Flower Photography at home

I was delighted to be contacted by Julie Davies to collaborate on a blog.  Julie lives up to her name of being The Florist that teaches, providing online tips for you to do exactly the same in the comfort of your own home, or face to face in workshops.

It felt very natural for me to write this blog as a way of my skills sharing series, with top tips to enable you to take photos of your floral creations at home.  There are a variety of other scenarios in which to take photographs, for example out in landscape with wild flowers, in workshops, sheds, markets etc, perhaps this is room for another blog!

Although the photos you see here have been taken using a Canon 6D, the following will give you some pointers for ‘point and shoot‘ cameras, or using a smart phone, both of which can work just as well, particularly if you are uploading small versions of your photos onto websites or social media.

  1. Position your flowers next to a large window; this will help maximum natural light which is better than using the orange tinge of household lights, (there is always the option to shoot outside).
  2. If you have a macro / flower symbol setting on your camera, use it!  It will let you bring out the finer details of those gorgeous blooms.nikki-price-photography-flower-2
  3. Don’t forget to ‘set the scene‘ if you are wanting to show how you work on your flowers through your photos, pop some scissors, oasis, ribbon etc on a wooden block (a kitchen chopping board will do just fine if you have one), everyone loves a story.
  4. Keep the background to your photos simple, after all you want to highlight how beautiful your floral creations are, white (or black) card can work and help with bouncing the light into those harsh shadows.
  5. Take the photos using interesting angles, the rule of thirds can be helpful, however, be creative and use a variety of angles in your shots to show off those blooms.
  6. Using your macro setting on your camera, shoot ‘through‘ a bouquet to focus on one particular flower that takes your interest.nikki-price-photography-flower
  7. Similarly as above; take one flower out of the bunch and make it the star of your show!
  8. A little post production may help bring out the best in your photos, so if you have photoshop, or other editing software, don’t be afraid to use it.  Photoshop express on the i-phone is fab.

I hope these tips have been useful and if so I would love to hear from you, so why not drop me a line through my contact me page.

Delving into an MA……..

I’ve been thinking about further study for a while now, and after an incredibly positive and encouraging conversation with a fellow colleague (as you may know, photography isn’t my full time occupation at the moment), I’m looking into applying for an MA by Research.  All I know at this stage is that a major part of it will focus on photography, and will give me the opportunity to complete a qualification at a higher level in the arts.

My journey to University to complete my undergrad degree, at the time, was something my head told me I needed to do, but my heart was bitterly disappointed as I hadn’t achieved the necessary grades to pursue a degree in art/digital media.  I am a great believer in that everything happens for a reason, so I did go to uni and achieve my Business Studies and Marketing degree with a 2:1 honours, and many years later after years of hobby photography and work, I started my own business.

I’ll be using these blog posts as a journal in my thought processes through and up to the application deadline date (May 2017 and hopefully beyond if it gets accepted) as a way of collecting my thoughts and developing my ideas on my research focus.  Whatever happens will be the right path for me.

I’ve made a great start, contacting a colleague who is undertaking an MA by Research now in creative media, I’ve joined the University library and signed out a couple of books to get me started, I’ll be researching online journals and will be looking for a mentor/s soon.

I have an internal monologue that’s asking me why now?  Well I feel in a good place to undertake further study, my business is steadily growing, and I’d love to get my teeth into something meaty about photography (ridiculous phrase maybe for a vegetarian!) that is purely of my own direction, and starting Nikki Price Photography (amongst other things in my life) have proven to me that I am highly motivated working on my own.

Three broad key areas my initial thoughts have touched on are (Documentary) Photography (obviously!), Sociology, and the concept of self/identity through photography, which has been a running project theme for a while.

That’s the first stage, I’m excited and very keen to get going, and I hope you will join me for my new journey, whatever path will be the right one for me.

Nikki

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2016 What a Year for Nikki Price Photography

Those of you who caught my round up of 2015, will know how pleased I was to see that year grow for Nikki Price Photography, and have been so delighted that my business has once again gone from strength to strength in 2016.  A sincere and heartfelt thanks to all my clients, models, and everyone who has supported Nikki Price Photography. Testimonials from client shoots have reaffirmed that you love my informal style of photography too!  So once again thank you.

2017 is bringing some fantastic opportunities for me (watch this space!) and I’m already being booked throughout next year for your gorgeous events, and family shoots.   If you need a photographer for your product, portrait, event, or other shoot, drop me a line on my contact me page or via nikkipricephotography@gmail.com .

