on Wood. 2019
Tulips are my favourite flower to photograph. They are so delicate and have so many variations, it's aloe a sign of warmer lighter nights after the dark and cold of winter.
I aways start by finding an interesting background that I've not done before or haven't done for a long time. My choice on this occasion was wood. I knew I wanted wood to contrast with the purple and green of the flowers. This would create texture and add something different from my pastel backgrounds of overlaid textures. Off the the garage, to see what we have got in the scrap pile as I didn't want anything too big. Nothing interesting took my eye. Looked around the other things in the garage and found a sheet of plywood, it had been painted and then some of the paint removed when it was recovered from its location which to start with was slightly annoying. Take the opportunity when you can so the more I looked the more I thought it a great opportunity. It had very distinctive marks on it which could be used in various way and lets face it no one else has that background, so no copies.
I tried various ways and looks lots of images these are just three fron=m the shoot. All taken in Natural light from the window and textures added to give the white washed look.
Fine Art Photo Paper
Arty Photographic Paper
Photo Rag Satin
My go to Photo Paper
Photo Rag Satin is a beautiful paper. It has a satin coating that gives a more traditional feel with the coating is on a Fine Art Paper. It's the best of both worlds.
You get the arty feel with a silky sheen that enhances your image. You can use it on any images you're use a semi gloss or pearl on but it adds the rich Hahnemühle Fine Art Quality to the work.
I've used it on my Misty Liverpool Image and it works a treat. Reminds me of a mono darkroom paper.
Extra Special Papers
Metallic and William Turner
Photo Rag Metallic
This silvery-shimmery paper is the only cotton based metallic paper on the market. I’ve used metallic papers in the past with various results but never really been happy with them.
Photo Rag Metallic, is not one I would naturally pick up BUT this paper is stunning! the first time I printed on it I fell in love.
I have created several sets of images just for this paper and they stand out from the crowd. This paper is not just for creative work, you can use it for so many images including macro and nature and it will adds a little magic and shimmer. You have to try it to understand how amazing it is. It makes your images sing with vibrance matched with the summer of the gold surface.
William Turner has a highly distinctive textured surface once you've touched it you'll know it again. The enhanced depth of the surface adds another dimension to images, giving the image textures that are something special in a fine art paper.
This surface adds a slight shadows in the texture which enhances those already there. This works especially well on heavy textures, fur and foliage as it enhances a beautiful depth to the textures by adding shadows in the surface of the paper.
Smooth Fine Art Papers
Ideas and Choices
my no.1 paper
The first time I printed on Bamboo, I knew it would be a favourite. If I could only buy one type of paper it would be this.
Bamboo is a natural white paper adding a soft tactile feel that extra softness and a little warmth from the natural white colour.
It's a first stop for my soft still life and many other images.
Bamboo is made from 90% bamboo fibres which makes it a very environmentally friendly paper. Part of the Naturals Range with a smooth surface.
favourite smooth paper
The white cotton artist’s paper, with its characteristic, wonderfully soft feel, boasts a lightly defined smooth surface structure. I'd use it on flowers and portraits, anything that doesn't want texture over parts of the image. Sometimes, you can overpower an image with the texture, this is perfect for the smooth surface image.
My standard for softer images. An ideal choice for my softer creative images. This adds a soft gentleness to the image and is very tactile.
The lighter weight paper is a great one to try for your first arty smooth paper.
Textured Fine Art Papers
Ideas and Choices
favourite Textured Paper
German Etching is a arty photographers favourite. The textured surfaced paper that takes most images to the next level, this paper adds a unique textured surface to your image, enhancing the textures in the print. German Etching adds that little extras to a textured image.
There's a Fine Art feel to the paper. If you're a beginner with textures papers, this is one to try.
The bright white art paper has a clear, coarsely structured felt mark and is characterised by a very special tactile feel adding a three-dimensional effect and sense of depth.It reminds me of little clouds to the touch.
