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November 18, 2016
18 Nov 2016

Nikon 105mm 1.4 Review – From a working London photographer

I have already seen a few posts about the new addition to the Nikon prime lineup, the Nikon 105mm 1.4 but don’t worry, this isn’t just another review with lots of graphs and pictures of brick walls! Just a few thoughts on my first impressions on the new Nikon 105mm 1.4 from a working event photographer in London…I always make time to test new lenses or other gear that I’m going to use on paid jobs. So when my postman knocked on my front door with my new Nikon 105mm 1.4 I was quick to make time to go out and get started testing my new piece of kit! I headed into central London with just my Nikon D750 and the new lens and a vague idea for a short and quick project: portraits of the city musicians that busk in central London.


Street portraits with the 105mm 1.4

The majority of my street photography is with wide angle lens, either a 35mm or 28mm, so it was a nice challenge (and change) to shoot with something a bit longer… The 105mm has a long focal length so if you are used to using a 85mm on a weekly basis you might find yourself taking a few steps back every time you frame up! The nice thing about this long prime is that its makes you work a bit harder to get an interesting composition. My street musicians project was a great test and by the end of the morning I got a few portraits that I was happy with. The lens was great to use with the main highlights being that it focuses super fast and doesn’t even miss a beat even under the non-existent light conditions in tube tunnels. This new lens is sharp – as sharp as one of my kitchen knives!

The compression from the lens’ focal length works brilliantly for doing portraits as well. One of the main questions that all my photography friends have on the tip of their tongues…is it bokehlicious? And the simple answer is…Yes! With London being a busy place (as you would expect) it is extremely hard to keep the background uncluttered so being able to use the aperture 1.4 and the compression of the long focal length is a godsend! Once you have used the back button to get your chosen point of focus everything in the background goes very creamy and soft and the subject just pops out from the background!

Here are a few examples of street portraits that I liked…




Event Photography – A useful addition, Nikon 105mm 1.4

The type of event photography I specialize in, and get commissioned to photograph, is non-intrusive so my clients hire me to record/document the event and not to interrupt the flow with lots of direct flash. I mostly rely on pushing my two cameras and my different lenses so I don’t have to resort to using bursts of flash when my clients are making their speech or when they are networking with their guests. With every week being so different I have to shoot a mixture of primes/zooms lenses to cater for each new job and to make sure that I am ready for any situation and not get caught short. One type of lens that I always reach for at certain points of the shoot is a long range prime which works hand in hand with my style of event work. Over the last couple of years my most used lens is the Nikon 85mm 1.8 which I have used on numerous occasions on both events and portrait work. However, it was starting to show its age from regular use and occasionally its focal reach wasn’t quite long enough so I had to resort to my trusty (but heavy) 70-200mm. So when the new Nikon 105mm 1.4 lens appeared on my horizon I knew pretty much straight away that it would be a perfect lens to have in my kit bag for every shoot. This lens works well under all sort of lighting situations, from poorly lit conference platforms, to candlelight dinners parties and as it’s not too short in focal length, it works in the majority of situations that I normally photograph in. So I can see myself (depending on the brief) leaving my 70-200mm at the office and just using the 105mm – which will hopefully make my camera bag a bit lighter!

Here are some examples of the lens in action on a few recent shoots…






What’s it like to shoot with the new 105mm?

In terms of performance the lens is excellent and I have put it through it paces on a number of different jobs. The AF is super fast on both my D750 and my trusty workhorse, the D4. One thing to point out is that if you are using a smaller body camera like the D750, the weight of the lens can feel a bit out of balance when shooting for long periods of time. When paired with the Nikon D4 there are no problems with the balance and feels very easy to use. The one mistake that I did make when first using the new lens was putting the camera over my neck though. It was extremely sore after a few hours of shooting due to the weight, so I would highly recommend using a shoulder strap or getting yourself a battery grip to make the weight distribution more even…


Time and time again I was impressed with the colour of the final photographs, especially during the edit in Lightroom when I didn’t have to worry too much about adjusting the colour balance which is a big time saver. When I have nailed the focus the image looks super sharp and jumps off the screen. I do use my Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 a lot, but I know that it makes me lazy when I am shooting because I tend to stay in one position and then just zoom and shoot. Whereas shooting with a long range prime makes it more fun and the final results, in my eyes, are a lot punchier. I have a feeling I am going to be leaving my 70-200mm collecting dust in my camera bag over the winter months. The Nikon 85mm 1.8 feels a bit like a toy compared to the 105mm 1.4 in size and in weight. It feels very odd putting the 85mm on after using the 105mm for a period of time. You might find yourself checking that you have a lens on your camera body! Also the AF button from AF to Manual is firm and won’t be easy to knock out of place when you are shooting.


Would I recommend buying this lens? I would say definitely yes if your bank balance isn’t in the red and you need a solid lens for both your portrait work and low light event photography. Its is a great tool that will make your images pop.


