The Viking project

If I haven’t told you already but I am currently working on a Sci Fic Viking compositing photoshop on my interests with Vikings for quite a while. I have been reading some books about their history, some online program to enable me to understand what other researchers have come across.  I even went to Jorvik Vikings festival back in Feb 2016 and with some networking, I made some friends who are part of Viking community. They made helmet, dressed as Viking and come to festival as much as they can all over UK. Without their knowledge and their guide to correct me to find my way. However, I can't always get it right because I want to be sci fic Viking.

I am going to be shield-maiden Viking. 

It took some months to put things together.  What would I look like? What is my character based on?  What would my character would do if she were in a battle? 
All theses I question myself everyday.

I have finally completed my Viking outfit and I can not wait until the photo shoot in late May to see it all come together.

For the background image – I went to Scotland to see Castle Campbell and see what the surrounding would be like.  The area is amazing. It had some old forest sense of smell, tree on the ground with steam.  Although the castle looked more like a building, which I was a bit disappointed.  However, a friend who I made connection via facebook group of Viking recommended me to go to Castleton in Derbyshire which have an amazing valley view and the ruined castle at the top of the hill.  I went to see for myself and he was true to his words.  I spent a whole day looking for a perfect spot imagining myself as a Viking in this background.  This week, I will be working on the background image to prepare for the main shoot which I will be adding to this.  Compositing photoshop photography can be so much fun and it is a bit learning curve to get it right.

 So while we wait for the main shoot which will take place at the end of May, I have created a small video of The Making of Shield.  I couldn’t be a shield Maiden without a shield.  The idea of this shield is mainly a Scottish Viking and she has this eagle’s foot as part of her being honor to kill in the battle.  The shield is based on an Eagle’s wing.  A Scottish Viking whom fought in the war against the Saxon. I originally thought she would be Hel, Loki’s Daughter.  She has half blue and half human body. She was banned by Loki’s father, Odin for her bad behaviour and her power was taken from her apart from her Axe. She was then sent to Earth and lives for centuries and the year is 2016. My question is will I create her? Knowing the fact that she has to hide herself from public to avoid any attraction.  Maybe I am looking into too much of a realistic lifestyle.  Should I just go with my imagination which is kinda off the wall?


We can only see what I will do in the next month.

For now – here is a video of making shield - Thanks to Andy for his expert on making with metal. It have been quite an experience.

Wedding Wedding Wedding

Ever wonder what it is like to be a wedding photographer?  Ever thought that it would be an easy job, just pick up a camera and point at the brides & grooms?  I don't mean by using iPhone nor iPad ;) Simple?  Believe me, it is never that simple.  It took me years of understanding what customers want, album design, creative, posing or non-posing. 

I remember when I first started out in wedding photography back in 2006 and I was an assistant to another photographer. I thought I would rather get some experience before going alone. Always learn some good and even bad points from any photographers. They are all different and work in their own way to make sure they achieved what their customers want.  So I was a bit shy and nervous to observe to people to get some good shots and I realised back then that there was no time to be shy.  I had to be firm, I had to be bossy, I had to shout, I had to make things happen in order to get that creative image that I had in my mind that I thought it would be amazing for that client.   It is safe to say that it work.  I am glad about that. 

By next year, I have been a wedding photographer for 10 years and most of my wedding jobs taken place mostly outside Manchester. Only two were in Manchester.  Not that I am complaining. I enjoy travelling, it's in my blood. I even travel to Stevenson on the day the Olympics opening ceremony in 2012 and stay overnight in the car just so I could get to the wedding on time the next morning. I remember this wedding very well, it was a wedding where a mother of the bride discovered that she lost her hearing and was panicking that she would not be able to follow her daughter's wedding and I came to save the day by providing a wedding video with subtitles. If you want to see some sample of this video see below -

Amazing eh?  

It isn't easy to be a photographer, a videographer or even being hard of hearing person who has to work twice as hard to make sure my clients get what they asked for.  Okay I may missed some conversation that was said behind my back ( my microphone from the implant doesn't pick up from behind me meaning I missed any opportunity that could solve the problem/save the day/inspire them for photos. Whatever it was, there wasn't anything that I could do unless they tell me face to face.  I could only use my disadvantage in to advantage by creating a moment that I knew would be beautiful photos. I'm only human.

