Simon Pocklington - Viewfinders Photography: Blog en-us (C) Simon Pocklington (Simon Pocklington - Viewfinders Photography) Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:27:00 GMT Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:27:00 GMT Simon Pocklington - Viewfinders Photography: Blog 90 120 Oh Joy Oh Bliss, I wonder where the model is? I recently decided that I needed to shoot some pictures for a website with some new models: as if I hadn’t already lost enough hair. Now the internet is a wonderful place as long as you remember that 90% of it is made up by people who have no idea what they are talking about whilst only about 10% is actually useful. (Oh and since you wondered only 4% is porn *). At this point you should be saying ‘How does he know this? Actually I don’t; I just made up the first statistic based on my personal experience and bias. The third statistic actually comes from a reasonably creditable source and if you follow the * to the bottom of the page you will find a link to where this came from.

            So what has all this to do with finding models? Well the first place most photographers are going to look is the internet. A search for “Photographic Modelsyour area’” will yield some interesting results and is a good way to waste an hour. The answer is to use one of the dedicated modelling sites. Again there are loads of these that are useless but the big ones, in order of my and most of the models I work with preference, are PurplePort, Pure Storm and Model Mayhem. The great thing about these sites is that they provide a feedback facility, similar to that used on eBay, so that photographers can write references for models and vice versa.  These references are credited to source and you can view the photographer’s portfolio and make a judgement on their accuracy the same way I provided you with a link to the statistics source in the opening paragraph.

            Viewing a models portfolio will show you whether she has worked with a variety of photographers, does she have different looks, poses or are there just a couple of selfies. The sites also provide you with a lot of useful information including;

            Last Login. If this was more than a month ago forget them.

            Location. Ideally you want to work with local models.

            Stats & Sizes. Useful if you need to provide clothes.

            Work Preferences. There’s no point booking a fashion model for art nude.

This information helps you reverse the original statistics so that 80% of the models you are looking at are sensible, professional and reliable and 20% are time wasters (another made up statistic but based on personal experience).

            There are two ways to contact models on the site. The first is by direct message. Explain briefly what you want to do, where the shoot will be, whether you are offering paid work or TFP/CD. The speed and standard of the reply is a good indicator of the models experience and commitment. A sensible model is going to look at you folio and ask a few questions. If all you get back is the equivalent of ‘Yeah OK,’ proceed with caution. The second method is to put out a Casting Call. This is the same format as your e mail but everyone can read it. Always put the type of work and location in the subject line. This is an example of one of my castings.

Looking for models to collaborate with on fine art location shoots in Norfolk and Suffolk UK

Hi, I am looking for some new models for fine art work on location in Norfolk and Suffolk. Although some of the work is clothed I'd prefer models who are happy with at least figure nude so we have the option to shoot a wider variety of pics if the location is suitable.

Ideally I'd prefer models reasonably close to my location so that we can do several and/or regular shoots and work on ideas. Initially I'm looking to work TFCD but subsequent shoots could be paid or we could shoot something specifically for your portfolio. 
I've updated my profile with some of my existing work to show the style of pics I am looking to shoot and you can see loads more here

You will notice that I have put relevant pictures on my portfolio on the site and provided a link to my own site. Remember the models will be checking you out as well.

Kim is a great model because she is 100% reliable

            If you are starting from scratch and don’t have any pictures you can use in your folio you have two options. Either persuade friends to pose for you; even if it is only a few portraits it will still give an idea of your competence as a photographer or book a studio which can provide a model. Don’t be put off by having to use lighting as many studios are very user friendly. Be honest with them when you book and ask if there is someone who can set everything up for you. Many models quite sensibly prefer to work in the safety of a hire studio when working with an unknown photographer.

            The title?  Oh Joy Oh Bliss I wonder where the model is? I’m writing this as I have time on my hands after a model cancelled a paid shoot with less than 24hrs notice when it was obvious she knew she was not going to be able to work well in advance of that. I should have realised she was one of the 20%, in spite of the glowing references, by the three word e mails.



]]> (Simon Pocklington - Viewfinders Photography) figure finding hints model modelling models photo photographer photographic photographs photography tips Thu, 18 Dec 2014 10:40:02 GMT
An Interesting Concept I recently took part in a critique where a photographer put up a technically perfect but aesthetically boring picture of a nude. He commented that he had no concept or message when taking the picture but would like to do more ‘artistic’ work. I suggested that if he worked on the former then the latter might naturally flow.

I always try and get my students to have a concept or reason for taking a picture. This doesn’t have to be a highly intellectual artistic message which will emphasise the need for world peace it can be as simple as showing the effect of shadows on skin, documenting a walk or taking a portrait that tells the viewer something about that person. Think about a simple holiday snap. The reason for taking it may simply to provide a record of the place you visited which is perfectly valid but as soon as we add the idea of showing that it was really pretty, or a complete dump, what a good time we had, the people we met or even how much we drank the dynamics of our picture taking change. We are trying to produce a picture in response to our feelings about a place and convey an idea. As soon as you as a photographer start to work towards a specific theme or concept the creation process becomes much more interesting and creative.

