Music, Fashion and Portrait Photography in London

Lightroom’s Graduated Filter – not just for skies!

I was recently asked to write a Guest Blog article by Haje over at, so I thought it would be cool to expand on something I wrote about in my previous Lightroom retouching article – using the graduated filter tool to selectively darken an area of a portrait photo. People sometimes tend to think the the grad filter is only really useful on skies, so I wanted to give an alternative view.

Check out the article here…
Lightroom’s Graduated Filter – not just for skies!



Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2010

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2010 will showcase the work of some of the most talented emerging young photographers, alongside that of established professionals, photography students and gifted amateurs. Selected anonymously from an open competition, the diversity of styles reflects the international mix of entrants as well as the range of approaches to the portrait genre, encompassing editorial, advertising and fine art images. The judges have selected 60 portraits for the exhibition from nearly 6,000 submissions entered by 2,401 photographers. The exhibition will run from 11 November 2010 through to 20 February 2011 at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Tic Tac and Tootsie aka (twin sisters Carrol and Shelly McKean) by Jeffrey Stockbridge

Tic Tac and Tootsie aka (twin sisters Carrol and Shelly McKean) by Jeffrey Stockbridge © Jeffrey Stockbridge

Four photographers have been shortlisted for the £12,000 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize:

David Chancellor for Huntress with Buck, from the series Hunters;
Panayiotis Lamprou for Portrait of my British wife;
Jeffrey Stockbridge for Tic Tac and Tootsie (twin sisters Carroll and Shelly McKean) from the series Nowhere but Here;
Abbie Trayler-Smith for Untitled 2 from the series Childhood Obesity.

As well as the first-prize winner and three runners-up, the exhibition will feature the ELLE Commission. For the second year running, ELLE magazine will commission a photographer selected for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition to shoot a feature story. The ELLE Commission was judged by the fashion magazine’s editor-in-chief, Lorraine Candy, together with the art director, Tom Meredith, and picture editor, Hannah Ridley.

The prizes for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2010 will be announced at the awards ceremony on Tuesday 9 November 2010 at 7pm, along with the winner of the ELLE Commission 2010.

The exhibition opens to the public on Thursday 11 November and will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery, London until 20 February 2011, before touring to The Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens from 16 April – 26 June 2011, and one further tour venue.

The competition was judged from original prints by: Harry Borden, photographer; Rodney Dukes, Partner and Business Group Director, Taylor Wessing LLP; Jillian Edelstein, photographer; Lucy Davies, Photography Critic, The Telegraph, Picture Editor, Sunday Telegraph SEVEN Magazine, Editor Telephoto; Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery (Chair); Terence Pepper, Curator of Photographs, National Portrait Gallery

Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, says: ‘The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize has once again attracted some outstanding photographers from around the world. This is an exciting shortlist.’

Tim Eyles, Managing Partner of international law firm Taylor Wessing says: ‘As in previous years, the entries clearly demonstrate the depth of talent and artistic vision of today’s photographers at both the professional and amateur level.’

A fully illustrated book including photographs from this year’s exhibition features an essay by Lucy Davies, (Photography Critic, The Telegraph, Picture Editor, Sunday Telegraph SEVEN Magazine, Editor Telephoto), and interviews with the prize winners by Richard McClure. Price £15, 72 pages paperback. (Available from 11 November 2010)

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2010
11 November 2010 – 20 February 2011
Porter Gallery
Admission £2
Supported by Taylor Wessing

National Portrait Gallery
St Martin’s Place
London WC2H 0HE

Opening hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 10am – 6pm (Gallery closure commences at 5.50pm)
Late Opening: Thursday, Friday: 10am – 9pm (Gallery closure commences at 8.50pm)
Nearest Underground: Leicester Square/Charing Cross
Recorded information: 020 7312 2463
General information: 020 7306 0055


31 THIRTYONE: Charity Portrait Photography Exhibition

This summer, photographer Matt Humphrey has embarked on an ambitious innovative
photographic project to take 31 portraits in 31 days. The shoots took place over the
month of August around the capital at various locations. These images will be released
online gradually during October, culminating in an exhibition & silent auction of bespoke
signed and framed prints from 1 – 7 November at The Strand Gallery (former Proud Central).

