Street Photography, what a piece of.....oh hang on

Last night I attempted to watch the Sky Arts programme 'Master of Photography' again. I say attempted because the last time I ended up shouting at the TV and my wife told me I wasn't allowed to watch it again because it makes me angry.

She was right, of course. I got annoyed because of the comments from the judges. None of them made any sense to me. It was like they were being critical because that was what was expected of them. It annoyed me so much that I took matters in to my own hands and decided to look at Steve McCurry's Instagram page. Then I realised I hadn't actually tried it myself before so should shut my big fat mouth until I had.

Not sure I've ever seen Steve McCurry's reflection in any of his images, but it was only my first day so gimme a break

Not sure I've ever seen Steve McCurry's reflection in any of his images, but it was only my first day so gimme a break

You wouldn't believe how many of these I took before I got one I liked.

You wouldn't believe how many of these I took before I got one I liked.

I got a bit bored of constantly shooting people looking at their mobile phones so decided this would show them who's boss.

I got a bit bored of constantly shooting people looking at their mobile phones so decided this would show them who's boss.

Yeah, yeah, yeah - I know it's cliche but you can't beat a good ol' reflection in a puddle pic

Yeah, yeah, yeah - I know it's cliche but you can't beat a good ol' reflection in a puddle pic

It wasn't until I took my headphones off that I realised this guy was actually playing! Laziest busker ever.

It wasn't until I took my headphones off that I realised this guy was actually playing! Laziest busker ever.

There was a F1 event happening in Trafalger Sq and it was all I could do to put my 'news head' away and just leave it alone!

There was a F1 event happening in Trafalger Sq and it was all I could do to put my 'news head' away and just leave it alone!

I saw a lovely picture of a young lad enjoying a day out on his scooter with his Dad....as his Dad checked Facebook

I saw a lovely picture of a young lad enjoying a day out on his scooter with his Dad....as his Dad checked Facebook

I've recently thought with all the helpful road maps plotted all over London that the trusty A to Z would soon be a thing of the past. Apparently not.

I've recently thought with all the helpful road maps plotted all over London that the trusty A to Z would soon be a thing of the past. Apparently not.

Needless to say it was harder than thought, even if it was only for a few hours but I'm pretty sure I can now watch the annoying Sky Arts programme with a bit more appreciation. 

Next up is something I've been meaning to do for a while which I saw a photographer I admire greatly Tom Oldham where he completed a set of 24 portraits in 24 hours in East London. I of course will be West of the river where my heart lies but it's basically the same premise but with more sequins and loafers.

England's Lionesses for Nike

Asking athletes who train for living to train for the camera can sometimes be difficult and not all of them want to play ball.

These ladies however were all in good spirits having just been chosen for the England squad so we had a jolly ol' day producing a lovely set of images for Nike.

Izzy Christiansen of Manchester City

Izzy Christiansen of Manchester City

Karen Carney of Chelsea

Karen Carney of Chelsea

Fran Kirby of Chelsea

Fran Kirby of Chelsea

Lucy Bronze of Manchester City

Lucy Bronze of Manchester City

Toni Duggan of Manchester City

Toni Duggan of Manchester City

Steph Houghton MBE of Manchester City

Steph Houghton MBE of Manchester City

Jordan Nobbs of Arsenal

Jordan Nobbs of Arsenal

Jill Scott of Manchester City

Jill Scott of Manchester City

Ellen White of Birmingham

Ellen White of Birmingham

Matt Roberts PT

It's always nice to hear that someone, somewhere has seen my work and thought they'd like to get me in to see if I can recreate my style for them. When I first went in to see Matt Roberts and his team they gave me an outline of which images of mine they'd seen and asked what I could do for them.

We quickly agreed that the best scenario would be to start somewhere where there was a London skyline and work our way back to the gym in Mayfair.

I have to admit that this shoot was originally due to take place in February but because of our lovely English weather, we had to cancel and move the date back to when it was a little less changeable.

Having said that, when we all arrived at the London meeting point at 6am it was raining and the sun hadn't even bothered getting out of bed yet. By the time we'd had the most amazing coffee and walked to the Observatory in Greenwich the clouds were playing ball and we were greeted by a stunning, moody sunrise.

