The Headshot Ebook: For You

The Headshot Ebook: For You

John McAllister is a talented and hard working photographer in High Wickham, Buckinghamshire. He specializes in product and people photography for commercial clients who expect exacting standards and high creativity.

In order to serve his corporate and headshot clients better, he created this wonderful Headshot EBook that we are sharing here with you. If you get some ideas on creating your own book for prospective clients, then we are happy to have helped.

Here is the book. Download it for your use and enjoy.

The Headshot EBook PDF

John’s Website

Contact Info

John McAllister Photography
London Road
High Wycombe
Buckinghamshire, HP11 1DQ
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 1494 464287

(All images copyright John McAllister)

24 Frames In May; 2017

24 Frames In May; 2017


Our annual tip of the hat to Analog is underway next week. We will have some judges and some prizes may be awarded. We’ll see.


Please attach one single image and the contact sheet from your roll of film. That means TWO images – one you choose to show large, and the contact sheet of all the other photographs.

Send them to me as an attachment by Email. Please follow these instructions to the letter.

  1. Name your file YOURNAME-1, YOURNAME-2
  2. Make sure it is a JPEG file.
  3. File size must be 1200 pixels on long side or less (Please not less than 900 pixels though)
  4. Images must be sent to me by Midnight, June 15.

Thank you

(Damn I hate rules, but we gotta have some consistency folks…)

1. All Film camera work. Any film camera is eligible, even film P&S cameras.

2. One Roll of 24 Exposure film, or two rolls of 120 film. B&W or Color.

3. Contact sheet to be made and scanned into a single image, 3000 pixels on the long side. No exceptions. (If you are shooting MF, put the two together into a single “contact sheet”.)


5. Contact sheet scanned or photographed and uploaded by June 15. No exceptions.

The images are to be shot over a period of time in May, we do not want 24 shots of the same subject, location, setup etc… Any film camera is permitted, including instant image cameras.

Treat each shot as though you were shooting it on an 8x10 camera. No more than one shot per subject/setup. We should have 24 totally separate shots – each designed to blow our collective minds.

If you are shooting any other format (4x5, 5x7, 8x10) please let me know and I will see what we can do for you to make it consistent.

Where to get film processed.

I like these guys: FIND Labs (Film Is Not Dead) or you can do it yourself.

In order to make a “contact sheet you will use the Photoshop / Automate / Contact Sheet II .

How to use Contact II

Video one

Video two (just fill the page)


My Utah Trip With Maciej

My Utah Trip With Maciej

A few weeks ago, photographer Maciej Blaszczuk and I took a road-trip together. This was a consultation with him on how to grow his business, where to go with his new ideas, and how to implement them in order to be more manageable. I help photographers focus, and I like to do it in a situation where we are relaxed, engaged, out of a familiar element, and being creative.

Hence: The road-trip consult. Genuinely successful, and a hell of a lot of fun.

This road-trip consult ended up being in southern Utah, so I rode my motorcycle up to Vegas, and Maciej flew in from the Bahamas. Maciej is based in both Bermuda and Poland and is a travel/adventure photographer focused on smaller camera work and cameraphone mastery.

I am happy to see he is implementing what we discussed and making his business more successful. And it is a fantastic new approach to a business model.

I love southern Utah. Some of the most amazing country on the planet, easily accessible, and marvelous people willing to help you find a canyon, choose a great restaurant,or pull your rental car out of the mud… heh.

The images presented here were either shot on my iPhone 7 and processed in the iPhone, or on a Nikon Df with an assortment of lenses (28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm) processed in LR / Pshop CC.

Day one we met at the Vegas airport (where I parked my bike for the duration) and headed out in a rented Volvo 4x4… and was that thing loaded! Power everything, full open view roof, lots of power for icy roads and some lovely interior features that made the trip out to the wilds of Escalante a lot more luxurious.

Our first night we spent in Cedar City. Great hotel with complimentary full breakfast AND dinner. We opted for some Mexican food and went in search of the best Cedar City had to offer. It was amazingly good Mexican food too. Don Miguel’s is the place, and it is on the main drag so easy to spot. Ask them for the spicier roasted pepper salsa they make for themselves. Yum!.

After dinner, we went exploring out west of Cedar City in a grand prairie-like environment. We found lots to photograph.


Cedar City over to Escalante, via Bryce Canyon, was a blast. It was so cold at times I thought my fingers were going to freeze, And watching the blizzard conditions move across the mountains and valleys before us was almost magical.

We had lakes, vistas, frozen waterfalls, and a little pass where there was an amazing amount of Petroglyphs… simply amazing!

Things we discovered this day:

  1. Not many people travel that part of Utah on a Monday. The roads were empty and we once went almost an hour before seeing another vehicle.
  2. Devlishly hard to find hot coffee in that area, that time of year. We finally found a little diner with great pie, and indulged while it snowed.
  3. Weather changes on a dime at that altitude. From snowing and dark to sunny and comfortable in a manner of minutes.

I want to go back to that area… same time of year. Loved the aloneness of it all.