So it is best to get some experience before going alone, even attend some photography & Photoshop workshop and meet other photographers.  I learnt a great deal from these and look where it take me.

without it, I wouldn't have learn how to use Off the camera Technique, how to save photos from blinking people into all open eyes in the group shot. yes you blinker people giving me all the work ha!  nah! I don't mind. I just know when to stop and which to work on. 

Can you spot a blinker? 

On a finally note - I wanted to say that being a wedding photographer meant working every weekends all the way through summer and if you do have a full time job on top like myself, be sure to find some "me" time whenever you can to avoid being burnt out.  Now that the wedding season is now over for this year, I can be sure to catch up with other projects that I am hoping to do.  There's steampunk, corset projects, improving skill in creating fantasy art on wedding which I am sure future clients would like. Here one below.    I bid you goodnight and I'll see you next time. Manda

Corset Photography & Retouch Project

Yesterday, I went to the Millwood Studio just outside Manchester and I invited two other people who were keen to get involved with my corset idea. However this is something that I would like to  experiment and see where it would lead me. 

So often I have spoken to people who all thought the corset were for halloween and should not be used for everyday use. This puzzle me a great deal.  To be fair, women used to wear corset back in the middle of 16th Century and wear them everyday.  I love corset and I know it suit me being an hourglass figure myself, I can't see why we shouldn't use them more often. Sure you may think they are uncomfortable and eat less food.  If the corset fit a person properly and not too tight then there shouldn't be any discomfort whatsoever.  

So that is my opinion.  The challenge is to make the corset look sexy again in our every day life.

If you have any interest in corset and would like to follow or share or even throw some ideas at me and I will see what I can do from there.  If you do have pinterest account, you can follow me here 

More images coming soon

The colour Run & Aquacase

Well, the last couple of months have been crazy with both my full time job and creating my own personal projects in aim to be that retoucher for movie, fantasy alike.  It seem like I had to put things aside until things have calm down a bit. More likely to be October. 

So what have I been getting up to?

Running.  I haven't run in years since I was in high school but when there is a job that require to be sitting by the desk for over 12hrs a day, it really put a damp mood over the lack of exercise.  So I signed up to do Colour Run in both Wembley and Manchester for two reasons.  One was something to motivate me to exercise and other is as you may or may not know that I have a cochlear implant and I am also a mentor for a company called Advanced Bionics.  As a mentor, I get to try out some devices that would improve people like myself to enjoy everyday life with less hassle as possible.  For Colour Run, well, this was something I was not be able to join when I was a kid.  Having a none waterproof hearing device and to join other kids around water was forbidden.  With the AquaCase, that Advanced Bionics made. Such a brilliant product. Its like having a go pro camera going inside the watertight case and to be able to join other people around with water, dust or even mud. It's crazy to think that after all these years I can finally join them.  Thanks to those who have came along to join me and thanks to Advanced Bionics for Aquacase that change my life for the better.

Here is the video.

New Website

Hurray!!  At last I've launched my new website. 

Many know I was a wedding photographer and found that my career changing path the past few years. Even so I am still taking bookings for weddings in fact I have a number booked into 2015 (Check out my gallery of wedding portraits should you be looking for a wedding photographer).

So why am I changing my career from wedding Photographer to Retoucher?  Just to state you what a Retoucher is about by showing you this image of before and after -


Well, I have a passion for Photoshop since the age of 14 when I had an IMac G3 in 1995, back then I was using Corel Draw and was happily playing some art on it. This led me to getting work experience in a Design & Print shop. The passion grew from there until I went to Blackpool Flyde College and found that the course for Graphic Design was pretty much a drawing thing. I can't draw to save my life. How could I pass?

Of course my interests during the course took me elsewhere - Photography and I haven't looked back until now.

It took me a while to realise what I was missing. I do enjoy taking photos, my photography skills are good, however I found retouching more challenging. Whether it was because I'm a whizz on computer keyboard or because I found myself teaching others how to use photoshop & Lightroom or fixing other photographers images it's led me to rethink my career.

Currently, I am working for the HutGroup as a Retoucher with clients such as, and Lookfantastic and many more.

However as my colleagues have certified me as the "Most Geek" in the office. My passion for Sci Fic Movies especially Star Wars, Star Trek, Edge of Tomorrow, The Matrix, Mad Max, Terminator, Avatar, Source Code, Aliens and, well you get the picture.

I often talk about and get incredibley excited by Sci-fi and this has led to why I felt I was not producing enough retouching in movie formats. So watch this space for I have plans to make this happen...

If you are into movies and would like a portrait in your costume, photography and retouching included. Why not get in touch.