Press Photographer Kent – A wet start to 2014

Press Photographer Kent – So the start of 2014 will be remembered for torrential rain, floods and biblical wind.

Press Photographer Kent. It’s been a very frustrating start to the year. With event after event being cancelled due to the weather. So I’m not going to mention that again! But there have been some nice sunny winter days. A couple of which I was out and about with my camera. Working in the beautiful winter sun.

Early on in January. I was sent to cover the Greek Orthodox Blessing of the Seas ceremony. Which takes place on Margate beach. I had never even heard about this but it made for some really nice frames.

Margate is the setting for a Blessing of the Seas in the Greek Orthodox celebrations at Epiphany (6th January) marking the baptism of Christ.  Margate was chosen for the honour in the mid-twentieth century because there is a large community of Greek Cypriot residents in the town. It’s organised by the local  Greek Orthodox Church whose Archishop leads the devotions and begins at the church of St Michael the Archangel. After a short service  a procession of many dignitaries in full regalia, both religious and civic, follows the piper to Marine Sands & the beach . Doves are released, prayers given and  a decorated cross is hurled into the waters to be retrieved by a young diver for the Archbishop.

I’ve also been doing a lot of PR Photography and editorial portraiture work. For various magazines. Along the way. I have met some amazing and brave people.

Press Photographer Kent  - Charlotte Naylor who has Lupus

Charlotte Naylor who was diagnosed with Lupus aged 23 after developing blood clots on her lungs and legs. She had a stroke in 2012 caused by the condition and has memory problems since. Shot for You! Magazine

Quite unsurprisingly sport photography has been a rare experience. Mainly because of the weather. The wettest since the 1700’s apparently! With cancellations and postponements the norm rather than the exception:

Press Photographer Kent  - Rugby Union Canterbury v Taunton Titans in National 2 South.

Guy Hilton (10) on the break with Hooker Mark Livesey (1) in support. Canterbury Rugby Club Merton Lane Nackington Road. Canterbury v Taunton Titans in National 2 South.

I have also been out scouting locations for some upcoming personal projects. On one such day I was checking out Dover’s Western Heights. I took this panoramic of Dover looking back over Farthinghoe and Maxton.

Press Photographer Kent  - Dover Western Heights

Dover, Grand Shaft – Undicovered Kent

Dover, Grand Shaft – Undicovered Kent. Revisiting old work.

On a recent Michael Portillo BBC 2 programme called Great British Railway Journeys. They featured the Grand Shaft in Dover. I happened to have my laptop open at the time and remembered, that a couple of years ago I had managed to get myself invited to a closed door visit and shot a few frames of it so here they are.

Dover, Grand Shaft - Undicovered Kent | Matt Bristow

Dover, Grand Shaft - Undicovered Kent | Matt Bristow

Dover, Grand Shaft - Undicovered Kent | Matt Bristow

Dover, Grand Shaft - Undicovered Kent | Matt Bristow

Dover, Grand Shaft - Undicovered Kent | Matt Bristow

It really is a magical place. I wont go into the finer point of this triple helix stairway but if you want to know more go and take a look at the Western Heights Preservation Society’s website they are doing some amazing work

Kent Music Promo Photographer | Taking it back to music, Kay Jay

Kent Music Promo Photographer, taking it back to music, its a Natural High with the talented Kay Jay.

Back in October 2011 I was lucky enough to be part of a creative team that worked on a location video shoot for the amazing Kay Jay and her jointly written, with her then fiancée now husband, Kevin Sutherland. Its name simply ‘Natural High’  drawing on influences from her own past which are abundantly obvious when you hear the track and believe me in two days I heard it a lot!

Kent Music Promo Photographer | Taking it back to music, with Jay Kay

It was shot on location at an amazing house in Norfolk call Battleford Hall, an old vicarage owned by Kate’s uncle, who the whole crew referred to as ‘Uncle Pete’ who during our time in residence looked after us in what can only be described as VIP treatment. I think I probably owe him a few bottles of wine as we quaffed long into the night on the first day!

So I spent two amazing days lurking around behind the cameras and trying to get enough time to get some decent portraits in between scenes. Here are a few of my favorites:

Kent Music Promo Photographer | Taking it back to music, with Jay Kay

Kent Music Promo Photographer | Taking it back to music, with Jay Kay

Kent Music Promo Photographer | Taking it back to music, with Jay Kay

My absolute favorite without a doubt is this one, album cover material? only time will tell.

