Amanda Duncan Photography: Blog https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog en-us (C) Amanda Duncan Photography (Amanda Duncan Photography) Fri, 09 Jul 2021 11:55:00 GMT Fri, 09 Jul 2021 11:55:00 GMT https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/img/s/v-12/u123763852-o148892863-50.jpg Amanda Duncan Photography: Blog https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog 120 120 Why high quality product photography is more important now than ever. https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2020/5/why-high-quality-product-photography-is-more-important-now-than-ever Why high quality product photography is more important now than ever.

 

If you are a retailer the past few weeks and months since lockdown will have been an incredibly challenging time, the likes of which have never been seen before.

 

This is particularly the case if you sell ‘non-essential’ products and your physical stores have had to close. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you may already have had an online presence, a web store. But if you didn’t, you may have had to very quickly pivot towards an online offering in order to keep the cash flowing, stay competitive in your market and keep in the minds of your customers. And this may have meant building an e-commerce website at short notice and with little experience in this space.

 

Or, perhaps you’re already a successful online retailer, and have found yourself in times of exceptional demand in lockdown. Certain sectors, such as food, garden plants and online gifts have naturally enjoyed a major upturn during this time. The challenge you may face though, is other businesses pivoting into your space and investing in new e-commerce sites.

 

The other factor is the amount of time people are now spending online. This is a natural and expected trend – we can’t go out, and we’re all desperate for communication and news. Where will we turn to? Websites and social media of course! So if that’s where your products are – a big boost in visibility is a likely result.

 

But whether an established and successful online retailer or a reluctant and new debutant to online sales, one thing is true.

 

Your product photography must be high quality and fit for purpose. Here’s why.

 

  • These are tough economic times for many people. Many are furloughed, struggling with their businesses, facing reduced incomes. Therefore, buyers will be discerning about how and where to spend their money and will take some convincing.
  • The days of easy returns are over. Popping to the post office – if you’re lucky enough to have one open - is not going to be relished as a trip out and in fact may be avoided if people are isolating. This means people will want to be certain of their choice before clicking ‘buy’.
  • It’s likely your cash flow, supply chain and production are under pressure due to the changing demands the coronavirus crisis has presented – whether increased or reduced demand. The last thing your business needs is further uncertainty in your sales and cash flow due to increased returns.
  • If you’re new to selling online, your product photography styling and quality will represent your brand. It’s crucial to get your image right so you build loyalty and a positive impression with customers and keep them long term.
  • If you’re tempted to use stock photography on your website, don’t. There is a big risk other companies will have used it too. Strong brands need authenticity and individuality. The way your products are presented on your website needs to be authentically you.
  • Good product photography is an opportunity. To enhance your products and show them off in the detail and gloriousness that will do them justice. This is particularly important if you’re in the high-end luxury space, but this principle should apply across the board if you want your customers to be tempted into ordering your products (which you do).

 

So that’s covered the why, the next question is, how?

 

You might be thinking, it’s simple. I have a phone. It has a great camera. Or, we’ve had product photography done, what we have is good enough.

 

But will this cut it, in today’s challenging commercial environment?

 

Commercial photography – done well, takes a lot more than a good camera. It takes;

 

  • A professional studio – as a commercial photographer the great news is I have a home studio, which means I can continue to provide high quality product photography services safely from my home. I’ll simply pick up the products, or have them delivered, and shoot them in my studio.
  • An excellent understanding and expert ability to use the right lighting. Lighting is everything in product photography to convey details, textures, quality of items. Without well-lit products, customers could simply get frustrated and move on.
  • Artistic input. An experienced commercial photographer knows the style of photography that will work for your brand and audience and ensure is this consistent, creative and high impact.
  • Professional editing techniques – to create the perfect finish and final presentation of the photography of your products. I provide editing and production services if you are shooting your own photography to ensure it looks fantastic and does your products justice.

 

Don’t leave your potential customers underwhelmed, misled or forced to look elsewhere for the images they need.

 

The current circumstances make product photography all the more important, and I can help.

 

Get in touch to find out how I can carry out your product photography or editing safely from my home studio.

Here's some examples of my portfolio :

 

  

 

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) photography Product studio https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2020/5/why-high-quality-product-photography-is-more-important-now-than-ever Fri, 15 May 2020 10:37:16 GMT
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2019/12/they-say-a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So why isn’t a photographer part of your creative project?

 

If you’re a marketer, a creative, a web designer or a business launching a creative project, do you have a photographer as part of the team?

 

If not, you could be missing out on authenticity, originality, quality and another creative mind to add to the mix.

Make photography part of the story

 

‘’According to eye-tracking research, people spend 10% more time looking at visuals on a website than reading text’’. (Source: Nielson Norman Research Group).

 

Branding is all about story telling; so the experts tell us. Branding is not a logo or a layout, it’s a business’s purpose, vision and values which make up its story and enables it to connect with an audience. It’s about telling customers how if they buy the services and products on offer, it will change their lives.

 

One way of getting across this story is through the words, the content. But the other crucial element is the imagery. Ideally, the two work together, to tell the story as powerfully, creatively, uniquely and effectively as possible.

 

Too often though, photography is an afterthought. Or because it’s left until the end, it’s even left out all together in favour of a using an image library.

 

Stock shots have their purpose, but they will not be unique to one business, one brand.

 

They will be selected to fit a brand, not form a brand.

 

Bespoke photography on the other hand, if introduced at the beginning, can be key to a business brand, and how it connects with customers. It can be moody, emotive and thought-provoking, evocative, bold or controversial, humorous and entertaining, quirky, edgy and uber-cool. It can be whatever it needs to be, but only if it’s part of the story from the beginning.

 

A suite of bespoke photography also has multiple uses so is well worth the investment. It can be used across websites, advertising campaigns and contribute to a successful social media or content marketing strategy.

 

Successful marketing needs the right image

 

‘’Some types of pictures are completely ignored. This is typically the case for big feel-good images that are purely decorative. Other types of pictures are treated as important content and scrutinized. Photos of products and real people (as opposed to stock photos of models) often fall into this category’’. (Source: Nielson Norman Research Group).

 

Most web design involves imagery, but this can be a real sticking point. In the absence of creative input, often there’s a reliance on standard stock images – houses for construction companies, cheesy images of headphone-adorned customer services personnel for call centres, for example. This shows little imagination, lacks any conceptual thinking and certainly has no originality or authenticity – particularly as you run the risk of a competitor having picked the same stock shot.

 

If you’re a copywriter, web designer, marketing strategist or graphic designer, you’ll know how bouncing ideas off other similarly minded creatives can lead to a light bulb moment. Including a photographer in this process can provide a additional angle, introducing innovative and creative ways imagery can be used to convey the brand message or underpin a creative concept.

 

It could be in the stylising, editing and production – for example using black and white, saturating colours, combining real photography with graphic design, whether to opt for a natural look or a staged, creative photographic style. Or it could be discussing how to approach team or individual portraiture in a company ‘about’ page to set them apart from other businesses and reflect their individual brand personality.

 

 

For a professional finish, include all the right professionals

‘’32% of marketers say visual images are the most important form of content for their business’’. (Source: 2018 social media marketing industry report).

 

In any project which incorporates a range of disciplines, the aspect which is poor quality will stand out like a sore thumb. You wouldn’t refit a kitchen with all the top range appliances, expert carpentry, granite worktops but then opt for broken, old fashioned tiles! All the elements of any project need to be planned in from the outset and consistent in their quality, approach and professionalism.

 

When it comes to marketing, whether through a creative concept or in presenting images of your product or service, the first impression can win or lose a customer. It doesn’t matter how good the words are if the images of your products are poor quality, thanks to being shot on a phone with poor lighting and background distractions. It won’t matter how slick a website design is if the imagery is bland, generic and unoriginal. And the impact of your funky, creative graphic design will be lost, if accompanying photography is at odds with the business brand values by being old fashioned and uninspiring.

 

 

So how do you find a photographer you’ll click with?

 

Whether you’re a small agency, or a freelance creative professional, it can be hard to find a photographer you can trust and enjoy working with.

 

Local networking can be a great way to reach other professionals, form relationships and create an informal team who can come together on projects. Most areas have a variety of networking groups, and it’s a case of finding one that suits you. If you don’t have time for networking, asking other marketing or creative professionals for referrals, or making connections on LinkedIn can also work well.

 

By having a local network, you’ll have a team ready to go with the relevant talent and disciplines involved from the outset of the project. This will ensure the project plan incorporates the right solutions and can be delivered on time.

 

Click with me!

 

If you’d like an experienced, creative and professional commercial photographer as part of your team, I’d love to hear from you. I’m camera-ready to step in and create something magical, authentic, unique and high impact to help businesses project the right image and start attracting the customers they need.

 

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Commercial Creative Photography Project Website https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2019/12/they-say-a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words Thu, 05 Dec 2019 14:36:14 GMT
Thinking of getting a new headshot? Check this handy guide before you go a – head! https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2019/9/thinking-of-getting-a-new-headshot-check-this-handy-guide-before-you-go-a-head Thinking of getting a new headshot?  Check this handy guide before you go a-head!

 

Headshots are becoming an all-important aspect of personal and business marketing. With online networking driving so much business via platforms like LinkedIn, and websites the shop window for most businesses, portrait photographs are key to building connections and reinforcing brands.

 

With high quality, skilled, professional photography, a headshot can be a great opportunity to achieve a desired perception of you or members of your team.

 

But are you aware of just how many options there are for headshot styles?

 

From the background, the setting, the lighting, the make up and dress, the styling, editing and production, creative twists and use of props, the choice is almost endless.

 

Your portrait photograph is part of your marketing

 

The first important thing to remember is that professional headshots are part of your marketing. And like any marketing, you need to think about the purpose. Is the headshot for use on LinkedIn only? Is it for team pages on a website? Is it to be used on social media or an email campaign?

 

And next, you need to think about how you want to be perceived – what brand identity you want to build, what values and attributes you hope to get across.

 

Do you want to be seen as reliable, approachable, warm and friendly? Creative and innovative? Corporate? Quirky or edgy? Is it beneficial to reveal what you do professionally, or to convey an interest in your headshot through the use of a prop? Do you wish to carry through a brand identity whether colour, style or setting?

 

Capturing your best angle

 

As a professional photographer, it is my objective for people to be proud and happy with their profile shots. There’s no point in expecting a shy person to perform a wacky pose if they are deeply uncomfortable with it. Equally, it’s a wasted opportunity for a professional with a strong personal brand or confident, quirky personality for this not to come across. Part of the initial brief will be understanding your objectives, preferences and brand and then using my skills and experience to propose the best background and styling for your shot, so that you come across as ‘you’ and look the best you can be.

 

So, which of these styles most click with you?

 

Style through simplicity

 

A white background is simple and classy, enabling images to come across in a presentable way, without any distractions. It will work well in all formats and presentations, making it a highly versatile option. It may be suitable if the headshot/s are to be used in a highly designed or colourful website, or where many headshots are required for a team, enabling consistency and a clean look to the company page.

Variety through colour

 

A coloured background can add interest and embed a corporate colour and brand identity in a subtle and visually appealing way. It is a way to add a bit of creativity but without the complication of external shots or props. Depending on the colour, an experienced photographer will use the correct lighting and advise on clothing for the subject to stand out and look their best.

Bold can be beautiful

 

Bold black backgrounds are strong, artistic and a bit different from the norm. They can look visually stunning, when created with the right lighting. Again, a skilled photographer will advise on styling and even make up, to ensure the most beautiful shot.

 

The perfect setting

 

Depending on the objectives of your photoshoot, an office-based or lifestyle headshot could be appropriate. It’s a great way to achieve a completely bespoke look and feel, to set it in your office or convey a lifestyle aspect which reflects you. Team shots in offices can be creative and help build the brand. They can include marketing items such as business stands or posters, fun or quirky props like the office pet, be based in different locations around the office, or in situ at desks or in meeting rooms, as appropriate. Lifestyle shots can pick up on elements of your interests and personality which are special to you and promote your personal brand.

Classic and classy

 

Always classic and always flattering, black and white headshots will never go out of fashion. While black and white photography can be a way to minimise elements of your looks you’re not happy with, it stands strong as an artistic, eye-catching and visually beautiful style. While often the preferred choice of professionals in creative and artistic industries, black and white really does have universal appeal.

A breath of fresh air

 

For something different, you might consider an environmental/outside headshot. Enabling natural light, this can be highly flattering but also more exciting and unusual than the classic studio background. Whether in a beautiful green setting like countryside, a City setting or in your own personal, special space like a garden or balcony, this natural look can promote your individuality and personal brand very effectively.

Bring out the real you

 

A highly effective and bold, innovative way to promote who you are and what you do is to opt for a personality with prop headshot. For those with a bit of character and bravery, carrying this off well can enable your headshot to become the centrepiece of your brand identity, campaign or website. It offers great creative scope, as it can incorporate emotion or humour and convey a genuine love and passion for what you do.

 

Whether you’re a florist with a flower, a hairdresser with a blowdryer, a chef with her food or a pest controller with a mousetrap, this style of headshot offers the most awesome and high impact opportunity to raise your business profile.

 

With so much choice – what style of headshot is truly you? If you’d like to chat through the options, I’m here to help.

 

 

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) business Commercial headshots photographer portraits https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2019/9/thinking-of-getting-a-new-headshot-check-this-handy-guide-before-you-go-a-head Mon, 02 Sep 2019 16:23:46 GMT
Case Study, The Client - Sandman Signature London Gatwick Hotel https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2019/6/case-study-the-client---sandman-signature-london-gatwick-hotel Case Study -

The Client - Sandman Signature London Gatwick Hotel

 

The Sandman Hotel Group opened their first hotel in British Columbia, Canada over 50 years ago. Today, they are an international company with over 50 locations across Canada and the UK.

 

The group acquired what is now the Sandman Signature London Gatwick Hotel, in 2014. Their philosophy is to incorporate the comfort of home with the relaxation of getting away from it all packaged in an elegant, refined experience that resonates with their guests.

 

Photography plays a significant role in conveying this important message.

 

 

The Brief

 

The total refurbishment of the hotel in 2015 presented the perfect opportunity to create a portfolio of photographs to be used in welcome packs in each room, on banners around the hotel and on the website.

 

Jane Axford, Sales Manager commissioned Amanda Duncan to undertake the task.

 

“The brief and the brand guidelines were very specific. I explained to Amanda exactly what we needed. The photographs had to be taken to set dimensions and had to be signed off by head office before we could start using them.”  

 

The shots were highly technical. Studio lights combined with existing lighting conditions were used to create the correct exposure and atmosphere required for each area in the hotel, including the reception, the bar, the restaurant, the swimming pool, the gym, the conference suite, the banqueting suite and the different types of bedrooms.

 

“Amanda also took photos at our launch party. Because she was familiar with our strict brand guidelines, she took this into consideration, which gave us a selection of more informal images to use.”

 

Communication

 

Business relationships thrive on good communications.

 

“If there is a slight change to be made Amanda’s immediately on the case. When there is a new room specification that needs to be shot, she’s always quick to respond and arrange a time to come to the hotel to take the new photos.”

 

 

Trust

 

As Sales Manager, Jane is often approached by photographers offering their services, but working with someone that she can trust makes her job far easier.

 

“Amanda is clearly a skilled commercial photographer. She is highly professional and always looks professional, which is important when working at the hotel. She’s really easy to work with, the continuity of the business relationship is really important to me”.

 

For more information on Amanda's services please contact her amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

            

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) brand case commercial Photographer photography professional study https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2019/6/case-study-the-client---sandman-signature-london-gatwick-hotel Wed, 26 Jun 2019 08:52:27 GMT
How to use photography to reinforce your brand https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2019/4/how-to-use-photography-to-reinforce-your-brand How to use photography to reinforce your brand

All too often, the imagery in branding and marketing is a poor after thought. An ill-thought out, rushed part of the process that involves scrabbling around stock libraries, trying to find an image – any image – to use to break up the text.

What a waste!

A waste of 'real estate' on your website or in your advertising campaign and a waste of opportunity to engage your target audience through reinforcing your brand with well-conceived, relevant, high quality supporting imagery.

Make imagery a priority

Don't treat the pictures as an after-thought. Successful advertising and marketing ideas incorporate both messages and images right from the outset. The most effective marketing campaigns I've worked on are where creative professionals; web and graphic designers and writers, have bought me in early in the process.

 

Originality and authenticity

Your brand is individual. It's a visual depiction of your proposition - your unique selling points, business values, business 'personality', how you change the world and improve the lives of customers.

It is likely you'll have a business strapline. A unique company logo. A colour scheme. A certain tone of voice employed in all your marketing communications.

But are you accompanying this branding with unoriginal stock shots, which will be used by many other businesses (possibly including your competitors)? Are you settling for bland, generic or cliched imagery - common ones including jigsaw puzzle pieces or handshakes, which add no value to your brand?

As a commercial photographer, my professional photography has been used to truly enhance business brands and marketing campaigns.

And this is how it can be done.

  • Invest in a bespoke photo shoot by an experienced commercial photographer

Like any profession, talent and experience will vary widely. Commercial photography is a specialist skill, requiring the photographer to have a strong understanding of business and marketing. They will be able to get under the skin of the company and creatively devise a photographic style which is on brand. Whether it’s a sole trader having profile shots, a business having photography to showcase products, venues or services, or part of a creative campaign; strategic, creative thinking and working with other professionals will be a key part of the photography project. Check the photographer’s portfolio for skills in bespoke commercial photography before going ahead.

