Newborns 2017 Photo Competition

I will be entering this competition and i am currently deciding on which image/s to enter.

More information about the competition is here –

http://newborns.childphotocompetition.com/register/

There is an option to submit 1 / 3 / 5 Images.

So far i have chosen this one and i will be submitting my final images this week.

Aniela hat

 

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Safety Within Newborn Photography

There has been a huge rise in newborn photography in the past few years and as with anything that is becoming popular there is always more and more experimentation happening to create new and interesting artwork.

But what many people don’t realise is that these incredible images of babies hanging from tree branches or propped in a basket holding their head up aren’t just one image. They are a composite of 2 maybe 3 or even 4 images. And it is really important for new and emerging baby photographers to be aware of this and they should not even be attempted without training.

There is a good article about safety and compositing images here –

http://babypropshop.co.uk/photography-tutorials/composites-and-newborn-safety

The trend of ‘composites’ has really taken off. There is so many digital backdrops that can be purchased on places like Etsy and Creative Market to really add something spectacular to your images.

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 13.22.36.jpg

I recently had a newborn shoot and during that we were chatting and it turned out that the parents had met on a boat so i thought it would be lovely to do a photo of their baby in a little boat. We had one in the studio so i set it all up but unfortunately once i put their little boy into it he woke up after i did the test shot (it was coming to the end of the session and feeding time) so i didn’t get chance to perfect his pose and the angle of the boat / background etc. But the couple were so excited about this photo of him in the boat and i knew it was awful and that i needed to think of some way to rectify it.

Thankfully i found an image on Etsy that i purchased and with the amazing tools in photoshop i was able to do a composite using that and my original image.

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 13.28.26

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I put the two together to create this –

Baby Sullivan beach

I had to flip him horizontally so the light & shadows matched the direction on the background image. It took a couple of hours because there was some really critical erasing around the flag and material draping across the boat as well as colour correction.

But it was worth the effort because it was their favourite image out of the whole gallery 🙂

Debbie Booth – BabyBloom Photography, Bolton, Uk has a good example of one of her composites that she has done –

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 13.15.06

And i think it is great that photographers are keen to show people that these type of images are done using an assistant and several images put together. Hopefully it might educate people in the process and stop them from attempting them and putting babies safety at risk.

Another one that i have done recently as it was requested by the client, was a photograph of their baby in their daughters police hat. This had to be done as a composite because the hat itself isn’t stable to put a baby in. So i photographed it on its own, and then put some black material over the Mum who was holding the baby underneath and i positioned her forward and in the same position as if it was in the hat and then i put them together in Photoshop.

Aniela hat

 

CREATIVE MARKETING | Dissertation Proposal

 

DISSERTATION PROPOSAL

For my Dissertation Proposal I would like to explore Creative Marketing.

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 11.39.58

https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/83175924339184069/

What it means, how it works, why it is so important and how I can use it to expand and grow my photography business.

* * *

To do this I first wanted to break it down to try and understand the basic building blocks of marketing before expanding on this to find out what makes Creative Marketing different.

What is marketing?

Marketing is something I really struggle with, I know I want to provide amazing heirloom photographs for families to treasure forever … but apart from sharing my work on social media I don’t know how else to market my service in way that really reflects what I do.

I began my research on Google and found extremely in-depth analogies of what marketing is, like this DNA strand:

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https://nipawanch.wordpress.com/tag/new-marketing-dna/

And I also found information that made much more sense to me like this:

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https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141115100622-68098544-what-is-marketing-humorous

There is an interesting blog on this subject with lots of different variations of the definition.

Marketing is….

..the act of connecting customers to products”

..the building of a relationship between a company, a product, and a consumer by understanding the value of their needs.”

..the art of inspiring desire that leads to action”

“..influencing the actions of others.”

..The art of getting known, liked and trusted”

Jeremiah Owyang. (March 1st 2008). A Definition Of Marketing In Nine Words. Available: http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2008/03/01/my-definition-of-marketing/. Last accessed 4th April 2017.

