Portrait: Val Poole for Legion Magazine by John Wellings

A couple of months ago I received a call from one of my regular clients to head down to Weston-Super-Mare to shoot a portrait of Val Poole for her involvement in the National Poppy campaign.

The initial brief was for an image of Val in a busy high street in Weston with passers by blurred as they walked past. With it being midday and Britain experiencing some fine weather the light wasn't exactly ideal and I felt I needed another option to give to the picture editor.

Having spent some time working on picture desks I know how important it is to be able to give editors some different options, sometimes they are able to use alternate versions for different parts of the magazine, or for print and online.

In the end I ended up with another set of images shot in Val's garden that gave the piece a different feel to the busier shopping street images we shot earlier. You can see a couple of the shots below.

I'll to keep up to my end of the bargain here by posting behind the scenes thoughts and images from my work as an editorial and pr photographer over the coming months so keep checking back.

You can always follow what I'm up to on the usual social media channels, links above and on my Contact page.

Typical photographer blog neglect, catching up... by John Wellings

I'm certainly not the only photographer to neglect their blogs. Since I moved over to a new Squarespace website I've only written one post here...

So I'm taking the chance now to catch up on what I've been up to recently.

Way back in March I photographed some of the Parcelforce workers for their in-house magazine. The story was on how they had helped local communities after the winter storms.  It turned out to be a pretty tricky shoot considering we had zero time to go to any better location and a totally overcast morning!

Still, as an editorial photographer these are the punches you have to roll with at times, here's the tear-sheet as it ran in the mag:

Following that, in a recurring theme of photographing large groups of men at work. I had a commission from the Guardian newspaper to go and shoot a group portrait of some maintenance workers at the local Trinity St Davids college who were involved in a legal dispute (Which they ended up winning).

Here is the frame they used nice and big over two pages:

After that came some architectural photography, one commercial and the other a residential development, both in the SA1 area in Swansea.

Then I met a priest who was shining shoes for the day, this time shot for the Western mail newspaper:

After some wedding photography I had my first UKIP encounter on the streets of Swansea:

A PR job for the Halifax Big Lunch event in Newport:

I also took a trip down to Pendine for the VHRA Hot Rod races. I missed out on a pit pass as I was too slow in registering which meant I had to shoot from the sidelines, next year I'll make sure I get some decent access. 

I made a mini-edit of the images which you can view here.

Still waiting for a couple of other jobs to be published before I can share those. In between all of these I've been busying myself as a documentary wedding photographer, you can see all of that work on a separate website here.

That brings us pretty much up to date, the next post should be more interesting as I'm waiting to confirm access for some pretty big events over the next couple of months and also, some new personal work, maybe...see you here at the same place in 4 months yeah?

New website by John Wellings

Depending on how you have come across this blog, you may or not have noticed I have just updated my website. I had built my old site using Indexhibit, starting with the original and then a year or so ago I upgraded to version 2.0.

While I was kind of happy with its appearance, a few things really bugged me. The lack of dynamic resizing and overall quite a dated look had me searching for alternatives. I wanted a clean, simple and elegant design that allowed full screen viewing along with being able to be seen across all platforms.

I was pretty close to going with a Photoshelter site, but in the end I felt the cost vs what I needed from it weren't right for me and I settled on a Squarespace site instead.

As of now, the new design is up and running. I have changed things around a little too. I've been working on a lot more architectural photography recently and have begun to flow some of this work onto the new site.

Over the next few weeks and months, more images and a couple of new projects will be added but if you come across any bugs please let me know!

Nearly forgot, here is the link!   www.johnwellings.com

Various jobs and news. by John Wellings

I know this blog is totally neglected. In fact it's like a plant someone brought home, fed for a few weeks diligently and then left to wither and die, occasionally receiving the dregs of its owners bottles of water.

But, in some kind of attempt to breath some life into it, here is a small montage of some recent jobs I've found online. Mostly local news along with a couple of agency stock uses in there, from a court grab to a cover. 

You can find me posting a lot more regularly over on my tumblr page, which acts more as a visual diary/scrapbook deal. Click here to go there.

