Photography Project – Teenage Life During Covid-19 Lockdown

Posted in Tips and News from Piranha, Oxford
Dog walking during Covid-19 lockdown

Photograph selected by Leica to feature on the LFI Gallery Covid-19 #stayhome project page.

Covid-19 Lockdown Photography Project

During the Covid-19 Lockdown I have started a photography project – photographing teenage life. At this time the children are unable to attend school and only allowed to leave the house for exercise once a day.

Lack of routine can be challenging at these times.  There will be an extended period of adjustment to this new and uncertain world pandemic. Normally the kids are untroubled by world news, but at the moment there seems to be a low level of constant anxiety as the BBC news is directly affecting the whole family for the first time.  This can manifest in different ways, perhaps losing temper or seeking parent company more often.

Everyday activities have assumed a greater significance and I have set myself the challenge of using my Leica cameras to take an interesting and different photograph each day to try and show this.  I expect the kids will remember this period for the rest of their lives.

As a photographer for over 20 years the challenge is to consider what to photograph and when and keep the project style consistent.  I want to capture what under normal circumstances would be a trivial subject and elevate it to this new significance.

Leica LFI International have been featuring my images on their #stayhome page.

Setting up for home schooling in teenagers bedroom

Preparing for the first day of home schooling. Laptop at the ready for facetime lessons and written homework. Teachers have to adjust also to teaching to a remote classroom, some students away now in different time zones. I thought I’d include the typical bomb site of a teenager’s bedroom, which is being ignored for now.

Washing up as part of the day of a teenager in lockdown

It is strange to be eating at home on a school day, with everyone being together for every meal. Even the household chores can be a break from home schooling, a view through the kitchen window added to a sense of reflectance.  Photograph selected by Leica to feature on the LFI Gallery Covid-19 #stayhome project page.

Breakfast time in lockdown household photographed reflected in Oven door

Picture to show family life during lockdown. This image is a reflection shown in the oven as a large part of the family conversation now revolves around the menu for evening meals . The children are catching up on news with their friends via social media before starting their day of home schooling.

Putting practice by teenage boy during lockdown

The lockdown has now closed all the golf courses, so the most practice that can be carried out for a keen golfer is putting practice at home with a green baize mat that can be placed anywhere for a bit of variation.

Lockdown exercise - a walk to see the empty streets

Clementine shown here during her daily period of exercise. She is pictured walking past SAID Business School in Oxford. The pedestrian area shown is normally bustling with students and workers.

Piano practice during the Corona crisis

Many hours of lockdown are spent playing the piano the concentration makes for ideal escapism. Here the headphones prove a useful tool in a crowded home with the electric piano and TV all in the same room.  Photograph selected by Leica to feature on the LFI Gallery Covid-19 #stayhome project page.

Dog walking during the lockdown

Walking a neighbour’s energetic dog during lockdown on Port Meadow, a tranquil area of Oxford that has been untouched since Saxon Times and popular with dog walkers and the occaisional brave swimmer. It is a welcome relief to be out in the sunshine for both the dog and teenager.

Photograph of Lunch at home during Covid-19 lockdown

A cheering lunch complete with lemon drizzle cake. Keeping the teenagers happy. Photographed from above to alter the perspective, using my trustee Gitzo tripod.  A couple of years ago I carried out much research into tripods to find the lightest yet strongest and settled on the Gitzo carbon fibre.

Teenager during lockdown photographed with Graffiti behind

Teenager during exercise break, photographed in a tunnel with soothing graffiti behind.

Teenager pumping up tyres on old bike during Covid-19 Lockdown, ready to go for a bike ride.

Getting ready for a bike ride. Pumping up the tyres after a couple of years of neglect, ready to go in a couple of minutes. For shallow depth of field so that the face is sharp and remainder softly out of focus, I used a Leica 90mm portrait lens – the Summicron APO.

Edmund scrubbing the oven to get it clean. Photographed on Leica camera with Voigtlander 15mm lens.

Edmund is cleaning the oven after a roast. Strange times indeed – Kudos to him. Photographed using Leica camera and Voigtlander 15mm lens.

 

Photograph of Clementine working on the school robot ready for competition at Southampton University.