From the research I have done my understanding is that Marketing is an umbrella term for all of the above. It is about identifying customers needs / wants, and providing the desirable product / service whilst building a lasting relationship.

Marketing focuses more on the data, using demographics, surveys, customer feedback etc it is a formula that companies use to attract and keep hold of their customers. If they know who is buying, who isn’t, which areas they are popular in and which they aren’t they are able to build up a clear picture of which areas they need to work on.

When marketing products, these are tangible because customers have the opportunity to see / touch / try / use them.

So when you are selling a product the client can make up their mind from that experience if they want to use or buy them.

But services are intangible, you are asking a client to buy into something that they haven’t yet experienced for themselves and won’t know if they like it until after you have provided the service.

So in relation to my Photography Business this is where I need to put the groundwork in:

  • Speak to them in person, good customer service skills, explain everything to them, invite them to the studio to have a look around and get a feel for what I do. By doing this I would be building a relationship with them which is important, especially when I am selling a service because they are basically investing their money in me.
  • Online presence – professional & easy to navigate website with portfolio images and information that works well across all platforms.
  • Client Feedback & Reviews, get as much online feedback / testimonials as possible. This is the most important factor, when people want to try out a new restaurant or shop on Argos or Amazon they can’t try before they buy so the only thing they have to go off is the online reviews that are left by previous buyers….this alone can sell the product.

To show an example of this, if I was buying a razor on Amazon for my husband, obviously I have no experience of mens razors so I would go by customers feedback. I have a comparison below with the Gillette Mach3 Razor and the Dorco Pace 6+ Razor.

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 09.13.44Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 09.13.51

The Gillette is the more well known brand because i’ve watched adverts on the television and is actually cheaper than the Dorco but the Dorco has hundreds more 4 Star plus reviews and so that would be the one that I would buy.

* * *

What is creative marketing?

Whereas Marketing is the whole foundation of finding what clients want, need etc and building up the backbone of a good company, Creative marketing is basically the visual pull to snare your customers. It is more about the initial eye-catching signal which engages peoples attention, advertising your product or service in a way that hasn’t been seen before is going to really stick in their minds.

Every company has competition, there is always going to be similar products available so you need to think outside the box and really let loose your creative mind.

http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/09/22/guerrilla-marketing-examples

The images above are examples of Guerilla Marketing, which is Creative Marketing but for smaller businesses with less money to spend on advertising. It’s about finding ways for them to get their business noticed or messages across in weird and wonderful low cost ways by introducing them into people’s everyday life in a quirky way that will be memorable.

We live in a very visual digital world where almost everyone has a smartphone that they carry everywhere,

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Smartphones have become as vital as a kidney or a lung.” http://www.argyllfreepress.com/2015/04/04/survey-shows-that-smartphones-are-in-charge-of-our-lives/

And everyone wants to share their lives with friends and family through their social media platforms. Taking photos of every aspect of their day from what they had for breakfast to what new things they have bought or what they seen on their way to work that made them happy, sad etc. Everything gets flushed onto Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, pinterest.. the list goes on and it is one vast advertising platform that your prospective ‘clients’ will advertise for you if you can engage with them in a way that relates to them.

Here is the link to one of the videos I watched about Creative Marketing on Youtube which I found useful – Paul Potratz. Think Tank Tuesday. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51ZQ8WDogaE&t=307s. Last Accessed 21st April 2017

In this, Paul explained that if your marketing message is only ever focused on what you are selling and the price then you are only ever going to reach a tiny percent of your possible market.

Because when people see an advertisement the majority aren’t looking to buy / spend at that time.

You need to engage the audience with something that resonates with them and then that becomes a talking point for them.

