Photoshoot & Technique: A Face made for the camera…

Hi Folks.
Had a blast the other night over in the studio where I joined up with my Buddy Noel Hannan to shoot a group of Actors/Singers who call themselves ‘Vocalarity

Now Noel concentrated on photographing the group in a whole series of full length poses and guises whereas for this shoot I concentrated on taking a series of head shots; some of which are included here…

The first series of head shots are of Tristan, one of the group members and someone I’m definitely looking to have modelling for the next round of Workshops which are set to kick off in February 2012
*(I’ll be posting the new workshop dates up on the blog as well as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter real soon)

The set up for taking this series of head shots was real simple: 2 Strip lights from either side and a beauty dish fitted with a honeycomb grid high and to the front.

Now in the studio I’m using the Profoto heads and modifiers but this is a set up that can be pretty closely replicated using 2 Speedlights and the new Lastolite Hotrod Strip Boxes either side of the model with another Speedlight in a Lastolite Ezybox to the front. In fact that is the exact same set up I use if I’m out on location because it’s light and very portable.

The Background
For this particular kind of look, slightly darker than mid grey(ish) background is needed but rather than set this up in the studio each of the subjects were positioned roughly 6ft away from the white studio walls. That, combined with the way the lights were positioned meant that the walls weren’t blasted with light and consequently turned grey.

*If I’d wanted the walls darker I could move the subject and lights further away from the background and if I wanted the background lighter, I’d do the opposite…simple:)

The spotlight however is a different story, as it’s been added during the post production phase in Photoshop…

Post Production/Editing
Each of the head shots regardless took no more than 15 minutes working through the following steps…

  • RAW Conversion
  • Tidying Up (Removing Dust Spots, Blemishes etc…)
  • Eyes (Whitening, Colour, Contrast, Sharpening)
  • Adding Texture/Details
  • Dodging & Burning
  • Extraction/Cut Out
  • Background (Add Colour and Spotlight)
  • Add overall ‘Painterly’ Look/Texture
  • Contrast using Unsharp Mask
The Extraction/Cut Out stage is what allows the new background to be put in place and doing so even with lots of fine, stray hairs is a breeze once you get to grips with the Refine Edge Command in Photoshop CS5. But, that being said it can be also done in earlier versions of Photoshop with just a little more knowledge and time. (N.B> I’ll be look at putting together a video tutorial to show this in the near future)
Here’s a few more of the head shots along with one of Officially ‘Top Fellow” and “Jolly Nice Chap” David Rogers (far right)…
A  Retoucher, Designer, Adobe Certified Expert in both Photoshop and Lightroom, Adobe Community Professional and in his own words ‘an all round damn fine assistant’, David’s over from the US visiting family and it’s been great catching up hanging out with him for the past few days.
My good friend Dave Clayton summed it up perfectly when he said “David’s one of those guys you feel like you’ve known forever but just wish you’d met earlier” … here, here!!!

Well, the weekend is upon us so have a great one and in the mean time if you have any question/comments then as always please feel free to make use of the comments section below,

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December 2, 2011 - 6:37 pm

Evgeny - Very cool site! Thank you very much for your lessons! Tell me how you can get a tutorial on editing photos? :)

November 29, 2011 - 5:15 am

David - Hello,
I obviously missed the webinar (I just found your blog last week) Is there anyway to get a tutorial from you on how you created these images? (post production) Just curious to see if the webinar was recorded. I would have loved to join if I had known about it :-) This is a technique I am always seeking to learn different ways of doing. Thanks.


October 16, 2011 - 9:30 am

Nicole - Wow, Glyn these are amazing. How do you create this wonderful paintery like look?

October 10, 2011 - 3:18 pm

Glyn - Cheers Thomas ;)

October 10, 2011 - 3:17 pm

Glyn - @DaveT…Could well be the case mate. Hopefully the tutorial will help out. Cheers

October 10, 2011 - 3:16 pm

Glyn - @Adrian…Are you on Google+? If you are, check out one of my recent posts about this:

October 10, 2011 - 3:15 pm

Glyn - @Paul…No ratios mate. I just work by sight and if the light looks how I want it, then I go with it.

