Sunday, 13 December 2009

One Day Photography Courses Sussex, south coast.

Our Photography courses are reduced for the remaining weeks to January and return from £99 as a special offer to £105 from January 1st 2010.
So fill your boots!
Courses here

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Photography Course Vouchers for Christmas

Our unique One Day photography courses with a profesesional photographer are doing well and proving to be a hit again this Christmas. If you are lost for a gift, these make the perfect gift for budding and long term hobbyists and those with an interest in developing their skills further.

We have been running these courses for the past two years very succesfully, taking in the unique South Downs and Brighton seafront, with the added bonus of a pub lunch up on the Downs. It's a unique day, where skills are learned in a supportive, non-competitive environment in which those attending leave with an excellent range of new skills, confidence and above all the inspiration required to spend more time with their camera creating the images they believe in.

See the site here for booking details at excellent value; I'm not sure how much longer we can keep our prices down at this level.

Two more excellent Wedding Photographers in France have recently joined with us, Nicolas Gornas and Johan Majerus and I would like to welcome both to Wedding Photography World. In addition Barbara Fryer, based in Devon as a Wedding Photographer, has also recently joined us. I would like to welcome all three as we look to economic recovery in 2010. The Christmas booking season is about to commence so these photographers are very well placed to benefit from our google position that has been achieved through several years very hard work. It never ceases to amaze me just how many high quality wedding photographers across the globe we now have with us.

I will also be covering a number of local events this Christmas in Brighton including a wine tasting event in the Fiveways area of Brighton and corporate events in hotels near the seafront, as well as two or three in London. I am also booked for several family portraits; it is lovely to see families returning to this tradition; I wonder what future generations will make of the period when family portraits just didn't happen. What a sad loss in those families histories. Still, as a genre it is on the rise again so not all is lost. For the first time in a long time I am enjoying my photography again, I think every professional goes through this at some stage, interests wain, business detracts from the creative side and creative flows ebb like the tide; well the tides in and I am at my most creative for years so fill your boots! :-)

Friday, 30 October 2009

Johann Majerus joins Wedding Photography World

I am delighted to announce that Johann Majerus, the Wedding Photographer based in Marseille in the South of France is joining with
Johann will be covering weddings across France, he has a superb portfolio and has excellent communication skills meaning he is very capable of understanding what you want to achieve in your wedding images.
Johann's banner will be live on our France page shortly, in the days ahead, so check back then to see more of Johann's lovely photography.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009 and

Two new websites for the Brighton and Hove areas have gone live last month. and
Both are intended as community sites with Directories for businesses and the community alike, including details of community allotments, car shares, car clubs and skills trading for a cashless exchange system between locals. If you are holding a non-commercial event let us know and we will post up your event details for you.

Fiveways Photography, Brighton, East Sussex

Fiveways Photography in Brighton, East Sussex, is now taking bookings for Christmas and New Year portraits. So if you want a family group shot whilst everybody is visiting this christmas give us a call on 01273 542970.

Taking bookings now for weddings in London, Brighton, Surrey, Kent, Northern France, Italy and Africa now. Some dates for 2010 still available.

Commercial and Event shoots. If you are having a party this Christmas, or launching a new gallery for example, and want your Event covered, get in touch. We are highly experienced in these areas and very discreet whilst photographing, we wont step on your guests toes! We blend in like chameleons and produce stunning results. Highly experienced at celelbrity parties and events.

See more at

Destination Wedding Photographers NYC, California, Florida and Caribbean sought. is seeking Destination Wedding Photograpehrs across the US to join with us. Favourite Destinations for UK couples are NYC, Florida, California and the Caribbean.

We already have some of the very best wedding photographers with us covering France, Italy, Spain and Estonia in Europe, as well as London and the UK of course, as well as photographers in Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, and northern Europe. Photographers in the US are now joining us, so come and join us too!

Brighton Photography Course Vouchers for Christmas

Courses continue at a pace, not least due to the fine Indian summer we are experiencing this October. Courses running throughout the winter.
Vouchers avilalbe for the One Day Landscape Photography course in Brighton, Sussex and on the south Downs, running most saturdays in the month. Vouchers are open for 12 months and make a perfect gift for the budding enthusiast or for those just seeking to get more out of their camera. Ideal for both beginners and those with a moderate ability alike.
We tend to go out in groups of four or five and the day presents the perfect opportunity to spend the day with your camera learning from a professional photographer. Starting on the South Downs at around 10am we spend the morning going over the basics and considering composure, light and the wonderful landscapes presented to us. After a second stop on the Downs and another remarkable landscape we stop for lunch and spend the afternoon on Brighton seafront with its wealth of character and Victorian architecture, street furniture, two piers and of course the Channel.
The days present a unique opportunity to learn as much as possible from your camera and provide the basis for you to go on and enjoy the camera with a better understanding and ability with its functions and settings, as well as a far clearer idea of what makes a good picture, and most importantly the confidence to express yourself through the lens with whatever you are presented with. Clean air, exercise and fun thrown in at no extra cost :-)

See more here Taking bookings now for Christmas, vouchers available, these make an ideal, unusual and original gift. Feel free to call me on 01273 542970 for more information or simply book online.

Friday, 31 July 2009

That was the July that was!

