Portrait Photography discussion and examples

Portrait photography can be one of the most challenging forms of photography. Capturing a photo that appears natural and conveys the subject’s personality is a skill that takes patience and practice.

The first thing you need to do is to ascertain the market place that the image will be going into. Is it a quick online portrait or is it going to print as a large A4 image?  A lot of portraiture I do is simple photography against a white background. his is the most effective if you only have a small image area to display the photography such as an “about us” page on a website. Here the portrait needs to be engaging and friendly.

Environmental portraits are often more compile in nature. Firstly you need to understand the subject and the intended use that the client has for the images. I have done a lot of photography for large organisations around Melbourne and Sydney where the images are displayed as A1 size posters around a factory domain. This serves two purposes, firstly it gives the company and image which should be consistent with its branding. Secondly and I often feel more importantly it gives the subject and immense sense of pride that they have been recognised by the company in their job.

Working with a designer is critical if they have a specific purpose for the image. I love shooting with a live tether onto a laptop so the client and designer can see what is being recorded in almost realtime with all of the adjustments on image quality made in a program like Capture One or Adobe Lightroom.

I like small portable lighting where i can respond to the environment and time demands of the subject very quickly. There have been significant improvements in the ability to control small portable lighting recently, in particular the Godox unit gives great control over lighting.

Austin Hospital ppl12

Amcor Orora

Westpac Bank Photography


Parallax Photography has been commissioned to do all of the Victorian photography for Westpac Bank through Conway Design in Sydney. The images personalise the interiors of their banks, making them locally relevant. Combined with graphics, they enhance the interior environment of the sites for staff and customer interactions.

Throughout 2014 to 2016 Westpac bank has been localising their branches with imagery sourced from local sites relevant to the location of the bank branch.

David McArthur

Parallax Photography 2015



parallax cragieburn

Craigieburn -Westpac bank image


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Agilent Laboratories Enviro Signage

Early in 2013 Agilent asked me to photograph various aspects of their new Spectroscopy Technology Innovation Centre so that environmental wall graphics could be made from these images.

Below you see some of  images that were produced for this purpose and the resulting wall graphics that very creatively produced by Frank Design and again photographed by myself.

David McArthur 12/2013











Ranamok Glass Prize 2012

I was really pleased to hear that 3 of my clients Kristin McFarlane, Nick Wirdnam and Holly Grace were accepted into the very prestigious Ranamok Glass Prize in Sydney this year. For more information check out http://www.ranamok.com/

The winner will be announced in Canberra on the 16th of August, and I might just go along for the opening night!

Here are the beautiful entries from Kristin, Nick and Holly.

David McArthur



Nick Wirdnam …for health youth and hope

Nick Wirdnam …for health youth and hope

Nick Wirdnam …for health youth and hope

Holly Grace Threadbo

Kristin McFarlane Typographic Specimens: Lost Words

Kristin McFarlane Typographic Specimens: Lost Words


High Speed Photography

I first started out in Photography learning and working in the Scientific Photography field. I spent a lot of time photographing bullets piercing balloons and oranges and the like during my course. I did the Applied Science degree in Photography at R.M.I.T many years ago and then went on to work at the Materials Research Laboratories in Maribyrnong.

As much as I really enjoyed the technical side of Photography the scope to grow and learn in this area was very limited in Australia. I found myself more and more attracted to the more Commercial area of photography that I now work in.

I recently bought a brand new set of Pocket Wizards (Mini tt1 and Flex tt1) and set about learning how they operated. The units are capable of what they call “Hypersync” which is flash synchronisation at a high shutter speeds. This is very useful in bright outdoor environments where you are trying to “overpower” the sun.

Anyway during my playing around I took them into the studio and turned the flash power down really low. This allows for an extremely quick flash duration from the flash units and it is possible to “freeze” motion. I ended up photographing lemons and splashing blue food dye around. It was great fun and reminded me of where I first started out in Photography!


David McArthur


high speed photography

Photographing Chrome for Phoenix Tapware

I am sure a lot of Photographers develop a nervous twitch when asked to photograph chrome or reflective objects. Rightly so, they can be really difficult and leave the photographer tearing there hair out.

I must confess to spending many hours earlier in my career chasing down reflections in chrome objects and working out the best methods of photographing chrome. Building elaborate light tents and then using tiny pieces of black and grey card. Many would say Photoshop has changed all of that. Sure Photoshop has helped but I think its always better to get it right (or close to right) in the camera rather than spending hours in the retouching process attempting to create what should have been done right int he first place.

Here are a couple of photographs that I have taken for Phoenix tap-ware, one a lifestyle shot and the other more of a straight product photography.


chrome photography



Our New Website

By the power of the grey skull its been a long and bumpy road to get this new website up, but the new Parallax website is finally here!

It has been a difficult task assembling all the images and getting the design and functionality to the highest of standards that you see here. I want to thank Mito Cubic  (email mitodc@gmail.com) for his fantastic design sense and Sharwan Kami (sharwan@gmail.com) for putting it all together and making it work! Both showed extraordinary levels of patience in dealing with a sometimes indecisive photographer.

I am very comfortable advising clients on the best images or approach to use for their project, but I must concede deciding on my best images to use for my own website,  and the format that this should be presented in has been a challenge of a magnitude that surprises even me!

The blog section seen here is going to be kind of a work diary where I put up some of the images that i am doing and perhaps entertain you with some dialogue about the work and details of the jobs.

I look forward to both writing the articles and receiving your comments.


David McArthur May 2012

Kashmir & Rajasthan

Anyone that knows me well knows my passion for photographing people and culture throughout South East Asia and in particular  India. India is a country that fascinates me with the depth and complexity of its culture and religion. I managed to persuade my wife and 2 boys to travel  for 5 weeks through Kashmir and Rajasthan.  Here are some photographs that i took during this time.