Tag Archives: Hertfordshire

Theatrical Photography: The Producers

S7AAPXPS47UX Yesterday I photographed a production of The Producers, presented by Hertford Dramatic & Operatic Society. This was the final dress rehearsal before the opening night and despite the technical challenges, the cast and crew didn’t let the last minute hitches distract from what is clearly going to be an excellent show.

From a photographic point of view there were lots of excellent shots to be had, with lots of movement and physical comedy.

The show was well lit, which is always a help when there’s lots of movement, especially during the dance numbers.

There were also lots of opportunities for close-ups and facial expressions.

Continue reading Theatrical Photography: The Producers

Wilkestock 2011

I spent last weekend covering Wilkestock, a two-day boutique festival that takes place deep in the Hertfordshire countryside. The event features a main stage with live music, a dance tent, chill-out teepees, the Wilkestock Lodge bar area and a campsite.

Having attended the festival last least I was pretty clear about what I wanted to achieve in covering the event and the challenges. It’s about capturing the performances, the audience and the setting, both on and around the stage as well as the wider environment.

Weatherwise the festival was gifted with warm sunny weather and with a southwesterly facing stage, lighting during the day was not going to be a problem. The layout of the stage area also makes it easy to get near the front, so a 55-200mm zoom lens was perfectly adequate.

Having once been a drummer in a couple of bands I always try and get a few shots of the man (or woman) at the back. Whilst angles can always be a bit tricky here but I was happy with what was able to achieve.

The audience at Wilkestock is predominantly young and more than happy to demonstarte how much of a good time they’re having. I frequently had people coming up to me asking if I would take their photos.

As daylight fell the lighting conditions on stage changed of course, as daylight was replaced by stage lighting. The strong colours can sometimes be hard to catch and it’s best at this point to disable AWB (Auto White Balance) and choose a suitable setting. I find that either tungsten or cloudy setting works just fine.

As well as shots close to the stage I also got some very good pictures further back, showing the audience and wider stage environment.

For many of the evening shots I used a fast f1.8 lens, although this is only suitable for front-on shots. Given the narrow depth of field at the wider aperture it’s not suitable for shots from the side of the stage unless you can closely crop the image, which of course depends on the suitability of the composition.

I took over 1500 images at Wilkestock and posted over 200 on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stevebeestonphotography. There are two galleries – Gallery 1 and Gallery 2.

EmmaH Lingerie

It’s always a pleasure to help out a new business, so I was delighted to shoot some material for the launch of a new lingerie shop in Hertford.

With retail businesses (and others) I like to focus on the three Ps – Product, Premises and Proprietor, creating a narrative that not only features the product but also the people behind the business and the physical services offered.

I was lucky that the product here was something that trades on visual appeal, so it was just a case of showing the product in an appropriate setting for the business.

In a retail business the premises are also an important factor as it’s the principle point of contact for the customer. In this case I thought it important to show what the premises have to offer the customer, and this was to reflect the thought that had gone into the changing rooms.

And the finally, there’s the proprietor, the person who you’re doing business with – in this case Emma Hares, who prides herself on a personal service.

Here I’ve made a point of showing Emma with the product, rather than making her the sole focus of the shot.

EmmaH Lingerie is now open in Fore Street, Hertford. Her website is at www.emmah.co.uk.

If you’d like to know more about the product photography services I offer please visit my website at www.stevebeeston.co.uk.

Rockin’ The Car Park

The Farmer’s Boy in Brickendon staged a charity festival in their car park at the weekend. This was the third year that the public house have held the event, which features local bands, real ale and a hog roast.

The bands perform on the trailer of an articulated lorry, kitted out with rudimentary lighting, amps and monitors. Whilst the set-up allows for some good angles the lighting can be a bit tricky, especially towards the end of the day.

Another downside of the staging is that the backdrop can be quite ugly. No amount of bokeh is going to hide an unpleasant background so close behind a performer. However, this isn’t a problem with closely cropped shots such as the one below.

Opportunities to capture a whole band are also limited by the angles and staging, given the low height of the trailer.

Despite the limitations there are opportunities for plenty of good shots at such events, not to mention the great music.

Rockin’ The Car Park is held in aid of the NSCPP.

If you’d like to know more about the event photography services I offer, please visit www.stevebeeston.co.uk//event-photography.asp.

Muscle Warriors Cricket Tournament

Another assignment for The Muscle Help Foundation this weekend just gone. The charity held a fundraising cricket tournament at Hertford Cricket Club, with a series of 6-a-side matches throughout the afternoon.