Day Three: Escalante to Waterpocket Fold

We spent this day exploring the Escalante / Grand Staircase area around Escalante, and I finally got to see Waterpocket Fold with my own eyes. I have wanted to see it since I was 20 years old and reading about it in a photography book I owned named “Slickrock”.

It was glorious.

But first, we drove up the mountain northeast of Boulder, Utah to some very high elevations, lots of snow, and a deep, perpetual cold.

That part of the trip was so amazing… the clouds, peaks, tree skeletons and more combined for some truly fun imagery.

Way up on the top of the mountains east of Boulder, we found so many wonderful places to shoot. I must say it was simply stunning. All the trees on this mountain range are Aspen so no pines were present. White tree-bones, white snow, and blowing snow made a whiteout occur on occasion. I was able to get a few shots in the moments when it would let up.

Road trips invigorate me. They make me realize how amazing it is to be here – in this spot – at this time. Being surprised at every corner, interested in every view, and engaged with the elements. Well, there is nothing like it.

While we were on top, in the blowing snow, three guys on Harley’s rode by. I suddenly realized how cold they must be… wow.

But then, we do what we need to do to be reminded that we are indeed alive!





This part of the road rides a ridge with very steep canyons on both sides for about a half a mile. It is simply amazing.


We were pretty beat from the long day in Escalante and Waterpocket fold so we elected to stay at the hotel in Kanab and have breakfast before heading to Zion. Good thing too… the light was mediocre and the traffic was horrendous. The breakfast, on the other hand, was superb!

We were going to eat lunch in Springdale but couldn’t find a place to park so we headed on down the mountain and decided to drive over to highway 93 through Modena and Caliente and then on into Vegas. I was quite surprised at a number of mountains in that part of Nevada. I thought it was all flat like over on 95, but it isn’t. Bluffs, peaks, mountains and canyons are plentiful in a high desert area. Simply beautiful.

On the way back we stopped in Modena – an empty town of maybe 3 people, saw a grass fire on the prairie and generally had a great discussion about what Maciej was going to do next. Fabulous!

Thanks for coming along on the virtual trip. I hope you enjoyed the images.

If you are interested in doing a one-on-one road trip consultation with me, just drop me an email and we can talk about what you are looking for. (NOTE: I do not do hotel conference rooms, or other sterile, non-creative environments.)

See you next time!

“Lighthouse: Maine; A Photoshop Twist

“Lighthouse: Maine; A Photoshop Twist

Lighthouse: Maine Coast at Sunset

A Lightroom / Photoshop Video

I recently rediscovered this image from a shoot I did in Maine a few years ago. I really wanted this image to work, but after trying it several times it just didn’t have the snap I wanted.

A few days ago, I was revisiting that shoot for a client and found the image. It suddenly dawned on me what I had not been able to do before. I needed a focal spot of light in that otherwise dreary flat ambient.

By deciding to play up the lighthouse and give it a sense of lighting itself, the shot came alive. Some of my P52 folks wanted to know how I did it, so I prepared this video. I hope you enjoy it.

I am not a Photoshop guru.

The shot as it was made. Super flat light, yet I just knew there was an image hiding in that capture. I just wanted it to reveal itself to me and one day – it did.

Processed in Lightroom and Photoshop. This is what the image needed all along; a focal point for those leading lines and something to bounce the lovely soft sunset light.


05: Subject Properties: Part One

05: Subject Properties: Part One


Let me say that again. Everything reflects.

Some things reflect more than others. Some surfaces are more reflective than others.

But since everything reflects, we are sometimes presenting what that subject reflects rather than ‘bouncing’ light into a dark area.

In portraiture, I think of providing the shadow side of the face something to reflect back to me rather than ‘filling’ as in creating light on a dark surface. The reason is that the cheek and chin and hair on the shadow side can be made to reflect the object I have placed there if it will indeed be within the angle of reflection to my camera.

I believe I get more control that way. The brighter the ‘reflectors’ the brighter the reflections back to me. Moving the reflector away from the subject increases the distance, and the reflection becomes less bright.

One of the chief reasons that things reflect the way they do is the surface of the subject. Smooth surfaces may reflect absolutely, with lots of contrast, while adding texture will cut down on the reflection of the light and actually cause it to be presented with less contrast.

It is this nature of the subject that I focus on first when deciding what kind of light to use.

I will say this before we go on… there is NO one way or right way or best way do make images. There is your way and my way and her way and his way and on and on. I will present to you what I do and you are free to take it and modify/adjust/deconstruct/start over or discard what I do. It’s OK. In fact it is what I want you to do. Take this information and make it yours. Utilize subject centric lighting in your own way and make better photographs.

Surfaces have a couple of distinct parameters for us to explore: rough, smooth matte, shiny and combinations of all three sometimes. And each one of them reflects light back to us in different and particular ways.

Shiny, glossy surfaces, matt surfaces, and textured surfaces.

We will first look at textured surfaces.

