshots?

A simple headshot can be taken with a smart phone, and in the right hands a decent result can be delivered, however if you want a professional headshot that is suitable for all uses, such as your Linkedin profile and printed in a brochure for an annual report, you require an image that is taken on something more serious.

For all the headshots I take for professional use, I shall use a full frame or medium format digital camera. I shall always have a back up body and lens, just in case.

The glass I use is dependant on what the location is, but usually I shall have a prime 85mm or 105mm lens on my FX ( Full Frame) Nikon or at least a 120mm on my Medium format Fujifilm GFX.

I am aware that there are...

Headshots for Marsh & Parsons - internal and external  Brand communication

'Headshot Photographer' is one of the most searched phrases over recent years, although everyone is a photographer it seems that for all sorts of reasons people require a headshot and are searching for a professional photographer who can deliver a great portrait. Almost everyone who has a business requires a decent headshot even if it is just for a picture on their Linkedin profile page. Most companies require a portrait of their staff even if its for security and to be put on their lanyard security ID. The company especially that sector that has only on line connection with customers, often use a small headshot that is used on website or chat line when in communication with that member of staff.

All need Headshots and just taking a picture with a smart phone...

Molten Metal - Industrial photography

Industrial photography seems like an old fashioned term, a remnant of the days when the UK was a manufacturing powerhouse, places like Birmingham with its 1000s trades and the motor city of Coventry, Crewe and Derby were the bases for the aeronautical and rail industries, but times change and specialist industries can be anywhere, not just heavy industry but nano technology and research & development for all businesses. The M40 corridor has most of the worlds Formula 1 teams based there as well as Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin.

Any industry shall need to market and communicate what it produces, even if it is just a service to an industry in a very narrow niche.

So today's Industrial photographer needs to be able to produce, stills and video of products, services...

Jonathan Smith

Back even before the Pandemic, there have been certain people who have given business advise and insights, not just as marketing strategy but with genuine generosity.

The Pandemic arrived and business’s were decimated , however some people set up on line networking and support groups. These were a life line to many and at the time I thought it was worthy of acknowledging .

Move on to opening up and I met my friend and fellow photographer Charlie Budd who stood out as one of those who facilitated many zooms with creatives and was always a positive fellow!

I was setting up for a shoot and asked him to step in so I could check the lighting, and I managed to get a strong portrait of Mr Budd and that began the project that is...

David Dimbleby

Another year comes to a close and thankfully the Pandemic has abated and normal service has resumed,? I have managed to cover the two events for Stratford Literary Festival and continue my Festival Faces project, it is a great privilege to be able to set up a pop up studio and photograph the Stars of the event, I also manage to capture portraits of those behind the scenes too.

The images are destined to be archived as part of my work at the Birmingham Archive in the Library, it is also my ambition that Stratford upon Avon has access to the collection, this is work in progress.

I am often asked who are my favorite subjects, but I certainly don't wish to single people out, each person is unique and often the resulting image is much stronger because of the...

Wild flower meadows with Bell Tents and Blue Skies

Big Skies Glamping - Cheltenham - Cotswolds

The summer seems to have flown by, it literary did with new Drone work on some projects.

The super heat may have impacted a few days, but I for one was very happy about lack of rain as days were only cancelled for too much heat (In kitchen) and some clients just changing plans.

One delightful commission was for Big Skies Glamping, a new Glamping campsite near Cheltenham, a family business run by Vicki Pettigrew.

The wonderful venue already had a website but needed an update and more images for social media, so after few visits I was able to deliver an image bank that would refresh the site and provide much more material for next seasons launch.

My drone investment and training certainly came in use although just...

Location Portrait Photographer

Portraits on Location

Last year the Commonwealth Games was a dream, something that seemed ages away, I was inspired by the fact that a new Aquatic Centre was going to be built and it would be a great legacy for the region. The next generation of swimmers would have a world class facility to use and it was not just the swimmers that shall use it, I know from personal experience as I grew up in West Bromwich, and Birmingham but I was always a fan of all things Aquatic, I watched Jacques Cousteau and from about 9 years old wanted to be a scuba diver, not just an enthusiast, but a professional. So I joined the West Bromwich Sub Aqua Club and would practice the sport in the pool at West Brom, that pool has long since shut, but it reminded me of other pools we used, Rolfe Street...


I have had the privilege to photograph the authors and celebrities at the Stratford Literary Festival since 2015, I approached the festival then as I had enjoyed a successful project with Stratford’s Art Festival with a series of portraits shot at a pop up Studio in 2014, sadly the Arts Festival did not plan to continue so an alternative annual event such as the Literary festival seemed like a natural choice. The director of the festival, Annie Ashworth kindly agreed to let me try out a season and it seemed to work well, the aim was to create a body of work that documented the subjects that visited the festival and in the long term archive the material for the town.

