Copyrightimage helps out with Planet Earth II for the BBC

Very much looking forward to seeing Planet Earth II with Sir David Attenborough starting next Sunday on BBC1 in the UK. The first episode is titled Islands.

My involvement in the project was to retouch and colour grade the stills and 4k+ video grabs for The Book that accompanies the series. Thanks goes to the Editor Kate Fox and the Project Editor Roz Kidman Cox for asking me to do the work.

Television shows images in RGB and has a high brightness and contrast range, paper in comparison has a very low colour and tone range that starts off with a creamy white for the highlights and then makes up the rest of the colour and tone by darkening the paper with Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black process inks.

The challenge is to retain all important highlight and shadow detail but keep a good dynamic contrast and colour in the mid tones and overall, this does mean quite an involved grading process using multiple layers and adjustments to get this right. (I discussed this split grading in my recent workshop).

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Stephen Johnson

A potted history:
In 1984, after studying photography and film at Trent Polytechnic in Nottingham for 3 years, I moved to London and got a position at Tony Stone Images in the darkroom under the generous guidance of Matt Lambert.

At Tony Stone Images I developed an understanding of Stock Photography and in my own time produced images that sold well enough for me to leave the full time job and concentrate on making saleable images.

In 1990 Tony called me back to the company to help set up and run a creative digital imaging department.
Those were the very early days of digital (Photoshop was a toy in those days for playing with low res images) and it was during this period that I learned the trade and was able to pass on this knowledge to the new staff I took on as the department expanded.

In 1995 at great expense, I bought my own Silicon Graphics Barco Creator retouching system. In 1997 I moved to Norfolk to concentrate once again on my stock work.

After a few years Macs and PCs were speeding up enough to make Photoshop a practical proposition for working on repro sized images and this made it possible for more businesses to afford digital. I took the opportunity to develop a consultancy business to help out small specialist photo libraries, With the advent of good quality digital cameras I started to help photographers directly.

I incorporated the business into Copyrightimage Ltd in 2003

If you would like so see some more of my early film photography I have a personal website full of random images and thoughts:


vatcalc (version 2.0 Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 (32bit and 64bit compatible)

vatcalc is a very simple, lean vat calculator. Its powerful though as you can change any value in any of the boxes and the figures update with all the correct values.

You can enter a figure in the vat inclusive box and find the vat component as well as the vat exclusive price, you can even just enter the vat to find what the inclusive and exclusive values are.

Any vat rate you entered will be kept for the next time the program opens (by default it starts at the current rate of 20%, if you do need to work out the lower rate of vat then simply change the value in the vat rate box. You can purchase vatcalc from the shop section of this website.

To use download the zip file from the link in the email sent once you have paid and extract the enclosed folder to your desktop or other place, double clicking on the enclosed vatcalc.exe starts the program.

You should get a standard system security warning box at some point after downloading or before running for the first time, allow the program to be extracted – your antivirus software should warn you if there is a problem. If you wish to keep your desktop tidy you can place the vatcalc folder elsewhere on your system and then drag vatcalc.exe to your START button (bottom left of your screen), this will make a shortcut to the program on your START menu. The file “vatrate.txt” in the same older as the program is a way of saving the last vat rate used without interfering with the windows registry, this program treads lightly. I use it every month when preparing my vat accounts to reverse engineer the vat amounts from retail prices, hope you find it useful too, if you have any comments I would be pleased to hear them.



Other Clients

After training most clients are happy to build on their work and only occasionally need my help with updates or training in new methods, I’m happy to keep all clients as up to date as possible and am only an email or phone call away.

Janette Hill / Natural Wonders Photography:,
Anup Shah and Fiona Rogers
Steve Bloom
Michael Fogden
Ben Cranke
Martin Hartley
Elliot Neep
Andrew Lawson
Marianne Majerus
Rosemary Alexander
Rick Tomlinson
Scott Polar Research Institute
MINT images

Client Story:MINT Images, Liesel Böckl


Liesel has been working on a series of projects over the Summer in Japan and I was pleased to be asked to retouch from the raw files via her agency MINT Images. Each project is a sensitive and authentic visual short story of the workplaces she visited and together they tell a larger story of Kodawari. Liesels website is currently being redone but you can follow her projects here on facebook


Sue Flood – Special Projects Team Member

Sue Flood
Special Projects Team Member

Sue Flood, leading wildlife, location and travel photographer. She has travelled the world extensively, to all seven continents, and has spent long periods in the Polar regions, including at the North and South poles.

Sue is a teamwork member for special projects where a small trusted group is formed to tackle larger jobs.

I work with Sue on special commissions and projects for private clients who value our ability to deliver image collections including exhibition grade prints in a secure way and with full privacy.