The picture that changed my photographic life and how Fujifilm delivered the last piece of the puzzle.

Trawler men in Hastings. pictures to accompag quotas .
Editorial photography Fujifilm XT1 and 18-55 Straight out of camera jpeg

It started with a phone call from the picture editor of one of country’s best selling newspapers asking me to catch a flight that evening to Amsterdam to accompany a journalist for a story first thing the next morning.

I was warned to be very discrete as the story could be very sensitive to some people. It involved a Dutch trawler that was registered in the UK under a flag of convenience that enabled it to use up 25% of the UK fishing quota by just one “industrialized” super trawler. The owners may not have liked the presence of English journalists hence the need for discretion.

I had recently started using the Fuji X mirrorless system starting with the Xpro 1 which I purchased on one of Fuji’s brilliant deals which came with 2 free lenses which got me hooked with an XT1 and more lenses soon following.

I made a decision to only take only the Fuji kit in a small camera bag with 2 bodies and 5 lenses from the 10-24 to the 55-200 for the longer shots.

This was a momentous decision for me as since the professional adoption of digital in about 1999 I had never left the country with anything less than 2 Nikon DSLR;s and at least 3 pro range zooms and a Macbook pro along with flashguns and chargers etc. Even on family holidays all this kit came with me.

Checking in for the flight was a delight with no breaking kit down in overcoat pockets and risking other equipment in the hold. All the cameras and lenses came with me in the overhead baggage lockers.

On arrival at the docks we found the ship easily and I set about taking photographs with the XT1 and 18-55 “kit’ lens, I really don’t know why it’s referred as a kit lens as it’s a brilliant high quality standalone lens.

I was lucky with the light but I still couldn’t believe the quality of the pictures I was seeing on the rear LCD screen. I quickly downloaded the pictures to an IPad and was amazed at how good they looked. The above picture is a straight out of camera Jpeg with no enhancement in Photoshop.

I edited the pictures on the IPad using Photogene whilst travelling back to the city in the back of a taxi and sent a few to the office straight from the passenger seat.

A few minutes later I had a phone call from the picture editor saying what great pictures but “where did I get them” When I told her I had taken them about an hour ago she was staggered and was of the belief they had been given to us from a marketing or communications agency such was the quality of the picture it could have come from an annual report cover.

Link to newspaper article.

Nigel Farage interviewed by Simon Walters at Shepards resturant Westminster
Lunch with Nigel Farage Fuji XPro2

From then on the Fuji’s went everywhere including trips to Kuwait, Nicaragua and the military coup in Turkey all with no advance notice at all. The Fuji Kit remains packed in one bag and ready to go at the drop of a hat.

All the kit worked without fault enabling me to get around lightly and quickly without drawing attention to myself. People don’t feel intimidated by the Fuji cameras the way they do when they look at a DSLR. I’ve photographed politicians during interviews and they don’t notice the almost silent shutter and are much more relaxed.

Political portrait with Fujifilm XPro2
Very quick editorial portrait of senior politician. Taken in dark office with Fujifilm XPro2 and 56mm F1.2 shot wide open.

There were still a few doubts though as to whether I was going to be 100 % Fuji for my editorial work. I found myself in the cities of Paris and Brussels unfortunately for the wrong reasons covering terrorist atrocities. This is a situation where the Fuji system should come into its own enabling me to move around quickly. But the problem I had was the very real fear that another atrocity could occur whilst I was there and I would need a long and preferably fast lens to cover a live breaking news story.

The longest lens I could use was the 50-140 mm with the X 1.4 converter which would give me the full frame equivalent of almost 300mm F4.

I really needed my 500 F4 Nikon and  X 1.4 converter just for peace of mind. So the 500 F4 came with me and also of course the full frame DSLR body and of course charger. Then you worry what about a spare body. In the end I just took the whole Nikon outfit. I had chosen to drive to these cities from London rather than fly so expensive cameras in the aircraft hold wasn’t an issue.