Kent Music Promo Photographer | Taking it back to music, with Jay Kay

Also because I have had to hold this back for nearly 5 months I have also held back the following image never before seen not even by Kate!

Kent Music Promo Photographer | Taking it back to music, with Jay Kay

Some of the more observant of you might notice this is a rehashed blog. The reason is that Kate has just released the single and heres the final video

In two days I met some great people: Melissa Kassinen simply great make-up and Lukas DiSparrow one of the worlds self confessed wierdos but a great director. Mr Guy Wilson a kindred spirit! Mr Kevin Sutherland and of course not forgetting the lady herself KayJay

Kent Photographer – 2013 A Retrospective

As a Kent Photographer, to say planning this post was hard would be an understatement!

Looking through my catalog for 2013 which numbers around 50,000 images all edited! This year I really tried to be harsher and keep less! So what I have decided to do is to select just one image from every month and try and convey the impossible variety of work I do! So here goes. One image from each month, with not much comment…

January

Spent a bit of time this year shooting Premiership football for the guys at SportPix

Kent Photographer | Sport

Jussi Jaaskelainen (22) saves an Arsenal attempt

February

I shot less celebrity stuff this year. However I am still a bit undecided how much I’ll do in 2014.

Kent Photographer | Pemiers

Stars Denise Van Outen and Sarah Harding. Run For Your Wife Film Premier. Odeon Leicester Square,

March

This years motorsport season was the best yet. It was a conscious effort to focus a little more. The track days are still awesome fun and I’m looking forward to continuing a great relationship in 2014 as the official photographer at Lydden Hill where Willie Woods and his team are really making a gigantic difference.

Kent Photographer | Motorsport

Lydden Hill | BMCRC Sidecar Testing | 9th March 2013

April

IMG started running the FIA European Rallycross Championship with a restructure to the FIA Rallycross RX and wow! what a difference! Here’s possibly one of my favorite motorsport frames this year. I not only cover the European and British Rallycross Championships doing team media for a lot of drivers but also for www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk. Still at time of writing this I am trying to sort out plans to cover the newly announced World Rallycross Championship. Fingers crossed.

Kent Photographer | Rallycross

Kevin Errikson at 2013 FIA European Rallycross Championship, Round 1 Rallycross of Great Britain, presented by Monster Energy.

May

I probably shot more gigs this year than before. The head and shoulders most successful frame over everything else I shot  is this one of Justin Young, lead singer of The Vaccines. Corbis keep sending me money for this frame, not sure where its being used, but long may it last!

Kent Photographer | Event

Justin Young. The Vaccines play Margate Winter Gardens, Kent. 01/05/2013

June

Did a few Royal duties this year as well. Even to the point that prince Andrew tried to run me down in a golf cart!

Kent Photographer | Royal Cverage

Her Majesty The Queen visiting The Argyll & Sutherlander Highlanders, 5th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, (5 SCOTS) at Howe Barracks, Canterbury on Friday 28th June.

July

Holiday for the first time in years 🙂

Kent Photographer | landscapes

August

Every so often I get to go and take pictures of my photographic heroes. I was lucky enough to do an editorial portrait shoot of John Cross who’s legendary images of Koo Stark are well known.

Kent Photographer | Press Photographer

Photographer John Cross, who is exhibiting his work at the Golf Road Centre.

September

One of the few premiers did this year was ‘Diana’ unwittingly capturing David Emanuel as ‘another’ where in a couple of months after this he would be the toast of the UK down to his involvement in I’m a Celebrity!

Kent Photographer | Matt Bristow

David Emanuel. World Premier of Diana. Odean, London.

October

Did a wedding for a mate, was a great day more here

Kent Photographer | Wedding photographyNovember

I shot a ton of sport this year. One of my favorite events was the ATP Finals for obvious reasons.

Kent Photographer | Sport Photography

Barclays ATP World Finals. Group B singles match between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Roger Federer returns the ball.

December

This year more then any other I have shoot more regional press and editorial work. Its something I love more than anything else. Don’t get me wrong covering big high profile events or shooting celebrities is great but meeting everyday people who are doing ordinary things but also sometimes some extra-ordinary things is very, very rewarding. By the way I probably have shots of 50+ Santa’s from this year!

Kent Photographer | Press Photographer

Herne Bay town centre, Mortimer Street. Christmas showcase market stalls during day & light switch on.

So that in a very, very small 12 picture nutshell was my year.

New year is a time to reflect and make resolutions. I think if its all the same to you I’ll just keep doing what I do!