Well folks, as August stretches out ahead of us that was certainly the July that was. Major life changes going on here at Gordon Acres; I cannot quite believe Alfie has finished at junior school and is about to embark on his secondary school career. The powers that be introduced a lottery system here in Brighton for allocating school places, having closed one school down, completely having thrown the towel in, and used some strange social engineering method to distribute kids from the closed school in an underprivalaged area across the rest of the City. It left the rest of the City spitting nails to say the least because the decent schools near to us suddenly looked like they would deny locals access in favour of non-locals, with no idea where the local kids would go or how far they would have to travel etc.
The political classes who designed this system frankly are a disgrace and I doubt to this day they have any appreciation of the hell they not only put families through but the sheer stress suffered by children themselves; fortunately Alfie got into the school of his choice and our choice too, by way of a lottery delivered by political idiots too incompetent to manage a failing school that by closing it instead, caused all the major heart ache last year as a result into this year. We got confirmation in March this year. Still, we mustn't dwell on such things, at the risk of becoming old and is hardly suprising although no less disgusting that so many nazis were elected from the UK to the European Parliament in the recent Euro Elections. These are dangerous times we live in, not least because the major political parties are not grasping the nettle.
Interestingly here in Brighton, our fair and liberal City by the sea, the Green Party polled more votes than either of the two main parties Labour and Tories. The times they are a changing indeed.
Today, we have had a great man and photographer join with us on the site, Mr Shawn Engbrecht, a destination wedding photographer based in Florida. Shawn has shown great committment and joined with us for two years and is looking, like us, to the longer term. Shawn's pedigree is perfect in so many ways, he is outward looking, cultured, well travelled having lived in Paris and London, holds multiple passports, speaks multiple languages, has worked on photojournalism projects in Africa and has recently been embedded with the troops in Afghanistan. Now, I speak to a lot of brides, couples and grooms to be, and one of the consistent themes that comes across is this; the most articulate and discerning clients dont necessarily want traditional wedding photography, or even contemporary photography; asked to articulate what they want and it is almost impossible for any couple to do so, it's like asking them to write the next Bob Dylan song. What they want is a soundtrack to their wedding in photography; the closest I have ever heard someone articulating what they wanted was this; 'I want Don McCullin, the war photographer, to cover my wedding.'
Upon further investigation as to exactly what the groom meant, a really interesting discussion by the way, he didn't want dark, brooding war photos but a no holds barred, good bad and ugly account of the day and night. Now, the world is full of capable and amazing photographers, but in Shawn I cannot help feeling we have been fortunate enough to capture , in every positive sense of the word, a photographer that has not only the capacity photographically to lead in a new direction, but the warmth and human skills it takes to really relate to and understand people. After several email conversations with Shawn over the past week or so we finally managed to connect on phone, and what struck me was that here was a person taking the right approach to the hare and the tortoise race; he knows his field, he knows what he is good at and his communication skills are superb. Shawn is taking the more considered approach to the race. Factor in his travel experience and war covergae, his knowledge of foreign Cities such as Paris and London, his language skills and his preperadness to travel the earth, and I think we really have someone rather special emerging here, and I am very pleased indeed that Shawn has joined with us. Welcome Shawn, I hope this is the start of a very good business relationship.

In other news, we will be running one of our photography courses on the south downs and Brighton seafront on 8th August, see for more details. The donated courses to my childrens school were snapped up which is very encouraging; there is no doubt a market out there, what I am still working on is the best way to reach it. Part of me is content to run the courses to the capacity we do currently, selling around 20-30 per year, it's not very many but I really enjoy them, it gets me away from the PC, out in the fresh air, challenges my own skills, keeps me sharp, and I get to meet some great people keen to develop and learn with their own new or old cameras. Whilst running the last course I spent the day with a journalist looking to extend his own skills and two sisters, one retired and the other about to embark on a lifetimes opportunity trip to Canada for several weeks. I think what really struck me was here was a group of diverese and disparate (not desperate I hasten to add) people, of different generations, facing different life challenges at different times in our lives, including myself, embarking down new roads and finding solice in the camera again. And for this is what it is all about. It's not about making a fortune; or running the best courses ever. It's about being able to impart information and skills topeople that what to learn, in a way I am almost delivering what I needed when I first picked up a camera. A non-competitive day with a professional learning as much as possible. I hope when I reach retirement age I still have the faculties and will to embrace new technologies and learning experiences. People really are quite amazing
In this time of flux, both economically and technologically it is great to see people from different walks of life taking up photography, albeit for different purposes and reasons, whether it was the writer who wanted an edge by being able to illustrate articles with better photography, to the retiree who wanted to get more out of her time and camera, to the sister about to travel across the pond on a trip of a lifetime. So for two vouchers to sell at the end of term school fare was very encouraging and positive; the only downer was they sold for a fraction of the selling price which is under market value whilst I establish this side of the business. Silly me, being too trusting, expected parents at the school to pay a reasonable price for them, meaning the school would have made more money, the whole purpose of donating in the first place. Still, this is my fault, and you live and learn, next time I set a minimum price for the school to benefit from. For me, the 200 or so parents present are now aware such a course runs and the network principle, of each person knowing 7 people, potentially brings a whole new 1400 people who will know the courses are running in Brighton. So, not a bad deal all round but I do wish the school had made more from it. Cant blame human nature for grabbing a bargain though, I would have done the same so no hard feelings. And I get to spend the day on the South Downs with my camera again.