In other news I have an image from "Even the Mountains are Shells" in a group show in Cardiff. The exhibition from the collective/blog A Fine Beginning entitled "Made In Wales" features 17 photographers with work made in Wales.

Recently Published: Saira Hunjan for the Financial Times by John Wellings

Back in June I was commissioned by the FT to photograph tattoo artist/artist, Saira Hunjan for the FT's Working Lives section. I have a few friends that are tattoo artists and have a few pieces myself so I knew this was going to be a good shoot right away.

Saira now lives in Wales, after working in studios in London she is now preparing for her first solo art show. I've said it before but one of the best things about being a editorial photographer is being allowed a glimpse into other peoples lives for a short while. It becomes even better when that glimpse is into a subject or person that you are already interested in.

I knew I didn't want to over complicate things on this shoot, I wanted to just use mostly soft, natural light and let the subject carry the image. Fortunately, Saira had a great looking room with nice light pouring in through large windows. All I added was a large Lastolite white reflector to bounce some light back and that was it.

After we had shot a few frames and chatted about similarities in our work, we went outside to shoot a few more frames. As I occasionally work as a picture editor I know how useful having different options can be, with page layouts sometimes in flux until the last minute, giving a pic-ed a few options is always the way to go.

Below are a couple of frames plus the image as it was used. You can view more of my editorial photography here.

Fuji X100S - A few months in kind of review. by John Wellings

Lets get something straight, I'm not a pixel peeping, chart posting reviewer kind of guy. Those sort of reviews make my brain feel like it's splitting in two.I'm more from the real world, how does it "feel", does it work in actual working conditions vibe.

Before taking the not insubstantial step of committing to buy the Fuji X100S I had done my own, not so scientific research. Reviews posted by Zack Arias and David Hobby (Strobist) had both got me stupidly excited for this camera, and I'm not usually interested in getting hyped over gear.

Short background info before we continue: I started off shooting on film, b+w, hand developing/printing then got seduced by digital. Went and studied photography at university where film once again became dominant in my work. Fast forward a short while after that and I tend to shoot most things digitally with a small amount of personal medium format work on a Mamiya 7ii.

When Fuji released the original X100 my interest was sparked. I loved its look, the appeal of having something that aesthetically looked and felt like a 'real' camera was a huge factor to me. I remember at the time looking at reviews and the things that are quite important to me such as focus and speed seemed to be its limiting factors which basically put me off.

Homage to Greg Funnell, he took a similar shot here and it's better. - Fuji X100S

Which brings us to the new model. It's been written by other dudes with larger readerships and more years in the game than I, that Fuji seem to be a company that listens to it's customers and for the most part, addressed all of the concerns and issues surrounding the original X100.

Riders in Ogmore - (This is a massive crop by the way) - Fuji X100S

Within a couple of days I knew this was now the main camera I would reach for when leaving the house, and here's why;

  • Size/Weight - I never used to bother taking the 5D anywhere, it's a pain the ass. The X100, you barely even notice it's on your shoulder, at times I need to touch it to make sure it's still there

  • Image Quality - It's as good as the Canon 5D Mkiii. To be fair I haven't done any serious lab comparisons here, just that I've used them both on jobs and can't tell the files apart. the X-Trans sensor has a quality of its own. It also feels easier to get sharper images with the X100S, which brings us onto the next point.

  • Focusing - With all the noise about the previous models focusing issues I was at first a little sceptical  I needn't have been, the X100S barely ever misses focus and the manual focusing, something that was apparently near impossible on the previous model works like a dream. Having said this it's not on a par with high end DSLR's for all out speed.

  • Appearance - It looks amazing. It feels like a proper camera. I don't need to elaborate on this, if you don't what I mean maybe it's not for you.

