A small blog post giving some detail and thought process behind some of my favourite images and locations from my portfolio.
"Summit" - St Pauls Cathedral and One New Change
This is one of the most popular locations in which to photograph the Iconic St Pauls Cathedral, one of London's most recognisable buildings. By standing in the entrance to “One New Change” (a major office and retail space) it is possible to create this juxtaposition of baroque and modern architecture, with the glass shop fronts providing perfect framing, whilst also making sure St Pauls is the focal point of the image.
This composition will look great shot under most conditions, but I wanted to make the most of light and colour, and twilight provided the perfect chance to capture St Pauls lit up, as well as ambient lighting from the shop windows on either side, creating a nice vibrant image.
Shoot this location as wide as possible - this was shot @10mm using a Sigma 10-20mm lens on a crop sensor Canon 550D. Although this creates some distortion to the glass architecture, it ensures maximum impact. Shooting with a tripod will no doubt bring the dreaded security into the fray, so I advise shooting handheld.
I do about 95% of my photo editing in Lightroom CC - for me it gives the greatest flexibility, ease of use and allows me to create the results that I want. I dont do anything complicated in my edits, and usually spend about twenty minutes tweaking a particular image.
Some basic rules that I live by - By shooting in RAW, it means that I have the flexibility to create the look I want for an image, and I can alter almost any aspect of the file. This isnt about manipulation, I just want to be able to create the mood and atmosphere in the image that I also want to portray to the viewer.
This is the file with some minor adjustments to exposure, lens correction, and straightening:
Those red dots mean there are some blown highlights, which can easily be adjusted using the Highlights slider.
One of the most useful sliders in Lightroom is the white balance and temperature slider, and probably the greatest benefit of shooting RAW. For this image I will move the tint to the right a small amount, to add some magenta into the image.
To create the tones of the image, I have used a VSCO filter as a base, and then tweaked the filter settings to finalise the look. The VSCO tool kit is great for enhancing certain aspects of the look including fade, contrast and vignetting. The VSCO filter is always used as a base to work from, to find a colour palette you are happy with, and will always need some extra tweaking.
From here it is just a case of experimenting with contrast, vibrance and temperature settings to find a look that you are happy with. Graduated filters have been used to bring back some detail in the sky, and also at the bottom of the image to reduce exposure to "close" the image and bring the eye to the focal point - St Pauls Cathedral.
When Im shooting in London, I will always end up taking some images of St Pauls, and there are many locations and vantage points in which to take great images of the cathedral. Why not take the lift upto the rooftop bar of One New Change for amazing views across the city and a closer look at St Pauls.
"A Roof With A View"
Use the impressive Millennium Bridge as another compositional aid to frame St Pauls. With the below image I used a Lee Little Stopper to create an exposure time of around 2 seconds to blur the people walking across the bridge.
"Dead or Alive"
Finally, book a free trip to the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street for truly spectacular panoramic views of London.
"The Rising Stars"