I love watching a craftsman or woman at work, whether it’s painting a portrait, making a piece of jewellery or welding a new sill onto a car.
Lucky for us we get so many commercial photography jobs were we get to take some pretty cool portraits of these people at work. One such job was at Greatworth Classics, who restore and service early air cooled Porsches and Volkswagons.
So my brief was to spend the day in the workshops, getting photos of all of the various services they offer, with an emphasis on the guys doing the work.
Well, what a fabulous day. Angus, the owner, and his team are a lovely bunch of people and were great fun to shoot.
We’ve been doing some product photography in Chipping Norton last week for Wine Storage Solutions at their Cotswolds showroom.
We did some work for them last summer as well, so it was nice to be called back to do some more. Their wine cabinets are very impressive, and extremely well made, but they’re a bit of a bugger to photograph.
The glass doors reflect everything. The led lights along the inside of door can’t be seen very well when it’s lit up by our lights. The oak finishing is too light if the bottle’s and internals are exposed correctly. And the LCD display and buttons gets drowned out by the lights. All this means an awful lot of editing. We have to take different photos of the internal led lights, the wood features and the display and then merge these all together. Then we have to edit out any reflections in the glass. It’swell worth it though, as the finished photos look great on the Wine Storage Solutions website.
A great part of our job is having lots of visitors to our studio, many of them for business portraits and headshots.
Business portraits and headshots are a very important thing is this digital age that we’re living in. It’s very true that a first impression is often a lasting impression. A lot of people’s first impression is formed when they see a business portrait online.
But a business portrait doesn’t have to be just a plain head and shoulders headshot. Props and activities relevant to the business can be a great addition.
Here’s a few we’ve taken recently.
This is the second year that we went off to Calpe in Spain to do the catalogue photography for Simply Feet’s Summer catalogue.
It was decided to go back to the same place as last year, as that way we’d save time on scouting for locations and we could spend more time on the catalogue photography. Once again we were lucky with the weather, blue skies and sunshine, but again, very chilly. It does look very summery in the photos though, and that’s all that matters.
We used all sorts of locations, from the posh marina, to a not so posh wall on the side of a dual carriageway, to somebodies front gate.
We’re doing more and more work on location these days, but we still do lots of product photography and website images in the studio.
A lot of e-commerce sites like Amazon insist on plain back ground and have strict guidelines for website images. It also makes a huge difference on businesses websites, having well lit, clean and crisp images. I-phone photos usually just don’t pass muster.
Here’s a few examples of what we’ve been shooting recently.
We do lots of these type of work portraits. Photographing staff in their work environment is always great fun.
The guys and girls at Thames Security Management were a lovely bunch to work with and they all enjoyed their work portraits experience.
Oxfordshire SOUP is a fabulous event that we’ve been asked to shoot a couple of times now. We love being involved with it.
Our job as PR photographers is to capture the flavour and atmosphere of the event, a task we’re well used to doing.
So what is Oxfordshire SOUP? Well it’s a networking event crossed with Dragons Den. Four entrepreneurs pitch their business to the audience, the audience then votes on their favourite. The winner then gets all of the money taken at the door, plus additional investment from some corporate sponsors.
We do lots of product photography for the Guy Martin Proper website. Lots of hats, t-shirts, books etc. It’s all done in the studio using mannequins and white back grounds, pretty standard stuff that we do for lots of online retailers.
So it was a nice change to go and do some photos with Guy himself at his home in Grimsby. He’s just like you see on TV, a grafter with lots of chat and lots of cups of tea.
We were shooting a new cleaning product, Proper Cleaner by Guy Martin, both stills and video. For the video, he could just talk about it without a stammer or stutter as he washed his bike. No script, no rehearsing, just telling us about it in his own entertaining way.
We did some portraits of him wearing different hats, using the cleaning product, and just some general shots for use on the website. Here’s a few of the shots we came away with.
When we were asked to go along to the Ark T centre in Oxford to take some photographs for their website, we were excited to see the work they were doing and to meet some of the people benefiting from the activities held at the centre.
The Ark T Centre is an inspiring organisation that focuses on using art and creativity to improve the lives of individuals going through tough times. Spending time at the centre made it easy to see how their vision, “Creativity changes lives”, really rings true. The centre aims to promote tolerance and celebrate diversity within the local community. They believe that art and creativity can help people to “discover new things about themselves and unlock their potential”, and provide a safe, non-judgmental space for children and families, LGBTQ and disabled young people, and long-term unemployed adults to develop their skills and confidence.
The place itself has a relaxed vibe and we enjoyed a delicious coffee in the Camerados Living Room Cafe. The cafe is open to the public, and the warm and welcoming atmosphere made it a real hub of activity for the centre – a creative space to grab a coffee and meet a friend, with artwork lining the walls and one of the centre’s regulars playing the piano.
Exploring the centre was a heart warming experience. There was a real buzz about the place. We got some great shots of the ‘Our voice is our power’ workshop – a group of long-term unemployed adults working together to produce a community newspaper – and this kind of reportage photography, where you get to take candid, unobtrusive shots of people in real life situations is great fun.
We took a variety of photos of the space and facilities for the centre’s own commercial use, then visited the art rooms – a hive of activity, where we photographed children taking part in ‘Creativity camps’, creating stop-motion animations, making photo frames and completing other craft projects. These camps are aimed at children with educational, emotional or behavioural needs, and it was clear that the Ark T centre is a lifeline for them, with big smiles lighting up their faces as they got stuck in to the art activities.
Just spending a day at the centre was inspirational – having the opportunity to witness and photograph first-hand the strength of the individuals facing such diverse challenges and the projects run by Ark T, which really are life-changing, was an incredible experience.
One of the reasons that we love event photography is because we get to go to some really cool, interesting and unusual events. We were thrilled to be invited to photograph the first ever Great British Bike Off, an alternative, customised bike festival held in Oxford City Centre. The Bike Off promised to be a celebration of creativity, culture and of course cycling… when we arrived the collection of weird, wonderful and wacky bikes that had been entered just blew our minds.
The array of colourful and creative customised bikes was extraordinary… we particularly liked the Pink Angel bike entered by The Cowley Road Condors and the customised rickshaw!
Not only was there an amazing atmosphere at this community event but with an impressive parade around Oxford City Centre and sponsorship from many key Oxfordshire based businesses, it was a really fun day to photograph!
The event raised valuable funds for Cowley based charity The Ark-T Centre. The Ark T Centre uses creativity as a tool for self-empowerment and their projects aim to increase wellbeing and personal resilience for people facing multiple disadvantages.