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5 Photography lectures you should watch!

Hey all!

When I’m not out shooting or editing images, I try and watch lectures about photography that can really help me to understand the way that the medium is viewed by different parts of society,

I’ve realised that it is very easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking that everyone is going to understand my work and look at it in the way that I intend for it to be viewed, but this just really isn’t the case!

Watching lectures that talk about photography is a great way to broaden your knowledge of the subject and to gain a better understanding of how one talks about their work. Here are 5 of my favourite lectures that have really inspired me recently. A few of them are produced by B&H, ad I’m not trying to promote the brand or anything, they just make awesome content!

1. Better Photographic Composition- Beyond The Rule Of Thirds

2. Photography and the Art world

3. Using Photography To Creative Visual Narratives

4. Lecture By Jeff Wall

5. Being Creative & Getting The Shot

Untitled (Novella)

I haven’t posted anything on this blog for a very, very long time, but I am planning to be regularly blogging soonish, so this is a quick update for anyone still following my work on here. In many ways, I think that this will be the main port of call for publishing my work online, and I plan to blog a lot more about my images, the processes behind them, online and offline inspirations, and about topics and themes that inform my work!

So here’s is my Novella series so far:

Untitled #1 (Novella)

Untitled #2 (Novella)Untitled #3 (Novella)Untitled #4 (Novella)Untitled#5(Novella)Untitled#6(Novella)Untitled#7 (Novella)Untitled#8 (Novella)Untitled#9 (Novella)Untitled#10 (Novella)Untitled#11(Novella)Untitled#12(Novella)Untitled#13(Novella)Untitled#14(Novella)Untitled#15(Novella)

I’ve finally shot and compiled images #1-#15, with images #16, #17 & #18 sitting on my desktop. I’m quite happy with the series so far, but I really need to travel a bit more and shoot more varying images/landscapes other than buildings and trees, and to get away from all of the greenery in my work! I really, really, want to use other people in this series as I think that it would be great to be able to direct people and consider the human/nature elements of the images a lot more, rather than trying to find images that correlate in some way. Perhaps I should map and plan the images out beforehand? This series was supposed to be more observational and easy going, but it’s actually turned out to become very structured, which I didn’t expect.

I have several favourites from the series so far, such as Untitled #3 and Untitled #11:

For some reason, these image just work aesthetically for me; they seem to ooze a sense of unresolved drama and mystery and I find myself wondering just how each of the images are connected.


Do you have a favourite image from the series so far?

New Year Reflection #1


I shot this image about 4 years ago, in the corner of the common room at university.

I never would have thought that this many years later it would come to be face of my brand, representing the genre bending fine art & fashion work I aim to produce. I’m aware that my work is nowhere near at the level I want it to be and at times I worry greatly about this. But this is a new year. It’s time to let go of any doubts and fears that have held me back. Now is the time to go forward and grow!


Peregrine (adj):

  • Having no fixed home; changing location regularly as required for work or food.


Original Idea & Inspiration

This image is completely different to the one I originally set out to shoot. Unlike most of my other images, there was no sketch for me to refer to, nor did I make a mood board for inspiration.

Originally, I had the idea of shooting an image of this character who has been travelling for a long time down this long winding path. I wanted to suggest a sense of oddity by having them carry a suitcase to which they are handcuffed, that perhaps what lies in this suitcase is so valuable to them that they can’t let it go. In fact, the more that I thought about this reading, the more I felt that the image would mean something more significant, becoming a commentary on the way in we carry the weight of people, thoughts and feelings that we just can’t discard. I also wanted to hint at the character being some kind of outlaw, or someone who isn’t quite aligned with the rest of society; maybe someone who is a little bit more ‘freer’, yet are so constrained.

Suitcases are somewhat of a reoccurring theme in my work, particularly in my images Bearing The Burden and Detour, and I had both of these images in mind when I shot Peregrine. To be honest, I was a little worried, as I knew that all of these images would end up being similar, and although I suppose this is the case, I do think that Peregrine is more considered and shows a more thorough context.