I have loved looking over the past years photoshoots, commissions and projects, here are some of my favourites:

Cafe Sunlight – Food Photography

I am immensely proud to have worked with so many fantastic creative and charitable organisations this year such as Cafe Sunlight

Cafe Sunlight is based in the Sunlight Centre Gillingham, and the team invited me to take photographs of their hot food offer for parties and conferences; as they wanted to refresh their website for their London events.  The food produced by Chef Dave was fantastic as you can see below, and the team were a delight to work with.

Top tip for indoor food photography using flash: have some white card or white fabric handy to make the most of the flash, bouncing the light back onto your gorgeous food, avoids harsh shadows.

Exhibitions

Exhibiting more of my work this year, has been a thrilling but scary experience!  I took part in Medway Open Studios with my ‘Hidden forms in nature theme’, which sparked lots of interesting chats with visitors.  I was also proud to have interpreted work by Poet Dan Simpson in the Wordsmithery Heretics exhibition/performance.  I produced a layered photograph which contained a self portrait, woodland and a glacier, it was good to pushed my boundaries.  I was also involved  ‘In the footsteps of the Pilgrims’ exhibition at St Mary’s Church Burham, one of my favourite churches near my home town. I exhibited 2 photos, both taken at night of the Church, I was extra pleased about this as one of the pieces sold and is now winging its way to America to a family who emigrated there from Burham over 20 years ago.  The exhibition that had most impact on me was the Pandora’s Other Box ‘Skin’ exhibition at the Horsebridge Centre.

Top tip for exhibition photographs: have a plan for your final pieces but don’t be afraid to change it! Playing through your plan; will often bring forward ideas you may never have thought of.

Event Photography

I have loved working with local youth groups, artists, and Rochester Literature Festival this year.  A highlight was working at Woodlands Youth Centre MC and DJ workshop for young people, lead by MC artist Harry Shotta.  The young people loved the opportunity to try out their MC skills and my only regret is that I didn’t have time to try DJ’ing! A poignant event for young people I had the privilege of photographing was the Tryangle awards at the Central Theatre Chatham, the first time I had been on that stage!

Towards the end of 2016 I was pleased to photograph the See and Create launch, headed up by Artist Chris Sacre.  The launch, at Nucleus Arts Chatham, was a great opportunity to learn about his Arts Council funded project aimed at Deaf families providing accessible workshops and other events in 2017.

Top tip for photographing events: sturdy shoes with no heels! and a wide angle (F1.4) lens make for a good shot particularly in low light situations and shoes with no heels make for quiet movement over wooden floors, nothing worse than a photographer with squeaky shoes!

Family Photography

Family photography is one of my favourites, meeting new people and providing some gorgeous informal photos for you is a pleasure. It is a delight to be invited into someones home to capture moments at a party, outdoors with mum (and dads) bump shoot, or in the studio with you and your little ones; I received some great feedback on your shoots.  I also ran a competition for a family shoot this Autumn as I had missed out on taking some great photos in the autumnal leaves last year.

Top tip for photographing families: particularly those with small children/babies; ensure you have a rough plan in your head about the shots you want to achieve, and take your time, feeding and changing stops need to be factored in!

Everything else!

I have put this section to wrap up the year for all those things that would seem a little lonesome on their own, but gives you a flavour of everything else I get up too!

I’ve started my series of skills sharing blogs, and ran nature photography workshops with young people in Grain.  My business is also now live on Gravesend.co.uk business listing pages, a particularly significant direction taking Nikki Price Photography into North Kent.

Although I am not a wedding photographer, I do make exceptions for very small number of intimate weddings each year; Garry and Vicky’s was just that, a lovely family and friends relaxed wedding, in such a beautiful setting, it was a pleasure to be part of their day.

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This years short documentary/business info films include The Right Step Dance Company and my own personal short about Time which had its launch at Seasonally Effected a cultural open mic night back in November.

Personal Projects

Being a photographer I don’t ever really stop taking photographs, after all its what I love the most.  I’ve usually always got my i-phone on me to take snaps or love to take the 6D out for a spin when I feel the urge.

Since 2013 I have been thinking about and producing photographs for a body image project, celebrating the nude without over processing in photoshop. The bulk of work is growing, with more shoots to take place in the new year (when the weather warms up a bit!); this (or some elements of it) will form part of my solo exhibition (so sorry no sneak peeks here!), more news to come on that one throughout 2017.

Last on the list -but not least! some photos of my Christmas day morning stroll around the West End of London, with my partner and pooch.

Thanks for reading my blog, and your support throughout this year.  Here’s to another great year of photography.