A perfect paper to add shadows to less textured areas adding depth. Especially if you have little detail in the sky.
Many creative photographers use this paper.
The Environmental Choice
Hemp, is an award winning natural paper, made with 60% hemp fibre and 40% cotton, it makes an environmentally friendly paper, one of the Natural Line Papers. I like the texture and how it integrates with the images. I use it for the images that needs a slightly textured adding the finishing touch.
It has a white natural tone which is created by the light colour of the hemp fibres. The lightly textured surface. Hemp was an essential part of paper production for many centuries and has a long history in paper making
The answer is easy, why would I not? Holding a print, you’ve just taken from the printer, is an amazing feeling, the time and the work given to creating that image, is there, on one sheet of paper, in your hand. It’s the visualisation of an image into reality. You can return to over and over again with having to switch a digital device on. If you’re entering a Competition or Exhibition, it’s exactly what you want the judge to see, no digital changes, from processing, programme or projector colour shifts etc.
Buying a printer and paper is simply an extension of your camera, part of the process. Photography equipment, doesn’t come cheap. You spend hours researching the best camera and lens for your style of photography. Why buy cheap paper and ink to present your images? Get the best printer, paper and ink to reflect the costs of the equipment.
Photo or Arty?
Paper choices are just a diverse as photographers. The first consideration is size. Does size matter? We all know the answer yes. Some images should be printed small, some big, I must admit, I do standardise for talks and PAGB size guidelines. Two sizes, A3 or 10×10 inches printed on an A3 sheet of paper. None of this is set in stone but I hope it helps with your choices.
Choosing the right paper is a skill that has to be learnt, the only way to that is by printing. The higher the quality of paper the more careful you are in creating your print. You take time to check colour balance, shadows and highlights, mistakes in processing and finally, the best you can get from that image. That’s when you print. You must do your test printing on the same paper you’re going to use for your final print, Your print presentation, says so much about you.
FINE ART PAPERS
Fine Art Papers
Papers are divided into two sections, smooth and textured. The papers have their own individual characteristics, from smooth velvet to more defined surfaces . Each has to be considered when choosing a paper. Find out my favourites and why I use them.
Digital Photo Papers
This choice takes you to Baryta, glossy and semi gloss, satin & silk paper. My choice for a more photographic image is still a fine art, Photo Rag Satin. It has a Photo Rag base but a satin coating giving you the best of both worlds.
The extra sparkle Photo Rag Metallic, the only metallic paper that really makes my work have that extra something. or the added texture and depth of Willian Turner. These two papers really give and added extra.to your work.
HINTS & TIPS
Firstly, check the (coated) printing side is the right way round for printing. Which side of the paper do you print on? Usually it's indicated in the box of paper but it's easy to turn the paper round or put a sheet in the wrong way. A simple trick is to dampen the tip of your finger and the coated side will sick slightly to your finger, this is the side you print on.
Secondly, write in pencil on the back of the sheet, the name/make of the paper you've chosen and I also write the Date. This double checks, the side with the coating on. The distinctive coated side it will be more difficult to see the writing, a non coated side the pencil will write freely so keep you eraser handy.
Setting, check your settings, for the paper type and the appropriate ICC profiles. to get the best print.
Using a Test Pack
A simple way of trying images n different appears is to print them.
There are three test packs, showcasing. Photo Papers and Fine Art Papers and The Naturals Range by Hahnemuhle Fine Art.
I pick five or six images that I know work on certain papers or that possibly required different papers. Printed them on all the different papers in a sample pack. This creates a record of the papers and how each paper reacts to the paper this helps you choose the best paper for that image.
You usually get two sheets of each paper, therefore you can print two sets of images or try out the images on the papers at a bigger size. These sheets can now be kept in a folder as reference.
Three Red Feathers
Three Red Feathers, the simple composition and added texture really makes a difference. There's nothing difficult about creating this one, three strips of newspaper and three feathers, found in the garden. Photographed on a piece of mount board, to gives a simple background to start the textures on. The image has several oppositions and balance points in it to strengthen the composition.