Looking back for the inspiration of the image, I suppose I can trace the use of a suitcase back to the film The Two Faces Of January, which I watched only a few days ago, in which a character carries a suitcase of money around with him everywhere but I also like this idea of creating an image that has a bit more of a dynamic. Most of my images are quite still, so I thought that it would be great to shoot an image of someone running as it shows that the character has more of a purpose or a final destination in mind. My work is very much tied with the themes of uncertainty and journeys, which link to my overarching commentary about the duality of freedom and constraint within contemporary society.

The Set Up & Camera Settings:

Cinematography, as it always is, was very much an influence in this image, particularly in the way that I decided to place the camera:


Normally, I shoot my images quite straight on so that the subject is parallel with the camera, but I decided to switch it up a little bit and placed the camera and tripod on a bench to raise the angle of the shot. Shooting from different angles is something I really want to experiment with, but as I’m still in the middle of a series, I don’t want to just start switching up the MO too much.

In terms of the set up for the image, I had the tripod and camera in place, and as I didn’t have an assistant, I decided to set the focusing of the camera to the center focus point, so that I knew where I’d have to be when the shutter clicked. I activated the shutter using my wireless remote set to timer mode, handcuffed myself to the suitcase and starting running back and forth to get the shot!

Here is a gif of other poses I had shot:


Here were my camera settings:

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 15.25.37

After I’d shot the poses and knew that there was at least one that I was happy with, I then expanded the frame, as I knew that I wanted the image to be quite a lot bigger to put a fair amount space between the character and the landscape. I almost always expand the frame by shooting the main image, then tilting and shooting two frames upwards (so that the images overlap one another) and then downwards. I Always do it in columns so that when it comes to photo merging them in photoshop so it is easier for me to organize the images which makes the process that little bit quicker.

I then swivel the camera left and right and do the same if I need to build a wider image. For this image, the frame expansion was quite challenging as it was quite windy, which meant that I ad to wait for the wind to die down before I shoot the images as I wanted to make sure that they matched up properly.


As you can see by the editing video, my postproduction for this image consisted of only a three steps:

  1. Frame Expansion
  2. Compositing The Sky
  3. Colour Grading

Firstly, I make sure that I have expanded the frame using photo merge to make sure that I have an image that is not only a lot bigger than the standard singular image size, but doing this allows me to crop into my image without compromising the quality, which is super helpful in case I may need to print the image out in the future.

I then composited the sky. The reason I did this is really twofold. The first is because when I expanded the frame; I knew that I didn’t go high enough to get the full natural sky in the final image, so I shot a series of images of the sky at the location afterwards to photo merge so that I could add it in later. The second reason, very much the same reason I added the birds in post was because I’m interested in creating a ‘constructed’ image, especially one where it may not necessarily appear that it has been manipulated so much in photoshop. I know that some people may refer to this as more digital art than photography, but realistically, the advent of digital technology has changed the very definition of photography and I think that it’s future lies within the digital realm. Also, I like to think of photography as a way to reimagine reality and to create events and moments that did not happen. There is a nice little paradox with regards to photography and authenticity as I consider that all photographs are both documentarian and fictitious at the same time.

Lastly, when I was happy with the frame expansion and the sky, I then colour graded the image, which is actually just a process of messing around with selective colour layers, curves adjustment layers and adding solid colour adjustments to selected colour range areas. I really liked how underexposed the original image was, but I realized that keeping it like that would make the image too dark, and it would eliminate all of the details within the image.

Although, I really liked the natural colour palette, but I decided to add some of the same colour blue in the character’s shirt to the sky to visually tie the image together as well as changing the greens of image to a colour that’s more vivid, without being too saturated.

I also used some Adobe Kuler (an app which I highly recommend) swatches that I made ages ago to sample from. When I made them I just picked a bunch of random colours that I don’t often use, so that it is easier for me to remember to use them (otherwise I’d just completely forget!).

