Category Archives: journalism

Journalism Awards Ceremony – Photography for the Medical Journalists Association

some of the trophies for the Medical Journalist awards event in Lonodn

Being lauded by your peers is a wonderful thing, (I’d imagine) but nerve-wracking to go up on stage in front of them to receive the award. The Medical Journalists Association invites entries for 18 categories of awards to be judged by figures from journalism, medicine and pharmaceutical worlds. The awards event was at the Barber-Surgeons Hall near The Barbican  

Venues for Events in London

Event Photography – Awards, Conferences, PR, Exhibitions

 

Pics and their Pitfalls – Pictures on Websites Need to be Taken Seriously

Not a stock-shot of a woman on phone wearing headset with microphone I’d just taken some pictures of a client for her new website. She’s starting a health and lifestyle business. She told me she needed other website images too, but had seen some shots on Google Images she quite liked. I was curious about how she’d clear the copyright and surprised at her answer, “I don’t have to if they’re on Google Images. Do I?” I explained that the images belonged to someone who would probably expect some kind of payment, but I’m not sure she was convinced. With so much free stuff online, you can come to expect everything to be free. I use Google mail, calendar, contacts and of course, search. It’s staggering just how much Google gives for free, and perhaps understandable to think that Google images are free too. Well Google image search is free, but the images it finds aren’t. Actually Google isn’t really free, they collect a vast amount of data about my likes, dislikes, interests, whereabouts and goodness knows what else. I’ve always considered it to be a fair exchange, but I’m beginning to feel uneasy about it.

So how do you know whether or not you can safely use an image that pops up in a search result? Well that’s easy, if you don’t have the specific permission of the copyright holder to use it, you can’t use it. So, you might be thinking ‘isn’t the internet an un-policed jungle? If I do use it, who’ll know?’ Well, even if the photographer is on the other side of the world, it’s easy for them to search online for unlicensed use of their photographs. Using Google Image search of course. Just as a word or a sentence is a string of letters, a digital image is just a long string of 0s and 1s – the digits! This sequence is as near to being unique as the image you see. So it’s easy for a computer to compare your image’s string of 0s and 1s to the strings of every other image on the internet. Google Images has a facility to look for a specific picture by examining its digital footprint, Tineye Reverse Image Search is another free image search ap. So if the copyright owner chooses to look, eventually they will find. Under English law the copyright of an image resides with the photographer unless they sign it over to someone else. This means that if you use an image on a commercial website you owe someone some cash. A thank you would be nice too.

The good news is that are of lots of free website images available, some web hosts offer a library of free ‘stock’ website images. Web designers often hold large collections too. Whether they’ll have one that suits your exact needs is another very good question. For a relatively small fee you can buy royalty-free images from so-called microstock sites. That means you can pay pennies for a website image and owe nothing else. It’s the ‘pile high, sell cheap’ side of the stock photography industry. The fact that the pile is so high means that it is more difficult to find the right image for your purposes. If you’ve got bored with looking for that needle in a haystack, (there’s a stock photograph idea) you might decide to increase your budget and go to one of the big picture agencies like Corbis, iStock or Getty. They have picture researchers to do the donkey-work for you. (oo, another stock photography idea) There are many specialist image libraries too.

Here are two radical solutions –

1) take it yourself

2) commission a photographer

You don’t need an expensive camera for option 1) but you do need a little patience. That’s a whole other blog post. For option 2) you just need to do research. Look at some online portfolios and then be precise about your requirements and the limits of your budget. It’s up to the photographer to decide if the job’s worth taking on.

Obviously I think it’s essential to get good photography for a business website, it’s the best way to connect and engage, to tell your story. By good, I mean the right images that say the right thing about the business, the service and the ethos. Everything you put in front of a potential client should support the values and the message you are trying to convey. If it doesn’t support it, it’s doing damage. In a picture-rich environment like ours we learn to ‘read’ imagery very quickly – an obvious, ‘make-do’ stock shot says ‘can’t be bothered’ or ‘don’t care what you think’.

Remember, every picture tells a story, but make sure it’s the right story!
 

Rianbow over a Scottish loch

This image can be licences from alamy.com

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Less a Plane than a Jackson Pollock – Editorial Photography for Pilot Magazine

In my career as a editorial photographer, this has so far been my most ‘Boys Own’ job – spending the day at White Waltham airfield surrounded by aircraft, and in the company of walking-Wikipedia. Philip and Colin, who know about cars and aeroplanes, and two expert ‘detailers’. Sadly, the photography was not to involve taking to the air or driving cars. We were here to watch the ‘detailers’ cleaning a plane, so more ‘Widow Twanky’ than ‘Biggles’.

Richmond editorial photography

Richard, Colin and Dean with dirty Dumbo

Pilot magazine editor, Philip Whiteman had got me there with writer Colin Goodwin. Colin was writing an article how to get your aeroplane clean. The grubby flying machine in need of a good scrub belonged to Colin. ‘Detailing’ was a new concept to me; very thorough, but careful cleaning, usually of classic or performance cars. My car gets a clean once a year if it’s lucky, usually because it’s so dirty I’m having trouble spotting it against the earth, or because there are toadstools growing in the filthy carpet. So Richard Tipper’s business, ‘Perfection Detailers’ operates on an entirely elevated plane. Sorry, plain. It’s not just a quick hose-down, and a rub with a good chamois leather. Because ‘perfection’ is what Richard aims for. A vehicle isn’t done until it’s ready to enter a concours d’elegance, in fact it isn’t done until it’s ready to win it.

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The propeller alone cost nearly £6000, so Colin says he looks after it very carefully!

I’d imagine that to most owners, their light-aircraft is quite precious. The fact that their life is dependent on it is also going to make them quite attentive to its well-being. Well, consider that Colin also built his plane himself, in his garden shed. He must care more than most!

Colin told me the aircraft, which he’s called ‘Dumbo’ is an ‘RV7’, imported in kit form from the US. He declines to tell me how much the whole thing cost, and won’t even estimate the number of hours it took him. “I’m anal, I spend hours cleaning the thing.” He says. “I joke with passers-by that it’s cheaper than actually flying it.”

Richmond editorial photographer-0872 The first thing Richard Tipper, and his assistant Dean do is clean off the oil stains along the plane’s belly, using a volatile oil a lot like WD40. Then the whole thing gets a shampoo, not any old shampoo of course, it’s pH-neutral with no added chemicals. He dries it straight away to avoid watermarks, using a man-made fabric which he knows from experience to be more absorbent than a chamois.

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The real challenge is the build-up of splattered insects on the leading edges of the wings and propeller. “It only takes a few minutes in the summer for the wings to look like a Jackson Pollock.” Is how Colin describes it.

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Colin was pleased to discover the paint was thin, helping keep down the weight

Elbow grease alone isn’t going to shift them, but before Richard sets about it with his powered polisher he test the thickness of the paint. Only 30-40 microns thick, about a third that of a modern car. He also tests the polish to make sure it doesn’t lift any colour.

I learned a lot during my day White Waltham airfield, photography takes you to interesting places, and lets you glance inside other worlds. You can be sure that my car is now…. still waiting to be cleaned.

 

Colin’s article took up 3 double-page spreads in Pilot magazine.