Despite how the world changed in 2020, especially for those working in the creative industry, I'm amazed by how busy I kept throughout the year but then again you know I don't like sitting around not doing anything, it's just not in my nature.
What can I say about 2020 which hasn't been said already? Well, I can certainly tell you about my year and how I kept myself busy in one of the most challenging years ever working as a photographer.
I was working on a 4-day Corporate Headshot Photoshoot when the government announced you should work from home if you could or don’t if you can’t, who knew what you were meant to do at the beginning of the Pandemic? I was able to finish my corporate shoot that day while the company were holding emergency meetings and planning for the immediate future. Then overnight, all the work which I had booked in, was postponed.
Now I don't like to sit around for too long, and I had no idea how long this lockdown would last for so I worked flat out for the next few weeks updating my website, portfolio and blogs while I had the time, and before things got back to normal. Of course, things didn’t get back to normal, and here I am practically a year on still wondering what's going to happen.
When it became apparent things weren’t going to return to normal anytime soon, I used a lot of my 'non-working' time experimenting with camera settings and lighting to improve my motorcycle and lifestyle photography. Photographing motorcycles was something I could do by myself so I could just keep shooting. In-between lockdowns, I also had a number of photoshoots with social media influencers as well as photographing my own bike at several locations.
2020 for me was spent either shooting models and actors or motorcycle photography. Unlike my previous Decade in Review Blog, I’ll divide my images into creative shoots and motorcycle photography, as I know not all of you are as mad about motorcycles as I am. Even still, I would really appreciate you taking a look at what I’ve been up to as it has shaped how I’ve worked this year and has kept me sane.
This is how my 2020 looked like for me in the last of my series A Decade in Review.
January and February can be a quiet time for photographers and it's a time when I like to test if possible. I had already had planned a number of photoshoots early in the year including testing a Canon EOS R.
But before I get on to that, in February, I met up with Stunt Performer Kit Burden to help him update his portfolio and for us to take the time to discuss a few projects which we are hoping to work on together. Those projects have been put on hold for the moment, unfortunately, but we did have an awesome day creating an exciting set of action images. Here are just a few of my favourites.
Whilst attending the SWPP Photography Convention in January and chatting to Canon about a focus issue I was having with my f1.2 lens, I signed up with Canon and Hireacamera to test drive the mirrorless EOSR. I had planned to meet up with model Gemma Huh to shoot at her home but I was keen to try the camera out in low light and decided to jump on a train and head into London. Do you remember when you could do that! Kit had seen the Instagram story I had posted and kindly offered to meet me in London to model for me. He also offered to contact a friend who was in London that day and I'm pleased to say that Actress Rose Muirhead agreed to also join us later that evening.
Perhaps I'll save the review for another blog, but needless to say, it's incredible in low light.
Below: Stunt performer Kit Burden modelling for me as we made our way around London with the Canon EOSR
Below: Actress Rose Muirhead kindly met us that evening as I put the EOSR through its paces using lowlight and the Profoto A1X
Above: I couldn't resist asking if I could take a few shots of a passer-by who just happened to be walking past while I was waiting for Rose!
The following day I made my way over to Gemma's home, complete with my lighting, and backdrop. It was a very relaxed shoot as I had purely wanted to test the EOSR for focusing, depth of field and in low light. As you can see in the final image, we also shot through the fabric to see how the lens and camera sensor would handle the fine detail. It creates an incredibly sharp image even at f2.0
If you have been following my work for a while, you will know that I have had a number of shoots over the years with model and actress Andrea Vasiliou. Andrea contacted me to ask if I'd be interested in meeting with her in London to shoot a set of lifestyle images, of course, I would, as we always manage to capture some lovely images and have a good time in the process. This shoot would be no different. Although sunlight caused me a few problems we still created a lovely selection for Andrea to use.
My favourite part of the shoot was when we were kindly given permission to shoot in Côte Brasserie. Well, to start with Andrea was indoors and I was still out on the street, shooting through the window. After using their toilet facilities I then noticed an amazing space downstairs and cheekily asked if we could use it for a few minutes. I do love an impromptu shoot!