Then along came the 100-400 and the first time I picked it up in a trade show I knew I had to have it. Here was a  lens that gave me 600mm F5.6 performance in a lens not much physically bigger or heavier than an 80-200 F2.8. Shooting some test pictures in a fairly gloomy convention hall I was staggered by the quality of the images taken handheld in not ideal circumstances but the sort of  real world everyday situation a photojournalist can find themselves. The image stabilization is second to none and I was able to take good quality photographs that any photography book or course will tell you isn’t possible at the sort of shutter speeds I was using. 30th sec or longer. You are more concerned with movement of the subject rather than camera shake. This lens throws away the rule books.

I was so impressed I pre-ordered one on the spot before they even had an availability date.

Another piece of the photographic puzzle had been put into place.

 

During this past year something else happened, I started going out to shoot personal pictures purely for my own pleasure something I haven’t done for quite some time.

Either near our Greenwich base or on assignment for the newspaper in various locations.

I even started experimenting with black and white and long time exposures. The enjoyment I was having would never had happened lugging a DSLR and lenses around.

fujifilm-photography-infrared
Personal photography Infrared with Fujifilm Xpro1 and 18mm F2

There was still one very important piece of the jigsaw missing and that was the absence of a professional grade flash for use on the hot shoe. I’m not a fan of on camera flash believing that should be used for court defendants, disgraced politicians, late night car crashes and general press scrums. I was mainly using available light or Elinchrom Ranger studio lights or perhaps the small Nissin I40 which whilst very compact it lacked the power and fast recycling of a pro flashgun with an external battery pack such as a Quantum Turbo.

This meant the Nikon DSLR’s were still needed if I thought I would need flash on a news job. Then Fujifilm started shipping the EF X 500 flashgun which had been announced months before. It had been delayed by months but they obviously wanted to get it perfect as a premium product.

Instagram photo's Smartpicsuk
Personal work whilst away on assignment.Fujifilm XT2 and 50-140mm

I’m pleased to say the wait was worthwhile and it works straight out of the box performing  flawlessly. I managed to mislay the manual in the box but that was no hindrance to having it working without drama including high speed sync to 8000th of a second without special triggers or setup. This was the first time I’ve ever used high speed sync and it’s just perfect for fill flash with those fast prime lenses used at wide apertures.

The future is looking very bright for the Fujifilm system especially with the company’s frequent firmware upgrades under their Kaizen philosophy which literally means “Change good”. It’s like getting a brand new camera every now and again when the new firmware is released which is like getting a new updated camera model. I’m sure some manufactures when they develop new firmware just release a new camera with an ’S” in the name or a different model number. I love opening those new boxes with the fancy packing reminiscent of Apple products packaging but getting a “new “camera after a 5-minute upgrade performed at home is much better still.

Development of the Fujifilm cameras and indeed all mirrorless  systems will continue at an increasing pace. The cameras have improved in design rapidly for such a young technology  compared with traditional DSLR’s. If you take the lens off a 1960 Nikon F and a brand new D5 and peer inside there isn’t much difference to look at them. Better engineering and exotic metals but still that great big mirror “flapping “nosily up and down.

The camera chips and imaging processors will improve with vastly improved focusing and ISO range. I don’t believe we need more mega pixels in the X series especially with the “medium format” GFX 50S due for delivery in early 2017. Global electronic shutters are in development which will do away with “rolling shutter “effects especially with moving subjects. Flash sync should be available at any shutter speed with even low power flash. 32 000 sec wide open in bright sunshine with full lighting control anybody ? This is why the GFX lenses have no leaf shutters, they are about to become obsolete.

A wish list for the future? I’m reliably informed there are advanced plans for a “pro” backup service for fast repairs and loan equipment for professional users. They already have a range of professional dealers who are not only knowledgeable but enthusiastic about the X system.

A fast telephoto such as a 200 F2 or a 300 F2.8 would be very useful especially with the new sensors in the future. Another necessity is the ability to send pics direct to an FTP server via Wi-Fi for both the newspaper wire services and the corporate event and conference photography which I’m involved in.

The arrival of the EF X 500 flash was the final piece in the puzzle that enabled me to rely on my Fuji system for all my editorial needs. A remarkable journey in a relatively short period of time when considered I’ve been shooting digital professionally for 18 years now.

