2016 Year in review

2016 –

 Twelve months of Photography
with Line & Light


Martine running

Dan Training

Welcome to 2017!

2016 is over, but before we launch into our next calendar of courses, we thought we’d reflect on a great year with you all and highlight some of the activities, locations and photos we, and you have taken over the last twelve months.

So grab a cuppa, sit back and enjoy browsing this lot……
We kick off with some silly snaps of the team in action – Bob tracking Martine on the run, Paul explaining the art of head room and Dan demonstrating the best way to pose with a gorgeous model!


Our year always kicks off with our Beginners platform of courses, we love Judith Gurd’s piccy of Dan trying to flap his wings 🙂

Dig 1 Comparing images Dan trying to fly


Our Astrophotogaphy courses run up at Sherwood Observatory and always bring in a crowd from across the country.

In 2016 we hosted photographers from as far afield as Newcastle, Essex and Bristol. We’ve been lucky more often than we haven’t, and as this pic shows, when we can get the dome open against the night sky, it makes for a fab pic.



As part of Martine’s role as Brand Ambassador for Manfrotto, she’s been hosting architectural walkabouts for them and WEX, the Uk’s largest online photo retailer. 2016’s was a local affair, after previous events at Norwich Cathedral and Sandringham; and this time, the day was spent at Wollaton Hall.

It was the first occasion that Martine had taken a photo group up to the restored Prospect Room and decided it was a ‘must-do’ for one of Line & Light’s Portraiutre Days. Suffice to say, we’re there with our new model in February and can’t wait!

Prospect room


We have images from Samantha Watson illustrating her day on the Flash Workshop in the spring. You wouldn’t have thought our model sat in the tree in broad daylight, but she was! The power of flash eh? 

Water splash

Holly posing


Les Bailey’s lovely images of one of our favourite locations – Papplewick Pumping Station, have been used to illustrate May’s course. The Rhododrendrons by the lake were in flower and the weather didn’t disappoint. The boilers were being stoked and there was smoke and steam aplenty. We’re there again this spring, why not join us?

Pump engine

Pump house boiler room


Our portraiture day at Holme Pierrepont Hall saw a change to the usual theme and brought a couple together for a beautiful shoot with lots of humorous moments too!

Here are H Holloway, Matt Ashmore and Kay Marples’s super pics of our fab couple (who had only met once prior to the shoot and yet acted as if they had been very happy together for years!).

Holly and Nate

Holding hands

Lord and Lady


Our days with Jan and his falconry team are always a treat, and 2016’s had flying displays under blue skies. We’re with them again in April and can’t wait.

Birds of prey


Thanks to Louise Clarke and all of the intrepid photographers who braved the torrential rain with Paul at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire and got some cracking pics as a result.

We love the motion blur on the background of this shot Louise, nice one!



On what would have been the 72nd birthday of Martine’s beloved mother Kate, Line & Light took the opportunity to raise money for Breast Cancer Research in her memory. It was a firmly family affair, with Martine & Paul running a Digital Stage 1 day, whilst James sold homemade cake and played guitar requests at break times.

We raised a massive £1180 in the end, and would like to take this opportunity to say a massive ‘thank you’ again to all of those who were so generous in their support.

Charity Group Shot

Fund raising

Happy collection


Martine’s Modern Architecture days are when she delights in sharing her enthusiasm for the built environment and perspective control lenses with like minded individuals! Even those who admit to a little quizzical head scratching with the design of certain modern buildings come away with funky fabulous pics and a new found passion for all things architectural …. truly!!! 🙂

Thanks to Richard Redshaw and Della Astle for their lovely images.

Mono Handrail Mono Stair Detail Quiet Uni Views


All of our tutors shoot and teach outside of Line & Light, and the Royal Institute of British Architects are one of the organisations who call on our skills throughout the year.

Martine went to Cambridge University and Birmingham City University on several occasions to deliver workshops for both architects and architecture post grad students. Here’s one of her groups in November learning about colour temperature changes in interiors.