This was an interesting prospect for me as I don’t have a lot of experience photographing field sports. Not being the owner of a fast long lens of the sort normally associated with sports photography, I was going to be at the mercy of the elements when it came to lighting. A good light obviously allows a faster shutter speed at a reasonable film speed. This was particularly important as I was hoping to use a modest 200m lens (300m 35mm equivalent) and then crop the shots.

As it was, the light was kind to me and I was quite pleased with the results.

Continue reading Muscle Warriors Cricket Tournament

Music & Motors

Once a year musicians and motorists join forces in Ware’s Tudor Square for an afternoon of acoustic music and classic cars.

The event offers plenty of photo opportunities, with both performers and cars making excellent subjects. Sadly, on this occasion the performance area did not offer good sightlines with engineers and officials hanging around in the background.  The cars however were a lot more accommodating.

When photographing cars I like to concentrate on design and detail. Features such as badges and  instrumentation make for good close-ups.

Shapes and lines also make for good studies, particularly front and rear ends, as well as lighting equipment.

The Cadillac pictured below has some particularly dramatic features.

Other focal points can include engines – especially if they’ve been kept looking their best, interiors and any period artefacts. Many proud owners will also dress up for the occasion.

And if it happens to rain you can always take advantage of the classic raindrops on paintwork theme!

To find out more about the event photography services I offer please visit my website at www.stevebeeston.co.uk.

Rock At The Castle

Just finished post-production work on Rock At The Castle, Hertford’s annual open-air music festival. Despite a couple of showers the event was well attended and much enjoyed by everyone.

As well as live music on two stages, there was also plenty of food and drink, facepainting, clothes & jewellery, inflatable gladiator jousting and the ubiquitous bouncy castle.

Popular acts this year included the amazing human beatbox Dee Sharp and Juan Zelada, who’s current single Breakfast At Spitalfields was recently BBC Radio 2’s Record Of The Week.

You can find more photos on my Facebook page.

Hertford Music Festival

As a sponsor of Hertford Music Festival, I am providing photographic services for the five week event, covering the opening Musical Mystery Tour, through other performances up to the highlight of the festival, Rock At The Castle in August.

The Musical Mystery Tour sees over a hundred musicians performing at various venues around the town centre, with the centre of activity outside The White Hart in Salisbury Square.

Continue reading Hertford Music Festival

Elstree Aerodrome

Earlier in the week I visited Elstree Aerodrome to take some photos for a flying school. It was a beautiful sunny day with plenty of activity on the runway, including helicopters and a turboprop.

Lots of glass in the cockpit of this 2008 Robin DR400
This beautiful Pilatus PC12 is a frequent visitor to Elstree, seen here departing on runway 26
Propeller blades wrapped up warm for the winter, this Yakolev Yak 52 rests on the south side of the runway

Continue reading Elstree Aerodrome

Festival Roundup

During the Summer I attended a number of local music festivals, including The Westmill Farm Festival, Bramfield Music and Beer Festival and Wilkestock.

I love photographing festivals. When you’re right up at the front the music completely surrounds you and the energy levels are fantastic. It’s great to be able to capture some of that atmosphere and the energy of the musicians.

The Bodells' Credence Pym

As well as the performers I also like to focus on the audience. There are some great shots to be had of people enjoying themselves. If they know you’re taking photos of them they will often be keen to let you know just how much fun they’re having!

Most local festivals feature a couple of stages so there is rarely any let-up in the workload. No sooner has one band finished their set on one stage than another starts on the second stage. Often, the smaller stage will feature solo or acoustic acts, who fill in between the main bands.

Christina Novelli

The long Summer days also ensure that there is plenty of light well into the evening, although as the sun sets, the limitations of the lighting rig can present it’s challenges. This was not an issue at Wilkestock where organisers invested in a highly sophisticated lighting operation.

Luckily the weather was good at for all the festivals, with only The Westmill Farm Festival suffering a couple of torrential downpours, although they were shortlived. The showers however were a gift to the beer tent, where demand increased dramatically.


The Bramfield Music and Beer Festival takes place annually on Bramfield Village Green and is organised by The Grandison.

Westmill Farm Festival takes place over two days at Westmill Farm just north of Ware.

Wilkestock is organised by Tom and Ollie Wilkes and takes place in their back garden at Old Hall, just south of Stevenage.