17 February 2022 (Andrew Lanxon Hoyle: Expanding Your Mental Kitbag)

This week we were delighted to welcome our second face-to-face speaker of the season. Andrew Lanxon Hoyle is an Edinburgh-based photographer and senior editor for the technology publication CNET.com, responsible for shooting automotive, product and editorial images. Andrew has his own web page displaying his work, where you can find many of the images he showed us tonight.


He is also well-known for posting photography stories and advice on his many social media channels:

In fact, you can find now a recording of his talk here:

Andrew gave us a presentation entitled “Expanding Your Mental Kitbag”. If you find yourself running out of ideas as a photographer, or are not happy with the images you are creating, it is tempting to try expanding your kitbag. Surely, buying an expensive piece of kit like a new lens will help improve your work? But Andrew pointed out that you could just end up pointing your new lens at the same subjects. Instead he recommends expanding your mental kitbag. Don’t let yourself be categorised as just one type of photographer (landscape, portrait, macro, still life, etc…) if you happen to be good at that one thing. Try new ideas, new situations and new techniques. You will find that ideas that work in one area of photography can be adapted to a new area and bring sometimes surprising results.

Andrew took us on a fascinating photographic journey from when he started with simple product photography to his later, more sophisticated use of lighting. He learned an off-camera flash lighting technique for wedding photography and then found he could use that same technique for his editorial images. Andrew’s signature is to find unusual ways of showing a subject. Where most product photographers would show someone holding a phone, Andrew would show the phone against an abstract landscape. And instead of showing a distillery manager sampling his whisky, he photographed him in the grain silo! The more techniques Andrew tried, the more he learned how to use lighting. A DJ’s spotlights could be used to make a unique wedding shot. A high speed flash can be used to freeze the motion of a water splash, whatever the shutter speed. The highlight of the evening was Andrew’s story of how he photographed the Bugatti Chiron. Instead of settling on the usual “on the road” shot, Andrew proposed to shoot the Bugatti at night against a popular landmark in Madrid. The photoshoot required a road to be closed by a police escort. The shot was created using a light painting technique where the car was lit from different angles and dozens of shots stacked together to give the final result. Andrew impressed Bugatti so much they nicked his photo. That must be the definition of success!

Thank you very much for inspiring us with a fascinating talk.

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