The Antiqued Mirror Company

Last week I got together with Joanna and Jan from The Antiqued Mirror Company to photograph their new collection of mirrors and furniture. The company is based in Wales, they were exhibiting their work in London and wanted to photograph the mirrors in-situe at a private mansion based in Sandwich.

The project although looks straight forward was rather complicated, the easiest way to photograph these mirrors would be side on and using the natural reflections from around the room. However these mirrors needed to be photographed straight on so could be cropped square for e-commerce as well as the ability to be used in a brochure so a set and negative space was needed. The natural background was a large window, similar in style to the one you see above; the pattern of the window interfered with the texture of the glass and therefore meant a new background would need to be inserted post production whilst retaining the glass texture and loosing the reflection of the camera. The last thing to consider was that different lighting positions may need to be taken to emphasise the pattern of the frame and create the depth needed, the best lighting to show  the pattern of the mirror and finally the best lighting for the whole room.

The final files were supplied in 3 crops, full un-cropped for use with Graphic Design, Square Cropped Scenic for use in social media such as Instagram and finally a close up square crop so that the detail of the frame and mirror can be seen for e-commerce.

Do you have a project with reflective surfaces that is complicated to light? If so get in touch and let’s work out the best solution for you. If you liked this project please hit the social media share buttons at the bottom of this blog.

With thanks to Joanna and Jan for bringing their collection along, Fran for helping with the styling and Dean for being the perfect assistant.


Kent VW Festival 2018

This year the show returned back to Coldred in Dover, as we set up on Thursday it was a scorcher of a day at 37C and it was looking to be a sunny weekend… then Friday night around 7.30pm a great cloud that looked like a sausage roll rolled over the campsite followed by a massive updraft of wind lifting and snapping gazebos and tents everywhere. For those who survived the aftermath we were treated to some amazing bands throughout the weekend, a funfair and plenty of activities for the kids to enjoy.

We clocked in around 430 cars, thanks to everyone who turned up and purchased prints and mugs. Find purchased images below; which you can use on your social media.

Didn’t manage to view your car? Email darren@darrenwoolway.co.uk with rougly the time you entered on Friday along with your car make, model, colour and reg and we I try to find it for you.


Kent Kit, Custom, American & All Ford Show 2018

This years show was an absolute scorcher, makes an amazing difference compared to all the rain we had during the show season last year. Talking of rain the Kent All Ford Show was cancelled in April due to a waterlogged field and combined this July with the Kent Kit, Custom and American Car show. We clocked in around 650 cars, thanks to everyone who turned up and purchased prints and mugs. Find purchased images below which you can use on your social media.

Didn’t manage to view your car? Email darren@darrenwoolway.co.uk with your entry time (written on the orange card), your car make, model, colour and reg and we I try to find it for you.


1973 Porsche 911 Demonstrating Lens Differences

This aubergine 1973 Porsche 911 is owned by former Head of Photography, John Gulliver of Ravensbourne University. Having completed my photography degree at Ravensbourne I was aware of Johns beautiful classic Porsche and asked if I could borrow it to shoot a series of images for a talk to explain the differences between wide angle and TS lenses for Canon UK & IE. The camera body of choice for this series was a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.

The first two images demonstrate wide angle distortion. The first image (Left) was shot using a wide EF 11-24mm F/4L USM @ 24mm, you can see that the bonnet is elongated stretching the car towards the viewer; this type of shot is great for use in editorial magazines as it really grabs the viewers attention. The second shot (Right) was shot using an EF 50mm F/1.2L USM, automatically you can see the proportions are different to the first image and are closer to the true shape of the vehicle. Our eyes generally see between 50-90mm, anything wider than this (wide angle) will distort your image so the proportions are not correct, anything longer than this and you will start to compress the image. For advertising purposes I always avoid shooting wider than 50mm unless the brief requires it.