In 2016, we had Bob judging regularly for the region’s Photographic Societies, Paul teaching Video Skills for industry and Dan running staff days for Toyota to name but a few of the training and evaluation sessions we were involved with.

Cambridge Uni architecture students learn photography with Marti


We finished the year with a glorious day at Lord Byron’s Newstead Abbey in Notts. We’d not run this event for a while, but brought it back by popular demand.

If you’ve not been before, the house is dressed with sumptuous displays and we have the run of it with our tripods and lights, as Diane Simpson and Glynis Harrison’s pics delightfully illustrate. You can be sure that Martine will bake and we will finish the year in style again this coming winter!

Newstead Abbey at Christmas 2016

Newstead Tree

Newstead Hall tree

Newstead Table

Line and Light Logo

Join us for a great day with your camera in 2017!

Wollaton Portaiture


Thursday 23rd February 2017

Model shoot at Wollaton Hall £75

2016’s Portraiture course rang the changes with a focus on couples in a half day format at our old favourite – Holme Pierrepont Hall. For 2017 we have a new model, new location AND a new theme! Join us for a morning or afternoon session where you’ll be shooting at a stunning Grade 1* Elizabethan mansion with our wonderful model and top tuition throughout. With a focus on portable lighting on location, we will guide you through hand held shooting in ambient light with aid of reflectors & speedlights, for fast, dynamic workflow.

Choose from sessions at either  9.45 – 1pm or 1.30 – 4.45pm to suit you best, or attend both, as although the itinerary is repeated, lighting conditions change and expressions, poses and mood will vary throughout; you never shoot the same picture twice in this game!

With easy access from j25 of the M1, Wollaton Hall has plenty of car parking* and a cafe, plus a Natural History Museum and lakeside walks, so why not bring your partner for a day out whilst you’re busy shooting. There’s plenty to enjoy here for everyone.

Visit Line and Light to find out more about this and all other courses available, and start booking your places today.

* Entrance to the Natural History Museum and parkland is free, but there is a fee payable for car parking on site.


With a focus on Off-camera flash, we’ll be looking at the techniques used for creating dramatic images shot in daylight, yet with the feel of a controlled studio environment. 

Wollaton Hall - 21216-067

We have arranged to have exclusive access to the Prospect Room for part of our session, where the views across the parkland and city from the outside roof terraces are stunning. This space was only re-opened in recent times, having been closed off in the 1930’s when the hall was in danger of collapse from mining subsidence. Still only accessible via a narrow stone spiral staircase, the quality of light even on the dullest day, is beautiful.

We shall also visit the Camellia House and the course is timed to coincide with the flowering season for this classic perennial. Even if the weather is poor, we have plenty of opportunity therefore for shooting in dry and bright locations. If it’s good? Even better as Wollaton is rich in imaging opportunities with its landscaped park and formal gardens.











Course content – in brief
  • Work in small groups with our tutor exploring the skills needed to create dramatic portraits in this formal setting
  • Use of specialist metering and focussing modes for portraiture
  • Learn to control your flash through use of both on and off-camera methods
  • Posing ideas for your sitters, what to do with hair, hands and eyes
  • A variety of locations to shoot in, both indoor and out, so that you can create a wide selection of images to take away with you

This half day course is just the beginning of what you can learn!  Join us for our dedicated flash workshop in October 2017, or our studio lighting course in June. Our specialist experience days can be complimented by our software and image manipulation courses too.  Find out more about all of these here.


Black Friday 2016!


Hello Photographer!

In the spirit of BLACK FRIDAY proper and all the Christmas shopping, read our offer that starts NOW! ……

This year’s offer invites YOU to make us an offer we cannot refuse!

For any course, email us with your bid for a place,
if we think the price is right, the place is yours.

