A Day Out in Lagrasse: From Shoot to Print with John Denton

I love travelling, being with good people, eating, drinking well and taking photographs. So when Wilf James of World Photo Adventure first outlined his ideas for a photography workshop in the South of France I knew I had found an idea of heaven.

Thanks to our friends at PermaJet we were able to offer the delegates the possibility of having their favourite images printed, as well as being able to speak to them about the merits of self printing and paper choices. It’s wonderful when you’re shooting an image to be thinking not just about the technical skills of shooting the image, but also how you’ll eventually tone it in post production, and finally how you’ll bring it to life in print. There are so many factors to consider – it can blow your mind at first but seek guidance, practice, fail with delight and eventually it will all come together.

As an example please allow me to introduce you to this shoot on the beautiful streets of Lagrasse in the Languedoc region.


Initially we didn’t want to be dragged away from the small château that was our base but Wilf convinced us it was worth the excursion. So it proved, as we arrived in a perfect sunbaked town nestling in a natural hollow in the hills. The streets had the warm glow generated by hard sunshine on sandstone coloured buildings and roofs. Patches of greenery and flowers showed that there was water to be had here but as we arrived at 10:30am temperatures were already nudging into the early 30 degrees centigrade, and we were all searching for water bottles.

Styling was our next decision. Isla had a range of outfits with her and we decided on an orange playsuit that picked up the tones of the buildings and matched her skin and hair colour, along with a pair of sunglasses. The sunnies were important for two reasons: firstly it protected her eyes in some of the harsher conditions but also they contained a blue tint that would stand out as a contrast colour.


The next job was to decide on how to control the contrast in the images. There were patches of sun and patches of shade. Shoot in the latter and the former would blow out. The other way around and you generate huge shadows in the image. Initially I positioned Isla in a narrow street, in shade but with bright sunshine hitting the trees in the distance. By shooting on a wide lens (Nikon 18-70mm) on a D300 I managed to focus the attention right on Isla, using the walls either side as leading lines and the bright area in the background as a centre of attention. Spot metering on her skin ensured she was properly exposed.

It was then a case of playing with perspective and crop to get a variety of images, helped by Isla who possesses an innate understanding of her body and the shapes she can make with it. Something not common to all models but worth it’s weight in gold when you find it. It means you can let her rock out and only tweak it when she’s not posing in the right direction for the light.


All the time I was shooting I was also thinking of the prints. In this situation I loved the colours and the textures. I knew that the final print had to reflect this and started thinking about PermaJet’s FB Mono Gloss Baryta and Photo Art Silk… both are papers that hold ink well and render deep blacks. In the end I settled for Photo Art Silk. It has a texture and sheen to the paper which would make the brickwork and skin look amazing. It possesses one of the highest gamut ratings in the PermaJet range and so I had confidence that the skin, dress, shades and background would all be properly rendered.

With bated breath I put the first print through and WOW. Stunning depth and accuracy at every level. It’s not a paper for holding close as you see the texture of the paper. Extend your arm and it rises to another level of wonderful, frame it and hang it and it will grab attention in any setting. You get the idea, I loved the prints! I put through half a dozen A4 and A3 images which now adorn my office wall. Memories of a great day in the French sunshine.


Printed on PermaJet Photo Art Silk

I hope this gives an idea of the start to finish production of an image. If you’d like to know more, and join us in on our other adventures.

With thanks to model Isla Rose.

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