Thought I’d kick the new year off with a blog post looking back over the past 12 months and seeing what have been some of the best bits or rather, highlights; Business / Photography wise as opposed to personal of course.
2017 has been a year where I’ve spent a lot more time on my lighting and continuing to develop my own identifiable style and I’m really pleased with how it’s moved on. In fact I made a conscious effort to push my Photography more than my Photoshop after my first book came out The Photoshop Workbook. It’s been fantastic to see how well received that book has been and continues to be but when that book was released I made the decision that I didn’t want to just be known as the guy that does Photoshop. I’m in this for the long term and I think for this to be the case then improving my Photography and Lighting is vital.
There have been some truly fantastic, enjoyable personal project shoots this past year which has also meant developing friendships with people I am so proud to have in my life. Anthony Crothers, Brian Dukes, Ian Munro, Gerwyn Williams, Simon ‘Foxy’ Fowler, Sarah E Lewis to name but a few; you folks are the BEST and I cannot wait to see what we create together over the coming 12 months!
This year I moved from Canon to Sony. Far from being a rush decision this was something I’dd been thinking about for quite some time. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my Canon 5D MKIII and it’s served me incredibly well however over the previous months I’d started to look more and more at Sony, the quality of the files their cameras were producing and the sharpness of the lenses. This with advances in technology such as Focus Peaking which I’m now using a lot with my Sony A7RII make incredibly shallow depth of field portraits much more achievable…first time.
A lot of people say they don’t like the EVF (Electronic View Finders) but I find them incredibly useful and let’s face it, it’s the way things are going whether we like it or not. Just as the idea of moving to digital caused uproar many years ago, there are certain technologies now that are being frowned upon by some but will in time become commonplace. Anyway, bottom line…I am incredibly happy with the move as it suits me and how I work and that is all that matters…right?
YouTube and LIVE Broadcasts
I began to focus in on my YouTube Channel in 2017 and invested quite a lot of money on improving audio quality with new microphones, audio mixer, sound panels in the office and so it goes on. I’ve also been building on a YouTube LIVE Weekly Broadcast; originally going out every Thursday at 8pm UK time but now every Tuesday at 8pm UK.
I’m loving the connection with folks that the LIVE broadcasts give but it certainly does test the multitasking skills running 2 computers, 3 screens, broadcasting software and going through the tutorials as those of you who watched the top of my head in one episode will no doubt remember. You’ll find my YouTube Channel by CLICKING HERE
Newsletter / Email Group
I’ve a bit of a love / hate relationship with social media. I know it’s incredibly important in today’s world for building a brand and connecting with folks but what I don’t like is how much ‘noise’ there is out there. I remember working with a guy a few years back who said he makes a point of posting 7 times each day without fail and just the thought of this turns me right off. It’s social right? Surely if you have nothing to say then don’t say anything.
My main focus when it comes to social media is my newsletter or as I prefer to call it, my email group. I’ve spent much more time on this during 2017 with my goal to make it much more personal rather than feeling like another newsletter. I treat it like when I was a kid and had Pen Pals I would write to and this works much better for me. I said before I’m in this for the long term and building relationships is incredibly important to me…the email group is enabling me to do this and on a much more personal way. I get so many replies to emails now whereas I didn’t before. I read every one and do my best to reply to all although obviously that’s getting harder. Thanks so much to everyone who is part of my email group…lots more to chat with you about in the coming months.
You can join my email group (it’s free) by clicking on the Newsletter menu item above.
Photograph Like a Thief
2017 saw the release of my 2nd Book: Photograph Like a Thief: Using Imitation and Inspiration to Create Great Images, published by Rocky Nook. I’m so incredibly proud of this book and especially happy with how well it’s been received. Rocky Nook have been so good to work with and I’m super excited to now be writing my 3rd book which I’m on schedule to have written by end of March for release later in 2018
My Buddy Dave Clayton has designed covers of both my books and will be designing the 3rd too seeing as he nails it..every time!
1940’s / WW2 Personal Project
My 1940 / WW2 Personal Project is coming along nicely thanks to some great shoots with some great people. I had planned to run my first exhibition in 2017 but postponed it as the project is growing more than I originally expected.
Starting out focusing on the Home Guard it’s now covering 1940’s in general so bringing in civilians and general life as well as war. I do intend to have my first exhibition towards the end of 2018 so I’ll keep you posted on that.
Photoshop World – Orlando
A highlight for sure was running my first Pre Conference Class at Photoshop World in Orlando. These are longer sessions the day before the main event for folks who want a much more in depth hands on experience. Had a great bunch of folks come along and 2 fantastic models. Best of all was seeing folks who weren’t confident with lighting at the start, nail it by the end of the day and produce results I would have been very happy to have in my own portfolio.
At the end of May this year I’ll be in Orlando teaching at Photoshop and running my second Pre Conference Class and cannot wait!
Adobe MAX – MAX Master
I was so excited to be asked to present at Adobe MAX in Las Vegas 2017! This is the BIGGEST Creative Event in the World with over 12 thousand attendees and keynote speakers such as Quentin Tarantino in the past and 2017 seeing Actor, Director, Producer, Writer John Favreau (Iron Man, Chef, Jungle Book…), Music Producer and Musician Mark Ronson… It was THE most incredible week I’ve EVER had presenting.
I wrote about the experience HERE but once home, to be told a few weeks later that I had been awarded MAX Master was mind blowing! SUPER EXCITED to have been asked back to present at Adobe MAX 2018 being held in Los Angeles!
Looking back at some of the new pictures I made this year, here’s a couple that I’m super proud of:
So what lies in store for 2018? I’ve things already planned and will definitely be working hard on my 1940’s project so I’m excited to see how that looks 12 months from now.
One thing is for sure though; the older I get the more I realise what is MOST important in life, and that’s time. There’s a lot Anne and myself have happening this year (relocating being one of them) but I’m aware how fast time goes by. So, more than ever I will be spending time with those nearest and dearest to me.; family and friends I am so grateful for…and you folks know who you are.
Wishing you all the very best that 2018 has to offer!