To qualify for this offer you must do the following –
  • email and register your interest in the course you’d like to attend
  • Quote ‘Black Friday 2016 bid ‘
  • There is no maximum to the number of bids you may place
  • The places may be used by different photographers, ie, they could be for you or they could be used as gifts for others
  • The price you bid is for the specific 2017 course you’ve chosen and is not transferable to other events
  • The offer expires at midnight Friday 25/11/16
  • We will notify you if you have been successful by Monday 28th November
  • If your bid has been chosen, you will be emailed a booking form and asked to pay by BACS or debit card by phone
We reserve the right not to accept your bid, but if we do accept your offer, this is the final price you pay for that event.


Autumn 2016 Newsletter

Autumn 2016 Newsletter

Hello Photographer!

Goodness me! Where has the time gone? Last time we got a newsletter out was in July, and between then and now, we’ve had a rather decent summer and so far a sunny autumn too. The clocks change this weekend and our luck may run out, but for now, keep clicking and capture that glorious leaf colour before it drops to the ground.

In this newsletter, we bring you news of how our September charity event went and tell you about what’s coming in 2017….

So, grab a cuppa, sit back and read on…..




Raising money for a good cause – Line and Light’s Stage One course 

Congratulations Line and Light photographers, you did it!!

We hoped to raise £1000 on September 24th with our Stage 1 course running to support The University of Nottingham’s 2016 charity – for Breast Cancer Research, a cause vey close to Martine and her family. 

Twelve photographers attended the day and learned the basics of camera operation, exposure control and composition (the structure of Line and Light’s usual beginners’ days), but this one had the added bonus of home made cake and guitar requests from James (who plays with the award winning teenage band ‘Malfunction’) to help swell the coffers! Attendees had travelled from as far afield as Sheffield and Peterborough, and reasons for learning to use their cameras varied from a couple who were expecting a baby and wanted to be able to take great family photos, two ladies whose husbands were keen photographers and wanted to join in the fun, to a GCSE student, who wanted to add a new skill and dimension to her art course work.

During the day, Maggie Barker from Peterborough posted on social media “Enjoying a fantastic day, good company, brilliant learning and CAKE!”. QMC nurse Katy Heningham said afterwards “A huge thank you and well done to Martine, Paul and James. I thoroughly enjoyed every part of the day and learned a scary amount! Clearly I have not known anything about my camera for the entire time I’ve owned it, I wish I’d done this course years ago”.

A silent auction for a Stage Two course place finished the event and with final pledges in from family and friends, Line and Light are delighted to have well and truly smashed their target for the charity, raising a grand total of £1180.00 !! 



2017 COURSES – alert!!

We have now loaded the majority of 2017 course dates on to the website, so you can see what you’d like to attend from January onwards. Prices have been frozen for the third year in a row, we try to offer maximum value for our photographers, and when we look at other providers in this sector, reckon we’re about the keenest. Partly this is because of our size, we are able to run below the VAT threshold and this means we can immediately lose 20% of what most others would pass on to you, despite having to incur those charges from many venues ourselves.

So, enjoy developing your photography skills and come back for more in 2017 – Christmas is round the corner, drop heavy hints to your loved ones, or why not buy a gift voucher for friends and family and then they can enjoy photo fun with you too?!

Spotlight on 

Stage 1 – Saturday 3rd Dec 2016
Stage 2 – Saturday 17th Dec 2016

This is the last time we’ll be running Adobe Elements in spring and autumn, in 2017 it will run as a single series in the early summer.

If you’ve enjoyed your photography this year with us learning to use your camera and now would like to do more with your pictures, we’d encourage you to invest in Adobe Elements. If you don’t already have it, do take advantage of the Black Friday offers which will be running around Thanksgiving time in November, when folk such as Amazon will doubtless be selling this fabulous software at a knockdown price. Last year we saw Elements 14 at £35, which is a an absolute bargain.

