Actor Joel Quinn Headshots

Thank you to Actor Joel Quinn, who booked an Actors Headshots update session at the Liverpool Studio this week. Joel was very kind to leave me a review of his experience below. Based in Liverpool and holding sessions monthly in Manchester, Leeds & London studios. I have developed my own unique style of working with actors ensuring their photographic headshot experience is an enjoyable; relaxed session; to create the very best in Actors Headshots. Please take a look at my comprehensive and affordable packages.


“A pleasure to work with”

Written on: 02/03/2016 by Joel Quinn Via

I contacted Rory for an Actors Headshot Session and I was not disappointed. Rory was extremely pleasant and welcoming . As for the session itself I couldnt have felt more comfortable about my shots. He kept me visually updated throughout the shoot with how they were turning out so that we could adjust and tweek things to get the final shots I was looking for!


Joel Quinn Actors Headshots, Rory Lewis Photographer, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds London

Joel Quinn Actors Headshots, Rory Lewis Photographer, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds London

Joel Quinn Actors Headshots, Rory Lewis Photographer, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds London

Joel Quinn Actors Headshots, Rory Lewis Photographer, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds London

Actress Helen Sutcliffe Headshots Session

Leeds Actors Headshots Rory Lewis PhotographerThank you to Actress Helen Sutcliffe, who booked an Actors Headshots update at the Liverpool Studio. For many years I have created Actors Headshots for the UK’s finest Acting Talent, Stars of Stage and Screen from Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Derek Jacobi, David Warner, Emma Rigby, Iain Glen, Julian Glover and the list goes on. Based in Liverpool and holding sessions monthly in Manchester, Leeds & London Rory I have developed my own unique style of working with actors ensuring their photographic headshot experience is an enjoyable; relaxed session; to create the very best in Actors Headshots. Helen was very kind to leave me a review, via my page of her experience. If you are an actor new or established I can provide the headshot package just for you.


“A friendly atmosphere, and great conversation with the photographer, Rory helped me relax and enjoy the session (which can be daunting for those of us who dread having their photo taken.) Rory got on with the job from start to finish – no messing, resulting in lovely natural images.
He was also sharp in all correspondence, including sending me the finished products.
I am very happy with the photos, and will be using this service for all future headshots.” (Source


 Manchester Actors Headshots Rory Lewis Photographer

Jennifer Walsh Actress Headshots

This month at the Liverpool Studio actress Jennifer Walsh arranged her Actors Headshots Session to update her Spotlight Acting Page. Jennifer opted for Package One, photoshoot including three retouched images presented in both Black & White and Colour. It was wonderful to work with Jennifer who very kindly wrote a review of her experience below.


Jennifer’s Review 

Written on: 25/10/2015 Via

Liverpool & London Actors Headshots“From the moment I read Rory’s website I knew I wanted him to take my Headshots. I loved his background and passion for headshot photography. I contacted him and booked online – it was quick, easy and his correspondence was excellent, friendly and I was excited to attend the photoshoot. I took my sister along and as soon as we arrived we loved the arty environment in the heart of Liverpool. We found parking easy and were kindly shown to Rory’s studio by another chap working for the Retro cinema. Rory had an assistant trainee and this was fab as we could learn some tricks of the trade whilst he took my photos. He showed me the shots all the way through and I loved them. I knew I had the headshot I wanted within the first 5 mins as he is such a wonderful photographer with a great eye and making you feel so relaxed so portraying your true self. He also knows what the industry and Spotlight look for so he directs you throughout the shoot. He is courteous, friendly and fun and made the whole experience perfect.

When I received the final retouched Headshots I was so thrilled they were wonderful. I will certainly use him again in the future and I would highly recommend any actor or individual wanting Headshots or photography to contact Rory. You will be thrilled with the result.”

 (Rory Lewis)

Canon EOS 700D with 18-55mm Lens Review

Canon EOS 700D Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm

Canon’s 700D is a perfect Mid/Entry Level DSLR with a good range of features, controls and a wonderful articulated touch-screen. Having touch screen ability makes it quick and easy to change settings. With an 18 million APS-C sized sensor and hybrid focus 9 cross-type AF points system for use in live view or video mode it is a comprehensive camera. The APS sized sensor actually has some benefits over the “Full Frame” ones if you are considering nature photography because all the lenses crop by a factor of x1.4 which means you get closer to the action for less money. Ideal if you are on a constrained budget.

Canon 700D Portrait Quality

Canon 700D 18-55mm Portrait Quality

The supplied 18-55 F3.5 – 5.6 lens is image stabilised and uses the newest (STM) stepper motor. This new motor is very fast and totally silent, unlike the old USM lenses which made noise during video mode. This kit lens is certainly a major step-forward from the old 18-55 non-IS lenses canon once suppled with their cameras.

Canon EOS 700D Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm

The screen is side hinged & can be viewed from a multitude of angles. A good trick I found is that when taking a”selfie” you rotate the screen to point towards the yourself, the camera automatically enters Live View mode. The quality of the screen is excellent, colour, contrast & brightness are superb. The touchscreen is fairly responsive & the interface is easy to use.  The 700d is a major improvement over the 350d, enabling more freedom to experiment with settings quickly such as TV, AV & M modes.

Rory Lewis Photographer (Selfie) Taken with the 700D.

Rory Lewis Photographer (Selfie) Taken with the 700D.

The camera has a live view function, can autofocus in live view. This is a real treat on a SLR as it enables some additional creativity during composition but it is not a replacement for the viewfinder. The Canon 700D takes full HD video, full 1080dpi. You can view a sample of the video quality on Canons Website. You will be able to capture a few hours onto a 32Gb card. Just ensure you have a fast enough card, I recommend 45mbps SD Cards. One of the main problems with the earlier models was the noise caused by the lens motor during shooting. The as mentioned earlier new STM lenses alleviate this problem by having near-silent stepper motors. I would still recommend a microphone for recording sound, either and Rode or sennheiser.


Overall the 700D is a very creative, versatile piece of kit at the top end of Cannon’s amateur EOS DSLR range. I would highly recommend this camera to anyone wanting to take photography fairly seriously but can’t yet warrant spending thousands on a professional body.

Pro-foto B2 250 AirTTL Kit Review

Pro-foto B2 Kit ReviewProfoto sent me the B2-250 kit  to review this month, and it was the worst thing they could do. The kit was SO GOOD, I had to buy one myself! As the photographer on the move, the ProFoto kit combines durability with portability and power.


Pro Foto B2 Head ReviewThe B2-250 kit includes AirTTL Power Pack, 2 batteries, charger, X2 B2 Flash heads with a padded location Bag and a Carrying Bag with shoulder strap. The power pack is intended for the photographer on the road, and weights just less than 1kg with its Li-Ion battery. The B2’s twin outlets have a dedicated thumbwheel that allows the package 250Ws of power to be distributed asymmetrically over a 9-stop range in full or 1/10 steps.

At 0.7kg, the sturdily-built B2 Off-Camera Flash Heads measure 10.2cm long, and have a 9.9cm diameter fitting into the palm of your hand. A barely-visible umbrella channel runs through the top of the head.


3869317201I had the chance to use the B2 Heads in two photoshoot scenarios, the first was a bridal editorial photoshoot, shot on location the B2’s battery back was a big advantage. On the proverbial tin  the pack’s Li-Ion battery can be charged in or out of the pack, and will give you up to 215 full-power flashes on a 45-60 minute charge from a multi-voltage 2.8A battery charger or a trickle charge from an optional car charger. I managed to capture over 200 frames and still the battery was more than half full. Simple, light and easy to move, I was able to change position continuously capturing a variety of angles. I recommend Ultra Compact Portable Stands for the kit, they are the ideal accessory for mounting the heads.


Pro Foto B2 HeadsAs a portrait photographer capturing expression is of critical importance. I arranged a portrait sitting with veteran Actor Steven Berkoff, with only 15 minutes allotted for the sitting, time was of the essence. The B2 kit was quick and easy to setup, and boasts recycling times from 0.03 – 1.35 second fast enough to capture 20 frames per second, capturing even the most fleeting gestures. The kit is hassle free light enough to carry anywhere and worth every penny. I’m off to USA shortly and will be taking my kit with me, if portability is key then the B2 250 AirTTL To Go-Kit is for you.

July – August 2015 Photography Workshops Reviews & Feedback

Thank you to everyone who attended my recent photography workshops with the Calumet Academy, and for your feedback and comments. Throughout 2015, I have taught a diverse programme of portraiture photography workshops, and my 2015-16 courses are now available to book with limited places. I also teach One-to-One Photography workshops throughout the UK, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh.


Portrait Photography Workshop Manchester 8th August 2015

Manchester Photography Workshop

“Attended Rory’s Intermediate Portrait course at Calumet Manchester Aug 2015. Rory started the day with a brief review of how portraiture has developed through painters (think Holbein, Henry VIII and power) through to David Bailey. Provided you can handle a camera don’t be put off by ‘intermediate’. Everything else is explained fully (flash setup, including measuring with light meter, and positioning). Various one and two light setups are tried with opportunities to take images with each one. If you don’t come away with some good images for your portfolio and a good understanding of taking portraits then you have failed to ask questions, because the event is informal and people are encouraged to participate.”


Source Google+


Intermediate Portrait Photography Workshop Edinburgh 12th August 2015

London  Photography Workshop

“Portraiture and Studio Lighting – the mysteries revealed”

“I can thoroughly recommend Rory’s intermediate portraiture course. I attended the course in August 2015 and found it extremely educational. As well as looking at the history, and artistic aspects of portraiture we were given a thorough grounding in studio lighting techniques which was invaluable. The importance of directing the model was emphasised throughout and we had numerous opportunities to practice this particular aspect. My only regret is that I now feel the need to go out and buy myself a studio lighting set-up!”



“A good explanation of portraiture and lighting”

Attended August 2015. Although billed as intermediate it is not difficult to keep pace with Rory’s excellent explanation of portraiture, provided you know how to handle your camera. Rory starts with basic lighting setups, progressing to two light combinations with a variety of backgrounds and creating a spectrum of moods. The atmosphere is informal, there are plenty of opportunities to ask questions and Rory’s initial review of portraiture through the ages (e.g. Holbein’s flattery of Henry VIII) sets the scene for a very worthwhile day. If you don’t come away with some images that you want to keep, and more confidence in your own ability to photograph portraits then you must be reluctant to ask questions.




“Portraiture Beginners Workshop”

IMG_0405“This was a thoroughly informative and enjoyable session. Rory initially put everyone at their ease doing introductions for himself, the participants and the model. The venue was good for the studio environment required with all the necessary equipment and accessories which were explained to the participants over the course of the session. Rory gave a theoretical overview of portraiture outlining the different types which are used by photographers before leading in to the practical side of the session. Over the course of the day Rory set up different lighting set ups and encouraged the participants to try out the types of portraiture which he had explained. The really informal way Rory conducted the session helped people to feel comfortable enough to engage with the model and give the correct directional instructions to get good poses. This was an excellent sessions which I would have no hesitation in recommending to others. Communication before and after the session has been excellent. Thanks also to Calumet for organising this.”



Essential Equipment for the Portrait Photographer

Sir Patrick Stewart Rory LewisPortraiture is all about Expression, Mood, Light and Shadow. If you look at Classical Portrait lighting styles you will see that each is defined by not only how the face is lit, but also by the shadows on the face. In order to achieve your desired style in a professional studio or in your own home studio , here are a few pieces of equipment that will help I can’t do without.


320x320A good light meter is essential, you will be surprised, I have taught a great deal of budding photographers in my workshops, and many have never used a light meter. Your digital camera can do significantly more than film cameras, but it is not a light meter. It has no lumisphere, it cannot measure the light output of flash prior to capture, it cannot measure the light output of multiple flashes in relation to one another and as a percentage of ambient light. Precise calibration for accurate digital exposures is essential in portraiture to create the right look and mood. You can’t meter flash/strobes by eye alone. I recommend the Sekonic L-308S £130.00, it’s simple to use and will ensure accuracy in your metering.  

Posing StoolPosing stools and posing tables play an important role in my portraiture, a portrait session is after-all called a sitting. Therefore ones model or subject should be seated.  Having a stool instead of a chair can be helpful if you don’t want the chair back to be visible in the pictures. Also when the client is sitting, options for placing his/hers arms and hands can be limited, so a posing table can help finding more poses.


ReflectorWhether you’re shooting in studio with strobes or outdoors, in bright sunlight or under clouds, the direction and strength of the light has a big impact on your images, and making the most of the available light can be the difference between a good photo and a great one. Reflectors are your secret weapon in portraiture, put quite simply reflectors bounce light. They enable you to control your lighting more effectively. With so many reflectors available its impossible to talk about them all. I prefer Silver/White reflectors. Silver/White Reflectors create a bright more detailed portrait. If you don’t fancy holding your reflector and camera at the same time its worth investing in a telescopic zip disk holder.


320x320-2Umbrellas are collapsible lighting modifiers that spread the light output into many different directions.  Silver Umbrellas throw light everywhere within a 180 degree radius. The wide and even pattern of light created by a silver umbrella makes them perfect for lighting portraits. Umbrella’s will give your portraits a softer look, they are portable and easy to use, and very affordable 36″ (91cm) Silver/White Umbrella.

Strip Softboxes and PortraitureStrip Softboxes enable you to shape and control the light more effectively, especially in a low key studio environment. If you want more control than an umbrella or larger softbox can provide and add drama to your portraits; strip softboxes are a great way to go about it. Ranging from £55 to £400 the cost depends on your model of lighting, they are well worth the purchase. On a recent sitting with Sir Ian McKellen (pictured below), I employed two Profoto RFi 1 x 6′ (30 x 180 cm)  strip softboxes to create the dramatic lighting effect. As you can see the ability to control your lighting really gives you the edge when it comes to dynamic low key portraiture.

One of the most unique was my Portrait Sitting with Sir Ian McKellen back in May this year for Northerners. It was wonderful to work with Sir Ian, such a professional and lovely man. After discussing the style of portrait I wanted to achieve I directed Sir Ian in several poses and expressions.

In conclusion I hope these essential equipment tips give you the edge in your next portrait photoshoot. If I can teach you anything from this article its accurate metering and I can’t emphasise enough the need for a good light meter.

Fix Prime Lenses vs Zoom Lenses

Fixed Prime Lens vs Zoom Rory Lewis Portrait PhotographerThis question torments a great deal of lens buyers- Should I purchase a zoom lens or a fixed prime lens? When it comes to versatility  and convenience, zoom lenses deliver a wide range of focal lengths at the flick of your wrist; without having to constantly change lenses. Quickly enabling you to frame and capture a moment with the appropriate focal length. This is a advantage for zoom lenses but also their biggest weakness. Their is a compromise in image quality. Complex arrangements of large groups of elements inside the lens moving back and forth to enable the zoom, reduce the optical quality of your images.


Despite their versatility Zoom lenses can cause a several issues with your photography. The Sharpness of your images is the first victim, barrel and pin cushion distortions can often appear at the wide-angle and telephoto ends of your lens zoom range. Zoom lenses can also cause vignetting, a reduction of an image’s brightness or saturation. You can also expect an increase in chromatic aberration (known as colour fringing around high-contrast edges in a scene). This effect is most commonly seen when you’re using large apertures at the wide-angle end. Zoom lenses are also more susceptible to ghosting and flare.

If  you choose a high-quality prime lens, distortion and vignetting will be much less noticeable. Their are fewer moving parts; prime lenses are optimised to a specific focal length or purpose. Which means optical performance is generally better and lenses an be made with larger apertures. The Sharpness of your images  will also be unparalleled, so you can really make the most of the high-resolution sensors fitted to current digital cameras.

Ian McKellenAnother advantage of using prime lenses is that they’re generally ‘faster’. Which means they have a larger maximum aperture, which enables faster shutter speeds. For example, a typical 18-55mm zoom lens has a maximum aperture of roughly f/4 at the wide-angle end, shrinking to a mere f/5.6 at about 50mm. If you Switch to a 50mm f/1.4 prime lens the largest available aperture is four stops faster. In low light you’d be limited to a shutter speed of, say, 1/15 sec with a typical zoom (unless you increase your ISO setting). However, an f/1.4 lens will enable a much faster shutter speed of 1/250 sec. An f/1.8 lens is 3.3 stops faster than an f/5.6 lens, and even an f/2.8 model is two stops faster.


One more big advantage is that you can get a much concentrated depth of field, enabling you to isolate the main point of interest in a shot by blurring the background. It’s common practice in portraiture, especially when the background is cluttered and would otherwise be a distraction.

