Barnett Photo Studio: Blog en-us (C) Copyright Barnett Photo Studio (Barnett Photo Studio) Sat, 03 Mar 2018 12:28:00 GMT Sat, 03 Mar 2018 12:28:00 GMT Barnett Photo Studio: Blog 80 120 Having a Studio on Location Having a studio is great, but it can be restricting and limiting.

Emily and her DragonEmily and her Dragon

OK - it's lovely to have a changing room for the client, and being able to make coffees, and discuss ideas with the client, the hair stylist and the MUA (Make-Up Artist), and have the heaters on etc BUT, unless you have a very versatile studio it can be somewhat limiting.

I love locations - and I enjoy having to "wing it" and make use of what is available.  Very often there are lots of great places that can easily be overlooked.

Location shooting in LondonLocation shooting in London

I am often asked where I am "based" or where is my studio.  You can bet that if I did have a permanent studio, it would be inconvenient for someone or other!

I've shot in hotels, cafés, stately homes, disused railway engine sheds and all sorts of places that I couldn't possibly recreate in a fixed studio.  In fact, someone was convinced that our "SS-Cornwall" shoot was in a studio (see my other blogs), but it was a simple café that we transformed for the afternoon and dressed like a film set. Emily Theodore in LondonEmily Theodore in London Emily Theodore Photoshoot in LondonEmily Theodore Photoshoot in London












In London recently we met with a client, the extremely talented designer and illustrator Emily Theodore -  We've worked with her before on several different occasions, and this time we wanted something colourful, stylish and illustrative, as dynamic artwork is one of her trademarks.

We met in The Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank, but need somewhere close by that was sheltered and where we could set up some simple lighting equipment.  I like to make things easy for myself, and for that reason I love using continuous lights.  My preferred choice are Lupo LED lights - you can flood and spot them, even change the colour temperature without needing gels, and I just have to point them where I want them to go.  No need to bother with flash guns, and then changing and adjusting again and again.

I knew of a place where my wife, Bergit, had shot a few years previously and it's a short walk from Waterloo station and a Mecca for street artists.

This beautiful little dragon sprayed on the wall just caught our eye.  Even the artist watched as we set about the shoot.  Unfortunately he never got in touch, and he must have lost our business card, as the little dragon had been partially sprayed over by the following morning, and is now lost forever.

So, if there is decent light available, then I like to work with it.  It is natural, and will always look realistic, and very often it will be nothing you can recreate unless you are on a massive studio film set.  You can either use the available light as a light source in itself, or augment it with a light or two of your own.  I often like to use the available light as a back light or fill - that's neither right or wrong, but just the way that works for me.

A main light, in this case a Lupo Dayled 1000 provided the "Key" on Emily's face.  I metered the back ground with the natural light, underexposed by a couple of stops, and then metered off her face so I knew how to set the brightness of the main light.  I always meter so that I get it right.  My one piece of advice no matter what equipment you use, is it get yourself an Exposure Meter!

The Lupo lights with their fresnels give a real "cinematic" feel which is a look I love.  They don't blast the scene with light like a speedlight, and have a real Hollywood production feel to them.  Look at the beautifully sculptured light that is used extensively in "Game of Thrones" for a real masterclass in how to paint light and shade, and three-dimensional depth, and even create mood.

Anyway, enough of the lights.  Shooting on location can also add to the atmosphere and really affects the way I work in a positive way.  I can't sit back on my laurels, and we had a small crowd watching us, even the local constabulary came by to have a look!

Working on a location also influences the model, or the client in this case (Emily is not a professional model, although I know she has got what it takes)!  The colour, the grunge and grime, the people watching, the other artists spraying on the walls, the music, the noise and rumbles of London all added something which I never could have recreated in a studio.

(Barnett Photo Studio) adrian i barnett barnett international bergit barnett blog emily theodore london lupo lupo lights photography Sat, 03 Mar 2018 11:45:00 GMT
Hollywood Portraits The Basics of Lighting for Great Portraits

When we take portraits there are many different styles of lighting we can utilise to make the sitter look good, but often simplest is best.