Nikki x

How I go about taking a photo….

As you know I love sharing my completed and ongoing photography projects with you, whether they are through commission or personal, working on both for me is such a pleasure.  I have wanted for a long time, to share more about the planning and processes I go through in order to capture that ‘best shot’.

Light.co contacted me and said how much they enjoyed my previous blogs and asked if I could write a blog about how I go about creating so many great images, so…..what a perfect opportunity to do just that.  Light Co are keen to get more photographers sharing their stories of how they go about creating that great image so if you want to do get involved contact them direct.  Their new camera does look very interesting, kind of a DSLR capacity but with the convenience of a phone, it uses a multiple lens system to shoot the scene at once and then they are put together in a DSLR quality photograph.

Personal projects; these start as little creative balls that bounce about in my head, sometimes they come from inspiration of other artists work online, or face to face in galleries.  Other times they are the ‘wake first thing in the morning and have to keep a sketch pad next to your bed’ kinda shots that you know you just have to take or you’ll burst! My submissions for the Skin Exhibition this year at the Horsebridge Centre were like this, I had pictures in my head of exactly how I wanted these photos to look (after months of thinking about it!).

Commissioned projects; Clients contact me to book shoots as they like my informal style, our initial meeting is more of a friendly chat, them letting me know what they want, and me explaining how this can be achieved.  It is the trust clients have in me (through my years of courses, practice, and self taught skills), that I love the most, its about collaboration, enabling me to have full creative reign with the photos, but within their requirements.

For a start point, what you choose to photograph, is unique to you, from your gut/your place of instinct, you have chosen to press that shutter at that exact moment for a reason.

It is difficult to think of just one shot to describe to you, so you may find the following process useful:

  1. Sketch (stick women are fine!) some initial ideas of how you want your particular photo to look, what camera are you using? I have upgraded to a Canon 6d, there are so many ‘point and shoot’ cameras out there, including ones on mobile phones, which provide good quality photos.  What lens do you want to use (I love to work with my 50mm lens) taking into consideration of things such as depth of field.  I get fully absorbed in my mind of what exactly I want to shoot sometimes over many hours!
  2. Shoot time – key tip if you are shooting all day, or out on location (If its a shoot for a client, I will undertake a pre-shoot to familiarise myself with the location), wear comfy shoes! remember a strong stance will help the shot if you are working with a heavy full frame camera.  Many must do photography tips mention the basics of the rule of thirds, this is a good starting point to set up your photo but as the saying goes ‘aren’t all rules meant to be broken?’.  Your golden shot may not come immediately, so having patience to get to it, is important, equally if you feel that you aren’t getting that ‘one shot’ then move on to the next, particularly if you are time limited, my night photography shots are very much like this; setting up in the evenings in the cold and wind, but patience and perseverance will reward you.  Have a try also mixing up your photo orientation; play with portrait and landscape shots.  Basic edits on phones can be undertaken by in phone or downloadable apps, I have Photoshop Express on my iPhone, and use lightroom and photoshop for more in-depth edits on the Mac (I could go into this much more, on another blog perhaps?).
  3. Have fun – I can’t emphasise this enough, taking photos professionally or personally is a pleasure.  Always try new things and push yourself to those shots which are out of your comfort zone, some accidental photos and mis -fires in the studio have provided me with some of my most favourite shots!

Here are just some of my top recent photos:

Products: A great shoot with the Sunlight centre cafe team.  This shot was taken under studio lights, 1/125 f5.6 iso 100, with my 24-105 lens.  Post processing in Lightroom.

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Portraits: Working with the fabulous Sullivan family.  This shot was taken in early light 1/200 F5.6 iso 320 with a 50mm lens. Post processing in Lightroom.

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Personal Project: Night Photography.  This shot was taken at 11.30pm, 8 sec exp, f1.4 ISO 200 50mm lens. Post processing in Lightroom.

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Please feel free to share your photos with me.

Nikki

Opening the Other Box…the finale!

This blog post follows my previous blogs here and here of me getting together my ideas for the Exhibition of ‘Skin’ for Pandora’s Other Box.

During July and August, I also had my Medway Open Studios Exhibition of ‘Hidden Forms in nature and other stories’ (more about that in another blog – I promise!), which extended the exploration of ‘The Nude’ into forms of nature, mainly faces, and the suggestion of body parts mainly in the trunks of trees!

I am also preparing for a larger exhibition in 2017, where I am documenting interesting locations in states of decay, or change, with the addition of a nude figure to capture how everything eventually declines.