I am working towards producing some portraits of Billy Bragg; the great musician and political commentator, I will update on progress, as it develops.
And this evening Karl from Elwood Wines here in Brighton popped in with some Californian wines to be shot over the weekend for a promotion next week, and yes I get to keep the wines! Two reds and a cheeky looking white! ;-) Karl is running a tasting again at the end of September, if you want to get ahead with wines locally in Sussex do speak to Karl, he really knows his stuff and isn't remotely stuffy. I went to a tasting some months ago, and the whites in particular were superb. It was a memorable evening not least because I went on afterwards to photograph Hugh Cornwell of the Stranglers playing live at the Concorde2 on Brighton seafront, met up with some old friends and had a fantastic night. The wines Karl can put you in touch with are genuinely superb, real head fillers that stay with you long afterwards, great nose and superb subtle tastes. I'm no wine buff, but these were good, very fine wines. So check him out at Elwoods Wines, all very reasonably priced too, cases of 12 around the £110 mark, although often under, some at just £96, delivered to your door. I produced some photos for Karl and his lovely wife Tracey with their youngest child down onthe beach earlier in the month, and then went onto the French market that pitches up on Hove Lawns. I'll try and add an image or two.
Karl and I are also discussing the prospect of businesses locally, like us both, without a shop front, running some kind of a pre-christmas event, with local hidden businesses running a desktop event in a local venue to present all these hidden talents to the community and to drum up more business locally. There's a massive push to buy locally, cut out food travel miles, carbon footprints etc, and this is one way to really bring the communities attention to what's out there. So, if you run a business near to Fiveways in Brighton and want to get involved, get in touch.
And so to August....happy holidays to all.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Destination wedding photographers needed across all US States

and the weekend photography courses. Last weekends courses went extremely well, it is very gratifying to watch peoples skills and appreciation of learning developing throughout the day. It was incredibly hot, and both the south Downs and Brighton seafront were busy. Very successful and thoroughl enjoyed,so come and join us for a one day photography course in Sussex, more details here

I am still trying to make headway in the States and am seeking Destination Wedding Photographers in all States, New York, Florida, California, Hawaii, Mexico, Cancun, and Washington DC in particular, but all States so that we can genuinely respond to enquries received. An air of confidence exists, dare I say, and visitor numbers are up and enquiries are coming in again.Reports from elsewhere are that some couples are still spending substantial budgets, so if you are a localor Destination Wedding Photographer in New York, California, Florida, Washington, Boston, Hawaii etc do come and take a look at the site, we are extremely good value. and urgently need photographers across the US to join with us.

As the 4th anniversary of 7/7 passes I was tremendously proud to see the memorial go up in Hyde Park today, not least because I am a Londoner at heart. I didn't, fortunately, know anyone that died in thos horrific and cowardly attacks on Londoners, but I do know people that were present on the Kings Cross tube that was attacked, and I used the Morgate line train on a daily basis for more years than I care to remember. Some days will live in the memory forever. As Londoners, we are too tough to succumb to terrorism, proud and foolish perhaps to a fault; everyone that has sought to terrorise us as a community eventually comes unstuck. Ask Hitler. But today has been about offering our support and thoughts to those left behind by the attrocity. If only people could find more peaceful ways of living, it cannot be that difficult. And is so much more preferrable to the awful consequences of mindless andblind hatred. RIP the 52.

Have a great week.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Photography in an English heatwave?

Here it comes again. 23 degress at a little past 6am. :) These are fine days, incredible colours given to us from nature that photoshop will never be able to replicate.
Let's get out there and enjoy folks. 31 degrees today and Murray is through to the semi-finals. Can he go all they way? We'll soon know. He's as cool as cucumber, I'll give him that, quite extraordinary, dealt with the wild card in straight sets.

And in this heat. A consumate professional. At last.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Steven Wells is dead.

I have just learned Steve Wells is dead. Wells, or Swells as he was known, was best known for his writings in the NME, if memory serves me well he was Editor for a while.
Before Swells joined the NME he worked as a 'ranting poet' supporting Paul Weller and the Jam on tour with Attilla the Stockbroker. Attilla, John as I know him, used to put together Punker Bunker here in Brighton with the likes of TV Smith and Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, and on one occassion I was fortunate enough to photograph them all. Not sure that Swells was there that night at Concorde, but I used to read Swells avidly, for his barbed, intelligent remarks and pot shots aimed at a complacent England.
I cannot believe he has gone. RIP Swells.

Read Johns/Atillas remarkably moving tribute to Swells here:

Swells was followed by Barbara Ellen who, despite being a decent broadsheet writer now, couldn't follow Swells. No-one could. Swells was Swells. After Swells left NME as Editor I never enjoyed it as much and soon stopped reading it atogether. He passed away a couple of days before Glastonbury. Shit man he would have loved The Specials on Friday night.

Heatwave, at last!

Summer's definately here at last!

Last night, early evening, I spent driving around some of the lovely old villages of Sussex, just clear my head and get away from the keyboard! It's truly lovely out there, under the edge of the Devils Dyke, east of Burgess Hill, it is stunning. Poynings, Fulking, (no I am not swearing) Edburton, a lovely string of villages along the huge slopes and hills of the Dyke. I went of in search of poppy fileds, not to much avail. It might still be too early. Some summers it is as though the fields themselves run with blood.

I am running one of the landscape photography courses this saturday with a small group, one place remaining if anyone is interested, and again on the 19th July. See more hrere and click on courses in the main menu. It is going to be v hot, so lots of water and suncream will be essential.

I thoroughly enjoyed BBC4's run on female photograpehrs at the weekend, Linda McCartney's work in particular, and her comments on Hendrix cover on Electric Lady Land that he had asked her to create for him before the record company in Europe usurped his won wishes with the more widely known image it was released with. I would have liked to have seen more on Jane Bown though.

Having had my apetite wet i've been spending more time out with the camera this week, even in this heat, early morning or early evening is best. The light by 11am is too harsh and stays that way until gone 5pm, by 6pm those lovely long summer shadows are emerging and by 7pm everything is bathed in a lovely deep orange overglow. Wonderful days. The Nikon D40 is holding up well, a little plastiky for my liking at times, but small and lightweight, ideal in so many ways, simple functions, Nikon's build quality and good versatility. Still love the old F90x remains close to my heart despite the alluring and cost effective digital era, film images once printed are simply better, especially monochrome, using a master printer.