The rich and glamorous look of the Hollywood Portraits is one of our favourites and fairly simple to set up.

First, we must thank our wonderful model Jess McLean and also Kat Roberts of Kat's Blush Makeup & BodyArt for the hair and makeup.

The classic and timeless portraits of Jean Harlow, Myrna Loy, Lauren Bacall, Clark Gable and James Cagney have stood the test of time, and still have an iconic style today.

The distinctive look of these Hollywood portraits came about due to limitations and constraints rather than by deliberate design.

If you constrict yourself to the conditions that these photographers had to work with, then you can be well on your way to reproducing that beautiful look.

For a start, film was slow, so the apertures of lenses had to be wide and that lead to a shallow depth of field.  Always open your lens up.  Zoom lenses aren't really suitable for this, so get a good prime "portrait" or short telephoto lens.  In addition, opening your lens right up can also make the image stay sharp but go slightly "soft" which is a fantastic look!

Because film was slow, they had to use very bright lights and big lenses in front of the lights to maximise their power.  Fresnel lenses were lighter in weight, but also gave a distinctive pool of light which also help characterise the portraits from this era.  We love the Lupo lights.  They are continuous lights.  So simple because you see where you put the light!  Flash just doesn't work.  It’s like microwave chicken compared to a lovely roast.  You need the continuous lights - and the good news is they can cost LESS than Canon or Nikon speedlights!

Finally, they used a tripod.  I really would like to stress this.  It slows you down and helps you lock your composition.  I'm not sure why I stopped using tripods, it was always the way I grew up and was taught to photograph using a tripod.  When I started putting my camera back on the tripod it was a revelation.  My camera is free and no longer distracts me, and I can concentrate on the portrait.  It makes so much difference and I urge you to try this approach.  You will thank me for it!

The filmmakers needed to make their images three-dimensional, and it seems to be something that is lost in many modern images.  They used a backlight, or "accent" light coming from behind and slightly to the side of their subject to separate them from the background.  Watch films and high budget TV dramas and you will notice this technique everywhere.

Use an exposure meter - not your camera!  Remember, you are measuring the light falling ON your subject and not the amount of light being reflected back!

Get your back light correct first.  Light reflecting off a surface (your model) will always meter about a stop higher, so take the light down until it meters about ½ a stop over.  Now light the face of your subject.

Accent LightsAccent LightsAccent Lights

Here the lights are set up and exposed for the accent light only.



Flat LightingFlat LightingFlat Lighting










This is our model's face without any back lighting.  How many of us are guilty of this "flat" lighting? 




To start - learn the three basic lighting set-ups that will stand you in great stead.

1.      Butterfly / Paramount / Dietrich Lighting

Butterfly LightingButterfly LightingButterfly Lighting Butterfly LightingButterfly LightingButterfly Lighting










This was the style of portrait lighting favoured by Marlene Dietrich.  It was used by all the "Big Six" film studios - including Paramount.  The shadow of the light resembles a "butterfly" under the nose.  If you photograph a female, then call it "Butterfly" lighting.  If your sitter is a man, then call it "Paramount"!  Think of the sitter with a growing "Pinocchio" nose that extends out until it touches the lighting stand.  That’s is where you have to have the light - full on to their face.  To see the full effect you should have the camera straight on to the face, but you can move around sideways, so long as the model's face is filled by the light.  The light should be high and angled down to get a good shadow, but not so high that you lose the catchlight in their eyes or they will appear as sunken dark sockets.  Also make sure you don't make their cheekbones look fat!

You can move the model around so that you are not shooting straight into their face, but remember if she turns her head then the light must follow and be in the same position relative to her face.  This portrait is pure Hollywood!

Portrait with Butterfly LightingPortrait with Butterfly LightingPortrait with Butterfly Lighting Butterfly Lighting sideButterfly Lighting sideButterfly Lighting side














I also like to set the screen on the back of the camera to black & white, and that will also give me a feel for the final effect.  We use an Olympus OM-D and you can customise the look of the final image in camera.

