Journey of Life – Promotional Garden Design Video at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show

garden design video exhibition photographer Hampton CourtI stopped shooting for my garden design video, picked up my camera and tripod and got out of the way of the BBC’s double-decker sized camera crane. It was the Royal Horticultural Society’s Hampton Court Flower Show 2017. The camera crane belonged to ‘Gardner’s World’, one of my favourite television programmes, so I was more than happy to move. I had to step inside the RSPB stand to get out of the way, and had a nice chat about bird feeders.

Like me, Gardener’s World were filming ‘Journey of Life’, a garden designed and created by Edward Mairis. Unlike me, the BBC had a large crew recording pictures throughout the show for the TV programmes. I was a little intimidated, partly because it was their filming style that I was attempting to emulate.

Creating a Marketing Asset

Edward’s marketing consultant Lisa Woodward had encouraged him to make the video when she saw how wonderful the garden was. So, my commission to make the film came just a few days before the opening. Spending a day in a garden filming flowers – what a joy. Gentle tracks past colourful flower beds. Dramatically craning up over a tree, or pulling focus from one bloom to another. These are the sort of shots that typify BBC coverage of garden show. I love them, but I was working on my own with equipment a lot more modest than the BBC’s, so I had to adjust my pictorial ambition.

The objective for the film was to reflect the connections Edward had created between the garden and the poem, so I had to be sure I had all the footage I needed to do it. Edward felt the film succeeded, to quote the message he left on my voicemail – ‘Love it, love it, love it…’.

garden design video Hampton Court event photographer

The Royal Horticultural Society Awarded Edward a bronze medal

Three Questions to Get a Better LinkedIn Profile Picture

All things being equal, if you’re looking at LinkedIn for a contractor, freelance, employee or partner and you have the choice between someone with a profile showing a picture and someone without a picture, you’ll probably choose the person with a picture. If the choice is between the person with a good picture and the person with a bad picture, all other things being equal, you’ll choose the person with a good picture.

So what’s the difference between a good picture and a bad picture? The answer to that question depends on the individual making the judgment. You can never know what personal influences and prejudices will affect their judgment, but you can assess the professional and social expectations and seek to meet them. A professional profile picture is not a portrait and it’s not an opportunity for self-expression. A professional profile photograph is there to market you as a person, a professional, a provider of specific services. A professional profile photograph is a marketing asset.

Create a Brief for Your Profile Portrait to Meet

You should be very clear in your mind about what your picture is for. Whether the photographer is a professional or a colleague, you both need to remember that you’re not creating something just to fill a hole in a webpage.

Here are three questions to consider. The nearer you can get to answering them, the closer you are to knowing what you want.

i) Who do you want to address through the picture? (Target audience)

ii) What do you want them to take from seeing the picture? (A single-minded message)

iii) What picture will provoke ii), from i)?

Of course you can save time by commissioning a professional photographer, it’s our job to create images that fulfill a specific purpose.

Who’s Your Audience?

With whom do you wish to connect on LinkedIn? Your audience might be potential clients and customers, the senior team in a particular organisation, or recruiters and head-hunters. If you can envisage your target as one person, real or imagined so much the better, it’s easier to think through what picture might work and what might turn them off.

What’s the Take Away?

This is what you want to leave with the person seeing your profile picture. It could be a message like ‘I can solve your problem’ or ‘I am an expert in this field’. Or it could be a feeling like ‘you’d like to meet me’ or ‘I’ll fit in your organisation’. Ultimately, you probably want people to get in touch. The purpose of this post is to help you get a profile picture that reinforces whatever objective you have for your LinkedIn presence.

What Picture Will Help Achieve Your Goal?

This is the nub of it, and the hardest to answer. The visual language available in a profile portrait is quite restricted; smile, stance, dress, location. But, within each of those there many possibilities, and of course the right combination depends on you and your objective. Always concentrate on the output, not the input – so not which tie looks best, but how will my target audience be influenced. Conceiving the right profile picture to take involves imagination – put yourself in the shoes of your target, imagine seeing this (yet to be taken) photograph and think about how you would feel and what you would take out of seeing it. If this all sounds a bit much, spend some time looking at stranger’s profile photographs and ask yourself;

  • What do I think?
  • How do I feel?
  • How has my impression of this person been changed by looking at the picture?

Then think about your answers to the questions – is that how you want people to feel when they look at your profile picture? If not, keep looking until you find one that does! Once you’ve found a picture that you think works in your own terms, you can use it as a template for your own profile photo.

I came to portrait photography from being a creative in the BBC. I interpreted briefs from marketing and developed ideas to deliver a defined message to stimulate a response or action in a defined audience. A good profile portrait picture on your LinkedIn page will help you do the same, it will be a marketing asset. Every picture will tell a story, make sure it tells the right story.

Book a place on our very competitive Fourth Monday combined video and photo profile shoots, or contact me directly to talk about profile photograph.

Bentall Breakfast – Photography at the Business Networking Event

Photography from Kingston Chamber of Commerce monthly networking event. October’s was at Bentall’s department store in Kingston. The event’s are always well attended, despite the impression this shot might give.

event photography Kingston Surrey

Where’s the Chamber gone? Jerry Irving, CEO of Kingston Chamber of Commerce opens the meeting

As you’d expect from Bentall’s, it was an excellent breakfast, and there were a lot of really interesting people to meet, never mind the business!

Love the Autumn – Do Photography!

Summer has holidays, winter has Christmas.

Autumn, sandwiched in between has nothing but colour.

But, oh what colour!

Autumn’s the best. Yes, photography in spring is beautiful when everything bursting into life. Winter is wonderful in it’s sharpness and starkness. And of course long, sultry, summer days are magnificent. But Autumn? Autumn is golden, it’s crunchy under foot and smells of sweet wood smoke and musty damp leaves, it’s the sensual season. We should love the autumn.

