Flashgun speedlite lampshade mod featured on DIY Photographer!

north wales photographer

Edit: Pleased to say this ‘invention’ has been featured on diyphotography.net!

This is not the kind of set-up  I’d use at a wedding – bit rough and ready for that – but my lampshade speedlite mod was ideal for photographing people at a halloween music event.

It couldn’t really be more simple, all I did was tape tin-foil on the inside of the lampshade and a bit of foil on top, and then attach it to my flash.

It acts as an excellent diffuser, and the key advantage it has over an umbrella is it’s much less likely to get blown over and break.

Here are some sample images:

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North Wales Wedding Photographer: How much editing will I do on your wedding photos?

One of the most common questions I get is ‘Can you photoshop…. x,y or z?’

And the answer is yes, most of the time, but that’s not to say I would.

In fact, I do very little retouching unless my client specifically asks for it; I prefer to make people good ‘in camera’.

Everyone has an angle, a side, or features that look better than others, and it’s much easier and preferable to use lighting and camera angles to make you look your best.

Having said that, although I may not do a great deal of retouching, I’ll often do things like change the exposure or colours of a photograph, or even removed unwanted elements from a picture.

The image below gives an example. This sort of thing can take quite a bit of work, but I include it in the price of all my wedding packages.

North Wales Wedding Photographer - Beaufort Park, New Brighton

I liked this location at Beaufort Park because the slope meant we could really show-off Hayley’s dress.

The foliage and tree branch also make for a nice compostion.

My umbrella, the power cables and the fence weren’t so great, so removing them was the first step.

I could have made Hayley climb over the fence so those things wouldn’t be a problem, but I’d already made her do that on the pre-wedding shoot and I didn’t think she’d be too impressed if I asked her to do it again in her wedding dress!

The next thing I did was make Hayley and her dress lighter and the scene a bit darker, to make her stand out more.

Finally, I added blue to the image and removed a bit of green, … looks better, doesn’t it?

Apologies to Hayley for making her stand on a slop in her  wedding shoes x

Hot shots of missus in Crete

I did my first model shoot a couple of weeks ago, but as I don’t yet have model release forms I got my wife Caroline to pull a couple of poses for me on our holiday to Crete.

These were taken in Chania, a town on the North West coast. The black and white ones were taken with one off-camera flash bounced off a wall, and edited in photoshop. The colur one had minimal editing in Photoshop.

Caroline – like most brides and grooms – wasn’t massively confident in front of the camera and a key part of my job as a wedding photographer is to make you feel comfortable and look smoking in your photographs, which I think I achieved here.

You can see some more of my holiday shots at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=173703&id=708061540&saved#!/album.php?aid=173703&id=708061540

Colour correction / Black & White conversion of wedding photos in Photoshop

This is a photo I really liked from Debra and Andrew’s wedding at Christ’s Church, Bethesda, in December, but like most of the photos taken during the ceremony it suffers from too much red caused by overhead heaters.

Thankfully photoshop makes it fairly easy to make it look much better, and in this case I converted it to black & white as well.

I’m putting this post up for the benefit of other photographers and so clients can see an example of what post-processing involves which, after all, is a large part of what they’re paying for.

I think Photoshop can be overwhelming to someone unfamiliar with the software, but it’s pretty essential to get the most out of your photos and it’s not too hard to do things like colour correction and B&W conversion.

In CS4 I often try Image>Autocolor because it’s pretty good at making the colour in your photograph look much better, but it takes a bit of trial and error to find out when it works best.

In Photoshop Elements that are some other auto-corrections, I seem to recall the ‘adjust for skin tone’ being particularly good.

In this example Autocolor couldn’t compensate for the reds at all, so I did it manually.

Step 1
Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation
Image>Adjustments>Color Balance

The Hue/Saturation option allows you to selectively desaturate different colour channels. This works well if you desaturate by just a few percentage points, overdo it and the photo starts to look unnatural.

I use the Color Balance option more often. In this case I changed the red in the shadows, midtones and highlights by about 10 points towards cyan and for a lot of photographs this amount of tweaking is enough.

However, I still didn’t think the colours looked that great so I tried a B&W conversion.

Step 2

Image>adjustments>Black & White

I never take photographs in B&W because it seems silly to discard colour information at the camera stage. There might be a good argument for taking B&W shots in camera, but personally I don’t see the point.

(I also shoot jpegs rather than in RAW because I find it quicker and easier to work with smaller files which, for me, outweighs the information benefits of RAW.)

With Black & White conversion I try the Auto button first, and find I’m happy with the result about half the time.

The best method is to move the sliders back and forwards until the photo looks how you want it. In this case it was all about the red and yellow sliders.

Step 3

Image>adjustments>curves

I find that photos often don’t ‘pop’ as much as they should when they’re first converted to B&W.

The way to fix this is with curves, which allow you control things like brightness and contrast very precisely.

In the example above I moved the top-right corner of the line slightly left which changed the darkest parts of the image to black. In this image the bench in the foreground was darkened and thus highlighted the girl more.

Curves take a while to get your head round, but if you mess about with them a bit you’re bound to get some good results.

Step 4

Filter>distortion>lens correction … Vignette


A vignette is where the outside of the image is darkened (or lightened) and usually I don’t really like the look  it gives a photograph.

In some instances, though, it helps highlight the main subject, in this case the girl.

You can adjust the darkness and midpoint of the vignette until you’re happy with what you see.

The example below used the same steps as above, but without the B&W conversion.

The red was quite extreme in the original photo but a combination of ‘color balance’ and desaturation did a pretty good job of fixing it.

This photo doesn’t look so good in B&W because there isn’t a very large tonal range (light), but it’s quite hard to tell if B&W will look any good until you actually try it.

These processes are straight forward and quite quick to do (depending on how many images you’re editing), but what takes the time is messing round to see what looks best.

If you have any questions, either photographic or regarding what I can for you as a client, please feel free to email me at info@tomsimoneweddings.co.uk