2.      Loop Lighting

Loop LightingLoop LightingLoop Lighting Loop Lighting DiagramLoop Lighting DiagramLoop Lighting Diagram










The nose shadow is all important here.  The shadow should follow the curve of the cheek on the face on the far side of the light.  The shadow should not go too far or you will make the face of the model look broad and flat.  You must set the light high enough to get a satisfactory loop of shadow.  Don't let the model move around or change the angle of their head or the shadow will be lost.  If they have a slightly wider face then put the light on the side of the face furthest away from the camera (this is called "short lighting").  It will slim the appearance of their face and they will love you for it!  I like this as it is probably the easiest to set up, it's great for most people and is nothing too fancy or dramatic.

3.      Rembrandt Lighting

Rembrandt LightingRembrandt LightingRembrandt Lighting Rembrandt LightingRembrandt LightingRembrandt Lighting















I love this lighting!  When done well it gives me such a lovely tingle of satisfaction.  Named after the Dutch Master Painter it is often more suited to male portraits. But we have used it to great effect with girls as it can give a powerful and stunning appearance to a female face.  The side of the face in the shadows has a triangle of light pointing downwards.  To be strict, the width of the patch of light should be no wider than the width of the eye, and the bottom the triangle of light should be level with the bottom of the nose.

There are many other types of lighting you can progress to learn: split, badger, cross, clamshell, flow - the list is endless, but like cooking, if you learn the basics first then you can advance from there.

In the final image we switched back to colour and did a couple of really cool things.  With these Lupo lights we can easily change the colour temperature without having to fiddle around with gels which will reduce the power of the lights.  We set the Key Light to a colour temperature of 3200°K (Tungsten), and put one of Damien Lovegrove's "Scattergels" on another light facing the background.  This was to give a Venetian blind appearance and we set the colour temperature of this light to 5600°K (Daylight).

We set the camera towards the lower end of the range - 4000°K.  This will let the Key Light appear slightly warmer, as if lit from a table lamp in a motel room.  The light on the background will appear bluer, slightly more like daylight.  It's an old film trick and you will see it used in countless movies.  We completed the look and feel of the scene with a period telephone.  We imagined Marilyn Monroe accepting a 'phone call from an unnamed president of that era!

Colour PortraitColour PortraitColour Portrait












Filmset LightingFilmset LightingFilmset Lighting If you would like to read more about this and many other lighting styles, including using natural light, speedlights and a whole wealth of invaluable knowledge on all aspects of beautiful photography then we thoroughly recommend you check this book out -

And as we are proud to be associated with Damien then he has very generously offered a discount of 20% an either of his ebooks if purchased before the 31st October 2017.  Simply email me via the website and I'll give you a discount code you can enter at the checkout.  Enjoy!

(Barnett Photo Studio) adrian i barnett barnett international bergit barnett caradon devon hollywood lighting photography portraits Thu, 21 Sep 2017 10:02:14 GMT
What to do in Cornwall Every tourist has heard about the beautiful North Coast of Cornwall with places like Tintagel (famous for King Arthur’s castle), Port Isaac (TV series "Doc Martin") or Padstow (Rick Stein and Paul Ainsworth). On the opposite coast you can find the little fishing harbours of Looe, Polperro or Fowey. Mostly forgotten though is the Cornish mining heritage with tin mines in the West near Camborne and Redruth. In East Cornwall around Caradon are situated the former copper mines. These two metals are needed to produce bronze. This alloy made Cornwall one of the biggest trading nations during the Bronze Age (2500 – 800BC). Settlements from this time with their standing stone circles are found all over Cornwall such as The Hurlers near the Cheesewring at Minions. In these settlements archaeologists have discovered proof of early trading with countries in the Mediterranean region like Greece and the Roman Empire. For example they found fragments of wine and oil amphoras. Lydia Mae ate Wheal Peevor, CamborneLydia Mae ate Wheal Peevor, CamborneLydia Mae ate Wheal Peevor, Camborne The mining activities carried on through medieval times right up to the last century. The last Cornish tin mine in production at South Crofty closed in 1998. If you want to go into a mine, Geevor Mine was acquired by Cornwall County Council as a Heritage Museum which is now run by Pendeen Community Heritage.  Also well worth a visit is Poldark Mine (Wheal Roots at Wendron), the interior of which was used in the new BBC adaptation of “Poldark”.  Wheal Owles down in the west of Cornwall was used for filming the exteriors of Ross Poldark's "Wheal Leisure" mine. BBC Poldark "Wheal Leisure"Wheal OwlesWeal Owles Existing ruins of old engine houses worth exploring are Wheel Peevor near Redruth, and the picturesque Towanroath Shaft at Wheal Coates, St Agnes, which is situated right on the cliff edge or various different copper mines in and around Minions.

