Portfolio critique A4 Images

 Canon EOS 50E Lens 24-105 L  –  F3.5 1/60th Ilford HP5 Plus ISO400

Nik Andrews. The young Photographer. 12th September 2016

Initially, just a family snap on a day out to a steam railway. It is a picture of my wife and son with his first camera that he calls Hector. Sat in an old style railway carriage with only natural light from the large side windows, that help produce a lovely soft shadow around the faces to give the image a little depth. The moment captured is of a young boy talking to his mom about the impending steam rail journey. It was shot on Black & White Ilford HP5 film loaded

The moment captured is of a young boy talking to his mom about the impending steam rail journey. It was shot on Black & White Ilford HP5 film loaded into a Canon EOS 50e, the lens employed was a Canon 24-105 IS USM L F4.

I shot, developed and printed this image in the darkroom on art paper using  Fotospeed LE30 Liquid Emulsion. The process has made the image fit into the period of the day, I love how the streaks of the brush that applied the LE30 are visible and how the edges show where I failed to paint the chemicals.

Compositionally there are three elements in the shot that tell the viewer a story, the mother listening to a child and the camera. The scene that is set is of a family holiday or day out, even the brochure in hand adds to this fact.

I think I should have waited just a little longer to maybe get the two individuals to establish eye contact with each other as this would have given the image a little more emotion.

Canon EOS 50E Lens 24-105 L F11 1/250th Ilford HP5 Plus ISO400

Nik Andrews. Waiting for a signal. 12th September 2016

Photograph taken out of the window of a railway carriage, I framed this to keep everything in the shot period to the old days of steam. Shot on Ilford HP5 and scanned into the computer from the developed negative. There was some basic Photoshop editing to clean up a few scratches etc and a tone curve added to give the image a little extra punch. Shot on a Canon EOS 50E Lens used was a 24-105 L with settings of F11 1/250th ISO400

The photographer has used the leading lines of the carriage and the rail tracks to guide the viewer through the image, the eye is also drawn to the signal box as this is the brightest component in the image, bar the sky

Ideally, this shot should have been taken at a different time of day or when overcast, the bright sun has caused the carriage to cast a large and long heavy shadow all along the returning track, during processing I used the dodge technique to lighten this a little.


Canon EOS 50E Lens 24-105 L F8 1/125th Ilford HP5 Plus ISO400

Nik Andrews. The Rangers House. 20th October 2016

West Park Autumn 2016 overcast day. I noticed these designs in the wall of the main entrance and decided to use a frame of the carving to show the rangers station. The image was shot on film using my Canon EOS 50e and Canon 24-105 lens.

The framing gives the viewer a perspective of spying through on to the property (through the peephole). The foreground is a relief carved into a victorian wall that adorns the entrance to the main park in Wolverhampton, in the background we see a building, possibly Edwardian or later period. Shot on a very overcast day so no harsh shadows prevalent in the image.

I think I might have improved this shot if I had used a wider angle lens, this would have enabled me to get closer to the relief and show a little more of the building. I could have also moved left slightly and captured a little more of the far downstairs window.



Canon EOS 50E Lens 70-200 L F5.6 1/500th Ilford HP5 Plus ISO400

Nik Andrews. On Parade. 13th November 2016

Taken on Sunday 13th November 2016, St Peters Square Wolverhampton, for the remembrance parade.

Shot on Ilford HP5 developed and printed then a scan taken of the printed image, basic editing in Photoshop to clean up and pop the image a little more.

The eye naturally falls on the center of the image first and with investigation discovers the officer. I like the juxtaposition of the officer standing steadfast facing his troops a lone figure in command of many.

I like the image but if it had been shot with a wider angle lens I could have gotten more of the ranks of soldiers in. A good wide angle lens would have been perfect for this image, also I should have waited until something was happening like a salute for example.



Minolta X-370s Minolta 28mm Prime  F11 1/60th Ilford HP5 Plus ISO1600 (Pushed two stops)

Nik Andrews. Down the line. 20th December 2016


While researching on the internet about film techniques I came across a term called push processing, this is where you take a rated film say ISO 400 as in this case and push it one, two or three stops over or under that rating.