Dont forget to drink lots of water folks!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Courses and updates, wedding service providers.

Hi, This week it looks as though rain will disrupt planned courses. I had planned to be out on Saturday, but Friday and Saturday are set to be 'wash outs' on the south coast of England, despite a glorious day today.
The next course is planned for 4th July if you would like to join us, get in touch.

We have also developed a specialist page on the site for Wedding Planners, particularly Destination Wedding planners, as well as for planners in the Destination locations. We have seen a recent upsurge in visits so it is possible markets and economies are recovering. It has been a difficult year, to say the least, so I hope this is a sign that young couples being are beginning to find confidence in the short term future again, and feel able to plan weddings again. Whilst we have continued to receive visits and enquries from across the globe like other markets we are considerably down on this time last year. I guess it is difficult to plan a future under such economic uncertainty; the setting down of deposits for future events, with balances to pay in the future, comes starkly into focus when there is little certainty that current employment will still be there the following week, let alone the next month.
The enquiries we are receiving have substantial budgets so there is hope that the upsurge in visitors again will see a strong upturn in enquiries through the remainder of 2009 and 2010 also. Either way, we are extremely wellplaced for when the recovery does emerge, to be even more successful than we have been already. Our strength comes from knowing, understanding and delivering within niche markets, providing unique services and being prepared to liase with, and be a point of contact for site visitors, in an area of life they have lots of excitement about, but also lots of uncertainties and almost next to know experience of. By offering our services, and by being at the end of the phone, we are almost unique in the world as a point of reference, as well as providing some of the finest photographers in the world for them to choose from; as well as experts in the field, planners and organisers in many chosen regions and locations, for local or destination weddings. If I was in the couples shoes, I would most certainly want our services out there; this is the basis for our strength, future growth and platforms for photographers and planners, as well as couples, for now and for the future. See more here

If you run a Venue for Destination weddings see our destination wedding venue site at

Friday, 19 June 2009

Course dates

Two new photography course dates set; 27 June and 4 July, both likely to be oversubscribed but dont panic Mr Mannering, there'll be another along shortly. Much of July will be dedicated to delivering courses, which even if I say so myself, have become highly polished, so there!
Got a camera? Cant understand the front end from the rear? Do F-stops and shutter speeds remain alien, unconquerable concepts? Then get ahead, get on our course. :)

See details here and click on courses in the main menu.

Plaxo Groups Wedding Professionals.

Dear All,

Just to alert you to,and to invite you all, to take advantage of our current offers on
These exist for both Wedding Photograhers, wedding planners/organisers and hoteliers. The Plaxo groups are invited to take full advantage and gain the highest listings before these opportunities are offered to the wider wedding professionals communities out there. The site has had over 160,000 visitors relating to weddings and destination weddings and it is our estimation as economies recover visitors numbers will rise even faster, so come and get a profile whilst rates are at there best.

Jim Gordon

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Wild wild day on the Coast.

Not long in from an exhausting day running a photography course on the south Downs and Brighton seafront. The wind was relentless, it's supposed to be June, not January! Lovely though, al the same, white horses on the Chanel and crashing waves on the stone beach. The chap I was training with today, Frasier, is off to Afghanistan in August for a 6 month tour of duty. I seriously think I need to offer a reduced price for service personnel in these times especially.

On a completely different front, it looks as JG Barcelona hotel are about to start advertising with us on Barcelona is a wonderful City and one of those obvious Destinations often overlooked. It is not only a wonderfully artistic City hosting Picasso's, Miro's and Dali's amongst so many others, it is a heck of alot cheaper than both Tuscany and Provence, both of which can be over-run with tourists at this time of year. The country side to the north of Barcelona andsouth of Girona, is not that different to Tuscany and offers plenty of sprawling famhouses for you and youe wedding guests too. With a back drop of the Pyrenes stradling the French/Spanishborder I just dont understand why it is so often overlooked as a superb wedding destination. A wonderful part of the world with enigmatic and interesting people, architecture, art and culture. Put it on your short list!

Friday, 5 June 2009

New Destination Weddings forum

Hi All,

This is the address of our new forum for couples and brides seeking information on Destination Weddings. Come and say hi. Please respect the simple rules, you can post your business address in your Signature but please do not post in the thread unless it is in direct answer to a bride seeking services you know of or provide. The purpose is to provide a resource for the whole community; all are welcome and I hope in time it will become somewhere couples will use to find the information they need for their Destination Wedding.


Worldwide Wedding professionals and Planners sought

Hi All, is a referral site for Destination wedding photographers.
Now we have an excellent profile in the wedding business I am seeking wedding planners internationally, Stateside, Europe, Australia, Asia, to join with us as a resource for our visitors. 160,000 visitors over the last couple of years and up to 1000 visitors in a day during the busiest periods in the year, we have linked couples to wedding photographers right across the globe.

We are now looking to extend the use of our services for visitors, and invite all Wedding Planners and professionals to come and join with us. An advert lasts for 12 months, is currently reduced from£199 down to just £99 whilst we recruit, and with a low UK pound this is a superb opportunity for all.

I look forward to seeing you joining with us shortly.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Wedding Photography World

All UK based wedding photographers can now join us for reduced rate in 2009 for 12 months for just £50, reduced from £99. This includes both an advert in the county or region section and the referral service, whereby brides input there details to us via the site and we forward the enquiries to subscribing wedding photographers for that region to respond to.
We receive up to 1000 visitors in a day during the busiest periods and there have now been 160,000 visitors to the site.
We have patchy coverage in certain UK areas and are specifically seeking wedding photographers in the Newcastle and Northumbria areas, northwest, Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire and Yorkshire, as well as Norfolk, north Wales and the south west, Devon, Cornwall, Dorest and Avon including Bristol specifically.
Once a good network of wedding photographers exists across the UK normalpricing will resume,and we also welcome photographers from Scotland, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Borders, Highlands and Norther Ireland to join us too.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

New not forget suncream!