  • Integrate your company colours

Colour is an obvious and well-recognised aspect of any business’s corporate brand. And there are ways of bringing this out through creative, clever planning and production. For example, I may work with a client on wearing certain colours for a profile photoshoot which are in line with their corporate brand. Or I may saturate certain colours or have a bold black and white look, highlighting one colour.

 

  • Reflect your company personality and values

Bespoke commercial photography has the beauty of being able to bring out personality. If a business is known for quirkiness, fun and warmth, a serious boardroom stock shot will not reflect the brand. The setting, lighting, expressions used can all influence how the personality and values of the company come across. I frequently work with my clients to help bring their personalities into photoshoots, through putting them at ease and finding out what makes them tick.

  • Keep a consistent look and feel cross all images

Having your own suite of photographs created for your business or advertising campaign means keeping control of the look and feel. This is incredibly difficult to achieve with stock shots. Maintaining the same themes, backgrounds, styling and editing of all imagery will build brand recognition among your target audience.

  • Embrace innovation

Investing in commercial photography will enable you to be innovative, creative and adopt latest trends and ideas into your brand. For example, combining graphic design or typography into photography, going for a bold and bright colour scheme, using collage, incorporating a retro feel, bringing out textures and patterns can position you as an on trend, contemporary brand looking to make your mark, explore new ideas and push boundaries.

  • Use the photography to evoke feelings in your audience

All advertising campaigns have at their heart an objective of engaging their audience. Depending on the products, services, business brand and campaign idea, this engagement may be induced in a variety of ways. It might be through humour. Through emotion. Through inspiration. Through shock and awe. Through education. Whatever it is, the imagery needs to be powerful if it’s to be effective. A commercial photographer will have the skills to take the brief and not just photograph the subject, but do so in a way that’s evokes the right emotion – making your brand all the more memorable, original and impactful.
 

  •  Tell a story – your story

No two brand stories are the same. And audiences now have a strong interest in provenance and business values. Conveying yours through photography is a powerful way to do this – arguably there’s no more powerful way. Using generic shots will do nothing to capture imagination and encourage brand loyalty. Your own story told through quality images will bring customers with you on your brand journey.

’Photography is the story I fail to put into words’’. Destin Sparks, Photographer.

Be bold. Be yourself. Let your photography tell the story and build your brand.

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Branding Commercial Photographer https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2019/4/how-to-use-photography-to-reinforce-your-brand Thu, 25 Apr 2019 10:53:13 GMT
What does your website’s ‘About’ page imagery really say about you? https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2019/3/what-does-your-website-s-about-page-imagery-really-say-about-you What does your website’s ‘About’ page imagery really say about you?

The ‘About’ or team page of a website has always been important, but is of rising importance as websites increasingly become the ‘shop window’ for businesses. It goes without saying that e-commerce and online stores rely entirely on their websites for sales, but even for other businesses, the website will generally sit at the centre of marketing activity and be key to establishing credibility and authority.

Most businesses will invest significant sums on logos, branding and website imagery, whether stock or bespoke photography.

But the page of the website often neglected is the ‘About’ page, or team pages leading from the ‘About’ page.

Why?

Surely in the social media and networking-dominated business climate in which we operate, people increasingly do ‘business with people’. With face to face sales meetings falling second place to online and social marketing strategies and interaction, if we want to see the whites of a potential supplier’s eyes, the first port of call will often be the About page of a website.

Surely, every organisation has a vested interest in ensuring their people come across on their website as professional, personable, approachable and friendly, smart and presentable.

Surely every business would prefer their imagery to represent the company brand, whether that’s through the setting of their team (for example at desks, an external work setting, or even social setting) or the style of the photography (whether formal, informal, creative or quirky).

And surely every company would want a consistent look to their team photographs, conveying a well-established team, on board with the organisation’s ethos and values.

But in many cases….

  • ‘About’ page contains a picture of the Director only, even when this person plays a minimal role in day to day business relationships with customers
  • Team photographs are completely inconsistent, random and poor quality, obviously supplied by the team themselves varying from selfies in bars, badly cropped holiday shots, huge range of attire, and completely irrelevant off brand settings and styles

The result?  A wasted opportunity and a poor image of the business.

A company who approached this in the right way…. Psychology Direct

As a commercial photographer I was asked to photograph the team at Psychology Direct for their upcoming new website.   Psychology Direct are a business whose values are very much focused on people and quality. They have a strong, happy, highly engaged and valued team, whatever their role (including Buzz the dog). They pride themselves on client service and the strength of their professional relationships, and whilst most of their relationship-building occurs on the telephone, they wanted their team to look the approachable, friendly, go-the-extra-mile bunch they truly are.

The decision was taken to not only take individual high quality professional profile shots of all team members (including Buzz the dog), but also some lovely whole-team shots.

Conveying and reinforcing the company brand through high quality commercial photography

     

 

The individual profile shots were designed to be just that, individual. We wanted a natural, informal feel to the photographic style and I couldn’t have worked with a friendlier, more open, relaxed group of people (and pets), making it so much easier to achieve this natural look. We added variety and conveyed the fun personalities of team members through using a range of poses rather than only face-to-camera shots. Incorporating shots of Buzz the Dog enabled the injection of humour and light-heartedness, again, reflecting the company brand.

For the group team shot, we wanted to reinforce the close-knit nature of the team whilst also promoting the company. Having the whole team in one shot, with equal presence was a challenge. But taking a wide shot, with team members stood proudly around Psychology Direct banners, enabled us to achieve a high quality, professional, unique image which achieved all the objectives.

Present your team in the best light

Using my portable studio, shots were set against a white background, so the team member was the main focus of the shot, with no distractions. Shots taken against a white background can run the risk of being stark, and this is where commercial photography experience and skills come in. Getting the lighting right is crucial - the right levels of light, delivered at the right angle – in this case 45 degrees from the subject on either side of me about 1 ½ metres from the background.  I use a light meter to measure the exposure I require, 200 ISO and grey card my camera for best results. I use a full-frame Nikon750 and a portrait lens 50-70mm for the most flattering angle. Shooting in a raw format enables me to deliver maximum digital quality when it comes to post production and retouching.

Fantastic results, from every angle

The resulting shots, achieved over one morning, are a great asset to the company. Elevating their About/Team page to a professional level, potential clients and Associates will now gain a positive impression of the team at Psychology Direct they’ll be dealing with.

As part of our rebrand and website redevelopment and the addition of a 'Meet the team' page we needed a great set of team photos that reflected our personality whilst being professional.

From the initial enquiry to receiving the actual photos, Amanda was warm, accommodating, receptive, creative and all the timescales were met.

As a result, we now have photos that the team love and most importantly reflects us, our values and our culture. It was worth every penny and would recommend Amanda to anyone and everyone!’’. Aaron Banham, Director, Psychology Direct.

Looking for your website ‘About’ page to say something positive about you? Then ensure the photographs of your team say ‘professional’ as well as reflect the values and brand of the business.

To discuss your project or for a quote, contact me on amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com or 07767 776839.

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Commercial photographer Photography https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2019/3/what-does-your-website-s-about-page-imagery-really-say-about-you Tue, 05 Mar 2019 14:28:42 GMT
Why website photography matters more now than ever before https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/10/why-website-photography-matters-more-now-than-ever-before Why website photography matters more now than ever before

Have you spotted the recent trends in website design? Image-dominated, simple, classy, with a lot of websites moving towards one page.

With most people viewing websites on their phone or tablet, the first image they see must tell them everything. It must reinforce the company brand. Convey the product or service you are selling. Get across your selling points and benefits. Have an impact on the person viewing it, whether it’s jaw-dropping wow factor, or to evoke emotion, curiosity or humour.

Whatever it does, it’s a big ask from that one image.

And with so much hanging on that image, why not invest in a good one?

Reliance on stock images for your website carries risk. The risk that another company could have the same image. That it won’t look authentic. It will be very difficult, if not impossible to find the ideal stock image that’s an accurate reflection of your brand and does your product or service justice. It limits creativity and ability to convey an advertising concept that’s completely original and true to you.

If your business is in something visual, your website photography becomes all the more important. It’s an opportunity to put your product or portfolio on display looking its absolute best. For a landscaper or garden design company for example, there is no better way to ‘sell’ and make an impact than stunning, high-quality photography of gardens they have created that truly reflects the quality of the work.

It’s no longer good enough to just say what you do is great and expect potential customers to envisage what you can do for them.

You need to show them.

Sell them the dream. Leave them in no uncertain terms of what they can expect from you. If you don’t, you’ve missed an opportunity. After all, any company can source a stock image. But a high quality, professional company will be more likely to invest in showcasing their work through a quality suite of photos.

If you have made the decision to use bespoke, not stock, images on your website, the next, very important factor to bear in mind is the quality of those images. As great as phone cameras are; they cannot take photographs of the quality needed to front your website or populate your portfolio page.

Photography, whether of products, interiors or exteriors needs expertise on lighting, settings, camera angles, editing and production.

A recent project involved a company specialising in minimalist-style glazing installations who wanted photographs to set off the stunning nature of their products and workmanship. Photographing glass requires very specialist skills to ensure no reflection and an attractive view, in order to capture the beauty of something that is essentially invisible. A challenging photography brief, getting this right was key to the success of this company’s website mgiuk.

Matt Woodacre at Indigo Marmoset, Indigo Marmoset the web designers behind MGI’s website said ‘working with an expert photographer to deliver beautiful quality and well-produced imagery, elevated the website significantly. It gave the design a truly bespoke, upmarket and quality feel, perfect for the audience we were targeting’.

A commercial photographer can take your project and bring them to life in a spectacular way. They can interpret a brief and create a visual style and finish of photography that is as individual as you are. They can ensure visitors to your website are inspired and wowed.

For the ultimate professional business image, make sure you invest in that website image.

For advice, quotation or to arrange photography for your portfolio or website at very reasonable rates, contact me, Amanda Duncan at amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

 

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Commercial London Photographer Photography https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/10/why-website-photography-matters-more-now-than-ever-before Mon, 08 Oct 2018 09:35:10 GMT
Want people to believe your brand? Make sure your photography is authentic. https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/6/want-people-to-believe-your-brand-make-sure-your-photography-is-authentic Want people to believe your brand? Make sure your photography is authentic.

Websites are visual channels, where the words and messages are crucially important, but so is the imagery. And yet, the imagery often comes second place.

It shouldn't.

All the elements have equal weighting in terms of having an impact on the potential customer. The images support the message. If the message is one of high end quality; poor quality photography will negate this. If the message is about quirky, creative innovation; bog standard, dull photography will work against it.

But the implications can be worse than that.

People are savvy. They are not easily fooled. If they spot the same stock shot you are using on another website, they are going to smell a rat. Of course, that’s unlucky, and you’re no less a genuine, credible business. But it will have an impact on customer trust as they don’t know whether you’re a bona fide company or a not-so-credible company hiding behind a website.

If you’re relying on stock shots, there are other dangers. Stock shots, particularly if containing images of people, are often shot in different countries and some time ago. Rooting through images to look for authentic-looking, up to date images is an enormous task and sometimes background details can be a dead giveaway on close inspection. People’s clothes, the phones they are holding, the types of drinks on a table; can all indicate a completely different culture and era. This could completely devalue and damage your brand.

Bespoke, commercial photography on the other hand will be totally unique to you. Tailored to your brand. Able to convey your values and selling points. It will set off your products, service or people in a way that reflects what you want people to believe about them.

Hope to be perceived as upmarket and high quality? Nothing shows quality better than a beautiful high-quality suite of photographs, with all the production and editing required to refine it to perfection. Aiming to come across creative/quirky/contemporary? Stylised photography, blending photography with graphic design, or using monochrome, saturated colours or other innovative techniques, gives you the opportunity to display your creative side. Looking to show off projects in a gallery? Ensure you use the genuine article – and show it off in its finest glory with the lighting, angles, attention to detail that a professional photographer will use to ensure your portfolio sells.

Authentic photography that’s bespoke and tailored to you is the most believable, convincing and powerful option when it comes to imagery.

And that, is what you want from your marketing.

To be believed. To engage and persuade your customer that buying from you is the right choice.

  

It’s not as expensive as you think. It can be quicker to arrange than you think. And the results will be more spectacular and impactful than you can imagine.

To discuss your website photography and how I can help, contact me now amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com, 07767 776839.  All the above photographs are from a bespoke commercial shoot for Silvermere Inn on the Lake, Cobham.

 

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) commercial london photography surrey https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/6/want-people-to-believe-your-brand-make-sure-your-photography-is-authentic Wed, 20 Jun 2018 13:29:20 GMT
Five tips on how to look great in your professional headshot photo https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/4/five-tips-on-how-to-look-great-in-your-professional-headshot-photo  

The dreaded moment has arrived; your manager has informed you that photographers will be coming in to take staff photos. Or maybe you’ve finally accepted you need to invest in a decent photograph for your LinkedIn profile.

 

If your heart sinks at the very thought, you are not alone. As a commercial photographer I have taken hundreds of professional/corporate headshots and very few people make highly natural, confident, eager-to-be-there subjects.

 

In my experience, the lack of enthusiasm for photoshoots are based on two things.

 

1. People are not comfortable with the actual process itself; with the fear of the experience usually ranging from mild reluctance through to extreme discomfort.

 

2. Worry about how they will look in the photograph. This may be due to the general lack of confidence many of us have with our looks, or sensitivity around a particular feature.

 

If this is the case for you, you’re completely normal!

 

Most people are not super-models or in love with their own looks.

 

So, given that photographs are now an important part of networking and marketing for professional individuals and companies, what can we all do to make the process, and outcomes better?

 

Well first of all, it’s the job of a commercial photographer to put you at ease. It’s not simply my role to set up the perfect lighting and shot. It’s to engage and work with you so you look and feel your best.

 

I’ll listen.

 

I’ll understand what you or your company wants to achieve from the shot – whether the look required is corporate, friendly and approachable, quirky and fun or something else. But I’ll also understand any worries. ‘I hate my teeth!’. ‘I look better from the left!’. Most people will have an exaggerated perception of their own concerns, however, though the lighting, angles and editing, I can ensure that everyone’s delighted with the end result.

 

But what can you do to help ensure you end up with a photo you love? Here’s my five tips for preparing yourself for your photoshoot.

1.  Choose flattering clothes. Most people know the style and colour that flatters them. If you have a feature you’re less happy with, use accessories to distract (if possible). For example, a scarf around a long neck. It’s important to pick the clothes that fit your personal or company brand. If you’re a creative personality known for never wearing a suit, there’s no need to wear one for your photo. However, looking smart and presentable with ironed, clean, smart/casual clothes will be important.

 

2. Make sure you use a professional photographer who will bring with them a mobile studio with professional lights. Getting a colleague or friend to take a picture will never give the same professional outcome that will flatter. So many amateur photographs suffer from bad exposure and if that’s not enough to persuade you perhaps this is - the right lighting can make all the difference to eliminating dark bags under the eyes and complimenting different shape faces.

 

3. Ensure the background does not distract from you. A mobile studio is always going to be far better in terms of the background, or at the very least find a plain, nice, light wall. So many so-called professional shots contain backgrounds of bars/holiday restaurants/other people or objects/unsightly walls or fences. It’s distracting and it’s unprofessional.

 

4. It’s hard I know, but try to exercise a positive mindset before the shoot to love the camera. The photoshoot is happening. You want the photo to portray you as a confident professional who clients trust to handle their business. Yes, it’s a case of stepping out the comfort zone and acting a little. But take a hint from the top models who look right into the lens; imagine something that makes you smile and your personality will shine through. You never know, you might even enjoy yourself!

 

5. Depending on your business, add a creative edge by including a prop or accessory. It can add interest or an element of fun to the photo, portray what you do and make you stand out from the crowd. For example, mine involves me holding my camera. My camera is an integral part of my personal brand. It sums up what I do. I feel happy and natural with a camera in my hands. If there’s something similar that works for you, or even an unusual but complementary business setting, then let your photographer help you get creative.

 

If you follow this guide, your photoshoot will be a painless, even fun experience, with spectacular results. Good luck!

For examples please click on link.

http://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/p188089029

 

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) commercial london photographer photography https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/4/five-tips-on-how-to-look-great-in-your-professional-headshot-photo Wed, 11 Apr 2018 09:14:21 GMT
Ten tips on how to ensure your food photography looks classy, not cheesy https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/2/ten-tips-on-how-to-ensure-your-food-photography-looks-classy-not-cheesy Ten tips on how to ensure your food photography looks classy, not cheesy

In photography terms it should be simple. Food is an inanimate object. It can’t shuffle around like people, you’re not reliant on weather conditions and you can control the lighting and the setting.

‘Intagramming’ food is now ‘a thing’. Everyone with a phone appears to be capturing meals out or homemade delights for public consumption.

But oh boy, can it go wrong.

If your trade is a restaurant, catering or food supplier of any sort, you need to get your food photography right.

The challenge is, that usually when we judge the appeal of food, we don’t just use one sense. We use smell and taste, we’re likely to be hungry and all our senses will be shouting ‘let me eat you now’.

