Tag Archives: photography workshops

How to create a backdrop wall in your studio

How to create your own backdrop wall in your ‘studio’

My studio is in estate agents terms: ‘bijou and compact’, the quality of the images I produce means this is irrelevant as I am sure most photographers will agree – size doesn’t matter!

However, I wanted to have the ability to use my wonderful range of backdrops (from Photographers Floors and Backdrops in the UK) without having to take up vital space with stands and poles etc…

I wanted something that would be absolutely solid when hung and that there was no chance of it falling off the wall and landing on to a client.  It had to be straight which is why I used a baton to secure the hooks to the wall, as I only then had to make sure the hooks lined up on the already straight baton.

So here’s how I transformed my walls!

 

You will need: 

  • Backdrop(s) of the SAME height
  • Sharp scissors
  • Eyelet rings (the ones you use for curtains – standard size or bigger)
  • Thin wooden baton slightly wider than the width of your backdrop and thick enough to hold hooks.
  • 5 hooks that screw into the above baton – bear in mind that they may be at eye height so something safe not sharp.
  • Drill, raw plugs, wall screws and spirit level and relevant safety equipment.
  • Floor space big enough to lay out your backdrops flat.
  • A helpful person!

 

step-1-backdrop-tina-bolton-photography-4sqStep 1

Measure the spaces where you want the rings to be.  In my 5ft width backdrop I used 5 rings.  Using the rings as a template.  Make sure each ring is the same distance from the top to ensure they all hang at the same height on the backdrop.

 

 

 

 

step-2-backdrop-tina-bolton-photography-5sqStep 2

Cut out the holes for the eyelets – cut the holes slightly bigger than the circle you drew.

 

 

 

 

step-3-backdrop-tina-bolton-photography-3sqStep 3

Separate the eyelet rings (use closed scissors to unclip them) and push the ring with the spikes through the hole to ensure a good grip and click the other half on.  Eyelets are usually designed for quite thick fabrics and they went through the vinyl quite easily.

Repeat steps 1-3 until you are happy that you have enough eyelet rings to provide safe hooks.

 

 

 

step-5-backdrop-tina-bolton-photography-6sqStep 4

Prepare your baton to the correct length (paint it the matching colour you want and leave to dry) then mark out where it’s going to go using a spirit level to ensure it is perfectly straight.  Mark out your holes, drill, apply raw plugs.

Before you fix your baton to the wall, place it on the floor and place your first prepared backdrop over it and line up the edges and where your hooks will go in relation to the eyelet holes – mark them up.

Now fix the baton to the wall. (I used three screws – one either end plus a central one.)

 

step-4-backdrop-tina-bolton-photography-10sqStep 5

Attach your hooks to the baton

 

 

 

 

 

step-8-backdrop-tina-bolton-photography-8sq

Step 6

Hang your backdrops!  With the single door hooks I can hang three backdrops.

 

 

 

 

Points to note:

Since hanging the backdrops I would advise the following:  create a baton with three extra hooks spaced apart as before – then this will make it easier to swap your backdrops around.

The eyelet rings means they will not roll up as neatly for the tubes as before but you can either tie them once rolled, or simply unclip the eyelet rings temporarily.  I use the bottom of the backdrop with velcro to attach to a backdrop and pole system when needed at a mobile event.

How to create your own backdrop wall with pics Downloadable PDF

I hope this helps – get in touch and let me know or if you have any questions!  tina@tinabolton.co.uk

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New Year’s Day Sale

Happy New Year!! For those of you who like a bargain today’s bargain links on photo shoots and camera courses is here
Remember – this is the last of our special festive flash sales which ends tomorrow. Grab your bargain now!
Vouchers can be downloaded upon payment so you can still surprise that special someone!

 

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The online course for the Take Better Photos has a code too- use this for a whopping £135 OFF so you pay only £60!!! NY2014

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Day One of the Festive Flash Sale

Have a wonderful Christmas and for those of you who like a bargain today’s bargain links on photo shoots and camera courses is here:
Remember – each day the bargains are still there but the price rises slightly the later you leave it!!
Vouchers can be downloaded upon payment so you can still surprise that special someone!
The online course for the Take Better Photos has a code too- use this for a whopping £165 OFF so you pay only £30!!! XMAS1

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Festive Flash Deals

As I know so many of you hunt for bargains on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (I know, I know!!)  I thought I would treat you to my Festive flash sales – they will start on Christmas Eve and end on the 3rd of January 2014.