In June 2020, I was fortunate enough to create a set of motorcycle lifestyle images which my client Hideout Leather could use for their new website which they were building at that time. My best friend and motorcycle buddy Elyske, known as my Triumph Twinny, had a custom suit made by Hideout a couple of years ago, which made all of our lives easier for when we wanted to create new images.
This was as a test shoot as I wanted to improve my motorcycle lifestyle photography skills but I'm pleased to say that Twinny and I always create images which Hideout love and are keen to use.
You can see more from this shoot below in my motorcycle section.
Above: My best friend Elyske wearing her Hideout Leather T-Shirt and custom motorcycle two-piece suit.
I had been chatting to model and actress Tara Hoyos-Martínez for some time about working on a project together, I also wanted to introduce Tara to stunt performer Kit. Late summer we were all able to meet up to create this action-adventure set of images. I won't say too much about this right now as I hope to be creating another blog very soon.
I love shooting cinematic images and had an absolute blast working with Tara and Kit on this shoot. Here's just a small selection of what's to follow soon.
Oh yeah, I can't take credit for the Tara Croft line, that's down to Tara but being a Tomb Raider fan I couldn't resist!
One thing I've noticed over the years is that for most bikers, a motorcycle isn't just a means of getting from a to b. Of course for many it is a means of commuting but the social side of biking is massive and on social media, there are plenty of like-minded people who want to connect with each other.
Throughout the year I was shooting images of motorcycles which I could do by myself with the government restrictions in place but whenever I got the opportunity to work with other people I would jump at the opportunity. Two of my favourite shoots were with motorcycle influencers Deimante, known as Tomboy_A_Bit on social media and with Holly Richardson, All about Holly.
Read about these shoot below in Part Two of this blog.
I had a day out in Surrey when shooting with Holly and pretty much had all four seasons in one day but we still managed to create some great photos which I'm really pleased with. Check below to see more.
It had been a few months since I had seen Andrea Vasiliou, you may remember our shoot in London at the beginning of the year.
Andrea mentioned then she was looking for a new set of headshots and loved the style I had created for her a few years ago. As it was a lovely day I set my studio up in the garden including a seamless paper backdrop. We also made the most of a lovely sunset as we shot a lifestyle series in an open space near my home.
I do love a fantasy-themed shoot as you know, so I was delighted to be contacted by actress Natascha Hort who was in need of a set of images for a casting application on an exciting new TV project. Of course, we shot at one of my favourite and best-kept secret locations. We had to juggle shooting in and out of the rain unfortunately but still had a great time.
There were also a few passengers on the District Line who were delighted to see Natascha as she wore the dress in the first image on the Tube. It certainly cheered up one young girl who didn't realise princesses travelled by London Underground!
I hadn't really had two many opportunities to shoot in my studio last year, so when I had a couple of clients contacted me to say their projects had been rescheduled, I was keen to test and make sure I could remember how to take a photograph. My Twinny Elyske was kind enough to offer to help me brush off the cobwebs while shooting in my home studio. How could I not share these lovely shots?
It won't be too long before I'll be photographing Elyske again at her wedding this year, which I'm honestly excited for but already kinda nervous about!
As many of you know I have been a petrol head for most of my life and passionate about motorcycles from an early age. I’m pleased to saymy name seems to be getting recognised in the motorcycle industry.
In 2020 with all my paid work projects postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic, I used a great deal of my time experimenting with camera settings and lighting so I could improve my motorcycle and lifestyle photography. In-between lockdowns I also had a number of photoshoots with social media influencers as well as photograph my own bike at several locations.
Below is a selection of some of my favourite images taken throughout the year.
Below: Triumph Speed Triple 1050 S
Above: I was hoping to get a nice sunset this evening but didn't expect it to be as dramatic as it was. It's amazing how quickly the light changes and how short a good sunset lasts for.
Below: During Lockdown in April, my daughter celebrated her 18th birthday at home. I had seen that Bennetts Insurance who sponsor British Superbikes, had a competition on Instagram which we as a family entered. Amazingly, we won! We haven't yet been able to claim our prize but look forward to a VIP trip to the British Superbikes when we are allowed.