Here are some of the ones I used if you want them:

IMG_1620 IMG_1619 IMG_1612

Detail Shots:

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 18.51.23 Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 18.51.34 Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 18.51.43 Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 18.51.56

Adding the birds to the image was a completely spontaneous idea. I thought that, as there was so much vast sky, I wanted the viewer’s eye to be looking at something other but I didn’t actually think that they would so much to the overall image. The title, Peregrine, suggests a person who has no fixed home, someone left to wander around, looking for food and shelter, but it also the name of a bird. For me, the inclusion of the birds really ties the character to the idea of wandering, uncertainty and perhaps even escape, whether that’s from a certain someone or from or the escape from living a “normal” life. I also like to think that the birds suggest a certain sense of freedom for the character and by having them both travel in opposite directions gives the image more of a lonely and desolate undertone.

I hope you’ve enjoyed watching the editing process and reading about my image! If you have any questions, you can contact me by posting a comment below or contacting via the following social media sites!









Also, I would be very grateful if you could share my video or post! Any support is much appreciated!

10 Free Wood Textures!

Hey All!

I was going through my archive of textures the other day and, as I don’t really use them much nowadays, I thought I’d share some for other photographers to use with no restrictiions!

Here’s the link:


Please keep in touch, I would love to see what you do with them!

Have a nice day!


Aaron Sehmar

Location, Location, Location



Today I went location scouting for an upcoming shoot I have yet to schedule and it really got me thinking: What do I look for in a location?

No matter the genre, I think that location is one of the main components of any shoot and I’m really trying to experiment more with shooting outside, particularly in my fashion work. I love using the studio, and have a few shoot ideas planned, but right now, I prefer the interactivity outside locations provide.

Most of the locations I shot are either of wide expansive spaces or of geometric, colourful buildings. I’ve realised that I love to shoot in places that have a lot of character. Here are a list of things that I look for in a location:


Because it’s cool and great to experiment with!



Width and depth for both portrait and landscape shots. Or establishing shots and mid shots, as directors would refer to them as!

The space is very important as if you are shooting an editorial, you have to consider where the text is going to be, so you’ll need to make space for that. Also, you have to consider how far the model is going to be from the camera and, ultimately, how much detail of the clothes you’ll be able to see.



The shapes that the building/locations make and how I can contrast that with shapes the model/clothes make.



Which is an integral part of my work as I most often think about what the post processing is going to be like when I visit the location. I try and finding buildings that are either vibrant and will look amazing with a model wearing neutral clothes or building that are neutral that will look cool with models who are wearing vibrant clothes. I most likely will have a certain colour in mind for my shoots that will be the ‘main’ colour upon which I shall base the colour scheme around.

As you can tell, I take colour very seriously! 🙂


Which is probably an obvious thing to think about but it is something I constantly aware of. When I’m at a location I ask myself:

How much natural light will this location give an image I shoot here?

Will this mean i’ll need to bring external lighting?

How can I bounce/diffuse/change the light to create a variety of images in the same spot?

I would totally suggest for everyone to go and shoot in the sun. I used to be afraid of doing that and I would wait for days when it was overcast (quite often here in Great Britain!) but i’ve realised that as a photographer, you able to control the light through your camera settings.

It’s such an obvious thing to say but how many times have you shot an overexposed image (in raw) when it was sunny and thought that you’ll fix it later in post production only to find that the overexposed areas go a weird dark beige colour….

Anyway, that’s enough about me, tell me, what do YOU look for in a location and how important do you think that it is to an image?



5 Websites Every Photographer Should know

For me, a career in photography seems to be as much about technicality as it is about creativity. Because of this, I’m often looking for websites which can help me to continually learn about the more technical aspects of photography. Here are my favourite 5 websites that I feel every photographer should know about!

Feel free to leave a comment on this post if you know of any other great resources!

