Product Photography Steel River Gin

Everyone and I do mean everyone, likes a drop of Gin. Am I right? Of course I’m right, that was a rhetorical question. So when I got the chance to do some product photography for Teesside’s very own Gin, I jumped at the chance. Steel River Gin is the brainchild of one Mr Jay Byers, inspired by his love of Teesside, Granada and of course, Gin. This man is relentless in his goal of having a Gin empire, based in and inspired by Teesside. So I just knew, I had to be involved. 

So, the plan was to get outdoors with these beautiful bottles of purple loveliness. Unfortunately, we were on a tight deadline, and the great British weather had other ideas. It was raining cats and dogs, goes the old expression. Why is that an expression? Something to do with Norse mythology, or some sort of medieval unpleasantness or other? Anyway, I digress. So an outdoor shoot was completely off the cards, my gear is weather sealed, it has to be, sometimes it rains when I’m doing weddings. But neither Jay or I quite fancied looking like drowned rats, and it wouldn’t have really given us the desired effect we were looking for, for Jay’s wonderful gin. So, new plan, Plan B as they say “Jay, do you know anyone with a bar that wouldn’t mind very much, us using it to shoot in?” Jay being Jay, of course he knew someone with a bar, he’s been building relationships with local bar owners for quite some time. Professionally speaking, of course. And off we went to a great little place in Darlington (the name escapes me at the moment, I’ll add it once it comes back to me) with a few bottles of Steel River Gin, my trusty Canon camera, a 70-200mm long lens, a tripod and plenty of lighting options. I think both Jay and I have to thank the very patient barmaid, who even stayed beyond closing time while I worked the shot. That’s the thing with product photography you see. You could go in, take 10 shots, think you’ve nailed it. but when you upload them to the computer, not so much. I won’t risk that. In the end, I think I had somewhere in the region of 150 plus shots, there were lots of keepers in there. But we needed just one quality shot for a local publication called Savour Magazine. That’s the winning shot you see right here.

So we got the shot, not bad even if I do say so myself. Jay got it delivered to him in time to get it across to Savour Magazine, which makes it my first officially published work. And all was well in the world. Plus, I got to taste some of the most amazing Gin to ever pass my lips. Honestly, the flavour profile is like nothing I had ever tasted before. Including prickly pear cactus fruit, who even knew that could be an ingredient in Gin? Who knew that could be an ingredient in anything? For more information about Jay’s inspiration behind Steel River Gin, the flavours and of course ordering, do check out And if you have a product, you would like to have photographed, be it on location, or in a studio style. Head on over to the contact page to send me a message.

Wedding Photography, Congratulations Mrs and Mrs Beck

I would just like to say a massive congratulations to newlyweds Mr and Mrs Beck.

A fun couple, and a couple that it was my absolute pleasure to photograph. The Bride and Groom, their little boy, and the rest of their family and friends. It was the first time I’d ever shot a wedding party lineout lift (I don’t even remember who came up with the idea), great fun. And a great day was had by everyone involved.

I raise my glass to Mr and Mrs Beck. Congratulations, and may your future bring you all the happiness you deserve.

Wedding Photography, The Wedding Photographer’s Kit Bag

Not going to be a long post this one, guys. Just a quick overview of the equipment I carry on any given Wedding Photography gig.

So lets start with the camera/cameras, to use the technical term, the ‘camera body’. There’s loads of choice out there. Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, Olympus etc etc. I myself, I’m a Canon man. So I carry with me a Canon 5D MKiii and a Canon 5D MKii, both full frame cameras, important for capturing the full picture especially in tight venues. And also very important if you’re going to print, especially larger prints like canvases. As an extra spare, because I’m super cautious. I also have one Canon 7D, just in case the other two bodies fail me. I know, right? As if, but hey, you never know. So I definitely won’t fail to record somebody’s big day because a camera decides its the perfect time to give up the ghost.

Lenses. For me there are only two absolute must have lenses. The first never leaves one of the camera bodies, and that is the Canon 70-200mm F2.8 L series lens. This lens is a workhorse, it gobbles up light like nobody’s business. It’s fast, it’s sharp, put this lens up against most other lenses and it will embarrass them. Plus it has a really nice focal length, so I don’t have to be in people’s faces when capturing the big moments. Meaning I can capture natural reactions, more candid shots of the Bride, Groom and their guests. Who doesn’t want the teary mother shot in their wedding book, right? The second must have lens for me is at the other end of the focal range. So I have my Tamron 24-70mm f2.8. Again, it has a nice aperture, so it swallows light. It’s another super lens I wouldn’t be without, a cracking “walking around lens”. It allows me to capture wider shots, such as the big family shots, without being about 200 metres away. And also it’s a great portrait lens for more up close, posed shots. Like when guests throw themselves in front of you wanting a picture (I love that everyone is so happy at a wedding, and wants their picture taking). I also carry a 10-18mm wide angle lens, that doesn’t get as much use, but can come in handy if your family is extra big and the venue doesn’t offer the vantage to get you all in with any other lens.

Lighting. Lighting is super important, churches can be dark places. And unless you want all your images to suffer from low shutter speed camera shake, or really high iso digital noise, you better be packing something. I carry with me as many as four speed lights, these can be mounted on camera, or preferably, off camera if the venue allows it. Of course, a trigger to fire them. The first dance is almost always guaranteed to be in some degree of darkness, this is where the big gun comes in handy. One Godox AD600. A powerful 600 watt portable studio strobe, when you simply haven’t got other light sources to play with, accept no substitutes. Used as a key light and combined with a couple of speed lights, this will do the job just grand.

Sundries. A lot, of fully charged batteries for all the equipment. Battery grips for the cameras and multiple camera straps. And last but not least (cheesiness incoming) a smile and a good attitude. Nobody, and I mean nobody, wants a surly, up themselves photographer gracing their big day.