If you are able to purchase and install it prior to our first day on Saturday 3rd December, you’ll be taken from import of your images, through set up and use of the Organiser, which is your new ‘image management library’. You’ll be able to store and catalogue your growing bank of images without needless duplication. It can recognise family members, tag your images by their location, allow you to catalogue them by theme, and allow you to trace them with utter ease in the future.

Later in this first day with the well known trainer Bob Rowe at the helm, you’ll discover how to resize your files, change the colour, begin retouching and all manner of other useful skills.

Day two delves deeper, looking at layers and masks, the key to full creativity. Output for print and web is covered and gets you to a point of professional quality post production. Booking both days at the same time gets you a £10 discount too.

Visit Line and Light to find out more about this and all other courses available, and book your place today.


Course content – in brief
  • Classroom based course with Bob Rowe, bring your laptop with Elements installed, or borrow one of ours. 
  • Importing images, how to load your pictures, start cataloguing them for easy future retrieval, without duplicating anything and wasting valuable hard drive space.
  • Learn to resize and crop.
  • The wonder of layers and masks – when and how.
  • Print output for best result, don’t waste ink.
  • Refreshments provided throughout the day.

July 2016 Newsletter

July 2016 Newsletter

Hello Photographer!

Well, the weather has been so utterly dreadful that Martine has been struggling to get out to her architectural work. As a result, there’s time to write a July newsletter!

This month we’re talking about a rather extraordinary art event that Martine & Paul took part in, and also to remind you of the good cause we’re trying to help this September.

So, grab a cuppa, sit back and read on…..

Sea of Hull – Major Artwork for Hull City of Culture 2017

For a second month you could say that we’re ‘getting personal’ for our newsletter, but we wanted to share news of a rather extraordinary photoshoot, which took place last weekend in Hull.

We are photographers, and as such would all claim to have an interest in creative images, particularly memorable ones. A contemporary photographer whose work gets people talking, is an American called Spencer Tunick, whose set pieces usually involve large numbers of volunteers, and take place in stunning locations across the globe.

The thing that sets these images apart is the fact that all of the participants are naked. Totally naked. Titivating? Sensationalist? Disgusting? No, on the contrary, they’re not considered to be any of that. They are really rather beautiful. Calm. Graceful. Fascinating.


As part of Hull’s ‘City of Culture 2017’ status, the Ferrars Art Gallery commissioned Spencer Tunick to come and create a show for them, and earlier this year, the national press launched a call for volunteers to take part.

The participants knew nothing about the new works, except that they had to be in Hull city centre at 3am on the 9th July and that they were going to be painted blue. Martine & Paul thought that taking part in one of these artworks would be an interesting experience and were part of the 3,200 strong group of people aged between 18-80+ who volunteered. They found their fellow models from all locations (German, Dutch, American, French, Irish, Scottish, Welsh accents heard), and with all shapes and sizes; able bodies, wheelchair bound, pregnant, post-mastectomy, tall, short, thin, fat, and very very blue!



The reality of the experience? Everyone was cold, that’s for sure, it was a 3am start and the shooting commenced at dawn. Lying down on tarmac with no clothing was uncomfortable too, but you’d expect that. The discomfort was outweighed by the sense of being part of something extraordinary, everyone chatted to each other, everyone was utterly equal, and after the first two minutes of “OMG we’re naked”, the mass became the norm, a collective body of humanity. Hull had organised it to the smallest detail, the streets were cordoned off, there were no bystanders or people ogling. Personal possessions were secure whilst the shoot took place, and it was all over by 8am and off for a hot breakfast.

The real results will be on show at the Ferrars Gallery next year, but press pics have already been in the Sunday Press, BBC news and on Line and Light’s Facebook page! All jokes on the line of Papa and Mama Smurf have already been aired by the way….. 🙂

All pics here are Copyright of the respective photographers.


Raising money for charity this autumn…..