Absolutely Fabulous event photography by Smartpicsuk®

” This time next year we’ll be millionaires” . Oh how I wish! Sadly the photographic industry is like a lot of other industries suffering from “cowboys”…..you know “no income tax or VAT” let alone professional grade equipment or insurance.

Del Boy lookalike Maurice Canham and Patsy / Joanna Lumley lookalike Sue Bradbury. Please link/credit www.smartpicsuk.com
Del Boy and Patsy help Smartpicsuk® event photographer Steve Burton set up lighting for another event.

Thankfully the “weekend warrior cowboys ” trying it on as event photographers don’t last long as this branch of the industry demands specialist equipment and a thoroughly practiced workflow and skills gained only by experience.

The photograph of Del Boy and Patsy was taken to test the lighting set up and Wi-Fi viewing display at a recent charity fund raising event. This particular function was the spring ball for The Dyspraxia Foundation held at The Royal Gardens Hotel in Kensington which raised £18 367 for a very worthy charity.

Working with two of the top professional lookalikes in the country helped us to produce some fantastic photographs which the guests were delighted to take away with them from our instant onsite photo printing station.

Another element we sometimes add to our portable “pop up studio” are the provision of suitably themed props to add a bit of fun even to formally posed photographs. One of our most popular props is an old style microphone that you could imagine Elvis Presley using in his early career and it’s a great feature for gathering a group of people around. We dislike photographing a line of people all standing with their hands by their sides like their waiting for a firing squad. Carefully chosen props with professional direction and posing will ensure a great photograph.

Charity fundraising event photography with portable studio and props
Charity fundraising event photography with portable studio and props.

Charity balls and gala dinners is one of the many services we provide and it can be particularly satisfying for us to photograph guests in their finest and looking their best whilst helping worthy charities with their fundraising as well as adding to the enjoyment of invited guests. It is also a pleasant change from some of the formal corporate events we are often commissioned to photograph.

If you’re planning a fundraising ball or dinner get in touch  now to request a sample print and discuss how Smartpicsuk® can help in the success of your event. Our attendance is usually free with no cost to the organisers.

6 Essential points for booking an event photographer.

1   What do you actually want and what are your’s and your clients requirements and expectations?

Here at Smartpicsuk® we are accustomed to receiving vague enquiries about “booking a photographer for a couple of hours in London” or wherever. We won’t be able to give any recommendations and certainly won’t be able to quote a price without having some idea of your needs.

2   Expect a potential photographer to ask questions about the venue, the number of guests,the type of function and even if guests are bringing partners or whether the event is themed. If they don’t then something is very wrong. Good communication between photographers and organisers prior to the event is essential to both parties.

Awards event photography London
Kate Blanchett BAFTA awards ceremony London

3   What is your budget?

Again you need to have an idea of your budget and as in point 1 exactly what is required as the cost will be dependent on many factors such as do you need on site photo printing by another team member. Make sure you understand all costs involved to avoid unpleasant surprises later. Ask us for a bespoke quote it may be less than you imagined.

4   Are your prospective photographers event specialists ?

Event photography although it is very wide ranging and varied requires specialist skills ,some of which can only be gained by experience. Study the website and portfolio of a business to check they have a track record and relevant experience.

5   Is the business insured and certified for health and saftey requirements?

It may seem like a small box ticking exercise but there have been many occasions of late where photographers have turned up at an event only to be denied access by the venue management because of missing paperwork. Imagine that scenario in front of clients or guests or worse an important guest tripping over a light stand and injuring themselves. Who would you prefer them to sue, you or us ? Smartpicsuk® is insured for public liability claims up to £5 million ( more by prior arrangement) and we meet all health and safety regulations.

6   Do you wish your pictures to be distributed to the press or archived for future use ?

Many events need pictures to be sent out to the press or social media live from the event and you will need to ensure you have copyright and licensing rights included in your quote. Also ensure you will  have archived copies of your photographs to use in the future for instance publicity or marketing materiel for next years conference or show. It’s no good when you urgently need pictures and they are all on a USB stick or disk you have mislaid or discarded. All Smartpicsuk® commissions are archived on secure servers for a number of years.