But when it comes to viewing photographs of food; we must rely on one sense only; sight. Many meals without the benefit of smell, taste and appetite are simply not going to cut the mustard visually.

That’s our first problem.

The second one is that the purpose of the food photography is absolutely key to the photographic style. Think kebab shop pictures vs high end restaurants. Think good affordable, chain restaurant family grub vs Michelin Star artistry.

Depending on the type of food, ambience of the establishment, audience, brand and where the photography is to be displayed; any photographic shoot involving food will require an entirely bespoke approach.

Which is where a seasoned commercial photographer comes in.

An experienced photographer will be able to advise on dinner and glassware. Lighting. Setting. Creative ideas such as showing ovens or chefs. Arrangement of food to show it off in its most appertising light. Working with dishes that may not work well in photography (think enormous portion of saucy curry; it’s the last thing most people want to look at).

So here’s my top ten tips for ensuring the food images on your website or menu make your customers’ mouths water and stomachs rumble;

1. Ensure the presentation is as good as it can possibly be. Clean table and tableware. No clutter or distracting objects in the background or foreground. Food placed carefully and beautifully on a nice plain colour table.

 

2. Think about the choice of dishes you use on your website. Those covered in a sauce will need to be carefully thought out to ensure they are visually attractive. A garnish or sprinkling of a topping may provide a pleasing element and variety to a dull looking (albeit delicious) dish.

3. Ensure food does not look dry or curled up; you may need to be producing food and photographing in quick succession.

4. Use crockery and portion sizes that are accurate and reflect your brand. Bustling family authentic Italian? Use Mediterranean crockery; show the portion sizes you offer, perhaps incorporate other items that support the brand such as olive oil dispensers or a bread and olive basket. Contemporary/stylish high-end cuisine? Use large size white plates. Present the food like a work of art, using the space carefully. Show off unusual dishes and features.

   

5. Get the lighting right. The lighting is crucial with any photography, but especially with food. Allow as much natural light as possible to set off true colours and vibrancy of the food. Check, and be aware of the lighting used in a restaurant setting. Tungsten or fluorescent lights can affect the colour balance in the camera, with unappetising orangey or blue-tinged results.

6. Accessorise in a stylish manner. A napkin here. A piece of cutlery there. Something to add a little creative touch to the scene.

7. Be careful when you hit zoom. A zoom should be a wonderful thing when it comes to food; showing off the item in all its quality and mouth-watering splendour. But you’ll need to know what you’re doing.

   

8. Watch your angles. A shot taken at a slight angle can cause plates to look lopsided and distract from the food. Clever use of angles however can make a tall glass look majestic; a long platter appear endlessly enticing or aerial plate shots look funky and artistic.

9. Photographing drinks or fancy cocktails? Again, artistry, style and lighting is everything. Vibrant colours, interesting background and sparkling clean glassware can make for stunning, dazzling irresistible beverages. Otherwise, it’s just an expensive drink.

   

10. Choose a commercial photographer who has experience in food and drink photography. It really is a specialist skill. Done well it can ensure your food products sell like hot cakes.

If you would like to see my food photography portfolio, feel free to contact me.

Bon appetit!

 

 

 

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) commercial food photographer photography professional https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/2/ten-tips-on-how-to-ensure-your-food-photography-looks-classy-not-cheesy Wed, 21 Feb 2018 08:26:28 GMT
How to achieve perfect imagery, without the pain. https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/1/how-to-achieve-perfect-imagery-without-the-pain How to achieve perfect imagery, without the pain.

By pain, I’m not referring to physical pain (although a headache is possible). I mean stress. Time. Going goggle-eyed and still not finding exactly you want.

This is the experience often associated with trawling stock libraries.

Of course, if you’ve copious amounts of time on your hands and a very high boredom and stress threshold; then fill your boots.

But in my experience, most business owners or digital marketers have significant demands on their time. Running their businesses. Dealing with customers. Designing websites and marketing collateral.

Which is why bespoke commercial photography makes so much sense.

Stock libraries have their place. In blog posts and in some marketing contexts, they may do just the job.

But for a marketing campaign; a website; in a visual material that needs to reflect your brand image and values to absolute perfection; only bespoke photography can deliver and grow your business.

And bespoke photography doesn’t just have the potential to deliver stunning, effective visual results.

It can do so quickly and cost effectively.

Time is money.

As I’ve already mentioned, trawling through stock libraries takes time. A lot of time. You may think what you want is easy to find. E.g. Let’s say you’d like a shot of business people looking at their phones. Sounds simple enough, right? But once you start looking at the images, concerns creep in.

The phones look dated – they aren’t smart phones! You need a diverse demographic of people in the picture! They don’t look like they are based in the UK! The background is too corporate or too casual! The dress doesn’t look up to date! They clearly look like models not every day people!

On and on you go, trawling away. Opening, discarding, opening discarding. Until before you know it, hours have passed. You’ve neglected the work you should be doing. And you’ve settled for a less-than-ideal image out of sheer exhaustion.

If you’re paying your web or graphic designer to do the hours of searching; okay, you’ve saved yourself the headache. But they’ll be charging you for the privilege. And there are far more effective ways for you to spend your money.

For the time or money you have spent on image library search you could have had your own professional photoshoot well underway. Following a call, a brief and agreement on budget; a commercial photographer will take care of the rest; leaving you to take care of your business.

You want your business to stand out, not blend in.

Bespoke photography is just that, bespoke. Yours and no one else’s; reflecting your brand, your values and your image. Obviously, there’s a massive selection of stock images available. But the picture you select may be used by multiple businesses. It was not shot with your business’s proposition and unique selling points in mind. And they can date very fast.

Often when searching through image libraries you’ll come across many that you’ll think ‘that would be perfect, if only’ and you’ll either continue searching or end up spending money adapting the image through editing and photoshop work with a graphic designer.

Order your own photoshoot, and you’ll get what you want straight away! If your brief is ‘we want our business to look contemporary, edgy, fast moving, innovative and subtly get across our corporate colour’; your photographer will be able to advise on the subject, photography style and finish that will achieve this visual effect.

Using skilled editing techniques, saturating colours, lighting and backgrounds, a photographer can create a unique brand and look for your business that will engage and appeal to your target audience. It will be memorable and powerful and become distinctly yours.

Exactly what is needed for marketing materials and websites to stand out in the market and drive sales.

Want to keep up with the trends? Blend stunning photography with effective graphic design.

If you want – or need – to show your business as innovative and on trend, bespoke photography is more integral than ever to achieving this.

According to this graphic design trends for 2018 article https://graphicmama.com/blog/graphic-design-trends-2018/photography is going to play a big role in design this year.

Creative and artistic photography, blended with graphic design and typography, may be the perfect solution to connecting with your target market. It can bring out emotion. Humour. A sense of mystique, excitement and appeal around a product or service.

If you’re investing in imagery, then you want that investment to deliver returns in responses and reactions. In other words, have impact. Your budget will be well spent paying a photographer to use their expertise and technical skills to ensure you sport the latest look and feel for your particular sector.

To achieve all this?

All you have to do is place the call. Give the brief.

Then sit back and enjoy your perfect portfolio of photographs – achieved without the pain.

amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com   07767 776839

 

 

 

 

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) commercial london photography surrey https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/1/how-to-achieve-perfect-imagery-without-the-pain Tue, 16 Jan 2018 10:51:39 GMT
Planning your wedding? Our top tips on choosing a supplier. https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/12/planning-your-wedding-our-top-tips-on-choosing-a-supplier Planning your wedding? Don’t go any further until you’ve read our top tips on choosing a supplier.

It’s one day.

One, incredibly important, hugely exciting, life-changing day. It goes without saying, it has to be perfect.

You know that you’re going to put your heart and soul into every single aspect of the planning of your wedding. But you can’t control it all. You will at some point, be relying on others. On the professionalism, experience, talent, knowledge, effort and commitment to perfection of all the players in your wedding day dream.

Of course, all brides will have had different experiences of this process. From those who handed everything over to a Wedding Planner, to those who meticulously handled every detail. From those who looked back and thought ‘it simply couldn’t have been better’ to those who admit there are some things, given a chance, they would change.

We want you to be in the first category. The bride who reflects on the planning process and wedding day itself, with nothing but positive thoughts about every single aspect.

Whether you’re selecting your DJ, photographer or florist; now’s not the time to take a punt or rely entirely on instinct or connections. However great they sound in person or on paper; make sure you can be completely confident in them delivering on your big day.

There are ways to make this happen. Criteria you should use to make the right choice.

Top tips: How to select your ideal wedding supplier

  1. Trading history

If there’s one occasion where you can’t be let down, or hunting round for an alternative at the last minute, it’s when it comes to your wedding. Of course; there are no guarantees here – anything can happen to any company. However, checking the trading history will give you some peace of mind. If a company has been providing services to wedding venues for many years; there’s a decent chance they’ll be around for your wedding.

  1. Experience

Do you really want to be the first wedding for someone starting out on a new venture? That’s not to say you may not secure a great price and even service from a start-up or business branching into weddings. But do so with your eyes open. A company experienced in weddings will have a massive edge. They’ll be able to be proactive and advise you on what works best. They know how different formats/timetables pan out; how much time needs to be allocated to their work; who they need to liaise with; the questions to ask. Most brides haven’t done this before. So make sure you’re in the hands of suppliers who have done it before; so you don’t have to worry.

  1. Have they worked at your chosen venue before?

If a supplier has worked at your chosen venue before, it’s a big first step towards you being able to relax and be confident. That’s because they don’t just have experience, they have exactly the right experience.

If you’re looking for a DJ or events company; what better than one who already knows the technical specifications of the venue; the potential, the layout, the processes and how to make the function rooms look amazing? No nasty suprises like sound limiters or lack of access when needed.

If a photographer is familiar with a venue they’ll have first-hand knowledge of any lighting challenges; best places for romantic and group shots and lots of creative ideas about how to photograph the venue to its full potential.

The chances are; suppliers experienced with the venue will also already have relationships with the events or wedding planning team; taking a whole load of introductions and liaison work off your hands.

If a supplier hasn’t worked your venue before; it can still work in your favour. As long as they reassure you they have the processes in place for fully familiarising themselves with the venue, they may bring a fresh perspective.

 

  1. Their reviews

For business, reviews are a way of life. If a company does not have reviews; be wary. Most brides, after living through the best day of their life, should be gushing about the key professionals involved in their day. When you check through reviews; you want to see that the supplier has not only delivered, but was an asset to the process and went beyond expectations. And use reviews to filter out the sort of supplier you’re looking for. If for example you know you have a guest list containing people not generally comfortable dancing or being in photos; look out for suppliers who have been commended in reviews for putting guests at ease and getting them involved.

 

  1. Ethics

Weddings are about trust, intimacy, honesty and magic. A good supplier will make the effort to get to know you; your dreams and vision for your wedding day. They’ll be able to compile the ideal package from their services that is entirely focused on you and so that they deliver your ultimate wedding day experience.

 

  1. Personality

Whilst personality should not be used alone; once the other criteria is ticked off, personality comes into play. And it’s really important. You need to trust the companies that will be responsible for interaction on the day with your guests. Your external suppliers will be asking guests to do things (like dance, pose or give a video message). And they will be an observer of some of your most intimate and special moments in the day such as your First Dance and romantic post-vows photographs. Think of these key professionals as your support for the day; making it and keeping it magical and worry-free. You need to feel that you can trust the companies you select with this immense responsibility.

 

There’s lots to think about. Many of the best professionals in the industry get booked up way in advance. There’s so many suppliers and so little time.

But start with these tips and you’ll have a great chance of finding the perfect professional partners to be part of your wedding journey. The journey that starts now, right until the last moment of your special day.

To enquire about wedding DJ, photobooth and room decor services contact Danny Costello at DJ2K on 07733 335733 or email info@dj2k.co.uk

To enquire about wedding photography services contact Amanda Duncan at Amanda Duncan Photography on 07767 776839 or email amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

 

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) london photography surrey https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/12/planning-your-wedding-our-top-tips-on-choosing-a-supplier Thu, 14 Dec 2017 11:05:37 GMT
Seeing is believing, why commercial photography is essential to sales https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/10/seeing-is-believing-why-commercial-photography-is-essential-to-sales Seeing is believing, why commercial photography is essential to sales

You can tell people until you’re blue in the face. Luxury this, high quality that. If what you’re selling is visual; something that people will look at and be awed, then you need to show it.

People are cynical. It’s so easy to set up a website these days for any business, populate it with stock shots and portray professionalism and high standards. But the proof is in the pudding. If you claim a product is a certain quality and it doesn’t match up to your claim; three things are likely to happen.

  1. High levels of returns and complaints
  2. Poor reviews (many of which may be publicly viewed online)
  3. Low levels of repeat custom and dropping sales

Not a position any business wants to be in.

This pattern is very familiar in the hospitality industry. How many times have we all read a hotel website, thought how amazing it all sounds, only to read down to the reviews. Suddenly the reality hits; ‘tired décor’, ‘dirty carpets’ all sorts of unappealing and contradictory critiques come out of the woodwork.

But with bespoke commercial photography there’s nowhere to hide.

If you’re in a position to showcase something stunning, you need to maximise on this sales opportunity. Potential customers and clients will use the images they see to differentiate between their options (in other words, you and your competitors). They’ll be drawn in to the brand and quality of your product, or the feel of your environment, heightening their interest in it. You’ll be able to support, reinforce and evidence the words that you use; as your descriptions and imagery match up. And the suite of photographs can take centre stage in your website and other marketing collateral, showing that you have nothing to hide and everything to be proud of.

If you look at most luxury, high end type websites; high quality photography will be the key feature. It conveys a feel for the product or place and without them knowing it, gets the customer involved.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking that your product or service looks so magnificent that it will simply sell itself with a few amateur shots or photographs taken on your phone. As good as amateur photography can be for some purposes, it will never do a product or a larger environment such as a hotel or restaurant justice. Achieving high impact, stunning images takes a considerable amount of skill and specialist equipment. This includes;

  • Lighting. Probably the most important aspect of all. Illuminating the product or place to its absolute best is the difference between stunning and shabby when it comes to photography. Not only needing an expert eye to know what lighting is needed; but having the latest technology in light boxes and equipment is essential.
  • Understanding the angles and techniques to achieve ambience and space. A talented commercial photographer knows how to bring a product or place out at its very best. They are attuned to background objects and shooting angles and have the techniques and equipment to take the shot that works best.
  • Artistic input. An experienced commercial photographer knows the style of photography that will work for your brand and audience. Not only in how the shoot is managed but in the editing and production that will reinforce your brand and maximise engagement and impact on your audience.

And the photography keeps on giving…

In the case of the Sandman Hotel at Gatwick; this photoshoot of a luxury hotel not only has created a high impact, beautifully visual website but has led to further PR and being featured in a five-star luxury magazine. Every space, every room and every corner has been carefully captured in its most positive and awesome light, so that the viewer almost feels like they are there. The fact is, when you know what to expect and you can see for your own eyes, you’re more likely to buy.

So if you’ve got it, let a commercial photographer flaunt it. And you’ll soon see the fantastic results.  To contact Amanda for more information email amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) commercial london photographer photography surrey https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/10/seeing-is-believing-why-commercial-photography-is-essential-to-sales Fri, 06 Oct 2017 11:53:39 GMT
Five ways to make a standard portrait shot anything but standard https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/8/five-ways-to-make-a-standard-portrait-shot-anything-but-standard Five ways to make a standard portrait shot anything but standard

What do you think of when you think of a professional portrait or a profile photograph?

Probably this.

White background. Head and shoulders. Slightly turned towards camera. Suited and booted. Corporate looking. Like it belongs on a gallery of executives in a Boardroom.

For some professionals, this might be perfect. Exactly what is needed given the purpose of the photograph (for clear identification); for consistency (if part of a firm-wide project); for brand (if corporate, formal is the appropriate image).

But a professional profile image does not have to be this style. Indeed, for many professionals this approach could be all wrong. As a commercial photographer, here’s just some of the many reasons why a more creative, individualized, interesting portrait may be required;

The subject is not relaxed or comfortable being photographed. In this situation, a ‘standard’ posed shot may simply not work. If you’re not comfortable (despite the best efforts of your photographer to put you at ease), your photograph could look strained, unnatural and uncomfortable.

The subject has a particular feature they are self-conscious about. Very few of us are wildly confident about our looks. But perhaps there’s a specific issue that you can’t get past, and you need a photographer to be flexible and creative to get around it.

You have a big personality and you need your portrait to reflect and capture this. If you’re known for being creative, quirky, funny or any other personal attribute, people may not relate to the posed corporate style image. This is especially the case if your business proposition centres around your personality and personal attributes. You need existing and potential clients and customers to recognise, connect and engage with the real you.

Your job or business is far from a formal corporate based one. Perhaps you’re a pest controller. A public speaking expert. A hairdresser in a creative, contemporary salon. Working in the arts. Your professional image needs to capture your industry, profession and business brand, all in one shot.

You want to stand out. You don’t want to look the same as everyone else, because, well, you’re not. Perhaps you’re an entrepreneur. Maybe you’re starting a new business or growing your existing one and you want people to know you’re going places. A new, interesting portrait could attract attention and engagement from other professionals and prospects for all the right reasons.

The question is how can this be achieved? How can one professional portrait to be used on a personal or company website, LinkedIn and other networking platforms, really encapsulate personality, business brand and desired professional image.

