Bluebell Dream. Fine Art Impression of a Bluebell Forest has been awarded an Honorable Mention at the International Photography Awards.
In this image, I tried to capture the dreamlike nature of the bluebell woods. This image was captured early in the morning as the early rays of the sun opened up the forest before me.
At first, there is nothing. Then I feel a soft morning breeze against my face. Sunlight pierces into my shady world. Fingers of light stretch through the murky shadows, lighting, by touch, green torches around me.
Trunks appear. Pillars guarding this cathedral of nature. This sanctuary of dreams.
Rich royal blossoms spread out like a carpet of colour before me. I am in another world. Alone, and yet part of this dream that is the bluebell woods. In harmony with all that is around me.
This is one of a number of images taken in forests across the United Kingdom. Forests do hold a particular attraction for me – you can find more of my work by clicking here.
The image is created from two images – one static and one in motion. The leaves from the static image have been overlayed onto the image to provide a contrast to the vertical lines of the trunks and shafts of light.
The International Photography Awards
The International Photography Awards holds an annual juried photography competition, to which professional, amateur, and student photographers are invited to submit their work. The jury panel includes over 80 photo editors, art directors, curators, buyers, and other professionals from around the globe. Each year, a selection of the winning photographers are recognised at the Lucie Awards.
Peter Nutkins is an award-winning photographer who specialises in portrait photography, but also loves to take landscape and nature images too! You can find out more about Peter by clicking here for his website.
Missed. I look back at one who will be missed, and the opportunity I missed too.
When a spouse, family member or close friend dies it causes one to stop and think. That is to say, we remember our loved one. Memories of what made them special come to our minds, as well as memories of the relationship that we shared. And in my case, the opportunities I missed.
We are gathering together later today to bury my father.
My father was stone deaf from an early age. He lived in a time when this carried a stigma and set people apart as somehow deficient. His was a determined man. He did not want to be seen as different in any way. Consequently, he never learned to use sign language. My Dad was a lip reader.
Looking back I learned many things from my father. His determination was one such thing. Everyone knew he was deaf, due to the way he spoke, stuck on one tone. Strangely I never noticed that as a child – he spoke just like everyone else to me. It was his determination to be just like all the other fathers that I have come to appreciate. He attended all our school concerts and ensured we played an instrument (in my case badly). Yet, he could not hear a note.
His determination rubbed off on me.
One humorous side effect of lip reading was that there was no need for noise. Many were the conversations that we had without me making a single noise. This was so natural as a family that we did not even notice that we did it. It only became apparent when we had visitors and received strange looks as the conversation fell quiet and yet continued quite fluently.
The worst aspect of lip reading as a child was when he knew exactly what you whispered to your sister from across the room.
Like many fathers and sons, we had our differences. We held to different beliefs, different priorities and different pathways in life. I was very pleased that as time passed we grew closer. Perhaps closer than we had been in childhood.
Perhaps our closer relationship is why I missed my opportunity.
I took for granted that I still had time to really talk over our differences. Relied upon the fact that I still had time to learn more about a man who I had come to realise was part of the inspiration behind my determination and drive. I beleived I still had time to get a great photo of my dad.
Gradually, almost imperceptibly to start with, he slid into mental illness. Little by little I lost him. Before I realised it he did not live in the same world as us all of the time. He stopped eating.
As a portrait photographer, I specialise in creating lasting memories for my clients through portraits. My motivation is that they have something beautiful to treasure for the rest of their lives. In addition, their loved ones have something to treasure for generations to come too. I remind my clients that as they look through their printed photos they will unlock all of the memories and emotions associated with their loved ones. They will remember the fun that they had and how they looked and felt that day.
My missed opportunity is that I never really did this properly for my father
Okay, I have some photos. Some nice ones too! Some taken when he was very healthy, some when he was very poorly. However, it is not the same. I missed taking the time to do what I am best at for me and my family. A lasting portrait of my father and mother.
I know what it is when my clients well up with tears as they pour over their portraits. Every time I deal with gorgeous prints and frames and folio boxes that present their memories in such a special way. I just did not do it for me.
My father will be missed. I will miss him. If I could do it again I would capture that great portrait that really defined who he was and what he meant to me. He would have sported his cheeky grin and not taken it very seriously at all.
I don’t get a second chance…but perhaps you might with your loved ones. Take the time now to do those things that really matter, those things that will last and provide lasting memories.
Mam Tor, or Mother Hill in Olde English, is one of the most iconic places within the Peak National Park.
My sunrise image of the Great Ridge from Mam Tor has been Highly Commended by the Society of Photographers.
Mother Hill towers more than 500m above the little town of Castleton that nestles at its feet. The Great Ridge stretches out between Hope Valley and Edale and provides a great viewpoint to see this part of the Peak District.
