Joshua Gow Photography

Hugo Boss, Esquire and Manchester City FC stars. All in a day’s work

by Joshua on March 21, 2013, no comments

I’m really glad to be able to share this with the world.

A few months back, a friend of mine, the very talented SImon Lipman, called me up and asked me if I wouldn’t mind assisting him on a photo shoot in Manchester. Now, I’ve worked with Simon a few times before on various fashion jobs and it’s always great fun. We tend to nerd it up a bit, talking about the latest gadgets with either bought or are planning to buy, but mostly I get to watch a great photographer at work and soak up as much knowledge as possible. Initially my role was to be his lighting assistant on the set of a fashion shoot. This in itself is a great opportunity to get hands on experience, working as part a team of that includes hair and make up artists, stylists, models, art directors and of course photographers.

A few days before the shoot Simon called me again with an update. He had decided that instead of assisting him, he would like me to produce a video to accompany his photos. Not only that, he told me who the client was on this shoot, Esquire magazine. Not only that, but the models would be some of the biggest stars of Premier League champions Manchester CIty. Not only that, but they would be modelling the latest fashion from Hugo Boss and the shoot would take place at Hugo Boss’s fancy store in Manchester.

Now this was quite a lot to take in at once, not least that fact that I am a lifelong Manchester United fan. After gratefully accepting the job I began to think about how I was going to go about producing this piece. Simon had given me a brief, “basically you can shoot all around the set, get some interesting angles and try and capture the mood of the shoot”.

I won’t get into too much technical detail about cameras, lenses etc, I’d rather just get on and let you see what I came up with. You can also see the awesome photos Simon shot on his site here.

So there it is, it was quite a day and even though they play for the wrong side of Manchester the guys were good sports and made my job very easy!

 

 

Dancers, Goths and a Make Up Test

by Joshua on September 4, 2012, 2 comments

I wasn’t wrong, the last week has been a very busy one.

I’ve been back in the studio at Photolink in Manchester working on the new season for Shop Direct Group. This week the brand was Pineapple, who specialise in dancewear and fitness clothing. As well as this I’ve been shooting still life fashion at home for Attitude Clothing, which is really quite different. They specialise in alternative clothing, aimed at the Rock music fanbase and Goth culture.

This is one of the things I love most about being in the freelance industry, you find yourself working on things that you wouldn’t necessarily take an interest in. I’m neither a Dancer or a Goth but I enjoy the challenge of shooting and editing their different styles of clothing. From bright neon ankle warmers to black PVC leggings there’s a lot to think about. I won’t go into technical details, I’m trying to steer away from boring my non-photogeek audience and more towards just letting the world know what’s going on. If I get time I may post some little “how to” type things that go into more detail about what I do.

Anyway, moving on. I’m not allowed to show the photos/videos of what I have shot this week as they have not been published by the clients yet, but if you want to see them you can click the links above to the sites and you’ll see my work there.

Thankfully I do have some photos to share with you. Yesterday, after a pretty hectic day rushing around Manchester between location shots and studio shots I got home and found my girlfriend sat on the couch looking like she had just walked off a fashion shoot herself.

This is not the normal site, Lydia on the couch, yes, but it’s usually her relaxing with a cup of tea or a glass of wine. As part of her work Lyd manages a lot of make-up consultants, these ladies (I’m sure there are some men too) asked her to try out some of their products and come up with a style that would fit the brand. This wasn’t anything official, just a bit of fun.

Not wanting to miss a photo-op I moved a few things around in my studio (the dinning room) and shot these.

I am really happy with how these turned out, not just to show off how gorgeous Lyd looked but also because I haven’t really done this at home before. I’ve done a lot of studio shoots before but to be able to light and shoot this at home with all my own kit was really satisfying.

So that’s about it for now, I’m just waiting for the next delivery of clothing to turn up for me to get to work on for the next two days, then back in studio at the end of the week before the long awaited two week holiday!

Thanks for reading,

Joshua

 

More Weddings

by Joshua on August 27, 2012, 3 comments

Last week I photographed two weddings, usually these would have been at the weekend, but oddly these were on Thursday and Friday.

Now midweek weddings might seem a little odd, logistically you would think it would be difficult for people to attend, but it didn’t seem to affect these particular couples as there were over 100 guests at each of the weddings.

Firstly on Thursday we had the lovely Adrian and Victoria,

Adrian & Victoria

These two were great, really sweet and natural. After the bride dodged some spectacular rain showers to arrive looking pristine, there was a lovely church ceremony. This was followed by a short drive into the nearby dales to the Alma Inn, a fantastic hotel/restaurant/wedding venue perched atop a small hill surrounded by rolling farmland on all sides.

