Monday, 28 July 2008

Inspirational Update

Today, a very quick follow-up to this post, in which I was talking about inspiration and motivation.

Strangely enough, it was on a train journey travelling up country to a shoot recently that I came across an article in the free onboard magazine. The feature which caught my eye was Aileen Scoular's interview with Peter Gabriel. In it, Gabriel considers the way in which train travel can generate inspiration - He says, "I have an unsubstantiated theory that artists and creative people take train journeys because that's where they get their best ideas."

He puts this down to 'peripheral vision stimulation'.

Personally, I like taking the train because
  • It means I don't have the concentration involved in driving (I therefore arrive at a shoot as fresh as possible),
  • Such journeys allow me to catch up on editorial and blog projects without distraction,
  • The train is always like a new and neutral location for me, which I find helps generate those creative thoughts.

But, of course, everyone is individual - we all have our own methods. It's just a case of finding what works best for you.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Pictures Are There To Be Looked At

I have just returned from a string of meetings this morning, in which I was talking to clients about how best to display the photographs we produce for them. I say 'talking to' - it was actually more a case of educating them. And here's why.

People love photographs. Fact. Whether it's snaps of friends at the local pub or a corporate team-building day, we love to share stories and memories of the events which occur in our lives. Trouble is, a lot of people don't know how best to enjoy these pictures, and simply throw them in a drawer or onto a bookshelf in the corner of a room, never to see the light of day for years to come. And the worst offenders? [Shudders to think] Direct transfer from camera to hard drive - and we all know what can happen there. Shame on you!

So what options do you have? Prints - sure. Canvas artwork - yup. T-shirts - if you really want. But then... that's it, isn't it? NO! There are so many different ways to present your pictures, many of which people don't know about. Apart from the above, you could consider traditional albums, super-modern picture books, despoke frames, acrylics, aluminium and block-mounted displays, promo transfer sets, multi-item themed gift packs... you get the idea.

But just a second. A word of caution, by way of an old adage - just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Not every display method is suitable for every kind of picture. Likewise, not every location is suitable for certain presentation options (e.g. canvas prints can look terrible in spaces which are too small for them). It's all about considering the options and deciding which will work best for you and your pictures.

Now, before you jump to conclusions, I should say that such considerations do not apply simply to 'private sector' clients (weddings, portraits, that sort of thing) - they are also relevant to business and corporate customers, too. Why? Because photography can and should be used to your advantage.

For example, say you have company premises with a 'typical' reception area. When new or returning clients come in, what are they greeted by (apart from your super-friendly receptionist, naturally)? Blank walls and a few scrappy print-outs plonked on a coffee table next to the water cooler? That's the sight that often greets me when arriving to do a shoot.

Wouldn't it be so much better to create a strong visual impact right from the outset, the moment visitors walk through the door? Maybe some stylish photo-art or team/product shots on the walls to build your profile. Or a smart-looking picture book album documenting your factory facilities or your pro-active operations in the field. Both of these would not only create a good first impression, but a positive lasting one, too.

So... please, please, please, don't just file your pictures away where nobody can see them. Be bold, be proud, and most of all enjoy them - because they are there to be looked at!

Monday, 21 July 2008

101 Photoshop Tips In 5 Minutes

As many of you will know, Photoshop is pretty well the standard piece of image processing software for us these days. Yes, there are other applications which we sometimes employ as bolt-on tools - but PS still remains the pro's favourite.

The trouble is, to the untrained eye (actually, to the experienced user at times, too!), it can be a hugely complex and bewildering programme. Just where do you start? Which tools should you use, and which should you ignore? There is a myriad books and instructional DVDs around, but they often fall short of the mark.

Now, I'm no expert - far from it. Thankfully, though, there are guys out there who are more than willing to share their years of experience and knowledge with anyone looking for some answers.

One such person is the acclaimed PS guru Deke McClelland - who has recently released another light-hearted video entitled "101 Photoshop Tips In 5 Minutes". And as you can imagine, it's packed full of useful information.

So, all you Photoshop users - what are you waiting for? Get yourself a pen and paper and prepare to learn and relearn those magic shortcuts that will speed up your workflow:

Still want more? We also like these two other reference points - Photoshop User TV and You Suck At Photoshop. Enjoy!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

A weekend of speed

Well, it's been a hectic few weeks, travelling hundreds of miles and shooting thousands of images (hence the recent lack of activity on the GBP Blog). Just as soon as I get a chance, I'll be writing about a number of my recent assignments - so watch this space. But for now...

Ah, technology; how we love it. Thanks to digital capture and instant internet connection on location, I am able to publish this post direct from the Press Office at the Goodwood Festival Of Speed. This is an event that I cover every year, and it just gets bigger, busier and better - attracting car enthusiasts from around the world, who decend on the Goodwood estate to witness some of the world's fastest and finest vehicles on two and four wheels.

My primary job this weekend has been to shoot images for immediate use on Goodwood's website - specifically the Events News 'Live' pages - so that people can keep up-to-date with all the action as it happens. Working in conjunction with a motorsport journalist, I have covered the whole event - from action on the track to concept car displays, kids' activities to celebrities. The resulting pictures will also remain on the site after the event has finally finished, as well as being placed online for access by certain areas of the media.

Long days, challenges and frustrations along the way, certainly - but ultimately great fun. And I love the fact that the imagery I shoot is in the camera one minute then live for the world to see the next.

Looking ahead... Bring on September for the Goodwood Revival!