Today was spent with the lovely Lauren and her sister Sarah. Sarah is 7 months pregnant so I was extremely cautious about where we were, what we were doing etc.Some days the course can be exhausting enough, there is something about being out in the wilds all day that really takes it out of you. Most days I am office bound and it is a pleasure to 'get out there' with the camera but I was concerned for Sarah from lunch time onwards.
Lauren managed to capture one of the Downs most elusive and shy butterflies that sometimes stop on the buttercups for anano second. Full frame, crystal pin point clear. Simply amazing, a fantastic shot.
It was around 26 degrees celcius and,once off the Downs, the heat really built on the seafront so we didn't get nearly as far as we woud normally, not that this was a problem. Both Sarah and Laura seemed to take away not only some great images but a newfound confidence in using the cameras settings. I cannot express in words sometimes how trick it is to convey, teaching is a skill I am still honing! Lauren and Sarah both took to it though like ducks to water and I am confident that with time and dedication, both will develop real skills in their photography and become very proficient and adept in producing the images seen in the minds eye. It was a pleasure to spend the day with both; charming, intelligent, and above all a keen eagerness to learn.
By the end of the day I really felt for Sarah, it was a tall order to ask of her this late in her pregnancy to come out on the course, and I was really impressed with her determination.I have suggested that later in the year both Sarah and Lauren come and join me again for an afternoon on the seafront so that we can complete what we would ordinarily;it really was not only the hottest day of the year so far but far too tall an order to expect Sarah to wak all the way to the west Pier wreckage from the King Alfred area!
Tonight as usual after delivering a course I am exhausted and having eaten have barely left the sofa since 5pm this evening! Factor in the sunburn and dehydration and it is safe to say I will be keeping out of the sun tomorrow. This is the first time I have run courses back to back, one day after another, and it is both mentally and physically demanding in a way I hadn't expected. Positively challenging. Sarah also asked if there was a follow on course and I conceded that I need to give some thought to this area as I think there is scope for perhaps producing a follow up course for those that want it; I imagine some that attend the course would find it very useful to come back and cover new questions and challenges; my initial thoughts are a follow up day or two each year for all that have attended a course, perhaps a half day classroom session with a return to the 'field' as it were in the afternoons. I need to get some feedback from people on this to see if it is viable, and I need to face down worries I would have myself about tackling questions in the Digital field that I am still learning about myself; that's not just a confidence matter I need to address, it is fundamental to what I am doing. I am a photographer however, and I know my photography regardless of the digital revolution, the actual implementation of producing a high quality photograph is my domain.
Part of me needs to acept that some students will have a greater digital knowledge than I do; having developed my own skills in the non-digital era, and being more open to the digital revolution now than I have ever been, the fundamental elements of photography remain the same. I still talk about allowing enough light through the cameras setting, using apertures and shutter speed settings to allow light onto the FILM. There is of course nothing wrong with that; the fundamentals have not changed. And the fact a higher F stop equates to a smaller aperture does not sit naturally the the brains wires remains a challenge after all these years. It is really difficult to convey to students; some just get it and others like me find it confusing. I guess some simply have brains wired to comprehend the conundrum and others like me will struggle, it is one of photography's many quirks. Master it though, and there is a dramatic improvement in the images taken. Stepping up anddown the f stops used to be simple; you would just turn the ring on the lens to the desireed f stop f-11 down to f-8 although you are actually stepping up the scale, opening the aperture wider and allowing more light into the desired image by using a smaller number on the f-scale. These days it seems the cameras are so technical that to make the most perfunctory change in camera function, especially when the camera itself is one I am not familiar with, there is almost a need to reach for the cameras manual. I wonder if manufacturers such as Nikon and Canon realise that a simple base function in photography has become unnecessarily complicated.
A camera body can only hold so many function buttons and faced with such n array of mind boggling functions when only the simplest of changes in f-stops is required, is an irony most certainly not lost on me! The digital revolution, as it likes to term itself, still has a very long way to go before it can deliver simple, high calibre functionality in good build quality using a reliable camera body for the function it is designed for. Going backwards, as far as I understand, it is not a revolution. Not to put too thick a crust on this revolution argument, there is significant risk to manufacturers that the advantages in digital, and there are clearly very significant advantages in being able to see an image moments after you have clikced the shutter release, are being overwhelmed with the lack of simple functionality that is actually required. I cannot help feeling that manufacturers are losing sight of what is actually required for the sake of chasing a market expectation for all dancing and singing cameras. It doesn't sit comfortably with manufacturers, but the fact remains what is important is th person behind the camera, not the camera itself. So long as a camera functions and has a reasonable lens quality, whizz bang features and digital science are largely redundant, so try not to be seduced by the sexiest advertising and marketing ever. It is not easy, but you the student, your imagination, your choice to convey and express your vision in photography does not need a whiz bang camera. Without you the camera is useless. We are at risk of venturing into tail wagging dog territory, partly because manufacturrs have convinced Joe public that all that is required to be the next big thing in photography is one of their latest cameras. It isn't true,dont believe the hype.The person behind the camera and the thought processes, imagination, means to express and creative ability cannot be manufactured.
The kind of advertsing and marketing I do recommend you be seduced by is the sun cream industry. I always advise students to charge batteries and pack a pac-a-mac in case of inclement weather either on the south Downs or the sussex seafront; today I wish I had taken some suncream.
Yours, burning into the night!

