The Norwegian Fjords

I recently spent a week travelling around the South West coast of Norway, visiting the beautiful Fjords.  Sailing from Southampton we stopped off at Bergen, Flaam, Hellesylt and Stavanger.


In addition to the usual sightseeing,  I used this opportunity to experiment with more HDR landscape photography techniques and had a play creating panoramas using an approach I learned from Gavin Hoey at one of his fantastic talks. Being primarily a portrait photographer I only have longer focal length lenses,  so to take in as much landscape as possible I decided to rent a Canon 17-40mm f/4 L wide-angle lens from  It performed brilliantly – super sharp images, little to no vignetting in the corners and very fast focusing speeds. It’s also significantly cheaper to rent/buy than it’s closest rival, the 16-35mm f/2.8 and I found that I didn’t miss that extra width or aperture.

Here’s a selection of my favourite images from the week:

Stacey’s Make Up: A Shoot with Karen & Michelle

We went into the studio this weekend to help Stacey get some new beauty headshots for her portfolio. Drawing on inspiration from masters such as Peter Hurley and a touch of Sue Bryce glamour, we had some fantastic results.

Stacey's Make Up

I opted to use a clam-shell lighting setup – a tried and trusted approach to fashion and beauty photography. It’s been a set up I’ve wanted to use for a while now but never had the need.  A clam-shell setup uses two lights, one directly above pointing down (as a key light) and one directly below pointing up to provide fill light under the chin. Take a closer look of the catch-lights in the eyes and you’ll see what I mean.  I’ve used a similar approach using a single light and a reflector but being in a well kitted studio this is the first time I’ve had the luxury of two strobes!  The key light was modified using an Elinchrom Rotalux Deep Octa and the fill used a square softbox.

In these pictures I’ve also added a third light – to the right of the frame, pointing back at us,  is a Chimera Softbox Strip Light to add a touch of depth and separation.  All of these images were shot around F/10 at 1/125, ISO 100 with just a little bit of tiding up in Photoshop.

Stacey is a qualified beautician, and a great beauty MUA. She can be contacted via PureStorm.

Laurie: Velvet Snake

Last night I returned to Studio Blanco for our third and final Fantasy Portrait session, with make up artist Dagmara Zasuwa. This week’s design was called ‘Velvet Snake’ and was by far my favourite!

Laurie: Velvet Snake

Our model for this week’s session was the fantastic Laurie, a singer/songwriter currently producing some electro dance music. She was very friendly, took direction brilliantly and comes highly recommended.

The key light for this session was an Elinchrom studio strobe connected to a bare Rotalux Deep Octabox. I say bare as we removed the internal baffles and fitted the internal deflector dish to give a harder light.  I love these new strobes – the light is so pure, the temperature is consistent and the recycle time is super fast.  Especially useful when the session is shared with 5 other photographers! We had a second light firing into the background, covered with various coloured gels to produce colourful effects.

The difficulty with this set up was overcoming the weight of the huge false eyelashes – being so big it was difficult to get enough light into the eyes to form a decent catch-light.  We had two solutions: the model held a constant upwards look into the light source, or Wiktor: usually one of the best photographers in Oxfordshire, but today was a reflector stand.

I thought this was a really awesome design by Dagmara. To me it looked like something from a superhero or comic book, so I took this idea further in my processing!

Here’s a few of my favourites from the session: