Worked with 6 different professional photographers over an 8 year period.
Work constisted of mainly Advertising and Commercial Product Photography, Food and Food Packaging.
Spent 3 years freelancing in London working direct with Advertising Agencies.
Previously a member of The British Institute Of Professional Photography for 10 years.
Established Bernard Bleach Photography in Horsham in 1988.
The Long Story
Bernard Bleach is based in Horsham, West Sussex and specialises in Product Photography, Jewelleryy, Cosmetics, Packs and Packaging Photography.
I started my career in photography back in 1980 when, straight after leaving school, I manage to get a job processing Black & White, C41 and E6 film for a studio near Croydon. I spent some time after this printing before I eventually went up into the studio as an assistant. I was there for another 4 years where I learnt from 4 very different but very talented photographers each one excelling in certain areas or subject matter. At the end of the 5 years in total I left to work, for two days a week, as a freelance assistant to one of London's top food photographers, Jhon Kevern. The other 3 days I started knocking on the doors of London's advertising agencies to build up my own client base. This worked well for 3 years until I eventually decided to come back to Horsham to set up my own studio.
Looking for a suitable building for a studio I eventually found a farm building in Colegate. Once the chickens and the goat were kicked out the building was refurbished and I moved in and set up my studio. It was only a small studio and an office but I built in a darkroom for film loading. It wasn't ideal but it was a start. I eventually took over the rest of the building and a cuople of years later moved to a 1500 sq foot unit that this time was proerly renovated with the help of my family. Office, 2 store rooms,kitchen and darkroom were built plus rewiring and hot running water. The entrance was designed so that a lockable panel could be removed and a car driven in. That was probably over ambitious but I did end up shooting one car and several motorbikes in there.
Having been used to having processing in-house or, in London, picked up, processed and delivered back very quickly, I decided to invest in my own processing machine for E6, C41 and black and white. It was the biggest financial investment I had made up until that point but it was worth it to have that control and convenience again.TBC.
Usually I use my Canon 5D MKII for most photography and the link up with the Sinar 5" x 4" studio camera when needed.I also use a Canon 6D which was bought, one for the built in WiFi capability and the fact that the video is based on the Canon 5D MKIII but also it's a slightly lighter and smaller body which will eventually be used on the next Hexacopter.
For lighting I have 4 600W Bessel heads and 4 200W Bessel heads. Eventually the old stuff had to go as it was too old, too heavy and too powerful. Softboxes range from 200mm x 200mm to 1500mm x 1800mm and a selection of strip lights ranging from 150mm to 300mm wide and 900mm to 1800mm long. For backlighting a 2100mm x 2400mm Lastolite Hi-Lite.
In the studio all product photography is shot with a tethered setup using Capture One Pro 7 on an Apple 27" iMac. Again,this makes life so much easier for me and also for the client being able to view the images straight away and not having to look at the back of the camera. It also helps when shooting many products that are similar as the settings from the previous shot are carried on to the next shot taken, again, saving more time in post production and therefore less costs to the client.
Old and New Technology
I now use a Sinar P studio camera with a DSLR secured on the back. This helps in several ways as you can use the camera movements to control not only perspective but also the plain of focus.
For example, shooting a tight oblique shot of a pen for a client, a 35mm DSLR will not cover the depth of field so the pen will not be sharp from front to back. Yes, you can use focus stacking which then needs sorting out in post production but it's much better to get it right in camera in one shot saving time and therefore money.
In the studio all product photography is shot with a tethered setup using Capture One Pro 7 on an Apple 27" iMac. Again, this makes life so much easier for me and also for the client being able to view the images straight away and not having to look at the back of the camera.It also helps when shooting many products that are similar as the settings from the previous shot are carried on to the next shot taken, again, saving more time in post production.