With stretches done and a few dogs kicked out of the way we set off on the route I had plotted a few days previously and between here and Mayfair we had enough locations to keep us going until the afternoons shoot in the gym.

(no dogs were hurt in the making of this set of images. But 1 pigeon did get it)

Social media content has become a big part of my business over the past couple of years and it has really taken off now that my 'dirty campaign' has started to gather pace.

There just aren't enough hours in the day to provide enough content for more than a few months but Matt now has a set of images which will keep him and his team going until next time and we do it all again with a fresh set of images and a new route to mix it up.

If you or your team need social media content, get in touch using my contact tab above and I'll be happy to come and discuss what I can do for you and your many channels which need lovely images - @skosh23 

WR250 for Nike

I've heard people criticising Wayne Rooney but gladly there are more praising him for reaching the 250 goal mark for Manchester United. 

Alan Shearer said on Match of the Day how he thought Wayne would play with the same intensity and drive even if he was being paid £50 per game and that's exactly what I like about him.

A premier League footballer earns a lot. We all know that. But he just wants to play football. Which is handy because he's bloody good at it. So thanks to everyone at Nike for asking me to help with the release of their new boot and to celebrate this amazing milestone. Thanks also to the team who helped with the production and turnaround on this campaign - Dan Rowley, Dave Thompson, Tom Shaw and Mark Robinson.  

I'd have him

I'm not going to mention what a bloody nice bloke Anthony Joshua is because I'm pretty sure everyone already knows. So I'm afraid this post might be a bit boring for some of you with more technical chat than kissing the arse of the Heavyweight Champion.

My only brief when Matchroom commissioned me was to capture the concentration and focus before his Box Office bout against Eric Molina tomorrow night. This screamed for close ups of his eyes which meant a lot of missed frames as catching such a big man with his speed through the ropes with a 400mm is harder than it sounds!

I imagine the amount of times Anthony has been asked to put a fist up for a picture would be in the thousands now so I'm glad the brief didn't include that little beauty. Using nothing natural light can always be a risk but I got lucky with a crisp, sunny afternoon and the beautifully positioned windows with random stained glass meant I had light bouncing everywhere and it was almost like having a room full of reflectors!

They might not be pictures of a table being thrown or a dust up after a press conference but I hope I fulfilled the brief and my images reflect the professionalism of a man who is a great ambassador for all sport and will undoubtedly fill the now vacant title of 'The Greatest'.....Dammit, I said I wouldn't do that ; )

Brothers & Craft

If there's one thing I've learnt since going freelance is it's good to go and meet people. Emails and messages cannot beat a face to face coffee and a haircut, obviously. This doesn't just mean potential clients but other photographers who I can draw inspiration from and discuss styles and ideas gets the juices flowing too.

Huckle the Barber in London agreed to give the brothers an afternoon of pampering as welcome to the UK.

The Barber shop of Lamb's Conduit Street in Holborn lent itself perfectly to the style of images I was after. With the original chairs and spotless white tiles there was plenty of natural light bouncing everywhere. Not having to set up lights whilst they still had customers coming and going was definitely a bonus.

Wendy-Ball

As a couple of my very good (rugby supporting) friends refer to football as Wendy-Ball I'm writing this post in their honour. I make no secret that over the past few years I've fallen out of love with football. Not just in the photography industry but as a whole and my reasons were perfectly summed up when I was listening to the annoyance of a caller to BBC Radio 5 Live who didn't like the fact that the Manchester derby was all about the managers instead of the teams. He said he'd go to the theatre if he wanted to see 'that sort of thing'.

Unfortunately for him theatre is exactly what football has become. The hype, build up and (brilliant) montages which are designed to sell each match thrive on the drama football creates. You only have to look at the face on the referee after he's shown a multi millionaire teenager a yellow card to see they love playing the villain.

Therefore my selected images for this post aim to show more than just two men who don't get on and the moment they might shake hands. 

