Press Photographer Kent – A wet start to 2014

Press Photographer Kent – So the start of 2014 will be remembered for torrential rain, floods and biblical wind.

Press Photographer Kent. It’s been a very frustrating start to the year. With event after event being cancelled due to the weather. So I’m not going to mention that again! But there have been some nice sunny winter days. A couple of which I was out and about with my camera. Working in the beautiful winter sun.

Early on in January. I was sent to cover the Greek Orthodox Blessing of the Seas ceremony. Which takes place on Margate beach. I had never even heard about this but it made for some really nice frames.

Margate is the setting for a Blessing of the Seas in the Greek Orthodox celebrations at Epiphany (6th January) marking the baptism of Christ.  Margate was chosen for the honour in the mid-twentieth century because there is a large community of Greek Cypriot residents in the town. It’s organised by the local  Greek Orthodox Church whose Archishop leads the devotions and begins at the church of St Michael the Archangel. After a short service  a procession of many dignitaries in full regalia, both religious and civic, follows the piper to Marine Sands & the beach . Doves are released, prayers given and  a decorated cross is hurled into the waters to be retrieved by a young diver for the Archbishop.

I’ve also been doing a lot of PR Photography and editorial portraiture work. For various magazines. Along the way. I have met some amazing and brave people.

Press Photographer Kent  - Charlotte Naylor who has Lupus

Charlotte Naylor who was diagnosed with Lupus aged 23 after developing blood clots on her lungs and legs. She had a stroke in 2012 caused by the condition and has memory problems since. Shot for You! Magazine

Quite unsurprisingly sport photography has been a rare experience. Mainly because of the weather. The wettest since the 1700’s apparently! With cancellations and postponements the norm rather than the exception:

Press Photographer Kent  - Rugby Union Canterbury v Taunton Titans in National 2 South.

Guy Hilton (10) on the break with Hooker Mark Livesey (1) in support. Canterbury Rugby Club Merton Lane Nackington Road. Canterbury v Taunton Titans in National 2 South.

I have also been out scouting locations for some upcoming personal projects. On one such day I was checking out Dover’s Western Heights. I took this panoramic of Dover looking back over Farthinghoe and Maxton.

Press Photographer Kent  - Dover Western Heights

Kent Photographer – 2013 A Retrospective

As a Kent Photographer, to say planning this post was hard would be an understatement!

Looking through my catalog for 2013 which numbers around 50,000 images all edited! This year I really tried to be harsher and keep less! So what I have decided to do is to select just one image from every month and try and convey the impossible variety of work I do! So here goes. One image from each month, with not much comment…


Spent a bit of time this year shooting Premiership football for the guys at SportPix

Kent Photographer | Sport

Jussi Jaaskelainen (22) saves an Arsenal attempt


I shot less celebrity stuff this year. However I am still a bit undecided how much I’ll do in 2014.

Kent Photographer | Pemiers

Stars Denise Van Outen and Sarah Harding. Run For Your Wife Film Premier. Odeon Leicester Square,


This years motorsport season was the best yet. It was a conscious effort to focus a little more. The track days are still awesome fun and I’m looking forward to continuing a great relationship in 2014 as the official photographer at Lydden Hill where Willie Woods and his team are really making a gigantic difference.

Kent Photographer | Motorsport

Lydden Hill | BMCRC Sidecar Testing | 9th March 2013


IMG started running the FIA European Rallycross Championship with a restructure to the FIA Rallycross RX and wow! what a difference! Here’s possibly one of my favorite motorsport frames this year. I not only cover the European and British Rallycross Championships doing team media for a lot of drivers but also for Still at time of writing this I am trying to sort out plans to cover the newly announced World Rallycross Championship. Fingers crossed.

Kent Photographer | Rallycross

Kevin Errikson at 2013 FIA European Rallycross Championship, Round 1 Rallycross of Great Britain, presented by Monster Energy.


I probably shot more gigs this year than before. The head and shoulders most successful frame over everything else I shot  is this one of Justin Young, lead singer of The Vaccines. Corbis keep sending me money for this frame, not sure where its being used, but long may it last!

Kent Photographer | Event

Justin Young. The Vaccines play Margate Winter Gardens, Kent. 01/05/2013


Did a few Royal duties this year as well. Even to the point that prince Andrew tried to run me down in a golf cart!