September 21, 2016
21 Sep 2016

Business portrait in Liverpool Street

I photograph hundreds (maybe even thousands) of people each year everything from photographing people attending events, corporate headshots against a white or grey background and business portraits. One of my favourite type of shoots tends to be photographing clients in their own work environment. You have to think on your feet and create something that shows the client’s personality or their company brand or even both! I met Maria in her office near Liverpool Street during one of the hottest day of September and it was a great shoot, there was plenty of space for me to use a longer lens (Nikon 85mm 1.8 which great for compressing the background and light weight on the Nikon D4) and there were lots of good places within the office floor to do a number different setups. We had only 40 minutes scheduled in for the shoot so time was pretty limited for the session so I decided to shoot the majority of the portraits using available light (there was a huge office window) which makes a nice change from lugging gear everywhere!

Here is the Maria’s testimonial:

“Thanks so much James. Really appreciated. I think you did a fantastic job, thank you once again!”

Here is a favourite picture from the business portrait shoot and you if want to enquire about doing a similar shoot then you can get in touch over here!

Business portrait in Liverpool Street All the portraits images were shot with a battered Nikon D4 with my 85mm 1.8 and a few wider shots with the 24-70mm 2.8

September 9, 2016
09 Sep 2016

Gherkin Building event photography

During a busy July I was commissioned to photograph a dinner at the Gherkin building which is located in financial district, the City of London. The shoot of the dinner took place at one the top floors of the skyscraper and I have never been a huge fan of heights so working so high up made me go a bit crossed eye. Thankfully the clients didn’t notice me going a bit green when I had to take pictures next to the windows! Anyway the incredible view of London and the light was stunning within the room so it a was great commission to take on.

Here is my Google Business Review from my client:

“I hired James on behalf of a client for a business event. He took absolutely stunning photos that captured the event perfectly and we are thrilled. James was also highly professional, timely and organized, which was definitely a big plus seeing we were communicating overseas. Without a doubt, I would use James for any events/photo opps in London again. Thank you!”

And as always here are few shots from the event and you can contact me via contact form here

Gherkin building photography

event photography

London photographer

two men chatting during a business dinner

men laugh during their talk

wide shot of dinner at the Gherkin building

three men laugh

a ray of light during a dinner at Gherkin building

a group of people sitting around a table during a business dinner at the Gherkin Building.

All the images taken with a Nikon D4 with a 24-70mm and Nikon 85mm 1.6 lens.

July 15, 2016
15 Jul 2016

Jumeirah Carlton Tower event photography

This year has seen a huge spike in event shoots I am commissioned to cover, I love shooting a few events each week mainly because it gets me through the door to interesting places that I wouldn’t dream of going to like the Jumeirah Carlton Tower in Knightbridge and at the same time it is alway nice to photograph people enjoying themselves during a private drink reception! The event team at the Jumeirah hotel invited me along to photograph their Wimbledon tennis event and the brief was to capture a mixture of group shots and people mingling having a nice time. There were amazing canapes for the guests to enjoy, all made from the catering team in the hotel and there was also a great performance from the Australian opera singer, Kiandra Howarth, with a few well known tennis players including Pat Cash and Henri Le Conte making their appearance! My knowledge of tennis is limited at best so it was great to learn a little bit more about the history of tennis especially about the career of the number one tennis player, Margaret Court.

Anyway that is enough from me rambling on, as always here a few shots from the evening and if you need a photographer to shoot your event then you can send me a email to find out more –

Three women enjoying each other company and having a drink

Henri Le Conte, Pat Cash, Margaret Court and Fred Stolle enjoying the stage at Jumeirah Carlton Tower

Four people pose for a group shot

Henri Le Conte and Pat Cash enjoy a joke

A blonde woman smiles during a event at Jumeirah Carlton Tower

Kiandra Howarth sings at Jumeirah Carlton Tower

Three people laugh

Pat Cash smiles at a Jumeirah event


All the shots were taken with a Nikon D4 and 24-70. I also used a Younguo bounce flash throughout the evening.

July 12, 2016
12 Jul 2016

21st Birthday Party photographer

As I said before every week is very different for me which keeps me on my toes and makes running my photography business so fun.

So last week I was commissioned to photograph a two conference in London and then at the weekend I photographed a joint 21st birthday party in the (very) deep countryside of Norfolk. Apart from this birthday shoot making me feel a little bit old (only a little bit!) it was great fun to photograph the young crowd letting their hair down during the drink reception and then after a few glasses of wine making some brilliant dance moves on the dance floor! Oh to be young and carefree again!

Before I forget during the drink reception there was some brilliant jazz from The Jazzcats, if you need some great jazz music for your future event do give me them a call!

Here are a few favourites from the evening and if you need a photographer to cover your event feel free to send me a email.