EchoesEchoesTrying to capture a picture that conveys a sense of echoes of ghosts from the past in an empty house. It's been prasised and panned in equal measure.

Unfortunately this doesn’t prevent you from producing a picture that the majority of viewers think is crap but, and it’s a big but, if you are happy with the result and it conveys or shows what you wanted to show then stick with it. Monet, Van Gogh and Cezanne didn’t get rave reviews at first. Because digital photography is an instant process many photographers think that, with luck, they may go out and take that award winning picture today although they are not quite sure where or what of. Most artists have an idea, work on sketches and then create various canvases to explore that idea. Great photographers do the same. Read an interview with a landscape photographer. They will say that they scout locations, think where the light will be at different times of day, examine what they want to convey about the landscape and then make several visits until they achieve the result they want.

Another misconception is that the only bar to taking great photographs is a lack of technical knowledge. Any artist must first learn their medium; you wouldn’t expect sit down at a piano and compose a sonata or pick up your kids water colours and paint like Rembrandt (who painted mostly in oils by the way). Photography is a technical process and any artist must learn their craft in order to be able to capture everything they want to in their chosen medium but digital cameras are able to handle a lot of the technical aspects of photography for us. We have a greater chance of success in recording a given subject with a high degree of technical accuracy and can therefore start thinking more about creative ideas earlier on the learning curve than our predecessors. Ironically the freedom modern cameras give us means that some photographers think less about the artistic creation process due to its technical ease when we actually have more time to think about concepts, ideas, composition and all the elements that make a great photograph.

]]> (Simon Pocklington - Viewfinders Photography) concept figure girl hints ideas location model modelling nude photographer photographs photography shoot tips woman Thu, 21 Aug 2014 08:58:01 GMT
If You Go Down to the Woods Today. Shooting location photography, especially nudes is always challenging (and fun) but does need a certain amount of planning. Ideally you will be working with a model that you are familiar with and in a location that you have visited regularly; that way you’ll be prepared for the idiosyncrasies of both. Some models that I work with are downright blasé about public nudity that they would happily walk naked through the centre of town and I am continually looking over my shoulder for the blue flashing lights. Others can be embarrassed by a bloke and his dog appearing when they are fully dressed but both need to feel relaxed.

DryadDryadDryad is a female tree spirit from Greek mythology. Seen here surrounded by brambles

Always check out your location in advance. Not only does this give you a chance to check out the light and plan your shoot but you will be amazed how many kids, picnickers, cyclists and other assorted members of the public appear at your deserted location as soon as the school holidays start. My narrowest escape happened in a very secluded location when an entire troop of Scouts appeared around the corner seconds after the model had put her bikini back on. They nearly fell in the river at the sight of a bikini clad girl so who knows what would have happened had she still been starkers. Fortunately she thought this was hysterically funny so the rest of the shoot progressed as planned. Ideally I like to have an assistant or spotter on a shoot; preferably female so they are looking away from, not at, the model. LostLost

I have also turned up at locations to find the beautiful ruin that I was thinking of draping the model over has acquired an impenetrable surround of brambles and nettles, which is not going to make me popular with a scantily clad model, or that the health and safety police been round in the night and fenced it off. I don’t usually like models wearing jeans or tight underwear to a shoot as these can leave marks so hacking through the nettles is usually out of the question but I always ask them to bring trainers to walk in as tramping across a field in high heels is a pretty good way to break and ankle.

The other big variable on a shoot is the weather. Now bad weather sometimes equals good light and whilst some models love the idea of posing naked in the snow there are others who would be happier on a tropical beach. Whichever they are always ask them to bring something they can slip on quickly to keep warm ... or if confronted by a troop of scouts. Again an assistant is useful as they can hold the appropriate garment at the ready. Some models can get a bit teed off that the primary role of an umbrella is to keep the camera equipment dry so take two.

So assuming that you arrive at your beautiful, deserted location with an attractive and unscratched model and a heap of camera equipment there are still a few things that could go wrong. Wildlife buzzes bites and occasionally stings so insect repellent and anti histamine cream might come in useful. There’s no harm in fighting the wildlife off but you should always be careful not to cut, chop or otherwise disturb anything and, as the saying goes, leave only your footprints. Finally if you are out in the midday sun carry water and a mobile phone in case of emergency. 