Now in 2022 there is another year of the festival and it celebrates its 15th year, sadly I was not involved at the...

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In the late 1970's I came across the Ernest Dyche studio at 354 Moseley Road, Sparkbrook. The owner a Malcolm Dyche was retired and generously showed me the old studio where he still occasionally worked, it was a wonderland and although I had my own studio in Digbeth ( Pictures,164 Deritend) I certainly had studio envy. There was standing at the side a contraption that had a background canvas, in fact it held over 6 backdrops and after a long negotiation I eventually purchased them and used them for a calendar project I had been commissioned to shoot. The Stand and backdrops then followed me on on a few studio moves and eventually became a decorative 'Objet d'art' in my home, initially in Warwickshire then London and back via many interesting locations. During this time I used the...


Heavy Metal -portrait photography-food photography & industrial photography.

In August 2021 I was approached by an agency client about a possible project that involved food photography and maybe a little more, thus began a journey that took me into Heavy Metal, food photography, portraits and industrial photography and videography.

A metal foundry in the black country had found that its production had fallen because of global changes, the company Chamberlin & Hill had been producing quality castings since 1890 and had decided to venture into the consumer cookware market and they designed and made a griddle and skillet.

The brand EMBA was born and I am proud that I was involved with the development and execution of the visual assets for the...

Cotswold Living

It was a surprise to be approached by a magazine editor, Sharon Martin,to be a subject of an article, I am often approached by the editorial department of magazines to provide an image of a subject they are featuring, in fact it is one of the areas of photography that I most enjoy, portraits of 'interesting' people, an article is often already written, and the subject is seen as someone worth photographing and I am always delighted to photograph the subject, however, why me as as a subject of an article?

Well I am lucky that I have photographed a large number of celebrities over the years, although I have never been a specialist in that area, but by association I suppose some of that celebrity status rubs off?

I would like to think I am not star struck or ever have been,...

Allyson Martin

The Pandemic certainly impacted my work, although I have always worked across many genre, since 2010 the majority of my work has been portrait based, with personal projects such as the ‘In the American West Midlands’ and ‘A day at the Races’ the personal work then informs the commercial commissions with Brand campaigns such as Marsh & Parsons as well as editorial portraits.

Not able to work in studios and location while lockdowns were in place, was OK as somehow product and food projects came in and I enjoyed the opportunity to work with subjects that did not have limited time or were reluctant to be in front of a camera, able to work from home with a small still life studio was a new approach that I enjoyed, but I did miss my portrait work.

Now the situation has...

Men in Black -

Why do photographer wear black?

I have for many years worn black, my sister even told her young son that I was a ‘man in black ‘ and was really some kind of covert agent, as I was often out of the country, I was actually shooting Ads but to my nephew it made sense (he is now in the industry so he understands). The ubiquitous black T shirt and black jeans, ok the jeans were often classic blue, but with a black jacket that was my uniform?

Yes, it's a uniform because I belong to a tribe, the social aspect is limited as we don’t gather together much, we often work by ourselves and spend hours on a computer processing and editing our work but still we wear the darkest colour.

I know black is flattering and can make you appear a little lighter than you are, but there are...

Rafael  Macedo

What should you do to create a good headshot for Linkedin or your social media?

Here are some suggestions, tips and tricks to ensure you have a great headshot for social media.

If you can’t access a professional headshot or portrait photographer here are some guidelines.

Use a camera phone with a ‘portrait’ lens. There are many smart phones around today, some are incredibly well specified, and may have a selection of lens.

If you can get someone else to operate it, or have it secured and get away from the camera, ideally by two metres.

1: The further away from the camera the less chance there is to have perspective distortion. This is an effect that is natural but not flattering, if you get close to someone their nose is closer and in-fact it can look...

'Brand' campaign for Marsh & Parsons

Brand Photography

The term "Brand Photography' has been around to my knowledge since the 1980's , in fact it is certainly well used and now seems like one of those Buzz words that are associated with the creative industry and terms that are used to replace advertising and marketing, when that is what it's all about. Marketing and communication is what commercial and not for profit companies do, they can be selling a product or providing a service, and in order to communicate the product or service to an audience they use many methods including photography.

So let's keep it simple, Brand photography is Advertising photography.

Well, yes and no, because communication is what is happening, and not always in an advertising context. The recent amazing work done by the...

