Candid Creativity: Blog http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog en-us (C) Ingrid Abraham info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) Mon, 04 May 2015 14:10:00 GMT Mon, 04 May 2015 14:10:00 GMT St Paul's Cathedral | Surprise St Paul's 2 http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2015/4/st-pauls-cathedral-surprise-st-pauls-2 On Wednesday 8 April 2015, for the first time in its history, St Paul's Cathedral opened its doors exclusively to photographers. This venue is usually a photography-free zone but, I was one of the privileged 300 photographers with a £10 ticket to wander freely around St Paul's Cathedral between 18:15 and 20:30 with camera in hand. All of the money received went directly to the fundraising team.

In 2014 there was a Surprise St Paul's event which gave ticket holders the opportunity to photograph the outside of the building and this proved to be a resounding success, and prompted this year's event.

My initial thought upon entering the cathedral was to photograph the impressive roof, but it seemed that the vast majority had exactly the same idea. Instead, I decided to try and find some less obvious hidden gems. I hope that a follow-up event is organised next year, at which point I can take on the mighty roof and hope to do it justice!

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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) Sir Christopher Wren St Paul's Cathedral Surprise St Paul's 2 http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2015/4/st-pauls-cathedral-surprise-st-pauls-2 Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:09:00 GMT
UKSA | Step Forward http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/12/uksa-step-forward I've spent the last two years working for The Challenge as a photography practitioner on their NCS programme, teaching photography to 16/17 year olds in Hackney and Islington. While working with The Challenge this year, I found out about a new initiative they were about to launch called Step Forward, so I successfully applied to become a part-time mentor/tutor.

In my former life as a college lecturer, I always felt that young people should be taught values as well as what was on the syllabus, but this was sadly lacking. So when I read about the Step Forward principles: Stick at it, Team first, Empower yourself and Professionalism, my decision to work for them was a no-brainer.

Step Forward is a London-based apprenticeship scheme for motivated 18 year olds which gives them work experience, the opportunity to study for a qualification and professional development training. At the moment there are three career pathways in Accounting, Business Support Services and Admin with Youth Work. In 2015 this will be expanded to five pathways: Accounting, Business Support Services, IT, Software and Web Development, Social Media and Digital Marketing, and Working with Children.

The Step Forward induction kicked off with a gathering at The Ibis Hotel, Southwark on 25 August 2014, a very wet Bank Holiday Monday. I was part of a team of five staff who accompanied 42 apprentices, but I'm only mentoring 13 of them and they're called Team Bingham, named after Liz Bingham. The other groups are named after Warren Buffett and Geoffrey Canada.

You know what it's like when people meet for the first time - everyone on their best behaviour and cautiously eyeing each other up. We got the introductions out of the way and did some ice-breaker activities, then after lunch we boarded our coach which was waiting for us outside the hotel to take us to Portsmouth, then onto a ferry for a five-day residential induction at UKSA on the Isle of Wight.

The apprentices had a full itinerary of paddleboarding, dinghy sailing, kayaking, orienteering, keel boating, raft building and racing on the River Medina and the Solent. I love being on boats and am a good swimmer, but the thought of capsizing a small vessel in open water turns me into a complete wuss! Consequently, I opted for 'shore duty' for most of the week with the exception of a trip on the Solent in a keel boat with some of my mentees, but only after the UKSA staff assured me that it was virtually impossible to tip it over.

Even though they were way outside of their comfort zones, all of the apprentices fully embraced the experience, which bodes well for how they'll cope with working full-time whilst simultaneously studying for a qualification.

(c)INGRID ABRAHAM

(c)INGRID ABRAHAM (c)INGRID ABRAHAM (c)INGRID ABRAHAM (c)INGRID ABRAHAM (c)INGRID ABRAHAM Please leave a comment below. It would also be really great if you could Tweet, 'like' on Facebook or +1 this post using the buttons above.

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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) Accounting Bank Holiday Business Support Services Cowes Geoffrey Canada Hackney IT, Software and Web Development Ibis Hotel Isle of Wight Islington Liz Bingham NCS Portsmouth River Medina River Solent Social Media and Digital Marketing Step Forward The Challenge UK Sailing Academy UKSA Warren Buffett Working with Children infrared photography photography practitioner professional development training http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/12/uksa-step-forward Mon, 01 Dec 2014 22:53:34 GMT
InspireURBiz | Insight2Marketing http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/11/inspireurbiz-insight2marketing On Sunday 16 November 2014, I was booked to photograph the inaugural InspireURBiz networking event at Hope Community Hall in Beckenham. Hosted by Insight2Marketing, this event had something for everyone - a range of business suppliers, expert speakers, a wellness and massage area, refreshments and goody bags. 