Well here’s how it can be done.

Background. Amazingly enough, this does not have to be white. It can be dark. It can be a colour. It can have a relevant object or scenery behind. Or course, to work with these non-standard backgrounds will take some skill and expertise with lighting, staging and post-production, but it can result in a truly stunning, stand out and unusual image.

Environment. Very often a studio is best – enabling tight control and management of the background. But it could be that based on your profession or personality, a working site based image is more appropriate. It could also make you more comfortable. Or it could be based somewhere else relevant and appealing that adds a touch of creativity to your brand.

 

Pose and expression. You do not have to be perched on a stool, slightly angled, for a head and shoulders shot. You could be looking face on to the camera. You could be gesticulating in a way that is recognizable to you. You could be standing, looking relaxed and happy. You could release the inner actor in you (if there is one) and use some expression or action shot – so long as your face is still clear. This is your opportunity to get across your personality and a good photographer will be able to work with you to bring out your best features.

Clothing. Don’t feel that you have to wear a suit, or any kind of formal attire. That’s not to say look scruffy and unkempt. Of course, you need to look smart and professional, whatever your business. But if customers and clients are most likely to see you in branded uniform with your company logo, this might be the right look. If you generally sport a more casual but stylish and distinctive look, stick with this as it’s how you’ll be most identifiable and comfortable. The key to this is to be smart and be yourself.

Props. There may be occasions when a relevant prop may add an interesting, useful, amusing or creative dimension to your portrait. It may help to convey what you do. It may add humour and help raise curiosity and interest. It’s another aspect of photography though which needs careful planning, thought and management. Don’t risk looking silly, cheesy or odd. Let a professional artistic photographer get the look right.

So for all these reasons, a standard portrait need not be standard. A professional profile shot can be both professional and personal.

A professional photographer, particularly one with artistic and creative talents, will get to know your personality, objectives and preferences. And then, a suite of photographs can be created that reflect the real you, add value to your business and make you proud.

If you’d like to find out more about portrait/profile shot photography, please call me for a no obligation chat on 07767 776839.

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/8/five-ways-to-make-a-standard-portrait-shot-anything-but-standard Thu, 31 Aug 2017 13:15:47 GMT
When you need to capture emotion, only bespoke photography will do https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/7/when-you-need-to-capture-emotion-only-bespoke-photography-will-do When you need to capture emotion, only bespoke photography will do

 

When it comes to wedding or special occasion photography; there’s no question in anyone’s minds that the role of the photographer is to capture emotion, beauty and love.

 

But when it comes to marketing and advertising; the benefits of powerfully conveyed and captured emotion are equally huge, if not essential, to success.

 

Using emotive photography works because it has impact through evoking feelings.

 

Emotive imagery in advertising is nothing new. Using advertising to make us feel scared, happy, hopeful, inspired is an effective tactic. But if it’s not done well it can backfire badly. It can look cheap or cheesy. It can bear no resemblance to your organisational value or brand. It can be misinterpreted if you’re not very careful.

 

Of course, you can search image libraries for ‘happy’, ‘sad’, ‘scared’, ‘excited’ – pretty much any emotion that you can think of. But you’ll generally find this results in overacted, almost caricatured, in-your-face portrayals of the emotion which may not be quite right for your campaign.

 

These ‘searchable’ emotions are simple, basic concepts. But you may need to get across something much more complex and subtle. For example, your campaign may need to indicate bravery. Or happiness in the face of adversity. Put forward a gritty, serious perspective. Or even more challenging; where the business is very much focused on one person, convey their personality.

 

The only way to achieve all this is through a skilled commercial photographer; who can create, plan, direct, shoot and edit a suite of photographs to a specific and unique result.

 

But what is it that a talented commercial photographer can bring to the process that is so important?

 

Being on-brand

 

When creating a suite of bespoke photography for a website, marketing communications or advertising campaign, it becomes a reflection of your organisation. You’ll want it to support and reinforce your organisational or personal brand, your values and be pitched appropriately at your audience so that it engages them.

 

To do this a photographer needs to immerse themselves in understanding your objectives, business proposition, values and preferences so that all aspects of the photoshoot and final finish are spot on.

 

In these images, I went to great lengths to observe and familiarise myself with the work, personality and drive of these individuals. In the case of a specialist chef; conveying a bubbly personality with a passion for spice; portrayal of movement and focus on the hands as the trademark of a keynote speaker; and a stunning and contemporary pose that gets across the individuality of this florist.

 

Symbolism, interpretation and subtlety

 

A good commercial photographer does not just take a brief and interpret it literally. They will explore themes and symbols, crafting a creative concept that gets across the message in an engaging, thought provoking, effective and visually appealing way.

 

Want to get across business growth? How many adverts have you seen containing brash images of pound signs. It’s hard to be subtle and classy with that kind of look.

 

But consider this photograph. From this one picture, you can interpret so much. New beginnings, responsibility and growth are just some of the notions that come to mind. All presented beautifully in a contemporary style with colours saturated to draw focus to the green seedling.

Creativity, direction and style

 

The only way to create a truly bespoke ambience, theme and style is to create it from scratch. A photographer with artistic talents will be able to take a requirement and direct the photoshoot with the right lighting and shooting style to achieve it. A significant part of this work will also be in the post-production.

 

Knowing whether to use black and white or colour. Whether to shoot internally or externally. The focus and angles. How to direct models in their pose, expressions, clothing and make up. These are all individual and integral to evoking the right feelings and emotion when the viewer connects with the image.

 

I was asked to shoot an image for a software company. You may think; just a picture of a keyboard will do, won’t it? But this image gets across a distinctive brand; a stylish, abstract, gritty action shot, showing a programmer hard at work.

Multiple chances to capture that look

 

Sometimes you know the look you need but it won’t come easily. And it may take time, effort, repositioning, retaking many times over. This is particularly the case when working with lay people i.e. not professional models.

 

In this beautiful, natural family shot for a cancer charity, the joyous, hopeful and positive nature of this family just had to shine through. There’s no short cuts. Just the time and patience to make people comfortable and keep going until that magic shot is captured.

Photography can convey emotion, tell a story, capture a moment and position a brand.

 

But make sure it’s the right emotion. Your story. Your moment. And your brand.

 

To have a no obligation chat about wedding or commercial photography, contact amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com 07767 776839.

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) commercial coporate london photographer photography surrey https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/7/when-you-need-to-capture-emotion-only-bespoke-photography-will-do Thu, 13 Jul 2017 11:14:37 GMT
The ten most important qualities to look for in your events photographer https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/6/the-ten-most-important-qualities-to-look-for-in-your-events-photographer The ten most important qualities to look for in your events photographer

It may seem obvious. It may seem easy.

Turn up. Blend in. Start clicking.

If only. Events photography is a huge responsibility, both on behalf of the photographer and of the event organisers themselves. So if you’re booking a photographer for a special event, or you’re responsible for engaging a commercial photographer for a corporate event, awards night or fundraising do; don’t fall into the trap of thinking just anyone can do it.

The cost of putting on a large and fantastic occasion to be enjoyed by large numbers of quests will likely be substantial. So you’ll want to ensure the photography of your special event is also top notch.

There are significant benefits of investing in great quality event photography, and here’s just some of them;

  • Great photography is the perfect way to ensure an amazing night lives on. If your guests have had a fabulous time, they’ll not want to forget it all the next day. Being able to access stunning photos of the evening will keep the event alive in their minds; capturing special or amusing moments.
  • If it’s a corporate or fundraising event, the photography can play a key role in PR. Not just highlighting the success of the evening in the immediate aftermath, but through promoting future events by clearly demonstrating what a wonderful time was had by all.
  • For awards evenings, whether industry awards or internal staff awards, your photography will contribute to not only external PR but also internal engagement and workplace relations. Featuring award winning individuals and teams, dressed up and proud, in communications materials and on websites is a fantastic way to improve staff engagement and motivation.
  • You’ll do your guests justice! With men making a rare smart, even black tie clad appearance, and ladies spending a month’s salary on a dress, hair do and accessories, it’s only right to capture their fine attire with beautifully shot photography and the production and editing that will do them proud.
  • Further fundraising; for charity balls, selling photographs of the evening at a prearranged discount can be a further way to raise money, even after the event.

With all this in mind, picking the right photographer is key. We do indeed need to turn up, blend in and start clicking. But a professional, experienced event photographer will do so much more.

    

Before the event

  1. A good photographer will do their research. They will check out the venue before the event. Checking on the room, the angles, the lighting, any extra areas to take guests for individual/group shots are all essential to using the right equipment and shooting from the right place on the day.
  2. Then they will take a brief from the organiser. This is crucially important to understand the purpose, key timings, prominent guests and special requirements of the evening. Imagine getting your shots the next day to find a VIP completely missing!
  3. The photographer will need to be fully aware of the timings of the event. Knowing how many photos are needed as awards are collected; what time any major activities are happening such as the arrival of special guests, speeches, awards, entertainment.
  4. A good photographer will always research the company. Straight laced and very corporate? Funky, creative advertising awards night? Fundraising school ball counting teachers and governors among the guests? The nature of the organisation and its guests will often dictate the style, nature and finish of the photography.

    

On the night

  1. Your photographer will need to put people at ease; so that they come across as relaxed and natural – particularly if part of the photography brief is group shots or arrival photos before that first glass of fizz. The organisers will want guests to be pleased with their photographs after the event so feeling comfortable enough to be photographed will be crucial.
  2. The photographer will need to blend in. No one’s going to relax fully with a photographer zooming into your face when you’re trying to have an in-depth conversation with a colleague, or get down on the dance floor. Less is more; your photographer must be able to move around the room with ease and capture the atmosphere and as many of the guests as possible, not just the show offs. They must also be experienced and comfortable with the etiquette of dealing with VIPs, celebrities, senior level executives and even Royal Family; through dressing and acting appropriately in order to reflect and respect the formality of the occasion.
  3. Your photographer will need to be highly technically proficient to create beautiful quality shots in an inside environment, particularly one which may be dimly light or result later on in the evening in a darker dance floor. Being able to work with different lighting will be key to the quality of the images. They must also be able to ensure the correct exposure, resulting in crisp, well-lit images and minimising backgrounds of people walking or dancing past.
  4. A great photographer must balance working quickly, so as not to prevent people from getting on with their evening, with capturing the subject at their very best. That moment of holding before pressing the shutter could make all the difference to how photogenic the person appears. It’s a real photographer’s skill, holding your nerve to only click when the moment is perfect.

 

After the event

  1. You’re going to want to know that your events photographer will work quickly after the event to provide you with your suite of photos. If there’s a huge delay between the event and the photos being available; people will be back to the daily grind and the feeling of exhilaration from an amazing event could be lost.
  2. Finally, quality photography is as much about the shooting at the event, as it is about the editing and production afterwards. Painstakingly going through all the photos to ensure that everyone looks their best and backgrounds are tidied up and any other adjustments are made, is essential to the final magnificent suite of photographs you should expect.

A lot of effort goes into an event. So you must ensure as much effort goes into making the event live on, through well-planned, well-executed and beautifully edited events photography.

For more details for event photography please contact Amanda on 07767 776839 or email amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

 

 

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Commercial Events London Photography Surrey photographer https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/6/the-ten-most-important-qualities-to-look-for-in-your-events-photographer Thu, 15 Jun 2017 13:04:50 GMT
Five top ways to improve your company image https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/4/five-top-ways-to-improve-your-company-image Five top ways to improve your company image

Image, brand, perception, reputation; these elements are all tied up together. Of course, nothing is more important than what you actually do and deliver every day. But conveying what you do powerfully and positively is what will drive interest from potential customers.

Now as a commercial photographer, when I think ‘image’ I think picture. Not just picture - style, brand, artistic interpretation, position and subject. And it just so happens that the quality of the images you use for your business can impact directly on your overall business image. Therefore it also affects appeal, engagement and ultimately sales.

So when I refer to company images, what do I mean? You may believe that they aren’t relevant for your type of company. But actually, it’s hard to think these days of any business where the images you use aren’t important. Do you have a website? Do you do advertising? Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Do you hold company events? Do you do PR and social media? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then images are indeed important.

  1. LinkedIn profiles

If you’re a company director or owner, the chances are you have a Linkedin profile, and this will be important to your professional image and networking opportunities. The days of amateurish shots taken on a phone being acceptable are gone; if you want to be perceived as a successful professional, your profile picture needs to look the business. Potential colleagues, recruits, suppliers and customers all need to be able to see a personable, comfortable, approachable professional with whom they would be happy to work.

  1. Website images

When potential customers or clients look at your website, it may be the first impression they have of your business. That homepage, or landing page, needs to hook them in within seconds. With people scanning websites and content at great speed on their tablets and phones, an attention grabbing image; something that reflects the right creative feel and brand of your company can say volumes within the precious few seconds you have to engage people. Poor quality images or overused, dated, cheesy stockshots could easily put people off. But interesting, relevant, bespoke well thought out and on-brand photography is likely to inspire a potential customer to find out more.

  1. Product photography

It is quite amazing how many websites carry poor quality images of their products. It simply makes no commercial sense not to invest in good photography when an image and basic description is all a customer has to go on for their decision to buy or not to buy. Poorly lit backgrounds, shadows, lack of detail on the image is just a recipe for disaster and likely to result in high levels of returns, or even worse, complaints. Great quality product photography will literally show off your products in the best possible light. Enabling the textures and details to come through and setting products off in an appealing way, is the online equivalent of beautifully presented products in a high end store.

  1. Brand and audience engagement

Who is your audience? Under 18s? Over 60s? High end affluent shopper? Busy mums? Corporate professionals?

Different audiences will be attracted to different creative styles and looks. Through investing in bespoke commercial photography you can pinpoint your audience and target them effectively, as the production and editing part of the process has unlimited scope for delivering the right look and feel for your business. You may want to bring out certain colours, focus on a certain style of photography e.g. retro, or quirky, or abstract, or traditional and subtle differences in how the images are edited can deliver this perfectly.

  1. Event photography

If you’re investing in a night to remember for staff and clients, you’ll want it to be remembered forever. Don’t waste this valuable PR opportunity by hoping an internal staff member with their phone will remember to snap away as the event goes on. A professional photographer will ensure a fantastic suite of photographs can be used for PR purposes well after the event. The editing and production will ensure staff, clients, and company directors are looking their best, positioned properly with the right lighting and setting. If it’s an awards do, there’s a real opportunity to boost your organisation’s internal brand and image among your staff. So it’s even more important to make sure the atmosphere is captured, and the recipients of the awards have some photographs of which they can be proud.

So if you’re looking to improve your company image, don’t underestimate the role of the photographic image. It can make every difference to the effectiveness of your internal and external marketing and communications.

If you would like to find out more about commercial photography services, please contact me for a no obligation chat on 07767 776839.

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Commercial London Photographer Photography Surrey photographer https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/4/five-top-ways-to-improve-your-company-image Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:09:45 GMT
What does your LinkedIn Profile picture say about you? https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/3/what-does-your-linkedin-profile-picture-say-about-you As a commercial photographer, an increasing amount of my work is taking shots for professionals to use on LinkedIn, company websites and other professional media channels.

But why, you may ask, when I have a perfectly good camera on my phone and just need to identify myself online, should invest in a photographer to do this for me?

Well before I get on to the reasons why your professional image is so important, I’ll share with you my top six sins.

  1. The overly casual. A photograph that has been cropped from a night out on the town or on a holiday, wearing casual clothing that doesn’t reflect your professional appearance. Bearing in mind this may be the first image a potential employer, client or colleague has of you; do you want them to think you wear suntops or Hawaiian shirts on the average working day?
  2. The overly cool. I once saw a LinkedIn profile shot of a man standing on the front of a yacht, shades on, hair swept back, blue skies, not a care in the world and with an air of arrogance. Other people aim to look quirky and cool by having a tiny bit of their face in the corner, or an image of a random object or scene. This approach is a risk. How will it help potential clients engage with you professionally?
  3. The family shot. Family is for Facebook. Pictured with the girlfriend or cute toddler is really not the way to go for an appropriate image if you want to be taken seriously.
  4. The poorly cropped. Someone’s dismembered arm draped over your shoulder? Palm tree above your head? ‘and chips’ from a partial menu sign behind you? Come on, some professionalism please! No amount of cropping can replace professional post-production techniques and editing.
  5. The poorly lit. Too dark making you hard to identify. Over exposed giving you a ghost like quality. Red eyes. It’s not a good look.
  6. It doesn’t look like you. Believe me, this is a classic. Professional people and networkers meeting for the first time will often rely on the photo they have seen by way of identification. It can be very misleading if you’re now bald, but your photograph was taken ten years ago when you had a full head of hair. Or maybe you’ve changed your hair colour, or the photograph just didn’t really do you justice. Either way, looking like you in your photo is pretty important.

But shouldn’t professional networking be about my personality not looks? About experience not aesthetics? About credibility not image?

Like it or loathe it, your professional image is important. And here’s why.

Networking

If you’re an entrepreneur, sole trader or business owner, professional networking is likely to be an absolutely vital part of your business. You know the mantra, people do business with people. It’s not about people liking what you look like, it’s about them knowing and connecting with what you look like. It will help them identify you at a networking event. Position you with credibility as someone who has invested time and effort into their professional image. It can increase the sense of engagement, before you’ve even met.