We were so lucky with the weather, it really was a miracle. When photographing weddings it is actually very beneficial to have a nice even cloud cover to help diffuse the harsh sunlight you get around the time of day most couples tend to get married. But in this instance the clouds were thick and threatened rain almost all day.

Thankfully the rain seemed to time itself perfectly, when we were inside it seemed to pour down but as soon as we wanted 15 minutes outside to get shots like these the rain halted and we were able to brave it.

Here’s a couple more shots that I particularly liked from Adrian and Victoria’s day.

Victoria

Adrian & Victoria – Umbrella Silhouette

So that was Thursday’s wedding, thoroughly enjoyable and after a long drive home, downloading memory cards, putting batteries on to charge and a much too brief sleep it was Friday.

Friday’s venue was nothing short of spectacular.

I have to admit I had never seen this building up close before so when I arrived I was a little taken aback by it. I had arrived early to get familiar with the place and to get a few shots before the guest began to arrive. I was glad I did.

Ashton Memorial – Williamson Park – Lancaster

Equally as spectacular was the arrival of the groom, Phil. His lovely bride to be, Sam, had arranged a little treat for him on their special day.

Phil arriving on a Harley Davidson

Harley Davidson

I’m not a biker myself, but I am a fan of beautiful machinery such as this. Every inch of this huge beast of a motorcycle (or hog as Phil called it) was crafted to perfection and it made one hell of noise when he gave it the beans!

Needless to say, once the guests started arriving, everyone wanted to have a go. There were plenty of photo requests from the men wanting to sit astride it and also from the ladies although they mostly had to sit side saddle, high heels and short skirts aren’t exactly Harley Davidson attire.

Sam and Phil had decided that after the ceremony they would have a small reception in the grounds before heading off to a smaller venue for the wedding breakfast and evening festivities, which was perfect for me as it allowed  a little extra time to get some shots in and around this fantastic place.

The Happy Couple – Sam and Phil

The Happy Couple – plus Tammy the dog

After we’d finished at the memorial, we still had some time to spare so we headed off into the surrounding park for a few more shots, again we were extremely lucky with the weather, just managing to get back into our cars before he heavens opened again.

Sam & Phil

Sam & Phil with the Rolls Royce

I think this last one is my favourite from the day, I had to use a bit of Photoshop trickery to straighten out the tower as it had been quite distorted by my lens at this particular focal length but overall I was really pleased with how it came out.

So that was Friday’s adventure, another happy couple starting their new life together as husband and wife.

I’ve just realised that I have gone a whole blog post without really going into any technical detail on these shots, if anyone is interested feel free to ask.

This week I’m back in the fashion studios, which is always good fun. The new season it starting up and no doubt it’ll be a busy one. Fortunately, I have a two week holiday in Barbados with my lovely girlfriend coming up soon so plenty to look forward to.

Thanks for reading, as usual there’s plenty more photos and stuff on my site if you’re interested.  Feel free to pass me on to your friends or even recommend some good blogs for me, I’m always interested in what other people are up to, I’m nosey like that :)

Joshua

 

Happy New Year!

by Joshua on August 16, 2012, no comments

Hello everyone,

Firstly a quick apology for the ridiculous title of this blog.  My attempt at a joke after not posting a blog since 2011!

It is primarily down to my own laziness that I have been absent from the blogging community for a long time but I have been roused from my lethargy by a series of kicks from friends and family.

Chief instigator in the kicking, is one Fergus Ford, who just keeps on writing amazing stuff and posting some pretty cracking work at the same time, please stop by his blog if you get a chance.

So I’d like to show a little of what I have been up to in the past 8 months. As a relative newcomer to the freelance photography game, I have been trying my hand at everything I can get, from fashion to weddings and a few small things in between.

One small thing in particular is this little princess.

Olivia Jean Hart

The arrival of the Olivia Jean Hart, the first daughter of our friends Lisa and Steve. We (my lovely girlfriend and I) were lucky enough to meet her just a couple of days after she had been born and what a lovely little lady she is.

Lisa asked if I wouldn’t mind taking some photos, how could I mind?! She was the perfect model and we got some lovely shots for Mum, Dad, Grandma’s and Grandad’s to ahhhhh at.

She is already much bigger now, but still just as lovely.

What next… erm, weddings, lots of weddings. 2012 seems to be the year that everyone we know is getting married.  Now I had never set out to be a wedding photographer, but I was asked to take the photos at a number of friends and family weddings this year and I have to say, as stressful as it can be, I am starting to really enjoy it and I have already been booked to do some more later this year and next year too. Here’s a couple of my favourites from earlier this year.

Thanks to Malcolm & Kay and Drew & Rachel for their weddings!