October 10, 2011 - 3:15 pm

Glyn - @Ciaran…I’m holding out, hoping that the next version of PS can help me with the ‘spot’ on my head…lol :)

October 9, 2011 - 5:12 pm

Ciaran Cummins - Thanks for showing this Glyn, I have loved this effect and wondered how it was achieved. As for the “spot” on the top of your own head… don’t think CS5 has a tool for that. Sorry! ;-)

October 8, 2011 - 6:56 pm

Thomas - Thank you very much,this is great.

October 8, 2011 - 7:01 am

DaveT - Looking forward to the tutorial on the refine edges bit. I have tried it a few times but without success (maybe because the background was too detailed).

October 7, 2011 - 10:44 pm

Adrian - Can you please please teach me how to do this technique, bin trying to do this for a while now but no success

October 7, 2011 - 8:19 pm

Paul - Hi glyn! Do you have a specific ratio between front light and side lights?

October 7, 2011 - 7:14 pm

Glyn - Hi Nat. Re the spotlight I do it this way for a number of reasons but mostly because of the flexibility it offers being able to adjust the size, brightness, colour and position at any stage after the shoot as well as showing the client the images with or without a spotlight.
Hope that makes sense, Glyn

October 7, 2011 - 6:36 pm

Nat - Love these Glyn. They are fantastic. Can I ask why you added the spotlight in post?

I finally made it onto 500px…

Well, after it having been around for a few months, a couple of days ago I finally made it onto 500px; undoubtedly the place nowadays to have a portfolio and showcase your images…

There’s a number of reasons why it’s taken so long for me to get round to putting a portfolio of images together and creating a page, and time (or lack of it) has certainly played it’s part. The main reason though has been down to not being able to decide on which images I should upload.

Now I’m not short of images it’s just if there’s one thing I’ve picked up on from watching and listening it’s that 500px is where you upload your best work as opposed to Flickr where it can seem like anything and everything is uploaded. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bad-mouthing Flickr in any way, it’s just that 500px seems to me to be aimed more towards the Professional side of things as opposed to Flickr being aimed towards anyone and everyone.

Each have their place that’s for sure and I’m sure I’ll continue to use Flickr but not as a place to showcase my images. I’ll likely use it from now on as a place to create ‘Groups’ and share images like has been done with those taken during this years Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk that I lead in Oxford, UK [Link]

Anyway, getting back to 500px, I have to say that apart from being blown away by how well the site displays your images: sharp, great colour, size etc I could (and have) spend hours just browsing around and looking at some of the other folks’ work on there; some seriously impressive and inspiring work!!!

I’m guessing at the moment, Photographers’ images on 500px are being viewed in the main by other Photographers and that’s purely because it’s all very new. But, you can guarantee that once the word spreads Talent Scouts, Agents etc will start using it to source suitable Photographers for shoots as well as Advertising Houses, Designers and so on getting in contact about using images they find on there.

I’d be really interested to hear from any of you who have a 500px account and how you’re using it i.e. uploading large amounts of images or being more selective? Maybe you’ve resisted opening an account because it feels like yet another site to add to the seemingly ever increasing list of ‘social media’ websites to keep onto of?

As always, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to make use of the comments section below, but in the mean time,

You can check out my 500px Page here:

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October 7, 2011 - 7:12 pm

Glyn - @Stu…Agreed entirely mate. Certainly makes you scrutinise what you upload which can only be a good thing.

October 7, 2011 - 7:11 pm

Glyn - @Kelley…Thanks for that. Looking forward to seeing your portfolio on there too.

October 7, 2011 - 1:02 am

Ciaran Cummins - I’ve been viewing the site for a while now and I have to say I love it. It’s full of stunning images on almost every page. I did set up an account but I didn’t upload anything as I’m not a pro and don’t feel my work is up to that standard. That said I finally gave in to temptation last night and started uploading, but only a few images and only ones that I think might just manage to survive in there. For me it’s going to the place where I post only my very best efforts as I hope to be working as a photographer next year and as a full time pro with 18months. Fingers crossed!