The first speaker was Jackie Groudsell, founder of 1230 The Women's Company which hosts regular meetings in Beckenham to help women activities for children.

network and grow their businesses. Jackie talked about the benefits of networking and later ran a very lively speed networking session.

Next up was Ivan Reffell, owner of The Best of Bromley who talked about effective marketing to get a business started in the right way.

Philip Poku, founder of Young Graduates Day Nursery gave up studying at university to follow his dream of setting up a day nursery which is now a chain of nurseries. He talked about the work he put into building credibility, and being accountable for the actions of his staff and having to deal with Ofsted. 

Ben Towers is a 16 year old entrepreneur who decided to buck the trend at his grammar school, and become a freelancer instead of working towards gaining a place at university. He gave us an insightful look at the barriers he has faced due to his young age.

Sherica Spence told her moving story about Skye Alexandra House. The entire room was captivated by her fascinating journey of truimphs and setbacks and the role her faith has played. She also shared with us the significance of key family members who have given her the strength to persevere.  

Lucy Matthews of Marvellous PR had great rapport and gave valuable tips on how to identify your market, determine your message and engage with local media. Her session was interactive and she enlisted a couple of audience members to ilustrate the power of third-party endorsements. 

Nathaniel Peat gave us a high energy presentation covering his numerous and impressive skill set. He is a multi-award winning serial entrepreneur who also won episode 3 of the BBC Three reality TV show The Last Millionaire. He spoke with great passion about the strong social action motive running through his various business interests.

Sherry Ann Dixon talked about the importance of core values and how she applies these to her business and all of her other interactions with the various people she encounters. She has held many high profile positions along the way but her talk wasn't really about what she has done, but what she has empowered others to do. She continues her inspirational work via Women on the Crossroads.

This fabulous event was brought to a close by Dr Diahanne Rhiney, who is a motivational speaker and marketing and PR guru. The lineup of speakers was one of the most impressive I've seen and the underlying messages from all of them revolved around following your passion, working hard, overcoming obstacles and definitely not focussing on making money.

The next InspireURBiz event (hosted by Insight2Marketing), will take place on 18 January 2015 at Croydon Conference Centre.

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www.candidcreativity.com www.candidcreativity.com InspireURBizInspireURBizHope Community Hall
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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) Ben Towers Croydon Conference Centre Diahanne Rhiney Insight2Marketing InspireURBiz Ivan Reffell Jackie Groundsell Lucy Matthews Marvellous PR My Baking Adventure Nathaniel Peat Philip Poku Sherica Spence SherryAnn Dixon Skye AlexandraHouse The Best of Bromley Vee Roberts Women on the Crossroads http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/11/inspireurbiz-insight2marketing Tue, 18 Nov 2014 13:21:33 GMT
Newham Registry Office | East Ham Wedding Photographer http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/10/newham-registry-office-east-ham-wedding-photographer I photographed what was probably my most intimate wedding to date on 28 July 2014. It was a real privilege to have been booked to photograph Greta and Daniel's wedding at Newham Registry Office, because they only invited 7 close family members.

I met the couple for coffee at Westfield, Stratford a couple of weeks before the wedding and it was clear that they were completely smitten and full of fun. This told me that they wouldn't need much direction when 'posing' for photographs.

Greta and Daniel wanted photographs taken before their ceremony, and fortunately were not superstitious about seeing each other before the wedding. We arranged to meet in Plashet Park which was next to Newham Registry Office and spent about 20 minutes taking photographs. It was lovely having them all to myself and the guests proved themselves to be equally spontaneous for the group shots after the ceremony.

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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) East Ham Wedding Photographer Newham Registry Office Newham Wedding Photographer Plashet Park Westfield Stratford http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/10/newham-registry-office-east-ham-wedding-photographer Sun, 19 Oct 2014 21:19:01 GMT
ArcelorMittal Orbit | East London Radio Launch http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/10/arcelormittal-orbit-east-london-radio-launch East London Radio (ELR) kicked off their official launch with a live broadcast on 22 August 2014, from the AcelorMittal Orbit as the last in a series of Friday night events called 'Orbit Lates'. The evening featured a diverse range of music from the regular ELR DJs and performances from Simone Alexander, Jack Rosies and 83 Classic. The capacity crowd was also treated to humorous poetry readings from Yomi Sode and Malika Booker.

East London Radio was formed by Aaron McCarter and Ian Chambers in March 2013 and, as well as broadcasting, they provide training in radio presenting, production, editing and social media in Waltham Forest, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham.