So you have decided to shoot a wide angle as you want to throw that bonnet towards the viewer and you have decided to shoot from a higher viewpoint to make the car sit lower. To get the whole car in the frame you have had to tilt your camera down; which has then caused your verticals to start converging. This happens as when you tilt your camera your sensor is no longer  in line with your verticals and instead forms more of a parabola shape, to keep your verticals vertical you must always have your camera level. So how can we keep our camera straight and be able to get the angle and composition we want? This is where the tilt-shift lens comes into play, we are not using the tilt-shift lens for its cool blurring facility but instead so we can tilt the composition to get everything in that we need. Once the camera is lined and levelled up you simply tilt the lens to get the whole car in, this makes sure the sensor stays aligned with the walls and you end up with vertical verticals. (Left EF 11-24mm F/4L USM @ 24mm / Right TS-E 24mm F/3.5L II)

When shooting rig shots you have no choice but to shoot a wide angle as to get enough space between camera and vehicle to shoot at 50mm is not always practical or safe. I usually shoot between 17-24mm using an EF 17-40mm F/4L (Right @ 17mm), however as Canon had sent me a load of gear to try out I thought why not shoot as wide as I can. The image Left was shot using the EF 11-24mm F/4L USM @ 11mm, this is Super-Wide and to me the distortion has almost made the 911 look Banana shaped, not very flattering! Therefore I have come to the conclusion that I will never shoot rig-shots wider than 17mm.

I hope that this little blog has helped you get an idea of how and what you can use different lenses for, I would like to thank Canon UK & EI for lending me the equipment to test and the opportunity to present my talk at The Porsche Club GB.


Canon & Porsche CPS Day Video BTS

Following on from the previous post A Carrera GTS, a Canon and a Grenade… Canon have now released a behind the scenes video of Rod and I in action, it was a great couple of days and I felt very privileged to be a part of it. Thanks to everyone at Canon UK and Porsche Club GB.


Stop Start Animation

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industrys standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.
Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industrys standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

It’s all about colour at Spectrum Paintworx

Spectrum Paintworx are well known in Sittingbourne for the fabulous paint finishes they do on cars and bikes, however this is such a small sector where these finishes can be applied. From shop signage, display stands, mannequins to barrier posts there is so much more scope for this work and this is one of the reasons Paul asked me to come on board to take the brand forward.

Apart from the use of the finishes the other really important thing to accurately portray to the customer through photography is the colour of these finishes. Although natural lit shots and phone camera shots play their part in social media, without the correct lighting and colour correction the important pigments and flakes in these finishes simply won’t be picked up.

To move away from the automotive sector we decided to photograph a base selection of finishes on speedshapes, these are small moulds that look a bit like a car body but have different curves so that light will reflect off it in different ways. By cropping these square we are then able to hide the fact it looks like the shape of a car and end up with a nice colour swatch instead.

It was needed to link the imagery to a Call to Action on the website, therefore some shots of the speedshapes were taken from the side. This was then combined to a header shape image to allow space for copy.

Header Images Call to Action

The second day of shooting was about photographing table tops with various paint finishes applied, there was also a motorcycle helmet and tank to be photographed in remembrance of a fallen friend.

The motorcycle helmet shot was then combined with a closer detail of the paint to create a second header call to action image.


A Cayman GTS, a Canon and a Grenade…

I love it when a plan comes together, Frankie Jim from Canon contacted me a couple of months ago in regards to running a workshop in collaboration with Porsche Club GB for their members. It seemed like a perfect idea to celebrate Porsche’s 70th Anniversary, but the challenge for me was of course to make it something for the members to remember and talk about for a long time.

Frankie wanted to find two contrasting photographers for the event, and he certainly did that as the second guest photographer was Rod Fountain, a Behind The Scenes photographer for Top Gear. Rod has very little time to set up his shots (although the film crew usually put the cars in pretty good places) and has to work using mainly available light within a short period of time minding many obstacles along the way. I think that as photographers you never stop learning and if you can pick up even one tip then it has been a useful experience. The tip I found most useful from Rod was how he  goes from a faster shutter speed to a slower shutter speed in just one pan using Tv mode and a slide of his finger, this gives two contrasting shots in one pass which I think is invaluable.

Compared to the work I do which is much more in a controlled environment, I usually have more time to adjust my shots and more time to set up artificial lighting to get the edgy look I love. It is so much more technical but I feel that I will be shooting a lot more natural light shots from now on to not only speed up my shooting but vary my portfolio.

