Our Pets – Loved, Loyal and Photogenic!

Our pets are a delight!  We fuss them, dote on them, spoil them occasionally and thoroughly enjoy their company.  Their loyalty is something you can always rely on and they bring us and our family so much pleasure and love.  But do you have a beautiful pictorial reminder of them?  Of course you do – on your phone, snaps from your last walk, a recent holiday when they came with you, but what about a beautifully posed and lit portrait of them?  In most cases the answer is probably not, which is why I organised a Pet Week recently.

I wanted to give pet owners the chance to have a professional portrait of their beloved pet to cherish forever.  It was a busy and interesting week with lots of visitors in different sizes and shapes and breeds!  Every single one of them were a wonderful example of how much they are loved and all of them were on their best behaviour, which made my job incredibly easy.  Here are a few images from the Pet Portrait sessions for you to enjoy.

 

 

I had so much fun, not only taking the pictures but meeting all the different personalities (and that also includes the owners!).  A little video follows but if you didn’t manage to make it to my Pet Week, contact me now to book your Pet Portraiture Session for only £49 including complimentary gift and immortalise your pet in a gift you’ll want to cherish….

 

 

Pre-Session Warm Up for Child Photo Sessions

I just wanted to take a minute to talk about the importance of the pre-session warm up for child photo sessions.  What is this, you might ask? This is the photographer-child interaction time that occurs before we begin the session. I always suggest that you show up a little bit early, maybe 15 minutes, to your session so we have this time to get to know each other. Especially with young children, it’s going to be a little bit scary interacting with someone they’ve never met before and perhaps they’re first time in a photography studio.  I want to ensure we can really show off your child’s personality, so I always want him or her to be comfortable with me and the environment.

 

 

If I were to just throw them into the middle of the session and there’s this stranger with a camera jumping around trying to get them to look and smile, your child is going to tense up and there may even be confusion. I really want everything to run smoothly and be fun!

 

If you can arrive early, this will give me time to introduce myself to your child, and to try to get a vibe on how the session will go. Some children warm up right away, while others need the entire warm up time to start to feel comfortable and come out of their shells. And that’s OK.

 

After I introduce myself, I will try to get to know your child. I’ll perhaps ask them questions about what they like, what they don’t like, sing songs, maybe play a game, etc. Just to break the ice a little, so by the time the session starts, they are feeling happier and more familiar with me. Making sure you’re there early enough to have this time is probably one of the most important tips I can give you for your child’s session.

Once we’ve done a session and your child realises that I’m not scary and we have fun together, if you book another session in the future, it shouldn’t need much warm up time at all, if any. But for the very first session together, it is a must.

If you’re looking at booking your very first photo session for your child or perhaps would like to give one as a gift, please get in touch here or even go to my Online Shop and purchase a voucher or session for a friend or family member.

Five Reasons to Choose a Professional for your Business Imagery

OK, sometimes you need to explain to the boss why you’ve spent the money on a professional photographer, rather than not spending the money and taking the shots on you mobile phone, because “everyone’s a photographer” nowadays!  This seems to particularly apply when it comes to the Corporate Headshots – seemingly such an straightforward and innocent task, yet so easy for it to go wrong too.  So here are five reasons for choosing a professional…

1) Your photos will appear professional

Some what indefinable, until you see an amateur image, then it becomes immediately obvious. You will look at least as excellent as your competitors, and with the right photographer, a whole lot superior.  These images are advertising you and your business.  If you have bad imagery, it may give the wrong impression.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) They won’t look cheesy

A professional photographer knows how to pose people, how to position them and crucially how to interact with them to not get that “cheesy grin” look, but instead something unaffected, poised and friendly.

3) The camera solely captures what it sees

And your professional photographer will make sure that what is seen is properly lit, properly positioned and properly composed. As well as using a variety of equipment for lighting and lighting control, just their experience in handling the lighting of your images will produce a huge difference.

Depending on what you need your professional photographer can bring a portable studio, maximising the quality and your time. A plain portable studio can be used to capture images of all staff very quickly and efficiently or, alternatively they can use areas around your business premises to capture a unique set of images for you.

4) Herding Cats!

Part of the job is making sure that all the photographs are captured within the time available and with minimum interruption to the working day.  A professional photographer knows how to sequence and manage the workflow – to make the most of their own time and yours.

 

5) It will pay for itself

Your professional photographer will discuss in advance what kind of photographs you need and what styles. Lawyers, bankers and financial folk need to appear confident – but definitely not smug!  Doctors, customer reps, sales staff need to look approachable, friendly and experienced. Company directors need to be assured, but not distant.  Your potential customers needs to be able to relate to the people in the photographs.