These are just a few of the essentials you need to consider before booking and there will be many more. Get in touch now to ask questions and discuss how Smartpicsuk® can deliver the services you need.

 

What is a pop up studio and how will it boost your event?

A “pop up” or temporary studio is an essential addition to high end events from corporate parties, shopping centre marketing and retail promotions to charity fundraising and private parties.

Often compared and sometimes mistaken for photo booths the “pop up” studio offers a far superior photo shoot experience with greater fun and satisfaction for your guests.

In a photo booth you are hidden away in a box behind a curtain which is great for passport or driving license pictures but  let’s face it not very creative or flattering.

In our “pop up studio” you get to be directed or posed by a professional event photographer with studio lighting to get the best most flattering picture which is always desirable especially when your guests have taken the time and effort to look their best.

Annual-ball-event-photography pop up studio
pop up studio at charity fundraising event

The” pop up studio” is often used in conjunction with our instant on site photograph printing to enable your guests or clients to take away a high quality photograph as a memento to a special occasion which will be remembered long after the refreshments have gone.

Event photography at corporate team building day
Corporate team building golf day

Another popular use is in promotional marketing or consumer brand promotions in shopping centres often used with green screen effects to engage potential clients and get your brand noticed.

Social media sharing can also be incorporated with the images to keep your name in front of potential clients and sponsors.

Green screen event photography marketing and PR photography with Onsite printing and branding
Green screen event photography marketing and PR photography with Onsite printing and branding

Get in touch now  to find out how the Smartpicsuk®” pop up studio “can boost your event and to request a sample of our onsite photographic printing.

Print your event photography pictures now or loose them.

Father of the Internet and Google vice president Dr Vince Cerf has urged people to have prints made of their photographs or loose  them forever. This is of particular importance to the event photography industry. As operating systems and software become more sophisticated images stored using older technology will become increasingly inaccessible.

He warned that dependence on technology could lead to a digital desert and a new dark age in history with any evidence of our culture lost in an on-line black hole.

How many of us can remember going through old photographs of our childhood and school days even if they were kept in old shoe boxes? Will we be looking for a long lost or broken IPhone  or computer drive? Or, more likely, will be trying to remember the username and password of some new cloud storage service that may be out of service in a few years time?

Think I’m wrong ? Pop into your nearest PC World store and look for the shelf with blank CD’s or DVD’s. Remember just a couple of years ago there used to be a whole aisle now you are lucky if you can find more than a couple of products.

There were 800 billion pictures taken last year, and no I don’t know how anybody came up with that figure, but I do know that most of them were taken on a Smartphone or point and shoot digital camera.

The photographs that Smartpicsuk® event photographers print at corporate or fundraising events are produced on high end dye sublimation printers as found in High Street photo outlets and are guaranteed to last 50 years.

DNP on site photo printing as used by Smartpicsuk® event photographers
DNP on site printers as used by Smartpicsuk® event photographers

At the time of printing the photograph is overlaid with a protective layer that is both fingerprint and waterproof. They are also red wine proof which is an advantage at some of the social events we have covered!

The recent advances in onsite photo printing within the UK event photography business was brought home to me on a recent visit to Laos in SE Asia where I witnessed “old fashioned” and dated technology combined with the sheer hard working entrepreneurial work ethic found in this part of the world.

At the national monument in the capital city Vientiane, I came across a group of about 20 gentlemen and a couple of ladies with entry level digital cameras waiting in a pack for the next tourist coach of Korean or Chinese visitors.

Event photography as practiced by Event photographers in Laos
Event photography as practiced by event photographers in Laos

When the unsuspecting subjects alight they are literally cajoled by the waiting photographers to form up in a group like the team shots after a Wembley cup final. Instead of using Wi-Fi or wired tethering as UK event photographers would use to instantly send the pictures to an editing station, they sprint to a nearby line of cars and people carriers.

These vehicles have Epsom inkjet printers of unknown vintage in the boot or across the back seats. The whole exercise becomes a competition to get the first print in front of the potential clients with the clients racing across the dusty car park holding the still sticky and not quite dry prints above their heads.