October 6, 2011 - 1:12 pm

Stu Cosgrave - Glyn – I’ve been on 500PX for a while now. Amazing site that forces you to question the quality of your work (and hopefully helps you improve). As you’ll have seen with your images, it show cases your work really well. I’m using for landscapes and travel pics rather than my portraits and have only put a few up so far. Love the like/dislike approach aswell – an opportunity to have your work critiqued which can only help! Cheers, Stu

October 5, 2011 - 11:50 pm

kelley - What a great looking site! Your images look fantastic there and I admit I’ll be looking into it now. Good work! Kelley

The Oxford, UK Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk: We had a blast!!! (#WWPW)

Saturday and Sunday, the 1st and 2nd October, saw thousands of photographers all around the World taking part in what has become a history making event: Scott Kelby’s World Wide Photo Walk

And what an incredible weekend it was!!! I had the absolute pleasure of organising and leading one of the UK legs, in the beautiful City of Oxford and was joined by a great bunch of folks who’d travelled far and wide…some as far as Florida and Texas in the USA; admittedly they were here visiting family and friends but how cool is that:)

This was the 4th Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk, this time seeing over 1117 walks going on around the world and an excess of 30,000 photographers of varying levels taking part; Photography Professionals all the way to folks who like to take the occasional photo with their mobile phones…

Having fun and making friends with like minded people really is what the World Wide Photo Walk is all about, and taking photos and the chance to win thousands of pounds worth of prizes is an added bonus, and I know I’m not alone when I say this but I’ve met people by doing these walks over the past 4 years that have now become some of my greatest friends…

It’s incredible how fast the 2 hour walk went by; so fast I only managed to take a few shots the entire time in-between all the walking, chatting and laughter…

A HUGE thank you from me to everyone who came along and made the day what it was; a day with lots of laughs, meeting up with and making new friends, and some photography thrown in for good measure…and hey what about that weather:)

So did you take part in a walk? If not, then why not look at taking part next year and being part of what is a whole lot of fun, and undoubtedly the biggest photography and social event there is!

*Photo Walkers around the World have until 12pm EDT on Friday 7th October to submit their images to the relevant Photo Walk Web Page, and be entered for a chance to win thousands of pounds worth of prizes including software, books, photography equipment and much more…Good luck everyone!

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October 10, 2011 - 3:18 pm

Glyn - @Nasir…Would be great if you could make the next one mate; was a superb day!

October 9, 2011 - 9:46 am

Nasir Hamid - Great video! I was shooting a wedding on that day so couldn’t make it. Funnily enough your route is very similar to the one I walk during most of my lunch hours, doing street photography.

You can find my photo blog here:

Maybe I’ll make it to next years’ photo walk? :-)


October 7, 2011 - 7:10 pm

Glyn - @Kelley…Impressive Boxers huh :) lol

October 7, 2011 - 7:10 pm

Glyn - @Stu…You’re welcome Buddy. Great day indeed…here’s to the next one :)

October 4, 2011 - 7:19 pm

kelley - Fabulous!

October 3, 2011 - 9:03 am

Stu Cosgrave - Have wanted to do a photo walk for a couple of years now but have never been able to make the dates, so this year was my first, and will definitely not be my last. Great day in a great location meeting great people! Thanks for organising Glyn. Top job.

Shooting a Vampire ‘On Location’ with Lastolite & Nik Software

Hi Folks,
Just sorting through some  images for the portfolio the other day and I realised there was one in particular that I’d been meaning to talk about here on the blog…

This particular shot is one from the very first TipSquirrel Workshop [Link] held at Peterborough Cathedral that I instructed on along with Gavin Hoey; where I had 2, 1 hour segments on location portrait shoots and Gavin teaching a HDR segment.

Ok so first of all let’s take a look at the lighting and then touch on some of the editing that was done in Photoshop…

Now not everyone has big powerful lighting for use on location but most people who have more then average interest in photography do have one or 2 small battery powered strobes. So, with that in mind that is all I limited myself to using during the Workshop…Nikon SB800 Speedlights, but in addition some fairly new modifiers from Lastolite: Two Hotrod Strip Softboxes.

Regular readers of the blog will know that I’m a big fan of using Stripboxes in the studio so seeing that Lastolite introduced this new range of modifiers I just had to give them a go; in fact this workshop was the very first time I’d put them to use…

So with two(2) of the Lastolite Hot Rod Strip Boxes behind and to the side of our model, the light to the front was yet another SB800 Speedlight but this one being in an Ezybox.

Ideally I would have had this light on a boom to the front of the model but because of time restraints and also wanting to make this whole shoot repeatable for those  attending, I just had it on a straight forward light stand and positioned just out of frame.

