Mixing up Your Portraits

It’s bound to happen, no matter how much you love photography you’ll hit a creative wall, a stumbling block, a rut. Sometimes the best way is to get out of it is to take break from photography- this can feel counterintuitive but it can work. OR the alternative is to keep photographing but you’ve got to mix it up and experiment.

Here, using the same model, I’ll give you a few tips and tricks I like to use when shooting portraits on location:

1.Use Depth

You should give the same amount of thought to the subjects location as much as their pose. Adding depth is a great way to make an image more interesting. My favourite way to do this is either leaving a gap between the subject and the background or by using  varied depth of field.

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 13.05.42

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 13.06.00

2.Take a Step Back

Close up portraits can be a great way of capturing your subjects expression, mood and persona. But sometimes taking a step back and letting your subject get consumed by the location can result in a less-staged, more natural feeling portrait.

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 13.05.26

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 13.06.22

By getting the model to stand on the middle stone it meant I could capture his full reflection in the water.

3. A Portrait Doesn’t Need to Include a Face

The aim of a portrait is often to capture the personality of the subject. You can photograph all kinds of things that reflect a persons personality, job, interests. Here I chose to photograph the models tattoo’s as they contribute to his identity.

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 13.09.17

4.Use the Light (natural or artificial) 

If you’re ever feeling uninspired look to your nearest light source. You don’t have to use it- block it out, cast shadows or shoot night photography. But it does act as a restriction which often triggers creative ideas and solutions.

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 13.16.46

5.Embrace a Lack of Ideas!

It never lasts for ever and some of the best ideas come after stepping back and taking a break from photography. The portrait below came from me wanting to photograph what it feels like to have a creative block…

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 13.32.09

Running Away to Join the Circus

When it comes to photography I am a great believer in saying yes to as many opportunities as possible to expand your skills. Earlier in the week I was invited by family friends (who have 10-year old twins) to come to the circus.

I have shot much performance photography in the past but thought it’d be an interesting way to stretch myself. Inside the circus tent itself I wasn’t allowed to shoot video or use flash, but I often find restrictions can make you think outside the box.

It was a small circus but this worked to my advantage as I could get a front row seat and get up close to the incredibly talented performers.

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 11.58.29

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 11.58.16

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 11.59.25

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 11.58.57

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 11.58.41

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 11.59.12



Photography Basics and Street Photography: Shutter Speed

A great advantage of running a photography blog is the people you meet and seeing so much brilliant work that inspires you. Recently Pier got in touch via the comments section and we have now exchanged work and blog posts. This is a great way to stay motivated espcially when you are in a creative rut.  Todays blog post comes from Pier and it’s a great read, its all about making use of the shutter speed options. Follow him on his blog or over on Instagram @phppi_official

phppi street photography

I have decided to write a few articles on the most basic aspects of photography, which will become natural as you start mastering this art. However, I remember struggling with them when I first started – and I guess that most of us have a similar experience.

This series is called: ‘Photography Basics’ and will be divided into four main parts: shutter speed, aperture, ISO and composition. I will try to cover the fundamental concepts and see how they can be applied to street photography especially.

Today, I am going to talk about the shutter speed, which is a fundamental variable to master and can open up to many artistic opportunities.

First of all, the shutter is a curtain placed just in front of the sensor – or film. Depending on the time it stays opened, it will let more or less light come through and hit the sensor or film. Therefore…

View original post 613 more words

10 Rules of Photography

Using the contact form here on this blog a young follower has got touch about ways to improve his photography. So I thought for anyone interested I’d put together a quick guide to 10 rules you should know.

1.Adjust your point of view

Work out how you want your subject to look. If you look up at it you can make it look towering and intimidating , look at it straight on and engage with it or you can look down or your subject making them look small and menial.


2.Know your colours

Get to know your complementary and contrasting colours and start implementing them. Use the masters of colour photography like Saul Leiter and William Eggleston for inspiration.


3. Control and adapt to movement

You can do this in a number of ways from adjusting shutter speed, following the motion with the lens or even creating a stop motion.


4.Utilise central composition

Positioning your subject centrally can be incredibly effective but use it sparingly. Many top fashion, street and photographers do this. Wes Anderson uses this technique brilliantly throughout all his films.


5. Apply the golden spiral

The golden spiral is essentially  applying maths (not my strong point) to photography. Check out this link to learn more.


6. Be aware of your background

Make sure the background complements your subject, if not go for a minimal look. Be careful that it’s not too busy, clustered or bright as this can detract the viewers focus.


7. Look for leading lines

As the name suggest leading lines literally guide the viewers focus, they don’t always have to lead to the centre of the image but if you have them make sure they lead to something interesting.


8.Use framing

Both the background and and leading lines can frame your subject. This means using items within the frame to direct the viewers gaze.


9. Rule of thirds

This is probably the most well known rule within photography. Its really simple just split your image into 9 sections and place an object of interest on one of the lines or where they intersect.


10. Shoot in the golden hour

This is my favourite rule/tip which I have recently blogged about. Photographing in the hour or two after the sun rises or if like me your not a morning person, the hours before the sun sets. This leads to soft colours and less contrast than midday sun.

You don’t have to follow any of the rules, rules are made to be broken and if you implemented them all they would contradict each other. BUT if your looking to improve your photography it really does help having them at the back of your mind and applying at least one or two rules.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this, follow me on Instagram to see more of my images @madisonbeachphotos

Shooting in Golden Hour

If your looking to improve your photography utilising the golden hour is a must. This is considered the hour (or two) after sunrise and before sunset. Midday-sun creates strong contrasts and often over saturated images. Whereas the golden hour provides much softer colours. While visiting my family for Easter I went for a walk around the suburban surroundings, taking photos of what could be considered boring subjects but showcasing how golden hour brings out a different, often more preferable colour palette.

I’ve spent the last 3 days visiting exhibitions all around London including the Sony Photography Awards at Somerset House (go see it!). In the meantime I’m getting back to updating my Instagram with photos from my exhibitions adventures, with a bit of street photography thrown in for good measure..


Type a message…

People of London

I am very excited to be working on my debut zine featuring street photography I have shot over the last year. In preparation here are a few shots I have taken around the streets of London. DSC04308 copyDSC04383DSC04582

I will be posting updates on my zine on here and over on Instagram @madisonbeachphotos. In the meantime thank you to everybody who follows this blog. I created it in my first year at university to motivate me to create personal work, I have now graduated and am preparing my first photo book, so thank you for the support over the last 3 (and a bit) years.