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Family_There’s Nothing More Important

Portrait Photography is best undertaken in controlled light conditions

Canon 5D camera and Canon 85mm f1.2 L series USM lens. Exposure Details: 1/30 at f4.5 ISO 200

Having photographs of your loved ones is a great benefit of being a photographer. The older I get the more importance I place in making these pictures and the happier I am to share them with my own family. Though not always easy, it’s absolutely worth the effort.

The above image features my dear old mum, Mary Guy, and my younger sister, Gabrielle Luhrs. The photo was made at my mum and dad’s house in Hamilton, Victoria.

It was one of those bright, sunny days when folks are happy to go outside and be photographed. The problem, of course, is that bright light spells death for the portrait photographer. To make a good picture under such conditions you have two options: use diffusers, reflectors and/or flash to control the light or, alternatively, move your subjects into softer, more flattering light. I do both, but usually favor moving the subjects into open shade where the light is less harsh and they can open their eyes.

Referred to as the windows to the soul the eyes are probably the easiest way by which the viewer can interact with the subject. What’s more when the eyes are open their color is revealed and wrinkles are reduced.

The above picture was made under my parent’s front verandah. It wasn’t hard to bring the two of the girls closer together. I utilized the overhanging creepers and background shrubs to fill the surroundings and allow the eye to travel easier towards the subjects. A very subtle vignette and a lovely warm tone were applied to further enhance the photo.

Image processing was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography


Contemporary Portraits

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series lens

Here are a few images from a class excursion dealing with contemporary portraiture. The word contemporary means modern or non-traditional and, to my mind, the graffiti laden background is enough to classify these images as non-traditional.

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series lens

I’ve employed Adobe Lightroom 2 to produce two different results. The image at the top of this page features a relatively gentle rendering of the scene while the second image has undergone more aggressive processing and displays the beginning of an almost cartoon-like appearance.

Great fun was had by all and special thanks to Kelly for modelling.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

One Subject, Many Stories Told

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 lens @ 32mm. Exposure Details 1/13 second @ f4 ISO 400

Today’s series of images were made during a recent photography workshop in inner city Melbourne. One of the participants, Hansel, was kind enough to pose for photos several times throughout the day. It’s important to work quickly, particularly when your subject is also a paying customer, so the rest of the group and I were careful not to take more than a few minutes each time Hansel was photographed. Nevertheless, the results are good and illustrate some of the key points explored during the day.

For example while you may know what or whom it is you’re photographing, your subject, it’s also important to identify why you’ve chosen them. What attracts you to them and/or what is it that you want to say through your photograph. Only then should you consider how best to illustrate your message.

In the first image I’ve employed strong side light to produce dark shadows. I very much liked the light and shapes present in the stain glass window and wanted to use it as both a light source and a graphic element in the frame. I employed the window light to shape the subjects face and produce deep shadows to balance the graphic shapes in the stain glass.

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 lens @ 58mm. Exposure Details 1/30 second @ f8 ISO 100

The second image was made under overcast conditions. The light passed through a large, low-lying cloud bank producing a relatively soft, even light over the scene. Placing the subject off centre and shooting from a mid-range distance lessened his emphasis within the frame. Placing the subject within the former window frame plays with the notion of a frame within a frame.

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 lens. Exposure Details: 1/8 second @ f4 ISO 400

The next image was made indoors with the aid of window light. Photographed at eye level this is a more straightforward portrait.

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 lens @ 24mm. Exposure Details 1/8 second @ f4 ISO 640

The final three images were made at an interesting inner city industrial fixture. Both black-and-white images were made, at different camera-to-subject distances, with the 24mm focal length. Standing further back produced an image that is as much about the environment as it is about the subject. The image made at a closer distance is more of an environmental portrait where the subject is photographed in an environment to which he seems to belong.

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 lens @ 24mm. Exposure Details: 1/8 second f4 ISO 640

Finally, the image made from above explores the portrait from a birds eye view and allows our subject to look upwards, thereby illuminating his face from above.