Tennis

Forehand, backhand, serve.....repeat. I've sat next to many photographers at major tennis events who shoot just that. But tennis can be one of the most creative and impactful sports to photograph. It doesn't always happen how you think it might but mixing shadows, light, emotion and colour it's often hard to go wrong.......unless you live by the first four words of this blog.

Swimming

When I started this series within my blog I said I'd be posting different sports I'd tried my hand at. 

Although I've only covered a few events involving swimming I've decided to include it as it really lends itself to a great set images in terms of capturing colour and intensity. I've been looking in to doing some more underwater photography recently and I've had a few interested clients as it's not only fun but gives a great impact.

Boxing Portraits

Being as I've posted a fair few pictures of sweaty men in an arena getting knocked out or celebrating I thought it might be quite nice to mix it up and show some stuff outside of the ring. 

The beauty of covering boxing is the accessibility to the athletes. The promoters obviously want as much coverage as possible so the boxers are encouraged to do what ever is asked from them at a photocell or press conference. Most of the time I spend half an hour or so beforehand finding an area wherever the event is being held and try to make something from our surroundings.....If in doubt, use a brick wall!  

The Gentleman's game

Being as I'll be shooting a lot more rugby next year I thought I'd better post some stuff from those massive, scary blokes who chase eggs!

Having come from a football background I can honestly say that working at a rugby match is a breath of fresh air and not hearing swearing or being spat at by fans makes it a much more pleasurable afternoon.

Here's to a lot more Guinness, a few more Hoorays and a jolly good time to be had by all!

"Owizzzeeeeee?"

Next up is Cricket:

I won't be mentioning any names here but one of the highlights of covering cricket is when it rained. Endless hours of waiting for play to start could result in a game of cards or eye spy. But when you have a 'gaggle' of sports photographers it is usually 'how many jaffa cakes can you fit in your mouth' (the record was 12) or how many rotations could be be completed on an office chair with one push (not sure of the record, but I do remember nearly bringing up my roasted quail at Lord's during a test match v Sri Lanka).

But when this fine country does eventually adorn us with sun rays there is not a better job in the world than sitting back in a lazy boy fold down chair, leaning forward every three and half minutes and listening to leather on willow.

Round round get around.....

Last week I was chatting with a potential client about my career, where I've been and what I've shot. Her reply was "blimey!, you've been about"

And she wasn't wrong. Over the next few weeks I'll be choosing a sport I've tried my hand at and posting a series of images to show just what a sport snapping slut I am!

I'm starting with horse racing because a good friend showed me some superb portraits he shot for Godolphin today and it took me back to how pretty and scary horses can be.

Busy Start to 2016

I usually look forward to January as for the past 3 years it's been a bit of a rest month as most companies tighten their budgets and leave the poor ol freelancers scratching around. But I'll have to wait for my rest as the diary has been full since Christmas and doesn't look like slowing up as we fly in to February!

The year started well when Playstation announced they were launching their "Every Gamers Adventure" campaign and yet again I got to stand this close to the greatest trophy on Earth, The Emirates FA Cup.

Nike ran a Women's Week all over London in some amazing venues including Barry's Bootcamp where I did all I could to convince their master trainers that I was just too busy snapping to take part.......then I went to Costa coffee and had some cake.

I was commissioned by Bidvest 3663 to cover their annual awards ceremony and don't they all look very professional? Luckily for them, the images of the after show party with Scott Mills are safely hidden behind a password in my client area!

I've spent many night's in the Ministry of Sound but never quite like this where the girls were calming down at the end of the day with smooth house beats and a yoga class. Plus, being as I was working for Nike they couldn't tell me to bog off like in the old days!

My weekends were once again filled up covering editorial football for The Press Association

Heung Min Son was genuinely pleased to have beaten Tottenham Hotspur teammate Tom Carroll in a smoothie making competition during a project to promote healthy living in the Haringey area. Imagine how happy he would be if they ever actually won a trophy!? (sorry, couldn't help myself)

Nike's Women's Week ended at The Royal Horticulture Halls in Pimlico and many athletes attended including Perri Shakes-Drayton shown here encouraging a participant with Master Trainer Faisal

Pins & Stripes for Wasps

At the end of last year I was commissioned by Wasps rugby to create a set of images for their tailoring company, Pins & Stripes to use in their new store at The Ricoh Arena and it was a great day. The players and management from the club were very welcoming and helped massively to complete the brief set by P&S.