This Hope Valley settlement is well worth a visit on its own as it is full of interesting little shops, a castle (hence the name) and is home to the local mining of the semi-precious mineral Blue John.
The postcode to get you to Castleton is S33 8WA.
You can read more about my visit to capture this image, and see the rest of my Peak District photographs by clicking here.
You have your portrait session in just a few days, you are flustered as you do not know what to wear. Your stress rises as you open your wardrobe and see all of the same old clothes, and to make it worse you no longer fit into that suit you love.
The most important thing is to relax and enjoy having your photo taken! Easier said than done as most people do not like being in front of the camera. So here are a few tips I give to my clients before their portrait session. I hope these answers help you feel a little more relaxed before your portrait shoot..
When we look at photographs, our eyes tend to go to the lightest and sharpest part of the image first. For your portrait we want your face to be lit well and in focus! In addition, what we wear can distract from our faces. Really bright colours not only draw our attention away, but they can also reflect unnatural hues onto our skin.
The best clothes are the ones you feel the best in.
If you think that you look really good in that cocktail dress then wear it. If those tweed trousers make you feel a million dollars then wear them.
But try to avoid:
Trends that will date your photograph in six months (although it probably will be popular again in 20 years time)
High contrast blouses or shirts
Oversized jumpers to ‘hide your figure’
Clothing with pictures, writing or large logos unless the pictures, writing or large logos relate specifically to the photos. In other words, no Carlsberg tee shirts unless this photo is for a magazine story about binge drinking; no Disney shirts unless this family portrait is in front of Cinderella Castle.
Loud colours, busy patterns, bold stripes, big checks, polka dots, tank tops, and clothes that are baggy–or too tight–all call attention to the clothes, not the wearer.
Neon-coloured clothing is popular right now, especially in children’s clothes and shoes. Avoid neon if at all possible. It often prints an odd shade and reflects onto skin very easily.
The basic rule is that attention is on you, not your clothes. Obviously, if you are doing a fashion shoot then the opposite is true!
Q: Anything else about clothes?
A: Iron clothes that need it before the shoot starts and don’t pick up the cat/dog once you are in your best clothes.
Q: Anything else?
A: Avoid any sudden, and potentially unflattering, changes immediately before the portrait (e.g. completely new radical hairstyle the week before your portrait). Don’t go mad and not eat for three days trying to shed a few pounds…you will not look your best!
In my experience most wedding couples only think about what photographs they want. Not many think about how they would like to remember their wedding day.
But wait a minute, people redecorate, spring clean, move out and have fresh starts but printed photographs always stick around for the long haul. How often I hear of people finding a shoebox of photos in the loft left by parents that leads to tears with the flood of memories and emotions.
The current trend is for digital files
You may have digital frames at home, a TV that displays images and you want to share on FaceBook and Instagram right?
Digital is pretty convenient. You have all of your photos in one place and you can choose whether you want to upload them to Facebook or print them at Boots the Chemist. But what do you do with them if you want to look at them with family? Putting them on your phone or tablet means being hunched over a tiny screen.
Speaking of screens, a little-known fact is that all phones and computers display colours differently from one another. Mobile screens vary device by device, plus there is the colour space/gamut problem. You can read about it here– but the short answer is the tension between bright vivid colour and real colours (like when you are looking at your wedding photos).
A professional photographer will edit your photos with the real colours properly displayed. When you see them digitally they could look quite different.
A professional print lab will print your photos with the same colours that the photographer used. In contrast, supermarket printers use an automatic ‘most likely’ set of colours. Great for holiday snaps but not for your treasured wedding memories.
So is printed really that different?
We may think that a digital image and a physical print are the same – but our brains do not agree!
Using eye tracking, biometrics and MRI scientists studied how people responded to print and digital. The findings were that digital grabs attention better for 10-20 seconds. Printed had a longer lasting impact. Emotional response and concrete memory were enhanced with a greater subconscious value and desire than the digital version.
So, emotion, memory, value and desire are better achieved through physical prints than digital ones.
Printed photographs are accurate in their display of colour and tone.
But an album is old fashioned (my parents had one)!
The world of print has moved on. The range of albums and designs out there is truly amazing. You can get a timeless and classic leather bound album with beautifully printed (with great colours) pages that will look good and be hard wearing for 40+ years.
Plus, being physical, emotion connection, long lasting memory, perceived value and desire are all at maximum. Couple this with a premium quality album and you have it all.
Of course, a cheap and badly printed album has the opposite effect. Your emotions, value and desire will be the wrong sort entirely!
But digital lasts forever, right?