On site photo printing as practiced by event photographers in Laos
on site photo printing as practiced by event photographers in Laos

The prints are pushed in front of the clients’ faces with no choice of which picture they would like and no colour balancing or quality control of any kind. A lot of the customers had dubious magenta and red skin tones that had nothing to do with the tropical heat.

The cost of these prints were something under £2 for a 12x 8 inch print which was hard to work out with an exchange rate of 30 000 to one. I salute these ladies and gentlemen for the sheer hard work they put in to overcome the limited resources they have.

Smartpicsuk® will never be able to match these prices. We like to think we are not too expensive, but we will never be “cheap” especially for once in a lifetime sentimental photographs that will be treasured in the future.

On site photo printing will remain an option for all our event photography commissions in the foreseeable future.

Why it’s essential to use a professional event photographer for when the unexpected happens.

One of the many reasons why you need to book a professional event photographer is for those unexpected events that can spell disaster if you haven’t got a robust backup plan. Smartpicsuk® have just been touched twice in a week by unexpected circumstances. The first was receiving a message from The EPS (Event Photographers Society) on a Saturday morning on behalf of a colleague who had just been rushed into hospital.

Hylands house charity fundraising
Hylands House charity fundraising

As he was being wheeled into the emergency department he asked his wife to contact Mike Weeks the founder of the EPS to arrange a photographic team to cover an event that was due to start within hours.

Luckily we were able to help out and within minutes had contacted the event organiser to reassure her that her prestigious charity 30th anniversary ball would have full photographic coverage. I also had to leave messages at the gym where a vital member of the team who edits and prints onsite photographs was in a spin class.

Although we always like to have a booking form and as much detail as we can prior to the event we always hold enough stock and equipment to react to short notice requests.

The evening was a great success with all the guests in a stately hall in East Anglia having a wonderful evening and a successful fundraising event for the charity.

We were complimented on our professionalism by the event organiser and I had to tell her actually the real professional was the photographer who even as he was being rushed into hospital made sure he didn’t let anybody down. That’s what I call a real Pro!

Charity fund raising event photography
Charity fund raising event photography

Less than a week later I was on a commission in one of Europe’s grand cities on another short notice job.

Waiting to check into yet another hotel with colleagues an opportunist thief stole thousands of pounds of our photographic equipment. I’ve never had any gear stolen in many years of professional travel both in the UK and worldwide and felt somewhat upset to put it mildly.

Fortunately all the photographs taken had been backed up both online to a secure server and I had even made a copy on a large USB drive that in my pocket so the important pictures were safe. Cameras can be replaced but very often photographs can’t.

Some very important equipment was lost and it’s not the sort you can replace in the average High St. We did however have backup equipment so we were able to continue the commission on behalf of the client without disruption to the tight schedule.

As the saying goes if you think hiring a professional is expensive see how expensive an amateur can be when things go wrong.

By the way if anybody is thinking of booking Smartpicsuk® and worrying that bad things always come in three’s and what’s going to happen next somebody reversed into my car last week whilst I was walking the dog so that should end the run of bad luck for a few years.

And just in case we have backup plans, a professional network and we are fully insured.

Regards

Steve

Fast cars, faster web servers, Smartpicsuk® event photography finds top gear

Here’s the new website designed and coded from the ground up hosted on state of the art enterprise class Microsoft Azure cloud technology. Photographers websites are a fine balance between displaying our photography in the most prominent way and providing the information needed to make an informed choice when selecting a professional photographer. We hope you find the site interesting an informative. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if there’s anything further you would like to know.

The site relaunch coincides with the Smartpicsuk® event photography brand becoming a registered trade mark in the UK so if you see another it’s a copycat and certainly not associated or affiliated with ourselves.

Trademarking and branding is now an integral part of many of the photography jobs we now undertake for our corporate clients. Combined with our on site printing it becomes a powerful and very cost effective way of promoting your brand or marketing message.

