Girl in the Red Dress

I stopped at Otukaikino Reserve on Sunday evening around sunset to take a few images, I thought it might have some good backgrounds and wanted to explore. I made a few HDRs for fun and decided to turn one into a composite. It probably would have been easier to just take a model but fun to do anyway.

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I thought it might be interesting to show what I started with, amazing what Photoshop can do! Thanks again to my model Kezia.

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Mixing It Up

I started having a play with mixing my Godley Head images with some model shots I took during the week, fun but time consuming. I still have a lot to learn, a big thank you to my lovely patient models.

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Model: Kimmy Smith, Makeup and Dress: Olympia Geary

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Model and Makeup: Melody Owen Jones


I am still trying to work on more composite images and on Tuesday I was lucky enough to get to work with a lovely model Kimmy Smith along with a fantastic makeup artist and clothes designer Olivia Geary. I took a wide variety of images and it looks like taking a while to get them all processed. I like these two as examples of (more or less) high and low key lighting.

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One more from Tekapo

Having religiously generated an image a day last year for my first 365 project I have been much more relaxed this year. There have been too many other things going on to be overly concerned; I have missed days and used images from trips during the year to fill in as well.

Next year I may do a one a week project of some sort but I am pretty sure 365 won’t be on my agenda. I want to concentrate on taking better pictures and getting out into the fabulous New Zealand countryside.

One last image from Lake Tekapo, which I used in in 365 project. The Church of the Good Shepherd again in golden light.


1/80s @ f/13 ISO200 17mm


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Travel HDR

While on holiday in Scotland I took a lot of images, quite a few long exposures and even more bracketed sets for HDR processing. Partly because the conditions weren’t always great for photographs, partly because I quite enjoy playing with HDR and mostly because I found a number of subjects that I felt HDR treatment suited. Interesting clouds and sky, old ruined buildings and church interiors. I used both Photomatix and HDR Efex Pro 2 for processing more or less at random and finished the images in Color Efex Pro and/or Photoshop.


Sunrise over Crail harbour, a combination of long exposure and HDR


St Andrews Castle 


Crail sunrise, another combination of long exposure and HDR


Crail Aerodrome


St Salvator’s Chapel, St Andrews


 St Salvator’s Chapel, St Andrews interior

 I really need to go back and reprocess some of these now that I am home with a large screen but quite fun anyway.


Before and After


As part of my 365 project I have ended up taking quite a lot of images of flowers. This is because they are easy to get hold of, they don’t run away and it doesn’t matter what the weather is! In continuing my project into a second year I found myself back taking images of a flower, in this case a lilly.

I took a number of images and thought that it would be interesting to show some of the different looks you can get, there are so many ways to take the any subject and give it a very different feel. For this example I am using a single flower where it should be easy to show some examples. I often end up taking my 365 images late in the day and use flash to provide lighting but that still leaves a very large range of possible looks. The few variations that follow are just the tip of the iceberg.

The images here aren’t necessarily the best images of a lilly, or even my best images, they are intended to illustrate some possible options for how you can photograph a flower and how you can change the look and feel using the aperture, view point and post processing.

White Background

For white backgrounds two flashes were used, one to light the background and the other to light the flower. You can play with the power, the distance form the subject and background to vary the effect.

1) Soft, shallow depth of field (at least reasonably shallow in this case). The after image was processed with Nik Color Efex Pro 4 to soften it further and give it a little glow. A wider aperture could have been used or by moving in closer an even narrower depth of field could have been achieved. You definitely want to be using a tripod here!





2) Detailed, larger depth of field using a smaller aperture, again this was processed with Nik Color Efex Pro 4





3) Monochrome, sometimes monochrome can simplify an image in this case just to lines and shapes, this was done using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.





4) Shadow, I noticed the shadow of the lilly while I was setting up, that can make an interesting image too. The after image was processed in Aperture to enhance the contrast, desaturate it and add a vignette.

Lilly_2012-01-12_20-57-55__DSC8046_©RichardLaing(2011) - Version 2




Black Background

In this case high speed sync was used with a single flash along with a small aperture to give a dark background. The images was post processed, but only slightly, with Nik Color Efex Pro to enhance the detail, soften and add a little glow.





I love my Nik Software plugins, if you haven’t tried them yet go and grab a free trial! They provide so many starting points for different looks and can help bring out creative ideas.

There are infinite variations in lighting and post processing over and above the few shown here and most can be applied to any subject, not just flowers. Try things and play, once you start trying things it gets easier to come up with new ideas, sometimes you get lucky and if you don’t you never need to show anyone.


365 Complete

A little late again with this post but I finally have my computer up and running again and can post more easily.

Over the last year I have been doing a 365 project and on the 31st December I completed it, quite pleased that I managed to do it and actually took each image on the correct day. Not all the images are particularly good or inspiring but some I have been quite pleased with. The whole experience was very useful, making  me get out with my camera and I’m pretty sure my photography has benefited.

I was looking forward to having a break from taking a picture every day but since I appear to be in the habit for the moment I am continuing and a 366 project looks to be under way. Whether I will finish it remains to be seen! In the meantime here are my first and last images from last years 365 project.