Product Photography: Worry People

Traditionally from Guatemala, these brightly coloured worry people or worry dolls are made by Maya Indians. They believe that if you tell your worries to the worry people and then put them under your pillow as you sleep, all your worries will have gone when you awake.

Photo of Worry People, by Steve Beeston Photography

Handmade from sticks, string and scraps of clothing, they come in a matching bag, usually as a set of six figures, each around 25mm high.

Photo of display card with a bag of worry people attached

Worry People can be bought cheaply online or in gift shops.

For more information about my product photography services please visit my website at

Tomb With A View

My second job at Hertford Theatre this month, photographing Hertford Dramatic & Operatic Society‘s production of Tomb With a View by Norman Robbins.

The action takes place in the library of the family home, the gothic Monument House, represented by a box set.

The first and last acts are set during the evening, with the lighting reflecting the colour temperature and characteristics of artificial light. The second act is set during the day, and is both brighter and cooler.

There’s plenty in this production to keep the photographer busy, with eccentric characters and costumes and plenty of drama.

Godfrey Marriott as Marcus Tomb and Keith Morbey as family solicitor Hamilton Penworthy
Davina Foster plays Freda Mountjoy
Jim Markey as Perry, listens in on a conversation between family solicitor Hamilton Penworthy and nurse Anne Franklin
The late Septimus Tomb’s will is not to everyone’s liking

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Theatrical Lighting

Theatrical lighting can present the photographer with huge challenges. A dramatic lighting plot can typically feature strong colours and highly contrasting areas of localised light. Sometimes the action will take place in areas of subdued lighting or feature highly animated characters. All of these conspire against the camera’s metering system to the point where the photographer has to make decisions that are outside the cameras designed remit.

Camera metering systems are designed to deal with “average” scenes. These are typically situations where the average of colour and light amount to a mid grey. The job of a lighting designer on the other hand is to produce a spectacle that is far from average. The human eye has an enormous capacity to deal with differing levels of light and white balance within a scene, much more than most cameras. The challenge to the photographer is to make decisions about exposure and white balance that best reflects what the eye sees on the stage.

Faced with this challenge, the theatrical photographer has a couple of options. The first is to allow the camera to make decisions about exposure and white balance. This can work in some situations, but not others. The alternative is to take control and override the camera’s automatic settings and choose the aperture and shutter speed yourself.

Allowing the camera to make all the decisions can work in some circumstances where lighting is less dramatic. However, if you’re faced with bright and dark areas on the stage you may need to change metering modes.

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Ware Operatic Society stage a major production every year at the Hertford Theatre. This year’s presentation is Rogers & Hammerstein’s Carousel, directed by John Hedben.

The society’s productions are always of a high calibre, with excellent performances from talented singers, as well as colourful sets and lighting – a gift to the theatrical photographer!

Fiona Wilkie and Craig Berry as Julie Jordan and Billy Bigelow
Mick Wilson and Izzy Bates as Jigger and Carrie
David Ronco plays God
Katy Bovaird and supporting cast

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