As well as being lucky enough to be asked to shoot these sorts of things, I have also managed to land a few clients in the fashion world. Now fashion is about as broad a subject as photography itself and I have come to learn that you wont always be shooting things that you would either wear yourself or would even enjoy being around someone who did.

As with most work I guess, you take the bad days with the good. So I can’t complain about spending weeks in a windowless studio on set with a guy modelling hundreds of pairs of underpants, with a body that wouldn’t look out of place if it was carved from granite, when the next shoot is a lovely Brazilian lady modelling lingerie.

My work in the fashion world has varied a lot. For some clients, they send me boxes of clothes, accessories, handbags, jewellery etc and I set to work ironing, dressing mannequins, setting up lighting, shooting and editing the photos for print and web. For other clients, I simply turn up at their studio and edit either photos or videos that have been shot their or on location.

I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great people on various shoots this last 6 months. I’ve learned a lot about the industry and also found that I have a bit of an eye for some of this fashion stuff. For those that know me and my regular wardrobe of grey t-shirts and blue jeans pretty much all year round that may come as a bit of shock!

So here’s a couple of shots of some of the clothing I’ve photographed for one of my clients, attitude clothing.

Attitude Clothing

So that’s a quick round up of what I’ve been up to work-wise.  I have to admit with all the work I’ve been doing, I haven’t taken my camera out for myself nearly enough in the last 6 months, but here’s a few shots that I’ve managed in that time.

Panoramic of Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat

Rainbow in a Wine Glass

Studio Shoots

Monty – Stone Creek

So that’s about it really.

I promise I’ll do my best to blog more frequently about the goings on in my world.

Thanks for reading.

Joshua

Challenge Accepted!

by Joshua on November 2, 2011, 4 comments

Hello All! So for those of you that read my earlier post about the latest craze to sweep the international photo blogging world, you will know what’s coming. For those of you that didn’t, a quick update. I have taken up the challenge set by my friend James, to come up with somewhere is his current location, Barbados, that he hasn’t been and send him there to take photos and report back. I sent him to the highest point on the island, Mt Hillaby.  I’ll leave it to him to report his experience, click here to see it. So, the way this works is that in return James set me a challenge, hence this post. I live in the centre of Manchester, that’s the one in England for any of my international readers. James came up with an absolute gem of a challenge. As he is surrounded by water on a relatively small island, he wanted to send me to a place where I too would be surrounded by water and see what sort of photos I could get. James chose the nearby Audenshaw reservoir.  A spectacularly unremarkable man-made water storage facility a few miles from my home. I was looking forward to the challenge of coming up with an interesting perspective on the reservoir but unfortunately I foiled at the first hurdle. As with most of Britain’s man-made reservoirs (I have since learned) The Audenshaw Water Facility is not open to the public. I jumped though as many hoops as I could find, and eventually got in contact with a very nice man who gave me the unfortunate news that access to the site could be granted but for the princely sum of £300. So with a heavy heart I asked James for a new challenge… So James being the sterling fellow he is, came up with another great challenge. And here it is…. The Manchester Velodrome Awesome. Now I have never been to a velodrome, I did however know one existed in Manchester. Ever since the Commonwealth Games were hosted here in 2002, Manchester has been home every manner of sport’s venue. I looked up the venue online to see if any events were coming up that I could attend. Bingo, the very next weekend the first event of the new national seasonwas being hosted in Manchester. This was is it, challenge accepted, date confirmed, camera battery charged, away we go! So for a starters, a quick panoramic shot to show off the venue.

Manchester Velodrome Panoramic

Now this shot can be achieved in a number of ways. Most simply with a wide angle or a fish-eye lens. The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that I have achieved this shot by “stitching” together a set of photos to create a single wide angled shot. There are a few tell-tale signs that give away the fact that I don’t own a wide-angled lens. I’ll not go into them here, but who knows, if you’re lucky I will write a blog about it someday soon. I was fairly pleased with how this shot worked out. It gives a good sense of the size of the arena, just how close to the track the crowd is and also the sheer ridiculousness of the banked corners around which the riders hurl themselves. Next I gave myself the a couple of goals, things that I wanted to capture in the evening, namely the sheer speed at which these incredible athletes manage to achieve on a push bike! Now there are a number of ways to show motion in a photography. Using a fast shutter speed will help to freeze action that you would not normally see with the naked eye. On the other hand you can use a slow shutter speed to allow blurring into the photo which if done correctly can be a great effect. As we were indoors in artificial lighting, I fitted my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens to my camera to give me enough reach to get close to the action and a wide aperture coupled with a high ISO to give me the shutter speed I would need to get some sharp shots. Firstly I positioned myself on the outside of the track, just at the end of one of the huge banked curves and got this shot of one of the sprint races in full swing.

