Posts Tagged ‘photography

14
Sep
12

My studio opens it’s doors tomorrow

Well, it has taken 4 1/2 months; but, finally, tomorrow morning I will welcome my first customers to my new studio. I think it was back in January, that I first wanted to stop doing home visits, and to be based in one location.  On the one hand, I will have a lot less parking tickets, fuel bills for my car, i will have access to family shoots and other national marketing campaigns; on the other, my customers will be harder to come by, as one of the advantages of home visits is the ease for the Mum, having the photographer come to her home, and its a lot less stressful for the baby.

So then I started searching – although there is a lot of empty space around, empty good quality space is harder to find, especially at the right price.  Rents in this area range from £12 to £40 per square foot.  Anyway I was lucky enough to find a place where the rent was almost reasonable, do-able certainly.  Of course the place needed to be redecorated, re-carpeted – then I needed to buy display images, furniture, etc.  Having put together a plan, i decided that I would have my first sessions in the middle of September, and hopefully earn enough in sales to meet the first 3 months rent by the next quarter day.  The decorators were great and were finished in 6 days, then came the carpet layers – not bad, and I have managed to get them to give out some vouchers for studio sessions.  Then Lance came in  and sanded and sealed the floor in the studio, itself.  British Telecom came and installed a phone line and broadband, i will give them 2 stars, the phone line still isn’t brilliant, but workable.  The Flash Centre in London were brilliant supplying the lights and modifiers, direct from the factory for some items, which were out of stock.  The UK distributor of Fatboy beanbags redeemed themselves, and I got what I wanted in the end.  Loxley’s also redeemed themselves after an expensive SNAFU, their customer service department has promised to put things right. SignsExpress who fabricated and fitted the signage have been really accommodating – the manager turning out to do fitting when there van was broken into and tools stolen outside their depot. The staff at Barrett and Coe head office have been fantastic:- Dominic, has been efficient and effective, Caroline has pulled out all the stops to get things in the right place at the right time, and finally, Elaine’s advice and counsel has been thought provoking and so useful.  There’s still a few last things to sort out, but I feel ready to go tomorrow.

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23
Jul
12

Licentiate Panel

Well it was an early start today, as I had to be in Hertfordshire by 9.30 am, and, for me, that means trekking around the M25, which, on a Monday morning can either be fairly smooth, or, more usually, an mutation of a car park.  Fortunately, it was fairly easy today.

The reason I was heading to Ware was to get a panel of photos judged to qualify me to become a Licentiate of the Master Photographers Association.  Of course, I got there far too early, and had to kick my heels for a while, whilst they were getting everything ready.  So an endless stream of coffee and cigarettes kept my nerves vaguely under control, whilst the sound of one of the lights they use to illuminate the panel exploding had me wondering which one of the judges had been shot.

So the panel is made up of twenty photographs displayed in two rows of ten,  ten photos must be five photos each from two sessions, and the other ten must be a selection from another eight sessions.  All must be paid work carried out in the last two years.

My photos looked like this

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Well not quite like this, what you are seeing is the 8″x10″ photos, which I had printed on 10″x12″ paper and card mounted.  Laid out on the display boards it looks a lot different.  One of the other photographers who walked passed where they were on display told me that they looked great.  That settled my nerves a bit.  The judges dare all Fellows of the MPA, and an esteemed bunch they were.  Soon they went into the room and closed the door behind them, whilst I paced nervously in the reception area.  After about five minutes, I was called in to be told that I had passed and that it was an excellent panel.  Then came the most useful part, where one of the judges, Hoss Mahdavi, who runs a studio in Watford gave me some useful pointers.  One of the nicest things he said, was that he would be happy if any of these had been produced at his studio.  More useful was his criticism that there were too many head shots, and that some of the cropping was to tight.  He also said I should practice different lighting set ups and get more creative.  My secret weapon was, in case the judges didn’t like my photos, for my mentor to let them know that I was photographing in people’s homes and not a studio.  Fortunately that wasn’t needed.

After twenty minutes, I walked out, beaming from ear to ear.  What’s next?  Well I plan to start entering some competitions run by the MPA, and work towards submitting an Associate panel, which is a different kettle of fish all together.  For a Licentiate, you only need to show “competence in their chosen field of photography, show a thorough understanding of camera techniques, lighting and composition and ability to create merchantable quality photography.”  For Associate you need to show an “excellence in technique, lighting and composition. The candidate must show creativity and an understanding in the art of professional photography.”  Wish me luck!

 

14
Feb
11

Barrett and Coe Seminar 2

Yesterday was the second of my seven training days with Barrett & Coe, and, although it was a long day, it was worthwhile.  It was an early start to get to Ware by nine o’clock, but I didn’t have as early as a start as some.  The first part of the day was a visit to the studio of award winning photographer David MacDonald.  I thought his studio was on the High Street, but actually it was an old workshop down a side alley off the High Street.  The High Street site is just a shop window to promote his art (good idea, no. 1 filed away for reference).  In his workshop of approximately 2,000 square feet he has a reception area, decorated with all his diplomas and awards, then 2 studios and two viewing rooms, some storage and a workshop for editing, mounting and framing.  The studios aren’t that big, but are functional working areas, with one wall set up for highlight photography, the opposite wall is patterned, and he has a small black background area.  There are some rolls of coloured paper for those  customers that request it.  The floor is plain hardwood, no cyc background here.  The viewing rooms were much more tidy and homely than the studios.  I picked up some good ideas from that, and Dave was a really nice friendly guy, who didn’t mind sharing his knowledge at all.

Then it was back to the hotel for more photography practice.  First we repeated some the previous seminars work; a single sitter, and a pair of sitters.  It was good to go over the same stuff again, just to drill it into my brain!

Then we got onto the harder stuff – first, a three some.  This was reasonably straight forward – start with a pair then insert your third sitter to make a pleasing triangle shape.

Then it got harder, a group of four sitters, then eight or more sitters.  In the afternoon we did a large group that must have been about 18 people.

Again, we got sent away with some home work, to re-inforce the points we have learned; so I have to take portraits of groups of 3,4, 6 & 8 people.  I will have to think up another plan of taking these large a groups, as I have never seen 8 people walking up my High Street together before.  Sounds like a good excuse to go to the pub!  To find some sitters of course!