There's 23 layers in total. Two textures. One from a whitewashed greenhouse at a National Trust property. It features in several of images. This adds arty feel and contrasts. The square canvass was a simple choice, as it creates a tighter images and brings the eye straight to the focal point in the centre of the image. The added Colour isn't from a photoshop gradient but part of the second texture.
On finishing an image I aways check if it works as a mono. Not all images do. In this case, I did a black and white conversion in photoshop and added a tone, which adds softness. The mono has to be the treated differently from the colour, adding eleven layers to the file. The additional layers are the put in group in the same saved file.
Three Red Feathers has achieved serval awards and acceptances in colour. I wonder which you like best?
All You need to know
Booking for Season 2021/22
Please, note I'm no longer in the L&CPU speakers list. This doesn't mean I'm not doing talks but simply moving on to another chapter in my photography story.
All talks cancelled due to covid I'm happy to rebook when we can meet again and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone.
My talks are print based. The talk is an image based talk with a variety of subjects all with a little creative magic. There are hints and tips about images, printing and papers. The Evening is not about how I do my work but why.
Please use the contact page for any questions or booking enquiry.
A Landscape of Colour
time to play. 2019
Most of my work is using a love limited colour range. I tend to work in expression emotions and the feeling of being there. There are times that I can't do anything, no matter how I try. The images I create just don't work. The Trash soon fills up and get frustrated by the last of clarity. Time for break. Walk the dog or simply watch TV.
A way I kick start images it to play with an image to manipulate it and see what happens. I used a variety of filters and transform tools to achieve the final Patterns. Once I'd created the pattens, They needed something to give it a focal point. I played around with different shapes, figures and lines but inn the end I went for the old favourite, the Tree.
The colour in the landscapes creates a mood and reference to what and where the landscape is and what it would mean to you if you visited the location.
These are just for fun.
The search for The Christmas Card is always a daunting task each year. Trying to get something different but something that appeals to friends and family. I normally print and post a short run of cards. It's nice to give something when I don't send gifts or its simply too far to see them. This year especially with the restrictions of the call for Coffee and swop gifts due to Covid and government guidelines on mixing.
I played with several visions of of the the christmasy pet pictures and Star Wars figures with gifts etc.I did post one of these on Facebook, 'Alone at Christmas'. Nothing really did what I wanted it too. I was trying to avoid The Tree as it's my fall back Christmas Card. I'd created a background for the Christmas cards already with a star night sky. I definitely want to use this. I played around from a couple of days not really settling on anything or simply deleted the files.
I gave up and started playing with the stars and trees to break the chain of failures. The more I played with the simple tree idea the more the set came together. I just needed a change of direction. A set of three Star Trees and a Christmas Card.
It's an interesting idea and works so many other images. I hoping to do more in the near future.
White on White
On a Tuesday Photo Day out in 2019 . We aimed for the galley because of another exhibition which we really enjoyed by Grayson Perry. The main exhibition was a galley of was mainly white on white paintings part from a couple of figure studies. The exhibition consisted of large canvases painted white with another object painted in white, highlighting the shadows and form of the objects. It fascinated me that such simple things could be so intense in the setting of a gallery married with the amazing skills of the artist.
One, wet winters day I wanted to do something creative. I looked round the house for something to photograph. On my craft desk there was a roll of masking tape, this was the first of the set of images. white on white. I've not repeated any of the objects from the exhibition but be simply inspired by the idea. That started a search round the house of white objects that would be interesting printed. I took several thatI didn't use so a limited section of images, so far. It's a set that I'm hoping to add to with another set at some point. I photographed the images in natural light from the window and changed them to mono image to enhance the shadow details in the shots.
I've had some interesting comments, one from a camera club who told me he was painter and decorator and said he'd never considered photographing Masking Tape.
It's challenge I set when I go to clubs. photograph something on the same coloured background. great competition Theme.
Why not try it round the house while we're on Lockdown?