School science projects need to continue during the lockdown. Here Clementine is upgrading the school robot entry into this year’s competition at Southampton University.

Leica photograph of teenager playing Angry Angus electric guitar

During lockdown, learning the basics of rock guitar. A challenge which takes time but there is plenty of that a present.

Everyday activities have assumed a greater significance and I have set myself the challenge of taking a creative and different photograph each day to try and show this. - Douglas Fry Photographer

Portrait Photography of Clowns International, Grimaldi Church Service in London

Posted in Tips and News from Piranha

Photograph of clown taken in London

Each year there is a service at All Saints Church in Haggerston, East London, for the Grimaldi Service, all organised through Clowns International.

Joseph Grimaldi 1778-1837 is credited with founding the modern idea of the clown in England. Members of the public are encouraged to attend but the central pews are left for the clowns.

Selection of photographs of clowns

I thought I would get to the church early and set up a tight portrait space, with studio lighting and black background to make the clowns colourful costumes and faces stand out.  I am pleased with the results and the uncluttered look of the images, which I feel focuses more on the personality of the clowns. By the time the service started the church was absolutely packed, so I had to work fast to capture as many images as possible.

Clown family pictured together

One of the most interesting aspects of the day was to have an opportunity for several conversations with the clowns themselves, and to hear about their personal life stories, and what had brought them to clowning.

Clowns with different props - group of 4 images

I used a Leica M240, 35mm Summilux and Elinchrom flash (with an Octa softbox).  I have offered the portraits to the clowns for their own web pages.

Clown father with son posing for photograph

Clowns photographed in London

One of the most interesting aspects of the day was to have an opportunity for several conversations with the clowns themselves - Douglas, photographer

NEWS FLASH – Location Photography – Photographic innovation and imagination for familiar shoots

Posted in Tips and News from Piranha

Beach hut photograph by Piranha on BBC websiteFamiliar shoots demand photographic innovation and imagination

At the turn of the 20th Century, the modernist movement in art and literature coined its famous dictum: ‘Make it New.’

‘Making it New’ addressed the challenge of looking at familiar objects or landscapes as if through fresh eyes, trying to recapture the essence of seeing something for the first time.

It’s a challenge every photographer faces when trying to bring something new to familiar territory such as boardroom shoots when the only things that appear to have changed since the last one is that the directors are a little older or new directors have joined.

Photograph of beach hut on Portland

But with imagination and photographic technical know-how, it is still possible to Make it New for any professional photographer who relishes a challenge.

How so?  First, familiar settings offer opportunities to apply different photographic techniques, such as new compositions or framing. Then there’s the chance to use different styles such as reportage photography. This can be combined with more formal shots of meetings in progress, or with classic single headshots or group shots. Each client’s needs will be different. Lastly, lighting can also be varied, from flash to natural, or from high to low contrast. There are many ways at our disposal to freshen things up.

Photograph of a number of beach huts on Portland in Dorset

Technically, things are always changing too, and I’m working with new lenses and Leica camera bodies. And then there’s image processing, with the continuing improvements made to software like Lightroom and Capture 1 that give many more options to create distinctive styles that are fresh and contemporary.

I bring the same approach to my non-commercial work. I’ve been photographing the beach huts on Portland Bill in Dorset for nearly 30 years, and have pleasure in attaching one picture that was recently featured by the BBC

The huts offer huge photographic potential in all weathers, with the light constantly changing on the tip of Portland depending on the seasons, sea spray and time of day. In other words, the scenes are always new even though they are familiar.

Close up photograph of blue wooden door and window of beah hut

When I first began taking pictures of the seaside huts I used my film cameras – Leica M6’s and Fuji Velvia film. I have now progressed to Leica M10’s framing the huts on the same lens – 50mm Summilux.

If you think your board pictures or other corporate photography could do with some fresh thinking and a little inspiration, please get in touch. It’s always possible to Make it New for the New Year ahead.