Branding

Your professional photograph can reinforce or even help to build your organisational brand. It’s not essential that you have a corporate style standard head and shoulders shot. Of course, depending on your business, this may well be the right approach. But professional photographs can also be fun, artistic and creative. The choice of backdrop, clothing, styling and editing can impact on the perception of the business’s brand. A talented commercial photographer will use their creative skill, interpretation and production techniques to understand and convey the brand through your LinkedIn photograph.

Image

Believe or not, your photograph really can impact on perceptions of your personality. A good commercial photographer would always take a full brief before starting the shoot. How do you want to come across -  as a senior leader, or an approachable advisor or creative mastermind? Who are your customers? What’s your business brand and proposition? What if any concerns do you have about your appearance that you may wish to address? Clever use of elements like backdrop, lighting styling and editing will ensure that the ‘you’ you want to portray is delivered in a perfect shot.

So don’t be misunderstood, misrepresented or guilty of one of the six photographic sins.

A small amount of investment in a great photograph can have big benefits; to your business, your brand and your personal image.

Some examples for you on how varied and different your image can look

For more details contact Amanda by email on amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

 

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Commercial London Photography Surrey photographer https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/3/what-does-your-linkedin-profile-picture-say-about-you Mon, 20 Mar 2017 19:25:39 GMT
Sean & Brigitte's Game Reserve Wedding South Africa https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/3/sean-brigittes-game-reserve-wedding-south-africa

It is not every day you get asked to photograph a wedding in South Africa.  Sean & Brigitte said their I do's in the middle of Tala Game Reserve, Durban in Arcacia Lodge which is situated right in the middle of the reserve by a watering hole with 360 degrees views of amazing African bush.  They wanted to have a wedding that reflected their love of the bush and their passion for wildlife.

So to the story of their day, I have asked Brigitte & Sean to answer a few questions about their special day which started really hot with blue skies and puffy clouds and so getting ready began ........

How did you both meet?

"We met on Nambiti Private Game Reserve, near Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal.  I was part of the new reserch team, and Sean started not long after me as a ranger.  We met in the middle of the bush while he was doing some bush-clearing and I was tracking our research animals".

Onto the men ....

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome while organizing your wedding?

"The biggest challenge was organizing everything from a distance.  Not being in South Africa meant we weren't able to meet our suppliers, or to do things like choosing linen and decor pieces in person, or sampling menus.  We were very fortunate to have the support of all our family, they did a lot of running around and sending emails and photos back and forth to make sure we were happy with everything".

Riding high on the way to the venue ......

and then the ceremony begins ......

 

And then there was confetti ....

What were the highlights of your day?

"The whole day was just amazing and it's really hard to choose moments.  If we had to choose we'd say our favorite moments were

The process of getting ready with our family and closest friends

The moment we saw each other coming down the aisle

The creative photo shoot game drive

Dancing the night away with all of our loved ones".

 The romantic couple (not often you get the chance to photograph giraffe's and rhino's in the background of a couple photo shoot very special!)

onto the evening the weather now thunder and lightening ......

Where did you get your ideas and inspiration from?

"We are both bush people and wanted a wedding that reflected our love of the bush and passion for wildlife.  The rustic venue with neutral colors was just perfect for us.  We always knew we wanted animal centerpieces and my mom found the artists who made our favors and centerpieces.  Our families collaborated on ideas for all the other decor pieces, the jars, hearts, signs, table plan and table set up, it was amazing as it made it all really personable".

and finally dancing the night away to the heavy beat of the African music..........

 

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) London Photography Surrey https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/3/sean-brigittes-game-reserve-wedding-south-africa Tue, 07 Mar 2017 11:43:55 GMT
Why there’s only one thing better than a commercial photographer. https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/2/why-there-s-only-one-thing-better-than-a-commercial-photographer Why there’s only one thing better than a commercial photographer.

 

Why there’s only one thing better than a commercial photographer. A commercial photographer who works with a graphic designer.

If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you’ll understand why I’m so passionate about the difference commercial photography can make to marketing materials, advertising campaigns or websites. It simply offers a visual impact and quality well beyond the scope of stock or amateur photography.

But there will be times where commercial photography alone isn’t enough. When the involvement of other professionals can enhance the finished product even further. When the input of further design skills in the project is needed to set off the photography perfectly.

One of these professionals is the graphic designer.

Five reasons why you should involve a graphic designer

It’s true that many photographers will have excellent post-production skills. They will be able to use photoshop and other programmes to perfect, finish and artistically present the photography they take in line with your brand, the campaign objectives and your preferences and requirements.

But commercial photography cannot always operate in a vacuum. The final layout and design, additional artistic input and production techniques a graphic designer can offer, will enable your photography to appear at its very best.

  1. A photographer is focused quite rightly on the photography, with responsibility for the quality, style and finish of the photographs. But a graphic designer can add value by looking – literally - at the bigger picture. How the photography fits in with other elements e.g the logo, corporate colours or style elements. They’ll know how much text is to accompany the photography and how best to lay it out so it’s appealing to the eye.
  2. A graphic designer will be able to adapt the photography to different formats, sizes and materials. For example your suite of photos may be used on your website, on flyers, on a banner, exhibition stand or for digital marketing, and it will need to be reproduced for each different media. It’s crucial this production work is carried out to the highest standard.
  3. Two artistic heads are better than one. Your campaign or website will have an even greater chance of success with a greater input of creative ideas at the beginning when the concept and campaign begins to take shape.
  4. A graphic designer may be able to offer additional expertise in retouching or other editing techniques.
  5. Commercial photography is an investment; in your brand and in your marketing. So don’t risk wasting this investment through having the photography go to waste or poorly presented in an unappealing layout or design.

 

How do I find a graphic designer?

Many commercial photographers will already work closely with at least one graphic designer. Often they’ll have links and relationships with a number of graphic designers so that they can recommend the right one for you given the nature of the project and your budget.

If your photographer isn’t able to recommend one, using LinkedIn, simply googling to find a local graphic design agency, or going to a freelance directory can be a good place to start. Always ask to see examples of work and specifically where they have worked with a photographer on websites or campaigns.

How does it work?

Well in an ideal world, the photographer and graphic designer would be involved together from the very beginning. In this way, the brief will have input from both professionals and the photography can be planned and directed with the specific design of the materials in mind.

However, even if this is not the case, a commercial photographer will be able to work with a graphic designer at any stage in the process. They’ll collaborate on the artistic finish and post-production and editing work to get to the end result you’re looking for.

Either way, don’t feel that engaging a graphic designer will just double up work for you. Us creative types are perfectly accustomed to working together in teams and we’ll just get on with creating the best looking visuals possible with our respective skill sets and talents enhancing each other’s.

 

Like any profession, we all have our area of specialism. By bringing graphic design skills into the project, your initial investment in the commercial photography will be even more worthwhile.

If you’d like to find out more, contact me on 07767 776839 or email amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Commercial London Photography Surrey https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/2/why-there-s-only-one-thing-better-than-a-commercial-photographer Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:47:06 GMT
Five fabulous things you can expect to happen when you book a commercial photographer https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/1/five-fabulous-things-you-can-expect-to-happen-when-you-book-a-commercial-photographer  

Five fabulous things you can expect to happen when you book a commercial photographer

 

Actually, I’m going to start with what won’t happen.

 

  • You won’t have to face sitting for hours trawling through image libraries
  • You won’t finally select a stock image then discover it will cost you an arm and a leg in copyright charges
  • You won’t fall in love with an image only to find it on a competitor’s website
  • You won’t need to spend last month’s profit on new camera, lightbox and tripod, to use it once and realise that you don’t know your aperture from your DSLR
  • You won’t spend hours judiciously taking pictures with your mobile phone, only to find it comes out too dark, your staff complain they look hideous, there’s a traffic cone in the background and it won’t reproduce at the right size.

 

Despite this list of headaches and hazards, many businesses will go down this road. Possibly it’s to save money (although commercial photography can be extremely cost effective). Possibly to save time (though most commercial photographers can meet very tight deadlines). Very possibly, it’s the fear of the unknown. Simply having no idea what the process involves, how to go about it and what to expect in the end.

 

Well allow me to enlighten you on the process and illuminate you on the benefits.

 

  1. When you select your commercial photographer, take a look at their website and their portfolio, types of clients they’ve worked with, their blogs and their biography. If you like what you see and feel they may be a good fit for you, give them a call. You may wish to see two or three, or you may get a great sense and go with the first one you find. But the initial chat on the phone will enable us both to gather a bit of information, get a very approximate idea of costs, timescales and nature of the project and arrange a more detailed brief.

 

  1. Next, comes the brief. Most commercial photographers will come to you. It’s in our interest to learn as much about you and your business as possible at the outset as well as getting a feel for atmosphere and lighting. So seeing you in your business environment will make you more comfortable, and us better informed.

 

In the brief we’ll ask questions like this;

  • the purpose of the photography
  • styles and looks that you like
  • the brand and corporate guidelines
  • what you want to achieve e.g. Increased sales? Changed behaviour? Awareness and information?
  • who and what we’ll be shooting
  • budgets
  • timescales
  • any other requirement key to the project.

 

  1. Just in case you’re worried that the photographer may be looking to you to provide the creative inspiration, be assured this isn’t the case. Armed with a good understanding of your business and basic likes and dislikes, the next stage is research. Whilst I’m sure many of us are creative geniuses, any good commercial photographer needs to be up on the trends, abreast of new techniques and aware of what your industry and competitors are up to. That’s why with commercial photography you’ll never run the risk of looking the same as your competitor and you’ll get an entirely original set of images that’ll reflect magnificently on your business.

 

  1. Armed with all the wonderful information from the brief and research, commercial photographers will then put together a ‘mood board’. This is the chance to see where we are heading with the photography style so there are no surprises on the day. The mood board may contain sample environments e.g. indoor/outdoor. It may contain sample styles e.g. saturating colours in order to bring out your corporate colour. It may contain themes and ambience such as contemporary/abstract/lighthearted/romantic/bold. This mood board is your chance to work with the photographer to get the final look just perfect for you, your brand and your business.

 

  1. Before you know it, it will be THE DAY. Your photographer will have arranged the shoot entirely around you, your staff and your business. They’ll take full control from advising on outfits, to supplying models and props if needed, through to communicating on how long the post production and editing will take and when you’ll receive your suite of photos. We also work closely with graphic designers, web designers and printers so you don’t have to worry about project management and what needs to happen next.

Some samples from a commercial job for website photography .........

  

So there’s no need to worry. You’ll find the process stress free, and so much simpler and more effective than the alternatives.

 

If you’d like a no obligation chat about any aspect of commercial photography, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Commercial London Photography Surrey https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2017/1/five-fabulous-things-you-can-expect-to-happen-when-you-book-a-commercial-photographer Mon, 23 Jan 2017 10:28:38 GMT
Commercial Photography Highlights of 2016 https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/12/the-highlights-of-2016-in-commercial-photography A huge THANK YOU to all my clients old and new who have made 2016 another brilliant year with my Commercial Photography business.  I am so lucky as my work is very varied and creative.  From Interior to Fashion and Beauty photography it is awe inspiring to help business grow and prosper with artistic imagery for each and every website.  I finished this year same as the past few years at the Momentum Xmas party.  They are a very special charity for children with cancer and life-limiting conditions.  It is good to give back and it always puts the years work into perspective.

Some photography highlights from each month :

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

HAPPY CHRISTMAS and I wish you all a healthy and happy 2017.  If you are interested in having a chat about your website photography then please do get in touch amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com 07767 776839.  Thank you.

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Commercial London Photographer Photography Surrey photographer https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/12/the-highlights-of-2016-in-commercial-photography Mon, 19 Dec 2016 15:51:22 GMT
Commercial Interior Photography https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/11/commercial-interior-photography What takes technical skill, artistic ability, an understanding of architecture and a touch of magic?

Interior photography of course!

As a commercial photographer, I know how much goes into producing successful, high impact, professional interior photography. I also know that for many businesses, high quality and beautiful interior photography is absolutely essential to their image, brand, marketing and sales.

 

So this is a situation where an amateur approach simply won’t do.

 

If you’re in the hospitality sector, leisure, interior or office design or some retail industries, then interior photography may appear centre stage in your brochures, other marketing collateral and on your website. You may need to capture atmosphere. You may need to portray a feeling of space. It may be the contents of the room such as furniture and décor that need to come alive.

 

If you’re looking to entice someone to stay in your hotel or restaurant, visit your golf club, use your design service, rent or buy your property or view your selection of goods, it will be an awful lot easier if potential customers can see what you offer at its very best.

 

And by that I mean looking clear, crisp, detailed and magnificent with as full a view as possible and a strong clear focus on what you are wishing to sell. As opposed to dark and dingy; obscured views; objects poorly arranged, limited perspectives and a confusing focus.

 

So just how are these outstanding images achieved?

Well it’s through a complex combination of skills, knowledge, experience, patience both on-shoot and post-production. With experience probably highest on the list.

 

  1. Lighting, lighting, lighting. It’s the ability to look at a setting and understand what’s required; from the time of day which will offer the best lighting to how to use the existing light sources in the room. It’s the investment in light boxes, portable studio lights and other high quality equipment to achieve the right level of light. And it’s the artistic vision and interpretation of an interior to take a creative view on the type of lighting that will work wonders.

 

Changing the lighting can entirely alter the feel of a setting – bright or intimate; upmarket or casual; contemporary or traditional. And by changing the feel we can influence the brand – in turn improving your sales and commercial success.

 

 

  1. Architectural awareness. Sounds grand, doesn’t it? But an interior photoshoot will often have the challenges not faced by exterior or studio settings; existing structure in the form of walls, doors, windows and features as well as furniture and fittings.

 

It takes an experienced photographer to look at a room and instinctively know the best angles and perspectives from which to shoot. The room may need to look spacious, or cosy. The image may need to take in a lot of detail or a very wide view. We’re also great at spotting obstructions, moving furniture and items around and adding features where necessary to achieve the best visual impact. And the experienced photographer will know that it’s imperative to use a tripod, to ensure straight lines and crisp images.

 

  1. A sprinkle of post-production magic. Okay, it’s not really magic. But creating a panoramic look from a series of well-executed shots through ‘stitching’ them together post-production, is just one example of a pretty impressive feat that takes experience, time and skill.

 

The ability to use tricks of the trade and highly skilled production techniques opens up all sorts of exciting creative opportunities to present your venue in the most effective and fabulous way possible.

 

You’ll be stunned by what can be achieved by an experienced and skilled undertaking of your interior photography, and once you’ve seen the results, you’ll never look back.

 

If you’d like me to perform my magic, you can call me for a no obligation chat on 07767 776839 or email amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com  For more examples visit the Commercial Gallery in my website www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Commercial Interior London Photography Surrey https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/11/commercial-interior-photography Tue, 01 Nov 2016 13:29:20 GMT
If your website is your shop window, make sure your customers have the best view. https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/10/if-your-website-is-your-shop-window-make-sure-your-customers-have-the-best-view If your website is your shop window, make sure your customers have the best view.

I know, I can’t believe it. It’s crazy, how can it be?

It’s nearly Christmas.

 

Well for any business that sells products likely to see peak demand in the run up to the Festive Season, you’ll really be focused on Christmas. So you need to pay close attention. But actually anyone who relies on their website for selling products throughout the year also needs to listen up. So come in, the more the merrier.

 

Let me let you into a secret.

 

If you sell products on your website, they need to look good.

 

Imagine going into a shop, selling, for the sake of the argument, lovely gifts. First of all, instead of being able to see shelves full of the actual products, you are handed a miniature tiny version of the gift. ‘’But can’t I see a bigger one you say’’? ‘’I can’t see any detail on it or understand what size it’s going to be in real life’’. ‘’Sorry’’, says the Sales Assistant. ‘’You’re only allowed to look at our products really small, then guess what it’s going to look like in real life’’.

 

You then realise all the gifts are wrapped in a film that obscures the object inside. ‘’Excuse me’’, you say, ‘’please can you take off this film, I can’t see what material it’s made from, or what the colour is. It’s just all blurry’’. ‘’Sorry’’, says the sales assistant, ‘’you can only view our products slightly blurry, and you’ll have to gamble on the quality of the material and make do with the colour’’.

 

Sounds ridiculous this scenario, doesn’t it? But when it comes to products on websites, this really is not that unusual.

 

Getting serious for a minute, there are three excellent reasons why poor product photography is not good news;

 

 1.Sales

 

Quite obviously, the whole point of displaying products on your website, is to sell them. To entice, excite and tempt the viewer into placing an order. But if a customer can’t see a product properly, one of these things may happen.

 

They may get frustrated, and just go back to the search engine, type in the product and find someone else who sells it instead.

 

They will just give up, discard their search and probably not return to the website.

 

Or, and this will bring us to the next point, they’ll take a gamble on the basis that if they don’t like it, they’ll just return it. And they are not even likely to take this chance, if you don’t have an easy and cost-free returns solution (very few companies do).

 

 2.Returns

 

So what business likes dealing with a high number of returns? Surely no one. It will skew and complicate your sales figures, cause logistical headaches in administering exchanges and refunds and may involve time dealing with customer complaints if they are really unhappy.

 

 3.Brand and Image

 

Unless you are in the most exclusive, unique and in-demand market of all time, the chances are your customers will be able to find the same or similar product elsewhere. But you want them to stay with you. If you sell online only, your website is your vehicle, your brand and your link with customers so it needs to be user friendly, attractive and impressive in order to convey quality and professionalism.