 

There is a knack to bagging the best of the bargains though, you see, although you’ll get great offers on any of those days, the earlier you purchase the deal – the more savings you will make as each day the prices increase ever so slightly.  Best of all, if you wanted to buy a last minute gift to give on Christmas morning, you can!  With our downloadable Gift vouchers!!  Offers include Complete Photoshoots (inc prints and all images on disc from £400 – saving over £500!!)  and Photography Workshops from £25.

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So  Best Bargain Ever!  + Downloadable Vouchers = Remember to go to the Tina Bolton Website from Christmas Eve onwards!!

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10 years and going stronger than ever!

Oh My!  I can’t quite believe that it’s been 10 years since I first started my pregnancy photography business back in 2003.

When I first began photographing bumps back in 1999, NO-ONE in the UK was offering a specialist/dedicated maternity photography service.  I know, because I trawled the adverts, magazines and internet looking for someone.  In the end a lovely art student took some photos of me, which was the turning point for today.  I gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl who was probably the most photographed baby on the planet!!  I went back to work in the City part-time but still this niggling voice kept saying “go on you can do it!”  I went back to college (St Martins) and sharpened my craft, meeting some amazing photographers along the way!  I began asking pregnant women to pose for me so I could develop a style…not many took me up on the offer as they all thought I was a bit weird for asking!  Then, the ‘hooha’ over THAT image of Demi Moore kicked up again and suddenly pregnant women ‘got it’!  I had a bouncing baby boy in the meantime and planned my business during his first year.  I was one of just 4 photographers in the UK offering a dedicated pregnancy photography service.  Clients travelled from all over the UK and even Europe (they came by ferry!) to be photographed.

My first ever professional shoot

My first ever professional shoot

My husband, although supportive, didn’t think that many pregnant women would want their photos taken.  He did, however, buy me a bigger camera to get me started.  A Pentax with manual everything including focus and film.  Imagine!  Digital SLR’s weren’t around then, so you had to know your settings and exposures.  I found some hand-printers to develop my work, and gradually word spread…..BBC South Today ran a news piece on prime time TV of me actually photographing a pregnant lady and then spent hours interviewing us for a 2 minute piece.  I was so excited although I do regret not having had my hair done properly!  Next, BBC Radio 2 presenter Janey Lee Grace and I worked together when she was pregnant with baby number 3 and again with baby no 4, much of this work is in both her wonderful books ‘Imperfectly Natural Mother’ and ‘Imperfectly Natural Baby and Toddler’  More book work and celebrity shoots with TV presenters, actors and stunning models followed…usually with me completely unaware of who I was about to photograph ( I am not good at recognising famous people – I photographed an event for a Chelsea footballer, blissfully unaware – sorry boys!)  I’ll never forget arriving at the home of one client, to have the door opened by her husband who at the time was a reasonably famous actor and  is now a VERY big Hollywood A lister (I won’t name names) and it was an absolute delight to photograph both of them.  Becoming a parent is no different, whether you are in the spotlight or not.  You still want to do these special things to celebrate such a wonderful time in your lives.  More recently I have photographed the wonderful Sir Bruce Forsyth (top man!), Denise Lewis OBE and many more at a charity golf day.

Word about my work spread and for a number of years I worked closely with the  NCT (National Childbirth Trust) head office producing their national breastfeeding campaign posters, most of which are still in use today.  As well as producing the perfect baby bottom image for Metanium cream!!

Brave clients being interviewed by the BBC

Brave clients being interviewed by the BBC

Pregnancy photography has been my absolute passion all the way through. In the beginning I was determined to educate women that they can be photographed pregnant and nude and look amazing.  I worked with Photography magazines, pregnancy books and magazines, who ran my articles and published my work.  Gradually more and more pregnant women realised how beautiful they looked.  Other photographers also picked up on this fast-growing trend.  I am pleased to say that many styles you see today were inspired by much of my original work, although I am still one of a few photographers who work with pregnant nudes.  Women I have never met before, seem more than happy to take the majority of their clothes off and stand in all their glowing glory while I photograph them in flattering ways.  Everyone tells me that I quickly make them feel at ease, and that having a bump also acts as a shield for their nudity.  I love seeing their expression as they spend precious time interacting with their bumps and thinking of things to come – simply breath-taking.

I never planned to go on to photograph newborns and babies, that side of the business evolved as clients returned time and again with their growing families.  The age of digital meant I could do away with a permanent studio and was able to be even more flexible with where and how I photographed.  My first digital camera?  A Canon 20D with just 8.2MP!!  My Samsung phone has more than that today!!  These days I work with a Canon 5D mk I and mkII.