Remember you get what you pay for and what you ask for, so be clear with your photographer about how the photographs will be used – for web, for press, for magazines, for publications, for PowerPoint. The photographer will capture and prepare the photographs in various different ways depending on how they will be used.

If you need a professional photographer , I can come to you at your business and bring the studio with me or you can come to me at my fully equipped studio.  All photographs are retouched for those blemishes or wrinkles that you don’t really want.  I recommend booking a session for a number of people to keep your costs down, rather than just a few at a time.

Please feel free to click here to go to the Commercial section of my website or alternatively get in touch for more details.

3 Weddings in a Week! Wedding No. 3 Jo & Stephen

After Irish and English singing at Wedding 1 with Sandy & Milo and Morris Dancing at Wedding 2 with Shan & John, we moved on to Wedding 3 with Jo & Stephen on Saturday 7th April 2018.  The journey actually started on the Friday afternoon with a road trip to our B&B accommodation for the weekend in Royal Leamington Spa.  After booking in, me and my second shooter Steve went on a reconnaisance mission to take a look at the ceremony venue and reception venue, check out timings to and from and places to take photos.

A leisurely evening on the Friday with dinner at The Cricketers Rest around the corner from the B&B (and very nice it was too!) a good night’s sleep and ready for the day ahead.  The day started with bridal prep, 2 receptions, a location shoot and right through to first dance.  The Church was packed to bursting and it was a wonderful ceremony. 

We both thoroughly enjoyed the day and had a great time!  And not to be left out, another “mini-movie moment” leaving home for the church.  Thank you again Jo & Stephen for the honour of photographing your special day xx

3 Weddings in a Week! Wedding No. 2 – Shan & John

After recovering from Wedding No. 1 on 1st April, Wedding No. 2 arrived on Tuesday 3rd April with the wonderful Shan & John.  A very intimate affair at Norwich Castle complete with Morris Dancing.  The weather behaved itself and even the guests got involved with the Morris Dancing!  They became quite an attaction outside the Castle.  A beautiful ceremony and a lovely couple and our sincere thanks to you for letting us photograph your special day.

 

And another “mini-movie moment” this time with Morris Dancing!

3 Weddings in a Week! The Story Begins….

3 Weddings in a week – hard work, tiring but also fantastic fun!  I usually like to pace my workload but when I had 3 enquiries for weddings in the same week, albeit 2 of them were small, intimate affairs, and one near Royal Leamington Spa, I thought…why not!  The old saying about buses……nothing for a while, then 3 come at once did spring to mind.  Along with a great deal of planning, kit servicing and checking and travel arrangements to contend with, they all went off without a hitch!  So here my story begins with Wedding No. 1 Sandy & Milo.

Although the weather wasn’t on our side, it didn’t dampen spirits and the service and reception were wonderful.  Eventually the weather cleared and we got some great shots at the reception venue, along with a couple of “mini-movie moments” when the Irish contingent took on the English contingent in a sing-song.  Thanks again Sandy & Milo for inviting us to capture your special day.

Choosing the Right Wedding Photographer for You

So how do you choose the right wedding photographer? After all there are a lot of us around, and we seem to offer similar, yet not identical, things. And prices? Prices are hugely variable. So what should you ask to find the right wedding photographer for you?

Are they a Professional Photographer?

It sounds like a weird question to ask but because there are a lot of us around, and you’re hard-earned money will be paying for their services, you want to be assured they are a professional wedding photographer and not someone who does this as a hobby?  Do some research – are they listed on any photographic associations or bodies?  Two of the best ones to check are The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers and The Master Photographers Association.  If they are registered with either of these bodies, they will carry the necessary insurances and be classed as a professional photographer.

Have they actually covered a full wedding day before?

You would hope they had but to make sure, ask the question.  If they have, they should have sample albums or a portfolio to show you of a WHOLE wedding, not just snippets from several different weddings.  Also ask if the images you are being shown were actually taken at a wedding.  Again, seems an unusual question to ask, but even photographers needs to have training / workshops and education to move forward and become better photographers and it may be that some of the images you are seeing were taken on educational training days or workshops which, although they’ll be great images, were not taken under the same conditions and timescales as the real deal.

Wedding Photography Price

OK, you will have a budget, but be prepared to break your budget on your photography. It’s the only thing you will have in 10 years time. Not the meal or hotel, but the photographs – consider where this sits in your budget.

Then add in what you want from your photographer, for example:-

– A wedding album
– Additional Prints
– A Wall Art Product or Canvas Prints
– A USB of the digital images


 

Wedding Photography Timing

When do you want the photographer to start and finish? It used to be your photographer turned up just before the service, took a few pictures before you went in, then another set of group shots outside the church afterwards. 

