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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………

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.

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Pandora’s other box visit to the British Museum

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.

Medway Open Studios 2015!

Its nearly upon us Medway Open Studios 2015, anyone see my article in WOW! (page 19!)

I’ve had a bit of creative block for this MOSAF, don’t get me wrong I’m busy busy and loving it, but have a lacked a bit of oomph for my own work. That’s when dear Mr Nikki Price Photography came to the rescue with his quotes from 80’s and 90’s movies.

This open studios has been perhaps the least prepared I’d have liked to have been, but hey some of my best work has been in the moment! This exhibition is also slightly different in that there is a mixture of both portrait, self portraits, still life and landscape, so hopefully something for everyone!

Hope you will all pop along and see me (Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th July 11-3 further details here) and see if you can match up the quotes with the photos (possible prizes available -lollies!). I’ll also be displaying some photos from the last year which I think you’ll enjoy.

Till then x

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Art, Activism and the Community

I’m taking part in a short course called The Body Electric. I wanted to undertake something purely for my own development, I’m aware that it has been some time since my last blog, but hey ho, I Love to be busy!

Starting The Body Electric course has proved a very valuable time to me as a community activist and photographer, giving me wider thought about my community; the role I play within it; how my photography reflects my passion for the Medway area, and to also open my mind to new creative ways of thinking.

The breadth of experience within the room, and willingness of sharing skills and ideas, is wonderful. Some areas of the Medway Towns are sometimes put down in the media, over the recent years I’ve only felt a real ‘can do/will do’ attitude through the people I meet. Don’t get me wrong there are improvements that can be made anywhere and no place is ever really ‘perfect’, but feel that your little slice can be made great and have a knock on effect to the wider area.

We shared lunch today, thinking about our environmental community, many people chose to bring along food to share that they had made themselves, I bought along a vegetarian pasta with pesto made from the spinach in my garden. The visit to the Sunlight Centres Community Garden, and Mens Shed project was inspirational.

I have definately got out of my comfort zone at our full day session today; I just went for a wander with my camera (those of you who know me well, know I like to have a plan of action!) to explore lower Gillingham, a place I hadn’t really visited before. Rambling over the old port train track, to Hillyfields. Amongst the rows of Victorian terraces I stopped at the Orchard on Hillyfields pondering over a cut tree and wrote this:

Hilly fields 09.05.15

Your roots are still there
And part of you to see
An illusion of a grand tree
That you once were, to me

I don’t know what happened
Or how it came to be
That you are there
with your bare bones to see

Amongst this concrete jungle
You are in an oasis of calm
The birds continue their tweeting
As the sun beats down on my arm

There are so many places in Medway
I have yet to see
But for now thanks Hillyfields
Thanks for having me.

Nikki Price Photography MOSAF 2014

What a scorcher of a July 14 Medway Open Studios!

For the first time this year I produced an article about the launch of the Medway Open Studios, including my photos, for online magazine the Medway Broadside.  This received some good feedback from its reader base.

With around 80 visitors to my exhibition it would seem that Medway is very interested in the practice of mindfulness (and of course my fabulous photos and documentary video).

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As well as the focus on mindfulness, taking portraits of people, I included a number of calming/mindful images, it’s always a tricky one knowing which photos to print.  However I went with my instinct of those photos that I particularly liked, and it would seem you did too! The project theme is a passion of mine to assist my own mental health, but has come out of conversation at the Time to Talk events I run locally.

The documentary short film with music by 3D, received some wonderful feedback:

‘such a peaceful and calming documentary’

‘I feel so relaxed now…..can I stay?’

‘I wasn’t quite sure what mindfulness was, but now I know a bit more I’m going to start practicing!’

‘I share to many things (on social media) about what I’m up to, I going to try and be in the moment and not worry about sharing it with the world!’

‘feeling so relaxed now’

And on my accompanying written piece for the exhibition:

‘this is a wonderful piece, your description of your mindfulness moment, is written like we are breathing with you, experiencing that moment with you’

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Medway Open Studios continues to be a big passion of mine allowing me to totally focus on my own project.  I’ll leave you will a quote from my written piece, until next year.