(Barnett Photo Studio) Adrian I Barnett Bergit Barnett Caradon Cornwall Fowey Isaac Looe Poldark Port Tin Mining Tintagel Wheal Leisure Wheal Owles Fri, 05 Aug 2016 05:30:00 GMT
Twilight with Jade We've very much enjoyed the "Twilight" series of films, after we bought the first DVD while browsing through some shops in Germany.


Apart from the story and the characters, from a photographic point of view the lighting has always fascinated me, and in particularly how the style has changed and evolved across the five films.

The first instalment was a bit of a one off as this was quite distinct in its visuals with Catherine Hardwicke as the director and Elliot Davis as the cinematographer.

The approach to lighting Robert Pattinson appeared quite old-fashioned - almost "up lit" and slightly overexposed in the old horror film style.  And of course, Twilight is not a horror story in the conventional sense.


The final, Breaking Dawn, was split into two films and a lot of the original mood lighting had changed and reigned back.  Maybe because most of them were vampires by then?

My personal favourites in the quintet are "New Moon" and Eclipse" with Javier Aguirresarobe as cinematographer working with Chris Weitz and David Slade as directors.

I notice they have a very distinct method of lighting, where the light source is large, such as a soft box, and brought in close to the person to bathe the face in soft and pale light.  This colourless look is not actually drained of colour, but appears so in contrast to the colours used in the surroundings, such as the woodlands of Oregon where a lot of the films were shot.


This also stands out against Jacob and the rest of the werewolves where the lighting is more naturalistic as would be found in the forests.

It appealed to me particularly, as lighting is very much my passion as there are so many moods and emotions you can create with imaginative use of lighting, and without having to resort to hours of digital manipulation.

For this shoot we took Jade to an abandoned factory deep in the woods and set up some fairly simple lights with modifiers to give a bright but soft light to contrast with the deep and saturated shadows behind.


In the woods, with the streams and waterfalls, and various animal noises it all came together.  All I needed to do in Lightroom was to slightly change the colour of Jade's eyes.

I didn't want to blatantly copy the Twilight films, but just to use them as inspiration to try something different - and everyone involved with the shoot was very pleased with the result.

The full shoot can be viewed here -

(Barnett Photo Studio) Adrian I Barnett Barnett International Bergit Barnett Blog Cornwall Jade Pardoe Modelling Photography Photoshoot Twilight UK Sat, 28 May 2016 04:30:00 GMT
"What Equipment Do You Use?" "What Equipment Do You Use?"

Zeiss Super Ikonta CZeiss Super Ikonta CZeiss Super Ikonta C

It's a question I am only asked by other photographers - but not by clients!

I have about 47 cameras, but to be honest, some of them are rarities and collectables, but I have digital, film, medium and large format, even Wet Collodion cameras.

Rolleiflex 3.5 PlanarRolleiflex 3.5 PlanarRolleiflex 3.5 Planar

My standard answer to the question is "the right camera for the job".  I am, like my father was, not a "brand" photographer.  I have Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Mamiya, Bronica, Rollieflex, MPP, Linhof, Zeiss, Contax, Kiev etc etc

MPP & MPP Micro-Press Plate Film CamerasMPP & MPP Micro-Press Plate Film CamerasMPP & MPP Micro-Press Plate Film Cameras

The camera doesn't make a good photographer any more than a sharp knife makes a Michelin-starred chef.  Of course, it doesn't make sense to carve a roast with a fish filleting knife . . . but you get my drift.