The wonder of a bump

The wonder of a bump

I am constantly learning new techniques and skills, you never stop learning.  I began teaching a few years ago running workshops and courses in primary and senior schools, as well as with local councils, teaching their teachers how to use their cameras better and how to engage their pupils using the power of photography.  I LOVE running workshops and enabling people, especially parents, how to develop enough knowledge to confidently come off their AUTO buttons and take better photos.  Seeing those little ‘light bulb’ moments as everything falls into place is brilliant!  I can also proudly watch the successes of people who have now realised their dream of becoming a professional photographer through training they have had with me.

Local community is really important to me and putting back wherever possible is essential.  The support I have received from my local community  has been fantastic, and over the years we have raised lots of money for the NCT; special baby units; childhood eye cancer (CHECT), and local special needs play-schemes (who has a rather splendid fireman’s calendar then!?) to name but a few.  Wherever possible I donate gift vouchers, time and prizes to local schools and events.

These last 10 years have been an absolute blast!  I have discovered so much about taking photos and working with various people that I am really excited about the next 10 years!!

So, whats next?  Well my business has now split into three distinct sections:

 

Tina Bolton Photography still offers THE highest standards of professional maternity and newborn photography to a wonderful array of clients (thank you – you know who you are!) with only the absolute best products and two very distinct collections to choose from.

Blue Hedgehog Photography aims to bring a simpler service to a wider audience, still concentrating on bumps, babies and under 3’s, however, I have developed a ‘junior’ team of photographers who, with occasional help from me, will capture your pregnancy or baby’s moments on a more restricted budget.

Cameras and Cake  (the name derives from my first ever workshops I ran a few years ago) which provides three hour, fun, coffee morning style workshops, to learn how to use your camera better.  I can now announce that the on-line version of this and a few other courses will be launching very soon.  Watch this space.

Finally, I would like to say thank you to all of my lovely, lovely clients from the last 10 years.  In particular to those who were my earliest pregnancy clients – you were also ahead of your time and you were brave enough to trust me with your glorious bumps!

 

A wonderful video celebrating the last 10 years to the right!

 

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Cameras and Cake Photography Workshops

 

You know that moment when you think you have taken the picture of THE CENTURY, only to look at that back of the camera and discover it’s out of focus/too dark/too light/you missed that smile….

The Cameras and Cake workshops are designed to give you enough information in just three hours to improve your photography so that you never experience that disappointment again, plus you get to eat cake and share a cuppa with other like-minded people.

These workshops are going down a STORM!  The cake is delicious and at our last workshop Aleshia (who runs For The Love of Cakes and makes the cakes) attended the workshop and is now LOVING her camera.

  • The workshops are held in Greatham (near Petersfield) on the last Wednesday of each month.
  • Groups of friends can book their very own morning to suit them (min of 4 people needed).
  • From 9.30am-12.30pm with a maximum of 6 people.  You only need to attend one course.
  • We ALWAYS have a delicious cake* and lots of TEA!!  (and coffee!)
  • Easy to absorb (no geek jargon allowed) and more importantly, lots of opportunity to put into practise information on using your camera.
  • Suitable whether you have the latest DSLR or a dinky little point and shoot.
  • The tips and tricks I share with you will enable your photography to improve straight away!
* Gluten and dairy free options available please ask.
What have other people said about the workshops:
” I am LOVING my camera now, I seem to get so much more out of it, I am even eyeing up my husband’s camera…watch this space”  Aleshia, Liss
” I took some photos of my boys playing rugby at school that afternoon, not only were they in focus, they looked so much brighter and vibrant, thank you again!” Emma, Bradshott

 

It’s just sooo nice doing something for yourself and focusing on something different, the cake was good too!!”  Dawn, Havant

 

” I learnt more in three hours than I did on a course I took a few years ago, thank you”  Matt, Farnham

 

“I am never using the automatic button on my camera again!”  Ian, Guildford

So…

Read and print out a cameras and cake photography workshops leaflet OR pop along to our facebook page!  Remember to hit ‘like’.

Book your place by calling Tina on 07976 302937 or emailing her.

 

 

 

 

 

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Makers and New Business Photography Workshops

It’s been a busy few months here at TBPL Towers, so in between photographing wonderful and very cute newborn babies both in and out, as well as fun family shoots; I have been working on some really interesting commercial shoots as well as delivering more training courses – check out this page later.

Great product shots not only show your potential customer what you do/make, they tell a story and provide solutions.  In this hugely visual marketplace we all operate in –  IMAGE IS EVERYTHING.

 

Take for example my recent ‘Pork Pie Shoot’, the brief was for it to be a ‘strong’ theme.  The pies are chunky, meat filled deliciousness (I know, I have now had several for lunch).  Everything is prepared by hand, even the egg wash came from the chef’s own chickens.  We shot the product story using just window light and the kitchen table.    This gave the images depth and shadow, further adding to the ‘strong’ theme.  I began my research by looking at other images for pork pies, try it.  Put ‘pork pie images’ into a search engine and see what you get!  Part of my brief was not to do the ‘same old, same old’ but to create a new image that would set Jon’s pork pies apart from the rest.  The bottom image is the result.