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Surf's UP!

What a day. What a superbly singularly fantastic day today was.

I ran one of our one day Landscape Photography courses up on the Downs today with two brothers, andI have to say it was oneof the more succesful days. Not that others are not, just some will stand out in the memory for longer. They were both a pleasure to work with and the confidence levels just rose all day until by the end of the day I couldn't believe just how far they had come, not just in termsof confidence but in terms of the quality of photography being produced.To say a very high standard had been reached would not be putting too fine a point on it.
We ended on the beach as usual, taking in the beach huts in all their glorious multi colours, and rusty padlock and hinge details, really working hard on macro detail, as well as the Peace Statue on Brighton seafront and various buildings, such as the lovely old sea front Embassy Court; built in the style of a tall Ocean liner, it was recently refurbished by Joseph Conrad in a slightly dulling off white. Pitched against the glorious pristine blue sky both are absolute stunners....
Talking of stunners, we were very fortunate to join the BrightonGroup Shoot at the West Pier on the seafront. BGS, as it is known, is an annual, sometimes twice annual, group event where photographers andmodels get together to help each other enhance each others portfolios. It is a superb opportunity for all to jump into this kind of work; you can keep it simply head and shoulders as I tend to or go down the bikini route as others do which I am never quite comfortable with; not just on moral or PC basis, and no offence intended to the models, I just find it all a little too naff and clich├ęd from a photography point of view. I worked with several very beautiful women ( and no I am not Swiss Tony!) and the skin tones and bright lively eyes should be enough for any photographer really.
What amazed me though, with the two customers with me today, was that after a simple introductory shoot with a lovely woman called April both grew in real confidence and just jumped in. I was really pleasantly suprised, one brother zonedin on a particular model that caught his eye ( deep red hair, pale skin and a chinese umbrella on her shoulder), persuaded her to shoot with him and both brtohers took to it like ducks to water. And the images were absolutely amazing, when I receive a couple of copies I will post them up so you can see what I mean.
Both reported they had had an awful day and wanted their money back! :-)

So, all in all,the course and day were a great success. I am suffering for burning a little though, not badly fortunately. By 5pm the light was just perfect. So come and join us, courses are very reasonably priced and offer a very rare opportunity to not only spend a day out with your camera but with the support of a professional able to guide you through the camera's settings, elements of composure, using light, focussing in on detail using macro, depths of field etc etc,and courses are always pitched to your ability so be put off byany jargon; I promise itis a jargon free day! These two Alpha Essex lads were pouring over bluebelles, butter cups and grass heads up on the Downs at mid-day today, and thoroughly enjoying themselves. One even said onshowing me his flower photos ' but dont tell my dad.' Hahaha. It is a genuine joy to watch peoples confidence and artistic expression come to the fore with such great results.
This evening, Mrs Blog and daughter Blog (son Blog is on a sleepover) are watching Briatains GotTalent (give me strength.........) so I am retiringto the garden with a large glass of iced ginger beer and and fine Rioja to stare skywards and watch the swallows dance in the sky, high, high above. These are the days that we live for!
See the details for our one day photography courses in Brighton, Sussex here Click on Courses in the main menu for a taster of the perfect day out.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Some images from Saturday.

A few images from the weekend photography course around Brighton and the south Downs.

Sunny days, photography tuition and avoiding sunburn!

Saturday I ran another of our photography courses on the south Downs and on Brighotn seafront. I had advised students, as I do on the day or days before, to remember to charge camera batteries, bring a spare if possible, and to pack a pac-a-mac type outer wear in case of inclement weather. The south Downs Way can be wild at times. I should, of course, have reminded myself and students to bring sun cream at this time of year. Ouch! As ever, I never feel myself burning up until late in the day, and too late to do much about it, I really must get into the habit of applying sun protection before going out. The sun is extremely powerful at this time of year, particularly in unsheltered areas like the south downs and Brighton seafront.

After starting at Ditchling Beacon we movedon to Devils Dyke. Both points provide very dramatic scenery and endless possibilities with the camera. I never tire of these places. Lunch was at the pub at Devils' Dyke, and whilst adequate, thisis such a splendid natural place that the food served really ought to be, and could quite easily be, substantially better than what is on offer. Lunch was ultimately dissapointing, I am thinking there are better places to eat in town; it's not cheap either, just consistently poor and I work too hard for my money to spend it on 'not very good.' One day someone with the means will take this place by the horns and do a roaring trade based on good quality. It was also disapointing to see the National Trust introducing Car Park charging when it has been free for as long back as I can remember. Ok, it's only two pounds, but this is one of the last places that could be enjoyed for free, and in a recession as serious as this one, the NT could not have chosen a worse time to introduce charging.

The course was a great success, thoroughly enjoyed, good company, intelligent questions and real ability as well. It is a pleasure to see others getting as much out of photography as possible, and enjoying getting to grips with camera settings, exposures, composure etc etc. I'd run these courses 6 days a week if I could. Ah well, we cant have everything in life, and I have another course running next weekend, with more vouchers sold this week in the run up to Father's Day, and a number of new wedding photographers in Australia joining us as well. And the sun has been shining too!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Perfect weather in Brighton, Sussex. More photography courses coming.

Last night I sat in the garden as the light faded to blackness and watched about a dozen swallows darting around above the house and it got me thinking, if, as the saying goes, 'one swallow does not a summer make,' how many swallows qualifies summers arrival? I'm sure I saw a bat darting around too in the bay tree beyond ourboundary as the light dimmed, it was too big and fast to be an insect, and could only be seen in peripheral vision against lighter elements in the sky. Sussex at this time of year is just wonderful.
The swallows have just followed hotly on the back of the stunning bluebells that have been in absolute abundance this year, and today is warm with blue skies, some cloud, but the very best light available currently. By midday the light wil be too harsh for the best of photography, returning to a less harsh light around 4pm and then giving over to the wonderful long shadows of summer evenings before the light fades again. The prospect of summer laying itself out ahead is a good one,let's all hope the English weather does not let us down...

