Keeping it Low-Key

 Well, you might have figured out that low-key photography is pretty much the opposite of high-key photography. Instead of bright and cheerful, it’s dark and moody.

Low-Key Portrait: Ross

 The good news is, it’s relatively easy to achieve with just one light source. By controlling the source and angle light you can add drama to your image very quickly. The light can come from a small opening in the curtains, a lamp, a studio light or even a candle. Anything really! As long as it lights up your subject and is controlled so it doesn’t brighten the scene so much so that the background is lit up. Your low-key image should be full of dark tones and shadow. It doesn’t have to be in black and white but this does help highlight the contrast between the dark and the light.

One way to think about low-key photography is that it’s about trying to capture darkness in your shot to tell your story. But to capture darkness effectively, you’ll also need a bit of light.

Low-Key Ewan

Moody Musician

To take a low-key shot, the best thing to remember is to experiment… play with the direction and angle of your light source.  Try different shutter speeds and aperture settings. Remember if the shutter speed is low then you’ll need a tripod to get the best from your camera. Keep your ISO low to avoid noise as this can end up being a bit distracting. Underexpose your shot as much as you can without losing detail.

Medusa: A well directed flashlight can be enough add more drama to the shot.

 

Facing Anxiety

I Am Enough

I Am Enough

For as long as I can remember, anxiety has played a massive role in my life. I can barely think a time where it hasn’t at least lurked somewhere in the background, threatening to rear it’s ugly head.

Most of the time, you’d never know it. I believe “high functioning” is the term used to describe it, meaning the majority of the time I can get through a day without any obvious issues or falling apart into the stereotypical anxious wreck that people tend to conjure up images of when you mention you have this. Instead I appear together, efficient, busy, organised, controlling…

I’ve struggled with it privately for many years. Thanks to the stereotypes and the misplaced shame our society associates with hidden illnesses like this one, I wasn’t confident about admitting to it. Being anxious is for people who are weak and can’t cope right? It was something I wanted to hide and pretend wasn’t happening to me.

A few months ago I came across this blog by Sarah Schuster on The Mighty Site and I felt an instant connection with her words. Finally someone was able to explain how I was feeling and the impact it had on my every day. I realised I wasn’t alone and it gave me the courage to speak up and talk to people about the constant worry; the late nights lying in bed unable to quieten my busy mind; the not being sure if my concern was rational or a symptom of this illness; the panic attacks over seemingly small things that my body reacted to as though I was about to die. You see, anxiety is a mental illness, but what people fail to realise is that it has many physical aspects. Increased heartrate, shallow, panicked breathing, increased temperature, flushing, sweating and shaking. You body responds to stimuli in an extreme manner and it’s not at all pleasant.

We learn to avoid these panic attacks by planning and controlling as much as we can. We fill the quiet times by keeping busy so our overactive mind doesn’t run away with itself. Small things can become overwhelming, so we work out our triggers and avoid them or change things to avoid setting a panic off.

It’s constant.

It’s exhausting.

I was surprised to find so many people who had been feeling the same way. So many people who felt they had to hide this for fear of being judged by others or made to feel like they can’t cope. People who are extremely successful in all walks of life also suffer from anxiety and find ways around it but unless you suffer from it, you wouldn’t necessarily know their struggle.

So I decided to start a new photography project. Facing Anxiety aims to help people find a way to stand up to their anxiety and find support with likeminded people who understand what they are going through. To show people who don’t struggle with this illness that the stereotypes are wrong and misinformed, that people they’d never suspect have this are fighting a daily battle.

One of the issues I have thanks to my anxiety, is feeling as though I’m not enough. Like I always need to be and do more. Here’s a shot I took a few years back. Something I need to remember more often.

If you are interested in taking part in this project and are based in Glasgow (or nearby) or in Frankfurt, please get in touch. I would love to speak to you about getting involved.

Why I Love This Shot – Real Beauty

Fourth in my “Why I Love This Shot” series is one from my first Real Girls, Real Beauty project shoots. Lovely Hannah was my first ever model for this project and it’s a been an exciting journey since then with another 6 models photographed (two #RealGirls and four #RealWomen), two more #RealGirls due to have their shoots late next month and at least another five #RealWomen preparing to schedule theirs.

The #RealGirlsRealBeauty project is really important to me. Empowering girls and women to see their beauty in who they are and not just what they look like is vital. Especially in this industry where we’re taught to pose people to “look better” and we’re expected to edit out “flaws”. Recently, the project has evolved and I’m excited to update you all on the changes very soon.

I have many shots that I love from this particular shoot. Partly because I could see Hannah becoming more and more comfortable with the camera, me and most importantly, herself. We did a range of poses, with her favourite book, her teddy that she’s had all her life, her violin and her piano – all things she loves about herself and her life. I could pick a number to share with you but I chose this one. I chose it because it’s a moment when we were being silly and showing off her wonderful sense of humour. A moment where she relaxed completely and giggled. Showing her #RealBeauty with a smile and plenty of sparkle.