Breathing in the warm spring air, feet flat on the floor I shut my eyes in the middle of the pavement, listening to the cars going by, then listening deeper to the birds and natural sounds, another deep breath, with the sun beating down on my face, I opened my hands facing them to the warmth, feeling the gentle breeze pass through my fingers like water. It was an amazing feeling, having chosen a time to stop and be mindful had been so precious to me.” – Nikki P 14.03.14

 

Mindfulness for Medway Open Studios

Wow – its been busy busy at Nikki Price Photography HQ since February, Band shoots, Event photography, Graduations, Head shots, and preparation for my exhibition for this Julys Medway open Studios.

This year I’m focussing on Mindfulness, a particularly poignant theme for me this year since starting the Time to Talk events in which chatters come together to discuss Mental Health issues they may have experienced, in a supportive environment, both chatters and I have been interested in Mindfulness to help with Mental Health issues they maybe facing.   I find the act of simply being focussed on one thing so beneficial and calming, Photography for me is a Mindful practice, I wondered what other people did and benefitted from being ‘Mindful’.

So here I go camera in hand, having a dialogue with my models, as well as stills there will be a short documentary about each models thoughts and experiences of Mindfulness.

There have been some wonderful examples of people being Mindful so far in my shoots, being by the river, yoga practice, walking, drawing, reading, I don’t think I’ve been more attentive and peaceful watching someone shine their shoes in my life, truly amazing.

I’m also working with a superb musicians to get the music to accompany the documentary, a new venture for me.

Hope to see you at the Medway Open Studios 12th-21st July.

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Rochester Flea

On late winters sunny day I popped into the Rochester Flea, located in the Gordon Hotel on Rochester High Street.

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A bustle of people popping in and out of the doors, with their recycled bags full of individual treats and goodies from the stall holders inside.

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The Rochester Flea for me (like the Farmers Market) is a fantastic opportunity to source something individual and chat with local people who are passionate about their trades.

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This feeling was so abundant especially when chatting with Ron from Papa’s Yankee Workshop.  Ron’s passion for his carpentry is infectious.  I was fascinated when he was telling me that all his items were made in his own workshop from reclaimed/found wood.  I loved the lines in the tulip wood, and enjoyed looking at each of his gorgeous bespoke pieces.

Robin from Scorpio Gallery was another interesting person to chat to, it was good to have contact with a local Picture Framing service, since the sad closure of Langley Galleries on the High Street.

Now as you may know from my last post of Rochester Farmers Market, I love food! The Rochester Flea doesn’t disappoint on this front, as well as having some wonderful crafts, vintage clothing, house hold materials, reclaimed and reloved items, and even a Disco, there is Fikabrod.

Headed up by Rikard, Fikabrod is a Swedish bakery selling all kinds of original Swedish treats.  I particularly love the cinnamon buns and  the chocolate coconut balls! The photos probably don’t do it justice you have to sample the delights for yourself!

The next Flea is on 29th March 12-4 why not pop down and enjoy.

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Time to Talk – Tea and Cake

On 6th February I organised a get together for a time to talk time to change event (as part of the charity Mind) at the Dot Cafe Rochester.

I gave a talk about the reasons for wanting to put together the event:

One of the key aims of Minds event is ‘to empower people with mental health problems to feel confident talking about the issue without facing discrimination’.  People can speak about as much or as little as they want to, the main aim of the campaign is to facilitate chats around Mental Health as well as a platform for individuals to chat about everyday things.  Those who attended said to me how relaxed and informal it was, which put them more at ease.  There are many wonderful other local events that have a common theme for getting people together, however there isn’t one for getting people together and just chatting.

Here’s what people said about the event:

“to have an excuse to move away from mundane chores to be amongst others so as not to feel too isolated”

“really enjoyable to meet such lovely people, hope it continues”

“good to have a reason to get out of the house…..I’ve become a bit isolated during the last couple of years, I hope it continues”

“it was a lovely relaxing morning, glad to support Mind (and enjoy the cake)”

“good to meet new people, the more friends the better”

“this is a fantastic idea”

“really nice to find out that something like this exists

A big thanks go to Sandy at the Dot Cafe.

The benefits of the event were fantastic, I am going to arrange another in early March.

Photos taken on my i-phone:

Time to Talk