Autumn should be walked in, listened to, breathed and touched. Autumn is definitely a time for photography. In fact, producing half a dozen good pictures of rich, autumn colours should be compulsory for anyone with a camera.

The colours are fantastic – the oranges, red, yellows and browns. But often it’s the light makes them really spectacular – because the sun is lower in the sky it’s more likely to stream though trees, punching the colour with it. Unless, in the dark of the night the chilling mist has risen to shroud the landscape in mystery.

Bloated spiders spin colossal webs that the morning dew hangs from in tiny lenses focusing sunbeams into strings of fairy lights. While birds come back to the gardens searching for treats to fatten them up for winter, squirrels scamper through branches and flower beds burying family-packs of conkers and acorns.

The camera might have been invented for autumn – a tool for saving splendours to enjoy later in the grey of winter.

The Lords of London’s Royal parks, the growling grouches, noses in the air, nostrils twitching, sniffing for rivals, strutting stags watching over their herd.

White Noise – Artists and their Art on Exhibition in London

This was a terrific exhibition in a great space. The Crypt under St.Pancras Parish Church is everything you’d hope it would be – cool, damp, dark with low vaulted ceilings. It’s very different from typical sterile galleries. The works of art seem to interact with their surroundings giving a more ‘visceral’ feel. 

I was at the private view at the invitation of the artists and enjoyed photographing them alongside their work. Most of them weren’t keen on being photographed, it was their work they wanted to be the subject, not themselves.


Awards Ceremony Photography in Kingston

The faces change from year to year, but their unlimited energy and enthusiasm remains just the same. It was the annual Rose Youth Theatre awards ceremony, one of my regular bookings. “They love it when you play the paparazzi.” Ciaran O’Connell, the theatre’s Director of Learning and Participation told me. I stand at the end of the red carpet and snap them as they arrive at the theatre dressed up in the best outfits. “Come on, look this way! Smile for the camera!“ Great fun. Last year Cairan adapted and directed ‘Wind in Willows’ and he’s doing ‘Alice in Winterland’ for this Christmas. Members of the Youth Theatre perform alongside the professional cast, a fantastic opportunity for any kids with acting ambitions. And probably good box office once all the friends and family have bought tickets.

Last year’s awards

Cairan’s blog about Wind in the Willows

Promotional Video – ‘How to Drive Your Business to the Next Level’

This seminar was filmed for a promotional video. Beverley Corson and Bryan Charter are Engineering Business Growth. They are a good example of the value of business networking – they met at a breakfast meeting, realised they shared a lot of their business philosophy and formed a partnership. This seminar – How to Drive Your Business to the Next Level’ is a taster for their ‘Engineering Business Growth Club’. 

I used my BBC training and skills to make this promotional video, filming editing and post-producing. If you’d like your business to benefit from a BBC-quality video, call on 020 8977 2529 or message me.

Britain’s Best Secondhand Bookshop?

“Wow!” Charles Leakey says he often hears it said from people entering his secondhand bookshop. No wonder, it’s an Aladdin’s cave of 100,000 books and maps. You just know that with a little effort you’ll find something magic in there. Indeed it feels a bit like something from a Harry Potter film.

Leakey’s occupies a Gaelic church built around 1793, Charles took it over 22 years ago. Given the almost religious devotion that many us have to books and reading, it’s a good place to put the shop. “It’s a large building and I could fill a building ten times this size with books that nobody wanted. It’s all a matter of selecting books that people like and want and that’s my job I suppose. That’s what I try to do.”

Charles Leakey secondhand bookshop owner portrait photograph

Charles Leakey works beneath the pulpit in his former church

There’s a big wood-burning stove, but it wasn’t lit when we visited in the middle of summer – the temperature was well into the upper teens. (Scorcher) More people were taking photographs than buying books. I really hope the shop can survive in the our online and device-obsessed world. “Even if digital books replace print, the market for second-hand books will remain.” Says Charles.

I think that a large, high-quality photography book is a much better way to see the majestic landscape pictures of Ansel Adams than a website. A book is easier to peruse, to see the detail, to see into the picture. There’s a danger that the ‘digital natives’ grow up unaware of the page-turning pleasures, and that the sheer convenience and ubiquity of our mobile phones outweighs the inferiority of the viewing experience. I found a book about Rembrandt. I love the Dutch masters and try to emulate their aesthetic in my family portraiture so I wanted it. ‘Rembrandt’s Eyes’ is written by Simon Sharma, he’s a good writer, so I bought it. Unfortunately, I could find very few photography books on Leakey’s heaving shelves of secondhand books, or I might have bought more!

Inside Leakey's secondhand bookshop, Inverness

Get lost in a good book (shop)

Church St, Inverness, 01463 239947, https://www.facebook.com/LeakeysBookshop/

 

Silver Lining – to be found in every cloud – event photography in Kingston

The Rose Theatre in Kingston upon Thames staged the first production of a new play written by Sandi Toksvig, ‘Silver Lining’. I photographed the press night star-spangled event. 

Whizzfit Fun and Games – Party Photography

WhizzFit events are fun and friendly, the business has been bringing out the inner child in everyone since 2013. With the emphasis firmly on fun first, everyone can join in, get active and improve their health and fitness. Having already made them a video, Angus got me back to get some stills that capture the excitement. 

WhizzFit started when founder Angus discovered Dodgeball.  He was immediately hooked because he realised it was a sport that everyone can play and enjoy safely, no matter what age or sporting ability.  Since then, WhizzFit has continued to introduce new sports and activities such as Nerf into the business with the primary objective of bringing active, healthy fun to everyone.