VEBT Finals Margate – August 2013

VEBT Finals Margate – the Beach Vollyball seasons grand crechendo

The VEBT Finals Margate or to give them their full name Volleyball England Beach Tour Finals. I hadn’t covered any beach volleyball, or volleyball for that matter! before so I was looking forward to this one. However the day I was there it was overcast and generally a bit rainy. A long way from the vision I had in my head of what it should be like! you know bright sunshine and crowds of people. It did by all accounts brighten up on the Sunday when I wasn’t there!

However the sporting action was something else. With an array of GB Olympic atheletes playing the quality was truely the best there was in the UK. I spent most of my time covering the main court.

The atheletes were very clearly at the top of their game and it was a real pleasure to watch and photograph here are a few of my personal favorites.

VEBT Finals Margate 2013

VEBT Finals Margate 2013

6′ 10″ Chris Gregory part of the winning mens pairing spikes the ball

VEBT Finals Margate 2013

VEBT Finals Margate 2013

VEBT Finals Margate 2013

VEBT Finals Margate 2013

VEBT Finals Margate 2013

And a few extra ones.

Full results can be found at and my full set of pictures can be viewed at SportsPix

Car Rig Shot | All you need to know

So you want to do a car rig shot? Well who wouldn’t?

A Car Rig Shot is very cool! But when I wanted to build my own rig there was little or no information available. It seems that it was shrouded in more secrecy than the magic circle. Other photographers simply didn’t want to divulge their methods.

I have been meaning to write this for a while. Here’s my DIYish way of doing a car rig shot without breaking the bank! Don’t get me wrong there are widely available commercial rigs that you can buy if money is no object. Typically these start at over £1,000! So if money is no object go and check out the guys at their rigs are superb.

Heres what you’ll need to take a Car Rig Shot

A couple of Manfrotto F1000 pump cups (I only use Manfrotto as all my other stuff like this is Manfrotto so I know they are interchangable!)  these can be picked up for around £60 from places like Wex Photographic

Car Rig Shot

I never leave home without at least half a dozen Manfrotto Super Clamps in the bag, just because they are so usefull on any shoot,  but for this you will only need three.

Car Rig Shot

You’ll then need a way of attaching your camera. I use a Manfrotto Magic Arm. I have seen all sorts of other methods used to save on weight but I use my Canon 1D’s with this without any issues. These retail at over £100 but I picked mine up from E-Bay for £20!

Car Rig Shot

I also normally have with me a couple of Manfrotto Umbrella Swival adaptors. With an array of male/female siggot adaptors. These aren’t always needed but if the car your rigging has odd curves these are usefull to make up extra height.

Car Rig Shot

Finally you will need something pole like. I first used steel conduit that simply screwed together. But they proved too heavy and created lots of wobble due to their weight. Infact the Cosworth shot below was shot using these. I actually use aluminium scaffolding poles. I was lucky enough to find a 5m length in my garage I didn’t know I had!

Car Rig ShotI have it in three pieces and attach them like this.

Car Rig Shot

Put it all together and it should look a bit like this.

Car Rig Shot setup

Depending on where you shoot and what surface you might want to add some sort of tension cable. I just use some fine metal wire and a piece of carbon kite rod. You can see this in the shot above.

Taking the shot

I always aim for a 3-6 second exposure dependant on time of day and weather conditions. Anything longer doesn’t really add much infact I think it actually takes away, as if you blur the background too much the car simply looks like a cut out.

To take the shot its always easier to simply push the car, thats the trick, rig shots are taken with the car barely moving! Having said that I have done it with the car under power.

Theres a myriad of ways to trigger the exposure anything from setting the self timer on your camera to using a wireless trigger like Pocket Wizards. The choice is up to you.

Once you have taken the shot you should have something that looks a bit like this.

Caterham For Car Throttle

All thats left is to photoshop out the rig and voila you have your rig shot.

