Reflecting back on 2013 and looking forward to 2014 it's been an exciting year and we are anticipating an even better 2014
There was a sense of Deja Vu for the beginning of this New Year walking down a cold and wet Whitehall in the early hours of January Ist exactly as we did starting 2013 after photographing guests at The Royal Horseguards Hotel in Whitehall Place. It is however very satisfying to be getting repeat business from prestigious clients.
The end of 2013 was one of our busiest periods with a wide ranging variety of commissions and assignments from large corporates and high profile charity events.
One of our favorite jobs was to photograph the actress Naomie Harris who stars in the Nelson Mandella film; The Long Walk to Freedom. The event was a charity fundraiser for the "One to One childrens fund. I've had the pleasure of photographing many actresses,actors and show business stars but Naomie for me shines as one of the brightest and will be starring for many years in the role of Eve Moneypenny in the future James Bond films. Photographing Naomie was one of the highlights of the year which included photographing The Rolling Stones and some exotic overseas travel on behalf of clients.
another charity event was The Big Issue " Red Ball" when we used the new "green screen" facilities with our portable studio. This enables us to place pictures of guests in any setting they require and place magazine covers or logos over the finished pictures before printing onsite. I am confident that green screen events will become more and more popular as the technology gets even more sophisticated and we invest additional time in professional training.
Another new innovation this year will be guests using social media "live" at events to Facebook or tweet their pictures or maybe using some new media that has not yet been discovered or invented. This in conjunction with professionally shot pictures will surely become one of the most powerful marketing tools for both corporates and charities to get their message out into the world.
On the opposing side of that prediction we have covered some assignments where the exact opposite is the case and we have signed confidentiality agreements with high profile clients. If you want publicity we will happily tell the world, if not discretion and confidentially will be the order of the day.
As well as investing in new equipment and learning new skills we will soon be overhauling our website and marketing activities as well as forming new business relationships and partnerships.
With the economic climate seemingly improving we start the year anticipating a successful and prosperous future and hope this applies also to all our clients partners and friends.
Best wishes and kind regards
Another busy month with a variety of commissions from a trade show an international conference and even a Rolling Stones gig.
We had the chance to photograph The Stig for one of our clients after persuading him to road test a mobility scooter on an obstacle course set up at The International Center in Telford for the Mobility Roadshow. The marketing director was very pleased with this coup and after the pictures were taken even encouraged a little competition between The Stig and myself, having never driven a mobility scooter myself The Stig naturally won.
London's famous Dorchester hotel was the setting for The Global Citizen Forum London event. Set up by Forbes list billionaire Dr B K Modi the Singapore based organization bought together experts in business, economics and human rights and attracted politicians and business tycoons such as Lakshmi Mittal and the Hinduja brothers.
As for being a global citizen myself I did a count on how many countries I have worked in on photographic assignments and was astounded that it came to 37 and that does not cover passport stamps from Australia to Mexico for holidays. I am very grateful to be in a career I love so much and have the privilege of visiting so many cities and countries.
Another commission was across Park Lane to cover The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park. After hours of preparation I finally got the chance to photograph probably the biggest and best known rock band in the world. I was only allowed to photograph the first two numbers and was then escorted backstage and out. In those first two songs I managed to shoot over 400 pictures that I had to edit and send 20 pics of different shapes to meet the Sunday Times deadline for who I was working. After completing this task in record time I was given a cold beer and allowed back out to the Barclaycard VIP area at the front of the stage minus my camera equipment that had to be left backstage as a condition of re entry.
It doesn't get much better than that and unlike Mick Jagger and the boys I did get a lot of satisfaction.
It's official smart people use Smartpicsuk.com MENSA choose us for photo coverage of their Spring Ball.
We were delighted to be selected as official photographers for the MENSA annual Spring Ball at the Hilton London Canary Wharf / Docklands. The theme was a Moulin Rouge style Parisian evening where all the guests dressed appropriately thus making for excellent photographic opportunities which we were keen to oblige.
It makes a huge difference to the success of an occasion when guests take the time and effort to get "glammed up" and party goers are delighted when they receive a print in their hands within a few minutes. Many guests made repeat visits to the studio throughout the evening for more variations and poses as they relaxed and let their hair down a bit.
Guests kept telling us how impressed they were with the smart technology that enables them to walk away with studio quality pictures without having to make an appointment and visit a studio, indeed we were located adjacent to the bar which is always handy!