Lots of people are booking up on the photography courses again, I think the good weather encourages people. See more here:

January and February are not terribly inspiring photographically, despite the snow. Few people want to spend all day out in challenging weather conditions. Last weeks photography course here in Brighton andup on the south Downs was a great success, both gentleman were already quite accomplished which is always potentially challenging, but I was delighted with the way both responded to encouragement and it felt almost like letting two dogs, metaphorically speaking, off the leash on the beach; they were gone in a moment enjoying what they were here to do, testing angles, bracketing, composing, just thoroughly enjoying there cameras with some new found knowledge and ideas about being creative with the camera. When people leave at the end of the day, with confidence high, and a good collection of new images for themselves, I can relax knowing that my job is done, as was the case on that day. I have at least two more dates in May for courses, and a little bit of a backlog from Christmas vouchers that have had to be postponed due to poor weather; not much point in photographing fog clouded or rain drenched landscapes and seascapes. Looking ahead, I should be clear by June and am taking photography course bookings for the rest of the summer and autumn. The success and popularity of the courses, I believe, is in part, that it is not easy to simply carve out a day with the camera, most people are too busy to dedicate to a term at night school, and there really is no substitute for being out in the landscape learning photography, particularly, Brighton's wonderful seascapes, beach huts, Victorian frontage, architecture and street furniture.

Apparently there is a remake of Graeme Greenes Brighton Rock happening, the classic with Richard Attenborough as 'Pinkie', set in the 1940's. Greene wrote the original screen play. The remake is set in the 1960's of the times Mods and Rockers would visit Brighton, amongst other seaside towns on bank holidays, for a good old fashioned punch up! Filming is expected to begin in September with two up-and-coming stars, Sam Riley and Carey Mulligan, taking the lead roles of Pinkie Brown, the thug who was originally played by Lord Attenborough, and Rose, the waitress he married to prevent her telling the police he was involved in a murder. Riley played a blinder, I thought, in his portrayal of Joy Divisions Ian Curtis, although the film for me was as much a success due to the incredible mono-tones in Anton Corbins first movie. So I have reasonable hopes for the remake; recent remakes to my mind have failed to equal or better the originals; The Italian Job being a prime example. Some things are not meant to be surpassed, now there's a thought in our banks gone bust capitalist mayhem of a society! Who would have thought that we might just simply enjoy what we've got rather than a constant, break neck speed chase and nose bleedingly charmless pursuit of ever greater wealth. I hope the remake does not turn into a gore fest on violence, part of the success of the original was the censorship back then, making the unseen and implied violence more intimidating than anything that could be graphically put to film.

Last week, I had a new Australian wedding photographer sign up to the destination wedding photographers service, and another from central Europe, so whilst I'm tired of hearing about green shoots of recovery, May has seen both people and businesses buying with more confidence again. So we have a new page on the website dedicated to Australian based wedding photographers and Australian Destination wedding photographers. However, as the saying goes ' a single swallow does not a summer make!'

Friday, 15 May 2009

Bluebell day photography tours.

Next week only, we are running Bluebell photography day tours. The Sussex bluebells are in absolutel abundance this year offering great photo oppotunities so come andjoin us. 10% off for bookings of four or more. Book online here

Come and develop your photography skills in fantastic settings for a day, in superb locstions around Sussex and Brighton.

We are also currently seeking Wedding Photographers in Australia, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane, as well as New York, Alabama, Florida, Miami, California, Mexico and Hawaii to come and join us at

Monday, 4 May 2009

Brighton Festival

Has started with a splash as always. This week has been taken up with a series of private viewings of various artists work and various related photography jobs. I had the pleasure of working with the lovely Kathy Laird on friday evening producing shots of her amazing garden pottery, see more here at
I am running a couple of landscape photography courses on the south Downs and Brighton seafront this week, as the weather improves so interest in the courses rises. If you are visiting the Festival why not extend your visit by a day and come and join us on a 1 day photography course in Sussex,more details here

The other main event of this week has been that Samo Rovan, a renowned photographer based in Slovenia has joined us at Samo has won this years prestigiuos Journalistic Photography award from the WPJA which is incredibly competitive and of an absurdly demanding standard. Only 5% of applicants are ever accepted let alone win anything so we are delighted that Samo has joined us. See more of Samo Rovans work here Welcome Samo, I hope we have a positive working relationship and success in the months ahead. We are also delighted to welcome Ilene Perlman, a wedding photographer from the US. Based out of Boston, Ilene is a highly accomplished travel photographer and produces stunning yet sensitive images of her subjects around the globe. Ilene is very well placed to serve the Destination Wedding Photography industry with such extensive travel experience and Ilenes photography speaks for itself. It is very beautiful, see more here in Brighton, Sussex continues to grow also, with a diverse range of commercial work and the occassional wedding. A close and positive working relationship is being developed with elwood wines here in Brighton, covering wine tastings and Dinners. The wines, as you would expect, are fantastic, and very well priced. After an elwood wines photography jobI had the pleasure of visitng Concorde2 and meeting friends, where Hugh Cornwall of The Stranglers was playing live. Cornwall was not keen on the idea of photographs, which ws fair enough, and having enjoyed some fantastic live songs such as Always the sun and No more heroes, I headed for home to rest my tired bones, with those wonderful songs swimming in my head and fine wines in my nose. It's a very good life some days!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Tuesday April 28 2009

