Lawson Trio Summer 2013

It’s always a funny feeling walking into a concert hall foyer that is familiar to you from years of concert-going (in this case, Wigmore Hall), and unexpectedly spotting one of your own photos.

A funny feeling, but a good one. (That is, if the photo was from a commission. I dread doing this one day to find a pilfered image on display; I guess this is quite uncommon given the nature of this kind of photo. It happens all the time online, but Рone hopes Рless in the world of print.)

I worked with the Lawson Trio last year, before Clara joined the ensemble. It’s always that photo right at the end of the session, when everyone is freezing, windswept, and tired of lugging bags around, and you probably went on for two hours longer than you planned to – it’s then you finally get the shot:

Mat Smith Photography - BBC Radio 3 - Lawson Trio - Barbican - Urban Chic in London

Anyway not so this year. Like gold-dust, we found a lovely secluded little space outside a property management company right next to Tate Modern that gave us impromptu permission to shoot on their land. So lovely finding “Real Human Beings” from time to time, when London seems so full of officious security guards and companies who are so obsessed with faux health and safety, insurance, PR, and frankly any other reason to not let you shoot anywhere near them.

(Thanks, Neo Bankside – nice people.)

It wasn’t quite without interruption, but mercifully we were left alone after name-dropping the “real human being” who said we could shoot there.¬†Anyway, the result of a little bit of planning, a lot of improvisation, and 2 hours of shooting:

Mat Smith Photography - Lawson Trio outside Tate Modern (or thereabouts!)

Next up, we made use of the fact that photography inside the Tate corridors is permitted, with this great little scene shot across the escalator:

Mat Smith Photography - Artist Concept Shot - BW - Trio laugh - Tate

Finally, onto a favourite location of mine. Millennium Bridge is a footway across the Thames which connects the Tate Modern to St Paul’s Cathedral. Actually many photographers love shooting here, and you often have to fight for the specific spot as we did! This is because it’s such a great place to capture people, movement, old architecture and new.

The really exciting thing for me is that I managed to get my hands on a Microsoft Surface Pro for the best part of a day (colleague of a colleague), so naturally the first thing I did was to install my copy of Lightroom 5 on it, and give it a spin.

It’s very exciting indeed to edit photos directly on a tablet, without the usual restrictions you expect from an iPad. The Microsoft Surface Pro is absolutely superb for Lightroom because it uses a 128GB SSD which makes the process really snappy. Sure, it’s not quite capacious enough for your average working catalog size, but it’s wonderful for throwing into your bag and carrying out some edits over a coffee.

Mat Smith Photography - Microsoft Surface Pro - Lightroom Editing - Wacom

The Microsoft Surface Pro comes with a Wacom digitizer which I didn’t have time to test out fully, but there’s something a little unreal and wonderful about using a pen directly on your photographs in Lightroom without being tethered to a desk and a Wacom off to the side.

Actually I fell head-over-heels with this little computing device, and was surprised that it was even possible to use for serious editing work.

Perhaps I will get my hands on a Surface Pro again to give it a full review here on the blog, but I’ll leave you for now with that edited shot. I brought it back onto my primary editing setup to check contrast and colour, which were both good. I may have gone a little overboard with the blue backdrop masking but it’s quite a fun effect.

So here’s the finished product, an hour of backdrop masking in Lightroom on the Surface Pro!

Mat Smith Photography - Trio Portraits on Bridge over the Thames