I love my cameras, all of them, and what they help me achieve.  I've got wonderful large format plate cameras great for fine detail and fashion billboard advertising, I've also got some highly technical stuff for precision work - but I am also more than happy with the huge 15ft enlargements made from the Olympus Micro Four-Thirds sensor - and you DON'T need "full frame" to achieve great results, and I am happy to go on record as saying that.

Billcliff Antique Plate CameraBillcliff Antique Plate CameraBillcliff Antique Plate Camera

The right combination of cameras and lenses for the right job.  Just like the right knife, and the right pan for the professional chef.  (And yes, I do like spending time in the kitchen as well)!

(Barnett Photo Studio) Barnett International Billcliff Blog Cornwall MPP MPP Micro-Press Photographic Equipment Photography Plate Cameras Rolleiflex UK Zeiss Zeiss Super Ikonta C Sun, 15 Nov 2015 15:15:00 GMT
Visions of Cornwall Visions of Cornwall

I've been a long-term fan of the music of Gary Numan, so was thrilled when one of his main musicians, Chris Payne, contacted me.

Chris was born and grew up in Cornwall, but found fame playing with Gary Numan, Dramatis and Celtic Legend, as well as co-writing "Fade To Grey" with Visage.

Now he lives in France, but a French magazine wanted to publish a feature on him, and his Cornish background, and he called to ask if I could supply him with some stunning views of Cornwall that he had already seen I had produced.

 We had a long telephone call, chatting about my times photographing Gary Numan, Dramatis, Nash the Slash and Depeche Mode.  I also decided to produce a few more landscapes, especially for Chris.

 I set the alarm two mornings running and woke in the middle of the night to drive through thick fog when most other people would have given up.  Somehow I hoped the fog would lift with the sunrise, which it did, and I was delighted with the shots I got.  There's no "photoshopping" here - the rising sun, the mists, the sheep are all as I found them on Bodmin Moor.

You'll also see Trethevy Quoit, the Hurlers at Minions, and Tintagel in the images.  Just a few of the hundreds of wonderful views we have here in Cornwall. Really - there's nowhere quite like it!





(Barnett Photo Studio) Barnett International Blog Bodmin Moor Chris Payne Cornwall Gary Numan Minions Photography The Hurlers Tintagel Trevethy Quoit UK Wed, 04 Nov 2015 19:45:00 GMT
Hidden Places in Cornwall Hidden Places in Cornwall

Jessica Gibson in Bodmin, CornwallJessica Gibson in Bodmin, CornwallJessica Gibson in Bodmin, Cornwall

Although we do use studios for some of our shoots, we much prefer to work on location.  Not only do other places provide an infinite variety of backgrounds, but they also pose their own unique challenges and that is really one of the best ways to learn.

So when Jessica, a young model in the West Country approached us for some images for her modelling portfolio, we scouted around Cornwall for some ideas and places we had not used before.

Jessica GibsonJessica GibsonJessica Gibson There are many hidden places in Cornwall, and some of them are real gems.  We found a place near Bodmin, part of a ruined priory, and took some location shots a  few days before.  We checked the weather forecast and worked out where the sun would be at various times of the day.  Preparation is key to so many things.

Although we arrived on the day in good time, our model Jessica was already there before us, and that is always a good sign.  Of course, as time went on we worked with Jessica and combined ideas with what we knew was already there.

Jessica GibsonJessica GibsonJessica Gibson So, next time you are thinking about some photos, maybe for yourself, for a loved one, or just family portraits as a piece of beautiful art, think of the hidden places that can lend that extra something to the final result.  We know of quite a few, so please feel free to ask us - and if you have any yourself that you'd like to share with us, then we'd love to hear from you!



(Barnett Photo Studio) Barnett International Blog Cornwall Hidden Places in Cornwall Jessica Gibson Photography UK Mon, 26 Oct 2015 10:49:29 GMT