Tram tracks, before boarding the tram to go into Birmingham I decided to grab a shot of the lines running into the distance. What I like about this image is how the distant bridge is framed by the foreground bridge, The tracks, and even the power lines lead you into the image, you can not help but follow them under the first bridge down to the second and wonder what lies beyond.

Maybe the shot could have been improved if I had of got the camera lower down, perhaps on one of the rails to really give a change in perspective as the rail moves off into the distance.



Minolta X-370s Minolta 28mm Prime F16 1/125th Ilford HP5 Plus ISO1600

Nik Andrews. The Council House. 20th December 2016

This is an image of two halves, the well-lit upper part basking in the afternoon winter sun and the lower part being shadowed by the towering buildings in the heart of Birmingham. The high key effect on the 19th-century grade 2 listed building makes it look very grandiose and the shot being taken from a lower vantage point just adds to this.

Shot on HP5 400 and pushed to 1600 the added grain gives this image a very period feel even though shot in 2016

Where I feel I went wrong with this image is not waiting for the right moment.  There are more people walking away from me than towards me. That said the main focal point was and is the building.



Canon 7D Mk2 Sigma 105mm Lens F2.8 1/160th ISO 100

Nik Andrews. Pretty Polly. 7th August 2016

Vibrant colours, and a mischievous look this parrot instantly grab your attention. Shot on a Canon 7D Mk2 using a Sigma 105mm lens. The blue sky above helps pop the vivid red of the parrot even more.

With a fixed 105mm prime lens on a ASP-C sensor this was always going to be a close up shot, If I had time I should have stepped back and got a little more of the bird into the image, at the very least I could have framed it to the right a little more to capture the whole of the birds claw that is only partly visible in the image.



Canon 6D EF70-200 L F2.8 Lens F4 1/200th ISO 1250

Nik Andrews. Chris. 25th November 2016

Printed on TitainiumLustre 280 which gives the impression of a metal print and does tend to make black and white images pop a little more.

Shot on a digital camera then converted to monochrome in Lightroom.

I love this image partly because I know the gentleman who is the focal point of the picture and I know who he was texting (me). I also think I have captured a moment with two people framing the left and right of the frame, also interesting is that the two people framing the central element of the image are of opposing genders and different ethnicities. This gives me a rule of odds in a sea of people.





Canon 6D EF70-200 L F2.8 Lens F11 1/250th ISO 2500

Nik Andrews. Bag Lady. 25th November 2016

A street style photograph of a lady with her shopping and a cup containing a drink. This is one of my favorite images from my street photography stuff. She is totally unaware of me taking her picture and one wonders what she might be thinking as she travels along weighted down with her spoils of the day.  An autumnal day with her jacket buttoned up to keep out the biting cold. She is right of frame with part of a bus shelter to the left. Is she about to climb on a bus or does she still have some walking to do?

Although shot with a fast shutter speed of 1/250th sec we can see she is actually walking as her left foot is just off the ground just about to take the next step.

Taken on my 6D with a 70-200 lens, then converted to black and white, printed on Permajet FB Gold to give it a  warm base tint to capture the look of darkroom silver halide paper.





Canon 6D EF70-200 L F2.8 Lens F2.8 1/640th ISO 100

Nik Andrews. B393. 25th November 2016

A shot from the amazing Black Country Museum, but it does make you think of those bygone days when you were a kid and the local Bobby would come walking by and say hello… Taken in the street mid afternoon bright sunshine. I captured this police sergeant while talking to a young mother and her child, and this picture was actually taken through the window of a public-house. I zoomed into 200mm and used an aperture of F2.8 to separate him from the background by producing a lovely milky bokeh background. In Lightroom I cropped in a little as I loved the detail in his distinguished face, and added a hint of sepia to add to the period feel. One imagines he earned all of those lines. Printed on Titanium paper to again bring out the lovely detail from the whiskers of his tash to the button on his breast pocket.





Minolta X-370s Minolta 28mm Prime F16 1/125th Ilford HP5 Plus ISO1600

Nik Andrews. West Park Woofers. 20th October 2016

I am extremely proud of this image for one reason, I approached this couple and ask if I could take their picture, this was a massive step for me.

This picture was part of a set to show how our local park (West Park) is used and enjoyed by the local population. As well as showing people feeding ducks, playing in the playground and even playing tennis, it is a lovely place to walk the dog or enjoy a bit of fresh air by the bandstand.