However there’s a couple of things I’d like to do more of in 2014 the first just requires me to get out of bed and that shoot more landscapes! The second is that I have realized I haven’t worked with any models during 2013 and that’s something I’d like to do more of in 2014, so if you want to collaborate get in touch!

Happy New year to all friends and clients both new and old here’s to an awesome 2014.

So Whats A PR Photographer?

So what is a PR Photographer? and what makes a good one?

A very good question and one I must admit I struggled to answer when it was put to me the other day. My immediate reaction was to say its to promote something, be that an individual or a company. But that’s just a bit woolly and not very concise. It could also refer to commercial photographyproduct photography or even advertising photography.

My own opinion I think its a hybrid between press photography and editorial photography. Normally there are pretty tight time constraints on delivering a set of images and more often than not the images do appear in the press so lots of similarities there then. On the other hand you normally get to be a bit more creative and you certainly get more time to actually do the shoot. But really its just the ability to be able to answer a brief by creating great images.

The following three images are all press work all shot for and used by a newspaper.

PR Photographer | Matt Bristow, Kent

PR Photographer | Matt Bristow, Kent

PR Photographer | Matt Bristow, Kent

The next three are all PR shots. Notice any difference? no? then I rest my case.PR Photographer | Matt Bristow, Kent

Its not always about people either a new restaurant or supermarket opening some of the best images are of the detail.

PR Photographer | Matt Bristow, Kent

PR Photographer | Matt Bristow, Kent

So how should you actually choose the right PR Photographer for your job?  Ask as many questions as you can. For example do they shoot much PR?

Experience doesn’t always account for everything but an experienced PR Photographer will instinctively make sure that any branding is prominent in every shot. They will know what editors or designers like to see.

But do you agree with me? I’d like to hear what you might think.

Christmas is coming! Santas in November – Kent Press Photographer

As a Kent Press Photographer, this time of year always full of images with Santa in. Which is fine but in November?

Last weekend alone I filed about twenty plus pictures of different Santas! from the weird to the wonderful!

Kent Press Photographer - Matt Bristow

Santa flies KLM its official I have seen it at Manston Airport!

Kent Press Photographer - Matt Bristow

All the Bah Humbug aside now. It really is a busy time of year. Which has seen me traveling far and wide. This year I’m determined to make some different images not just the run of the mill ones you see all the time, well that’s the plan. We shall see!

I got to cover the grand Christmas lights turn on in Dover this year by the cast of the Panto at the Marlowe Theater in Canterbury. Samantha Womack better known for playing Ronnie in Eastenders. Is one of the main celeb pulls. I personally remember and prefer her from Game On!

Kent Press Photographer - Matt Bristow

Phil Gallagher. better known as C Beebies ‘Mr Maker’ as well. I had shot him before a couple of days earlier. So I had already met him. A really nice guy who has the misfortune to support the Gills!

Kent Press Photographer - Matt Bristow

I have also been thrown some tough jobs lately not least shooting in dimly lit churches with varying results. Given more time the sceanareo screams for an Off Camera Flash setup, but when your rushing from job to job that’s just not possible.

Kent Press Photographer - Matt Bristow

Matt Bristow - Kent Press Photographer

With my Rubber Duck Does Automotive hat on. I have started shooting for the American car magazine European Car. My first job was shooting a feature of the simply awesome Ford Focus RS 500 ‘Optimus’ that belongs to the guys at RS Direct down in Bristol.

Kent Press Photographer - Matt Bristow

Unfortunately until they are published this is all I can let you see for now. Needless to say awesome car (I’m a real sucker for RS’s!) in an exceptionally cool location. Makes for some really great images and will deserve its own post in the future!

I’d also had the pleasure of getting some really great customer service this week. Which I’d just like to take a minute to tell you about. My external flash battery pack suddenly decided that it was no longer going to charge, not really the end of the world but I use mine on a daily basis as its quicker to charge than a load of AA Batteries! I duly contacted John at UK Photo Distro about it. I had only bought it back in the summer but I hadn’t spent a fortune on it so I wasn’t expecting much. However within about 5 minutes of sending the email he called me to reassure me that he was sending out a replacement. So I urge you to go and take a look at their website if your looking for any kind of accessory.

British Rallycross 2013 – Annual

So I thought it would be a good idea to design and publish a book that covered this years British Rallycross championship. After a few conversations with motorsport journalist extraordinaire, and good mate, Hal Ridge. He finally succumbed to my nagging and conceded to do the words for the book.