The radio station is currently run by 75 volunteers who have built up a loyal fanbase of listeners and a considerable following on Facebook and Twitter. ELR continues to go from strength to strength and recently made the transition from broadcasting podcasts to live streaming.

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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) 83 Classic Aaron McCarter ArcelorMittal Orbit DJ ELR East London Radio East London Radio Launch Hackney Ian Chambers Jack Rosies Malika Booker Mary Katherine Newham Olympic Park Orbit Lates Orbit Tower Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Simone Alexander Stratford Tower Hamlets Waltham Forest Yomi Sode live music live streaming podcasts http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/10/arcelormittal-orbit-east-london-radio-launch Tue, 14 Oct 2014 19:48:46 GMT
Portrait of the Month | August 2014 http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/8/portrait-of-the-month-august-2014 I started this project in January of this year with the intention of simply roping people in for a photo so that I could practise my lighting setups. However, the focus has recently changed such that the portrait is less about me and my photography, and more about the person in the frame. To this end, I've been seeking out people who will make for a pleasing image, but more importantly, have an interesting backstory. These criteria are definitely met by Daniel Duckett.

By day, Daniel is a business analyst and finance manager in the public sector. But he has a long history in fitness as a personal trainer and martial artist; 20 years competing and excelling in Kickboxing, Taekwondo and Hapkido with black belts in both Kickboxing and Taekwondo.

He is also an accomplished musician, having played bass and lead guitar for 25 years. His preferred styles of music are jazz funk and R 'n' B.

For the last 2 years, Daniel has been an integral part of the Fight Klub revolution which is sweeping the UK. He is a Fight  Klub instructor, presenter and master trainer appearing at a number of weekend fitness events. He also teaches a Fight Klub Essex class every Tuesday at Hornchurch Community Centre, Rainham Road, Essex. The class runs from 7:30 to 8:30.

Daniel's photograph was taken in the back garden of the home he shares with his wife Michelle and their 2 children. He and Michelle have their own dance and fitness company, collectively known as MAD Fitness Crew

For this photo, I used my 85mm lens and my camera was set to 1/250 f/2.8 200 ISO. My main (and only) light was the sun which was on camera right providing me with some nice directional light. The image was shot in colour and converted to black & white as part of the editing process.

August - DanielAugust - Danielwww.candidcreativity.com Please leave a comment below. It would also be really great if you could Tweet, 'like' on Facebook or +1 this post using the buttons above.

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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) August 2014 Business Analyst Daniel Duckett Essex Fight Klub Fight Klub Essex Fight Klub Master Trainer Fight Klub instructor Finance Manager Hapkido Hornchurch Community Centre Kickboxing MAD Fitness Crew Portrait of the Month Public Sector Rainham Taekwondo martial artist personal trainer http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/8/portrait-of-the-month-august-2014 Mon, 11 Aug 2014 06:05:29 GMT
Christ Church and St Stephen | Battersea Wedding Photographer http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/7/christ-church-and-st-stephen-battersea-wedding-photographer Angellee and Steve's wedding was my first of 2014 was also my first time second-shooting, working alongside Alex Sarbu.

Alex and I met Angellee at 9am to photograph her hair being styled at the multi-award winning Hype Coiffure in Battersea. We then walked to Hotel Rafayel on the Left Bank to shoot Angellee, her bridesmaids and flower girls getting ready.

The traditional church service was at Christ Church & St Stephen, followed by a reception at Central London Golf Centre.

Angellee and Steve first met at school in Battersea, and it was clear from the heartfelt speeches made by numerous guests that they are very highly thought of.

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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) Alex Sarbu Battersea Wedding Photographer Central London Golf Centre Christ Church and St Stephen Hotel Rafayel Hotel Rafayel on the Left Bank Hype Coiffure Wedding Photographer in Battersea http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/7/christ-church-and-st-stephen-battersea-wedding-photographer Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:41:52 GMT
Portrait of the Month | July 2014 http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/7/portrait-of-the-month-july-2014 My July Portrait of the Month is the very talented dancer, teacher and choreographer Andreas.

The first time I saw him was on a salsa weekender at Pontins, Pakefield in June 2007. I had no idea who he was but remember thinking what a brilliant dancer, and he would have been only about 17 years old at the time.

Unsurprisingly, Andreas has earned himself a reputation as a very credible dancer and performer - his repertoire includes Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, Streetdance, Contemporary, Latin and Ballroom. His favourites being Bachata, Streetdance and Contemporary.

