Urban & Architecture Photography


Posts tagged Environmental Portraits
Tea, coffee and oil paints: Victoria Rose at The Hidden Lane Studios

I have to admit I had never ventured to The Hidden Lane Studios before.  I had always intended to visit but for some odd reason had never got round to it.  The ‘lane’ is home to a myriad of artists, artisans and small business owners so it is well worth going along and having a look around.

Victoria and I meet at the lovely Hidden Lane Tea Room prior to our shoot together.  The tearoom is a great little venue that is adorned with artworks from residents within the ‘lane’ - well worth a visit. 


As Victoria and I chatted she let me know that she was currently working mostly with oil paints and I was able to see her working on some cloudscapes when we got to the studio.

I have always been interested in the different environments in which creative people work.  I think it is an important element of the creative process.  Whether a studio is the size of a matchbox or a mansion, spotless (rare, I know) or chaotic, boisterous or silent, it is fascinating to see how the environment shapes the way the creative people thrive.


As Victoria worked away I tried to capture her in action.  It was obvious to me than when she painted she was completely at ease and oblivious to my being there – I am pretty sure that if I was not for my incessant questioning, Victoria would not have known I was taking any photographs at all.

If you would like to more of Victoria's work check out her website or at her facebook.

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Photographing Glasgow's Creatives

Following on from my last post about my project photographing artists and creatives based in Glasgow, I carried out my second shoot at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS).


I was photographing John, a Greek student who is studying composition at RCS.  The main purpose of the shoot was to try and capture John in his 'working' environment.  We took a lot of environmental portraits of John tuning piano and at work in his studio, however, the shots we snatched in a poorly light hallway - only lighting was tungsten roof lights - were my favourites from the shoot.  They may look a bit raw but I think the capture John perfectly.

I only used my DSLR, two lenses, and a 5 in 1 reflector for all images with ISO boosted to around the 800 mark to get enough light in the camera.  I felt flash would have been too distracting to John and other students.   so I was basically working with the light (or lack of it) available.

I have a load of new shoots lined up for the near future so there should be a good amount of progress made in the next few months.  If you think you might be interested in taking part just message me here.

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Eight things I learned shooting environmental portraits

It has taken me a very long time but I have finally got a project off the ground.  Okay, its been in the back of mind for a long time but I finally made a start.


Over the course of the next few months I will be photographing artists from in and around Glasgow.  I want to try and show the vast variety of creative people living and working in Glasgow.  Whether they are a painter, a potter, a photographer, a sculptor or a … you get the idea,  I want to try and get a glimpse in to how these people work, what are their methods, similarities, differences, and what it is that pushes them to create their art.

I put the call out on Facebook for artists who would like to be photographed in their working studio and I have already got a lot of interest and carried out my first shoot last week, and immediately I realised this is going to be a steep learning curve.  I did my first shoot with Scottish Landscape Artist Scott Naismith.  It was fantastic see Scott working on his vivid landscapes in his studio - I really appreciate you making the time Scott.

What I learned in my first shoot

  1. PLAN BETTER - I thought I would be able to turn up, get to know my collaborator, and capture at least a few images of them at work.

  2. YOU NEED TO WORK FAST – I am used to working at more leisurely pace, planning a shot, taking my time with composition – time does not exist when working with an artist in their moment, you need to be stealthy, fast and know when to pick your moment

  3. BE CAREFUL OF BACKGROUND CLUTTER – I found it nigh on impossible to get a clutter free shot in the studio.  I managed to get some nice shots of the artist at work only for the background to be too cluttered or a brightly lit screen background ruining the shot.

  4. SHOOT LOTS OF CLOSE-UPS – artists use all sorts of interesting stuff – photograph them – you can make some nice abstract shots from these things

  5. BE CAREFUL OF REFLECTIONS – with so many different tools in use some are bound to be metal and give off some harsh reflections

  6. MY NIFTY FIFTY IS FANTASTIC - the Nikkor 50mm 1.8G is a dream lens, so flexible, lets in so much light, and pretty cheap too - buy one!

  7. KNOW WHEN TO TALK – and when to be quiet, when my collaborator was in the groove I let him be.

  8. YOU NEED TO ENJOY IT – working with other people really opened my eyes to new areas of photography I never considered before.

I have already got three more shoots arranged with different artists, with a loy more planned for November and Ican't wait to continue.  If you think you might be interested in taking part just message me here.

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