Kent Photographer | Royal Cverage

Her Majesty The Queen visiting The Argyll & Sutherlander Highlanders, 5th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, (5 SCOTS) at Howe Barracks, Canterbury on Friday 28th June.


Holiday for the first time in years 🙂

Kent Photographer | landscapes


Every so often I get to go and take pictures of my photographic heroes. I was lucky enough to do an editorial portrait shoot of John Cross who’s legendary images of Koo Stark are well known.

Kent Photographer | Press Photographer

Photographer John Cross, who is exhibiting his work at the Golf Road Centre.


One of the few premiers did this year was ‘Diana’ unwittingly capturing David Emanuel as ‘another’ where in a couple of months after this he would be the toast of the UK down to his involvement in I’m a Celebrity!

Kent Photographer | Matt Bristow

David Emanuel. World Premier of Diana. Odean, London.


Did a wedding for a mate, was a great day more here

Kent Photographer | Wedding photographyNovember

I shot a ton of sport this year. One of my favorite events was the ATP Finals for obvious reasons.

Kent Photographer | Sport Photography

Barclays ATP World Finals. Group B singles match between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Roger Federer returns the ball.


This year more then any other I have shoot more regional press and editorial work. Its something I love more than anything else. Don’t get me wrong covering big high profile events or shooting celebrities is great but meeting everyday people who are doing ordinary things but also sometimes some extra-ordinary things is very, very rewarding. By the way I probably have shots of 50+ Santa’s from this year!

Kent Photographer | Press Photographer

Herne Bay town centre, Mortimer Street. Christmas showcase market stalls during day & light switch on.

So that in a very, very small 12 picture nutshell was my year.

New year is a time to reflect and make resolutions. I think if its all the same to you I’ll just keep doing what I do!

However there’s a couple of things I’d like to do more of in 2014 the first just requires me to get out of bed and that shoot more landscapes! The second is that I have realized I haven’t worked with any models during 2013 and that’s something I’d like to do more of in 2014, so if you want to collaborate get in touch!

Happy New year to all friends and clients both new and old here’s to an awesome 2014.

So Whats A PR Photographer?

So what is a PR Photographer? and what makes a good one?

A very good question and one I must admit I struggled to answer when it was put to me the other day. My immediate reaction was to say its to promote something, be that an individual or a company. But that’s just a bit woolly and not very concise. It could also refer to commercial photographyproduct photography or even advertising photography.

My own opinion I think its a hybrid between press photography and editorial photography. Normally there are pretty tight time constraints on delivering a set of images and more often than not the images do appear in the press so lots of similarities there then. On the other hand you normally get to be a bit more creative and you certainly get more time to actually do the shoot. But really its just the ability to be able to answer a brief by creating great images.

The following three images are all press work all shot for and used by a newspaper.

PR Photographer | Matt Bristow, Kent

PR Photographer | Matt Bristow, Kent

PR Photographer | Matt Bristow, Kent

The next three are all PR shots. Notice any difference? no? then I rest my case.PR Photographer | Matt Bristow, Kent

Its not always about people either a new restaurant or supermarket opening some of the best images are of the detail.

PR Photographer | Matt Bristow, Kent

PR Photographer | Matt Bristow, Kent

So how should you actually choose the right PR Photographer for your job?  Ask as many questions as you can. For example do they shoot much PR?

Experience doesn’t always account for everything but an experienced PR Photographer will instinctively make sure that any branding is prominent in every shot. They will know what editors or designers like to see.

But do you agree with me? I’d like to hear what you might think.

Christmas is coming! Santas in November – Kent Press Photographer

As a Kent Press Photographer, this time of year always full of images with Santa in. Which is fine but in November?

Last weekend alone I filed about twenty plus pictures of different Santas! from the weird to the wonderful!

Kent Press Photographer - Matt Bristow

Santa flies KLM its official I have seen it at Manston Airport!

Kent Press Photographer - Matt Bristow

All the Bah Humbug aside now. It really is a busy time of year. Which has seen me traveling far and wide. This year I’m determined to make some different images not just the run of the mill ones you see all the time, well that’s the plan. We shall see!

I got to cover the grand Christmas lights turn on in Dover this year by the cast of the Panto at the Marlowe Theater in Canterbury. Samantha Womack better known for playing Ronnie in Eastenders. Is one of the main celeb pulls. I personally remember and prefer her from Game On!