The eye is naturally drawn to the dogs then follows through to the elderly couple sitting on the bench, once you allow your eyes to wander a little further you notice framed to the right the victorian greenhouse.

In the original image, there were dead leaves everywhere but as this was an image produced to promote the location I spent quite a while in Photoshop removing them from the path.

Canon 6D EF70-200 L F2.8 Lens F4 1/3200th ISO 100

Nik Andrews. Monkey puzzle. 9th September 2016


A silhouette of a monkey in a tree, I just love the simplicity of this image this is black & white. In photography the eye is generally drawn to the brightest part of the image followed by the sharpest. However with all detail and texture removed from this image the eye moves to the darkest part of the image as it looks for something identifiable in this case, the monkeys head leading down to its body and then what’s that? Oh, a tree trunk. With very basic visual information, the image is identified within seconds. I love how tack sharp this image is you can see the edges of his fur.

Taken during a visit to the Monkey Forest at Trentham Gardens near Stoke.





Canon 500D EF28-105 Lens F11 1/50th ISO 100

Nik Andrews. Steam in Sepia. 27th September 2016

I took this picture years ago, 27th September 2009 (my 46th birthday). The camera used was a low budget Canon 500D and the lens was not much better, but I think this image shows that a nice picture can be produced from any camera.

Taken at Bluebell Railway East Sussex on a sunny autumn day, the tank engine had just pulled its coaches back from Kingscoat and was traversing back to the front of the coaches for the next journey with carriages full of expectant and excited adults and children.

Another one printed on Titanium paper, I just love the effect it gives to a sepia image like this. I have noticed that my framing has improved in the seven years since this was taken as I would now try my best to frame this train to the left of the frame.


Canon EOS 50E Lens 24-105 L  –  F5.6 1/250th Ilford HP5 Plus ISO400

Nik Andrews. An old Pole. 12th September 2016

I love steam engines and this old polish shunter made by P.K.P. Had steam and smoke coming from all parts of it.

Steaming towards me having just cleared the tunnel with its funnel pumping a mixture of steam and smoke into the crisp autumn air, there is nothing like the smell of warm oil mixed with coal infused with steam. Modern day trains are to clinical and you can understand the romance people have with these iron horses.

I waited for the tank engine to clear the bridge to get the full blast of smoke from this old warrior. I framed it to show the stop sign, though looking at it I should have tried a portrait shot to capture more of that magnificent steam. Shot on film, Scanned into my Pc then edited in photoshop and finally printed on titanium paper for that amazing metal effect that works so well with black and white images.


Minolta X-370s Minolta 28mm Prime F11 1/60th Ilford XP2 Super 400 C41

Nik Andrews. The Bridge of Iron. 21st December 2016

The bridge that 239 years ago started the industrial revolution. Nestling in a Shropshire gorge, spanning the River Severn the Iron Bridge has become so famous that the village around is now known as Ironbridge…

I shot this as an experiment with alternative film stock to what the college provides. This is Ilford XP2 film stock shot on my Minolta with a 28mm f2.8 prime. Being a fixed focal length of 28, your feet become the zoom so you have to think more creatively. I wanted to include the whole of the bridge and the house on the other river bank to give it scale. So I moved into a position at an angle to the bridge to foreshorten it and give me the framing I wanted which also included the near abutment wall.  The day was very overcast with rain clouds moving in. In fact, the heavens opened just five minutes after taking this image. The roll of film was processed at Boots the chemist and then the print was scanned into my PC. Some editing in Photoshop took place and then printed on what is rapidly becoming my favorite (expensive) paper Titanium.

Canon EOS 400D Lens EF-s 18-55  –  F36 0.6th ISO100

Nik Andrews. An old Pole. 2nd October 2007

This image was a concept that I came up with. I wanted to show a speed camera and then using a slow shutter speed show motion with the moving vehicles. Amazingly this was shot by myself in 2007 on my very first DSLR a Canon 400D with the 18-55 kit lens. I also used a cheap tripod that for the most part was made of plastic (assigned long ago to the dustbin). I knew that I needed a slow shutter speed but as always with photography I had to make trade off’s, I did not own any ND filters at this time so I closed the aperture down to as small as it would go, in this instance F36, the second part of the triangle was ISO the lowest I could go was 100. Finally, I set the shutter as slow as it could go but to also achieve a correctly exposed image.



