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Monthly Archives: May 2015

17 
May

Photography is easy – or is it?

Martin Neeves - videos to sell products and servicesWritten by Martin Neeves – Commercial Business Photographer Leicester

Today almost everyone owns some form of camera, be it a mobile phone or a digital camera, so there are many who think that photography is easy.  All these instruments are very much designed to take instant photos with the minimum of fuss.  Most will take pretty reasonable photographs, but have little ability to adjust the settings used to capture the photograph.  This leads many people to believe that “photography is easy”.  The next leap of logic, and thence belief, is that it cannot be that difficult to become a professional photographer.  You just take enough images and some will be great. The odd snap, becomes an interest, then a hobby and then a job or business. Easy isn’t it?

Well snap shot photography is easy, but good photography takes a lot of skill and artistry.  It is a strange mix between technical ability and knowledge, along with a creative and artistic discipline. I guess it is the difference between being a driver who can drive a car fast and one who can race cars professionally.  The subtleties that have to be learned and the experience that has to be built up are the essence of what makes the difference.

So the next logical argument is that if I get a good enough or expensive camera then that will be job done – I will be a professional photographer.  Well I am afraid not, good photography is not about the camera, and it is about the photographer.  It is about understanding what you are seeing and how best to portray it for the audience that is going to view it.  It requires planning, vision, talent, creativity, skill, determination, patience, focus, persistence and many more elements to take a good photograph.

Interestingly two skilled photographers will come up with different images of the same subject, but both will be good.  So why is photography not easy?  Let me explain…

Firstly, you have to know how it all works technically

The average mobile phone or digital camera has loads of pre-sets that average all the settings to give you an averagely produced photograph.  But that is not a good or great or effective photograph and it will not be good enough to get someone to buy it.  By using the camera settings correctly you can capture one scene in so many different ways.

Photography is easy – or is it?Just take a look at the settings on these cameras (not the most complex or expensive).  To take a good photograph that stands out and is striking each one of these settings has to be fully understood.  Each setting can be used in a different way in conjunction with another setting to produce different results.  The photographer has to know what these changes are, what effect they have and what the right set of settings for each task is.

Now a digital camera, especially a Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera is basically a computer that utilises a range of microprocessors to help the expert get the most effective photograph in most locations.  This is why the average digital camera or mobile phone decides everything for you, but it just gives the “best fit” that it’s much smaller computer can manage.

If you want to be a good photographer you cannot ignore this computer.  You have got to master it. Now that is just the camera.  What about the lighting (both ambient and artificial), flash (both on and off-camera), stabilising a camera and the use of computer software to optimise photographs?  All these things bring a real requirement to understand a wide range of technical aspects that make up a good or great photograph.

In addition, getting all these different pieces of equipment to function effectively together require calculations, assessment and good technical understanding.  The machine will give you a whole raft of information, ISO settings, depth of field, shutter speed, aperture, light levels, white balance, focus etc. But you have to choose how to utilise them.  How do you manage colour balance, how do you manage good or bad light?

Secondly, you need to master the artistic/creative aspects of photography

A flat image or photograph will not only be uninspiring, it will not be commercially saleable.  Now okay, I accept that like all art beauty is often in the eye of the beholder, but you do need to bring some creativity to make a photograph stand out.

The creativity comes in the lighting, the layout, framing using the surroundings, knowing where to stand, the use of light balance and getting the image to carry a message.  This is so important where commercial photography is concerned, because a business owner will want all the photographs you take to portray his/her brand and to sell their products.  Do they need the lighting bright and shiny, dark and moody or just natural?

Often available light is used, but it can be enhanced by using reflectors and/or additional lighting.  Lights have to be set up, balanced and then the camera has to be set in location and focused.  All this has to be artistically posed whilst setting up lights, and balancing them, and getting all the camera settings right. Get it wrong and the whole effect is ruined. Photography is more about image crafting than image capture.

As well as getting both the technical and artistic parts right, if you are photographing people, you will have to get the right expression out of them as an inappropriate expression will kill a good picture and the right expression can elevate a good photo to a great photo.

Here is a photograph of Warwick Castle taken by a friend of mine, compared with two I have done commercially (one at sunrise and one on a foggy day).  I know that he will not mind me saying that the difference stands out immediately, but all three are of exactly the same subject – the East front of Warwick Castle.

His is a snapshot, taken with a reasonable quality DSLR, on a monopod, but…..

WarwickforMNeevesPhotograph by Martin Neeves Photography - www.martinneeves.com - Tel: +44 (0)7973 638591 - E-mail: martinneeves@googlemail.comPhotograph by Martin Neeves Photography - www.martinneeves.com - Tel: +44 (0)7973 638591 - E-mail: martinneeves@googlemail.com

Conclusion

I think it is clear that there is much more to producing a good photograph than point and click.  Also it is more than just having a good camera.  A good photographer has to produce images that are unique, technical and artistic.  They also have to produce images that are commercially saleable all the time or they will not be able to stay in business.  That means using all their skills and experience to make the best from their expensive equipment.