Below: A few more test selfies.
Below: I was able to shoot for Hideout Leather to create images promoting their Hideout Concept Air which is designed specifically for hot-weather use.
Below: It's not unusual for me to shoot at the same location twice. After thoroughly cleaning my bike I returned to this grungy street location which I love. I'll be back there soon for some more shots now I have an SP Engineering exhaust fitted.
As I mentioned in part one of my blog above, this is my riding buddy and best friend Elyske who happens to wear Hideout Leather protective clothing which makes it easy for me and Hideout when we need to capture any new images for their website.
She does brush up surprisingly well!
There aren't too many shots of me out there taken by other people, so I thought I'd share this natural shot Elske took using my camera. She even kindly had it printed on to a mug for me at Christmas! I particularly like this shot as for some reason it makes my arm look bigger than normal!
I met a local biker Lee in the summer and loved his personalised Triumph Street Twin. Fortunately for me, Lee was up for a shoot as by now I was getting pretty bored shooting selfies!
Above: I'm so pleased with this image, it's one of my favourites and I know Lee feels the say way too. Which would be your favourite image? Please leave a comment below.
Tomboy_A_Bit is a motorcycle influencer who doesn't live too far from me. I've seen Deimante on the bike circuit but never really had the chance to chat until this year when I started chatting to her at a local event in the summer.
I was keen to just get out of the house last year if I'm honest and work with new people, and fortunately for me, Deimante was more than happy to shoot with me while she reviewed the Indian FTR 1200 for Krazy Horse London. We met at Krazy Horse in South London and rode together to a location I discovered years ago but had never had the opportunity to shoot there. It was perfect. I also knew of a footpath where we could push the bike so we could have the iconic Tower Bridge in the background.
I'm sure you would agree, they're a lovely set of images which we both love and it was a great opportunity to get to know Deimante better and chat about other possible projects we can work on together when the timing is right.
I met Holly many years ago on the bike scene when model Grace Gray and I visited The Bike Shed to a social event Holly was hosting. We'd since bumped into each other at various biking events and I was hoping one day I'd be able to photograph Holly. For me, it's not always about getting shots I can use, it's also having the opportunity to socialize with other like-minded people and do something I love. I won't go into all the details but I just heard the shock news that a female bike I knew, Chelsea Hobbs, had been killed in a tragic accident. Chelsea and I were talking about having a shoot together and hearing this news really knocked the wind out of me. Meeting with Holly was just what I needed at that time and I really appreciate Holly's help.
Holly looks pretty tough in this photo's which is the look I wanted but believe me, she doesn't usually stop smiling.
Below: An addition to my Speed Triple, an SP Engineering Exhaust. See the link below to my YouTube channel for The Adventures of Phil Jones.
Above: Just before Lockdown 3.0 I couldn't resist shooting my bike while in London. With all the rules and regulations these days I think more and more people will be looking to get two wheels to commute to work.
In November and December, I decided to create a new YouTube Channel to promote my motorcycle photography and my biking adventures. The Adventures of Phil Jones.
Here's my Channel Trailer
Over the next 2 months, I would edit the footage and photography from my trip to the Scottish Highlands in a three-part series as well as produce a channel trailer and a couple of “How-To” videos. I’m very pleased and surprised to say that as I write this, Part One has had over 10,000 views in just over a month which I find staggering.
Take a look for yourself at my Adventures. Below is Part One of my mini-series Adventures in Scotland.
What lies ahead in 2021 is still unknown. I’ve now had projects which were postponed now cancelled completely but I continue to do my best to be positive and look forward to the time when I’m able to meet with my clients again and return to their offices.
Stay positive people. I'm still here should you need a photographer!
Connect on Social Media
Kit Burden Instagram
Rose Muirhead Instagram
Gemma Huh Instagram
Andrea Vasiliou Instagram
Elyske van der Pol Instagram
Tara Hoya-Martinez Instagram
Tomboy A Bit Instagram
Natascha Hort Instagram
Hideout Leather Instagram
Lee Budny Instagram
The Adventures of Phil Jones Instagram