Ian Miller Photography: Blog https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog en-us (C) Ian Miller Photography (Ian Miller Photography) Tue, 29 Jun 2021 08:27:00 GMT Tue, 29 Jun 2021 08:27:00 GMT https://www.ianmiller.photography/img/s/v-12/u821956000-o655401981-50.jpg Ian Miller Photography: Blog https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog 120 120 Covid And The Mud https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2021/1/covid-and-the-mud 20201206-BHKC69974-PC06010620201206-BHKC69974-PC060106OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


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2020 was a year in history. In years to come there will be children in a classroom learning about the SARS-CoV-2 global pandemic, and how countries dealt with it during and after. They will be learning about its effect on countries and communities; economies and employment. But, as I write this, I am living through it all - which I suppose makes me a part of that story.

I knew that bookings would be slow, I had my COVID working policy worked out quite early on, but it has been no surprise that working with all the restrictions has been problematic. I am fortunate that my work is mainly based outside, and can be with just one other person, so I can still get out there and take photographs.


But the world keeps spinning, so what am I doing right now? Well apart from a botched attempt at homeschooling my daughters I am still having to care for our horse and pony combo. I’m sincerely hoping that the vaccinations being rolled out will mean that a more normal spring/summer and I can start seeing people again. Until then I’m off to get knee deep in mud… again.

 

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(Ian Miller Photography) journal Real Life https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2021/1/covid-and-the-mud Wed, 27 Jan 2021 10:45:19 GMT
Making my life a doddle… https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/11/making-my-life-doddle 20201017-023021001680-4O0A384420201017-023021001680-4O0A3844

With any prospective client, one of the first things we will go through is their final expectations. I usually start by asking them to picture a wall in their house, and to imagine a large print hanging there. With that in mind we can work out what sort of picture they want inside that frame. Having an idea of what the client actually wants means I can have a much clearer idea of how a shoot will run - obviously I will be taking multiple shots based around those ideas, but it means I am not floundering around for a couple of hours trying to second guess my clients imagination.

 

So when someone comes to me and says “I have a 20x30 inch canvas of my dog sprinting across a field. I’m after a matching canvas with my horse cantering in a natural environment”. Perfect - I now know exactly what I need to do, basically free schooling a horse in a wild and natural looking field. Having a brief this specific might sound like all my creativity would be lost, but what it actually means is that I was able to get on and get the shots she wanted very efficiently. That efficiency gave me lots of freedom to explore some other photographic ideas that she had not even considered. After just an hour we had a wide range of shots, and a sweaty horse, so we called it there.

 

Once I had presented her a gallery of all the photographs she was delighted that, as well as the image she wanted for that large canvas, I had also given her the dilemma of many more that she would like printed. That’s the beauty of working backwards from a final idea, it gives me the freedom to expand from a point. Always giving you what you want, but also giving you choice over ideas you didn’t know you had!

 

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(Ian Miller Photography) Fine Art Photoshoot https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/11/making-my-life-doddle Mon, 02 Nov 2020 10:41:34 GMT
The Golden Hour https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/9/the-golden-hour 20200913-343037005656-FP6A367720200913-343037005656-FP6A3677 A term popular with photographers is the “Golden Hour”. For those of you unfamiliar with this hour it’s a period of time just after sunrise, or just before sunset when the light is golden - and the shadows are long. It’s a popular time because the light has a warmth to it that ebbs away as the sun rises, and the shadows can be used in a very flattering way. As soon as the sun gets too high you get very flat shadows that do nothing for the creative side of photography whatsoever. Worse still the midday sun can create that amazing “panda eyes” shadow as our eyebrows do what they were intended to do - namely, shield our eyes from the sun. However there can be a drawback in the summertime, if there is zero cloud cover that light can still be really harsh. By harsh I mean that the sun is blazing across the scene making highlights that practically glow, and shadows so dark as to be black.

There is another time slot that is less well known... the “Blue Hour”. The blue hour is that period just before the sun rises, or after the sun has dipped below the horizon. There is still enough light in the sky to back light a subject, as the sun is still illuminating the sky, but hasn’t risen enough to cast strong shadows. The resulting light  is beautifully soft and dreamy - perfect for soft and dreamy photos! These photos of Grace were taken during that blue hour*, which unfortunately meant that I had to be up at 05.30... on a Sunday... I reckon it was worth it though.

*The blue hour gets its name because the world still has a cool, night time tinge to it that makes way for the beautiful golds and reds as the sun rises. The beauty of digital photography is that I can alter that blueish colour to make it as warm as the golden hour.

