So you don't blog then?
13th April 2011 - 0 comments
Apparently not it would seem but that's the question someone posed to me recently. To be perfectly honest I don't think I have an official blog page, blogging is something I don't really know much about. You'd think that someone who is passionate about their photography and who has, from time to time, dabbled with creative writing would spend time telling the world about his latest exploits. I did try and look into a separate blog as some photographers do but couldn't get my head round all the jargon I kept seeing, how to set the page up and link it to my regular website. And websites are not really something I know a lot about, I'm not a web designer or software expert, I'm a photographer. Yes, I use computers but familiarity with the technology I need to work with photographs is about all I'm really concerned with.
I take pictures, I set my camera to record the specific subject in front of me, compose the image and press the shutter release then load to RAW files to my hard drive. From there the I use Adobe Lightroom 3 to check the image for white balance, exposure, sharpness then make necessary adjustments along with any B&W conversions. Some spot healing and cropping may also take place before TIFF's are created and opened up in Photoshop Elements where layers are sometimes used to enhance the images slightly before being saved as final JPEG's. From there selected images find their way onto the web where they can be viewed either by my customers in a private gallery or by any passing surfers in my public galleries, on Facebook or Flickr, and that's it.
Maybe one day I might get the hang of this blogging lark (still don't know if this is a real blog or not) but for now I need some balance in my life. I have a young family who one day will grow up and will only need me when they really do need me, right now I want as much dad time as I can create. I also need me time and sitting at a computer is work, I need to relax and play. I started today with an hour on the bike, or at least planned an hour but somehow added forty minutes and an extra loop to my ride but that's O.K., I was in no rush to get back. When I did get home I felt I'd burned some energy but kept myself fit in doing so, I also felt mentally recharged. Beneficial to my success as a photographer, you bet. Lugging all that kit around and being able to think fast are important attributes. much better than blogging or, due to the way I feel I've blah blah blahed than maybe it should be a blahg.
Still don't know if this is a blog or not, you tell me. Email

You can wake up now, I've finished.
My approach to wedding photography
29th November 2010 - 0 comments
I photographed my first wedding as a favour for a friend and very quickly realised I had a passion for capturing the emotion of a bride and grooms big day. From that moment I decided to pursue this wonderful area of photography further and worked alongside some established wedding photographers to gain valuabe experience. During each wedding I aim to capture key moments of the day in beautiful detail whilst working as unobtrusively as possible.

Why pay for a wedding photographer?
Why indeed, with the advent of digital photography more and more people then ever before have cameras and those cameras are getting pretty clever, almost to the point they’ll take the picture for you. It’s not surprising then that wedding couples will ask friends to take their photos rather than pay for a photographer.
But look at it this way, you pay good money for a cake that gets eaten, flowers which wilt and a posh car that you sit in for probably no more than half an hour. Why economise on the one thing which often becomes the only lasting memory of your big day. Sure you could still just get friends to take some snaps but won’t they prefer to enjoy the day themselves. So that’s why you’re better off hiring a photographer. The job of photographing a wedding isn’t all that easy either, you’re on the go from start to finish, making sure you capture all the key moments, the must have portraits and using your trained eyes and ears to spot those great candid shots before they happen. That’s why you need a photographer who can concentrate fully on the task and who knows how to get the best from the working environment.

But why does it cost so much?
There are lots of reasons. Firstly a wedding photographer often spends a lot more time on one commission than people realise. We spend time with our customers before the wedding to make sure both parties are happy working together. Often a wedding photographer will do some pre wedding shots to get an idea of how a particular couple will behave in front of the camera, after all we want to give the best results we can. And giving the best results involves using high-end equipment, which costs a lot of money, but even the best kit can break down so back up equipment needs to be ready to use. All this expensive equipment needs to be kept up to date and needs to be insured. Insurance is also needed for public liability and professional indemnity, not that a professional photographer is going to let a customer down but there’s always that minimal chance of circumstances beyond our control.
Back to the subject of time, there’s still work to be done after the big day, editing and processing images then building the album. Of course you want the best quality album or prints you can afford, I use a professional lab for my albums and printing and quality comes at a cost.
So that’s why it’s worth investing in a photographer for your big day.

What can you expect from Michael Halliday?
Before your wedding we will meet up to discuss your individual needs, I will also carry out a pre wedding shoot which helps to establish a great working rapport and will provide a set of beautiful lifestyle portraits to compliment the images from your big day. Leading up to the wedding I'm always available to discuss any aspect of the commission. When you place a booking your wedding becomes my sole priority for that day. I will arrive by the agreed time and I'm yours till the last shot is taken regardless of whether it is a simple civil ceremony and reception or the full day from the bridal preparations to the first dance.