When I first began taking pictures of the seaside huts I used my film cameras - Leica M6’s and Fuji Velvia film. I have now progressed to Leica M10’s framing the huts on the same lens - 50mm Summilux - Douglas, Photographer

Boardroom Ethnic Diversity – You can’t be what you can’t see

Posted in Board Photography, Tips and News from Piranha

February 2020 – update to the below boardroom research into Ethnic Diversity carried out by Piranha Photography –

Here is the link to the news article on the BBC talking about boardroom ethinic diversity –

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-51371670

It seems since the survey carried out by Piranha Photography in 2018 nothing much has change in the boardroom

The Parker report also found even lower representation at board level across FTSE 250 companies, where 119 out of 173 (69%) had no ethnic diversity.

Boardroom Ethnic Diversity - You can’t be what you can’t see 1

Original Research by Piranha Photography into Boardroom Ethnic Diversity in 2018 –

One of the pleasures of my work is being able to visit companies on their premises during photo-shoots. You learn a lot when inside the citadel.

One thing I  notice is that there’s often a big difference between the ethnic diversity of their workforces and that of the board of directors when it comes to the largest companies.

In short, at large companies their workforces are generally multicultural, reflecting the ethnic diversity of modern Britain.

But the boardrooms are not. I see very few directors from black or minority ethnic backgrounds sitting on big company boards.

As a photographer, I know how important images are to corporate story telling. If you see pictures of someone from a BAME background filling the most senior company roles, it sends a strongly encouraging message to others who aspire to reach the top of these organisations. It also demonstrates there are no barriers to anyone rising through the ranks regardless of their background.

Boardroom Ethnic Diversity - You can’t be what you can’t see 2

But my experience is one thing, but is this true of the other large UK companies I’ve never stepped a foot inside of?

To test my theories about the lack of board room diversity, Piranha analysed the latest annual reports of each of the FTSE 100 companies counting the numbers of photographs showing BAME board directors.

Our simple but effective way of measuring a board’s composition found that over half of the main boards (56 boards) have no directors that appear to be from Black or Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

Moreover, out of the rest of the FTSE 100 companies with BAME directors on their main boards, 33 companies had just a single director from an apparently  BAME background.

Only one FTSE 100 company, Dubai-based healthcare group NMC Health PLC), had BAME directors in the majority (6 out of 11 directors) are non-white.

We also looked at women board directors. The good news is that none of the FTSE 100 boards comprised male only directors. The bad news is just one board – Royal Dutch Shell’s –  reached parity of the sexes with equal representation of male and female directors.

In wrapping up, while we wait for boards to boost their numbers of women and BAME directors, we can at least ensure corporate images of staff are ethnically diverse where possible, because it’s not difficult to achieve, as long as the people commissioning the photographs are wise to the issue.

I think your photographs are fantastic and there are some group shots in particular that capture a moment so perfectly and look so natural, I think they are brilliant. - Design Manager, Equistone Partners Europe Limited

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for 2019

Posted in Tips and News from Piranha

Christmas card from Piranha

To contact – Helen and Douglas House

NEWS FLASH – Choosing the right size image file means no more funny business

Posted in Tips and News from Piranha

Photograph showing Motorway Billboard

Choosing the right size image file means no more funny business

Many people, I’ve found, struggle to use digital picture files properly. Too many assume that a bigger file must be best, whether it’s for images in an email, billboards, a LinkedIn post, general website content, other marketing materials, or indeed those used throughout an Annual Report.

This is, completely untrue. There are ideal files sizes depending on the job they are there to do, and these can be very small indeed. For example, for LinkedIn content a smaller file produces sharper, more detailed images than anything larger, which is why this matters if you are trying to reproduce your best photographs or graphics.

Time magazine and LinkedIn Mockup with portrait

Here’s the brief technical explanation of how it works. A pixel is the smallest unit of any digital image. Today’s modern digital cameras produce images comprised of millions of them.

Each image has a height and width which can be measured in centimetres, inches or pixels. Pixels are actually the most useful measure because they provide all the data needed to cover any use. The pixel dimensions of a common, large monitor these days is 1920 x 1200 pixels. If you wish to send a full screen image to a colleague this is all the info you need. This file will only require about 250KB of disk space, which is much smaller than people imagine they need to send by email, especially when you think how rarely your image is needed to literally fill an entire screen.

This means a real world email-sized image that fills no more than half the screen would be much smaller. It’s not just that image will be sharper, the file you sent will leave your outbox faster and won’t clog up the recipient’s email inbox, which never goes down well with clients or colleagues.