 

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(Ian Miller Photography) Photoshoot Tutorial https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/9/the-golden-hour Mon, 14 Sep 2020 11:45:04 GMT
Ordering Prints and Downloads https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/7/ordering-prints-and-downloads Before I even begin, if you are about to place an order with me - thank you! Taking the photographs and editing them is only ever half the story. Getting artwork hanging on your wall is the final, and most important, step. However, because there are a variety of products to order online purchasing can seem a bit daunting... which is why I have written this helpful guide.

Firstly, before you even think about placing an order, you will need to register for a free account, this page is located under "Client Galleries - Log In" in the main menu. This is so that you will have your own little area that can allow you to "favorite" the best photos, which makes selecting much easier. It also allows the site to remember what you have in your cart, so there is no need to feel pressurised into completing everything in one session. It is not essential that you do this immediately, but it certainly is a useful way to begin.

With your account set up you can go to your gallery, either by finding it in the client galleries or following the link I sent to you. Once you are in your gallery The first thing to notice are the [SELECT PHOTOS] [BUY] [SHARE] [SLIDESHOW] buttons on the top right, above the thumbnails. The [SLIDESHOW] button does exactly that - it takes you to a slideshow of all the photos in the gallery. The [SHARE] button gives you the link to the gallery you are looking at, if you do share please remember that it will be password protected - so you will need to give that out too, if you want others to see the gallery. To select photos simply click on [SELECT PHOTOS] and you will be asked to select photos (pretty straightforward), when you hover over a thumbnail you select the circle, bottom left, in the thumbnail. The photos which you have selected can now be added to your favourites (this is why it's best you registered your account first). Those favourites photos go into a separate "favourites" gallery with your refined selection. You could also, from this screen, buy all the selected photos although this will take you straight to the shop and only allow you to allocate one product for all the photos you just selected. This is a fantastically quick way to buy a lot of 9x6 prints, for instance - or to purchase the downloads. 

In order to get the full range of products you will need to allocate a product for each photograph, but I have made this site so that there is a a quick way, and a complete way.

From the main gallery, with all the thumbnails, if you hover over a thumbnail you can either share that image over social media (clicking on any top these social media icons brings up a small, separate window for you) or you can [BUY]. Clicking onto the buy button takes you to the purchasing gallery, this is the gallery you will be mostly returning to... and it looks a lot like this:

Screenshot 2020-07-20 at 10.31.38Purchasing Gallery

So from this gallery you can still do all the same things that you could from the main gallery - you can favourite, share, and view a slideshow, but most importantly is the shopping window to the right. (In the image above all the prices are zeroed. In your gallery the prices will be displayed, and they will match the price list that you may have received from me.)

The Quick Way

In that shopping window are ten of the most common products I offer. Clicking the + button puts that photo, with that product straight into your cart so that you can very quickly go through all the photos that you want. It is worth noting that any framed print chosen will go into your cart with a black frame as standard. If you want to change the frame design this can be done from the cart. Once you have added all the products from those 10 quick choices you can go to your cart and complete your purchase, or you can make those final changes first if you wish.

The More Complete Way

If you know that you want a frame different to the Confetti Black Frame that comes as standard, or if you want to see what other product are available. Then you click on the big [VISIT SHOP] button just below my logo. This sends you to a page where you can select from all the different options available for the photograph you were just looking at. Once you have made your choice you need to add that to your cart and return to the gallery - which will be exactly where you were before you clicked to visit the shop.

 

So there you have it. I have tried to make the shopping experience as enjoyable, and as simple as I can, but if you do need any assistance feel free to call me. Or if you want we could always set up a Zoom meeting and go for a virtual chat.

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(Ian Miller Photography) FAQ frequently asked questions journal Tutorial https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/7/ordering-prints-and-downloads Mon, 20 Jul 2020 11:03:52 GMT
Evie & Thunder - Round Two... https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/7/evie-thunder---round-two Golden ThunderGolden Thunder

I have been fortunate enough to work with Evie before, although it was a freezing cold afternoon last winter. Soooo much nicer on a balmy summers evening! Going back to see them was fantastic, as we already knew what it was we wanted to achieve. That made for the most relaxed and successful photoshoot. Starting with a few portraits of Thunder in his stable, for that wonderful black background look, we soon realised just how responsive he is to treats. I strongly believe he would do anything for a Scooby snack!

Moving out to the fields and the strength of his character really shone through. It's really easy to see why Thunder enjoys his dressage competitions.

Evie and Thunder CollageEvie and Thunder Collage

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(Ian Miller Photography) Photoshoot https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/7/evie-thunder---round-two Mon, 13 Jul 2020 15:42:55 GMT
Prints or Downloads? https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/7/prints-or-downloads Printed horse portraitPrinted Headshot Which one, or perhaps a combination of both...