It’s always a good idea to research similar product images to your product to see if you like them or to decide how you want to be represented.  Look at other product images as well to discover a style you prefer, we looked at cakes and biscuits to get a feel for the theme as well as cookery book photography.

Jon made a pork pie from scratch to demonstrate the care and effort he puts into each and every pie.  He started making them because he enjoys making his own food and enjoys knowing where his ingredients, particularly the meat, comes from and how it is reared etc.  Unsurprisingly, he has had fantastic feedback and so the process of setting up his own company began.

He wanted the images to tell a strong story in order to ultimately increase sales of his fabulous pork pies.  We set about doing just that, in his kitchen.  We concentrated on creating an ambience and telling the story not only of the pork pie but of Jon himself.  He grows his own herbs and garlic, bakes his own bread, keeps chickens and sources all his ingredients so he knows the provenance of each and every one.

This all builds up, giving an insight into you, the maker, as well as your wonderful products.    Jon, like so many other new entrepreneurs, had a limited budget.  He also knew that to launch the pork pies the way he wanted to, he needed professional photography.

Jon used the ‘New Business Professional Photography’ Package which includes:

  • Upto 2 hours of professional photography and editing.
  • Some photography training so he can take good, basic shots in the future.
  • Styling and props for the shoot.
  • Location advice.
  • Social media tips on PDF.
  • All fully edited images on CD in high resolution and social media/web size.
  • A perpetual licence to use the shots for his business.
  • 10% discount on his next commercial shoot.

This special package is available to all new business start-ups less than 12 months old for £150.  For more details or to book yours contact me.

Normal commercial rates can be found here

 

So, what do his Pork Pies look like?  

 

To find out more about Jon and his pies – you can follow him on Twitter @jkaye

To book your workshop, look here or for commercial shoots including the new business package contact me.

 

 

 

 

 

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Festive photo tips

Tina’s Top tips for great Festive photos

Christmas pictures lacking a little something?  Follow these great tips to add a bit more sparkle to your festive photos!

  1.      Make sure your camera is fully charged, that there is room on your memory card and your lens is clean!
  2.     For fab party pics of your friends, ask them to put their heads together, lean forward a little bit (never back) everyone looks their best and less chins are visible!!
  3.     Remember:  your camera flash will only work up to a distance of about 10-12 feet maximum, on smaller cameras even less. 
  4.     Make sure you have the ‘red eye’ flash on your camera, remember that the first smaller flash is followed by the bigger flash.
  5.    For those cute, adorable nativity play shots, Choose either a front seat  OR an aisle seat so you can stand up without blocking anyone’s view from behind.  Use flash only if you really have to. Most camera’s have a night-time    function which increases your camera’s ability to take low light shots without a flash.
  6.  Wait until the end of the play – or the ‘gathering around the manger’ bit as this is usually well lit and everyone is still.
  7.  Christmas cards, we love the cute ones of our kids in a Santa* outfit!!  (*Or whatever you choose!!)  Make time to dress them up and pose them, sit them safely (deep in the sofa perhaps), as near to window light as you can and   take  some pictures.  Better still come to one of my free toddler group mini sessions with that special outfit (see below for details).
  8. On Christmas Day – have that camera to hand ALL the time, especially for when Grandad falls asleep and you manage to draw a moustache on him!
  9. Take a photo of each present your children opens, you can then print/email this out as a thank you to the person who sent it, they’ll love seeing the smiles of delight.
  10. Make sure you are in one or two pictures with the kids as well, looking suitably festive!

 Have a lovely Christmas!  

When you open that new camera on Christmas Day, remember to book your place on one of my photography workshops in January, so you can REALLY get the best out of your camera – better still, make sure that a workshop gift voucher is part of the package!!  Download Tina Bolton Photography festive photography tips as a pdf.

Mini Santa Shoot Sessions are being held as follows:

Thursday 8th November – NCT Small Talk & Baby Talk, United Reform Church, Petersfield, 10-12

Wednesday 14th November –  Baby Sensory Classes, Greatham Village Hall, 10-12

Monday 19th November – NCT Haslemere – Royal School, Hindhead, 10-12

Tuesday 20th November – Baby Sensory, St Alban’s Church, Hindhead 10-12

Thursday 22nd November – Baby Sensory, Haslemere Prep School, Hill Road, 9.30-2pm

I will also be at Stepping Stones in Sheet, date to be confirmed.

 

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