All images were shot with a battered Nikon D4 with either a 85mm 1.8 or Nikon 24-70mm.


July 5, 2016
05 Jul 2016

RBS Conference photography on Bishopgate

My feet barely touched the ground during June, it was a busy month of shooting events and conferences throughout London. One of the conferences that I photographed was organised by Pitch Perfect Club, the event was at the RBS building on Bishopsgate and throughout the day there were a great range of different speakers and in the quieter moments I had to grab a few portraits of the speakers as well. So it was a fun filled day and I learnt a thing or two more about branding!

As times goes on I am shooting more and more conferences throughout the capital so if you need a conference photographer then do feel free to send me a email to check if I am available to cover your conference.

As always here are a handful of favourite images from the day.

RBS_Event photographybusiness_portrait_in_liverpool_stcorporate_photography-7corporate_photography


May 31, 2016
31 May 2016

Outdoor Corporate Headshot

Every now and then I get to leave my (very) heavy lighting gear behind and do a natural light portrait shoot for clients who want a more environmental but professional portrait taken outside their office. I love doing these shoots because you never know what the British weather will have in store for you but also you can use the surrounding area where the client’s office is situated to add to the look of the portraits and make the final shots a bit different.

I experimented with using a reflector as a fill but I decided against using it and just shot wide open with my 85mm 1.8. The shoot took place in the mid morning with a couple hours before the midday daylight kicked in and I used the overcast cloudy light to get a create powerful business portrait. This style of shoots work well for clients who have a limited amount of time in-between their meetings or schedules. This shoot (down below) only took five minutes to do so my client could get on with her busy day and have a online gallery with a selection of new business portraits in her inbox by the late afternoon. All sized and ready to be downloaded.

If you want to do a similar shoot for your LinkedIn profile picture or if you want to get touch then you can email me over here. 


May 23, 2016
23 May 2016

Fifth Harmony at Corinthia Hotel, Whitehall Place

A month ago I was commissioned to shoot for the Immediate Media who needed group photographs of the band Fifth Harmony for their Top of the Pops magazine. My brief was to capture the band against a plain neutral background so they could easily be cut out by the media company retouchers and put within their next edition of Top of the Pops magazine. The shoot was to take place at Corinthia Hotel at Whitehall Place and the hotel room where the shoot was to take place didn’t really have any suitable plain walls so I ended using a curtain as a backdrop!

The band, Fifth Harmony, was being interviewed all afternoon so were given a time slot during the afternoon but in the end I was only give a few minutes to get the shots after the band interview took place. Thankfully I had the hindsight to set up all my lighting equipment gear in the hotel corridor so I was ready for my 3 minutes shoot!

Here is one of the shots from the shoot –


fifth harmony band posing

Shot with a Nikon D750 with a 35mm F2.

May 18, 2016
18 May 2016

London Linkedln portrait session

At the end of April, I photographed around 30 business portraits for a networking event in Piccadilly Circus, the majority of the final images were later used as Linkedln profile pictures and avatar pictures for their Facebook business page and Twitter page.

I have arrived at the location about an half hour before the networking event was about to start and began to set up my lighting gear. Each person had 5 to 10 minutes to get the shot they wanted so I kept the lighting setup simple so it everything went smoothly without any hiccups. I just used one Profoto 500 head with a medium sized softbox and a Yonguno strobe at a low power behind each person to give them separation between person and the dark background. Then to fill in the shadows I used a large white reflector. If you need new company headshots and want to discuss quotes then please get in touch via email.

blonde lady posing against a dark backdrop

man in a red checked shirt

man with a grey beard and wearing a jacket

man with a blue jumper and smart shirt

shaved head man who smiling with a blue shirt and cyan jacket.

young woman smiling

bald man with folded arms

woman with a red shirt who smiling

smiling man who looks dapper

May 13, 2016
13 May 2016

Business Portrait Shoot in Liverpool Street

Due to a busy few weeks I have been falling behind on my blogging so I thought it would be best if I start the week with a new post about a few business portraits that I did at the beginning of June. One of my favourite parts of working in the photographic industry is shooting business portraits for clients’ online profiles (for their websites and social media profile pictures), you have to think on your feet and work hard to get a professional portrait in a unfamiliar location which can be unpredictable and stressful but always seem to work out! Anyway I was commissioned to photograph a conference in Liverpool Street and during the quiet moments I had to get natural but professional portraits of a few of the speakers. Instead of shooting the portraits with my Profoto heads in the busy conference location I took each person outside for a few minutes and used the (supposed to be sunny summer days!) overcast day to shoot each portrait. I used my Nikon 85mm prime and shot it wide open with the backdrop of the busy streets of London to make the following business portraits.

Here are a few of my favourites shots from the shoot and if you have photographic commission that you need a photographer for that you can get in touch here.

professional business portrait

Business Portrait Shoot in Liverpool Street

business portrait of a young professional woman.