Saturday 24th September 2016  

You will have read about our efforts to raise money for The University of Nottingham’s chosen charity for its LifeCycle 6 Breast Cancer campaign already, but we aren’t apologising for reminding you again in the hope that you may know of someone who would enjoy learning with us AND supporting a great cause.

If you never attended one of our Digital Stage One courses, then you won’t know that we spend the first part of the day talking about the different camera platforms, card sizes, write speeds, how cameras work and other really vital stuff which no one tells you, and yet you’re expected to walk into a camera shop and spend hundreds of pounds wisely.

We delve into the foundation of the golden triangle of exposure – ISO, and make sure everyone understands how the sensor responds in different lighting conditions and what impact this has on image quality.

We demonstrate exposure, histograms, exposure value compensation and explore lens focal length, looking at the impact that focal length changes have on perspective and the ‘look’ of an image. This leads us into story telling, through composition and content, with practical exercises to make sure that learners go home with a comfortable, solid foundation to image making.

On Saturday 24th September, learners will be getting all of this AND know that 100% of the money taken for that course is going to support Breast Cancer research.

PLEASE PLEASE tell your friends, buy a gift voucher for a loved one for that day, or even just pledge a little towards the event which we can add to the total. Thank you so much.

Visit Line and Light to find out more about this and all other courses available, and book your place today.


Course content – in brief
  • Classroom based course introducing photography, tips for buying gear and how cameras work 
  • ISO control, histograms, exposure compensation, focal length and compositions skills
  • Two small groups working with tutors for afternoon shooting exercises
  • Raffle for a Stage 2 course place
  • Refreshments included throughout the day
  • Great fun assured for everyone whilst learning and raising money!

June 2016 Newsletter

Summer 2016 Newsletter

Hello Photographer!

Line and Light have had a busy spring with courses running to capacity in most subject areas. We’ve been extremely lucky with weather on all of the days where we’ve needed it dry, and often the sun has made an appearance, something we’ve seemed very short of in recent weeks.

In this newsletter we’re talking about a way we are trying to help a good cause this September, and also heralding the return of an old favourite for photographers at the end of the year.

So, grab a cuppa, sit back and read on…..

The day we plan to make a difference…

We don’t usually ‘get personal’ in newsletters, but this month we are, with good reason….

Those of you who’ve been Line and Light Photographers for a while may recall that Martine had a difficult year in 2014, with many trips up and down the M5 to the far end of Cornwall, where her mother Kate was in the last stages of cancer. One weekend in November, Paul and Dan had to deliver a Level 4 Photo day together whilst Martine dealt with with the inevitable, and thus Breast Cancer claimed one more statistic for its own.

You know that we run many of our training days on the beautiful University of Nottingham campuses, but you may not be aware that the Vice Chancellor and his team have been supporting charitable causes for the last six years as part of their ‘Life Cycle’ campaign. Martine has given a donation each year since it began. However, when it was announced that 2016’s fund was specifically for Brest Cancer research, she decided it was time to step up to the plate and get a bit more proactive.

As a result, Line and Light are running an extra Digital Stage 1 date on Saturday 24th September (which coincidentally would have been Kate’s 72nd birthday). Whilst we appreciate that a Stage 1 course will be of no interest to your good selves (either you knew how to use your camera already when we first met you, or we’ve been the people that taught you!), we know that there are bound to be family members, work colleagues, or social friends who perhaps don’t, and as such we’d really appreciate your help in publicising this special event.

We are pledging 100% of the money from that day to go to the campaign. The university are kindly allowing us our usual room in Derby Hall for free, and Martine and Paul are going to be at the helm, whilst James hopes to bake cakes to sell at coffee time in memory of his grandma.

So, it’s personal, and we want to make it count. We know that sadly cancer touches the vast majority of families these days in one way or another, and Martine feels that in running a course to raise money in this way, new photographers will be getting something back in return; they’re not simply being asked to dip their hands in their pockets.