Do you remember 5 1/4 inch floppy disks? Maybe the 3 1/2 inch hard disks? MiniDiscs? We bought a load of those! What would you do if your wedding photos were stored on that media?
Imagine your grandchildren coming across a 3 1/2 inch disk in your loft many years from now. The disk sticker is faded and there is no way to know what it is, or what it contains. Does it go in the bin? Today’s technology is literally that – for today.
Now imagine your grandchildren coming across a bespoke wedding album. As they touch the Italian leather and gold inlay of your names they know exactly what they hold in their hands.
The touch and smell add to the excitement as they open that first page and see you…how you really looked. I am sure you can enter into the wonder and joy as they experience all of the senses bound up in your Luxury Bespoke Wedding Album…
As a professional photographer I believe in and value the photographs I create as they unlock memories, emotions and feelings for you. It is more than grabbing your attention for a few seconds…your memories are for a lifetime.
Having worked with the Institute of Directors a number of times through 2018, it was a great honour to be asked to be an Event Partner for 2019.
Throughout last year it was a privilege to provide the photographs for some of their biggest events of the year including the Women Leaders Conference, Director of the Year Awards and the Student Challenge.
When Cari Grice, Regional Events Manager, contacted me to see if I was available for further event photography I leapt at the opportunity.
Enhancing your event or conference and turning it into a powerful marketing tool you can use over and over again. Professional photographs of your event will mean a continuing return on your initial investment of time and money.
As part of your event photography, conference photography, and convention photography I capture the groups you most want. Your images are then available to you to use across all media and across all territories with no limit on time.
Together with Janet Wootton, the IoD Press Officer, we explored the style and type of images that were needed.
There was a desire from Cari and Janet for not only images of listening delegates and speakers at the podium, but some group shots too. It was clear that they wanted something more than simple lines of people. In print lines of people are often skipped over by readers…something with a little more impact was required! Time to do my homework and plan out something special.
Women as Leaders Convention was the first event
Arriving three hours before the event kicked off gave me lots of time to see how my planning would be transformed into reality. There is always an unexpected twist during the actual event. Being very prepared means that I remain calm and keep my clients calm too.
The VIPs were full of fun and up for something a little different from their photos. All involved were stars and very easy to work with. So thank you to Louise Third MBE, Lisa Wainwright, Carolyn Radford, Sue Smith MBE, Sarah Walker-Smith and Debra Charles.
The event itself was inspirational – I came away with my head buzzing about leadership and the challenges that face all leaders, both women and men.
“…we wondered whether there would be sufficient creativity to ensure better images than we’d received from other photographers. We’d become used to standard poses with a group of people in line with hands in front. We were very impressed by Peter’s creative approach where he came up with a variety of posed situations that have resulted in great poses and excellent, images with real impact. The subjects were relaxed due to Peter’s guidance and professional approach.
We received an excellent set of images that are perfect for our printed magazine, website and social media. They are so good that we provided copies for those people who were photographed and the feedback has been excellent. We had arranged a very professional event with excellent speakers and Peter helped ensure that we had a professional photographic record.
Peter is a real professional who took the time to understand our needs, exercised real creativity and left us with a set of excellent images that we are proud to include in our promotional materials. I would highly recommend Peter to business colleagues, family and friends.”
Ron Lynch, Regional Director, Institute Of Directors East Midlands
Well done to Cari and her team for such an excellent event!
If you are holding an event and wish to get the most out of it with professional photography turning it into a marketing tool then please get in touch.
In addition to being a professional portrait photographer, I provide a website service to businesses. This involves creating the visuals needed for their website.
In this example, Bromley House Library in Nottingham appointed me to create the visuals for their new website as they were undergoing a re-branding exercise.
Sitting down with the library director, Mel Duffill-Jeffs, we went through the current website and looked at images that they already had and they wanted to continue using. Then we brainstormed ideas that would match with the areas of the new website that needed promotion.
Getting me involved at this early stage is really helpful for both of us. It is always good to share your plans with someone who is not connected with your business. This brings a sense of objectivity as well as stirring up some creative ideas!
We agreed that many of the photographs that the library already had were very brown. Due mainly to many of the books in the library being brown and the furniture is all wooden. So we wanted some imagery that moved away from just lots of brown.
The library also wanted a sense of movement and people within the library. The establishment already had some high-quality static images of the interior of the library but they were empty. There was no hustle and bustle and sense of it being a beloved haven for avid readers in Nottingham.
When visiting the library you are encapsulated straight away in a warm and friendly environment. It has a real sense of history and belonging – it is so much more than just a collection of books – it is a community all of its own.