Andreas told me he has been dancing for 9 years and has taught Salsa and Bachata for 6 and 4 years, respectively. His proudest moment so far was being crowned UK BachataStars Champion 2011 with his former dance partner, Ewelina.

His passion and understanding for the music accompanying his many dance styles means that Andreas is also in demand as a DJ. He currently teaches Bachata and Salsa every Tuesday evening from 19:30 at Chingford Rugby Club, which was where his portrait was taken.

On my previous visits to Chingford Rugby Club, I've seen some gorgeous sunsets and my plan was to have one of them as my backdrop, but on the day of the shoot, 24 June (in accordance with Murphy's Law), the sky was a dirty grey and it rained!

We found some shelter and improvised. Huge thanks to Pawel (one of Andreas' students) for agreeing to be my impromptu lighting assistant which saved me valuable time. I used my 85mm lens and my camera was set to 1/640 f/1.8 1000 ISO.

This is the lighting setup (courtesy of the Strobox iPhone app) together with the resulting image.

Andreas - Lighting Set-upAndreas - Lighting Set-up www.candidcreativity.com Please leave a comment below. It would also be really great if you could Tweet, 'like' on Facebook or +1 this post using the buttons above.

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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) Andreas Bachata BachataStars BachataStars UK Champion 2011 Chingford Rugby Club Contemporary July 2014 Kizomba Latin and Ballroom Murphy's Law Pakefield Pontins Portrait of the Month Salsa Streetdance Strobox iPhone app http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/7/portrait-of-the-month-july-2014 Thu, 10 Jul 2014 23:56:39 GMT
Tour de France 2014 | Stage 3 - Cambridge, Essex and London http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/7/tour-de-france-2014-stage-3---cambridge-essex-and-london On Monday 7 July 2014, the Tour de France came to East London. For local people lucky enough to get the time off work, the prospect of seeing the best cyclists in the world peddling down Lea Bridge Road, Orient Way and Ruckholt Road was a great spectacle, albeit fleeting. Those boys can really move!

Stage 3 covered 159km and passed through Cambridge, Essex, and London (including Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Hackney and Newham), finishing up at Westminster.

According to the schedule the riders were to be preceded by caravans, so I had an image in my head of a procession of trailers and couldn't really see the connection between them and the cyclists. It turns out that they're not caravans in the traditional sense, but promotional vehicles decked out with the logos of the various race sponsors, playing loud music and throwing freebies to spectators lining the route.

As is typical of East London, there were lots of interesting characters wandering around. While waiting for the race to start I got talking to Caz who was one of the Tour Makers and a keen cyclist herself. Their brightly coloured uniforms were sponsored by Asda.

Considering the fact that it was a week day and the weather was a bit iffy at times, there was a very good turnout and an atmosphere similar to London 2012. 

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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) Asda Cambridge Essex Hackney Hackney Event Photographer Lea Bridge Road London London 2012 Newham Orient Way Redbridge Ruckholt Road Stage 3 Tour Maker Tour de France 2014 Waltham Forest caravan http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/7/tour-de-france-2014-stage-3---cambridge-essex-and-london Tue, 08 Jul 2014 22:35:35 GMT
Run Hackney | Hackney Half Marathon 2014 http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/6/run-hackney-hackney-half-marathon-2014 On Sunday 22 June 2014, the first Hackney Half Marathon took place. Approximately 12,500 runners pounding the streets in temperatures around 23°C. The Start/Finish was on Hackney Marshes with a route taking in the main sights of the borough, including Hackney Empire, Broadway Market, London Fields Lido, Hackney Wick Skate Park and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

As a seasoned (but out of shape) runner and Hackney local, I probably should have run it but chose to volunteer via Volunteer Lounge instead. From my perspective, the overall organisation of the event was good - A user-friendly website, detailed briefing on 3 June and updates via email. On the day I was a venue marshal assigned to the baggage marquee. Myself and 2 others were responsible for the personal belongings of runners with race numbers 8000-8800. During the race I went for a wander with my camera and saw the first man and woman cross the finish line, Pita Emase and Gladys Yator.

I can see this becoming a very popular annual event and I only hope that it doesn't become spoiled by greedy commercialists.

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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) Broadway Market Gladys Yator Hackney Empire Hackney Half Marathon 2014 Hackney Marshes Hackney Wick Skate Park London Fields Lido Pita Emase Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Run Hackney venue marshal http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/6/run-hackney-hackney-half-marathon-2014 Mon, 23 Jun 2014 22:30:50 GMT
Portrait of the Month | June 2014 http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/6/portrait-of-the-month-june-2014 Taking portraits in bright sunlight is tricky!