So please, please, please, if you know someone who would enjoy our Line and Light beginners day, please urge them to book for Saturday 24th September and make their £79 count! Crikey, we’ll even lend them a camera for the day if they don’t already own one 🙂

Drop onto our website for more information about Line and Light or email us on if you’d like to know more about Life Cycle 6 and the special event on September 24th 2016



Back by popular demand…..

Friday 16th December 2016  

We used to have an annual day at Lord Byron’s Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire in the summer time when Line and Light first began. This was very popular, but we soon learnt that the team there were planning to run a Christmas spectacular, when the house would be dressed for the festive season, and promptly moved our timing of the course to coincide with the event.

Over time, staff moved on, times changed and so did the cost of us running the day, so three years ago we hung our hats up and called time. Well, owing to repeated requests since, we’ve re-instated it for this winter…..


This day is based indoors (which you’ll be happy to know given the time of year), but whatever the weather is throwing at us, you’ll be assured of a warm welcome as we tour the grand rooms of this house, the monastic abbey remains with the cloisters, chapel, and of course Byron’s attic bedroom, where ghosts are said to linger.

Not all of the rooms are dressed, there are still areas of the house where you can take ‘timeless’, and therefore ‘season-less’ shots with the period furniture in, so that they don’t all have decorative touches to them.

As with our days at Holme Pierrepont and Papplewick, you’re able to work on tripods, you may use flash in some areas and we shall be taking our big lights with us too.

The only thing that’s missing currently is the thought of you being there, so get in touch today and finish the year with the best set of pictures ever!

See you then 🙂 Visit Line and Light to find out more about this and all other courses available, and book your place today.

























Course content – in brief
  • Classroom briefing with coffee and mince pies, which includes inspiration and technical know-how.
  • Two small groups working throughout the house, ensuring you get round it all and get the shots you want.
  • Learnt the art of controlling long exposures, colour balancing for indoor shots and how to create beautiful compositions.


March 2016 Newsletter


March 2016 Newsletter

Hello Photographer!

This month’s newsletter is hot on the heels of the last one and brings you news of a change to one of our most popular courses, plus a focus on Cadwell Park’s Motor Racing day which now has a 2016 date arranged.

March is also the industry’s big month in the calendar – the Photography Show at the NEC. This year its between 19th-22nd March and we shall be going to check out the latest innovations in the camera market, which we’ll report on in April if we think there’s any exciting developments you should know about. However, that’s then and this is now, so grab a cuppa, sit back and do read on….


Shooting Portraits – we listened…..

One of the earliest courses we developed for Line + Light was the Portraiture on Location day, which ran for several years at English Heritage’s Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire. Latterly we’ve held it at the Tudor gem, Holme Pierrepont Hall in Nottinghamshire. 

We’ve always had female models on the course with us and run a split group, with a point in the day where we’ve merged the two sets so that folk can capture the two girls together. This invariably means learning about controlling posing when there’s proximity to consider. Height differences and body language can become a potential barrier to successful image making for our guests.

We have had a number of photographers out with us join the past who have been asked to cover family engagements & weddings with their gear, and this always fills them with a certain dread, as well as excitement at the challenge. So, with them, and indeed anyone else in mind who would like to learn how to create stylish, relaxed portraits with a couple, we have booked two models for Sunday 19th June at Holme Pierrepont for this very task.

We’re not just ringing the changes by having a boy and girl with us, we’ve restructured the day so that it comes in at a lower price point too, and we’re doing this by running two half-day sessions with a maximum of six photographers per slot instead of our full day workshop. 

For £75, you may choose to attend for the morning or afternoon. We also think that some may wish to be present for the full day as no picture ever is quite the same as its predecessor when the light changes and we have a whole building and gardens to roam. This is priced at a lower rate of £125 for both sessions. 

Drop onto our website for more information about the day and booking a place.

































Friday 16th September 2016


We’re really delighted to be working with the team at Cadwell Park in the rolling Lincolnshire Wolds again for our 2016 Motor Sports day.