Not entirely sure what all this blogging is about to be honest, but trying to keep an open mind against an instinct that says otherwise....
Anyway, introductions first. I'm Jim, I am a photographer andI run a marketing service to other wedding photographers around the world from the US, across Europe and down to Australia and South Africa. I live in Brighton, England and grew up in London, moving here nearly ten years ago when the family outgrew our London home and astronomical prices set us a new course.
Brighton is an ok place to live, it is liberal, interesting, has some great Victorian architecture, the lovely south downs which I now run photography courses on, and has just achieved National Park status, and the lovely English Chanel lapping on the shingle beach. It's a photographer's paradise to be honest, but it's not London, the greatest City on earth. For all that Brighton has going for it,andmaybe it is because I am from London, I do find it stifling at times, a little too provncial for my liking and very white middle class. Boringly bourgousie even at times. Pleasant enough of course and a good place to raise children, a good music scene and plenty of friends too so it's certainly not somewhere I want to move from either. Anyway, where would I go? France appeals at times.
The Brighton Festival is fantastic, and I must do more to get involved. I had a photography exhibition a couple of years back the got picked up by the BBC and it was very successful mostly. And I do love the Downs, I dont much care for the shopping centre but the Laines and North Laine are still quite exceptional with a range of independent shops, although international coffee shops and government business rates seem determined to squeeze them all out and hope to replace their charm with homogonised cultural nonsense. Give me the (closed down) Kite Shop, Bonsai Tree shop, Vegeterian Shoe Shop and Sixties clothes shop (not that I can possibly get into any of the sharp suits these days) over yet another effing Starbucks anyday.
I think I need to spend more timein the Capital and then I might fall in love with Brighton again as it is, for me at least, too small to be here 7 days a week.
Well, this is quite this why people blog? Sometimes you just have to work out things, or at least carve out some time to think and work out what is going on. With a young family and a business to run that isn't always possible.
So that's me; I moan alot, and grumble, i'm critical without cause, and dont get into London often enough. :-) Photographically I'm looking for a new project and need to finish off one or two alsoo. I need to go and spend some time in Egypt which doesn't appeal at all but I have been working on a project about the long forgotten Suez War back in the 50's. My fahter was posted their in the RAF as an Engineer and unlike so many others who didn't make it home again, made a big success of himself at IBM UK. Like every other ideaI tend to start at the front and work my way backwards through it to a conclusion. Originally I wanted to recordportraits of the men that survived and to record their stories because there is so little information out there from a UK perspective; it was a national humiliation and most wanted to forget it. My thinking on it is surely anything that costs hundreds of British lives needs recording properly, and examining, considering and presenting in various forms from differing angles if the next generations are to lern anything. The economic collpase shows we are not very good at learning all bubbles must burst, andthat doesn't bode well for a peaceful future for the next generation. Anyway, I've come to the conclusion the war at Suez was futuile, as so much war is, and it would be interesting to go and record elements of the landscapes, canal, it's people, to consider what exactly so many died for. The conflict at its apex, much a personality clash between Eden and Nassar on a national scale, brought the end ofBritish Empire as it was known, allowed the US to flex its muscle as the new World sominant power, defined the French independent nuclear programme outside Nato,and most alarmingly brought menacing threats from Kruschev stating 'London and Paris should not be suprised to find atomic bombs falling on them'. It was no suprise then, with the wider picture available, that the US stepped in and strong armed Britain and France out of Egypt. The Russians, seeing a vacuum coming, had started todeploy the new, as they were then, Mig fighter planes and had started to train Egyptian pilots in how to fly them. The British and French fleets had been at considerable risk as nobody seemed to know how far Egyptian flying training had gone. No one expected the Rusians to attack on Egypts behalf but nor did anyone know for certain that the Egyptians did not have the capacity to attack regardless.

And why does this matterI hear you ask? Because the official line still goes that only 23 lives were lost at Suez, but thegraveyards at Fayed hold the bodies of 1200 British servicemen who died in Egypt, defending the Canal, which was considered a vital strategic oil route forBritain, between 1940 and 1956. I wasn't even there and I know reliable of at least 7 people who died there. My interest I guess is that as my father could have been one to not come home, it really is a part of my heritage. And I want to go and see what our nations fought for, and whether it was as futile and inept as I suspect.
The Veterans Group go out there each spring still to honour the dead, and are now treated like kings by their old Egyptian foes. The UK Governmenthad consistently refused to issue medals for Suez until a very few short years ago so the Egyptians,disgusted with the UK's treatmentof its own fighting men, now treat them like royalty, with a guarded police escort everywhere they go, banquets, social events and generally making them as comfortable and welcome as they possibly can. What a shame our Governments cannot learn something from these men. Little more than 50 years ago these men would have killed each other onsite. Nasser's Army had gatheredon the hills 5 miles from the Fayed and had threatened topush the British into the Canal. And here they are ensuring an old foes comfort and safety in their land. It's quite amazing and deserves a far greater examination than has occurred so far. To ensure those lost are not forgotten, but also to ensure we do not keep making the same mistakes about war in the region. In 1955 I believe, the Tigris in Bagdhad burst it's banks flooding the City and driving inhabitants out into the harsh desert as refugees in their own country. These same chaps in the RAF flew sorties over Bagdhad dropping tents and blankets to help the civilians cut off by floods or exposed to survivng in the deserts. 50 years on many were visibly upset at the thought we were about to embark on bombing sorties of Bagdhad. So I wonder how strange the world will seem to my generation in 50 years time too. Anyway, enough for now. I must get to Egypt, but I must also sleep.
More later, another time.