Close-Up Sprinters

For those, like me, who know little about the rules and regs of velodrome racing, there are many types of racing. The sprint is a strange race. It would seem simple, two guys race around one lap, first one over the line wins. That does seem to be the main gist of it except the race has an unusual start. The two riders set off at a crawl and have a strange game of cat and mouse at what seems to be the slowest possible speed without falling over. This continues for a full lap and then one of the two suddenly makes a move and then they are both going flat out for a full lap at the most ridiculous speed.  It does make a strange spectacle but entertaining none the less. Again I want to point out the ridiculous angle at which the two riders above are going round the track. There’s no trickery here, the camera was held completely level and as you can see, the riders are at about 45degrees! From a similar position I took this next shot during a longer race. The guy pictured was miles ahead, but still going hell for leather.

Runaway Leader

This was due to another interesting racing discipline. I never managed to catch the name but in this race there was a sprint lap every now and again and extra points were given to the fastest time for that particular lap. Again keeping it interesting, perhaps horse racing or NASCAR could learn a few things? Just a thought. Before heading into the “paddock” or “infeild”, I wanted to pay tribute to the official photographers present at the track.

Hard-working Photographers

These guys, and girls, laden down with their gear risked life and limb to get their shots. They were literally within touching distance of these athletes. Now I have a lot of respect for these professionals, I was however quite surprised by the methods they were using to get their shots. They began by tracking their subject around the bend, allowing them time to focus accordingly and shooting of a number of shots along the way. This part I thought was great and I gave it a go myself later. The thing I was surprised by was the use of flash. I am a huge fan of flash photography but I would never have thought it would a) be tolerated in a high speed, close action environment such as a velodrome where the slightest error by any of the athletes would result in some quite spectacular crashes or b) be the preferred method of a professional with the standard of modern camera equipment available to them with ultra wide aperture lenses and almost noiseless image sensors these days. I even noticed some radio triggers being used to set off remote flashes positioned around the track at various intervals. This intrigued me as most of my experience with off camera flash is portrait based where the flash and subject are positioned according to the photographers wishes. In this environment the photographer has no control over where the subject is and I this is where I guess the experience comes into play. Knowing the right spot to position both yourself and the remote flash is something that would take a lot of trips to a velodrome, or simply do your best to copy those who have done it before! Now to the infield… I decided that I would try my hand at what the pros were doing, but from behind the safety of the steel railings. I wanted to try and get a shot without any flash before emulating the pros. After a little while struggling to capture anything with my 70-200, being too close to the action really, I switched to my old kit lens, the 18-135mm. Now this is not an ideal lens for this type of work with it’s varying maximum aperture. Thankfully as I was planning to shoot at 18mm. the widest setting so the aperture could open to its fullest. At f/3.5 this would give me enough light to keep the shutter speed high enough.

Sprint Riders from the Infield

For this shot, I did as the pros did. I tracked the riders round the bend, giving my camera time to focus and fired off a burst of shots hoping to catch the speeding pair in sharp focus somewhere near the centre of the frame. For this shot I used a shutter speed of 1/100th of a second. As you can see the background, i.e. the banked track, is nicely blurred showing the motion of the riders at they are caught, frozen in the middle of all the movement. I particularly like the wheel spokes in this shot, they really emphasise the speed of the riders as well as the poise they maintain whilst thundering around the circuit. OK, time to break out the flash gun. I decided to stick with the kit lens for this, as it would give me more useful focal lengths at this distance and as I would be using the flash, I could sacrifice a few f/stops in aperture. Again after a few attempts, I bagged this shot.

Close-Up with Flash

I tried to keep the flash use low. As you can see, the use of flash is not hugely prominent in this shot, there are no ugly shadows behind the bike.  Using the flash allowed my to shoot at a 1/320 second (using the FP setting, more details on request). Again there is a certain amount of blurring present both in the background and also again in the wheel spokes. So for my last shot of the evening, something a little different. This time to emphasise the speed, I would lower the shutter speed and hold the camera still rather than taking the shot whilst tracking the bikes. The idea is to keep the background still and allow the movement of the cyclists to create a blur across the image.  I kept the flash in place, this would give more detail to the moving subjects for part of the exposure but the slower shutter and the speed of their movement would still allow them to be blurred across the remainder of the exposure.

Blurred Bikes

So there it is. As you can see this time, the track is kept sharp and motion free whilst the speeding bikes go past in a flurry! I’d like to say a big thank you to James for this awesome challenge. I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading. Lastly, I invite you to become the latest to join in this new craze. James already had Mayur, join the challenge all the way from India with some great photos from an old fort his home town near. Now Mayur has since subscribed to my blog so I hope you’ve enjoyed this one! So if you fancy it, get in touch and we’ll take it from there. Thanks again for reading, until next time!