Well it’s not like that now, my typical wedding coverage will start with the bride getting ready in the morning all the way through to the dancing in the evening, so work out which parts you want covered. Remember though, you really want to tell the Story of the DAY – the whole day, not just the service in the middle:

– Bride getting ready
– Groom getting ready
– Guests arriving at service
– The service itself
– Guests after the service
– Speeches
– Cake Cutting
– First Dance
– Evening Fun and Dancing
– Wedding couple portraits
– Family portraits

Wedding Photography Style

No doubt the style now is much more towards the “reportage” or “natural” photography of your wedding day. My aim is to make sure we get happy, smiling (or emotional) people being natural throughout the day.

But, your family will never forgive you if you do not have the formal group shots – and indeed you will want them in the years to come.

Also, I strongly favour the couple portraits, to feature the two of you beaming, grinning and full of love on that special day.

Also, the bridal dress needs some special work to really make it.

So, there has to be an element of formal posing.

You can add into this mix some “Fashion” style posing, or “Art” posing – this may be posed to look casual or look very stylized – but the aim is to create a very “WOW” image, above and beyond your average capture the moment type image.

I hope these few things may help you in choosing the right wedding photographer for you.  If you would like anymore help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Studio Experience Session – Photography Norfolk

Running studio experience sessions is always good fun;  not just for the participants but me as well!  I recently organised my first one for 2018 with the wonderful Hayley Bird as our model.  It was so popular, we had to put on 2 sessions with a total of 12 photographers taking part.  Each session is 2 hours long, use of the studio and lighting, a welcome cuppa available, help and advice from me if needed and always a professional model.  Why?  If you’ve never used or been in a studio environment before, it can be pretty intimidating.  Not only have you lighting to contend with but you need to communicate with your model, give instructions or an insight into what you are hoping to capture in your images.  If you’re new to studio photography, having a professional model means they know exactly what they’re doing so, if necessary, can run off a series of poses for you, taking the pressure off you having to come up with an idea.  It’s not as easy as it looks.  Time is money and if you’ve already planned your session with regards to a theme, lighting set-ups, poses, etc., you’ll maximise your time shooting instead of trying to think on your feet.

Planning starts before you’ve even booked your studio space and model.  Questions to ask yourself:-

  1.  Why am I booking this?
  2.  What theme or look am I hoping to capture?
  3.  Will I use these images as is or want to put them in a composite image?  This may be easier with a plain background, so what     background do you want for the session?
  4.  Can I afford this on my own or would it be best to collaborate / share with another photographer?
  5.  How long do I need to book the studio and model for?  This may depend on the theme / looks you’ve chosen as it may take time   for your model to change between them, eg., outfits, make-up / hair, etc.

Communication is the key.  Always ensure you’ve contacted the model / studio a few days before your booking to make sure everything is still OK.  Before the shoot, discuss what you are hoping to achieve with the model – they may have suggestions / ideas that could help.

I recently bought myself a new camera, the Panasonic GX80 and wanted to try out the time lapse feature, so the studio experience session gave a great opportunity to experiment.  Here is the result, not Oscar-winning but fun all the same!

 

I always try and fit in an hour for myself when I run these sessions and this one was no exception.  The wonderful Hayley Bird was our model for the day and never disappoints!  But because the morning session overran (which is usual) I only ended up with 15 minutes to get the shots I wanted.  As I had already planned my shots, I managed to get them anyway, albeit a little quicker than I’d have liked!  I’ve put a couple of before and after shots below.  Most people don’t appreciate the amount of time, effort and expertise that goes into producing just one image.  Suffice to say, from start to finish, there were tweaks in Camera Raw, several layers to produce the effects, skin, hair and imperfection work plus a little sharpening and soft focusing to achieve.  All in all, one image took me over an hour and a half to finish.

BEFORE

 

AFTER

And the second one:-

 

BEFORE

AFTER

 

It’s worth appreciating the amount of skill, expertise and time that goes into creating a finished image.  Multiply that by the number of images that may be taken at a wedding and you’ll understand how much time is needed to perfect a set of images.  The studio sessions were great fun and everyone enjoyed their time.  Keep an eye on my Facebook page and blog for details of the next one I’m planning or even subscribe to get the latest news and updates below!  Comment, share & enjoy!

 

Building an Image Library for Your Business – Commercial Photography

Did you know you can normally book a photographer for a full day for all your business photographs?

