Workshop Wednesdays Vol.33

Workshop Wednesdays vol. 33

Never talk about politics or religion at a dinner party, isn’t that what they say? Well, this isn’t a dinner party and it seems like politics is all we are hearing about at the moment! So let’s continue the conversation… except, of course, with a focus on the photography side of things. I recently read an article about Pete Souza, the man who worked as Obama’s official photographer for 8 years, and it opened my eyes to a world of photography that I was oblivious too. It may sound boring – photographing politicians… However when you see Souza’s work below, you’ll see why I’m excited! It also brings to light the importance of creating a mood to portray character within a photograph. There were some cracking examples of very unflattering photos of our politicians in the campaign leading up to last weeks election, obviously intended to invoke such a strong opinion that you would choose not to vote for them. It is a powerful tactic and an interesting aspect to ponder. 

HP Tip 1

The key elements that create mood in a photograph include: colour, expression and what you choose to crop in and out of the frame. A dark, contrasty, extreme close up of a political looking angry (or slightly crazy), is likely to create an unpleasant mood and be less favourable for the subject!

Random Fact

“The total number of photographs present on Facebook is 10,000 times greater than the total number of photographs that can be found US Library of Congress. Photographs in US Library of Congress is a documentation of US history since its very beginning.”

In The News

Photo For Thought

Birmingham, Alabama – Charles Moore (1963)

“Controversial pictures have helped to change our society. One of these issues was the Civil Rights movement between 1954 and 1968 throughout America.
One of these high-conflict areas was Birmingham in Alabama. Here, black residents and allies constantly clashed with white power in a struggle to end segregation.
Charles Moore, a photographer for Montgomery Advertiser and Life found himself part of these conflicts. This native Alabaman and son of a Baptist preacher saw the violence, and became appalled by it.
Although he captured many images focusing on this movement, it was the below image that captured the segregation as a reality. The violence was brutal, yet routine and casual.
The image, published in Life magazine allowed the rest of the world to see what was happening. The Civil Rights Act passed a year later, finally abolishing segregation.”


Iconic Photographer:

Pete Souza

“Within twelve hours, Pete Souza’s life had transformed. He’d received a call from Robert Gibbs, an aide of Barack Obama, and had been offered the opportunity of a lifetime: go from retired Washington Tribune head of photography and Ohio University lecturer to official White House photographer. For eight years he shadowed the 44th President of the United States, documenting everything from historic to family moments. He went everywhere Barrack went, taking only one day off in eight years. Despite his access to come of modern history’s seminal events, it’s been his eye for the small and seemingly insignificant moments  – which paint a picture of the man behind the politics – that has cemented Souza’s mark in photographic history.”

– Excerpt from Professional Photography Magazine, article by Emma-Lily Pendleton 

“I shot almost two million photos in eight years and I don’t feel like I over shot. I think I would have shot the same even if I had been using film… I was the observer, not the participant. I wasn’t participating in most of the things he did. I was photographing.” – Pete Souza

All photographs below copyright Pete Souza.


Tip 2

My favourite way to capture genuine expression within a photograph is simply to ask the subject questions. Make sure you listen to the responses and use the queues to prompt more conversation. Other tips include, asking the subject (especially children!) to show their best “angry face” “sad face” “craziest laugh” etc… With the hope that in between being silly, they will forget a photograph is being taken and will laugh in the moment. Sometimes, however, my favourite photographs are not necessarily the laughing ones. Sometimes, it’s simply a fun or cute expression that clearly shows personality and character (as with Georgia above – one of my new favourites!!)…

Tip 3

Using colour to create mood in a photograph…

Red is the best choice for creating warmth & passion in your photo. Why on earth did you think that Valentine’s Day is all about red flowers, red balloons and a long flowing red dress? Red with a background in white adds drastic contrast but has an element of grace to it.

Orange is a mixture of yellow and red. It therefore, brings in enthusiasm and warmth. Nature’s best hues are when the sun goes down and colors the sky in a confused array of pink, orange and yellow.

Yellow reflects most of the light and thus draws lots of attention; too bright a shade will leave you irritated. Prolonged exposure can also have a tiring effect. It is best used in down-tones; as background for white articles/figures.

Green is the color of tranquility and vibrance. It’s nature’s color and often gets used in pro photography for food advertising. It seems perfect when paired up with yellow. They have opposite impacts on your mood. Though it may sound like a garish combination, when used in equal proportions it has lasting impact on your photographs. Blueproduces a sense of calmness, which edges more towards sadness. Someone once said-‘I am felling blue’. Blue is also a very responsible color, very corporate and powerful, when paired with black.

Black has varied meanings in different cultures across the globe. Universally, it’s the color of choice for most formal occasions equally for men and women. It makes your silhouette look slimmer. It takes in all the color and should be used sparingly in photos. Most welcome to be used with warm colors or when the sentiment is serious..

Use white and pink to create a softer look. White creates a sense of space and is ideal to give a deeper look to your photograph. And if you got a flared pink dress, just sit on the green rug across a white background to get clicked….you will love that photograph on your wall for years to come.


Story of the Week

The Nyman Family welcomed William into their family this month and it was so special to see their family grow from three to four! We met baby Amelia nearly three years ago when she was just brand new in the world and we were delighted to see the Nyman’s back in the studio last week. Michelle, from Canada and James, from England, they (for now!) call Brisbane home. We want to say a HUGE thanks James and Michelle, you have introduced us to so many amazing families and we feel very lucky to have met you all!  We are so excited to share the latest set of portraits for you and your home very soon. Big hugs in the meantime!! X

Best wishes from
Hannah and Olivia (and Nic and Charlie)…

Online Gift Vouchers Available Here