Up until now I've been spoilt for choice as far lighting the photographs for my Portrait of the Month project. The previous images have either been shot indoors or under a cloudy sky. Overcast days are ideal lighting conditions for a flattering portrait - no harsh shadows, no featureless skies and no glare to blind me or my subject.

On 1 April I met up with Emma on London Bridge on a bright sunny day after she bravely agreed to be my Portrait of the Month for June 2014. I say 'bravely' because she admits to not liking photographs of herself. Emma co-founded the London Photo Festival in 2011 which enables photographers to exhibit and sell their work without having to go through an evaluation process. Our first meeting was a virtual one when my project was featured on the London Photo Festival blog in February.

I arrived on London Bridge ahead of Emma to see what the light was like and positioned her so that the sun lit her hair from behind, while a bare speedlight in my left hand held at arms length, at 1/32 power acted as a fill light. This was essentialy to light her eyes as my mentor had previously pointed out the darkened eye sockets in some of my portraits taken in natural light. I used my favourite 85mm lens with camera settings at 1/640, f/4, 200 ISO and I created a lighting diagram using the Strobox iPhone app to track what I did.

Emma and I talked about what this project has taught me about taking portraits and since I've reached the halfway point, I thought this was as good a time as any to reflect:

  • We all see ourselves differently so when people tell me they don't like having their picture taken, I now ask them what it is they don't like rather than try to second guess. I don't believe physical 'flaws' (whether actual or perceived) should be removed because they are what characterises us, but I will do my best to pose and light a person so as not to draw undue attention to them;
  • It's important to talk to your subject during the photoshoot, ideally not about photography either. With any luck they will be distracted enough to relax and display natural, relaxed facial expressions and body language.
  • One of my photographs was penalised in a recent competition because the judges felt the subject lacked expression. This made me realise that, when taken out of context, expression can be misinterpreted;
  • There is no 'one size fits all' when it comes to posing - Some poses just don't work for everyone;
  • Planning is key. Even if adaptations need to be made on the day, having a loose structure in place means less faffing around.

Emma - Lighting Set-upEmma - Lighting Set-up

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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) 2014 Emma Mapp June 2014 London Bridge London Photo Festival Portrait of the Month Strobox bare flash featureless skies fill flash harsh shadows iPhone app lighting lighting diagram posing speedlight http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/6/portrait-of-the-month-june-2014 Sun, 01 Jun 2014 05:00:00 GMT
Made in Hackney | Hackney Food Photographer http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/5/made-in-hackney-hackney-food-photographer The Made in Hackney Local Food Kitchen is a pioneering eco-community kitchen which promotes food growing, cooking and composting skills in Hackney. The project ethos is that "without a healthy planet, how can we be healthy people" and so it works with local people, support and community groups, and charities to teach fun and inspiring ways to eat healthily alongside environmental best practice.
 
On 17 May 2014 I was booked to photograph a masterclass on 'Live Cultures and Ferments' given by Åsa Simonsson. The process of fermenting foods is long-established and it makes the food more digestible and nutritious. The masterclass included the following:
  • Nutritional benefits of fermented foods
  • making nut cheeses
  • Fermented salsa and chutneys
  • Kombucha
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
Even though I was concentrating on my shots, I was able to follow what the group were being taught, and was even invited to sample their fabulous buffet made entirely from fermented foods. At 4.5 hours in length, the masterclass was comprehensive and represents excellent value for money.
 
The most fascinating thing I encountered was a 'scoby'. This is a culture of bacteria and yeast which lives in a container of sweetened green or black tea, and is used to make the drink Kombucha. It tasted a lot better than it looked!
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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) Hackney Food Photographer Kefir Kimchi Kombucha Made in Hackney chutney ferments live cultures masterclass nut cheeses salsa sauerkraut scoby Åsa Simonsson http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/5/made-in-hackney-hackney-food-photographer Mon, 26 May 2014 23:18:00 GMT
Zebrano Soho | Live Music Photographer http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/5/zebrano-soho-live-music-photographer I am frequently asked to photograph live music events, but 9 out of 10 times I decline because of tight-fisted promoters who want professional  photography but don't want to pay for it. Taking pictures in low light is tricky and there's also the stage lighting to contend with. Flashing lights, lasers, red, blue, green spotlights might add drama for the audience but in photos they make skin tones look weird. Colour correction is required as part of the editing process which adds further weight to the argument in support of paying the photographer.