If you want to find out how great photography can help your advertising and marketing then call Martin Neeves on 01455 271849 or on 07973 638591 or use my contact form to get in touch now

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Published Date: 17th May 2015
Category: General


 

09 
May

Photos of X Factor Winner Sam Bailey being a Zoo Keeper

I have just had the privilege of taking some photos of The X Factor winner Sam Bailey and her family when they visited Twycross Zoo in North Warwickshire.

Sam Bailey, along with her husband Craig and her children Brooke (10) and Tommy (6) had quite an unusual family day out as they didn’t just look around the zoo, they became zoo keepers for the day.  The singer who is more used to wearing glamorous dresses on stage alongside stars such as Beyonce donned some blue overalls and got mucked in – literally!  The family started the day by helping the other zoo keepers mucking out various animal enclosures. They then went on to feed the penguins, lorikeets and meerkats.  The colourful lorikeets looked so funny all perched on Sam’s head, but one disgraced himself by relieving himself on Sam’s overalls and also in her hair.

When the feeding time was over, I had to rush back to get some of my photos out quickly to meet a tight deadline as ITV Central news wanted them for their 5.30pm news slot.  I met the deadline, two of my photos were shown on the television news.  ITV news also published another three of my photos on their website HERE.

I have photographed many celebrities in the last 28 years as a professional photographer and I have to say that Sam is one of the most down-to-earth of them all. She is completely unaffected by her fame and her and her family were a pleasure to work with.  Here are some of my photos:

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Contact Martin Neeves if you want some photographs with the X factor to help promote your business in the media.  Call Martin Neeves on 01455 271849 or on 07973 638591 or use my contact form to get in touch now.

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Published Date: 9th May 2015
Category: General


 

05 
May

The Power of Photography in Business

Martin Neeves - videos to sell products and servicesWritten by Martin Neeves – Commercial Business Photographer Leicester

photography in businessFor many businesses, the use of photography or images tends to be an afterthought, with no thought about using photography in business effectively.  It is also one of those things seen as less important and many images have been taken on mobile phones or are inappropriate.  The problem is that images play a big part in the effectiveness of marketing, especially online. Articles with images in them get a staggering 94% more total views than those that do not.  A poor image is more likely to shout “amateur” or too small to be a realistic player.

There is no doubt that photography has become more crucial than ever to business marketing than ever before.  Social media has added to the clamour for good or different images.  A lot of research now shows that photographs and images are more likely to engage with potential customers than just having text content.   Facebook and other social media platforms definitely get more views on those accounts that have interesting images.

What imagery should I use?

New CHEMEX franchisee for Coventry and Warwickshire Jon Groves.    Photograph by Martin Neeves Photography - www.martinneeves.com - Tel: +44 (0)7973 638591 - E-mail: martinneeves@googlemail.comThe face or faces behind a business help give confidence that they can trust that business.  So the benefits of having good, professional photograph of yourself and your staff are well worthwhile. This gives your potential customers the opportunity to see the face(s) behind the business.  This makes it more personal.  It helps people build up trust and do business with you.

Equally important is the need to display your products and services in a professional manner.  If your premises are open to the public, do they look engaging?  If so why not show them as they can market your business.  Used well, good photos will enhance your business.

What options do I have to get images?

A number of options are available, for instance you could:

  • Dr Matthew Gibson, Research Fellow at the University of Warwick.  Photography by Martin Neeves Photography - www.martinneeves.com - Tel: +44 (0)7973 638591 - E-mail: mail@martinneeves.comUse images straight from Google.  Nooooo! See my article about this and avoid getting into trouble.
  • Buy stock images.  These can often be very good and look professional.  But there are some pitfalls.  The very good images get used by a number of people and so are not unique to your business.   This can be a real problem if the image is seen on competitors’ websites and materials.  Another factor people forget when using stock images is that there is a licence to use them.  This means that you must read that licence carefully and see under what circumstances you can use the image.   Some are for one-off use, other multi-use by your company and others an image royalty is due EVERY time you use the image.
  • Use your own photographs.  This can work if the images are of sufficient quality or you have a very small marketing budget.  But photographs that are obviously “self-made” will not represent your business in a good light.  If the images look amateurish then you may be perceived as an amateur or small-player.
  • Use a professional photographer.  Obviously you need a budget for this, but then you need a budget for all marketing.   A professional photographer will provide you with the best quality bespoke results.  The good professional photographer will shoot images that capture the emotion, feeling and style of your products and services.  Good images engage your target audience, a much better response than disengaging them! So quality, unique pictures of your business will make you stand apart from your competitors.  Good quality images will “talk” to your audience and promote your brand more effectively and attract the right customers too.

For many businesses when you mention website or marketing content, “content” means lots of text. Now from an SEO point of view and for information you definitely do need textual content.  But photographs and images will enhance the engagement and get that text read.  This will allow you to capture attention, get concepts across quickly and add to your marketing message.

Contact Martin Neeves if you want a photographer who is going to produce really professional images to market your business more effectively.  Call Martin Neeves on 01455 271849 or on 07973 638591 or use my contact form to get in touch now.

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Published Date: 5th May 2015
Category: General