How quickly are the images ready?
There are some photographers who will have the first proofs upoaded to a website by the following day. In my view that is way too soon, after a full day working the last thing I want to do is start looking through the shots, I'd rather approach this part of the commission feeling relaxed and refreshed. Each and every image needs to be viewd before the fist selection is made, then begins the process of any retouching and colour correction required. A small selection of images my be enhanced with subtle effects whilst others may be converted to black & white. Only when the full set is complete will I upload to a password protected web page where they can be viewed or, if you prefer, a DVD slideshow can be provided. I will never keep a client waiting longer than is neccessary but will never compromise quality by rushing a job.
Then it's up to the bride and groom to select which images they'd like in thier chosen style of album. Again I approach this stage with the utmost attention to detail and will not submit a design for printing until I'm happy with the layout.
Two days of variation
17th October 2010 - 0 comments
As a photographer there aren't many subjects I wont try. in fact I'll point the camera at just about anything which falls within the boudaries of decent, moral and legal. This weekend I've enjoyed four of the subjects which attract me most.
One of the subjects I particularly enjoy is Performing Arts and I've had the pleasure of working again with Surface Area Dance Theatre. As part of Dance City's celebration of five years in thier new building SADT were performing Dust and they asked me to become involved as photographer. I was invitied into the studio space they are using in a redundant office building in the centre of Newcastle, no shooting unfortunately due to the size of the room as it may have caused a distraction to the invited audience. It did however allow me to get a feel for the piece and give me some ideas of what to capture.
Afterwards I headed back to my car which I'd left in Mannors multi story car park, one of the many buildings erected in the 1960s/70s as part of T Dan Smiths vision for a new city. To many these buildings form nothing more than a concrete jungle but there is a certain grace in the curved lines used on some of the structures. I decided to see if I could make something of the raised walkway but wanted to put my own stamp on it. I love the natural world and how, despite mans invasion on our planet, nature continues to stake it's claim. I also love the idea of things seemingly out of place. in the middle of this concrete jungle I found a fallen autumn leaf, that leaf was to become a key feature of my shot as I placed it right in the foreground. Taking a low perspective also helped to accentuate the prescence of the leaf, the only sign of the natural world in the concrete jungle.
On Saturday morning it was back to nature but with mankind making an unwelcoe presence. My car was booked into the garage for a service so, while I waited, I wandered off in the direction of Cobalt Business Park with my Lowepro bag faithfully slung on my back. There are a number of old railways and waggonways in the area and they have been integrated into a much valued green space and nature reserve. My personal mission was to go looking for fungi so I made my way into the undergrowth in search of these minature marvels of nature. Of course crazy photographers aren't the only humans attracted to these secluded dens, lager cans were strewn everywhare. I did find what I was looking for though and spent a good hour getting my macro lens down to ground level to capture the minature world beneeth my feet.
Later on Saturday I was back in Newcastle and back with Surface Area Dance Theatre to take some shots during thier dress rehersal at Dance City. Armed with my recollection of the previous days performance and a 50mm f1.8 on one camera with 70-200 f2.8 on the other I set about capturing some great images of Nicole and Molly. I was also welcomed to stay for the next rehersal by The Bare Toed Company with thier performance contrasting sharply with Dust. Unfortunately I was unable to stay for the evening performance but I would have only capture a few extra long shots. Most of what I needed I managed to get from stage level during the rehersal.
Finding myself in Newcastle with time on my hands and sunset not far off I'd have been daft not to take advantage of the situation and spend a little time doing some cityscape shots. The quayside area never fails to provide with it's fine collection of iconic bridges and the wonderful architecture which has resulted form the recent regeneration the area has undergone. On arriving at my chosen destination I could hardly believe my luck, the Tyne was so flat calm it was a perfect mirror. So that was me thoroughly occupied for the next couple of hours putting my own spin on the classic locations and searching out new ideas whilst making the most of those perfect reflections.
A busy start to the weekend has resulted in some great images covering at least four subjects. Could it get any better?
Something in the pipeline
01st October 2010 - 0 comments
A dance event. Haven't done any dance photo's for a while and I get the feeling this will be something quite special. I've been invited to photograph the main event which is on a Saturday evening in a few weeks time as well as the technical rehearsals during the daytime. I've also been invited in to a studio space the dance company are using on the day before and they're also staging a performance in a well known newcastle location during the following week though I may be away then so will have to miss that one, regrettably.
I'm looking forward to this.
My first blog 12/09/2010
12th September 2010 - 0 comments
Well this website fianlly went live today with my own domain name, I just have to continue fine tuning things to get the site the way I want it.
I got out to do a sunrise this morning, something I don't seem to have done much of this year. It's not that I like to stay tucked up in my bed in the mornings, no way, I'm mad enough to get up during what most sane folk would term "the dead of night" in order to get to my chosen location in time for sunrise. I just don't seem to have made as much effort of late having had too many other priorities to handle.
Anyway, back to this morning, and what a crazy morning it was. I'd originally intended to head for Whitburn, there's an interesting bit of coastline there even though high tide today would have presented a few challenges. I also want to get a shot of Souter Lighthouse. so I set off at twenty to five and headed southwards but as I joined the A19 at Cramlington the sky was making me change my mind, a large patch of flat greyness seemed to be lingering over the South Tyneside area so I did an about turn and headed further North instead. Where to go was my next thought. With such a high tide there are a lot of places on the coast that would normally be ruled out. My first thought was Creswell as I've never done a sunrise there yet.
On arriving at Cresswell I looked down to the beach, or rather what little beach there was and certainly no decent rocks in view. Damn I thought, this won't do so I climbed back in the car and probed my mind for another location. The Howick/Craster area has a lot to offer but I doubted I'd get there in time for sunrise. My next thought was Newbiggin, anothet spot I'd never done a sunrise at.
I initially scouted around Church Point but found very little to inspire me. Relocating to Needles Eye at the other end of the bay I finally found some decent foreground rocks to perch upon and await the sunrise. But, and there's nearly always a but, a strip of cloud on the horizon meant that the sunrise wasn't going to be much to get excited about. I did come away with some decent images and managed to capture a sunburst through a gap in the clouds but it's fair to say i've had more fruitful mornings.