So Tuesday 29 April was a rarity for me to find myself shooting a live music event at Zebrano Soho, on Greek Street. There was also a tube strike that day so I walked from Hackney to Soho which, according to the Citymapper app, took 86 minutes (and 354 calories). It was my first time at Zebrano and it's a nice, intimate venue. The stage is small - perfect for soloists but a bit cramped for groups.

The acts in order of appearance were: Tom Lukas, Nina, Narius, Ryan Harman, Utku, Chloe Giacometti, Improptu (sic), Sebastian Blake, Two Finger Typist, Scrambles and Lak. All of them played the guitar but their styles and choice of songs was very diverse.

I had an enjoyable evening but it may be some time before my next live music event, subject to terms and conditions ...
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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) Chloe Giacometti Citymapper Greek Street Hackney Live Music Photographer Improptu Lak Narius Nina Ryan Harman Scrambles Sebastian Blake Tom Lukas Two Finger Typist Utku Zebrano Soho guitar subject to terms and conditions http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/5/zebrano-soho-live-music-photographer Tue, 06 May 2014 07:40:08 GMT
Portrait of the Month | May 2014 http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/4/portrait-of-the-month-may-2014 I need more men ...

Aaron McCarter is only the second male to take part in Portrait of the Month, following in the footsteps of his friend/co-director Ian Chambers from East London RadioCurrently based at the Cre8 Lifestyle Centre, Hackney Wick, East London Radio is a not for profit radio station which broadcasts a range of topical podcasts and provides training and mentoring to young people from Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

Aaron and I met in the backyard of the Cre8 Centre on 12 April on what started on what began as a bright sunny day. However, by the time I got there it was overcast and very windy. There was some fantastic graffiti on the walls, but one thing I've noticed about photos which include graffiti is it almost always takes over and becomes the main feature. So to minimise the distraction, I composed the shot so there was just a hint of graffiti and decided to convert the final image to black and white. I carefully chose which section of the graffiti I wanted in my photo, and angled Aaron so he was looking towards what appeared to be a face on the wall.

For the first time on this Portrait of the Month project my 70-200mm lens made an appearance (zoomed to 85mm). I know what you're thinking - Why didn't I just use my trusty 85mm? Good question! By using a longer lens which is zoomed in, it brings the background closer to your subject (lens compression). Aaron was more than 6 feet away from the wall to avoid any shadows from my light, and to allow what little sunlight there was to hit the back of his head. But lens compression creates the illusion that he was fairly close to the wall and gives more balance in terms of relative size.

My camera settings were 1/125, f/16, 200 ISO and my main light was a speedlight in a white bounce umbrella 1/64 power on a stand, approximately 10 feet in fronof Aaron to my left and feathered away from meI created a lighting diagram using the Strobox iPhone app and I can already see a few mistakes I think I've made. Next time, I'll select a faster shutter speed and open up the aperture and I need to experiment with the distance of my main light. You live and learn ...

Aaron - Lighting Set-upAaron - Lighting Set-up www.candidcreativity.com

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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) 2014 Aaron McCarter Cre8 Cre8 Lifestyle Centre East London East London Radio Hackney Photographer Hackney Wick Ian Chambers May 2014 Newham Portrait of the Month Strobox Tower Hamlets Waltham Forest bounce umbrella graffiti iPhone app lens compression lighting lighting diagram mentoring podcasts posing speedlight training http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/4/portrait-of-the-month-may-2014 Thu, 01 May 2014 05:00:00 GMT
Met Su Yan Restaurant | Edgware Event Photographer http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/4/met-su-yan-restaurant-edgware-event-photographer I always ask clients what type of pictures they'd like and if there's anyone specific they want me to try and capture. This was Bradley's brief to me regarding the photographs of his 50th birthday party:

"It would be nice to get a few shots of my mum and dad, and one or two of me and Stuart, other than that just click creative and I’m sure it will be fantastic. I have some entertainment (4 singers) after the main meal so please get a few shots of them also."

Fairly straightforward it would seem, but 84 people in a confined space? How do you remain unobtrusive and take candid photos of people who are eating, drinking and talking when you are practically on top of them?

I chose my 85mm as it's longish and allowed me to pick people off from across the room. With the aperture ranging between f/1.8 and f/3.5 I could eliminate the other guests when necessary. Bouncing my flash off the walls behind me helped to lift some shadows and no-one could see it going off. Timing the shots was also crucial - photos of people shoving food into their mouths is not a good look. Catching people halfway through a blink makes them look stoned and some screw their faces up when they laugh. These are just some of the trials and tribulations of candid photography!