Canon 6D EF70-200 L F2.8 Lens F2.8 1/125th ISO 3200

Nik Andrews. Da Bling Init. 25th November 2016

Walking through Birmingham’s old rag market I saw this colorful display of hats on one of the stalls.

Being indoors, and not having time to set up a flash, I had to ramp up my ISO to 3200 which my 6D can handle very easily and grab the shot. Not sure if this is street photography or another genre however it does remind me of graffiti on a wall with all the different colours, fonts and styles.  Imported into my computer and edited to make the colours pop, then printed on FB Gold.




Canon 400D EF-S 18-55 F3.5-5.6 1/160th F5.6 ISO 200

Nik Andrews. Young thoughts. 17th September 2007

Another one of my pictures taken way back, a picture of a boy and his dog (yes there is a dog there if you look) taking a walk down the local canal.

Taken just before 5pm on a sunny autumn afternoon. Shot through some railings with a gap between two of them framing the head and shoulders of the young boy help isolate him from the rest of the scene. The eye glides from gap to gap to discover something new in the shot. Given time you will find there is a dog, it is the boy’s dog. Black and white removed the distraction of colour and adds to the thoughtful moment captured.




Canon 6D EF70-200 L F2.8 Lens F5.6 1/100th ISO 1000

Nik Andrews. Makeshift studio. 17th August 2016

My day job is a mobile DJ. Along with playing music I take photographs of the guests. This image came about as the mother of the children featured asked if I could take a picture of them. I decided to go a step further and try to create a high key image using a white wall. All I had was two off camera flashes so I set them up with one bouncing off the wall behind them and the other, with a large umbrella on lighting them, from the front. It took a few shots to capture all of the children pretty much looking towards me and the eyes on the young lady were actually copied from another shot as in this one she was mid-blink. I had to crop where I did on the lower part of the frame due to a darker floor.

The reason for the high ISO was so the flash bouncing off the wall would be bright enough to make the wall white as it was actually a light yellow. The front flash was actually set very low just to fill in the details on the front of the subjects. F5.6 was employed so as to give enough DOF to keep all three children in focus.




Canon 6D EF70-200 L F2.8 Lens F9.0 1/180th ISO 100

Nik Andrews. Speak, see, hear. 6th March 2014

I met these guys at the Slade Rooms during a photo-shoot for a competition called battle of the bands. They were impressed with my location photography and so I invited them to the studio for a portrait session

This was taken in the studio for a local band called Lynus. Low key style photography with one large front soft box to give an even lighting across the faces.  F9 was used to give a reasonable DOF so all their faces were in focus During editing I pumped the image with loads of clarity to give it that grime feel and I think this worked very well. The band are quite rocky in genre so I wanted to give them quite a hard industrial look.

Looking at the image if I were to take it today I would use rim light to separate the subjects from the background a little more.

Canon 6D EF70-200 L F2.8 Lens F4 1/160th ISO 500

Nik Andrews. Headshot. 29th June 2016

James Levett is a local club DJ and presents a show on WCR FM. He wanted a publicity shot for his work. This image has been used a number of times on different media

A hi key shot taken in front of a window, with two constant lights through softboxes used to the left and right of the camera to give a nice soft light, the constant lights are daylight balanced so no white balance issues noted.

To focus in on the eyes I used quite a narrow DOF of F4 on a focal length of 180mm this also helped blur out the background somewhat to help with concealing any blemishes. I also had to use an ISO of 500 to balance the exposure triangle and expose the image correctly.





Canon 6D EF70-200 L F2.8 Lens F8 1/200th ISO 200

Nik Andrews. Prom Princess. 28th May 2013

Commissioned as a prom photographer for a sixth form graduation ball in Birmingham, this image was taken on a lastolite mottled blue professional backdrop hung from a Manfrotto backdrop stand. The location was in a reception area of a hotel.

This image was achieved using just two studio strobes, one soft box and one umbrella. The strobe with the brolly on was used to spill light onto the backdrop and also as a makeshift rim light on the subject. The front strobe was camera left and wore a large soft box to soften the light. The combination of these two lights give a nice soft but modelled feel to the face.

On the evening of the event, the guests could purchase the images. They were printed out and mounted ready for them to take home that evening.