Arriving on the Thursday to set up; the lorry arrived before the rest of the crew… as I started to unload the lorry I realised quite how much kit I had ordered. The great thing about advertising shoots and events like this is that I can get all the kit I need, more than I need sometimes but it means that if scenarios or weather conditions change I have what I need to still make the most out of the experience. I have to admit I felt like a kid in a candy shop, there were lines and lines of Canon cameras and lenses for everyone to play with along with all the gear Manfrotto, Broncolor and Lastolite had sent me.

The first workshop day was Friday the 13th, duh dun daaaar… luckily it all went relatively smoothly. The first day was set up for the Canon Pro Service members, and tickets for this day (75 available) were sold out in just under 1 hour, nearly crashing the PCGB website! That is the fastest one of these event days has ever sold out. I knew that these members were going to be looking for more technical details than the PCGB members so I set up a rather lovely interior shot for them to do of a rare 356 Coupe, following this I got them to shoot a few contrasty detail shots of the exterior. These were both shot with the Canon 5DS and the 85mm f/1.2 II USM lens, a Manfrotto tri-pod and up  to 3 Broncolor 1200L Move Lights.

In the second half of the day the set ups were repeated but instead of doing the exterior shots I got the group to help me set up the surprise shot which was a Porsche 997 with green smoke. This was lit using 5x Broncolor Heads, 2x Para 88’s, 2 x Standard Reflectors and 1x 1×4′ Softbox, a manfrotto tripod, a Canon 5DS and 35mm f/1.4 II USM Lens.

Porsche 997 with Purple Smoke

Day 2 was set up to help the Porsche Club GB members take better shots of their vehicles when out at shows, this is the day that would work better for Rod as I am sure 99.9% of the members would not have access the gear that I have. However, I did mention that they could in fact use a speedlight at night to light their vehicles in a similar way to how I was with my larger units. To make sure that I had a variety of cars to shoot I went out to the car park to see what the members had brought with them, and during the talk I read out their numberplates jokingly saying that I had damaged their vehicles. Instead I planned to use them on a couple of sets. The first shot for the day was the interior of a Porsche Targa 4 GTS using the studio gear and then the Porsche 356 Coupe outside using natural light and some chandelier glass for diffraction effects.

I thought it would be a great addition if we could demonstrate a rig shot at the event, unfortunately there was no scheduled time for this so instead I took some time out of lunch to demonstrate to those who were interested. Thanks to Peter Webb who lent us his Porsche GT3 for the shot, using a Canon 5DS, 17-40mm f/4 lens and an 8 second exposure.

The second group photographed the Targa interior shot and then helped me to set up a Porsche Cayman GTS for the final set. You should have seen the owners face when she saw smoke bellowing out from her beloved car; however, she was more than frilled with the results.

Overall it was a really enjoyable weekend, it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Porsche Club GB’s General Manager Chris Seaward, Canons very own Frankie Jim, Top Gears Rod Fountain, the amazing man with a brush Mark Lacey and all the sponsors including Manfrotto and their partner brands. It was a privilege to be part of this experience and I look forward to the next one! 


Associateship Awarded of The Master Photographers Association

I always thought that The Royal Photographic Society Distinctions were hard to achieve until I came across The Master Photographers Association. This takes photography to a whole new level, the amount of intimate detail that the judges look for makes the process extremely intense.

The panels consist of 20 images plus a working profile document that goes through all aspects of running photography as a business, I was first attracted to The MPA as they acknowledge collaborative work and as a commercial photographer this is some of my best work. Originally planning to put a panel together and submit for the October judging I believed  I had plenty of time, until I received an email saying there was a space at The Photography Show in just 1.5 weeks time.

This I dare to say is one of the quickest panels that I have ever put together, which left little time for mentoring and refinement. However with the help of Rob Cook and Paul Cooper I managed to get the panel together. A massive thanks also goes out to Renato Tavares from The Print Foundry for printing and mounting the images in record time. All of our hard work paid off and I was rewarded as an Associate of The Master Photographers Association.


L.K. Bennett Launches “Signature” Perfume

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to photograph L.K. Bennett’s first ever perfume called “Signature”. It has a beautiful floral aroma and is set to be a firm favourite with brand lover the Duchess Kate Middleton, according to Hello Magazine’s Article.

L.K. Bennet Signature Perfume