31 Thirtyone Portrait Photography Exhibition, by Matt Humphrey

31 Thirtyone Portrait Photography Exhibition, by Matt Humphrey

An all-star cast of actors and directors from the stage and screen have signed up to this
exciting project, including Kevin Spacey, Sam Mendes, Jeff Goldblum, Jeremy Irons, Sinead
Cusack, Michelle Ryan, Catherine Tate, Simon Russell Beale, Benedict Cumberbatch,
Sir Richard Eyre, Noel Clarke, and many others. The photos are natural, organic portraits in black & white, using no additional lighting.

The proceeds from all sales of the auction and limited edition online print sales will be donated
to this year’s nominated charity, Crohn’s & Colitis UK (NACC).


The bespoke framed prints available at the exhibition will be signed by both the sitter and
the photographer and will go on public, silent auction for the duration of the exhibition
week (1-7 November). The exhibition will take place at The Strand Gallery, 32 John Adam
St, WC2N 6BP, London.

In addition to these special prints, there will also be a limited numbered run of unframed
prints (31 of each sitter), that will be available to purchase only through the website at the
affordable price of £31.31 each.

This exciting project will open up the art-buying process to become more accessible to
both those who are able to view the exhibition as well as those who follow the project online.


The public will be able to follow the project online through the blog on the official website,
by joining the facebook group and by following feeds through twitter. There will also be a
gradual daily release of the photographs on the official website in the run-up to the exhibition
during the 31 days of October, to build up interest in the project.



The Strand Gallery
32 John Adam St
London WC2N 6BP


Lightroom Photo Retouching: Luchadora, Before and After

Here’s a shot from a Lucha Libre! shoot I did with make-up artist Nohelia Reyes and model Deirdre.
If you mouse over the image, you’ll see the untouched, straight out of the camera, before image. No enhancements, no smoothing, nothing. Read on below the image…

I see a lot of ads in fashion magazines that have been retouched and airbrushed to within an inch of their lives, and then retouched some more, just to make sure. Sometimes, they don’t even look like photos any more. So much smoothing that you can barely make out the model’s facial features. But, you know, I get it, you’re high end, it’s what people expect. It’s just my opinion, but I prefer a more natural end result, someone who still looks like a person. It’s a fact of life that you do have to do post-processing work, smooth the skin, removes blemishes, etc. But you can still do all these things and keep it real.

The retouching in this shot was all done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, and I think it’s done the job pretty well. The exposure was pretty much spot on in-camera, so that just needed a slight tweak to increase, then a general saturation and contrast boost, applying a shallow S-curve to the Tone Curve tool. I used the targeted adjustment tool on the skin to slightly increase the red/orange saturation levels, to boost the skin tone slightly.

Most of the heavy work was done using the Clone/Heal tool, and the adjustment brushes. I used the clone tool to remove blemishes from the skin (and dust spots from the background – curse my old dusty sensor!), to give the skin a smoother appearance. To finish that off, I applied an adjustment brush to her skin on the face and neck, and reduced the clarity, therefore smoothing out any tiny lines and shadows. But, there’s still some texture in the skin, and it looks natural.

Next up was an adjustment brush over her left eye (your right as you view the photo), just to lighten it a little. Then the same with her right eye, although that was a two stage job. First, I applied the brush to the iris, to lighten it and increase the saturation a little, making it appear a similar brightness to the other eye. Then another brush onto the white of the eye, to clean it up and add whiteness.

The final touch was a small lighting correction. The main light for this shot was coming from camera right (as you can tell by looking at the reflection in her eyes). I thought her skin looked a little hot nearest the light, just a bit too much brightness. So, I applied the gradient tool just to tone it down on her neck and the right side of her face.



The Like – Wishing He Was Dead

I’m loving this video by LA band The Like, it really evokes the spirit of those 60s girl groups perfectly. Great performance by singer/guitarist Z Berg and her killer eyelashes, too!

The Like on myspace:

Download The Like on iTunes: The Like

The band are touring the UK during September, here’s where you can catch them.

1 Sep 2010, King Tuts, Glasgow
2 Sep 2010, The Cluny, Newcastle
3 Sep 2010, The Ruby Lounge, Manchester
4 Sep 2010, Plug, Sheffield
5 Sep 2010, Bodega, Nottingham
7 Sep 2010, Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
8 Sep 2010, The Rainbow, Birmingham
9 Sep 2010, Start the Bus, Bristol
10 Sep 2010, Jericho Tavern, Oxford
11 Sep 2010, Audio, Brighton
13 Sep 2010, Haymakers, Cambridge
15 Sep 2010, ICA, London