Black Widow 2Black Widow 2Fetish Girl on monument in a graveyard

]]> (Simon Pocklington - Viewfinders Photography) figure girl hints location model modelling nude photographer photographs photography shoot tips woman Fri, 15 Aug 2014 20:15:00 GMT
Captioning Aircraft Photos Captioning Aircraft Photos

Every civilian aircraft carries a prominently displayed registration. In the UK this starts with G- . Type the registration into Google and you will find references to that aircraft. This also works for most military aircraft which carry a more discreet serial number on the rear fuselage. You can improve your search results by putting the aircraft type in, if you know it, as well as the serial or registration. Auster J5V AutocarAuster J5V AutocarNo idea what it is - type the registration into Google

The only exception to this are preserved military aircraft that are in civilian ownership and displayed in a military colour scheme. Often this paint job was never worn by that aircraft or occasionally not even by that type of aircraft. However a search using the displayed serial will usually bring up correct results.

Westland WS-61 Sea King ZH542Westland WS-61 Sea King ZH542Most military aircraft have a serial number on the rear fuselage or tail

The problems start with the results of your search. Many photographers haven’t got the slightest idea what they have photographed so their captions often aren’t accurate? There are several sites that usually have accurate caption info and these include and Air Britain at

By checking between these two you can generally get accurate info and identify the specific Mk (Mark) of an aircraft*. You’re probably not going to worry about constructors numbers or the minutiae of sub marks (I don’t) but a little work will save you looking a wally but calling a Hurricane a Spitfire.

*Aircraft such as the Spitfire progressed through a range of marks from the Mk1 right up to the Mk24 with side shoots of Seafires. These were significantly different aircraft so it is worth identifying the specific Mk.

]]> (Simon Pocklington - Viewfinders Photography) aircraft airplane aviation caption captioning hints how photographs photography photos tips to Wed, 13 Aug 2014 16:45:00 GMT
Model Weather Having finally taken the plunge and given up my studio, there seemed no other way to get me out of its cozy confines I booked Meg for a location shoot. The weather forecast the previous day had promised a bright and sunny day with odd local shower and the blue sky looked promising as I pulled up outside her flat.

I've worked with Meg quite a lot so I knew she would have her makeup done and a choice of outfits laid out. We selected several that would make her look sexy without getting her arrested along with matching shoes and accessories. We also tried to pick clothes that she could do a quick change of outside or put on easily in the back of the car. At least one of the locations I had picked was reasonably secluded so I also included a white dress that buttoned down the front making it easy to slip out of and put back on again if we got the opportunity to do some figure work. I usually tell the model to bring sensible shoes or trainers for the trek from the car to the location but Meg's choice of flip flops seemed OK since the weather was good.

I was traveling light with my Nikons and a couple of lenses, my Cannon G10, a lot of spare cards, portable hard drive, tripod, lastolite reflector and a variety of accessories such as insect repellent, drinks and first aid kit. The car was also loaded with an umbrella, a blanket and sheets of plastic for wet weather shooting.

Having left Meg's flat in bright sunshine we arrived five minutes later at the first location, the bandstand in the local park, under a cloudy sky. The idea was to shoot some stock pictures for possible book covers on the steps and, by cropping in close and using Photoshop to remove the graffiti, make it look like the veranda of a southern US mansion. If that didn't work I'd use the graffiti to make a nice urban background to the evening dress  Meg was wriggling into in the back of the car.

By the time we got started the sky had completely clouded over and the light was horrible; grey, flat and overhead. At least shooting under the bandstand roof meant that Meg was lit from the side rather than above. I must have been subconsciously missing the studio as the first twenty or so shots were done with the colour balance set to tungsten. This actually produced quite a nice moonlight effect but, as I was shooting RAW, this can be achieved, and fortunately corrected, when converting the RAW files. Cursing myself for not checking everything twice I reset the Nikon and continued under darkening skies.

As the first raindrops started to fall we hightailed it back to the car. Unfortunately the zip on Meg's dress jammed and the sight of a bloke draped in cameras trying to wrestle a model out of an evening dress in the car park caused much amusement to the guy having a coffee break in the next car. Meg was finally freed and she disappeared, giggling, into the back of the car to change into the next outfit.

With Meg now in a gypsy style dress and sexy top we headed for the next location; hoping that the weather would listen to the bright and sunny forecast. The second location was a bit of a gamble. It's a great spot by the river with a weir, a ruined pump house and water meadows. Unfortunately it is also very popular and the summer holidays were in full swing  so I hoped we wouldn't attract too larger audience or end up with picnickers in the background. Fortunately it wasn't too crowded and the sun was peeping through the scattered clouds by the time we arrived.


