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LOCKDOWN THROUGH A LENS: Photographers share their experiences and insights

Press release   •   May 12, 2020 09:00 BST

Ki Price, α7R III
  • Sony’s Alpha Universe ambassadors; professional photographers provide their tips on how they’re adjusting to the current situation and are able to find a new perspective on the otherwise familiar, through imagery
  • From Motorsports photographer Dominic Fraser taking an alternative route… photographing the ‘fast action’ of toy cars;
  • To Wildlife photographer Will Burrard Lucas sharing his tips on photographing our own animals. Put your image-capturing skills to the test with the latest with the Sony Alpha Universe ‘pet’ photography Instagram competition now live

More than ever, photographers are presented with a new challenge; adapting their technique and skills to the current world around them;

Motorsport Photography – Dominic Fraser | Dominic talks us through how he’s been able to capture moving subjects whilst at home; from remodeling toy cars to recreating old photographs.

“Just before we went into lockdown, my last big assignment was a shoot for a big car brand launch. So, when lockdown set in, I decided to get creative with taking new imagery.

I saw that a toy manufacturer had started making a model of an iconic rally car that I remember well from my childhood years. There had been so many inspiring images of the real thing taken whilst competing during the 1980’s that I thought I’d have a go at doing some recreations – indoors, with car toys.

It is great to have a focus during the day and I’ve had fun looking at old photos and building things too! In two weeks, I have doubled my social following already!”

Wildlife Photography – Will Burrard Lucas | From the African wilderness to being indoors at home in the UK, Will talks us through how best to capture wildlife while locked down;

“Late last year, I was photographing a rare black panther in Kenya. I was finishing the shoot up when the coronavirus struck. And while things are different, it doesn't mean I haven’t kept busy.

Having time to experiment with techniques and practice with your camera is a good opportunity to improve your photography. While I might not have any panthers around, there are many similarities between photographing wild animals and our household pets.

Not to mention, now gives me the time to catch up on all of the office tasks I had previously put off; laying foundations so that when this is over I will emerge in a better position to be able to concentrate on my photography.”

Shooting Fashion – Ki Price | From haute couture to living-room chic, Ki gives us the tools we need to capture the most stylish shots while in lockdown;

“Prior to lockdown I had been shooting for luxury fashion houses and celebrities. Since then, my work has taken quite a turn. Armed with a press pass and key worker status, I’ve been occasionally heading into the deserted streets of London and turning my hand to some cityscapes. It’s making an interesting change from my usual portrait focus and a great way to practice something different!

With more time at home, I’ve also focused on Instagram live tutorials to help keep people busy and learning. I’ve created ones on a variety of subjects including portrait photography and tips on how to use colour when setting up the shot.”

Portraiture – Mike Will | Mike helps us capture time spent with partners, children and flatmates using his specialist skill; portrait photography.

“I’ve gone from a diary full of trips where I was set to photograph DJs as on their festival circuit, to refocusing my energy on the photographer communities I manage on social media from home.

With limited access to people, adventures or cities to photograph, I’m using this time to share techniques and knowledge with the community so we can learn new things and put it to the test once we’re allowed out again. For me that’s also included ticking off the admin tasks I’ve let slip down the list and setting up my business so I’m able to sell prints.”

Editing and Portraiture – Hannah Couzens | While we play around on our camera, Hannah gives us her top tips on portrait photography and editing advice to help us get it right.

“I’ve gone from wrapping up an International Women’s Day shoot for an exercise brand and prepping to talk at the Photography Show, to persuading my partner to be my only portrait model for the foreseeable future. So, life has definitely taken a turn.

Luckily, with him by my side (or in front of the camera) and some creativity when it comes to transforming household items into useful kit, I’ve been able to deliver weekly online live sessions from my garage. From self-portrait challenges to practicing freeze motion by dropping items into water, each challenge is different and aims to help people learn something, ready to practice in the future.”