Whilst the technology and lighting behind the pictures is very clever and needs professional skills and experience to get the best from it ; it's not rocket science but it is smart and that's comming from the people at MENSA Elsewhere we have attended a couple of very select private parties including an 18th birthday party for the daughter of one of our corporate clients and a retirement party for one the country's top medical consultants at The Great Hall,St Bart's Hospital. Both commissions needed different styles of photography which is something we are always keen to accommodate.
Whatever or wherever your party, to us it's always a special occasion and we are happy to work whilst you play.
British Summertime starts this weekend (so we are told) and we are looking forward to a bright and busy summer of events.
We love variety and like to capture different styles of pictures at the same event or party. The pictures above were both taken within minutes of one another showing guests at the same charity fundraising function.
The fundraiser was held at The Warren ; The Metropolitan Police Social Club on behalf of Children with Cancer (formerly children with leukemia).
We set a studio and print station in the bar area and guests were soon queuing to have their photographs taken. As well as more traditional poses, we encourage guests to try different set ups especially with larger groups. These days every person in the country has a camera with them in the guise of a mobile phone and we are very aware that our photographs need to stand out as a professional product in this digital age.
For those interested in technical details the pictures were shot with a Nikon D3 and lit with 3 Elinchrom studio heads one on either side at 90 degrees both fitted with gridded softbox's and a shoot through brollie at 70 degrees for fill light. Backdrop was the new custom made Lastolite Panorama. Pictures were transmitted in seconds via a dedicated wireless network to an Apple computer running Adobe Lightroom with some custom modifications and printed on a DNP dye sub printer for guests to take away with them. Another very different commission, although not one you would class as an event, was for a corporate client who were upgrading their HGV fleet. The client who is the largest privately owned logistics company in the UK had a new delivery of HGV trucks that morning and even though the vehicles had never been used on the road and were hours old we had to make sure they were cleaned and spotless. Lining them up in formation also took a lot of time and effort and if I had been one of the drivers I would have cursed the photographer! Being a working dockside terminal meant all sorts of operational challenges for us from carrying out a risk assesment to wearing Hi Vis clothing to having someone watching my back in case an HGV reversed over very expensive equipment or me!
The shoot was on the sunniest day of the year and created more problems with harsh shadows (even an HGV lorry deserves flattering light!) and needed sophisticated and powerful lighting to fill in the shade. It also made for a wait of a few hours before shooting the final picture at dusk which was lit by 4 Elinchrom powerpacks fired by radio flash triggers.
We are always looking for new picture opportunities and challenges so do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions as to what we can photograph and how we can deliver the right images for you either party fun or serious corporate branding and marketing campaigns.
Best regards and Happy Easter
Our most recent outing was to The British Heart Foundation Grand Ball which was held appropriately in Brighton's famous Grand Hotel. The event was to raise funds for the "Mending broken hearts" appeal which is aiming to raise £50 million over 5 years literally mend hearts broken by disease. Whilst there we were lucky to photograph up and coming boy band ClassA who supported the cause by entertaining everybody and posing for pictures with guests and sponsors. A great bunch of lads who are definitely going places. http://www.bhf.org.uk/mending-broken-hearts-appeal.aspx
We are beginning to notice that some of our clients are asking for new ways to commission and receive their pictures in addition to printing onsite from the event. Many are now asking for downloadable pictures from our secure online web galleries as well as or sometimes instead of taking prints away with them. These galleries can be password protected and in some cases are even invisible on our site unless you have the correct link. In addition to hosting the pictures that are all licensed for yourselves,guests and sponsors to use for promotional, PR and marketing use USB memory sticks are also becoming popular. We are even in early budget negotiations to cover an overseas international event that will be available on a custom made smartphone or tablet "app"
Whatever your requirements we will produce the pictures you want and deliver them by whatever method suits your needs and your budget.
Next week see's the annual Focus on Imaging exhibition at Birmingham's NEC. The show is the UK's premier photography trade event and we look forward to seeing some of our friends and colleagues there. I suspect the Smartpicsuk.com budget may take a bit of a hit as all the major manufacturers and dealers display their new products and display their special offers.
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Recent PostsNew year and new services From The Stig on a mobility scooter to a Rolling Stones gig, I can get satisfaction! It's official smart people use Smartpicsuk.com! MENSA choose us for their photographs. Longer days means lighting challenges Fun at the British Heart Foundation Fundraiser Smartpicsuk production at Pinewood Studios New portable studio Smartpicsuk.com picture helps to raise funds for Great Ormond St Childrens Hospital Smartpicsuk.com goes to the Olympics smartpicsuk.com blog 25th May