As there was plenty of activity around the weir we only managed a few pictures there before wandering over to the river bank where the only other inhabitants seemed to be a herd of cows. Meg confessed that these weren't her favorite animals, unless they are jammed into a burger bun, but was reassured when I pointed out that they were on the other side of the river and happily munching grass. There was a lovely wooden slipway on the edge of the river and Meg stretched out on this in the sunshine. Suddenly the session clicked, the sun was slightly behind Meg and the scattered clouds were giving me a choice of hard or diffused light and I had a fill in flash and Lastolite reflector to lighten the shadows when I needed. Meg sensed that things were going well, she is an experienced  model who continually feeds ideas into the session, and she happily dangled her toes in the water and moved around the slipway and river bank. I'd liked to have done some figure work but the herd of cows was occasionally being supplemented by passing holiday makers and a dog walker was having an awfully long rest on a bench nearby so, having exhausted the location, we moved on.

Things looked good as we pulled into a deserted car park adjoining some woodland which is generally private enough for some figure pictures in its depths. Meg quickly changed into a plain white dress that buttoned up the front. Hopefully we would be able to do some glamour shots of her in the dress and then, as she was wearing nothing underneath, she could whip it off for the figure work.


Two paces from the car the first raindrops fell; by the time we were back inside it was coming down like a power shower. We both stared through the windscreen as the rain rapidly turned to hail which bounced off the bonnet. As the hailstones got bigger I began to worry that they would actually dent the car. I was picturing the insurance claim;

'I was sat in the car in the middle of the countryside with a woman in nothing but a white dress when it hailed – in July.

“We'll give it ten minutes to see if it stops” I said without much hope.


Fifteen minutes later someone turned off the tap and the rain abruptly stopped. Cautiously we got out of the car and paddled across the car park. We didn't realise that, although the rain had stopped, the trees were still laden with water and the first stirring by the light breeze dumped a couple of bucketfuls on us. We tried a few pictures but despite umbrellas we were still getting soaked and I could see Meg's teeth chattering so we trudged back to the car through the mud. Meg, the ultimate professional, never once complained. In fact as I dropped her back at home she admitted that the day had been rather fun.

First published on Looking Through Glass 2011


]]> (Simon Pocklington - Viewfinders Photography) figure girl hints location model modelling nude photographer photographs photography shoot tips woman Tue, 12 Aug 2014 16:19:59 GMT
Airshow Photography Old Buckenham Airshow

The Old Buckenham airshow in Norfolk is a two day event and the 2014 show was held over the weekend of the 26th and 27th of July. Smaller airshows such as this give you the chance to get closer to action and see some interesting aircraft; if you know what you are looking at. If not then there is the opportunity to take action pictures with relatively modest equipment.

I was using my new Nikon 80-400mm which is a fairly expensive piece of kit but there is plenty of opportunity at smaller airshows to get close to the fence. The smaller lighter prop driven aircraft you will see at this type of show can fly slower and closer to the crowd so a 200mm or even a bridge camera with a long zoom will enable you to get some good flying pictures. If you cannot get close enough then include smoke trails or try and get an interesting sky background.

Yak 52 G-BXJBYak 52 G-BXJBNigel Wilson and his Yak 52 G-BXJB at Old Buckenham Piper J-3C Cub G-BPCFPiper J-3C Cub G-BPCFBrendan O'Brien's Flying Circus Piper Cub. This aircraft has been modified with lighting and clipped wings

You probably won’t see any fast jets at this sort of show but some of the World War Two fighters can shift so keep your shutter speed up especially with a long lens. The weather was good at Old Buckenham so was on 1/1000 sec + with the ISO set at 400 but be careful not to freeze the propeller of aircraft in flight. Most display pilots start with a high speed run along the crowd line which is exciting but difficult to photograph. Usually somewhere within the display they will do a couple of slower runs with the aircraft banked towards the spectators especially for the photographers and you will hear the shutters going off and sounding like a flock of birds. Panning (moving the camera with the subject) and using setting the camera to continuous shooting helps to get good shots but the timing still takes practice.

Spitfire Mk IX MH434Spitfire Mk IX MH434Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX MH434

Old Buckenham had relatively few aircraft on the ground but there was a large display of classic cars and military vehicles to keep the photographer busy. Since there were a lot of gents of a certain age standing around going “I had one of them” (myself included) I decided to concentrate on close ups of the shinny bits.

One final advantage of smaller shows is that the food is often cheaper. Old Buckenham had a good selection of a fish and chip van and various burger, pizza and duck wrap stalls all at reasonable prices. Remember airfields are big open spaces so if you are there all day you will need food, water (lots), sun cream and a hat if the weather is hot and light weight water proofs for you and the camera for the inevitable showers. Make sure your camera is full charged and you have spare memory cards and you are ready for a great day out.

Vans RV-8 G-RVMZ and G-HILZVans RV-8 G-RVMZ and G-HILZVans RV-8 G-RVMZ of the RV8ors aerobatic duo.

]]> (Simon Pocklington - Viewfinders Photography) aeroplanes air show aircraft airplanes airshow beginners camera flying hints how to in flight photograph photographer photographs photography photos planes tips Fri, 01 Aug 2014 08:31:03 GMT