  • The THING - This is what a camera does that can't be easily explained. It's just how this camera makes you feel, right now I'm sat here typing this and I can see it out of the corner of my eye, sitting on the scanner.....you know what I mean.
Boss dude, London. - Fuji X100S
Dog, not happy. - Fuji X100S

River vibes, Wales. - Fuji X100S

Yes it's fixed lens, but 35mm is a good workable focal length, without the fixed lens you're then into XPro-1 territory. I've read about other photographers starting to switch over to using the Fuji system cameras exclusively, not something I'm thinking of just yet, but this is on my shoulder and in my bag when im out on jobs thats for sure.

I'm still a little precious with it and as such haven't taken it out to any pubs/gigs etc and I still need to pick up a decent leather case, but I can see this camera being a firm favourite of mine for some time to come.

You can see more daily snaps taken with the Fuji over at my tumblr by clicking here.

Recently Published by John Wellings

One of the things I love most about working as a freelance editorial photographer in Wales is being able to go places you ordinarily would have no chance entering.

Earlier this week I was commissioned by the Financial Times to photograph the Chief Engraver at the Royal Mint. As you can imagine, this isn't somewhere you can just stroll into with a camera!

I didn't really know what to expect before the shoot, which is one of the biggest challenges with these kind of portrait assignments. I knew I wanted to show elements of the work alongside making a strong image.

Aside from some annoying issues with misfiring flash triggers (Note to self - buy proper ones!) the shoot went smoothly, once I had unleashed the life saving super large Lastolite reflector (seriously the best thing I've ever bought as a photographer!).

Below are a couple of my favourites and also how it appeared in print.

Band Photography: The Phantom Light by John Wellings

I've shot for the Phantom Light, a band from Swansea a few times in the past but this time they wanted me to shoot some new promo images to coincide with the launch of their latest E.P.

My main problem with band photography is how to make it interesting and not cheesy, but when your location resembles the kind of room you'd have a wedding function in and the band your shooting are wearing suits.....

I knew I wanted to give the band two different looks and so with that in mind I set about thinking how best to use the great view of the lighthouse in the background, without making it look like a wedding group portrait.

For the second set up I had an idea of some kind of criminal group/mafia meeting, this was my favourite of the two.

For more regular updates got to my Tumblr page - here.

Or more brain outbursts, here (twitter).

The rarely updated and hardly used but got one anyway because everyone else has, facebook.

Recently Published by John Wellings

I'm a bit late getting around to posting this but better late than never eh!

Last month I made the quick trip up the M4 to photograph Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at the annual St Davids Day celebrations in Cardiff. Not the most exciting of jobs but a couple of my images were used in print and online by the Daily Express which made the trip worthwhile.

I'm still waiting for a pdf of the paper, so below is a screenshot of the online article;

In other news I recently bought a Fuji X100S which I am obsessed with. I'm in the middle of writing up a review of sorts. Just my views on my first couple of weeks with the camera really, nothing tech. 

Before I took the plunge and ordered one, reading the reviews of Zack Arias and David Hobby helped sway me in the direction of getting one so I thought I'd put my first impressions out there, for what its worth!

Also I'm always posting images up on both my Tumblr and Instagram so if you're on either then look me up!

Swansea City FC Bus Parade by John Wellings

Being a Swansea native and having the chance to be at Wembley stadium to see Swansea lift the Capitol One Cup was quite a surreal experience. Considering the first game my dad took me to when I was eight years old was Swansea Vs Preston North End at the Vetch, the Swans had come a long way.

In some ways so had I. Standing, waiting on a freezing cold NCP car park roof top for the open top bus parade to begin wasn't entirely what I had in mind when I decided to pursue photography full time but I'll save that for another day.

In hindsight (And I'm good at that), maybe the rooftop wasn't the best place to be. Looking at some of the published images afterwards it definitely wasn't. But I took a punt on a=it at the time, one of those decisions that either comes off, or in this case, doesn't.

This is the first post of a new blogging venture for me. I already have a tumblr and a twitter and god knows what else but I want to have an actual blog for my 'work' photography and picture editing. I've a few ideas for things I want to write and hopefully I won't over think things and just get them out there.

Please bear with us, there may be more to come. 

Swansea City Football Club Capitol One Cup victory bus parade 2013.

A Bird.