Right from when I had conceived the idea I had wanted to include an image of every regular driver in every class, which basically resulted in over 90 pages of images and a few hundred images for Hal to caption and write about!

We also wanted the book to be of a decent quality that people, divers and rallycross fans would want to keep. I hate to use the term but a coffee table book! So we decided that a 10×8 hardback  book with a wrap was the way forward. For this we decided to use the well known website Blurb for the fulfillment.

So after literally 100’s of texts and emails here’s the end product. There’s also an ebook version which is available at http://store.blurb.co.uk/ebooks/p6648271f40f254b7505e 

Here’s a preview of the book

We would welcome any comments that people have and also would like to hear any suggestions that you may have that would make it better. We are thinking about doing a give away so let us know what you think.

Sports Photographer – I Didn’t Set Out To Be One

I didn’t set out to be a sports photographer but somehow sport of some form or another accounts for a hefty slice of what I shoot from day to day.

By way of recognition. I am now a member of the national Sports Journalist Association (SJA) and also the international Association Internationale De La Presse Sportive (AIPS). Where you need to prove your income via sports photography coverage.

So to mark this moment. I’m not going to post some images from a big international event or even a national one. Instead I’m sharing a few frames from the recent Kent Cycling Associations annual 12 hour time trial. Which is held locally in and around Ashford and the Romney Marsh. Why am I showing you this I hear you say? I want to demonstrate there is good, watchable and challenging sports just about everywhere. That make good subject matter for any sports photographer.

Matt Bristow | Sports PhotographerMatt Bristow | Sports PhotographerMatt Bristow | Sports PhotographerMatt Bristow | Sports PhotographerMatt Bristow | Sports Photographer

Matt Bristow | Sports Photographer

 

All the above said and done. I’m now off to cover the end of the Tour of Britain 2013!

 

VEBT Finals Margate – August 2013

VEBT Finals Margate – the Beach Vollyball seasons grand crechendo

The VEBT Finals Margate or to give them their full name Volleyball England Beach Tour Finals. I hadn’t covered any beach volleyball, or volleyball for that matter! before so I was looking forward to this one. However the day I was there it was overcast and generally a bit rainy. A long way from the vision I had in my head of what it should be like! you know bright sunshine and crowds of people. It did by all accounts brighten up on the Sunday when I wasn’t there!

However the sporting action was something else. With an array of GB Olympic atheletes playing the quality was truely the best there was in the UK. I spent most of my time covering the main court.

The atheletes were very clearly at the top of their game and it was a real pleasure to watch and photograph here are a few of my personal favorites.

VEBT Finals Margate 2013

VEBT Finals Margate 2013

6′ 10″ Chris Gregory part of the winning mens pairing spikes the ball

VEBT Finals Margate 2013

VEBT Finals Margate 2013

VEBT Finals Margate 2013

VEBT Finals Margate 2013

VEBT Finals Margate 2013

And a few extra ones.

Full results can be found at http://volleyballengland.org and my full set of pictures can be viewed at SportsPix

Dark Field Lighting Technique

Dark Field Lighting Technique. Its not some evil Star Wars hocus pokus. Its a lesser known method for dramatically lighting glass and liquids.

I first blogged about Dark Field Lighting way back in 2010. Since then I have had the conversation with so many people that I thought I’d repost it again, with a few edits here and there.

Have you ever tried to photograph something thats made of glass? If you have you’ll know the problems with reflections, it usually results in your mugshot in one of the reflections possibly grining, or the window with the number 7 bus driving by! Not wholly professional and certainly it wont be of a standard that a client is willing to pay for.

Your solution therefore is the dark field method, before I get flamed by those in the know, yes there is an opposite technique called, yes you’ve guessed it Light Field Photography. Its a bit like the Ying and Yang of product photography lighting!

Dark Field Lighting

Firstly and most surprisingly theres no direct light and only one strobe used here, you could use a second snooted strobe camera left or right to pick out any detail if you felt like it.

The glass subject sat on something black I used foam core with glass ontop for that shiney look. A further piece of foamcore just big enough to fill the frame.So here’s the set up and its really simple.

Dark Field Lighting

The strobe is set below the table pointing directly at a white wall immediately behind all this. The room needs to be very dark to eliminate any reflections. In a small room you will have problems with reflections from the walls etc.

My product studio is small so to get round this I used reflective umbrellas black side out to both left and right nice and close in any other black ‘flag type’ props will do the job.

Heres a less styled shot with a bit more colour.

Dark Field Lighting

That is all there is to it, give it a go. I would be interested in hearing how any of you get on.