This was a great success when it was launched last year, and our photographers were in the capable hands of cameraman Paul Mottram, who has both filmed the Monaco Grand Prix and made a documentary about the legendary Schumacher when his racing career was at its height. Paul will be returning with a group again in September when the action promises to be of the vintage variety, as our day coincides with the weekend’s Classic Sports Club Car Championship.

Expect to get up close to a variety of cars in action including vehicles from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s together with Lotus 7’s & Caterhams.

We have our own room for the day overlooking the track, meaning even if the weather is inclement, we have a base with a vantage point ensuring that whenever the action is taking place, we can still shoot. If its anything like 2015 though, it’ll be the factor 20 we’re needing! Prepare to be lying on your tummy for low stuff, or standing on the brow of a hill as they all fly towards you. Cadwell’s reputation as the “Matterhorn’ of circuits is a title well earned!

See you there 🙂 Visit Line and Light to find out more about this and all other courses available, and book your place today.


Course content – in brief

  • Best metering & focussing modes for capturing fast paced action.
  • Shoot the day’s racing from multiple points around the circuit without crowds obscuring the view.
  • Classroom start to the day includes inspiration and how to control the scene.
  • Opportunity for candid portraiture and still life details of cars and owners in the paddocks.

February 2016 Newsletter

Leap year Newsletter!

Hello Photographer!

This month’s newsletter (and the first of 2016) comes on the leap day and therefore just scrapes into February!

We’re excited to be hosting a great calendar of events throughout 2016 and hope you enjoy with us it too.

The world of digital photography is ever evolving and developing, so with that in mind we hope you find this month’s article on 3d capture by Dan Billings of interest to you.  Grab a cuppa, sit back and do read on….

Amazing photography in the palm of your hand.
When the digital revolution came many people often wondered, would last the test of time?  And to be fair at the start of it all, the high cost and low quality involved didn’t leave a good impression.  Thankfully things moved on as the industry makes it far more accessible for us to create photos.  The biggest trend currently seems to be a change in what we take our photos with.  On the photographic social media platform Flickr, uploads from DSLR cameras are losing out to those from smartphone users and Apple are leading that surge. The new digital revolution in size is well under way and it now fits in the palm of your hand!

As we all know, there are a variety of ways to manipulate a single image. We can also merge multiple images into beautiful HDR shots and join several images together to make stunningly detailed panoramic photos, but what if you could create a 3D image from your 2D photos?  There is a scene in the Mission Impossible 2 (released in 2000) movie where a person is secretly snapped by an undercover operative with a camera. From those images a latex face mask is created for Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) to wear as a disguise.  That seemed at the time to be a fantastic leap of imagination, but it was based entirely on reality.  The basis for this comes from photographic techniques used in geological surveying and even the probing of far off planets like Mars by NASA.  These photogrammetry techniques take a sequence of images; usually from the air (or satellite in NASA’s case), and using triangulation calculations create a 3D landscape showing the topography photographed.  As a camera view point moves between each frame, the difference between key points within the series of images can be calculated.  If the same key point can be triangulated several times during the calculations sufficient information is gathered to create a real sense of depth and scale to the landscape that has been scanned in 2D photographs.  This technique has long been used by specialist businesses and industries to carry out all manner of research and surveying in remote or inaccessible areas, NASA do it in environments too inhospitable for human exposure.  This allows us to see the world and even objects in space with far greater three dimensional understanding than ever before.

As with all things cutting edge, there is a slow filtering down process from ‘high-tech to high street’. This is also true for photogrammetry, we are now able to download and use a myriad of different applications to create amazing images which have varying 3D elements to them.

The software available ranges from the costly professional options to ones that are free to use, amazingly!  I’ll be talking about one piece of software in particular, but there are others out there. The one I’m using at the moment is created by AutoDesk; the software in question is called 123D Catch.  This is an application for both Smartphones (Apple/Android) and Desktop/Laptop machines (Software and app downloads).  In essence, using the smartphone app you take a series of images to scan around an object.  This scan can be made by only doing part of the way around something or a full 360 ̊ all the way around it.