Downloads are great, don't get me wrong, but they should really be seen as a means to an end. When someone downloads one of my photographs I am hoping that I have just seen the beginning of a process. I am hoping that there is a plan for that photo to be shown off in the most fantastic way... basically I am hoping that the download tuns into a print. I firmly believe that the images you look at the most, whether it's a painting or a photo, are the ones that have been printed and are hanging on your walls. Having a few thousand photos on your phone is great, but after a few weeks even the most special photographs get buried. That's why I think that prints are special - they are a permanent reminder of a special time, a moment frozen forever. I suppose it's also that tactile connection you get when a memory gets turned into something which you can hold.

I genuinely get a bit excited when I get a framed print arriving from the printers - I see it as the final stop for a photograph. It starts with the initial meeting with my client, the time spent on the day working with my subjects (ensuring I get all the shots I need). Then there is the editing and the processing before I get to show off the finished digital images. Once all the images have been viewed I hope that many will be downloaded for future projects, but a handful will be selected to make some beautiful wall art. Those images are the ones that are printed, framed and sent off to be hung up on a wall. Essentially the print in your hand, or hanging on your wall, is the culmination of many hours of work between you, me, and your horse.

 

 

Rear view of framed printBack of the frame That is why I use the printers and the framers that I do. I use One Vision, every print is quality checked, including colour accuracy from digital to paper. And the framing is amazingly well done. Even the back of the frame has the same attention to detail!

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(Ian Miller Photography) Fine Art journal https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/7/prints-or-downloads Fri, 03 Jul 2020 08:49:15 GMT
Amy & Smudge Photoshoot https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/6/amy-smudge-photoshoot Equine Photography for You and Your HorseSmudge with a bit of lens flare

Weren’t we lucky with the weather! A day earlier, or the day after, and we would have been both soaked and blown all over the yard. But today… glorious sunshine, perfect for an early evening shoot at NJS Equestrian with Amy and her pony Smudge (a pony with bags of character).

Equine Photography for You and Your HorseSmudge - Summer Meadow

I just love this time of year. Mid-summer, when you get the sun creating this dreamy, warm glow.

Equine Photography for You and Your HorseSmudge - Steel Door NJS has one of my favourite steel doors. Everyone is surprised when I steer people towards more "industrial" backgrounds, but they create a superb contrast.

Equine Photography for You and Your HorseSmudge - Something Smells Like Grass

Normally treats work quite well, but I did describe Smudge as a bit of a character... so grass it is!

Equine Photography for You and Your HorseSmudge - Hometime

 

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(Ian Miller Photography) Photoshoot https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/6/amy-smudge-photoshoot Tue, 30 Jun 2020 11:46:04 GMT
Behind The Scenes https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/6/behind-the-scenes FP6A8587FP6A8587 Trying to get a picture of what appears to be a lone Fell Pony coming out of a storm isn't always that straightforward. Thunder, here, is a very happy and contented pony... who loves to eat. So getting him to keep his head up long enough to get a shot meant quite a bit of persuasion form his owner. With grass, and treats flying everywhere, and another assistant just out of shot to my left - holding three flashlights. all that to get what looks like a fairly simple pose.

It never gets easier... I just get more patient!

So there you have it. A photograph taken in daylight, using three speedlights strapped together, two assistants, and a touch of Photoshop. All to get a very striking photograph in a fairly ordinary field.

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(Ian Miller Photography) Fine Art journal locations https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/6/behind-the-scenes Mon, 22 Jun 2020 22:37:00 GMT
Sad Times https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/6/sad-times A slight change in the reasons I am photographing a pony today, as unfortunately we are selling our beautiful boy Indy. He's a lovely lad, young and keen to learn... but he needs more than we can give him. He needs to be in a school, or similar environment, to keep him in line. Ultimately he was bought so that my eldest could take him on as she transitions from her little pony, but we all feel that he is too much for a young rider. Her instructor rides him and makes him look like a show pony - but that's what years of experience gives you (she makes it all look so easy).

We are all going to miss Indy, all our family, and the extended family at the yard. But ultimately it is for the best. May Indy still be the happy oaf he is in his new home!

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(Ian Miller Photography) journal https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/6/sad-times Wed, 17 Jun 2020 13:37:00 GMT
5 Reasons I Started Photographing Horses https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/6/5-reasons-i-started-photographing-horses Horse and equine photography in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire, HertfordshireRomantic SmudgeAmy and Smudge in a summer field

  1. Because I spend more time ferrying my kids to the yard than I spend ferrying myself to see actual human friends. Actually I’m not 100% sure if this is just down to me getting older though, and looking forward to a Friday night in… with a bottle of wine… and some snacks! But I do spend a considerable amount of time ferrying.