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 lens @ 60mm. Exposure Details 1/10 second @ f4 ISO 800

Adobe Lightroom 2 was employed to process the images. Special thanks to our friend, Hansel, for his patience on the day. It was greatly appreciated.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

A Compassionate Subject

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series USM lens @ 105mm

Compassion is a quality worth cultivating. I sensed it in this young chap from Thailand, photographed during a workshop I was running in country Victoria.

I remember chatting with a bunch of participants during lunchtime, when I noticed the light (as I tend to) on the subject’s face. It was then a simple matter of shooting with a wide aperture to produce a shallow Depth of Field (DOF) that, together with a tight composition, helped to separate the subject from his surroundings.

Processing was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 2 and Adobe Photoshop CS4 where the soft light has been contrasted with a more aggressive form of processing. The idea is to make the window-lit areas of the face appear even softer so that, together with the subject’s gentle eyes, his compassionate nature is emphasized.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Family Portraits_The Perfect Time of Year

The black-and-white rendering imbues this image with a timeless quality

It’s summer time in Australia and many are enjoying the benefits of a well-earned break during their annual summer holidays. Some travel to a seaside retreat, perhaps a family tradition at this time of year. Others stay at home and, apart from a few short excursions to the beach, the mountains or to visit family out of town will likely spend their time resting, gardening and maybe attending the cricket or the Australian Open in Melbourne during January. Perhaps you have a young family and this time of year finds you busy keeping them happy and entertained.

Now that the somewhat frantic days of Christmas and New Year are behind us these long, warm summer day’s s may be the perfect time for you to organize something you’ve long wished for – a beautiful portrait of your family.

I’ve been photographing family portraits for around 30 years and enjoy it as much today as I did when I started my journey in photography. It’s a collaborative process and I take very seriously my mission to preserve the intimacy and the joy of the day.

Being able to see the light and catch the moment is part of the essence of photography

During the month of January, 2010 I’m offering a very special service. For a single, upfront fee I’II make great photographs of your family (group shots, kids and parents in a range of combinations), select what I feel to be the best ones, process them and send them to you on a CD, within 5 days of the original photography session. You are then able to print the photographs yourself, where and whenever suits you. The offer is equally valid if you’d prefer the session be dedicated to the kids or your newborn child.

For more information please click on the tab titled Family Portraits on the left hand side of the home page. You’ll find the information you need in an article titled Special Offer for January 2010.

Should you have any questions feel free to contact me by email at info@blueskyphotography.com.au

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Portrait Photography of Your Family


Alice with Doll #2_BW

Leica R8 camera and Leica 90mm Summicron-R series lens with Kodak Professional Ektachrome 100VS film



A Life Contained

A Life Contained

Leica R8 camera and Leica 90mm f2 Summicron lens with Kodak Portra 160 Professional film

I photographed this gentleman while on an outing with the Leica Society, a camera club based in the Melbourne suburb of Canterbury. While I’ve attended many camera clubs as a judge or guest speaker, the Leica Society is the only club where I was registered as an active member. Unfortunately, a full work schedule stopped me attending meetings and outings, which is a shame as the members were a great bunch of people.

My impression of the above subject was of a kind, wise soul who had seen a great deal during his long life. I concentrated the composition on his face and allowed the texture of his face and beard to dominate. I feel that the warm tone I’ve applied to the image helps illustrate his humanity.

And then there’s that eye. The intensity of his gaze drew my attention, as it did that of the camera. It’s a key focal point within the image. If you were to divide the image up into a grid by drawing 3 equally spaced lines from top to bottom and from left to right you’d notice that his open eye sits close to the intersection of two of those lines. Placing a key element or focal point 1/3 of the way across the X and Y-axis is a great way of adding extra emphasis to it.

After scanning the original color negative was processed in Adobe Camera RAW and Photoshop CS4.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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