Anyway despite it being a bright sunny day, the Speedlights coped just fine allowing me to end up with an image I was happy to then take through and spend some time editing…

Now I’m not going to go into depth covering exactly what was done in Photoshop with this image and there’s a couple of reasons for that i.e. the time it took means there’s quite a few steps involved and also I can’t actually recall everything that I did:)

Of course at the start I spent time removing any imperfections, sharpening, enhancing details, whitening the skin, focusing where the main light falls in the picture, adding some fog/mist and so on, and that covers about 80% or so of what was done; the last 20% or so though is where I kind of lose track as it’s here that the main ‘look’ of the picture comes in.

This 80/20 is something that Calvin Hollywood talks about meaning that the remaining 20% of the editing takes about 80% of the entire editing time, oh and incidentally it’s here that I’ve added something into my editing workflow…

I used to have a big hang up about using plug ins and this goes back to a time when I first started out. You see I’d studied and studied to a point that I started to feel quite confident in Photoshop but then at the same time, more and more work was coming in which meant more and more editing. So, to speed up the editing process I started using plug ins but because of the way I was using them i.e. one click fixes I found I was actually doing less techniques in photoshop and instead using the Plugins exclusively and as a consequence began to deskill myself. I actually started to feel a bit of a fraud when people would ask how I’d edited an image and I couldn’t really give an answer…because it was down to the Plugin.

Long story short, I removed every single Plugin I had and took everything back to basics; studying and playing in Photoshop to bring my skill level and confidence back up and this remains the same today as I’m continually studying and playing to keep improving and learning new tips and techniques.

However, it’s been Calvin Hollyowood and Gabor Richter that have recently turned me back on to using Plugins, in particular Nik Color Efex Pro 4 Complete and Topaz Details, but using them correctly i.e. to finish off an image and using them in conjunction with Photoshop and not as a replacement…does that make sense?

I guess what I’m getting here is that if you’re going to use plugins don’t rely 100% on them and race through your editing adding effect after effect and having no real idea as to what you’re doing.

Right, time to go and make sure everything is ready for tomorrow’s Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk in Oxford, but in the meantime, as always if you have any questions or comments please feel free to make use of the comments section below.

Oh one last thing…here’s a list of the plug ins I have installed and make use of on a day to day basis:
Nik Color Efex Pro 4.0 Complete [Link]
Nik Silver Efex Pro [Link]
Topaz Details [Link]


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October 2, 2011 - 7:14 pm

Glyn - I’m afraid that’s not possible Jef as this was a commissioned shoot, but thanks for looking in and for asking.


October 1, 2011 - 4:59 pm

Photography by Jef - I’d like a shot at editing that image myself. Do you mind sending me the RAW file?

October 1, 2011 - 7:49 am

DaveT - Hi Glyn,

Impressive shot and those strip lightboxes look good.

I understand your point about Photoshop skills and plug ins, the advantage you have got is that you know exactly what is going to happen to the image when applying the plugin adjustment. That, I think, is a good thing because you can make a considered decision rather than…… I wonder what will happen if I just apply this?

One of the great advantages of plugins though, is that they can speed your workflow up, and if you have a lot of images to work with, must be an advantage.

BTW is this a sign you have just turned the big 40 – “……..also I can’t actually recall everything that I did” . It’s a slippery slope form her on mate ;-)


September 30, 2011 - 7:20 pm

Glyn - Andrew that’s so good to hear. Calvin ROCKS huh :)

September 30, 2011 - 12:56 pm

Andrew Keane - Great post. I agree with what you say about plugins, though I am a big fan of Colour Efex 3.0. I am also a HUGE admirer of Calvin’s work, which is how I found your work. I love both your styles, it has certainly inspired and shaped the direction of my photography.

Oxford World Wide Photo Walk: 3 Days to go…

With just 3 days to go until this year’s Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk, I thought I’d post up just a few hints/tips and general advice to help make sure you get the most out of your day and above have fun and stay safe…

First off though I highly recommend you head on over to Scott’s own blog and read through his 7 tips for Walkers that he posted up earlier this week…

Just to add to Scott’s tips, here’s a few pointers that are mainly for those of you who are joining me in Oxford this coming Saturday but do still hold some relevance no matter where you’ll be, along with details of more prizes on offer…

1) Parking
Now, parking in Oxford, is well….’Challenging‘ to put it politely but that being said the City does offer a superb park & Ride Facility. There’s several Park and Ride locations dotted around the outskirts of the City so it’s worth checking out the Official Park & Ride website to see which is best for you [Link]

I’ll be coming into Oxford from the direction of the M40 so I’ll be using the Thornhill Park & Ride, which like all the others gives Free Parking and a ‘cheap as chips’ return trip on the bus into Oxford for just £2.20 each or £4.00 for a couple

Be warned though, these Car Parks do fill up and seeing as we’re walking on a Saturday that’s going to happen fairly quickly so why not get into Oxford nice and early and make a day of it.