Kent Press Photographer - Matt Bristow

Phil Gallagher. better known as C Beebies ‘Mr Maker’ as well. I had shot him before a couple of days earlier. So I had already met him. A really nice guy who has the misfortune to support the Gills!

Kent Press Photographer - Matt Bristow

I have also been thrown some tough jobs lately not least shooting in dimly lit churches with varying results. Given more time the sceanareo screams for an Off Camera Flash setup, but when your rushing from job to job that’s just not possible.

Kent Press Photographer - Matt Bristow

Matt Bristow - Kent Press Photographer

With my Rubber Duck Does Automotive hat on. I have started shooting for the American car magazine European Car. My first job was shooting a feature of the simply awesome Ford Focus RS 500 ‘Optimus’ that belongs to the guys at RS Direct down in Bristol.

Kent Press Photographer - Matt Bristow

Unfortunately until they are published this is all I can let you see for now. Needless to say awesome car (I’m a real sucker for RS’s!) in an exceptionally cool location. Makes for some really great images and will deserve its own post in the future!

I’d also had the pleasure of getting some really great customer service this week. Which I’d just like to take a minute to tell you about. My external flash battery pack suddenly decided that it was no longer going to charge, not really the end of the world but I use mine on a daily basis as its quicker to charge than a load of AA Batteries! I duly contacted John at UK Photo Distro about it. I had only bought it back in the summer but I hadn’t spent a fortune on it so I wasn’t expecting much. However within about 5 minutes of sending the email he called me to reassure me that he was sending out a replacement. So I urge you to go and take a look at their website if your looking for any kind of accessory.

ATP World Finals 2013 – O2 Arena, London

What not to like about working indoors at Londons O2 Arena covering the ATP World Finals 2013. Especially when the weather is truly dreadful outside.

So at the beginning of November I was covering the ATP World Finals at the O2. I have not covered top level tennis before so I was looking forward to it. First game was a Group B singles match between Argentinian Juan Martin Del Portro and Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

Barclays ATP World Finals- Juan Martin Del Portro serves

Barclays ATP World Finals- Juan Martin Del Portro serves

Barclays ATP World Finals- Richard Gasquet

Barclays ATP World Finals- Richard Gasquet

Juan Martin Del Portro come out winner in three sets. The following day I had another Group B match this time between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. At this point I want to point out that the Swiss are fanatical supporters of tennis. Not surprising as they had two players at the ATP World Finals Stanislas Wawrinka  and of course Roger Federer.

With the strong support of the crowd Roger Federer was the clear crowd favorite. Which lifted him to pull back the second set by winning a tie break.

Barclays ATP World Finals - Roger Federer

Barclays ATP World Finals – Roger Federer focused and driven

Barclays ATP World Finals - Roger Federer

Barclays ATP World Finals – Roger Federer in between games

However, it was the tanasity and sheer athleticism of  Novak Djokovic that won the day. It was clear he was the man to beat and indeed he went on to win the final and lift the trophy.

Barclays ATP World Finals - Novak Djokovic makes a dramatic return

Barclays ATP World Finals – Novak Djokovic makes a dramatic return

Barclays ATP World Finals - Novak Djokovic drops a shot just over the net.

Barclays ATP World Finals – Novak Djokovic drops a shot just over the net.

Barclays ATP World Finals - Novak Djokovic victorious

Barclays ATP World Finals – Novak Djokovic victorious

My third match was the deciding match in Group A between Rafael Nadal and Stanislas Wawrinka. Where Rafael Nadal would win in just two sets but both were taken to a tie break.

Barclays ATP World Finals 2013 - Stanislas Wawrinka

Barclays ATP World Finals 2013 – Stanislas Wawrinka

Barclays ATP World Finals 2013 - Stanislas Wawrinka takes a break

Barclays ATP World Finals 2013 – Stanislas Wawrinka takes a break

Stanislas Wawrinka personalised shoes

Stanislas Wawrinka’s personalised shoes

Barclays ATP World Finals 2013 - Rafael Nadal an extreme athelete

Barclays ATP World Finals 2013 – Rafael Nadal an extreme athelete

Barclays ATP World Finals 2013 - Rafael Nadal wins the match and finishes the season as world number 1

Rafael Nadal wins the match and finishes the season as world number 1

For the full results of every match go and have a look at

The Vaccines Justin Young


 The Vaccines Justin Young giving an all out performance.