The best things about photographing weddings and events are the interesting people and venues I encounter. Bradley's birthday party took place at Met Su Yan Restaurant in Edgware. The external appearance is not unlike any other upmarket Chinese restaurant, but Met Su Yan is kosher - authentic Chinese and Japanese food but you won't find any pork or seafood on the menu.

As for Bradley himself, I learned that he is a philanthropist and former Channel 4 'Secret Millionaire'. It was clearly evident from Bradley's personality and the number of people who turned out for his party that he is loved and respected.

There was plenty of variety to photograph - the guests interacting with each other, Bradley's amusing speech and a fantastic acapella performance by the Penny Arcade Quartet of songs personally requested by Bradley, and even though my movements were restricted, this was his response when he received his photographs:

"You have been an absolute delight and the pictures are very much like your name, Candid and Creative".

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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) Acapella Bradley Reback Channel 4 Edgware Event Photographer Edgware wedding photographer Kosher restaurant Met Su Yan Penny Arcade Quartet Secret Millionaire candid photography philanthropist http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/4/met-su-yan-restaurant-edgware-event-photographer Mon, 28 Apr 2014 16:03:36 GMT
The Guild of Photographers | Another Photography Award http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/4/the-guild-of-photographers-another-photography-award I won another Bronze Award from The Guild of Photographers in February 2014.

I'm happy to have added to my collection of awards, but feeling disappointed about my score which was only ONE point away from silver. It's very frustrating but also means I have no choice but to improve the quality of my work even more to win that elusive silver award

This is my third bronze award to date and the gauntlet has definitely been thrown down in the quest for silver!

What will I do next?

  • One to one mentoring with the Guild of Photographers;
  • Lighting workshops; and
  • Practise, Practise, Practise - if you'd like to feature in one of my (potentially award-winning) portraits, please contact me 

  

www.candidcreativity.com

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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) Bronze Award Bronze Bar Image of the Month Ingrid Abraham Lighting workshops Photography Awards Silver Award The Guild of Photographers one to one mentoring http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/4/the-guild-of-photographers-another-photography-award Thu, 03 Apr 2014 08:01:25 GMT
Portrait of the Month | April 2014 http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/4/portrait-of-the-month-april-2014 Testosterone at last!

My Portrait of the Month project is gathering momentum and Ian Chambers is the first male to take partWe met last year when he and his friend/co-director Aaron McCarter set up East London Radio.

Currently based at the Cre8 Lifestyle Centre, Hackney Wick, East London Radio is a not for profit radio station which broadcasts a range of topical podcasts and provides training and mentoring to young people from Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

I arranged to meet Ian for his portrait on 6 February at Cre8 and we were confined to a small cluttered room because of the monsoon raging outside. I chose my camera settings to disguise the distracting elements in ​the room, and began with two lights on Ian's face but had to move one of them behind him because he was disappearing into the underexposed background.

Once again I used my trusty 85mm lens. My camera settings were 1/250, f/16, 200 ISO. I created a lighting diagram using the Strobox iPhone app, showing the relative placement of my lights - a bare speedlight at full power on a stand, approximately 6 feet directly behind Ian. My main light was another speedlight in a white bounce umbrella at 1/2 power on a stand, roughly 3 feet in fronof him, to my right. 

This Portrait of the Month project came about due people like Ian who either don't like having their photos taken or don't think they look good in photos, which got me thinking about ways to lighand pose people in flattering ways to make them look and feel amazing.

I guess it must be working because the feedback from Ian was: "Thanks so much for that, it's the best pic I've seen of me"

Ian - Lighting Set-upIan - Lighting Set-up April - IanApril - Ianwww.candidcreativity.com  Please leave a commenbelow. It would also be really great if you could Tweet, 'like' on Facebook or +1 this post using the buttons above. 

 

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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) 2014 Aaron Carter April 2014 Cre8 Cre8 Lifestyle Centre East London East London Radio Hackney Photographer Hackney Wick Ian Chambers Newham Portrait of the Month Strobox Tower Hamlets Waltham Forest bounce umbrella iPhone app lighting lighting diagram mentoring podcasts posing speedlight training http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/4/portrait-of-the-month-april-2014 Tue, 01 Apr 2014 06:00:00 GMT
International Women's Day | Waltham Forest Town Hall http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/3/international-womens-day-waltham-forest-town-hall Last Saturday, 8 March 2014, was International Women's Day and I was booked to photograph an event at Waltham Forest Town Hall, hosted by Waltham Forest Women's Network. My personal thanks go to Karen Flint, one of the lead organisers, for booking me.