Whilst working in these three areas I organically came to what I wanted to submit for consideration for the Skin Exhibition.

Nature, Mother, and Grandad – three photos I was so immensely proud of, and was delighted to be accepted for exhibition of all three!  The following words accompanied the photos whilst on display:

Nature – this photo is part of a series exploring nature and its hidden forms. Bark on a tree enables preservation, and encourages us to look at familiar views on ourselves, linking to the concepts of body image, and just as we come in all fabulous shapes and sizes, so does nature and we should embrace it.

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Mother – this photo is part of a series which started in 2013 exploring the concepts of body image through the nude. This photo in particular on the brief of skin is acting as protection for our children.

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Grandad – a tribute to a wonderful man who sadly passed away in July 2016. This photo forms part of a series over the last year where Nikki explored the concepts of self and family documentary photography, preserving a moment in time, life, and ultimately with the ones we love.

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The Private view took place on Sunday 29th August; and here are a few photos taken celebrating all the wonderful artists who were included, in particular a live performance from Laure Meloy who responded to the art pieces in the form of Opera, and Clair Meyrick local poet and performer.

It has been a very personal, and heart felt journey from the first meeting to exhibition.  I have felt that as a photographer, you put so much more into a photo, it’s not just about pressing the shutter, having a technically great result, but it also has a part of you, your thoughts your ideas, your creativity, your view on life is what makes your photos and what you do so unique.

Here’s to the next one.

Nikki

 

 

 

Opening the other box……part 2

Those of you who read my previous blog on the beginnings of getting my ideas together for the Exhibition of Skin for Pandora’s Other Box, at the Horsebridge Centre Whitstable, will note that the development of my ideas has been an interesting journey.

I had still been skirting around what I had wanted to produce therefore I took some of my previous work to the second Pandoras other box enrichment meeting, particularly ‘The Nude’ work.  This is ongoing work from 2013, at that stage I was looking for technically perfect photos and poses of the models, and being work I had completed 3 years prior wasn’t sure how I felt about them now, as both my skills and creative thoughts have moved on so much since then.

I was a little apprehensive to start as other than the feedback I received from my visitors at my open studios, I hadn’t really had much direct critique of my work.  It was great however, to have the constructive feedback from the ladies at the Pandoras other box meeting.  At this stage I hadn’t fully set what my focus was for the Skin competition. Various feedback included that ‘the photos were technically excellent, some didn’t like the way the nude models were looking directly into the camera, some loved the openness and relaxed nature of the models (which I think in part is down to my ability to put people at ease), and some suggested that I find the meaning for me in the photos that I produce’. This was perhaps the best bit of advice, as I had concentrated so much into the technical side before, that I hadn’t reflected on what message I want to convey.

With that in mind I went off once again to explore another technique of using the body again but focussing on hands……..they can often give us so much information about a person, even if we do not know them very well. I played with ‘in camera’ double exposure, similar effects can also be gained from overlaying photos in photoshop.

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Opening the Other Box………

Through a friend of mine, I noticed a post on Facebook inviting women to an informal talk about Whitstable Womens Art group Pandora’s Other Box.

A little apprehensive to start I drove to my favourite sea side place, I was’t sure really what to expect but I suppose that is the great thing of going slightly out of your comfort zone to learn about something new.  I’ve wanted to expand my art based photography more along side the commercial side and felt that this would be great opportunity to do it!

The women at the meeting were very welcoming and the wide scope of the exhibition title ‘Skin’ was the focus, explained that there will be a series of meet ups, and enrichment workshops to lead to exhibition at the Horsebridge Centre Whitstable what a great focus.

Feeling totally inspired from the session, I hurried away making notes and sketching ideas on what I wanted to focus on, my initial thoughts were around Macro Photography, focussing literally on the skin capturing all its wonderful blemishes.  I’d focussed on The Nude in a previous project so feel quite comfortable around this subject.  Another thought is around tattoo’s and piercings as a form of body armour/expression, another part of me wants to run off and make something in clay!

A visit to the British Museum was great to bring my focus back and great to go as a group as well helped the sharing of ideas over cake!  I’ve only ever been to the British Museum once before, and how many of us can say we have been inspired by Japanese, Egyptian and Mexican art in one day!

The second meet up was a great leveller, I was very conscious that I hadn’t ‘played’ enough with my project ideas and getting into a bit of a spiral of lots of thought and no action.  It was reassuring to hear that many women in the group felt the same.

My conclusion to this part of the process is that I need to play more and be confident that the outcome may not be the final piece, its more the journey we take sometimes.