The Vaccines Justin Young

Justin Young shot here on stage at Margate Winter Gardens way back in May of this year.

I have been lucky enough to cover them playing live twice now. The vigor and energy that they put into a show was surprising both times, and I think this shot of lead singer Justin Young demonstrates that. Although you might not think so, I’d be interested in hearing what you think.

Possibly a while before we see The Vaccines play live again as they have just announced that they are to take a break. I recently found out that Corbis has licensed this image for useage, for what they wont tell me! So if you see it used anywhere drop me a line as it would be nice to know!

Photojournalist, Kent – Portraits under pressure

Portraits like them or not, but as a press photographer and photojournalist, Kent they are my bread and butter.

I’m not talking about your nice and leisurely studio based affair where you get as long as you want to get some stunning images. No I’m talking about turning up somewhere where you have never been and have to get something that’s printable in a very short space of time.

This month I have taken around 10 – 15 and the total time for all of them is probably no more than 40 – 50 minutes tops. That’s about 4 minutes or so each including getting the exposure and lighting right!

That, by the way, is not a boast. Its just a statement of fact and an illustration of the timescales and pressure that even a provincial press photographer in Kent,  such as me,  face on a daily basis. The reason for this is that a picture desk will load you up to fill your day out so you might have a job at 9:00 in one town and another at 9:45 in another which is a 20 minute drive away. Which is fine as its part of the job and its something you learn to to. You just learn to read whats around you and develop a kind of spooky third ‘lightometer’ sense.

So how do I combat this? Honestly its a case of making quick decisions on the spur of the moment or make it up as you go along. Don’t get me wrong I don’t make up the image I want at the end. But how I get that can sometimes vary greatly. Normally a CB flash bracket lives on my camera. 8 out of 10 times this is all you need for on the hoof work.

I’ll also have a light stand and extra flash at the ready. I live and die by my Canon 600 RT flashes as it means I can, without any bother or hassle have an off camera flash without hassle and faff! I also have a ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter. So I can get two flashes hidden away and still not have to walk over to them to make exposure changes. It sounds lazy but it all adds up and takes my already dwindling time even less.

In the pouring rain where speed is of the essence as those nice smiles your clients have wont last indefinitely. It will normally diminish the wetter they get!

Photojournalist, Kent- Portraits under pressure

Don’t be scared of using direct bare flash
Photojournalist, Kent - Portraits under pressure

Learn how to bounce your flash. In houses most ceilings are white and are the biggest light diffusers you will have to hand.

Photojournalist, Kent - Portraits under pressure

Sometimes all you need is the tiniest bit of pop to banish shadows.Photojournalist, Kent - Portraits under pressure


Photographic Equipment, How Do You Use Yours?

So just how do you use your photographic equipment? More importantly do you actually know what you use and when?

Not totally sure where I’m going with this one, but bear with me there is a point!

My thinking all came about after I had some comments from one of the picture editors I work for. Basically his comment was along the lines of ‘are you having problems?’

Regrettably I instantly knew exactly what he was referring to and it was something that I had been ignoring for quite some time. For quite a while I had been making compensations in camera sometimes by as much as a stop!  I had to face up to the cold truth that I simply had to get my kit serviced!

To cut a long story short when I got my first body back from Miles ‘the Man that does’ his diagnoses was that the sensor was out of line, possibly due to a knock or two! no shit sherlock. not really a surprise I suppose! The difference was simply staggering. I could trust readings the camera was giving me for, ahem the first time in months!

This got me thinking about how I use the rest of my photographic equipment.

Way back in the dark ages of film. When I as a bright eyed and freshly qualified as a photographer. My photographic equipment consisted of only primes. which consisted of 35mm, 50mm, 80mm and 135mm and that was it! (I didn’t shoot any motorsport or sport then)

I now cover those lengths and more with just two zoom lenses. But I got thinking what focal lengths out of that range do I use the most?  Professionals and amateurs alike are always planning new photographic equipment purchases, normally new lenses. And they aren’t cheap and as a full time photographer any money invested comes directly off my bottom line and in turn the money I take home to pay the bills! So I need to invest in any new photographic equipment carefully.

So I decided to analyse what I use and when. To help me I found a great little app called Exposure Plot. I simply ran it on only the frames I shot this year up to the end of August only. A total of around 43,000 images so a pretty fair cross section.