Texture is what I see first when I start to look at a subject. I just do. Of course color and shape and all play into it, but the light has its way with texture, and I notice how it is presented back to the camera. In nature it can help me decide the angle of my camera to subject and in the studio it helps me decide on what kind of lights/modifiers I will be using.

I can choose to either enhance or mitigate texture by using the angle of the light as it is presented to the subject and back to me. A very rough wood wall with light scraping down across it shows a lot of texture, and I can use that angle of light to reveal that texture to my viewers. If I decide to lessen the contrast I can wait for a cloud to come between the sun and the subject, or go around the subject to see if there is texture wood in the shade. It will still be a texture, but it will have less contrast between the bright part of the texture detail and the shadow side.

The cloud lowers the contrast just as being in the shade does. In simple form, the light source becomes larger than the detail of the texture, but we will discuss this further in the next chapter.

If the light is on either horizon, I can change the look of the texture by changing where I put the light in relation to the subject – in relation to the camera.

Light from the side shows more texture. Light from the camera means less texture. The reason is that there is more contrast between the highlights and the shadows cast on the sidelight than there is with the light coming from the same direction as the camera. The light behind the camera actually doesn’t show shadow to the camera (angle of incidence = angle of reflection) while the sidelight throws shadows and creates contrast.

Texture shows the viewer how rough an area is, or what kind of surface they would find if they were there. It delineates the shape of details and it gives us information beyond what we would see on the surface. Old things have lots of texture from the weather or the sun. Areas that are full of texture have lots of visual energy. The eye knows that the light is playing on something that shows itself with character and charm. Cookies have to have texture, as does old barn wood. We want to see the texture in an old book as we want to see it in a pasta dish or leather jacket.

In the picture below, I am using a hard light to emphasize the texture of the pods. A small light source placed at a side angle to the pods and camera gives me highlight and shadow with very little transition between.

You can see the side light in the stems and the rim of light that is created by the quick fall off from reflection of the light source to the shadow.

Texture gives us context, and it is nearly unconsciously understood. We have seen what light does to texture our whole lives, so when we go to photograph it, we are naturally drawn to those times of day and places where the texture is well rendered.

But there are places where texture may not be as welcome. A subject’s face or skin may not be considered a good thing when rendered with a lot of texture. Unless, of course, they are quite interesting with the texture rendered. Age is something we can show with texture – and along with that inspiration, wisdom and the universal knowledge of what aging does to us all.

The old brick wall that Jamie is running on shows lots of texture due to the sidelight (top light) giving us edges and shadows.

A close inspection shows us the highlights on top of the bricks and then the many indentations exacerbated by highlight and shadow with a fast fall off. This is created by using a small light source – the sun – and a large subject – the wall.

We want our things to be rendered as we expect them to be in real life. Water is wet, rough-hewn wood should look like it is a splinter waiting to happen, glassware should be very smooth, and skin should be smooth and attractive.

Sure there are examples of things being rendered in an un-natural state – and that’s fine. I am talking in a generality here, and one with a lot of history to back it up. While there may be an example of two of rough, scary skin on teenage girls, the vast majority will reject that image instantly.

This shot of cracked earth exhibits many of the properties of a subject / light relationship. Notice how much texture is shown due to the small light source side lighting the cracked earth. The sun is a small light source, and you see no soft, wrapping light, In addition, there is a bright spot in the middle of the image created by the specular – although it is a bit diffused, the dried mud is still reflective enough to show us a reflection of the sun at the same angle from camera. If I moved left or right, I would change where that bright spot was because it was locked into the same angle as my camera from the other side.

I chose to place my exposure one stop less than the recommended exposure to increase the feeling of a vignette.

Small lightsource, at a side (back) angle and a slightly reflective surface gives us more to work with than just a dried mud slab.

Texture is also shown by the angle of incidence rule. If we choose to include the light as a part of the composition, for instance, we may choose to include its direct reflection back into the lens. A highlight on a shiny surface will show us how shiny it is by the relationship of the light and the surface around it. A less smooth surface may make a softer reflection of the light source, and that will also tell us about the surface texture.

In this detail of an alto saxophone, the light is coming from the top back and it leaves small speculars on the areas that are efficient (shiny) and emphasizes the texture of the old keys and metal discoloration.

There are many places where we can use the reflection of the light source to create a cool looking gradation or highlight to create some interest as a point of composition as well.

The main point of this composition is the light on the wooden tools. By making sure the matte textured tools have a soft, directional light without any fill, the texture of the wood shows clearly in the image.

Ways to create texture:


Top light.

Hard light (small source).

Backlight can also be used in many situations.


  1. Shoot a textured item (product / thing) to show the texture and find ways to mitigate or lessen the texture. Hint – front light nearly always kills texture, and sidelight nearly always makes it stronger.
  2. Take a single textured item – like a shoe – and using your flashes or studio lighting, create as many different texture shots as you can using only one light – no fill.
  3. Look for texture in nature and shoot images that emphasize and also lessen the texture just by walking around the subject to see different angles of light to subject to camera.