Neil Buchan-Grant at Duke Studios, Leeds

I first discovered the work of Neil Buchan-Grant last year when I started to explore the community of Olympus OM-D evangelists having purchased my own OM-D back in March of 2013. Neil creates the most sublime black and white portraits, both from the street and in the studio, and really manages to capture the personality of the people he photographs. When Neil started his Prints for the Philippines appeal, whereby photographers donated some of their images to raise money for the people of the Philippines following the destruction wrought by typhoon Haiyan in November of 2013, I became even more impressed by him. When the chance to meet Neil, and learn some of his techniques, arose I jumped at the opportunity therefore. Olympus UK, via their Image Space website, organised a free workshop at Duke Studios in Leeds this weekend (25th January) where Neil was going to be showing us how to create and edit some studio portraits. There was also going to be an opportunity to have a go with the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 which I’d been keen to have a play with since it was announced last year.

Neil took us through a number of lighting setups, using both continuous lighting, which I’d never really tried before, as well as natural light. As ever Olympus did a great job with this event. They organised a couple of models (Zach and Alana from Face Model Agency), free coffee and tea, a great location and a goody bag at the end to keep everyone happy. Below are a few of the images I took on the day.You can find Neil’s description of the event here.

I take no credit whatsoever for any of the lighting setups, these all having being set up by Neil beforehand. It was great to see how effective relatively simple one or two light setups can be however. All images taken on my own Olympus OM-D E-M5 with M.ZUIKO 45mm f/1.8 and 60mm f/2.8 lenses. Post processing in Apple Aperture and onOne Perfect Photo Suite.

ISO 200, 1/40 @ f/4, Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm

ISO 200, 1/40 @ f/4, Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm

ISO 400, 1/125 @ f/4, Olympus M.ZUIKO 60mm

ISO 400, 1/125 @ f/4, Olympus M.ZUIKO 60mm

ISO 400, 1/60 @ f/4, Olympus M.ZUIKO 60mm

ISO 400, 1/60 @ f/4, Olympus M.ZUIKO 60mm

I’m hugely impressed by these events that Olympus lay on. I’ve been to two others (see here and here) and love the variety they offer as well as having the chance to check out some of their new kit. As an Olympus convert I find these events really help to expand my horizons and give me opportunities to try some shoots I might not otherwise get the chance to.

One last thing. We also had the founders of the online photo sharing website Exhibtr at this event. This relatively new site allows users to showcase their work for free up to a limit of 100MB every month which equates to approximately 50 new images, whilst professionals, businesses and those requiring unlimited capacity can pay £2 per month to become premium account holders. I’ve signed up for an account and will be trying it out over the next month or two.

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