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

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.

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

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!

 

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!

 

Another Nike Month

My diary was full again last month with Nike being the first on the phone to make the bookings. They'd been busy organising a week long FootballX event in the heart of London, building a 2 aside pitch on the middle floor of their NikeTown store in Oxford Circus and with their women's 10K run fast approaching we've been working together to capture many of the promotions they've arranged for their social media channels.

Getting to Old Spitalfields Market before the stall holders to set up a remote camera in the roof was definitely worth it to capture this angle of a huge aerobics class.

Getting to Old Spitalfields Market before the stall holders to set up a remote camera in the roof was definitely worth it to capture this angle of a huge aerobics class.

The caged pitch in NikeTown gave me great access to capture action and emotion during the FootballX event

The caged pitch in NikeTown gave me great access to capture action and emotion during the FootballX event

A studio portrait of athletes preparing for the Nike 10K run during a workout at Frame fitness studios in Shoreditch

A studio portrait of athletes preparing for the Nike 10K run during a workout at Frame fitness studios in Shoreditch

Hip Hop duo Krept and Konan tested the capabilities of the NikeTown structure with hundreds of fans turning out to see them perform live......they were very loud.

Hip Hop duo Krept and Konan tested the capabilities of the NikeTown structure with hundreds of fans turning out to see them perform live......they were very loud.

Hundreds of women descended on St Paul's in London during the Longest warm up before the 10K event on June 21st

Hundreds of women descended on St Paul's in London during the Longest warm up before the 10K event on June 21st

Competitors from all teams gave it their all during the 3 minute matches which took place at NikeTown, London and were watched by thousands of excited shoppers

Competitors from all teams gave it their all during the 3 minute matches which took place at NikeTown, London and were watched by thousands of excited shoppers

I was commissioned by Getty Images for all Nike events.

Back In Black

On April 24th Nike launched the all black Nike 2015 Football Boots Collection, the new Nike Academy Pack and I was asked to produce a set of images for their social media outlet.

The brief was to keep the images dark and to bring out the detail of the boots so spotlights were the obvious way to go. After setting up a mini studio in the changing rooms at St.George's Park I headed outside with The Academy team to put them through their paces for the first time.

The Nike Academy

I've worked with the team at The National Football Centre for the past couple years and to have a boot named in their honour shows just what a magnificent programme it is being run up in Burton.

It seems strange to me that the whole team were surprised to see a completely black boot! Showing my age I suppose but I must say, it looked fantastic to have a football pitch without a hint of luminous green, sparkly puce or mango adorning the pristine turf of St George's Park.

Once again, the hits which Nike and The Academy have received through, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have been astronomical and I'm extremely proud to have been part of such a huge launch for their global brand.

Commissioned by Getty Images

Kimblewick Hunt

It was a Saturday afternoon and instead of arriving at a football stadium 4 hours before kick off to be sat in the cold waiting for a steward to open a door and hand me a damp smelly bib and a food voucher for a stale hot dog, I was being welcomed in to a warm barn and offered a shot of port and a sausage roll and contemplating which corner of the stables would be best for light. As it turned out which ever I corner I had chosen would have worked perfectly well as the low winter sun and just above freezing conditions were about as perfect as I could've hoped for.

I've covered the Cheltenham Festival, The Grand National and Royal Ascot many times and although I had my 'editorial head' on during those events I never felt the same amount of creative freedom as I did at Kimblewick. "feel free to go wherever you want.....just get my good side" bellowed The Huntsman as he set off with his hounds excitedly following behind.

Another big difference was at a Hunt there are no barriers to guide you around a track. You have to either be really fit in order to run (not me), or extremely lucky to be in the right place at the right time. It's not covered by a gaggle of journalists and there aren't TV camera's positioned at every corner. So if something did happen that I didn't know about I wouldn't leave feeling like I missed a shot.

I'm not sure I've ever felt like I've wanted winter to last just a little longer so I could get my teeth in to another few of these events!