So why not make the most of it? For a very modest expense you can start to build a library of photographs that you can use for many diverse purposes in your marketing, social media and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For example, you’re putting together a press release and need some images of the Managing Director and Happy Customer. Well make the most of it, simply with these two alone you’ve got lots of opportunity:

Both of them: 

– “Grip & Grin”
– Informal chat with laughs shows how personal the client relationship is
– Showing customer around shop floor
– Helping customer determine which product to purchase
– Showing customer entire product range

MD on his own:

– Looking official (for annual report)
– Looking happy (for website)
– Looking casual (he’s a nice guy)
– Looking formal (he’s a serious business man)
– Chatting with staff (he’s got a happy workforce)
– Standing or using product (knows what his business is about)

Happy Customer on his own:

– Using your product
– Discussing with staff.
– Selecting which product
– His old one which lasted 30 years

But then, just think about all the other opportunities ignoring these two:

– Headshots of staff for security, web-site, brochures, business cards
– Working shots of staff, how dedicated they are
– Working shots of factory / shop etc
– How the product is made
– What the product is used for
– How to use the products and finished product shots

– Other happy customers (or staff dressed up)
– Shots of the office with logo & signs

The checklist simply goes on, and of course you have got those shots, so your website, your mailshots, your brochures, your adverts, next time you need a photograph, you’ve got it to hand and without needing to call the photographer in again. Saving you time and money and enhancing your marketing.  If you’re looking to enhance or start your image library, get in touch for more information.

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Photography Gadgets on a Budget – Photography Equipment Norfolk

With so many affordable SLR and mirrorless ones like the Olympus OM-D, Panasonic and Fuji to name a few, on the market now, everyone is a photographer.  The majority are enthusiastic amateurs who love taking images that please themselves and their family and friends.  Sometimes though, we all wish we could have all the latest gadgets and accessories to help us take better pictures. Unfortunately, most of the time they are very expensive and might be out of reach of some people.

It’s not always necessary to have the latest gadgets, accessories and twiddly bits and pay huge amounts of money for them.  Some accessories can be made relatively cheaply and still do the same job.  I’ve listed below some helpful alternatives which may give you a little edge on your friends and family when it comes to taking images.

 

On-Camera Flash – We’ve all done it!  Took a great picture with our little pop-up flash and everyone looks really white!!  If your flash is facing the subject this will always happen.  There are flashguns we can buy to bounce our light and soften it but if we don’t have one of these and rely on our pop-up flash, being able to soften the light would be very helpful.  There are gadgets you can buy to do this like mini diffusers but if you want a quick fix that doesn’t cost a penny, covering the flash with a tissue and holding it on with a rubber band will do as good a job as any!!  Alternatively, the end of a tights / popsock with the inevitable rubber band will also do the trick!  Try it and see!

 

 

Reflectors – These are great for directing light back to the subject and can be a life-saver on a dull day or when you only have a small amount of light.  Buying a reflector is one option but you can easily make your own very cheaply.  Either use a large piece of rectangular cardboard and paint one side black or buy a piece of black foamboard (from most good art and craft stores) and cover one side in aluminium foil using the not-so-shiny side (it’s not just for cooking!!).  Only covering one side will give you a reflector to gain light and a deflector to stop light and they work great!!  Now you have a double-sided reflector.  Try it and see!

 

 

Off-Camera Flash with a Flashgun – If you do have a flashgun for your camera, it’s so liberating to be able to get it off the camera and use it independently to create different lighting.  There are lots of accessories for flashguns but sometimes these can be expensive.  One way to make a modifier called a snoot for your flashgun is to buy some “blackwrap”.  This is essentially black bendable aluminium foil and can be used to make a snoot for your flashgun which will direct the light in a narrow field.  It can be used again and again.  With a bit more creativity you could make yourself a larger reflector for your flashgun by cutting a large circle from your blackwrap, cut a hole in the middle for your flash to sit through and make a larger beauty-style dish.  Now you have a snoot and a beauty dish.

 

Photography Beanbag – These are sometimes used if you’re out and about and need to rest your camera on something to steady it.  Specific photographic ones are also quite expensive but you may already have a perfectly good alternative in your own home.  If you have one of those wheatbags that are used for aches and pains (the ones you put in the microwave sometimes to heat up), it will double up as a perfectly good beanbag to steady your camera.  Now you have a photographic beanbag.

It doesn’t have to be expensive to enjoy your hobby.  Thinking a little outside the box can help you to make all sorts of gadgets, accessories and twiddly bits to help you take better and better pictures.  If you’d like to learn more and improve your photography skills, please get in touch.  I run regular studio experience sessions, along with beginners sessions covering basic camera techniques.   I hope you’ve found this helpful and please feel free to share it with others.  Comment, share & enjoy!!

 

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