 

So now we’ve concluded that when it comes to selling goods online, photography is king, here’s some tips to get you started.

 

1. Camera

 

If you’re taking your own pictures, you’ll need a good quality camera, the pictures should be taken in either Raw or JPEG format.  If shooting in jpg always shoot at the highest resolution which is 300dpi.  You might then want to compress them to the right size i.e. 72dpi for your website before uploading them to avoid issues with quality. You may need to download a photo editor application to do this, for example Photoshop Elements.

   

2. Lighting & Background

 

Lighting is absolutely key. The look you want to create will dictate the lighting you use. The image needs to be exposed correctly. Whether you shoot high key (white background) or low key (black/grey background) low lighting, you’ll need studio lighting (light boxes) and depending on how many lights you use, a light meter and the correct white balance and grey card are also crucial. You may need to invest in a special set up kit from a specialist photography supplier. 

 

 

3. Consider the item e.g. fabric

 

If your product is clothes or fabric, taking photography will be a real challenge to get it photographed well. You may have to adjust the fabric on the manikin and be a whiz with ironing and bulldog clips to make the item look good. Digital photography will often need to be tweaked as colours can be distorted, usually done in the retouching afterwards. A texture may be knitted, shiny or cotton, and you’ll need the right lighting in order for the potential customer to be able to tell. You may also need additional shots of close up aspects to show detail.

 

4.Take from different angles

 

Depending on the product, you may need to shoot from different angles, to show the side and back. For example with furniture, your customers may not be able to make a decision purely on the front only shot.

5.When to show in context

 

Depending on your product, you may need to show it in context e.g. it being used or worn, to show what it would look like. This approach can enhance the sales of a product (such as a happy child playing with a toy, or attractive woman wearing a dress). But the staging of a shoot will need great attention to balance the photography style with the detail and focus on the product you’re selling.

 

6.Managing models

 

If you are using models, even friends and family, there are some important rules.

 

They’ll need good make up, hair and clothes that work in the lighting and flatter. They’ll need to be put at ease. And you’ll need to offer firm but clear instructions and exercise patience and constraint to not keep touching their hair, adjusting their clothes or repositioning them constantly – unless they are very comfortable with this. If you’re hiring a professional model you’ll need to work quickly and efficiently as it’s likely you’ll be paying by the day, and you’ll only get one chance to get it right.

 

 7. Go on a course

 

With so many online businesses springing up, there are now courses in photography available for small businesses, so it may be worth looking into one near you. Good photography really is a skill and for the reasons listed above, highly detrimental to your sales if you don’t get it right. So if you’re serious about creating wonderful images yourself, investing in training is well worth it.

 

 8.Use a commercial photographer

 

You may not have the time or the inclination to go on a course. You know that your photography skills aren’t top notch. You’re relying on a semi-ok camera, have never seen a light box let alone positioned one and don’t know your dpi from your elbow.

 

This really could be time to call in the professional. You’ll be very surprised how cost effective it is, and your increased in sales and reduced returns will soon cover it. No stress, freed up time, all the top equipment, handling of models and post production work at your disposal. Oh yes, and fabulous shots that sell.

 

You’ve spent who knows how much money, effort, creativity and talent creating your products. Don’t them down through poor photography.

 

Let the photography do them justice. Let the photography sell them. Let the photography do you proud.

For more information about my commercial product photography please email me on amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com or call 07767 776839.

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Commercial London Photography Product Surrey https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/10/if-your-website-is-your-shop-window-make-sure-your-customers-have-the-best-view Tue, 04 Oct 2016 12:25:55 GMT
Why clicking with your subject is key to the perfect commercial portrait https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/9/why-clicking-with-your-subject-is-key-to-the-perfect-commercial-portrait Why clicking with your subject is key to the perfect commercial portrait

 

Now I’m not here to get all soppy on you today. But if you’re in the market for a wedding photographer, I know you’ll meet a range of photographers and base your choice on not only photography skills, but social skills and personality. You’ll want your photographer to be someone with whom you feel comfortable and who will put your guests as ease. I know that you’ll choose based on these things because it’s your big day, it will entail months of planning, and you’ll make sure that everyone involved with it is right for you, on a personal as well as professional level.

 

But if you’re a business owner looking for commercial photography for your corporate website, an advertising campaign, a profile shot for social media or a portrait for a display in your work environment, I’m here to tell you that the relationship between you and your photographer is just as important.

 

Of course, their photography, technical and post-production skills, understanding of lighting and quality of equipment are absolutely essential when it comes to selecting a commercial photographer. And these are likely to be the key factors in deciding who to commission, based on their portfolio, their experience and recommendation.

 

But personality, and rapport, are also paramount, and here’s why.

 

  1. It is not your wedding day.

 

A commercial photoshoot for a new website or advertising campaign, in my experience, generally does not have up to year or many months planning behind it. In fact, on many occasions, the project will take place to quite tight deadlines to meet website go live dates and advertising copy deadlines. You’ll brief the photographer, and then the campaign will go ahead. So your photographer needs to understand you and your needs quickly and if you’re in the picture yourself, get you prepared and comfortable, fast.

 

  1. It’s not your wedding day, and you’re probably not a top model

 

As it’s not your wedding day, if you are having a profile shot taken for your website or LinkedIn, the chances are the shoot won’t be proceeded with several hours of hair and make up by top stylists. And it certainly won’t if you’re a man.

 

Now I’ll let you into a secret here. Most people aren’t that comfortable being photographed. And, most people are not over the moon about their own looks – especially women.

 

This is where the relationship with your photographer really comes in. Making people feel at ease is crucial, otherwise what should be a natural shot can look pained and uncomfortable. The client won’t get the shot they’re happy with, and it will run into many reshoots taking up time and money.

 

There are many tips and tactics that a good commercial photographer should use to put people at ease. Talking with them to understand their concerns (‘’I hate my teeth’’/’’I always look awful on the right side’’), keeping the process relaxed and lighthearted to extract some natural smiles, keeping the conversation going so the subject forgets themselves and relaxes, asking whether it’s ok to move a hair or reposition the hands, giving the subject something to hold if it makes them less fidgety, and much more.

 

And a good commercial photographer will need to be patient and accept rejection, taking as many shots as are necessary to make the client feel happy and proud of their final image.

 

  1. Understanding your business

 

Your photographer needs to do more than photograph. They need to understand your business, the brand, the tone, the marketing messages that you wish to portray. In order to do this, they need to work closely with you, and get a feel for what you like and dislike.

 

It’s your business, you know how you wish it to be presented. Corporate, funky, quirky, creative, serious, artistic. Largely containing people and movement or objects or landscapes. But if you’re not a marketing guru yourself, you’ll need the photographer to draw out this information through clever questioning and research – what you do, who your audience are and what you want to achieve.

 

  1. Managing the shoot

 

Once the preparation is done, there is a lot that goes into managing the shoot on the day if in a work environment or elsewhere.

 

If professional models are being used, the photographer will need to brief them and have them understanding quickly what’s required and what the campaign is all about. After all, models are expensive and you’ll want the best results in as little time as possible.

 

If a shoot is taking place in a work place, using you and your staff, the need to put people at ease becomes crucial.

 

At a wedding, people expect and know that at some stage their champagne drinking will be interrupted by the call from the photographer to start the photographs.

 

But in a workplace, a photographer will be an alien species. Suddenly everyone’s on edge, worrying about what they look like, acting unnaturally. But it’s the photographer’s job to ensure this doesn’t happen. They need to make the day enjoyable and fun. Understand concerns. Get the best out of people and boost their confidence. There may well be some hidden gems among your workforce who really shine in front of the camera – the photographer needs to spot them and make the most of them.

 

  1. Communication and people skills are high on the list in hiring criteria for commercial photographers

 

If you need further proof of why personality is so important, then look no further than the skills listed on the National Careers Service site for young aspiring photographers. After technical and artistic skills, in third, fourth and fifth place, come ‘excellent communication and people skills’, ‘patience’ and ‘ability to put people at ease’.

 

And this message is replicated in hiring criteria for photographers in all types of photography, where people are to be the subject, whether it’s weddings, children or commercial.

 

Ultimately, if your commercial photographer doesn’t click with you, the photoshoot will fail. Whether you’re commissioning the photography for a commercial project, or being photographed yourself for a professional shot, you’ll need your photographer to both understand what you are looking to portray and how you wish to look - whilst keep you comfortable and involved in the process.

"Amanda's professionalism shines through in her work. If you are considering a corporate photoshoot (or updating your existing gallery), and want someone who can bring out your character rather than dull standard photos, Amanda is highly recommended." Ges Ray

 

For an informal chat about how I can help you and your business look great, contact me at amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Commercial Photographer Photography Professional Website https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/9/why-clicking-with-your-subject-is-key-to-the-perfect-commercial-portrait Fri, 02 Sep 2016 11:04:06 GMT
Why for a commercial photographer, taking the photograph is just the beginning. https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/7/why-for-a-commercial-photographer-taking-the-photograph-is-just-the-beginning Why for a commercial photographer, taking the photograph is just the beginning.

It only takes a second to capture the perfect moment. Right? If we’re talking about amateur, fun photography, yes of course that can be the case.

But when it comes to high quality, commercial photography, the ‘click’ is simply one tiny element in a journey. A process that begins with briefings, entails research and planning, and culminates in the post production work that turns a simple shot into a sales tool; an original piece of creative work that is a positive reflection of your brand and company image.

Understandably, it’s easy to underestimate the true value of the work involved in a commercial photoshoot, because it’s mostly hidden, taking place behind the scenes.

So let me give it the exposure it deserves.

  1. The briefing

Once you have made the decision to book a commercial photographer, the first thing that will happen will be a briefing. I’ll come to you and ask you questions, through which I’ll get an understanding of your brand, the purpose of the shoot, your audience, your budget, your timescales and the subject.

If you’re already working with an advertising agency or web designer, I’ll liaise with them. If you need artistic input from me, I can bring creative ideas to the table.

    

  1. Preparation

Next, it’s thinking and planning time. Working out the logistics, defining the artistic approach. Need models or props? Leave it with me. Have multiple sites needing to be photographed? Rest assured I’ll organise them in the most efficient way possible to save you money and time. Have challenges in terms of lighting, backdrops, people uncomfortable with being photographed? I have the experience, equipment and tactful approach to get fantastic results.

I’ll check out the site and assess the lighting and other factors to ensure the right techniques are used on the day. I’m also used to working with people, preparing them and putting them at ease, as well as advising on outfits, and bringing in hair and makeup professionals if necessary.

 

     

  1. Post production

The final flourish. The crucial stage that turns a series of shots into awesome, stunning pictures that say everything about your business you need them to say. A stage that requires both technical expertise and a creative eye in order to create the perfect finish. The campaign may require a quirky, edgy feel that would appeal to younger audiences. Colours may need to be saturated, objects highlighted or edited, backgrounds altered or many other visual enhancements through photoshop and other applications.

 

The beauty of investing in commercial photography is in this flexibility. No need to shoehorn a campaign idea around a stock shot or compromise on what you really want. No more poor photography taken on an amateur camera that does your products and image no favours.

A commercial photographer will deliver so much more than a picture. Artistic, original shots finished to your exacting requirements.

We recently enlisted Amanda for photography for our new website having been recommended by a contact from a different golf course. Amanda is incredibly enthusiastic and professional and achieved the shots we were looking for. The quality of her work is fantastic, we were particularly impressed with her detailed close ups. We have booked Amanda for upcoming photography, and can highly recommend her services. Dan Snow Silvermere Golf & Leisure

If you’d like to get started with a no obligation chat, please contact me on amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com to see how I can help.

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Commercial London Photographer Photography Surrey https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/7/why-for-a-commercial-photographer-taking-the-photograph-is-just-the-beginning Mon, 11 Jul 2016 14:14:08 GMT
5 ways that professional photography will enhance your business’s image https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/5/5-ways-that-professional-photography-will-enhance-your-business-s-image 5 ways that professional photography will enhance your business’s image

These days, everyone’s a photographer. And it’s true. Thanks to high quality cameras on phones, with a minimum of skill, adequate photographic shots can be taken and used. There are also stock libraries, featuring thousands of images at a range of prices.

 

But nothing, and I mean nothing, can reflect you and your business’s image better than professional, bespoke, high quality photography and expert production.

 

And I don’t just say this because I’m a photographer and love the artistic and creative aspects of my work. I say this because I’m also a business person, working with other business people to bring about the best possible outcomes from their marketing and advertising. There are commercial, tangible, indisputable positive results of investing in commercial photography which may surprise you.

 

  1. Professional photography looks exactly that – professional. And as a business I’m sure that coming across as professional will be pretty high on your list of priorities. Yet how many websites are let down with cheesy, dated photography or poor gallery images of work or products? Your website is your shop window. Your marketing materials are a reflection of you. Quality and professionalism can be portrayed, or negated, by the quality of the imagery you use.

And don’t forget about you. If you are the business owner, and feature on your website or network via LinkedIn, your personal image will also be significantly enhanced through a good quality, flattering profile picture. Red eyes, pub signs in the background and a bit of arm of the person next to you who has been crudely cropped out, really do not make the best impression.

           

  1. Bespoke photography the only way to be sure of genuine individuality. The danger of stock imagery is that it could be used by someone else. And that person could be your main competitor. There are some industries where identical stock images feature on virtually all the websites in the field. I don’t know about you, but this practice causes me to question the authenticity and credibility of those businesses. Are they real, do they actually exist? As a business you should be displaying your own work, your own products and your own people, so that customers engage with the real you, not an artificial image.

  1. Commercial photography is one of the strongest methods through which to develop, convey and reinforce your organisational brand. It’s not just about the subject of the image, it’s about the lighting, the style and the production. Perhaps your brand reflects traditional values, so imagery can be captured in sepia or traditional styles. Maybe you’re a new, innovative business that needs to reflect this in quirky, fun, contemporary style pictures. Or are you a luxury business that needs to exude class and quality to high end customers? Whatever it is, bespoke photography can meet the brief and create a tone and brand for your business that becomes instantly recognisable and engages your audience.

   

  1. To use a cliché, a picture paints a thousand words. But it’s saying the right words that count. Amateur or stock photography will never be able to escapsulate a specific message the way a professional photographer can. To bring an advertising campaign to life, you need the image to be exactly right. Shoehorning an idea around poor photography or stock images will never have the same impact. A commercial photographer will not only select the right model or subject, but create the atmosphere and finish with the production that gets your message spot on. You’ll be able to say exactly what you want to say, how you want to say it.

  1. Commercial photography sells. And this is the crux of why you should invest in it. This is unarguably the case if you are in ecommerce, and seeking to persuade customers to buy your products based on the pictures on your website. The higher the quality of photography, the higher the sales and the lower the returns. But commercial photography sells services too. Would you be more attracted to a classy, sophisticated hair and beauty salon website that featured stunning shots of the Salon, hair styles and photographers at work, or dark poor quality images or stock shots of models? If you’re looking for a company in building, decorating or interior design, will you be impressed by poorly lit, amateur pictures of jobs or well presented high quality images that truly showcase the quality of the work?

 

It may sound dramatic, but while professional photography can enhance the image of your business, poor photography can damage it.

 

If you’re concerned about the cost, don’t be, it’s likely to be far more cost effective than you think. If you’re concerned about the time and effort, don’t be, photographers work quickly and flexibly, using mobile studios and the latest production technology.

 

To discuss any questions or needs you have without any obligation, call me on 07767 776839 or email amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

David Patrick Owner Hair & Beauty Salon Epsom – Amanda took some creative portraits of our staff and business for our website which we are absolutely delighted with, we would highly recommend her.

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Commercial London Photographer Photography Surrey https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/5/5-ways-that-professional-photography-will-enhance-your-business-s-image Fri, 27 May 2016 07:03:47 GMT
Three perceptions about using commercial photography that are wrong, wrong, wrong https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/4/three-perceptions-about-using-commercial-photography-that-are-wrong-wrong-wrong Three perceptions about using commercial photography that are wrong, wrong, wrong

When you invest in advertising and marketing for your business, what are you hoping to achieve?

 

The answer to this question should be impact, interest, curiosity and reaction. Reinforcement of your brand. Conveying an impression of quality, individuality and recognition.

 

Bespoke photography can be a key factor in delivering this.

   

So why do so many businesses, when spending significant budgets on advertising, leave good quality photography out of the mix?

 

As a commercial photographer, the benefits seem obvious to me. But from speaking with businesses, particularly Small Medium Establishments, I know that there are some misperceptions which deter the commissioning of photography.

 

I’m going to take these common myths, and bust them. I’m going to explain why photography is a good investment, why it’s better than using stock images and why to improve the impact of your advertising, it’s the right thing to do.

 

Myth number 1: Commercial photography is too expensive.