1. Phlearn



Easily one of the best photography resources out there, Phlearn was created by the super awesome photographer Aaron Nace.

The website offers free photoshop tutorials which cover all aspects of photography and the content is aimed for both amateur and professional photographers alike.

You can also buy Phlearn PRO tutorials which are recorded and created by Aaron Nace himself, which I would highly recommend!

2. Retouching Academy

Home New


Ran by amazing photographers such as Julia Kuzmeko McKim and Michael Woloszynowicz, Retouching Academy is community built to promote and educate photographers about retouching industry. Their aim is to highlight how to exist as professional photographer/retoucher in the current photographical age.

Although the site is heavily based around retouching, I think that it is a great website for any photographer to look at as there is a trove of information that is to be gained from the creative talent there.

3. The Fashion Photography Blog



The Fashion Photography Blog is run by photographer Melissa Rodwell (with contribution from a whole host of other photographers) and it is a priceless source of information for any fashion photographer. This site is one of my go-to sites when I feel that I need to really learn more about the industry and because Melissa is a fashion photographer who is actively working whilst maintaining the blog, you can be sure that the information is up to date and industry standard.

4. Photoshelter



Photoshelter is very different from the other sites I have included on this list. Although it primarily serves as a ‘make your own website’ site, I have found their resources page, featured above, to be highly valuable. With photography guides spanning a range of subjects such as pricing your work to how to marketing, you are bound to find information that is useful to your chosen genre.

5. The Breed



Founded by  Marius Troy and Melissa Rodwell, The Breed is the ultimate fashion photography resource. Unlike most of the other sites above, without singing up for a paid membership, The Breed really won’t help you that much, as most of it’s content is exclusive (and rightly so) to it’s members. Even so, The Breed offers advice on a range of topics from what to expect from a photography agent to how to build up a great portfolio. Although I haven’t signed up as a member to this site just yet, I imagine that it would be well worth the money!

A Colourful World

It’s A Colourful World

Colour is one of the most important aspects of my photography, regardless of what genre I am shooting.



I love using colour; the way that it can both hinder and help you to get across the deeper meanings within your images, whilst also being full of ambiguity is such an exciting prospect.

I hardly ever shoot an image purely in black and white, and even the ones that are have been converted after the fact. I am not the biggest fan of black and white imagery but I do have a few plans to shoot some of my own images, maybe even a series, using black and white.

Finding the right balance of colour within an image, is for me at least, an enjoyable yet extremely organic process. Most often than not, I do not determine the final outlook of a ‘completed ‘ image, it is decided with 1-4 hours of editing and around 30+ layers.

Take my two images, The Eleventh Day and These Days:


When placed side by side, they are quite similar in terms of colour but if you look at the layers in both images, you will see that they vastly differ. For The Eleventh Day, there are over 3 times more layers than These Days.

The Eleventh day Layers 1


The Eleventh Day Layers 2


These Days Layers

I use a lot of curves layers (set to luminosity so that only the colour is affected) as well as solid colour layers (often set to colour blending mode) as this decreases the chance of colour banding, which is a nightmare.

So, as you can see, I never take color grading my images lightly particularly as I think that colour is one way to heighten the appeal of images as being otherworldly, not matter how much they are rooted in reality.

In fact, I say colour grading because the main influences for my photography stem from cinematography.

I’ve always wanted my work to be cinematic, so I thought that there would be no better way to do this then to look at and study cinematography, which if rife with interesting colour combinations.

Here are a few of my favourite film stills to give you an idea of the kind of colour schemes I look at:



Director: Lars Von Trier


Inside Llwyn DavisInside Llweyln Davis
Director: The Coen Brothers

RideRide (Lana Del Rey)
Director: Anthony Mendler

Road To PerditonThe Road to Perdition:
Director: Sam Mendes

Director: Steve McQueen

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Director: Wes Anderson

What colours do you use in your work?

What is your favourite colour to photograph and why?