Not only are readers buried in tomes old and new, but they are also learning new languages and old, reading poetry, solving crimes and knitting (just a few of the many groups that meet in the warren of rooms in the library). There are talks from visiting speakers and presentations on a wide range of topics. Tours wander past members sipping on tea as they read the latest news.
When you cross the threshold into Bromley House Library you enter a different world – a microcosm of academia and friendship combined. All set in a beautiful old building with so many original features.
The new website somehow would have to reflect that sense if being so much more than a library.
I spent two days in and about the library. The library team are all so kind and welcoming. The members equally so.
What was the response when the photos were revealed?
’I’m just blown away. Fantastic. Utterly fantastic…Thanks Peter. We’re really happy with the photos and looking forward to seeing them built into the new website.’
Personal Branding On Location. Investing in your personal brand is so important in our internet linked business world. Stand out from the crowd with professional photography that enhances your professional appeal. This photograph of David McVean, from DSDN Consulting, on location, to add to his portfolio. In a personal branding session, I will guide you on what to wear, how to stand and pose and the kind of images that elevate your profile. In addition, I will create a stand out business profile image for you to use on LinkedIn.
When you are preparing for your Personal Branding Photograph what you wear can make the world of difference. Follow these simple suggestions to ensure that you look like the true professional.
My name is Peter Nutkins, I am a Specialist Portrait Photographer. My personal branding clients are busy executives who want a professional, studio-quality service at their workplace, home or favourite location.
In the world of websites, your Personal Branding Photograph is how you create your best first impression with a potential client. Indeed, it is likely that this could be a customer’s deciding factor to do business with you. Your headshot is representative of your best “you” and will speak volumes about your professionalism and your business. A great Personal Branding Photograph will reinforce your credibility. A poor one can, and will, deter business.
Clothing is an extremely important factor in your finished portrait, but it is not the focus. The focus is your face. With proper clothing, your face will command attention and the clothing will become secondary. Wearing the wrong clothing takes attention away from where you want it – on you and your face.
Personal Branding Suggestions:
Darker is more professional. The darker the suit or clothing the more professional you will appear. For a traditional, conservative business portrait which conveys success, I suggest deep colours such as navy blues and greys. Remember, the darker the colour, the more professional your finished portrait will look, not to mention the fact darker colours are more slimming. Please note that a white shirt is great with a dark suit.
Dress to slim. Darker colours are slimming; lighter colours are not. Solid colours are slimming; bold patterns amplify your shape. A single colour from head to toe (i.e. a suit) is slimming. Vertical lines are slimming; horizontal lines are the opposite. The v-neck shape is slimming. This is achieved by the cut of a jacket, blouse, shirt or sweater. Single-breasted jackets are more slimming than double-breasted. For women wanting a full-length portrait, try to avoid wide belts. If wearing a belt, make sure it is a darker colour, again to slim the waistline and to keep the viewer’s attention to your face.
Make sure your clothing is well-tailored. It will be plainly obvious if both your shirt and/or jacket do not fit in your finished portrait. Men, make sure you can comfortably button the top button of your dress shirt. Ladies, huge ‘cover all’ jumpers look great in a lifestyle photo but not for a business image.
Keep it simple. Overly busy patterns are not good, be it a jacket, shirt or blouse. Bright or busy jackets, shirts and blouses will distract the viewer’s eye from your face in your finished portrait. Shirt and blouses will sometimes need to be retouched due to a wrinkle in the fabric, and patterns on that fabric will make this more difficult. I do not want to count the hours I have spent getting thread patterns in clothing to look right.
Hair. Have a comb on hand. It can make a world of difference. For men, please do not cut your hair the day before your shoot. It will look like you just got a haircut.
Shaving. Men, if your appointment is in the morning, shave earlier in the day to let any razor burn dissipate and to allow any nicks to heal. If your appointment is late in the day, and you have a heavy beard, please consider shaving again mid-day.
Neckwear. For women, should you want to wear a necklace, think about bringing multiple options so that your photographer can give you an opinion as to what will work best for you. For men, please feel free to have multiple tie selections. Your photographer will be able to tell you which one will work best with your skin tone and ensemble.
Long sleeves. For men and women, it is best not to wear something sleeveless or short sleeves. This may cause you to look heavier, and bright arms will lead the viewer’s eyes to the bottom edges of your image and away from your face.
Other considerations. Your hands may appear in your finished portrait. Please make sure your nails are freshly manicured. If you wear glasses most of the time, then you should wear them for your portrait. Your photographer will be able to avoid glare. For best results, consider bringing an extra frame with no lenses.
Make sure you are well rested before your portrait session. Try to get a good night’s sleep the night before and remember to hydrate. Dark circles and puffy bloodshot eyes can be retouched with Photoshop, but a fresh face is instantly more attractive than a tired one.