 

This is probably the biggest and most off-putting perception for any business without a huge budget. Completely understandably, if you’re an SME, you need a cost effective website and advertising campaign. Quite possibly, you’ve looked into it before and photography costs were immense. However, it does not have to be this way. And here’s why;

 

  • Like any service, there are a wide range of companies providing it in the market. Many photographers are highly cost effective, charging very reasonable hourly rates, including the production work, and organising shoots as carefully as possible so as to keep costs down. Many photographers also have arrangements with models and venues in place in order to keep the costs affordable for clients.
  • Most commercial photographers will include the initial briefing meeting for free (and I’ll even provide you with a profile shot should you need it for your social media, all included in the cost of the shoot).
  • The alternative to bespoke photography, the use stock shots, is not always a cheap solution. Well they can be, but you do get what you pay for. You may be lucky and find the perfect royalty free shot that fits your campaign. However, be aware of the hidden costs of using stock images;
    • You’ll often be charged for the time graphic designers take undertaking time consuming image search. Instead of paying for half a day of image search, this money could have been invested in a photoshoot.
    • Unless an image is completely free, most will carry at least a small charge, which could represent an hour of photography. Many good stock images will carry a substantial charge, and if they are not royalty free you will need to pay every time you use it. Compare this to bespoke photography – once you have your disk of images, they are yours to use whenever you wish. It’s a one off investment.
    • Stock images are not exclusive. Your competitor, or another entirely different company, could use the same image in their campaign or on their website. Imagine the embarrassment. You’ve paid for imagery only - to look the same as someone else. Enter bespoke photography – it’s yours for life, it’s individual and no one else will have it.
    • Stock images will still carry production charges from your designers, as they may need to be cropped or altered in order to fit the campaign or website requirements.

       

Myth number 2: Commercial photography will take too long, I need to get my website up and running or an advert out asap.

 

Not so fast! Most commercial photographers will arrange a briefing meeting as soon as is needed. Photoshoots can be arranged quickly and photographers will deliver the production work within the timescales and deadlines of your project. I have a mobile studio which I can bring out to you or the relevant venue at very short notice. Properly arranged, you’d be amazed at what could be achieved within one hour of photography, let alone half a day. Unless it’s a very complex campaign, undertaking photography simply does not have to be a lengthy process.

 

Myth number 3: Photography is not appropriate or necessary for my business, we don’t sell products online and we’re only a small company.

 

I can assure you that this is not the case. Agreed, if you are selling products online, great photography is even more crucial in enhancing the customer’s ability to appreciate your products and reduce the number of returns. However, for any business with a website, and who invests in marketing, this is your ‘shop window’. It’s your ability to get noticed by potential customers. Even your profile shot is part of the impression you make and can engage or deter interest in your business.

   

I have undertaken bespoke photography for cleaning companies, hairdressers, pubs and florists. I have produced creative portrait pictures for a motivational speaker, photographed products for a clothing store and worked with hotels and golf clubs. Every type of business, with any level of budget, can benefit from investing in photography.

 

So don’t let these 3 popular misperceptions put you off exploring bespoke photography. The chances are, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what can be done and delighted with the results.

 

"Thank you Amanda we are delighted with the food and lifestyle photography for our website which has really captured what we are about, with the bespoke photography that you have created for us.  The images are professional and of the highest quality".  Damien Man - The White Hart, Chipstead.

For a no obligation chat about my prices and how I can help please contact me at amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Commercial Photography Kingswood London Surrey Website Photography https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/4/three-perceptions-about-using-commercial-photography-that-are-wrong-wrong-wrong Tue, 19 Apr 2016 09:01:42 GMT
Special moments from 2015 weddings .... https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/4/highlights-from-2015-weddings All the weddings I do are special I thought I would share some special moments from last year as this years weddings begin .......

     

 

         

 

       

 

       

 

       

 

       

 

         

      

If you have any questions about wedding photography just let me know amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com happy weddings for 2016.

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Photography Wedding https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/4/highlights-from-2015-weddings Mon, 11 Apr 2016 12:11:13 GMT
Highlights & Examples of Commercial Photography https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/1/highlights-examples-of-commercial-photography

 

Clients include Silvermere Golf & Leisure, Gowen & Stevens, Sandmans Signigture Hotels, Momentum Charity, Ashdown Academy, Mad Lillies to name a few .... For any Commercial or Website Photography please contact amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Commercial Photographer Professional Photographer https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/1/highlights-examples-of-commercial-photography Fri, 15 Jan 2016 09:29:22 GMT
Dare to Bare on your Wedding Day https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2015/8/dare-to-bare-on-your-wedding-day

Fashion trends change every year and wedding fashion is no different.  At the top designer wedding shows this year the verdict was overwhelmingly for “Sheer !”  The highlight of the catwalks was Vera Wang’s dress which was dubbed “the totally transparent wedding dress”. 

As with all the designer looks they will be translated to the high street and therefore ladies - look out as the national average of a women in Great Britain is a size 14 get ready to get your nude spandex dusted out from your drawers, be prepared to squeeze and squash every inch of skin into the miracle lycra underwear that is now available to help us look like the Angelena Jolies of this world because we are going to need it!

 

Will you go for the new fashion look?  Are you brave enough?  I have photographed a couple of fashion bridal shoots recently for two designers Valour & Valkyrie(black dress) & Watters Label at Helena Fortley Bridal Shop with the model Charlotte.  As I think you will agree from these two examples she looks stunning and the new style works for her.  When asked which dress she felt most bare in surprisingly she said the pale pink dress with the see through netting at the front, “ the black dress didn’t feel daring at all I think because of the colour and the fact I couldn’t see my back”.

This may suggest then it is all in the mind and about how confident you feel with your own body.  I feel I have gained a little wisdom over the years as a wedding photographer and I have encountered many wonderful brides, and I know you want to please your man but please do think practically as well.  Do you want to give your father in law an early heart attack, is it sexy to reveal too much?  Can you sit down and eat in the dress or if you are big busted wear some straps to make you feel more comfortable because believe me on the wedding day you and that dress should be the most comfortable it can be for you to enjoy your day to the absolute max.  Celebrate the fact that your body shape whatever it may be is great and that the more confident you are the sexier you will feel.  So whatever your size if you do decide to Dare to Bare do it with confidence and style.

 

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2015/8/dare-to-bare-on-your-wedding-day Thu, 27 Aug 2015 09:00:32 GMT
Course & Event Golf Photography https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2015/3/course-event-golf-photography  

Now spring is approaching do you require golf course photography?

Capturing the light to produce the best results.

Professional and the highest quality images.  Creating powerful images for you.

Are you having a golf event?

Mixing with the greats of golf catching the action.

Women golfing on the up, action shots.

Do you need golf products photographed?

Teaching golf, tell a story with great photography.

Amanda has now a wealth of experience with Golf Photography, her clients include Silvermere Golf Club, Walton Heath Golf Club, Kingswood Golf Club. Epsom Downs Golf Club to name a few. Published regularly in Golf News.  The No1 Golf Newspaper.

If you are thinking Professional Golf Photography please contact Amanda on amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Course Event Golf Photography https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2015/3/course-event-golf-photography Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:02:20 GMT
Commercial Interior Photography https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2015/1/commercial-interior-photography  

The new deluxe hotel “The Lodge” at Kingswood Golf & Country Club commissioned me for their website photography.  I was delighted taking the images as the hotel is spectacular.  I combined flash with day light photography to create the photos, and a tripod was essential in achieving the right look.  The hotel also purchased some of my golf art prints which are now gracing the walls.  These finish off the look beautifully.

Need any Interior Photography please contact amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Commercial Interior Photography Surrey https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2015/1/commercial-interior-photography Fri, 30 Jan 2015 12:09:28 GMT
Twelve Month Highlight 2014 https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/12/twelve-month-highlight-2014 I have been reflecting on what a fantastic year I have had & I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU  to everyone that has commissioned me or recommended me for my photography.  Each month I have many different jobs so I have picked one favourite photo from that month, I am extremely lucky in that my photography clients vary a lot therefore reflecting in the type of different photography that I do.  THANK YOU again, you all know who you are it has been such a creative & successful year......

January

 

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Happy Christmas xx

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/12/twelve-month-highlight-2014 Mon, 22 Dec 2014 13:57:01 GMT
Inspirational Photo Shoot for Brides to be .... https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/12/inspirational-photo-shoot-for-brides-to-be  

It is fantastic to see your own work published on the front cover of a main stream magazine which you can buy in WHSmiths.  All the hard work over the years pays off when you are recognized by other professionals in your field. 

I have been photographing weddings now for 20 years, and having over the years built up a tremendous wealth of knowledge.  It is very inspirational to try and push yourself creatively each time and this was the case when Hannah Mac Lennan from Pistachio Blush approached me and other professionals in their field for a 1960's Barbie bridal photo shoot.

The shoot took place in Banstead woods and together we created something different and fresh to give brides inspiration for their wedding day.  We were really lucky with the weather rays of light shone through patches of tree tops to create a dazzlingly golden glow.

A huge thank you to all my colleagues who were involved in this shoot may the creative force be with you.  If you are looking for a creative and experienced wedding photography then please have a look at other examples of my work through my website www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk.  Would love to hear from you.

 

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Photography Surrey Weddings https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/12/inspirational-photo-shoot-for-brides-to-be Fri, 05 Dec 2014 11:02:36 GMT
The Many Wedding Photo Opportunities at Kingswood Golf Club https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/11/the-many-wedding-photo-opportunities-at-kingswood-golf-course I was recently asked by a wedding client that was looking to book Kingswood Golf Club for their wedding venue and rightly so asked if there were any good photo opportunites at Kingswood as it is just a Golf Course. 

I am really lucky to be the recommended photographer at the Club and therefore do a few weddings here, so I feel I do have the knowledge to give a good answer to the question and I have now been living within the grounds for 7 years.    The venue is stunning and the diversity is amazing, I never photograph a wedding the same way.  It has many secret hidden corners and knowing the venue well I know where is best to photograph depending on the year and the light.  This gives me such inspiration that combined with wedding couples ideas create some beautiful memories.

Have a look and see what you think?


I do have many more examples, if you would like to see more of my work or talk through some wedding ideas please contact me on 07767 776839 or email amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Kingswood Golf Club Surrey Wedding Photography https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/11/the-many-wedding-photo-opportunities-at-kingswood-golf-course Tue, 11 Nov 2014 20:01:04 GMT
Do Corporate Photographs need to be boring .....NO https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/4/do-corporate-photographs-need-to-be-boring-no Looking through the many commercial magazines I wonder why the corporate portraits are all very similar.  All these professional business men and women have many different personalities.  How can we express this in a portrait?  It does take a little preparation work, understanding what occupation they do, what hobbies they have, sometimes adding of an item into the portrait makes it fun and expresses something of their personalities into a photograph.  Making an image seem more 3d than 2d.  There are so many variables that a photographer can use.  White background, black background, grey or color??  Studio lighting, location shoot with natural light.  Black and white and or color.  Digital effect or natural the list is endless..........

Here is a fab example I shot recently, guess what work they do??

If you are looking for some creative corporate portraits contact me Amanda at amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com or call 07767 776839.  Happy photographing!!!

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/4/do-corporate-photographs-need-to-be-boring-no Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:42:21 GMT
Creative Digital Skills in Wedding Photography https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/4/creative-digital-skills-in-wedding-photography When you are scrolling though all those photographers names on the internet and you are looking for something different what should you look for and ask when it comes to going the extra mile when adding some extra creative photoshop skills to your images.  For me I love that extra creative input that will make your wedding photographs that little bit extra special.  Here are some examples of the different looks that you can add to your photography.

This wedding had the theme of Alice in Wonderland so working with the bride we developed ideas to add into the album they were having.  It is so important to develop a good relationship with your photographer share as many ideas as you can what images do you like send them some examples.  A little white rabbit has appeared in this magical sunset theme.

This next effect with black and white images with a hint of colour is still really popular and works on some images to great effect this is quite a bold look.  Used to highlight for example flowers or a person  If you are keen on this look just ask a photographer if this is something that they can do for you.


I love this shot and colour toning the whole image creates a very powerful look.  You have to know what you are looking for to do this type of image it dosen't work on just any photograph.  Another colour toning look that is used quite often is blue.  Which can work with colder scenes or if you are by the sea.

You than have which was really popular last year the vintage look.  This is created in photoshop using lots of layers and effects and you need someone with good photoshop skills to get this effect looking correct.  Looks beautiful with a vintage themed wedding, which includes all the flowers, car, dresses to create dreamlike images.

Classic black and white always looks stunning, but again here I believe only certain images suit black and white and there is some skill to making sure the tonal quality of the black and white image is correct especially in digital photography.

Finally and one of the reasons I love photographing weddings is that sometimes something special happens on the day.  If you have a good photographer they will adapt and seize on anything extra special for example in the sky there were two beautiful straight airplane cloud trails in the sky, I noticed them during photographing the couple and later adapted the clouds to form a heart, really simple and really effective.

So if you are looking for a photographer to add something extra to your wedding day using creative photoshop skills do get in touch for a complimentary wedding consultation with Amanda on 07767 776839 or amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Creative Photographer Photography Surrey Wedding https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/4/creative-digital-skills-in-wedding-photography Fri, 04 Apr 2014 10:21:26 GMT
Fantastic Article in Brides Magazine https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/3/fantastic-article-in-brides-magazine Here published in Brides Magazine photography shoot at Kingswood Golf Club with Hannah bride to be and wedding coordinater  at Kingswood, read on for more details :

http://www.weddinglink.co.uk/home/wedding_coordinator_is_bride_for_the_day_on_styled_photo_shoot_1_3427754

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/3/fantastic-article-in-brides-magazine Thu, 27 Mar 2014 13:26:24 GMT
Golf Photography https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/3/golf-photography Golf photography, the weather needs to be right, shooting at sunrise and sunset is the best though not always easy to achieve and long exposures essential.  Here are some examples :

 


If you are looking to have new photographs of your course please contact Amanda at amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

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(Amanda Duncan Photography) Golf Photography Surrey https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/3/golf-photography Wed, 12 Mar 2014 11:08:35 GMT
Event Photography https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/2/event-photography
  • How do you find a good Event Photographer?
  • When looking for a good photographer the best way in my view is recommendation - if you have a connection with someone that can give you the photographers details this is excellent.  This means they have worked with that individual or company already and can give valuable feedback as to how they work and the quality of their images.  For example I did a lot of work in the past for WISE they are a company for women engineers, therefore because of their ethics they wanted a female photographer.

    So the event organiser asked colleague she worked with and my name came up therefore a good recommendation for her.

    • How do you know if they are good?

    A good event photographer will know how to take amazing photographs in every possible scenario.  First point of call is to check their work.  This can either be done by seeing a portfolio or their website.  Every photographer has their own style.  Ask yourself do you like their work.  What do you look for in a great photograph?  The images must be sharp.  The colour balance should be excellent.  Often this is the hardest thing to get right, as if the event is held indoors there is always different lighting to contend with, fluorescent, tungsten, stage lighting.  So the images mustn't appear too orange for example.  For example this image was photographed using stage lighting very difficult to get right.

    Arrange a meeting, do you like them?  This is important as you will have to work with them. Are they team players, will they listen to you? Will they be professional and well behaved with your clients?  For example I have worked with the royal family a few times and as an event planner you need to employ someone you can trust.  There are several rules you have to follow when photographing the royal family and you want a photographer who is respectful of this.

    Get testimonials from past clients this will give you a good over view of them as a person and of their work.  Check if a photographer has a public liability insurance this will confirm that they are serious, also when photographing children they need to have a CRB certificate.

    • Pricing Structures

    This depends very much on the event.  Do you want just a CD from the day, prints on the day, photographs displayed on a website, there are so many variables.  Here are the main questions to ask.

    • How do photographers charge for an event?

    For an award ceremony event photographers will charge for their time by the hour, half day or day rate and then extra for a disk or prints.  Some companies need to offer prints on the day at an event for example at a Golf Pro Am tournament.  

    A mutual rate will be negotiated as the photographer will have a lot of outlay for the day for example photography paper, inks, mounts, bags etc they may not pay site costs but may give a percentage of the costs of the prints to the organisers.  The event maybe charity driven so some of the proceeds will then go to the charity.  It all depends on the event and making sure all the relevant partners involved get benefits from the day.

    • Who controls copyright of the images? 

    The rule of who owns the copyright of a photograph is by law whoever took the photograph.  Therefore if you want to own the photo you will have to negotiate with the photographer for the rights.  This is important if you want to publish any images at a later stage. Some photographers will release copyright on a disk some won't.  If they do release the copyright then they will include the price of the disk into the daily rate.  If they don't release copyright then the photographer will sell the images on their website at an extra rate after the event.  If you are given the digital file you can use them however you wish. Upload them to Facebook, turn them into table mats, send them to your family. However, for corporate events and PR/Press events client usage will need to be negotiated in advance there are options to globally buy out the copyright.

    If  you have an event coming up shortly please contact Amanda to schedule your complimentary event consultation on 07767 776839 or amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

     

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    (Amanda Duncan Photography) Event London Photographer Photography Surrey https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/2/event-photography Wed, 12 Feb 2014 12:15:19 GMT
    Professional Photography verses Stock Images for your Website https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/1/professional-photography-verses-stock-images-for-your-website Should you use Professional Photographer or Stock Images for your Website ?

    When building a website it is vital to get the photography right.   The images immediately send out a powerful visual impact that getting it right, gives your website a great first impression. Here are five reasons why I think hiring a professional photographer always outweighs buying stock images for your website. 

    1. Original photography versus the same old stock image used again and again

    Stock images are used again and again therefore the images are not original at all.   The same photos are seen on many different websites.  This then means that they don't produce the WOW factor that original photographs by a professional photographer would. With personal and original photography you can come up with something unique that no one else has thought of before.  