This is what I got for the most used focal lengths:

Photographic Equipment - Focal Length Analysis

And this for apertures used:

Photographic Equipment - Aperture Analysis

So what does this actually mean? Well to date rather than fork out a massive wad of cash I have opted to hire in specialist lenses against jobs when I have needed them. The downside of this is that my hire bill from this year currently stands at around £2,500! money I’d sooner hang onto in the long run. This is mostly for large primes, which considering the amount of Sport and Motorsport I shoot isn’t really too much of a surprise. I had been thinking about an 85mm prime but looking at the graphs what would the point be other than a gigantic waste of money? The trusty work horse 70-200mm f2.8 never misses a beat.What is does suggest is that its time to invest in a large prime again.

What is more interesting is the usage at the other end of the focal length scale. I am very tempted to retire my 24-70mm f2.8 and invest in 2 or 3 fast primes instead.

Go and give it a go I think you’ll be surprised I know that I was! If nothing else it will help you spend your hard earned wisely!

The Tour of Britain 2013 – Stage 8 London

The Tour of Britain 2013 Transport for London Stage 8. The final stage. Could Sir Bradely Wiggins do it? was there any doubt?

As a Sports Photographer  I was supposed to be cover the whole of The Tour of Britain 2013 from start to finish. But due to circumstances mostly beyond my control all I was able to make was the closing stage in London.

It was a day that was packed full of supporting races to keep the growing crowds entertained. First up was the Ladies Johnson Health Tech Westminster Grand Prix. Which was run around the barriered part of the course which ran through the streets of Westminster and Whitehall.

The Tour of Britain 2013

Next up was the IG Gentlemans Time Trial which consisted of a ‘Pace rider’ and a ‘Gentleman’ both were made of of past and present celebrities.

Then the real event was due to start. Now I have seen road racing but nothing, and I mean nothing prepares you for the experience of top riders doing laps in an enclosed circuit. 8.8km in total which they were covering on average in 10 minutes. As the pelaton passed it was like standing at the side of a motorway!

Sir Bradely Wiggins and Mark Cavendish were without a doubt what the large crowds that were gathered had come to see.

Tour of Britain TFL Stage 8, London

Tour of Britain Stage 8, London. Mark Cavendish signs autographs before the start

Sir Bradely Wiggins being interviewed before the start of the final stage.

When interviewed on the start line and asked what his plan for the stage was. He had a 26 second lead. He calmly said “of course we are going to try and loose it!”

Doing what I do there are always curve balls that are thrown at you. Which in turn leads to the necessity of keeping sharp and thinking on your feet. I wont bore you with the details but I had to completely change my game plan mid race. Sometimes taking a step back and looking at the crowd gives you an image that you might otherwise miss.

The next couple of images I wouldn’t have normally taken, but I’m very glad I did as I think they are probably my favorite ones form the day. The first one shows Sir Bradely Wiggins being pulled along by his Sky Procycle team mates just as they leave Whitehall.

Tour of Britain TFL Stage 8, London

This one is the moment Mark Cavendish crossed the finish line in his historic stage win. But, its not all about him its about the crowd and what they are doing. Check out the guy top left!

Tour of Britain TFL Stage 8, London

So was there really any doubt that Sir Bradely could do it? nah!! I give you the The Tour of Britain 2013 Champion!

Tour of Britain TFL Stage 8, London

I’ll leave you with a a few more. For the full results take a look at the official website

Sports Photographer – I Didn’t Set Out To Be One

I didn’t set out to be a sports photographer but somehow sport of some form or another accounts for a hefty slice of what I shoot from day to day.

By way of recognition. I am now a member of the national Sports Journalist Association (SJA) and also the international Association Internationale De La Presse Sportive (AIPS). Where you need to prove your income via sports photography coverage.

So to mark this moment. I’m not going to post some images from a big international event or even a national one. Instead I’m sharing a few frames from the recent Kent Cycling Associations annual 12 hour time trial. Which is held locally in and around Ashford and the Romney Marsh. Why am I showing you this I hear you say? I want to demonstrate there is good, watchable and challenging sports just about everywhere. That make good subject matter for any sports photographer.

Matt Bristow | Sports PhotographerMatt Bristow | Sports PhotographerMatt Bristow | Sports PhotographerMatt Bristow | Sports PhotographerMatt Bristow | Sports Photographer

Matt Bristow | Sports Photographer


All the above said and done. I’m now off to cover the end of the Tour of Britain 2013!