About each ambassador and tips on photographing in the current situation

Dominic Fraser is an automotive photographer based in the UK. His moving subject tips:

  1. Using gear to adapt to your surroundings - I’ve been using all the equipment I’d use when photographing full size cars but having to adapt working at much closer distances. The live view and tilting screen of my α7R III certainly makes that easier
  2. Experiment with lighting in your house - Explore every corner of your house, every lamp, shade, old sheet, to create the perfect atmosphere
  3. Be resourceful - Given that the toy cars don’t move under their own propulsion I’ve used an air blower that I’d normally use to clean the camera sensor to blow up dust (plain flour) in the background of the images to add some extra drama! Use the utensils and gadgets you have at your disposal to have some fun creating new effects
  4. Study photos and try to replicate imagery you love, and that inspires you - Try to work out how the original image was lit, what kind of lens it was shot on (telephoto, wide angle) and recognise the key compositional elements that make that image your inspiration

Will Burrard-Lucas is a wildlife photographer from the UK. His wildlife photography tips;

  • 1.Capture candid images that show behaviour - What is it that your pet does that reveals their personality? Perhaps you can photograph them while playing or snoozing in their favourite spot
  • 2.Show the animal in their environment - Often the animal is small in the frame. Perhaps this is the type of image you can look for whilst walking your dog or in your garden
  • 3.Capture intimate portraits - I will often use a wide aperture to blur the background and isolate my subject. Make sure you focus on the eyes (Animal Eye autofocus is helpful for this). Eye contact helps create more impact - if the eyes aren’t sharp it is very difficult for the viewer to connect with the subject. Try to reveal the personality of your pet. Get down on their level so that you are not looking down at them – this will give them greater presence and make a more engaging image

Ki Price is a London based fashion and portrait photographer. His top tips on photography, and staying creative in lockdown

  • 1.Start creating different effects by experimenting with colour and light - Try making home-made gels or working on lighting by using baking paper as a diffuser over a lamp.
  • 2.Use this time to research - Study images and read about photography. The more you consume, the more you’ll see your work beginning to evolve and take new forms.
  • 3.Work on your business - If you’re serious about turning your passion into a profession, work on the ‘business’ side of photography by starting a website, uploading new imagery to an existing website, or working on your portfolio and Instagram page.
  • 4.Keep it simple - The amount of settings and options available on the menu (albeit great when experimenting) can overwhelm amateur photographers. There are some great guides on Fixation to talk you through all the various settings, however you don’t need to use them all straight away. Keep it simple and master the basics first.

Mike Willis a creative photographer based in the UK, whose compositions include vibrant night cityscapes, adventure travel, music festivals and stunning portraits. His tips for getting creative during this time:

  • 1.Use shadow play and play with light in your home – There are so many creative ways to play with light in your home to capture great portraits. For example, you can use materials to partly cover windows, creating beams of light that can help frame your subject.
  • 2.Get creative with your backdrop - Why not use your TV as the backdrop, set it up with a photo of a neon light and there you have a quirky backdrop that can be photographed night or day.
  • 3.Learn as much as you can- I’ve been using the time to test out some new lenses including the FE 20mm F1.8 G (SEL20F18G) in my garden just to start getting familiar with it. Similarly, having a play around on editing software; it is a great way to learn new things and practice your skills.
  • 4.Set a routine for editing - On the more practical side of things, just like setting a routine for your day, setting a routine for editing will help keep you on track. Whether that is a set period of time each day or over a week, having something in place will help you stay consistent.

Hannah Couzens is a portrait photographer, who shoots all kind of subjects from actors, models, authors, musicians, TV presenters and celebrities to corporate head-shots and families. Her tips on portraiture from home:

  • 1.Get creative with materials - Everyone has a window in their home which can be used to help light your scene. Similarly, everyone has a bed-sheet which can be used as a backdrop or silver foil that can be used as a reflector
  • 2.When photographing children, add in an element of play - It’s notoriously hard to photograph children, they don’t want to sit still long enough for you to get the perfect shot. Add in an element of play, get them playing football in the garden and test out your panning or shutter speed skills
  • 3.Find a photographer you like and learn from them - Many photographers are sharing resources during this time. Find which styles you like and pinpoint a photographer who you admire and take the chance to learn from them directly.
  • 4.Find a community to be part of - If you’re not already members of communities across social media, now is a great time to spend time researching and contributing to them. Join live sessions or enter competitions. It’s important, now more than ever, to really lean on the community, after all, we’re all going through the same thing

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