     

          

      

      

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The company director of this company had a really strong idea of what he wanted; one of the words in the title of his company was a colour so he wanted this incorporated into the images.  Hence the idea of black and white with a hint of the colour to pull together a very powerful and unique looks.  This makes the images both very personal and creative.

     

    1. Your own personal image and vision for your website

    If you use stock photography then you are using someone else vision.  Having your own personality stamped onto your own website is very powerful as with the example above.  As the saying goes "A picture is worth a 1,000 words".

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This company wanted their name in the shot so you could see their branding, this is impossible with stock photography as no branding is in any of their images.

    1. Costs, stock images verses a professional photographer

    I have checked out the costs and I think they are comparable.  I charge by the hour so am really flexible with my costs you can spend as little or as much as you like depending on how many looks and images you require.  There are also many indirect costs associated with stock photographs that go beyond the licensing fee, where the costs change depending on how big you want the image.  There is also the time spent looking for an image that you think fits with your website.   My prices include a CD with all the images at a very large file size so you can use the images small for your website or large for banners or posters.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This company used this image for just that purpose; it was printed large for a banner as well as appearing on their website.

    1. Making photographs perfect for you

    Before working on you website hopefully you have done some market research to find out what goals and messages you want to send out.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Here is an example taken of a choir this was taken while on stage to create the look they wanted for their website which was full of energy and movement.  

     

    1.  On the About Us page on your website what does your image say about you?

    Are the images professional?  Whoever is represented in the photograph do they appear approachable and open would you do work with them?  Again first impressions are so important.

         

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I think this photograph on the left says a lot about this managing director at www.red-river-software.co.uk.  It shows an approachable and friendly person with a really professional approach.  An excellent example of how a corporate photograph should look. All photographs (c) Amanda Duncan.

    If you would like to find out more on my services for website photography please contact me on 07767 776839 or email me amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

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    (Amanda Duncan Photography) Coporate Photography photographer photography porfessional website https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/1/professional-photography-verses-stock-images-for-your-website Tue, 28 Jan 2014 11:48:06 GMT
    Taking great photographs when the weather is awful ! https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/1/taking-great-photographs-when-the-weather-is-awful As we plunge into a new year, the weather once again has been awful, my heart goes out to anyone who's homes have been flooded recently.  This sets me to thinking about how I take photographs in the British weather.  Actually it isn't all that bad.   The secret is to be well prepared, to have sussed out where you are going to take your shot first.  It also is very important to wrap up warm and have the correct clothes and props available ie. wellies & umbrellas.  The light with rain is usually flat so I like to pop in some fill in flash this lightens up the whole photograph and creates an atmospheric image if done right.  Snow is very difficult especially with a white dress generally you need to under expose to pick up all the detail in the photo that you are creating.

     

    However it can be great fun and as long as you are all OK and are wearing the appropriate gear and you are quick it can create some fabulous images.  Here are a couple of mine:

     

    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE, if you need to contact me about photography amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com or 07767 776839.

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    (Amanda Duncan Photography) photographer surrey wedding https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/1/taking-great-photographs-when-the-weather-is-awful Mon, 06 Jan 2014 15:01:30 GMT
    Winter Wonderland Bridal Shoot at Kingswood Golf Club https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/12/winter-wonderland-bridal-shoot-at-kingswood-golf-club The gorgeous Hannah wedding coordinator for Kingswood Golf Club agreed to model for a bridal fashion shoot coordinated with all her recommended suppliers at the club.  Full contact list below.

    The day was set cold,windy and cloudy.  We started with the Vintage Car which worked with the 50's style wedding dress.  Hannah did well holding the poses with the wind blowing her dress everywhere.

    Much to the golfers surprise we managed to get a really dramatic shot with the stormy weather.

    Thankfully then we turned our attention indoors to the classic ballroom, with chandeliers and candles flickering to an elegant, classic and romantic look that was created using to best effect the  large mirrors in the room.

    A dramatic and wild twist the next theme "Bodesia".  Luckily athletic Hannah didn't mind climbing trees to create the perfect warrior look and the occasional blast of chilling blasts seemed to add drama to the shoots.

    Finally and my favourite look regal beauty in a oyster figure hugging dress.

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    Thank you to everyone involved it was truely a fabulous team performance those involved were:

    Victoria Chaney Make up- www.victoriachaineymakeup.co.uk

    Beckie Packham Hair - www.beckiesbridalhair.co.uk

    Natasha Jane Bridal Dresses - www.nj-bride.com

    Sharon Cole Florist - www.aandsflowerstudio.co.uk

    David Moore Wedding Cars - www.timeless-weddings.co.uk

    Amanda Brooch Bouquets - www.broochbride.co.uk

    Hannah Wedding Coordinater & Model - www.kingswood-golf.co.uk

     

     

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    (Amanda Duncan Photography) Club Golf Kingswood Photographer Surrey Wedding photographer https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/12/winter-wonderland-bridal-shoot-at-kingswood-golf-club Tue, 17 Dec 2013 08:50:54 GMT
    A Christmas Gift with a difference..... https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/12/a-christmas-gift-with-a-difference Why not buy your loved ones a portrait voucher, something different and that will last forever.  A portrait voucher can be used for all sorts of photography :

    • New Baby
    • Engagement Portrait
    • Family Portrait
    • Model Portfolio

    Photographs are precious, a moment captured in time.  It takes time to create a great photograph.  It is always important to have a pre consultation first, this is where you can discuss your ideas and thoughts and images that you like.

    A good portrait is a collaboration with your photographer and yourselves, you will need to allow a good half a day to enjoy the session properly.  Really think about where you would like the shoot to take place, somewhere that means a lot to you? Best also to think about what to wear, something comfortable and makes you feel confidant.  Pay attention to hair and make up, it is worth taking time with your look.

    Then relax and just enjoy :

    If you think this is a great idea then I have a special Xmas Offer.  If you would like to buy a portrait voucher and it is booked into January or February 2014 then you will receive 5 extra images.  For more details contact Amanda on 07767 776839 or amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com 

    You are one step away from having a magical and different Christmas present. xx

     

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    (Amanda Duncan Photography) https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/12/a-christmas-gift-with-a-difference Sat, 07 Dec 2013 14:56:39 GMT
    Getting Inspired ....... https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/11/getting-inspired It always helps to get inspiration for my own wedding & corporate business by visiting photographic exhibitions as often as I can.

    One that I have seen recently is "World Press Photo" Exhibition which was at the South Bank Center, London.  World Press Photo is an independent non profit organization based in Amsterdam. 

    Truly heart stopping exhibition from the fighting in Syria, Palestine & Sudan to underwater photography of penguins!  How any photographer can be that creative in the very difficult situations that are they find themselves in I do not know.  Yet the images are stunning, the use of light and composition very original.

    I think my favorite is Zuzia a girl with albinism.  The tonal quality and lighting of the portrait is wonderful, this image has really inspired me with the subtle blend of colour, I know I will remember this for my next creative portrait.

    What inspires you?  Please leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you!

    To view the images from this years exhibition visit their website www.worldpressphoto.org/awards/2013

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    (Amanda Duncan Photography) London Photographic Exhibition Portrait Photographer World Press Photo https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/11/getting-inspired Fri, 29 Nov 2013 09:45:00 GMT
    Make Up Something Funny ..... https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/11/make-up-something-funny Some of the jobs I do are such fun and very creative.  I recently photographed the students for their final year projects in Theatre Make Up at Northbrook College, Sussex.  Such a talented year, this year the theme was "Circus", they created many different looks and used a lot of body painting.  It just shows how important to photography that make up and styling is to create  really inspirational looks.  Many congratulations to all of you.

    Here are some examples :

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    (Amanda Duncan Photography) https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/11/make-up-something-funny Mon, 18 Nov 2013 14:00:00 GMT
    "How to make sure your printed photographs have the WOW factor" https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/11/-how-to-make-sure-your-printed-photographs-have-the-wow-factor Imagine how lovely it would be to see that beautiful wedding or portrait image framed on the wall.  Reminding you every time you look at it that it makes you smile and remember fond memories.

    All too often my clients keep their photographs on the computer and never print any of the images to put on the wall or out on display.

    I think we have lost the art of framed portraits a little, however I think it is really important to have some on display. I do and I love looking at them.

    So you must try to insure that the print is of the highest quality.  If you are thinking of visiting a high street lab then be aware that they have machines set up for mass printing.

    Always ask a printer for a sample print first to check that you like the quality and colour of their prints.  Whenever I do a shoot that is disk only for a client I produce an "aftercare sheet" which explains in more depth about getting the print right.

    I use a great printer for all my photographs - I've used them for 10 years, they are reliable, professional and I always get great results from them.  Get in touch today on 07767 776839 to find out how you can have your wedding or family portraits beautifully framed, for you to enjoy every day.

     

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    (Amanda Duncan Photography) Prints photographer portraits https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/11/-how-to-make-sure-your-printed-photographs-have-the-wow-factor Tue, 12 Nov 2013 13:03:16 GMT
    What Does Your Corporate Photograph Say About You? https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/11/what-does-your-corporate-image-say-about-you It is SO important to have a pre-shoot consultation with your photographer when thinking about having a professional portrait taken.  Have a real good think about what aspects of your personality you want to convey in your photograph.  This is not as easy as it seems.

    Some points to think about :

    • Do you want the shoot in a studio set up or out on location.  Professional lighting in a studio has a more classic look.  The location however might depend on your career.  For example a Personal Trainer may want the shoot outside where this can convey a health and fitness look and some movement can be incorporated in the portrait.  A Banker on the other hand will want a more conservative look with classic lighting.
    • What to wear-very important to wear something you are comfortable in, this may sound obvious but clothes need to be ironed and smart whether a casual or smart look.  Colour is quite important, sometimes white or black can make you look washed out.  A nice blue shirt that matches your eyes looks good and this will enhance your portrait.
    • Make up-I always believe you should try and look as natural as possible so a normal covering of make up is good nothing too heavy.  It may be advisable to book a make up artist if you want a really professional look.
    • Hair-Same as make up advice really, don't try and have a new hair cut just before having your portrait because you may not like it, stick to your natural look but must look neat and tidy.
    • Body Language-I think this is one of the most important points of taking a portrait.  Open body language is key, not crossed arms, a smile makes you look more approachable.  This is down to the skill of your photographer to make you feel relaxed and to bring out the best in you.
    • Props- do you want props in your shoot to inform clients more of what you do or who you are?  For example for a photographer should a camera be included in your photograph?
    • Black & White or Colour- Again these can both say different things about you, colour maybe is more welcoming, black and white classic business look.

    Some examples of good portraits :

    This portrait was shot in a studio, this client plays guitar in a band and we felt it was very important to include his guitar in his portrait.  I think the portrait looks creative and fun and approachable and represents a part of his personality that is very important to him.

    I really like this portrait, this company director wanted a look that was smart and professional yet also approachable and I think we achieved this.  Black and white adds a cool look and his open body language invites you into the portrait.

    The famous author Jacqueline Wilson in action.  This is a good example of a portrait shot on location, it speaks volumes about her personality.  Her large rings, her book, again her body language leaning forward and engaged in conversation.

    A Corporate photography session with me would include a conversation about what you would like from your portrait.  Then the shoot will take 1-2 hours I usually come to you, then you will receive a contact sheet of 30-40 images or view them online, you then choose your favourites.

    Contact me to arrange your free photo consultation email  amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com or phone 07767 776839.

    Amanda Duncan Photography, Life, captured

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    (Amanda Duncan Photography) Photographer coporate photographer photographs portraits surrey https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/11/what-does-your-corporate-image-say-about-you Mon, 04 Nov 2013 09:53:56 GMT
    New Trend for 2014 - English Countryside Weddings https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/10/new-trend-for-2014---english-countryside-weddings As a wedding photographer it is important to keep up with the latest trends last year was vintage but next year is moving towards "English Countryside".

    Important elements are :

    • Rustic Bouquets - ivy & rose hip
    • Wellies !!
    • Earthy colours & tones
    • Hair trained but wild
    • Natural woodlands, fields

    I have years of experience with weddings and colaborated on this shoot with Victoria @ www.victoriachaineymakeup.co.uk, Becky @ www.beckiesbridalhair.co.uk & Nicky @ Nicky's Bloomers.

    Natural light is key, we choose the Surrey Countryside for this look.  I find it so inspiring for my wedding photography to do bridal shoots, this helps me make each wedding I photograph the most creative it can be.

    Call me today 07767 776839 to arrange your FREE wedding consultation-to find out how you can make your wedding the best it can be.

     

     

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    (Amanda Duncan Photography) Bride Locations Photography Wedding photographer photographs tips https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/10/new-trend-for-2014---english-countryside-weddings Tue, 29 Oct 2013 08:28:02 GMT
    Your Surrey Wedding Magazine August September 2013 https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/8/your-surrey-wedding-magazine-august-september-2013 Congratulations to Michelle and Brendan who had their wedding published in Your Surrey Wedding Magazine in the August and September edition at Gorse Hill Hotel Woking in Surrey.

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    (Amanda Duncan Photography) Surrey photographer https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/8/your-surrey-wedding-magazine-august-september-2013 Thu, 22 Aug 2013 10:21:16 GMT
    Simple Tips to Improve your Photography Eye ! https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/5/simple-tips-to-improve-your-photography-eye Simple Tips to improve your photography EYE !
     
    Everyone can take a good photograph these days especially with all the great cameras on sale you can't really go wrong.  Also making a good image is subjective to the individual. However there are some golden rules that help all the visual elements look right together.
     

    Simple Tips to Improve your photography eye - Telling a story

    Tip 1
    Telling a story
     
    This is my favourite part of photography if you can tell a story as well as artistically producing a great shot you have a winner.  The above shot in Venice is mixing old with new, I found it really funny that the Gondola man was on his mobile phone whilst dressed in such an old fashioned, traditional way.

     Love this shot of the two fathers of the bride and groom enjoying a joke on their children's big day, they teased each other all day.

    This was a gem of a wedding as some of the bridesmaids were poodles, if you look closely at this photo not one person or animal is looking at the camera priceless !!  I find the photographs that I remember most are the ones that tell a story and an image is so much more powerful than words.

     

    Simple Tips to improve your photography eye!! White Space

     
    Tip 3
    White Space

    What is white space?  It is sometimes more important than the stuff that is in it.  It is the space that surrounds your main subject in a photograph.  See example :

     It is sometimes known as negative space.  It allows your eye to travel around the object and gives it a resting space..  Space calls attention to content.

     White space is just as much a shape as the main subject together they make up composition.    If the space gets filled up it feels oppressive, and a lack of negative space confuses the viewer.  It is I feel one of the most important points to deal with when creating an imageThe photograph below for example needs the space on the left to compensate for the eye to take in all the fabulous make up and costume of the model.


    Simple tips to improve your photography eye! Tip 4 Colour & Tone

     
    Tip 4
    Colour & Tone

    Colour and tone greatly contributes to how you feel about a photograph.  We are all conditioned to connect a colour with an abundance of psychological and emotional meaning, and this can vary tremendously between cultural groups and individuals.  For example blues and greens create a colder feel, see example below 
     
















    Whereas if you look at this next photo which is simulaar to the one above I shot at a different time of day with warmer colours such as red it creates a very different feel.
     
    The range of tonal values also effects a photograph.  Large dark areas are are associated with strength and mood.  Whereas images that are light suggest softness and space.
    Try and use colour to help emphasize a subject.  For example the image below would not have worked if the little girls dress were in another colour.  Again simplicity makes more of a powerful photograph and that rule is applied to colour aswell. 
     
     
     

    Simple Tips to improve your photography EYE! Tip 3 The rule of thirds.

     

     

    Simple Tips to improve your photography EYE! Balance

     

    Tip 6
    Balance
    Again every picture is subjective yet there is always a balance when looking at a really good image, one that makes the image memorable and pleasing to the eye.  Balance dosen't mean that everything in the picture has to be in the centre quite the opposite infact, the eye takes in the camera viewpoint, tone, colour, framing and detail.


    For example in this photograph the figure crossing the bridge has been captured just as they pass under the middle of the building creating a strong vertical line however either side of the figure the green colour tone balances the picture, also the red light right at the top of the picture helps the eye travel upward.



    

     
    When the picture has lots of landscape detail it feels enclosed yet adding more foreground makes such a scale difference giving good depth of field.
     

    Finally sometimes shapes and proportions are objects in their own right, sometimes how they are cropped creates balance.
     

    TIP 7
    STRUCTURE
     
    When taking a photograph you have to work within a frame.  Think about what you see through the view finder or back of camera try and think of it as a blank piece of paper.
    First decision is whether you want horizontal or vertical.  Your eye scans horizontal pictures best like reading of a book left to right.  Using horizontal lines or shapes within creates a strong visual look.
     
    Vertical photographs are helped if you use lines or shapes to draw the eye in.  Also your eye makes comparisons between the top and bottom of the image, so try and visualise the same way.
    You also have panoramic and square crops.  I like the square format it gives a balanced feeling even if the subject is of centre.
     
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    (Amanda Duncan Photography) https://www.amandaduncanphotography.co.uk/blog/2013/5/simple-tips-to-improve-your-photography-eye Wed, 22 May 2013 18:48:10 GMT