Pandora

Pandora’s other box visit to the British Museum

Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society

During my 2014 Medway Open Studios, the wonderful Stuart Turner (of Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society) popped in to see my exhibition.  We spoke for a bit and then I let him gander through my photos, a 6×4 bluebell photo caught his eye……studying it for a bit he asked ‘Nikki I’d love to have that on our latest album cover’……well I was gob smacked, I’d never been asked for my photos to be included on any bands album cover, sure I’d done band shots for other promotional material but not for a cover!  My response was ‘yeah sounds cool’.

………’oh and we’d like to have the bands photo taken in the autumn in the same spot’,  eek! help! I vaguely remembered the forest that the photo was taken in! luckily I had the GPS location embedded in the metadata for that particular photo (I’ve never been more thankful of using that little feature), so in the Autumn of 2014, we all piled in the car headed for the Fallen Tree/Bluebell location, Canon kit and i-pad GPS tracking on.

The band was such a giggle to work with, suggesting poses, and going with some of my crazy ideas in order to get the ‘best shot’, muddy bogs and soggy boots included!

Then fast forward around 16 months (with some great promo write ups for the band and a little Vlog from me about supporting local bands on Record Store day) the launch event was here; such a great evening on board the LV21 in Gillingham, a fitting space for the launch with great acoustics, with the band supported by Rachael Lowrie and Theatre Royal, an absolute steal of talent for the entry ticket!

Here’s a few treats from the launch night:

More info about bands and solo artists photo shoots here.

 

 

Horsewash Lane – a memory

In a little corner of Rochester in Kent there is a little unknown lane (in comparison to its well documented sister Rochester High Street), Horsewash Lane.  As you know I love a bit of local history and have been fascinated by it for ages, however the history behind Horsewash Lane has only come onto my radar recently.

When I was little my father lived in Strood, and when returning home we’d always cross Rochester bridge, going under the subway which is the start of Horsewash Lane (opposite the Crown Pub), at the time I didn’t know it by that name.  I was fascinated by that white tiled subway, as I descended the spiral stair case to it, or when I went with my mum and brother (who was in a pram at the time) down the ramp.  I can’t really explain why I had a real connection with that subway, perhaps as it book ended some great memories from days out, then we returned home with the hustle and bustle of the road above, safe in our echoey subway.

Anyway I digress, Horsewash lane, I’ve investigated the history behind the area, through Medway Council Archive Centre and CityArk online, both of which note that horse washing took place at this point at the river from around 1828, as depicted in sketches found from the Frindsbury side of the river.  The lane has been documented to have been there since 1548 (then known as St Clements Lane) when the Parish of St Clements declined following Henry the 8th’s united church policy.  The City ark document noted that in 1851 an arch from the Church of St Clements was found when the new bridge was being built.  This Lane linking to the area know as ‘The Common’ hosted many a market in its hey day including wheat, cattle, corn.  It is refreshing to see that the traditional markets of Medway are being kept alive such as the Rochester Farmers Market and Rochester Flea.

Visiting the area today, it is very run down, fenced off, with no real evidence of the interesting area that it once was, it feels unloved and neglected (apart from the graffiti and the coach park).  The old subway is now boxed in, the stairs removed, and a new pedestrian crossing now takes it’s place.  With the new Rochester Riverside housing development, I wonder whether Horsewash Lanes new residents will even know that this place ever existed.  So much of our local area is well documented, I don’t like to see those little gems not so well known, fall to the way side in our wonderful and rich local history.

The photographs I have taken show the area 2016, before further development takes place, and this area’s history is potentially forgotten.

Brownie 127 Project…..so far!

The start to my Brownie 127 project (Medway in the 1950’s) has been amazing.  I’ve made such a connection with the people I interviewed, don’t get me wrong it has been amazing visiting the Medway archives searching through resources and reading books about local history, but it something entirely different talking to people, and listening to their stories.  Here’s a taster of some of the people I have interviewed so far for the project (Don’t want to give any spoilers!), want to be involved? see here.

Barry E: a great visit to the former Horsted Farm site in Chatham where Barry’s family worked, it is now an open space with some housing, skirting the edge of Fort Horsted.  Barry remembers when they planted the trees for the Orchard.

Richard B: we visited numerous places Luton arches area of Chatham. I loved hearing Richards stories especially that the proximity to living so close to the railway had inspired him to become an engineer!  Richards enthusiasm for the local area and supporting its heritage hasn’t faltered as he is the Chairman of a charity working to establish a 1939 Chatham bus as an educational resource, the Medway Heritage Bus.