Cirque - a sculpture by Sue Jones

CIRQUE - Sculpture or could it be a product?

Transpaent Umbrella with photographer

How a portrait photographer can work safely during Covid 19 restrictions.

Since March 2020, there has been a massive change in the way I have approached taking portraits on location and in a studio environment. As a member of the Association of Photographer I have a great resource for up to the minute guidance, and although most of the restrictions during the initial lockdown, were not initially clear, a professional photographer can continue his work, providing they do not break distance rules wear a mask or suitable PPE, and follow hygiene guidance.

Press photographer and others were out and about taking photographs & video, to capture all that was going on, some of the most poignant images were of NHS staff, patients and others that were directly affected by the...

Mask and Gloves are just part of the protocol for a safe shoot

How to Photograph food with Covid restrictions.

Photography did not stop during the Lockdown in the UK in fact there are many great examples of documentary and fine art photography during this challenging time, the way the world had changed provide great opportunities to document a momental time in a world that was experiencing such a massive social and economic change.

However business had to continue and certainly there was a massive shift to remote working and the boom in online commerce, the resulting change has meant that a great deal of new visual communication images were required, to engage with audiences, there is a massive shift toward video and yet the still image is still required. Images that respond to a new way of working and delivering services. Food was a...

Striking, double-glazed development. Built-in air-purification system.

New Brand Campaign for London Estate Agents - Marsh & Parsons.

In December 2019 and January 2020, I shot a series of portraits for my client Marsh & Parsons, the campaign was to be rolled out over the next twelve months on social media, poster sites and on their website. That was the plan, but as everyone is now aware the world changed drastically in a very short period of time, I was following the progress of the pandemic in the China and realised that the work I had produced would probably not get used for a while? As Lockdown happened, my bookings were cancelled, especially those involving people, which for a portrait specialist is about 80% of my workload, I then resigned myself to a very quiet time to say the least, however as I have seen recessions and massive...

Warwick Castle - still from Video 'Welcome Back'

Video Production to promote Shakespeare's England as a Welcoming Tourist Destination.

Business cards - are they history?

Since lockdown in March 2020 like so many others I have had little work and my marketing has involved, my social media posts, networking in the virtual Zoom world and working on the SEO for my website, I have shot personal projects but now the world is opening up, I am thinking that networking events may soon happen and life shall go back to normal?

Well we know that's not going to happen!

Social distancing shall become the new normal, networking will certainly become more on line and presenting someone you have just met with a business card, seems irrelevant ? Why would someone take a piece of card that you have touched and keep it ?

I personally love the beautifully crafted and printed cards that I have received over the years, great typography, beautiful card...

A more high tech solution if you can spend the money, turn Ring light off after zoom! Or bounce it off the wall for a softer effect.

Perfect your Video image !

The age of video face to face communication is well established, but it has now the way we shall conduct many more business & personal meetings. Face 2 Face, Google Hangout, Skype, Zoom and many other platforms are now used everyday for communication, networking & meetings.

If you are wanting to provide a good impression to the person or audience you are communicating with, then you may wish to consider these recommendations.

Clean Up.

The laptop or phone you use is open to the elements and fingerprints, carefully use a fresh plain quality tissue or clean lens cloth & gently wipe over the lens, soft focus hazy images looked ok in the 70’s but not now. The quality of lens and equipment...

Rev Richard Coles with small  Victorian canvas background

In 1974 I established my first studio as an advertising and commercial photographer in Birmingham after graduating with a Diploma in Photography from Birmingham School of Photography which was part of Birmingham Institute of Art & Design, which in turn was part of Birmingham Polytechnic that later became Birmingham City University.

The studio was called PICTURES and was located on the ground floor at 164 High Street, Deritend, Birmingham B12 0LD. My work at this time was a great mixture of product, location and general commercial commissions that were often related to the automotive industry, part of that work was photographing models that would be part of the culture of advertising, a beautiful girl with a car or industrial product was seen as perfectly natural, as they say...

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Back in December 2019 I sadly lost my domain. due to a technical issue with the domain I had owned and used since 1999, it turns out that the first web designer I employed, registered the site to a Leeds address and not to anyone named, along the twenty years of having a website and many updates and changes, the domain data never got changed, and then some cyber Robot found it and managed to stop it as it did not 'belong to anyone' , a day of blind panic and a breakdown of most of my email traffic, I managed to understand what had happened, and thought with a couple of days communication and making people see sense, the issue would be sorted, a blip but not a major disaster ? Wrong, rules is rules and it then became clear I could not get my website up and running...

Project postponed

Project postponed - Hospitality Stars - Portraits.