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Why I Love This Shot – Break the Rules

So it’s time for the 3rd post in my new series “Why I Love This Shot” and this one comes from an outdoor family shoot from March last year. We had a cold morning in the park but it didn’t stop any of us from having fun. The shoot was of eight people, two families of four and there was a lot of silliness on the day which resulted in brilliant, unique shots.

When I think back to the shoot, I always think of this shot. There are a few reasons for it. This girl was an absolute star in front of the camera. Lots of cheeky poses and zero inhibitions. It made for a fun shoot. But this is a moment when I caught her relaxing and unaware and I love it. Us photographers always have to be ready to capture the moment when the opportunity arises.

From a composition/photography point of view it is a rule-breaker. The focus is slightly soft, the eyes are not showing or in focus and it only just makes the “rule of thirds”.

But those are the reasons I love it. Sometimes you just need to break the rules.

Break the Rules

Break the Rules

Why I Love This Shot – A new blog series.

I’ve blogged over the last couple of years about the different shoots I’ve been on. I enjoy sharing shots from my shoots this way for people to see them. But I recently came across the idea of blogging about just one shot from each shoot and explaining in more detail why I love it.

Asking a photographer to choose just one shot from a shoot is an interesting challenge. To be critical of our work we have to separate ourselves from the memory of the moment the photograph was taken. To step back and look again with fresh eyes. This is something I’m not great at. Photography is creative work and creativity is personal. We pour ourselves into it and leave our mark. We photograph what we love.

So while I might not always select the best image from each shoot, I will take the time to think carefully about my favourite image.

 

Here’s one from my very first shoot in my new business as Mei Photography. It wasn’t a paid shoot, it was a trial run before my first paid shoot. I learned a lot that day!

Luckily my wonderful friend Kim’s little boy was the perfect age for a model. We set up my portable studio and I went to work. I took hundreds of shots that day with a range of props and backdrops.  When I think back to it this is the shot that always stands out in my mind.

I love this shot because it captures a moment where his curiosity got the better of him. That moment where he’s reaching for The Gruffalo’s Tail and looks like he’s trying to figure out what on Earth it is.

It always makes me smile. x

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Lovely Family Storrie

Soooo, I just realised I didn’t finish my blog about this shoot. It’s from last year and is a very special one for me. My cousin Dawn has always been a big part of our lives and when she asked me to take photos for them I was really excited to catch up with this part of our family. My mum is one of 6 so as you’d imagine, we’re a big extended family and we don’t spend enough time together these days.

So off to the Gleniffer Braes we went last autumn. An afternoon of love, laughter, tree-climbing and gymnastics. I thoroughly enjoyed capturing the moment for them all. Here are some of my favourite shots:

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A Family Portrait

It’s been a long, long time since I blogged. So much has happened this year and I’ve let blogging fall by the wayside. But after this shoot in Glasgow’s Pollok Park, I had to share my favourite shots with you.

I worked with Lynn many moons ago in Glasgow Science Centre and we reconnected through her business Paws On Pet Services and her brilliant blog: Glasgow With Kids. Sometimes Facebook has it’s upsides.

So we got together last month and I finally had the chance to meet Lynn’s daughter, the inspiration for her blog and her husband David. Lynn is pretty great with a camera herself so it didn’t take too long for everyone to feel at ease.

We lucked out with the weather for the shoot and caught the tail end of those delightful few weeks in June when the sun was shining. A walk through the park provided a lovely backdrop for this gorgeous, happy family!White Family Sneak Peek

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I had such a lovely morning with these guys. My job is pretty awesome! xx




2015: What a year!

I’ve made it! To the end of another year! I couldn’t have done it without you.  Thanks so much for all your support throughout 2015. I’m looking forward to an exciting 2016 and wish you and your loved ones all the very best for the New Year!

Have a great time tonight! x

2015 YearInReview - Mei Photography

Baby Toto Arrived!x

A few months ago I had the privilege of taking photos for my friend and her family of three as they announced another was on the way.  I was delighted to be asked to take photos of new arrival Baby Toto when he was just a few days old. He’s actually called Thomas but his big brother has renamed him and I think it’s going to last!  It was another afternoon of laughter, cuddles, kisses and smiles – plus a cuppa or two.

As always, Christopher charmed the camera and I focused on capturing natural relaxed moments of a family who are all smitten with their newest addition.  And who wouldn’t be?  He’s adorable!  Here’s to many more happy family photographs! x

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Take Another Shot

Sometimes it’s worth remembering that in most cases, we can always take another shot…  my work and style is evolving and I’ve been enjoying looking back at the shoots I’ve been privileged to shoot this year (so far!).  I’ve got many more to edit and share with you… you’ll see more in my end of year review but for now… here are a just a few of my favourite moments. xTake Another Shot Collage WR