Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

So, with just a matter of minutes left before the big day, I'd like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

And on that note, here's a rather good find I'd like to share with you all - clever, funny, and an interesting reflection on the wonders of social media in our modern-day world. Enjoy!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Always carry a camera?

Whilst heading back from a meeting one chilly morning recently, I felt compelled to pull the car to one side of the road and get out to grab a few pictures of the view across the city.

In my bag, along with the day-to-day items I typically carry, I had nothing to make images with other than a point-and-shoot (my trusty, go-anywhere, Canon G9) and my mobile phone's built-in camera. Choosing the former, I quickly rattled off a number of pictures before beating a hasty retreat to the warmth and relative comfort of the car.

I also recorded some thoughts for Episode #2 of The Active Photographer podcast. It's worth checking out the show notes there, but for those of you who want to skip straight to the audio, you can hear it via the player below.

Episode #2 - Snapshots And Snooker:

This photo opportunity was unplanned. It was exactly that - an opportunity. I hadn't expected to see the hazy view from the top of the hill; if I had, my regular kit would have surely been packed in the car.

Sometimes, it's nice not to be weighed down by the high-end clutter of one's kit. It allows us to concentrate purely on the visual, on what's in front of us - undistracted by which aperture to set or how many different ways a particular lens can be exploited to effect. When we don't have the distraction of such technology, we are left to work simply within our means, making the best of the situation.

Of course, there's the old adage which speaks of always carrying a camera wherever you go. Do I adhere to this? Well no, not always... unless you count the fact that my phone has a built-in camera, which could always be put to use (although I don't consciously think to use it in the same way that I might if I have packed a camera in my bag or coat pocket).

At times like these (and a good few others, actually), I'm often heard to say 'You know what, I'll definitely carry the G9 with me all the time from now on.' In much the same way as drinkers profess 'I'll never drink again!' after a particularly heavy night. Easily said, but not so easily done...

In my own mind, snatching these 'golden picture' moments as they present themselves is a bit like racking up a tally of wins. I've now got a bunch of images to work with, which I'd never so much as thought about when I woke up that morning. As I describe in the audio, I have no agenda for them, but I'm sure they'll be useful somewhere down the line. Self-promotion, stock image sales, illustration during workshops... the posibilities are endless, and it'll be interesting to see where they end up.

Monday, 13 December 2010

The Active Photographer podcast

It is with much joy - and some relief, I can tell you - that I can now proudly announce the official launch of my all-new podcast!

The Active Photographer brings you a weekly behind-the-scenes glimpse into my day-to-day life as a working photographer.

Each week, I'll be be talking to you both on location and back at the office, sharing tips, resources and generally-useful information relating to the world of photography.

To give you a flavour of what the show's all about, why not take a listen to the following audio...

A sneaky listen:

Episode #1:

I'll keep it short and sweet here... To check out more, simply head over to, where you can listen to all the shows and see their corresponding show notes, get in touch with me directly and subscribe via iTunes or RSS.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

And then there were penguins...

When the snow hit, what did you do?

In the past week or so, the UK has been hit by a considerable amount of snow; most heavily up north and in the Midlands, but we've also had our fair share down here on the south coast.

Not surprisingly, I received many comments from friends and colleagues who assumed that I'd be out there at the crack of dawn, taking pictures all day, every day. Because that's what every photographer is expected to do, right?

Funny, really. Would you expect a vet to check over every dog they encountered in the street? Should every mechanic take immediate action when they hear a car rattling along the road? Of course not, so why the special rule for photographers?

That said, I did venture out on three of the days that my immediate landscape was coated in the white stuff... but with certain objectives in mind. Hey, even I know I'd be be stupid not to take advantage of such great conditions!

The first day saw me head out into my local woodland to shoot a video review - more about this in another post coming soon. The weather was not ideal (for what I had in mind, snow falling would have been preferential to sleet), but I wanted to get something in the bag, just in case conditions took an even bigger dive the following day.

Thankfully, things got a whole lot better, and so out I went for a second time, to pick up where I left off the previous afternoon. With establishing shots sorted, I was able to film the main review in one take, before grabbing a few additional establishing shots on my way back out of the woodland. Can't wait to see how it all lines up in the final edit!

As a side note... I also recorded some audio commentary, too. If you don't know what this is for (I've mentioned it enough on Twitter!), then keep an eye out at the beginning of next week, when all shall be revealed.

So, back to the snow. Seven inches fell overnight. Okay, granted that's not going to break any records but, believe me, it was enough to raise a few eyebrows around here.

With filming complete, Inny and I headed for an old Saxon path, which we knew would look fantastic - about as close to the idyllic winter wonderland image as you could hope for. It was still early enough in the day that the local kids hadn't spoilt it with their sledging and snowball fights, so out came the D3 with 24-85mm to seal a number of other key images...

Firstly, I wanted to get a new shot for this year's client Christmas card. I wasn't disappointed; perfect white snow, hedgerows with leaves and berries delicately adorned with shimmering white highlights... Couldn't have asked for more, and this was also a great time to get some nice stock pictures taken care of.

And then there were penguins. As far as I'm aware, not native to this part of the world, and we certainly weren't expecting to encounter a couple of four-foot fibreglass beasts on our travels. But, sure enough, that's exactly what we got, having entered into a random conversation with one of the locals. Got to sort him out with a couple of prints - that was the deal - which I'm thinking just might lead to yet more obscure findings in his workshop!

Could make for some interesting portraits...

GBP gets Savvy Marketers Award

You guys know that this year has seen me embrace the online world a whole lot further - all you need do is check out the links at the side of this page, to see where I can now be found.

The likes of Twitter and Facebook are firmly placed as a key element in my day-to-day activities and have brought me closer to so many great people - some of which I've subsequently gone on to work with.

When building your social media presence, it's very easy to forget just who's out there, who you're trying to communicate with, and who's actually taking notice.

Sure, you can post pictures, links, comments and start discussions... but what does this matter if a) nobody is listening or b) you don't gauge the success of your activities?

I've never been one to enter competitions or blow my own trumpet; if people like what I do, then I'll gladly take the praise. So, it came as a very nice surprise at the end of last week to hear that I'd won an award for my efforts!

Turns out Savvy Marketers Awards 2010 named Giles Babbidge Photography the Best Small Business in the category of Best Facebook Page. You can check out the page here.

Savvy Marketers is a great resource created by Louise Barnes-Johnston and Sam McArthur, offering valuable online marketing how-to information to the small business owner. If Louise's name sounds familiar, you may remember it from my interview with her, as described in this post.

I'd just like to say a big thanks to Louise and Sam, and a warm congratulations to all other winners in this year's Awards.

Here's to yet more successful online endeavours in 2011...