Corporate Christmas party photography
Corporate Christmas party photography

We recently covered a corporate hospitality event for an international bank that just happen to be a sponsor of the Williams Formula One team. An FW36 F1 racing car was bought into the event at the prestigious BMA in London. We were given strict instructions that guests were not allowed to touch the car in any way and definitely not use it as somewhere to place their drinks and canapés (they usually try and use our computers and printers for that).

When I was informed the cost of one of these cars was in the region of £5 million with the removable steering wheel alone being about £50,000 I was worried I may have to phone our insurance brokers as £5 million is our usual everyday cover and we were worried we may have to increase this something normally only done when working on the tarmac at international airports or photographing Premier League football players.

Another surprise we had came at the end of the evening when the guests had departed and it was time for us pack all our equipment away in protective flight cases to return to base. The F1 racing car had been wheeled into the venue from adjacent premises that had to be closed and locked for the night. The only way the car could be removed from the premises was to physically dismantle the car and carry it through the offices piece by piece. Each dismantled part of the car was wrapped in bubble wrap and carefully carried from the building. I thought I was cautious with our professional photography equipment and I’ve never been accused of being a cheapskate but this was on an entirely different level.

Thanks for reading and please get in touch with either myself or the team if there is anything we’ve missed or for any further information.

Brand new technology with Boeing Dreamliner airliners and Fuji X series cameras

A quiet revolution is currently taking place in the world of professional photography and it’s gathering momentum like the switch to professional digital photography around the new millennium. In fact New Years Eve 1999 was the very last event I covered using traditional film.

The new revolution concerns the cameras we are using with a switch to “mirrorless” camera systems. These new systems from the likes of Fujifilm and Olympus are moving into a market that has been dominated by Nikon and Cannon with myself being a Nikon user all my professional life.

I have now started to use the Fuji film Xpro1 and XT1 on a number of commissions and am pleased by both the images they are producing and how discrete and quiet they are when discretion and quietness are required such conference photography when a speaker and delegates don’t want to hear the sound of a camera motor drive clicking away.

Smartpicsuk - owner Steve Burton
Smartpicsuk – owner Steve Burton

Another very welcome feature is the size and weight of the cameras and lenses. I can now carry a couple of cameras and lenses around very comfortably in a small shoulder bag which is great for photographers backs and shoulders and an absolute pleasure when checking cameras onto airlines as hand luggage which I frequently have to do.

A recent corporate photography commission was an ideal job for the Fuji system and involved photographing the CEO of a new airline flying from London Gatwick airport and the arrival of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Even though I wasn’t actually going to be flying anywhere I still had to go through all the airport security and passport checks. Although I had to remove my belt and wallet etc the camera bag with the Fuji went straight through the Xray scanner without delay something that rarely happens with my Nikon system. Working on the cramped flight deck of a modern airliner is very restrictive and the small size of the cameras made my job a lot easier and productive. When the location and environmental portraits had been shot it was time to shoot corporate head shots of the various executives and again the Fuji system excelled at the task.

CEO of new airline flying from Gatwick in Boeing 787 Dreamliner cabin
CEO of new airline flying from Gatwick in Boeing 787 Dreamliner cabin

Another vote of confidence came when I took the Fuji system on holiday to South East Asia (just in case I needed a proper professional camera when I was away. Old habits die hard for Fleet St photographers!) and not the usual couple of Nikon’s and lenses.

The Nikon’s will still be used in our event photography especially when used with our portable “pop up studio” and onsite photo printing as the Nikon wireless system is so good at transmitting photographs back to a computer viewing system for selecting and instant printing.

Although the new Fuji’s do have wireless transmission capability we will have to wait a while before it has the speed and range of the dedicated Nikon equipment. Knowing the design capabilities of the Fuji company I don’t think it will be a long wait and then we will see here at Smartpicsuk® how we can further exploit the new technology for the benefits of our clients.

We have an event coming up at the Houses of Parliament and I just know the Fuji will be in use for it’s discrete nature and ease of carrying through security. The event is a thank you to a charity partner whose black tie fundraising event we recently covered. It is quite common for us here at Smartpicsuk® to provide photographic services with our compliments to charities and other good causes for marketing and promotional materials or websites.