 

  1. Drawing lots with my wife as to who will be mucking out the ponies on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day…but secretly looking forward the quiet time away from everybody for a while. We actually had an argument about this - we both wanted some time away from the chaos that is a family Christmas. Getting to the yard was like taking a huge, calming breath.

 

  1. Accepting the fact our hallway is muddy for eight months a year. And always has a faint “eau de cheval” about it. Also, what my wife calls, “equine glitter” - that trail of straw and hay that sticks to every fibre of clothing… and hair.

 

  1. When photographing a toddler I inadvertently tried to gain their attention by clicking my tongue. No, seriously I did this.

 

  1. Apparently I love a challenge. Never work with children or animals, they say. How about working with both! I seem to have carved out a career where I have specifically chosen tricky subjects, but when you get it right… its worth it.

 

Essentially there was probably no avoiding it. I’m a photographer, and have been for years, I love the act of capturing images in the best possible way - and I spend considerable time around horses. It was pretty inevitable that those two worlds would collide at some point.

 

 

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(Ian Miller Photography) About Me https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/6/5-reasons-i-started-photographing-horses Wed, 10 Jun 2020 14:22:56 GMT
FAQ's https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/6/faqs 20200624-343037005656-FP6A2227-Edit20200624-343037005656-FP6A2227-Edit FAQ's
  1. How long will the shoot take?
  2. What happens during a shoot?
  3. What should I wear?.. What should my horse wear??
  4. How far will you travel?
  5. What if it's raining?

 

 

  1. Typically I will be with you for about two hours for a lifestyle shoot - this is not set in stone, I’m not looking at my watch the whole time. I have had shoots where we have been able to get everything we need in just over an hour… and some that have taken far longer to get all the shots. There are many factors that will affect how long we are working together, but if you factor about two hours you should be right. 

 

  1. When I arrive we will be spending a short time chatting and having a little look around at locations. I like to do this before even getting the camera out as it means I will have a chance to prepare, in my head, where I want to be for certain shots as well as giving you a chance to get used to me… and to feel relaxed (not everyone relishes being photographed!). Once we know where we are going to be working we can get your horse and start walking around the locations we identified earlier, taking photos as we go. One thing to bear in mind is that this is about the relationship between you and your horse - I want to photograph how you want to be with them, so I will rarely pose a shot. Mostly I will be getting you into a spot and just offering suggestions of where to look, maybe change how you have an arm or a leg positioned, but not much more than that. I want everything to look as natural as possible… but controlled for the best possible images. Once we feel we have exhausted the locations, or if your horse has had enough, and when I feel I have the details I need, we can call it a day - get the horses back, and I can pack up my camera. It’s quite an organic process, that is led by many factors. Which is why I don’t put an exact timeframe on a photoshoot. 

 

  1. “What should I wear” is one of the most common questions I get, but the answer is quite straightforward… keep it simple. Wear what you would wear to go out, but going out and looking great. Clothing to avoid would be anything overly bulky, or any patterns that could be described as ‘busy’ (that includes camo - we’ll most likely be outside… I need to be able to find you!). Also think about the weather. If it’s blowy you don’t want light, flappy fabrics or if there’s a bit of rain in the air then dark materials show rain drops less than pale fabrics. Essentially wear close, comfortable, uncomplicated clothes. As for your horse, that’s a bit easier. If you have a leather headcollar that is perfect, failing that just a bridle and reins will do.

 

  1. Spain, New Zealand? Hampshire? Because I don’t offer packages, every shoot is tailored to the specific needs of each client, I will factor travel expenses into a quote. I am more than happy to travel up to an hour and a half before I start thinking about adding those expenses, so Hampsire should be fine - New Zealand might cost a bit more. I am based near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, so an hour and a half from there does cover a lot of ground.

 

  1. Well this is the U.K. after all - and it does rain, usually at the least appropriate times. I will be checking the forecast leading up to the shoot, and if the weather is looking awful then we will simply have to reschedule. Ultimately we are trying to get photographs that look great and, although most weather can be used to great creative effect, gale force winds and sideways rain simply won't work! The upshot is - we can always look at re-arranging, but you would be surprised as to what we can work in and still get amazing shots.

 

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(Ian Miller Photography) clothing FAQ frequently asked questions locations https://www.ianmiller.photography/blog/2020/6/faqs Thu, 04 Jun 2020 14:17:00 GMT