Stuff from October

The imminent sacking of a Premier League manager always brings an opportunity to rub it in with picture of them looking on the edge.

With the changing of the clocks for Daylight Savings came a surprising piece of useless knowledge: They turn the lights off on Big Ben to move the hands and it made for quite a pretty landscape as it's normally blazing out a bright white face during the hours of darkness.

It wasn't all about big hits, dodgy decisions and flying through the air to score a try (or a massive Kiwi running through the whole French defence)

Another England superstar, another selfie in the bag! Follow me on Instagram @skosh23 to see many more beautiful people helping me look good. This time Nathaniel Clyne was my subject for Nike's social media channels.

Nike's Winner Stays tournament allowed a silly photographer to get all excited about shadows. Sad really.

Liverpool's Sophie Colebourn kindly smiled for me after winning the SportsAid award allowing her to compete across the UK.....even though I was late and thought she might knock me out!

This is just a fence post

Last year I was commissioned by Getty Images to produce a set of portraits for Beazley and the British Fencing team and this year they invited me back to cover their last year of sponsorship event at Mansion House in London.

It was yet another venue where I couldn't really lose. Every room and every angle was extremely grand and lent itself perfectly to the clean white suits.

Each athlete was a true gentleman but being as they were holding swords I made sure I was very polite when directing them.

I was the only photographer covering this and that gave me freedom to wander around this stunning place and capture some behind the scenes images which always add to the set. 

Mansion House is actually the residence of the Lord Mayor and if you're reading this, Sir I'm sorry I used the last of the toilet roll in your en suite.

Is a selfie healthy? Or does this ginge make you cringe?

A few years ago I heard that a photographer who shall remain nameless (because I've never heard of him) approached Arsene Wenger at the Emirates Stadium just before kick off and asked him to sign a couple of prints he had brought along in his camera bag.

I've only ever done this once with Frank Lampard when I had him in the studio for a portrait session and we'd spent all afternoon together and I felt comfortable asking him during a break, but still had a feeling it was frowned upon and deemed unprofessional by my peers.

Three years ago when I started as a freelance I have to admit that social media, my website and this blog didn't really interest me as I stupidly took self promotion for showing off.

Since then I've come to realise that it's important to show current and potential clients that I'm busy and working alongside big names for big brands and a quick selfie on my phone is the best way to publish what I've been up to.

Much of my current work is embargoed so it's hard to post the images I've taken straight away and my ugly mug seems to keep people interested. 

I'm almost certain that there are still some of my colleagues who think this sort of thing is shameless and part of some unwritten rule that we shouldn't break, but there are plenty of people I've worked with who I haven't asked for a quick snap. Sometimes because there's just not enough time and sometimes because we simply didn't hit it off and I wasn't comfortable asking. But the majority are happy and used to posing for selfies pretty much everyday.

Personally, I'd like to think that it not only works as an update of what I'm up to but also that my subjects and I have enjoyed working together.

It also helps me to realise when the barnet could do with a trim and the Just For Men ginger edition needs a little outing!

 

Portraits from a serial snapper

The mix of jobs I've had during the summer has brought up a nice series of portraits from a number of different clients and makes a nice change from action photography on a pitch in the dark. 

Upwards and Onwards

This month is something a little different from what you're all used to on my blog. After long days of shooting sliding tackles and left hooks I've turned my lenses skywards and am in the process of creating a gallery of astrophotography.

 

Venus and Jupiter

Seeing these two planets together in the early night sky was a rare occurrence and a nice end to each day.

Although these two beauty's were closer at some point in the country this was as close as I managed from my position on Planet Earth. You can just about make out 3 of the Jupiter's moons.

The Old Egg and Spoon

Only four years in the making. I've seen better images of a plane crossing the path of the moon but I was like a kid at christmas when I caught this.

 

This is my first attempt at capturing Saturn. I have a lot of learning to do when it comes to stacking images and bringing out the detail, but watch this.....erm.... space!