If your image is destined for LinkedIn these are 400 x 400 pixels, which need only tiny 19KB files.

Just ask your photographer to resize images for you to the correct dimensions and then upload to LinkedIn etc and see the much better results.

Annual Report Front Cover Mockup with portrait

If you need to send a folder full of images I recommend using Photoshop. If this is a bit daunting, there are some nifty software apps like Fastone Resizer for PC or Image Resizer for Mac, which are easy to use and allow useful presets to be setup and stored such as ‘email’ or ‘LinkedIn’ etc.

These can be saved into a new folder when you are ready to send it out.

Another alternative is file sharing software like Dropbox. This is better when you have larger files, say for materials to be professionally printed, or if the total size of your folder exceeds 2MB because of the number of images in it.

There are ideal files sizes depending on the job they are there to do - Douglas, Photographer

BBC Website Photography

Posted in Tips and News from Piranha, Location / Annual Report Photography

These images featured on the BBC website . The themes supplied by the BBC for the photography vary and so the subject matter can be anything the photographer decides to choose.  These are particular favourites, that have appeared on the website recently.  They tend to choose quirky slightly unusual images, that stand out visually and prompt the viewer to think differently. –

Beach hut photographed and supplied to BBC for 'Blended' story

Photograph taken in Italy of lake featuring on BBC website

Photograph taken at ComicCon on the theme of identity featuring on BBC website

Portrait Photography – Shooting In The Great Outdoors

Posted in Corporate Portrait Photography, Outdoor Portraits, Tips and News from Piranha

Corporate portrait taken outdoors in London

Shooting in the great outdoors

Head and shoulders portrait photography of a senior executive shot against a plain grey or white background are always going to be essential for corporate press and marketing materials.

But don’t forget that for other occasions when your business needs to stand out, these standard Recent portrait photography by Piranha might not be powerful enough to grab your audience’s attention or make them think.

Contrast this with outdoor portrait photography by Piranha location shots, which when taken professionally, are naturally thought provoking while also providing greater context about the business.

As fashions change, we’ve found clients want their corporate imagery to be fresh and exciting and not me-too and tired. All of which is helping me persuade more and more clients to spare me around 10 minutes of their time to be photographed in the great outdoors.

Photograph of employee taken in London Street

Take it as read I’ll have scouted suitable locations near to their workplace before the shoot. Then armed with little more than a large reflector and Leica’s fast lenses, I can guarantee a set of portraits in under 10 minutes that are the opposite of business as usual.

If you look at the examples below from recent shoots, you’ll see they look more interesting than a standard corporate headshot.

Employee photograph taken in London with graffiti behind

 

Outdoor location shots, when taken professionally, are naturally thought provoking while also providing greater context about the business. - Douglas, Photographer

Keeping clients, journalists and publishers happy with fresh and contemporary photographic content

Posted in Head Shots, PR Photography, Tips and News from Piranha
Portrait Photograph of Director taken for London private equity business by Piranha Photography

Above photograph featured in Private Equity International

Contemporary photographic content is constantly evolving and it’s important for me as a professional photographer to hear the latest views from leading companies, agencies, publishers and editors.

Last week, I booked myself on a commercial photography weekend with Magnum Photo, where The FT Weekend Magazine, Diana Markosian (World Press Photo Award Winner), ‘Barbara’ the lifestyle/advertising and design agency and ’Shoot Europe,’ a production company whose clients include Nike, shared their opinions on how brands can best use pictures and video to stay fresh and contemporary. We also discussed emerging trends in digital content.

While each had their own opinion, all the contributors agreed the need for strong-yet-considered photography that is consistently presented across all forms of communication, from websites to corporate reports, marketing materials, blogs and social media feeds.

They also stressed just how important it is to be able to understand and work within a brief – usually working alongside journalists and publishers – to produce results that photographer and client are happy with.

I’d love to discuss over a coffee how to produce stand out photographic imagery in the real world of tight deadlines, restricted budgets and clients with very strong opinions and working habits.

Please get in touch and we can meet at your convenience.

Best wishes, Douglas

020 7193 9446

Commercial photographic content is constantly evolving and it’s important for me as a professional photographer to hear the latest views from leading companies - Douglas, photographer
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