2) Weather
Looking at the Weather forecast for the weekend it looks like we’re in for quite a warm day so just a ‘heads up’ for you to give some thought about what you’re going to wear and carrying.

3) Keep ‘em Peeled
Oxford is undoubtedly a beautiful City with so much to see but like anywhere in the world where you’re going to get a high concentration of people there’s always the risk of ‘thieves’. With that in mind, be sure to keep a close eye on your kit and that of others on the walk too.

On that note, you might want to take read this article that I caught yesterday [Link]

4) Prizes, Prizes, Prizes
As well as being a superb social event with the chance of winning some fantastic prizes, I’ll also be running a couple of extra competitions on the day.

Thanks to the folks over at the NAPP and Kelby Training I have a number of superb training DVD’s and Books to give away as prizes and those will be for photographs that fall into following categories:

  • Mobile Phone Photo of the Day
  • Perfect Timing (For all you Street Photographers)

5) One more thing…
Again for those of you joining me in Oxford, as it says on the Walk’s Official Web Page, we’re meeting up in Radcliffe Square which is where you’ll find the Radcliffe Camera.

It’s real easy to find but just to make life easier, as you come into the City Centre on the Park & Ride, you’ll need to get off outside the Carfax Tower Bus Stop. From there cross over the road and continue walking in the direction of the City Centre for about 1 minute and then turn into Catte Street which is directly opposite the Old Bank Hotel, and that will bring you into Radcliffe Square

Right that’s all for now so here’s wishing you all a fabulous weekend of Photo Walks and for those of you coming along to Oxford, I’ll see you soon,

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September 29, 2011 - 8:19 am

Neal - Arriving at Oxford Rail Station at 10.05 if anyone wants to meet up and have a walk around for some early street shots?

September 29, 2011 - 6:43 am

DaveT - Hope you all have a great day-couldn’t make this event myself.

Had that same warning about lens theft in China last year – looks like the problem is spreading. So, do be careful people.

September 29, 2011 - 12:26 am

kelley - Wish I was going to join you! We’re all full here and I’m not wanting to travel too far to join one. If I travel for one it will be to the UK. Have a fantastic event and have a beer for me!
PS Did you see the specular highlights from the window of that store in the hallway? Wow! I had to play it back a couple of times!

All the best to everyone joining you and be safe out there!

September 28, 2011 - 6:30 pm

neal - I plan on making a day of it if anyone else is around? Getting there quite early for a stroll and take in wonderful Oxford, then a spot of lunch, meeting friends afterwards for a beer all very welcome :-)

September 28, 2011 - 10:04 am

Jonathan Thompson - Really looking forward to this, it’ll be so great to finally meet so many I’ve only known from the interwebs. I’ll be coming in by train and I plan to arrive early to make a day of it, they don’t grant me day passes often so I’d better make it count ;)
Look forward to seeing you all there.


September 28, 2011 - 9:39 am

David Kelly - Thankfully I can actually make this WWPW after missing out on the previous two. Our worries about the weather for an October date thankfully have been allayed, with the (supposedly) better than Hawaii temperatures this week – I assume you or Mr Jollybottom must have got your order in early ;-)

Looking forward to seeing everyone there on Saturday!

September 28, 2011 - 9:17 am

Keith Hammond - really looking forward to this, it’s going to be a great day with such a large turn out, i think i heard a rumour that the host gets the first round in, is that true ;-)

September 28, 2011 - 8:51 am

Tim Pursall - Gutted I’m missing this Glyn. I’m in Swansea on a prior commitment. Would love to have joined you. Next year! Have a great ‘walk’.

September 28, 2011 - 8:48 am

Glyn - Brian, I think it’s going to mean a ‘full invasion’ of Oxford :)

September 28, 2011 - 8:45 am

Brian Worley - See you on Saturday, I hope you found ‘a bigger pub’ cos with a full walk of great people ‘we’re gonna need a bigger pub’