It’s a very simple app to use and gives fairly good results too.  To use it, you need to remain a consistent distance away from the object to be photographed and keep the framing as close to the subject so that it fills the frame, unless you are doing a wider scene.  It’s worth pointing out that the main intention of the software designers is that you will ultimately be making a 3D printed version of the object you are scanning, so the focus is on the object and often the background becomes fragmented as this is considered an unwanted element in the processing of the image.

The app gives you a very handy guide hint as to where you have scanned and where you need to take the next image from.  This is all based on the smartphone’s internal accelerometer and helps with the final processing to create a perfect mesh or shell of the object you have just scanned.  The term mesh or shell refers to the surface that is created from triangulation calculations made from your images.  The result is a hollow surface which your images wrapped onto to create a 3D representation of the thing you scanned.  This can be tidied up using the desktop/laptop software, as the phone app is rather limited in what else you can do with the image.

Once you’ve completed the scan, all the images to be used are uploaded to the 123D Catch server so it can be rendered for you.  One of the down sides to this and many of the other free apps is the fact that the creator of the app/website usually retains ownership of the images uploaded and the end result too.  The output is usually much lower resolution too, based on the compression applied during the upload to increase the speed for uploading and image processing times.  So if you’re thinking of using it commercially or even getting a 3D print of your scanned image, then look for a pro version with a better licence agreement and higher resolution files at the end.

The ingenuity of the developers to make this more and more accessible to the masses and creating newer concept ideas seems limitless, the only thing we need to do is to try and keep up with it all.

This is what’s possible with 123D Catch.

The video below was created from a scan I made on my mobile phone, it was cleaned up using the desk top software to remove the remnants of the background that were not needed.  The path you take around the object in the video doesn’t follow the path I took to photograph it, but is a result of the multiple viewpoints combining to form a fully rendered free viewpoint model.  Any gaps or holes in the model are areas where not enough information could be cross referenced between multiple images to achieve a good triangulation point.  The resulting model could be exported as a file recognised by any 3D printer, this would be an obj. and stl. file.  Just imagine if you needed to create a replica of something two or more people wanted a copy of.  The secret is to take lots of images from similar viewpoints that overlap each other by a third or more if you can manage it.  This means you provide plenty of points within the images that can be triangulated.


One of the best software packages is by Capturing Reality.  This is currently a free piece of software, but only for a short period of time.  The cost will be quite high once this free trial period expires, but it has huge commercial benefits.  The software integrates with Laser scanning, Camera images, UAV and Drone scans and also Synchronised / Stereoscopic scans, making it ideal for anyone in this area of 3D capture.






Friday 29th April 2016

Papplewick has long been a favourite with Line+Light photographers and this day is a great opportunity to capture the essence and details of the boiler room, the pump house, workshops and picturesque lakeside setting.  The team at the station will be preparing the furnaces in readiness for their steaming weekend ahead.

What this means in practice is that we have activity in the boiler house, and the possibility for candid portraiture as the engineers prepare the station for steaming. We see fire through the hatches and often, smoke. Atmospheric smoke. Lots of it! Whilst we cannot always promise it, more often then not it occurs, and when it does, we get the most wonderful images.

If you’ve never seen this temple of highly decorated Victorian grandeur before, you’re in for a treat, the building is lavishly decorated and quite simply ours for the day. No public, no crowds. Just us photographers and our kit, the ability to spread our tripods out, play with lighting and create images which ooze atmosphere. Magic!


Course content – in brief

Exclusive interior and exterior access.
Opportunities to shoot the boilers being lit and stoked.
Classroom start to the day includes inspiration and how to control the scene.
Learn how to light grand interiors and apply it through out the day.
On hand help, advice and support as you take your own images.