Caterham shot for Car Throttle

Caterham rig shot for Car Throttle

Here are a couple of my favorites that I have been commissioned to shoot over the past 18 months or so.

Rallycross Super car | Rig Shot for Japanese Performance

Rallycross Super car | Rig Shot for Japanese Performance

Ford Cosworth RS | Rig Shot for private client

Ford Cosworth RS | Rig Shot for private client

Ford Prefect | Rig Shot for Performance Ford

Ford Prefect | Rig Shot for Unity Media

One last word of warning from me on rig shots. Yes, they are cool and look awesome. But they don’t show much about the detail of the vehicle. A feature shoot is just that its all about features and detail. So don’t use a rig shot just because you can it has to be in context with the brief.

If theres anything thats not clear or you want more information add a comment below and I’ll try my best to answer it.

You can see more of my automotive work at

GB Basketball v’s Peurto Rico

GB Basketball at the Copper Box Arena in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

GB Basketball started their EuroBasket warm up campaign at the Copper Box Arena in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.


Its pretty much the only Olympic building actually being utilised which is a real shame. I took this panoramic during the warm up from the top seating tier. Quite possibly one of the most taken views of the Copper Box Arena, but I couldn’t resist it!

The Copper Box Arena


The support game was an exhibition wheel chair match between GB and Help for Heros. It was the first time I have ever seen a wheel chair game. It looks very physical and its very, very fast. Here is a small selection of my favorite frames.



The main game was played infront of a capacity crowd at the Copper Box Arena.


GB Basketball vs Puerto Rico basketball at the Copper Box Arena.


It was Coach Joe Prunty‘s first game in charge.


GB Basketball vs Puerto Rico basketball at the Copper Box Arena.


It was also the start of Team GB’s preperation of their EuroBasket 2013 Campaign. If you want to read a full match report head over to the GB Basketball website site.


I just love how close I am allowed to get. In a universe far, far away I used to play basketball. I know that physically I wouldn’t be up to it but I can still read the game. I shot this at 24mm right under the basket.


GB Basketball


But for now here are a few of my favorites from the game. My full set can be seen on the SportPix website


Esimit Europa 2 – More than a boat

Esimit Europa 2 in Cowes, Isle of Wight

I was fortunate enough to get an invite to the media launch of the Esimit Europa 2. So it was off to Cowes on the Isle of Wight for me. Shortly after it had taken line honours in the big boat class at Cowes and just before thier next challenge the Rolex Fastnet race.

Sailing on the Solant

Its is one of the worlds fastest and technologically advanced sailing yachts in the world. Its stats are mind boggling. 30 meters long, the mast is 44 meters tall a crew of 18 and a top speed of over 38 knots!

It is the only yacht sailing under the European flag and under the patronage of Jose Manuel Barroso president of the European Commission. It further enjoys the support of the European Commission, The Russian Government and numerous European diplomats. Promoting their message ‘All together – for Europe’. Theres alot more information to be found on their website

I spent an hour and a half on it, most of it at 45 degrees!

Esimit Europa 2

Brimming with technology

Esimit Europa 2

Igor Simčič at the helm, owner, who is joining his team for the fastnet race.

Igor Simčič at the helm

Yacht skipper Jochen Schümann

Yacht skipper Jochen Schümann.

Ed Wright

At the helm Ed Wright, European and World Finn Class Champion and winner of ISAF World Cup Series.

Esimit Europa 2

Esimit Europa 2

Esimit Europa 2

Esimit Europa 2To see my full set of images please visit

Dark Field Lighting Technique

Dark Field Lighting Technique. Its not some evil Star Wars hocus pokus. Its a lesser known method for dramatically lighting glass and liquids.

I first blogged about Dark Field Lighting way back in 2010. Since then I have had the conversation with so many people that I thought I’d repost it again, with a few edits here and there.