Sadly the impact on the Hospitality and the tourism industries of the Coronavirus has made the project Hospitality Stars a challenge to coordinate and execute, I am therefore postponing this till such times that it is appropriate to revive, my thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones and all in the hospitality industry that are affected by the impact of the medical emergency. I hope that in maybe a years time this shall be a distant memory and we can celebrate the hospitality stars in 2021.

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I am happy to announce a new Portrait Project which will celebrate the Hospitality & Food Industry in Warwickshire, Coventry & the North Cotswolds.

This is an industry that is close to my heart and began with my Nan’s Transport Cafe in West Bromwich where my mother & her brothers pitched in to provide wonderful roasts & unbelievably tasty food to long distance lorry drivers. My sister clearly influenced by this went on to hotel management, own her own bakery & outside catering company & become a hospitality industry trainer & national project manager. I too cooked in restaurants & worked in a bakery while training to become a photographer. Annual visits to my paternal uncle’s farm in Cornwall gave me a real insight into the importance of good...


It has been a privilege to photograph Venice over the years, for love & money it is one of my favourite locations in the world.

Starting in 1984 ( I was very young) I found myself at the end of a gruelling automotive shoot - photographing for Bentley Motors for the launch of the new Turbo Model, we took the road following the route of the Orient Express to Venice and with a crew of 4 .

We ended up with a spare day to visit the city of Venice as the Bentley went back to the UK with some Auto journalists.

My first sight of the city was after a very early alarm and traveling from the mainland hotel via vaporetto.

I disembarked at San Marco and walked along the side of the Grand canal heading towards Arsenal . I saw an enormous bunch of flowers following...

Simon Sebag Montefiore

Portrait of Simon Sebag Montefiore- taken at the Stratford Literary Festival

What is the difference between a Headshot photographer and a portrait photographer?

It seems that everybody in business requires a headshot, often for their Linkedin profile or for the company website, business coaches and Marcomm experts all say that you should have a professional photographer produce the image but why?

A professional should be able to improve on your best selfie and produce an image that looks professional and does the job, however is the image going to give an insight to the personality and strengths of that person? A headshot may take a few minutes to produce but it is going to be seen for a long while and it is going to represent what people think about you....

Mayflower - Avon Boats - Stratford upon Avon

Since I started taking pictures many years ago I have always had an affinity to water, my first published work was of surfers in Cornwall while I was at college and when I changed direction, from a studio to a location photographer one of the first commissions I gained was to photograph Riva Boats in Monaco, I went on to dabble in underwater photography in the Maldives and even photographed wild trout in the Cotswolds.

A couple of years ago I had an exhibition called AQUA and the river Avon certainly was featured with the ubiquitous Swan and many misty images of the water that flows through the Bards town, I would like to think that my profile was raised by the exhibition, however it was from other connections that I was approached and commissioned by Avon boats to update...

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In today's demanding work culture, I often find I have to create and deliver work yesterday, but when I have done my work is completed and I have delivered the final images, I wait till the work is published before I can put anything on social media or website, and then I wait a little longer & still it can take a year or more before I can share.

One exception to this was a recent commission I recieved, the brief was to create images and portraits for Jack Childs, and from initial contact to a live Website took a month.

Jack Childs is a remarkable young man who has a great business plan and a great talent, he delivers Inner Peace coaching and required a website to showcase his work and provide the communication to his potential...

Clock Gate house

A commission to produce an image bank of Walsall Arboretum for Walsall Co


Dracula is a recent addition to the campaign for Marsh & Parsons - as a seasonal instagram and in other media, this image is running with the Halloween season that seems more & more popular, as an excuse for children to get more sweets and the country to buy thousands of pumpkins but eat very few, the celebration of All Hallows' Day seems to have more to do with commercial gain and having fancy dress parties than celebrating a religious festival. Still the same could be said about Christmas & Easter, it is however a great excuse for taking a scary pic. Have a great Halloween !

Stratford Self Store - POD

Over the years I have enjoyed a great variety of commissions mainly through the traditional route of agency or designers. They have a client that has an advertising campaign or a brochure that requires design & photography. Often pitching against a number of competitors I found myself working as an industrial or reportage photographer and travelled to Europe and much further. From Oil rigs in the North Sea and Texas to telephone exchanges in the Middle East. This work I always found interesting and I loved the variety and the challenges they presented. My more mainstream advertising work took over with what some may say was a much more glamorous commissions with travel & consumer blue chip clients. However I never stopped taking on what I call commercial industrial work, even...



















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Andalusia -


cheltenham breakfast?