An important factor to consider when you’re buying a prime lens is which focal length to choose. Back in the old days of 35mm film, a 50mm prime was considered a ‘standard’ lens. That’s because it gives the same perspective as viewing a scene with the human eye, without the magnification of a telephoto lens or the shrinkage a wide-angle lens uses to squeeze more into the frame. I would recommend the following lenses, for landscapes the, 18mm or 21mm, full body fashion/editorial shots 35mm, for portraiture half length a 50mm is great but for tightly framed head and shoulders an 80mm, 85mm, 100mm or 110mm is best. As a professional portrait photographer, currently in my bag I wield an 80mm F2.8 and 110mm F2.8, these are the best two portrait prime options. The 80mm great for editorial portrait photography, capturing the person and some of the setting, and the 110mm for closely framed head-shots.

Mamiya Leaf Credo 40MP Digital Back Kit with 645DF+ & 80mm f/2.8 LS D Lens Kit Review

Mamiya Leaf Credo 40MP Digital Back Kit with 645DF+ Medium Format DSLR and 80mm f/2.8 LS D Lens ReviewMany believe the Medium Format camera is out of date. Something that has been passed over by the development of the Digital SLR. Especially with the price tag that Medium Format systems command; making serious professional photographers consider DSLR alternatives.  As a result pro’s have forgotten what medium format means and what medium format camera’s can do. They are by no means outdated, medium format camera’s have larger sensors, which means bigger pixels. The larger frame enables you to capture a more dramatically shallow depth of field than Digital SLR’s can produce; which is considered equal to film like quality. This is something to consider if you are a stickler for quality like myself.


At the start of 2015, it came time to upgrade my own camera system. As a serious pro, I spent countless hours looking for the ideal camera. This year I am embarking on a the largest portrait exhibition of my career. Featuring some of the worlds greatest actors and I needed to make the right decision. Weighing up all the options I settled on Medium Format.


Mamiya Leaf Credo 40MP Digital Back Kit with 645DF+ Medium Format DSLR and 80mm f/2.8 LS D Lens ReviewThe next question was affordability, some medium format digital camera’s cost nearly £25,000 without a lens! This was outside my budget; I began to think twice, but not loosing hope I found the Mamiya Leaf Credo 40 digital back with Mamiya 645DF camera and 80mm lens. Retailing at only £9999,00 (Calumet Photographic), the Leaf Credo is great value for money and an amazing quality product. Boasting a large CCD Sensor and 40 mega pixel resolution; a dynamic range of up to 14 f-stops providing brilliant detail, richness of colour, low noise and beautiful tonality.


Brent Spinner 01I’ve already begun my 2015 Portraiture Exhibition, and the results from the first portrait sitting with Actor Brent Spiner (Left) have been stunning. The Mamiya Leaf Credo 40 delivers uncompromising detail and a richness of colour. The difference in sensor size between DSLR and Medium Format is in my opinion very important for the “look & feel” of the image, but also for the resolution and overall sharpness. The smaller the sensor the more problems you will run into when placing a lot of pixels in that area, this will translate for example in diffraction (loss of detail on smaller apertures). The Leaf Credo 40 with its 40 mega pixel 43.9 x 32.9 mm CCD is larger than Canon’s 1DX (36 x 24 mm), it may not seem like much, but it does make a real difference when shooting in shallow depth of field conditions. Their is a lot less depth of field when shooting with a DSLR.

Closeup Detail Actor Brent Spinner ©Rory Lewis Photographer 2015. Mamiya Leaf Credo 40MP Digital Back Kit with 645DF+

Closeup Detail
Actor Brent Spinner ©Rory Lewis Photographer 2015.
Mamiya Leaf Credo 40MP Digital Back Kit with 645DF+

The 80mm F2.8 LS-D Kit Lens is extremely versatile, and complements the image quality, and the 645DF Camera body is sleek and easy to use.  In conclusion the Mamiya Leaf Credo 40 Digital back with Mamiya 645DF Camera and 80mm lens delivers, beautiful portraits, and I am looking forward to more stunning results from my portrait sittings.

Camera Specs

  • CCD size 43.9 x 32.9mm
  • Active pixels 7320 x 5484
  • Resolution 40MP
  • Aspect ratio 4:3
  • Pixel size 6.0 micron
  • ISO sensitivity 50-800
  • Dynamic range 12.5 f-stops
  • Exposure time 1/10 000 – 60 seconds
  • Full resolution capture rate 1.2 frames / sec
  • Colour depth 16 bits (65 536 levels per channel)