Photography studio, gallery and training complex

Archive for August, 2012

Canal Plus: The Next Instameet

It’s been way too long. But finally, the Birmingham Instagram Group (which I am co-administrator of) has finally announced it’s next, and second, “Instameet“.

This time it’s a canal-based stroll, starting at Brewsmiths cafe near Snow Hill station’s Livery Street entrance ( and then heading along the canal towards the heart of Birmingham city, taking in Brindley Place, Gas Street Basin and the Mailbox. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a pub or cafe didn’t feature somewhere in the itinerary too.

As usual, everyone is welcome to come along, and of course, it’s free! But please let us know if you plan to come along so that we have some idea of roughly how many people to expect. Remember, you don’t have to be a “serious” photographer to take part, or even very experienced in making photographs with your phone’s camera – but chances are, you’ll pick up plenty of tips along the way.

You will find the B.I.G – Birmingham Instagram Group, not entirely surprisingly, on Instagram. Search for @igersbirmingham. Conveniently, this is also our Twitter handle. And start tagging your images with a #igersbirmingham to be included in the growing pool of great images from the West Midlands, or by West Midlands photographers.

Oh, and you might also get some advanced notice of a forthcoming event which will be of interest to Instagrammers. You heard it here first…



Something A Bit Rudie

I’ve done quite a lot of band photography over the years. I was also a music promoter, fanzine contributor and a musician myself. But it’s not often I get the opportunity to photograph my own band.

This happened recently when I was asked to shoot some promo images, and a possible CD cover for Birmingham ska/Mod/soul covers band Rudie & The Revolvers – a band that I played bass for when they first started out until just after their first gig when work commitments meant I had trouble finding the time for rehearsals (I was in another band at the time too). So they’re actually my former band. As usual, I left just at the wrong time as the band have gone on to play at venues and festivals all over the country and have even appeared on the same line-up as some of my musical heroes. Ho hum. At least I get to take the pictures.

So the band rolled up at Fotofilia one Saturday morning along with a lovely white 1960’s Mercedes which they wanted included in the images. My brief was a bit erm… sparse. Sean (saxophonist) had asked for a look not dissimilar to that of the Specials from their first album and/or also possibly the “Ghost Town” video also by the Specials. So I began to wonder how I was going to get all 6 band members in this car, and also how do I make it look like night-time when it’s actually a sunny summer’s day.

One option was to head under one of the nearby rail bridges where the light could be more easily controlled but again, fitting everyone plus satisfactory lighting in this car was going to be a problem. It so happened that Regents Parade, where Fotofilia is situated, was in shade at that time of the day and so we used that as the location for many of the shots – the industrial architecture of the street happened to fit in nicely too. As long as we worked quickly, the shade of the building would limit the range of contrast in the shot.

I got around the “how do you get six musicians in a vintage car” quandary by putting some of the band in the car (arranging them carefully in terms of height/size etc) and the remainder on the pavement on the far side of the car but visible through the open windows. I shot a few more inside the studio – in the corridor, in fact – and around the corner of the street in what has been called “your green doorway”, a setting for more of my shoots than I can recall.

In the much-photographed corridor

I shot everything in colour but given the “Specials” brief, fully expected to convert everything to black and white. However, I also produced “normal” colour and “cross-processed” colour versions and it was the “cross-processed” effect which best suited the look/feel/era we were trying to create. I shot the main images on my Nikon DSLR but also shot quite a few on my iphone which were the “rushes” that I sent to the band to see what they thought.

Thankfully the band liked the images so much that they were indeed used for their debut CD “Ska’d to the Soul”. They even asked me to do the CD cover layout design which I was happy to do as this is something (along with gig posters) that I’ve been know to do a few of in the past. Anyway, here’s the final covers…

CD Front cover

Want one? Contact the band via and!/pages/RUDIE-AND-THE-REVOLVERS/92197738357

CD Back cover

Leanne James Comes To Fotofilia

I’m pleased to announce that the very first of our new “Studio Day” events will feature one of the UK’s top “alternative” models, and the 2012 face of La Riche cosmetics, Leanne James.

Leanne is in print more than Julian Assange of late, but obviously much more pleasing to look at and less likely to hide under the table at a foreign embassy. She somehow manages to combine an edgy tattooed rock’n’roll look with simple conventional, but outstanding, natural beauty. The following image is by Fotofilia regular Andy Watson at DRW Images and the person I have to thank for introducing me to the lovely Miss James…

“Leanne Vs Jessica” by kind permission of Andy Watson

Andy’s picture says it all, really. This is a great opportunity to photograph a truly exceptional model for a reasonable cost (an hour will cost you just £40 and that obviously includes the studio). Leanne’s a very busy lady but we’ve managed to book her for the whole of Saturday 22nd September. You can book Leanne by the hour but 2 hours would obviously give you much more creative scope and there’s the added incentive that if you book a two hour slot I will give you one hour free studio use to be taken at another time during gallery hours (Tues-Sat 10:30-3:30). Leanne has a great variety of outfits and does her own hair and make-up to a very high standard.

As soon as I mentioned I’d booked Leanne on the website, 2 hours were booked straight away so here’s what we now have available…


11am-1pm BOOKED







Email me to book your slot, but hurry!

Leanne on Facebook –!/pages/Leanne-James-Alternative-UK-Model/197157737012875

Andy Watson on Facebook –!/drw.images