Opening of Training College

A couple of weeks ago, I photographed the opening of a new Apprentices Training College at The Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre.

These assignments are not only an enjoyable photographic experience due to their varied lighting and logistical challenges, but also because of the interesting people present and the speeches delivered.

The opening of this Training College only became a reality thanks to additional funding by The Plumbing Trades Employees Union (PTEU) and the National Fire Industry Association (NFIA), because the funds originally promised by a Government establishment didn’t eventuate. ©BarryGittins_124

In this scene, the college is being declared open by William P Hite, President of the United Association,( USA ) which represents approximately 370,000 plumbers, pipe fitters, sprinkler fitters and service technicians in North America and Australia.

I wanted an image of Mr Hite to include members of the audience and also display the dramatic impact of the event. It was important to display the flags on the wall after their unveiling, an event which was a significant feature of the day.

The natural lighting was dull due to a cloudy Melbourne day, but there was enough filtering down from Sky-lights and some ( fortunately ) near-daylight balanced lamps to present enough illumination. I added a little flash with my trusty  on-camera Canon 580 EX2 speedlight bounced up and into its little flipper. I find this always adds a bit of sparkle.

After the opening, visitors and officials went to the new training college to meet some apprentices and see some of the equipment. This image shows Mr Hite from the USA with Earl Setches, Secretary of the Plumber’s Union, Carmel Coate, Executive Director of the NFIA, dignitaries and some very enthusiastic fans. ©BarryGittins_258

In all, a most enjoyable, informative and heart-warming day.

Corporate portraits

A few weeks ago I photographed some finance executives on location in their city office. They wanted a change from using a neutral background and wanted a more environmental approach. I was elated because clients tend to request what they see and most of the “head-shot” displays I have on my website show a neutral background behind the subjects. It was a chance to do something different and challenging.

When I arrived, I soon discovered it was easier said than done. Offices are quite a cluttered environment with busy people at their desks or moving about. Fortunately there was a quiet clear space near the office windows which allowed me to set up with enough distance between the subjects and the background. This is essential in order to have the background out of focus so there are no visible distractions.

I set up a speedlight to bounce light into a white umbrella and a reflector close to the subjects for fill. I like the effect of soft boxes but they seem to take forever to set up.

After setting up, I needed some “fine tuning” to ensure my background was going to look like an office environment and yet not be a distraction. My contact agreed to be my “model” and here she is. Incidentally, I photographed her wedding a few years ago and it was a fabulous wedding day!  Even beautiful brides have day jobs.©BarryGittins_001

Holidays & Music

Here’s an image taken at Melbourne’s Prahran Market recently, featuring Alex Burns, Kain Borlase ( bass ) and friends playing Hawaiian-style music. It was taken to promote this particular combo.

Alex, who was the vocalist for the popular eighties rock-pop band “The Orphans”, has had a varied and interesting musical career.

After playing in various rock-blues bands, Alex embarked on a solo career performing acoustic blues, jazz and country with many notable musicians, including Nick Charles. Alex plays a variety of instruments such as steel-stringed acoustic guitar, National steel guitar, pedal steel ( as featured ), ukulele, and is one of Australia’s premier harmonica players. He’s also blessed with a great voice.


The jazz-blues combo featured in the second image is with fellow guitarist and performer Jen Hawley.

It’s fun doing these relaxed gigs because there is always time to both nail that special image  and enjoy listening to some great music.IMG_0021SF

Grand Entrance

This was taken on a recent property assignment: It’s the biggest dwelling I’ve ever photographed with plenty of large open areas and some “secret” ones. The owner’s kids are going to love growing up in this house!©BarryGittins_008

As always, great workmanship by my client Mavi Homes.

I recently downloaded an eBook by an American interior photography specialist because I didn’t want to produce the photography currently favoured by many real estate companies. I like the impact some of these images convey, but prefer the more elegant images displayed in some of the architectural and quality home magazines where the images look real with a touch of elegance.

With this in mind, it was a great opportunity to try out some of the techniques in the eBook. I find experimenting is always more fun on the job, rather than in a controlled environment.

This image utilised light coming from the entrance and 3 speedlights bounced into ceilings. One upstairs, one in the kitchen on the left and one in the room on the right.

I must admit that I was at first annoyed that I forgot to put on the fancy lights at the back of the stairway wall, but now believe they may have become a distraction. After all, the star of the show is the stairs and we don’t want any scene – stealers do we?

GP Training session

Here’s an image from a General Practitioners Training session I photographed a couple of weeks ago. GPs are obligated to increase their skills on a regular basis to keep up with modern methods in medical practices and technology.

This session was focused on ears, nose and eyes and in this image a couple of young GPs are checking out each others nostrils. There was much jocularity during these sessions and everyone participating got a free check up.

My lighting as always during such sessions, is bounced flash off camera. It’s great when there are white walls and it’s much less obtrusive than light stands which can be a clumsy distraction in these circumstances.

Professional Image

In today’s competitive market place, it’s vital to present your business and yourself in the most professional way possible. On business websites and brochures, I see so many photographs of business owners, directors, managers and professionals that have obviously been taken by a friend, colleague or cheaper photographer. While the site
and brochure might outline professional services and displays products, sometimes it’s let down by the very average photograph of the person trying to present the business.

Research has shown, that even some users of Linkedin use a photograph which is the same as, or similar to the one they display on Face Book. Facebook is for engaging friends and family, but Linkedin is primarily to engage other professionals.

Recently a friend and colleague Bernie Griffiths – who owns the Australian School of Wedding and Portrait Photography and Gregorys Photography, asked me to take some photographs of him for his business and promotional use.

Sometimes a business can require a more formal or informal look, depending on the presentation required. For this photography session, he selected a variety of clothes, including a suit and tie and some more casual wear.  Bernie wanted a contemporary image so we decided a white background would work best. The main lighting was two Speedlights and the background was illuminated with a Morris “slave”.

It’s quite funny photographing another photographer, because we all do things differently.



Display Home

Some of my clients are Builders and I photograph a variety of their completed renovations and new dwellings. I enjoy the pace of these assignments and the time available for photography. It enables me to try out new lighting products which not only improve my technical and creative skills, but also produces better images for my clients.

Most of the images I present are of the interiors, because the exteriors of these homes usually haven’t had any gardening done by the time the new owners take possession. The reason for this? Most owners want to DIY their own gardens.

Furthermore, images of the front of a dwelling with a muddy front yard don’t make for attractive displays.

On this occasion, the property was a quality display home in Taylors Hill by Fenhurst Homes which had furnishings inside and a garden outside. What joy!! A complete package to photograph!

The pressure was on with this assignment, because the client needed some of the images quickly for a promotion on the weekend. With most assignments this can be easily achievable, but with Architectural photography, there is considerable post production required to ensure all the verticals and horizontals are correct.

Suffice to say, it was all done in good time, resulting in a happy client.