To kick off the proceedings, there was a walk, "Walthamstow's Wonderful Women Walk", organised by the MP for Walthamstow, Stella Creasy. The walk started on Cedars Avenue which was where Sylvia, Christine and Emmeline Pankhurst gathered with their supporters to march for equal voting rights for women back in 1910. When the modern day version of the march arrived at Waltham Forest Town Hall, the ladies sang the suffragette song "March of the Women", led by Natural Voice choir.

During the day around 1,000 visitors attended to experience food, arts and crafts, advice and guidance from more than 40 stands. On the main stage there were keynote speakers such as Stella Creasy, Clare Coghill, Muzvare-Princess Betty Makoni, and Charis Jaid. There was also lots of dancing, singing and a fabulous fashion show to round off the event.

The sun shone brightly on the day in more ways than one, and it feels appropriate to conclude with a quote from one of the organisers of the 1910 suffragette march.

"Men make the moral code and they expect women to accept it. They have decided that it is entirely right and proper for men to fight for their liberties and their rights, but that it is not right and proper for women to fight for theirs" Emmeline Pankhurst 

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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) Charis Jaid Christine Pankhurst Clare Coghill Emmeline Pankhurst IWD International Women's Day Karen Flint MP for Walthamstow March of the Women Muzvare-Princess Betty Makoni Natural Voice Stella Creasy Sylvia Pankhurst Waltham Forest Town Hall Waltham Forest Women's Network Walthamstow's Wonderful Women Walk the suffragette song http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/3/international-womens-day-waltham-forest-town-hall Mon, 17 Mar 2014 14:30:45 GMT
East London Radio | Victoria and Albert Museum http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/3/east-london-radio-victoria-and-albert-museum The V & A is one of the few London museums I've never visited but that all changed on 28 February 2014 when I accompanied East London Radio for the third in a "Friday Lates" series which allows creatives from specific parts of London to literally takeover the Victoria and Albert museum for the evening to showcase what they do. We were part of the Hackney Wick Takeover.

More than a hundred organisations applied to be featured but East London Radio were one of the twenty who were selected. This event is free to the public and the place was absolutely heaving with a live band creating a real party atmosphere which is not what you'd normally expect in a museum.

The party atmosphere was especially apt because it was East London Radio's biggest event to date and their first anniversary was a few days later on 4 March 2014. East London Radio is a not for profit radio station founded by Ian Chambers and Aaron McCarter, which broadcasts a range of topical podcasts and provides training and mentoring to young people from Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) Aaron McCarter Charlotte Papon Cromwell Road East London Radio Friday Late Hackney Hackney Wick Takeover Ian Chambers Kensington event photography Newham South Kensington The V & A Tower Hamlets Victoria and Albert Museum Waltham Forest origami http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/3/east-london-radio-victoria-and-albert-museum Fri, 07 Mar 2014 10:47:22 GMT
Portrait of the Month | March 2014 http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/2/portrait-of-the-month-march-2014 සාදරයෙන් පිලිගන්නවා

That means welcome in Sinhala, in honour of my friend Suwani who is my (Sri Lankan) March Portrait of the Month.

I spoke to Suwani about taking her portrait in early January and it took place on 15 February. At my request we shot indoors in her flat, partly for a change of scene as the January and February portraits were shot outdoors, but more significantly because I got caught in torrential rain both times!

I had some ideas about composition and decided that the final image would be converted to black and white - I always shoot in colour even if I know the final image will be black and white. Suwani also preferred a black and white image, which was handy. This meant thatones and contrast would be important aspects when composing the shot.

My main light was a speedlight in a white bounce umbrella at 1/8 power on a stand, approximately 6 feet in fronof her to my left and feathered towards meFor each Portrait of the Month, I'm creating a lighting diagram using the Strobox iPhone app, so I can track which setups work best. I used my favourite, 85mm lens again. My camera settings were 1/160, f/2.8, 200 ISO. The room we were in had white walls so lots of light bouncing around, and there was a window to camera right which I used as my secondary light source.

We experimented with different poses and facial expressions while drinking tea and listening to Sting on Spotify. Thank you Suwani (and Sting) for your participation - it really was a team effort!

Suwani - Lighting Set-upSuwani - Lighting Set-up

March - SuwaniMarch - Suwaniwww.candidcreativity.com

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info@candidcreativity.com (Candid Creativity) Black and White March March 2014 Portrait of the Month Sinhala Sinhalese Spotify Sri Lankan Sting Strobox Suwani bounce umbrella iPhone app lighting lighting diagram posing speedlight http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/2/portrait-of-the-month-march-2014 Sat, 01 Mar 2014 07:00:00 GMT