Thank you for reading and as always if you have any further questions about event photography or how we use the technology don’t hesitate to get in touch…

Regards

Steve

New year and new photography services

Reflecting back on 2013 and looking forward to 2014 it’s been an exciting year and we are anticipating an even better 2014.

Long Walk to Freedom One to One
Long Walk to Freedom One to One

There was a sense of Deja Vu for the beginning of this New Year walking down a cold and wet Whitehall in the early hours of January Ist exactly as we did starting 2013 after photographing guests at The Royal Horseguards Hotel in Whitehall Place. It is however very satisfying to be getting repeat business from prestigious clients.

The end of 2013 was one of our busiest periods with a wide ranging variety of commissions and assignments from large corporates and high profile charity events.

One of our favorite jobs was to photograph the actress Naomie Harris who stars in the Nelson Mandella film; The Long Walk to Freedom. The event was a charity fundraiser for the “One to One childrens fund. I’ve had the pleasure of photographing many actresses, actors and show business stars but Naomie for me shines as one of the brightest and will be starring for many years in the role of Eve Moneypenny in the future James Bond films. Photographing Naomie was one of the highlights of the year which included photographing The Rolling Stones and some exotic overseas travel on behalf of clients.

another charity event was The Big Issue ” Red Ball” when we used the new “green screen” facilities with our portable studio. This enables us to place pictures of guests in any setting they require and place magazine covers or logos over the finished pictures before printing onsite. I am confident that green screen events will become more and more popular as the technology gets even more sophisticated and we invest additional time in professional training.

The Big Issue Red Party
The Big Issue Red Party

Another new innovation this year will be guests using social media “live” at events to Facebook or tweet their pictures  or maybe using some new media that has not yet been discovered or invented. This in conjunction with professionally shot pictures will surely become one of the most powerful marketing tools for both corporates and charities to get their message out into the world.

On the opposing side of that prediction we have covered some assignments where the exact opposite is the case and we have signed confidentiality agreements with high profile clients. If you want publicity we will happily tell the world, if not discretion and confidentially will be the order of the day.

As well as investing in new equipment and learning new skills we will soon be overhauling our website and marketing activities as well as forming new business relationships and partnerships.

With the economic climate seemingly improving we start the year anticipating a successful and prosperous future and hope this applies also to all our clients partners and friends.

From The Stig to a Rolling Stones gig, I can get satisfaction!

Another busy month with a variety of commissions from a trade show an international conference and even a Rolling Stones gig.

The Rolling Stones live onstage at Hyde Park
The Rolling Stones live onstage at Hyde Park

We had the chance to photograph The Stig for one of our clients after persuading him to road test a mobility scooter on an obstacle course set up at The International Center in Telford for the Mobility Roadshow. The marketing director was very pleased with this coup and after the pictures were taken even encouraged a little competition between The Stig and myself, having never driven a mobility scooter myself The Stig naturally won.

London’s famous Dorchester hotel was the setting for The Global Citizen Forum London event. Set up by Forbes list billionaire Dr B K Modi the Singapore based oorganisation bought together experts in business, economics and human rights and attracted politicians and business tycoons such as Lakshmi Mittal and the Hinduja brothers.

As for being a global citizen myself I did a count on how many countries I have worked in on photographic assignments and was astounded that it came to 37 and that does not cover passport stamps from Australia to Mexico for holidays. I am very grateful to be in a career I love so much and have the privilege of visiting so many cities and countries.

Dr B K Modi at Global Citizen Forum London
Dr B K Modi at Global Citizen Forum London

Another commission was across Park Lane to cover The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park. After hours of preparation I finally got the chance to photograph probably the biggest and best known rock band in the world. I was only allowed to photograph the first two numbers and was then escorted backstage and out. In those first two songs I managed to shoot over 400 pictures that I had to edit and send 20 pics of different shapes to meet the Sunday Times  deadline for who I was working. After completing this task in record time I was given a cold beer and allowed back out to the Barclaycard VIP area at the front of the stage minus my camera equipment that had to be left backstage as a condition of re entry.

It doesn’t get much better than that and unlike Mick Jagger and the boys I did get a lot of satisfaction.

Corporate, Charity and Private Event Photography in London, and the UK