Tommy Reynolds on the streets of India

Tommy Reynolds on the streets of India

Tommy Reynolds | A british portrait photographer takes to the streets of India

When he’s not working on corporate or wedding photography, Tommy Reynolds spends his time traveling abroad and documenting the lives of local people in each destination. We caught up with him to get the details on his recent trip to India.

You went on a big trip to India recently. What’s the backstory on the trip?

The year before I left to go to India, I had travelled to Sri Lanka with a charity called ‘Take Heart Mercy mission’ where I was assigned to film the charity’s mission. While on the trip, in-between filming, I would flip my camera into stills mode and start photographing the people in the hospital I was filming in. I found out very quickly that stills seem to just have an even greater sense of story, character, and emotion. It was unlike anything I had ever photographed before. I was hooked and even ended up debuting my first photographic exhibition based on those images.

“… it would be a trip purely for photography and nothing else.”

When I returned home I was already thinking about where to go next. I knew that I wanted to go somewhere that had the same sense of emotion and character traits I had captured in Sri Lanka. The way they live their lives is so different [than my own], which is what fascinated me. I decided my next destination would be India. 

The difference this time is it would be completely self-funded, but it would be a trip purely for photography and nothing else. We paid for a guide, who happened to be a keen photographer, to allow myself and my friend Brendan access into places we would never have reached without him. I wanted the same sense of achievement, adventure, and emotional connection with my subjects as I had in Sri Lanka. 

Photographically, I stepped everything up a notch from my previous trip. Instead of a flashgun, I used a hybrid system for more power. Instead of a small soft box with a single layer of diffusion, I used a 90cm soft box with 2 layers of diffusion. I also had high-speed sync triggers and Brendan acting as my voice activated light stand. All of these lighting components were from a UK based light supplier called PixaPro.

My go to camera gear was my Canon 5D Mark III and either my Sigma 35mm 1.4 or Canon 50mm 1.4 lens. I like to capture the location as well as the subject and these lenses feel just right to capture both. I also used a Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L for more flexibility. 

Tell us about the images that came out of the trip.

I am so proud of this collection of images I got in India. Using a flash really steps up the value of the images exponentially. I was able to control the ambient light to exactly the level I needed thanks to my new hybrid system. I have to stress the importance of my friend Brendan, who was a key member of the team.

“Sometimes, the head, they explode.”

Without Brendan, I probably wouldn’t have taken a hybrid system because I would’ve had to hang the battery on the light stand somehow which would have made me nervous on location. I wouldn’t have taken the soft box I took due to its big size and fear it would tower over if a bit of wind picked up. I wouldn’t have been able to fully focus on photographing my subject as I would have constantly been worried about the light placement and if it was going to blow over or not. Having someone to hold your light stand and have a basic understanding of how it the light works was critical for capturing great images.

What are a few interesting stories from the trip?

Our guide took us on a boat trip in evening along the Ganges River to witness the only public cremation in India. I was speechless. I later learned that 80 bodies are cremated at the same spot everyday and the remains are put into the river. At one point there was a big noise from one of the bodies! When I asked, “What was that?” Our guide said, “Sometimes, the head, they explode.” It was the closest to a dead body I had even been before. I waited till I was further away before taking a photo out of respect. 

One other shot that sticks out for me is when I met Priest RAM. I had the pleasure of meeting RAM while he was performing his morning prayer as the sun rose behind him on the Ganges river. He’s originally from South India, was visiting Varanasi for the first time, and was so humble and very patient whilst I shot these photos. Watching the sunrise was a truly magical moment. Many people gather at the river at sunrise to pray for the new day and it is one of the best sights I have ever seen. 

“Light Hits add a greater depth to the image and just lift the photo exponentially.”

Thoughts on how Lens Distortions fits into your visual style?

I have had the pleasure of using nearly all of the effects Lens Distortions has to offer but easily the effects I use most are the Light Hits and Principle Light Hits. Light Hits add a greater depth to the image and just lift the photo exponentially.

I have found that I can use the effects very discreetly and other times quite predominately. They add an additional focus point to the image, too. This is true for all LD effects, not just Light Hits. They can turn a flat image into a bloody cool looking image. 

To see more of Tommy’s work check out tommyreynolds.co.uk.

You can also find him on Instagram as @TommyReynolds89.

Explore the effects used in this post

Light Hits

Made from actual sunlight - Light Hits features stunning lens flares and soft glows, perfect for intensifying the natural light in your shots.