Have you ever tried to photograph something thats made of glass? If you have you’ll know the problems with reflections, it usually results in your mugshot in one of the reflections possibly grining, or the window with the number 7 bus driving by! Not wholly professional and certainly it wont be of a standard that a client is willing to pay for.

Your solution therefore is the dark field method, before I get flamed by those in the know, yes there is an opposite technique called, yes you’ve guessed it Light Field Photography. Its a bit like the Ying and Yang of product photography lighting!

Dark Field Lighting

Firstly and most surprisingly theres no direct light and only one strobe used here, you could use a second snooted strobe camera left or right to pick out any detail if you felt like it.

The glass subject sat on something black I used foam core with glass ontop for that shiney look. A further piece of foamcore just big enough to fill the frame.So here’s the set up and its really simple.

Dark Field Lighting

The strobe is set below the table pointing directly at a white wall immediately behind all this. The room needs to be very dark to eliminate any reflections. In a small room you will have problems with reflections from the walls etc.

My product studio is small so to get round this I used reflective umbrellas black side out to both left and right nice and close in any other black ‘flag type’ props will do the job.

Heres a less styled shot with a bit more colour.

Dark Field Lighting

That is all there is to it, give it a go. I would be interested in hearing how any of you get on.

Even a Professional Photographer deserves a Holiday

As I go about my daily work as a professional photographer I always think July is a weird month, neither here nor there.

So we normally have a holiday. Well even a professional photographer is allowed one  they? But before I could have a well-earned rest there was still some assignments to take care of. As well as the end of the plethora of school sports days and proms that happen at this time of the year.

The beginning of the month saw me on the red carpet in Leicester Square, London for the World Premier of Status Quo’s first feature film ‘Bula Quo’

Status Quo's Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt | Professional Photographer Matt Bristow

Status Quo’s Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt – quite simply legends!

Actress Laura Aikman | Professional Photographer Matt Bristow

The beautiful Laura Aikman poses with a fan at the star-studded Premiere of ‘BULA QUO’.

Later in the month with the help of good friend and fellow professional photographer Ross I’Anson. We headed off on a road trip to Belgium to an extremely hot Massmechelen in  South East Belgium for round 5 of the British Rallycross Championship. I really enjoy going there its a tight circuit and always entertaining. The rest of my galleries from the round can be found at My race report is over on The Checkered Flag

British Rallycross Championship Round 5 Maasmechelen, Belgium | Professional Photographer Matt Bristow

Kevin Procter looses a rear damper in the Super car heat 2

British Rallycross Championship Round 5 Maasmechelen, Belgium | Professional Photographer Matt Bristow

Championship leader and the winner in Belgium, Julian Godfrey.

A quick interior and food product shoot for the guys at The Vinorium. Who are opening a new Deli and eatery. If you’re in the Ashford area I really recommend you take the time to visit them to sample their quality wines and mouth watering foods.

The Deli at The Vinorium | Professional Photographer Matt BristowSo it was holiday time and off to France we went. I didn’t do much snapping as my gear was commandeered by my niece! But I did take the time to get a couple of frames. No brief just what I felt like! Something I think that most professional photographers loose sight of.

I’m a sucker for panoramas and I hate heights! But I couldn’t resist a quick handheld 6 frame panoramic of the Bologne skyline.

Panoramic cityscape of Bologne-Sur-Mer | Professional Photographer Matt Bristow

Panoramic cityscape of Bologne-Sur-Mer

Never shoot into the sun is a rule you are told from day one when you study photography. Well I have news for you that isn’t always the case. Your flash can over power the sun, well kind of!

Professional Photographer Matt Bristow

Quick Portrait – Rules were made to be ignored!

I haven’t shot a startrail for ages. Nothing fancy just in the garden of our holiday home. A quick 60 frame stack. Shot at an exposure of 30 seconds with 30 seconds gap between. With a couple of random strobe bursts for the foreground.

Startrails in France | Professional Photographer Matt Bristow

Startrails in France

Any questions or comments please leave them below. I’ll answer everything in as much detail as I can.