Tommy Reynolds // Timeless wedding edits

Tommy Reynolds // Timeless wedding edits

Tommy Reynolds | Timeless wedding edits

“Light Hits add a greater depth to the image and just lift the photo exponentially.”

Tommy Reynolds is a professional photographer and director based in South East England. He uses Light Hits and Principle Light Hits optically captured lens flares from Lens Distortions to intensify the natural light in some of his wedding edits.

In an interview for the Lens Distortions blog, Tommy shared some thoughts on our effects. “Light Hits add a greater depth to the image and just lift the photo exponentially. I have found that I can use the effects very discreetly and other times quite predominately.”

“They add an additional focus point to the image, too. This is true for all LD effects, not just Light Hits. They can turn a flat image into a bloody cool looking image.”

See more of Ali’s work at tommyreynolds.co.uk

Explore the effects used in this post

Light Hits

Made from actual sunlight - Light Hits features stunning lens flares and soft glows, perfect for intensifying the natural light in your shots.

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Introducing: Principle Light Hits

Introducing: Principle Light Hits

Principle Light Hits features some of the most beautiful, elegant lens flares available to photographers today.

Completely optically captured on unique glass and made using actual sunlight, Principle Light Hits offers beautiful, one-of-a-kind looks you won’t find anywhere else.

This pack is available for Photoshop and Mobile.

Ryan Thompson - Cinespace - Exporation
Ryan Thompson - Cinespace - Exporation
Ryan Thompson - Cinespace - Exporation

Completely optically captured with unique lenses from Leica, Fuji, Nikon, and medium format Pentax.

When we launched our original Light Hits pack in early 2015, it quickly became popular among portrait, landscape, and wedding photographers all over the world. The natural quality of the filters stood out from all the other lens flare products out there, and it was awesome to see notable people using the filters in ways we never imagined.

So when we started thinking about taking Light Hits to the next level, we knew we needed a novel characteristic that further set them apart. A diverse assortment of quality camera gear from iconic brands was the perfect place to start.

Ryan Thompson - Cinespace - Exporation
Ryan Thompson - Cinespace - Exporation
Ryan Thompson - Cinespace - Exporation
Ryan Thompson - Cinespace - Exporation

Vibrant colors and rich detail – Legitimacy that can only be achieved by capturing actual sunlight in-camera.

As you’ve likely seen, CGI lens flares tend to be artificially crisp or devoid of substance, so we knew we wanted to stick with capturing the lens flares in-camera. We tested a number of different light sources, but quickly figured out that you can’t fake authentic sunlight.

Pointing a camera at the sun can yield hugely variable results, so our team had to experiment, review, and adjust a ton in the effort to dial-in the look we were going for.

Every lens choice, camera body, and capture setting was considered; Even the built in color profiles on the cameras, especially the Leica, affected the look. After a hefty curation process, the proverbial dust finally settled… And we had something new.

Principle Light Hits have a ton of character. The level of detail is next-to-none. One of the key qualities you’ll notice is the soft rays of light accented by intricate, chromatic detail. There’s definitely nothing else out there like this.

Ryan Thompson - Cinespace - Exporation

Easy-to-use Photoshop actions speed up the workflow.

You’ll be surprised how quickly and easily Principle Light Hits can transform the feel of your image.

The workflow is simple: Drag-and-drop a Light Hit and apply one of the presets.

We’ve even added a few extra options to the actions panel to help you easily control softness and sharpness, fix banding issues, and reset unwanted changes.

As you put these actions to the test, you’ll discover Principle Light Hits to be quite versatile. Dial down the opacity to give your image a little natural glow or bring it back up to boldly accent your subject.

One-of-a-kind.

As a principle, we believe the difference is in the details, and we’ve crafted these effects for photographers who share that belief. When used thoughtfully, Principle Light Hits beautifully accent the natural light in your images.

Principle Light Hits

The New Standard of Optically Captured Lens Flares

Features

  • Optically Captured with unique lenses from Leica, Fuji, Nikon, and Pentax, Principle Light Hits features some of the most beautiful, elegant lens flares available to Photographers.
  • Made from actual sunlight for vibrant colors and rich detail.
  • 40 Stunning Filters + Photoshop actions
  • CS4 – CC Compatible
  • Includes High Res JPEG and PNG files. Resolution of each filter is between 4000×4900 (min) and 8192×5693 (max) depending on the camera it was captured on.
  • Download size: 160MB
  • Optional 16 Bit PNG download size: 2.5GB
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