When you create an advert that engages the audience and entertains them or evokes an emotion then you are reaching them on a personal level. This can be done through love, humour, ethics, guilt etc, anything that taps into whats real to them in their lives.

smoking

22 Creative Guerrilla Quit Smoking Advertisement, Posters And Slogans. Available: https://www.geckoandfly.com/1859/creative-guerrilla-quit-smoking-advertisement/. Last Accessed 21st April 2017

There is so many clever advertisements, I found this one particularly powerful because it’s different to many of the others which show what smoking can do to the smoker themselves – the tarred lungs, and physical decay it creates. This one really pulls at your heart strings for several reasons, seeing a crying child alone is bad enough but when they are engulfed with a suffocating ‘smoke bag’ which is causing them such distress it’s really upsetting. And very cleverly this has been designed to rock peoples emotions in an upsetting but memorable way to make them think about what they are doing to others….forget themselves and do it for their children.

My Conclusion

Marketing has always seemed the most scary and daunting part of running my Photography business but after researching all the different ways that companies have used Creative Marketing to get their products / messages across I feel it has opened my eyes to the possibilities. You can be as wild and wonderful as you want when it comes to Creative Marketing and as a creative person and the nature of my business I am really looking forward to planning new and fun ways to advertise.

I was inspired whilst researching this topic and I had an idea to advertise my newborn photography that I might develop which would be a funny option to advertise locally:

  • Dress up as a stork / baby / midwife and hand out nappies to pregnant ladies, mums in the street, inside the nappies could have my business card and newborn session information. This would be more memorable option than just handing out leaflets which people tend to put in their pocket and forget about.

Also:

  • With the growing popularity of video on social media I plan to record a series of Vines, 6 second videos with funny photography related content.
  • I would like to get graphics printed on the back of my car so that I am constantly advertising wherever I go. I like this Nikon Advertisement –

Something like this would look really good across the back of my car, whoever was driving behind me would feel like they were having their picture taken. It’s a little bit too much like papparazzi but I like the idea and could maybe do something that suits my style of photography.

These are just some basic ideas and I look forward to really developing these and more to expand my research, knowledge and experience in Creative Marketing.

References:

https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/34144/How-15-Real-Businesses-Are-Getting-Creative-With-Vine-for-Marketing.aspx#sm.0000d7y7euexzcnbxtj1223zx2ioy

https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshlinkner/2013/05/30/5-creative-marketing-moves/#62bd7d544f09

http://smallbusiness.co.uk/lessons-learned-sports-directs-reputation-crisis-2534544/

https://www.fastcompany.com/3041640/the-worlds-top-10-most-innovative-companies-of-2015-in-advert

Books:

Death to the starving Artist – Nikolas Allen

Connecting With Your Customers | Steve Morris & Graham Willcocks 199

* * *

 

General notes & ideas

 

  • Advertising in a creative way

Attending a Nearly New Sale, full of mums selling their unwanted clothes / toys etc and there will be lots of mums coming to buy the unwanted items. I will be having a table with my albums, price & package info, offers, Big Banner showing some of my images etc.

  • New Products that are aimed towards a growing market

Baby Shower Gift Boxes, These can be purchased for any amount and given to the Mum To Be and she can then decide on how she wants to spend it.

  • Blogging – Its so important, its one of the things that has rocketed my website onto page 1 of google when you type in: NEWBORN, BABY, CHILD, FAMILY, WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER WREXHM

Do a questionnaire – find out what people would be happy to spend on newborn photos / what would they rather have – digital images or USB & print packages / would they prefer taking their baby to a newborn studio or rather a shoot in their home /

How do I reach pregnant women / people linked to pregnant women / where do pregnant ladies go (classes treatments etc)

What makes me different / what can I offer that stands out

What other newborn photographers is there locally?

What do newborn photographers do on their websites / social media to make them successful. How can I make my website visually appealing …what would a client want to look at first….images or prices….is my site easy to navigate on phones / ipads as well?

Are there any Baby events locally that I could attend or advertise at.

What areas should I target – within a 45 minute drive of wrexham, what is already available to them in these areas.

Could I do a Newborn Open Day at the studio for pregnant mums to come in and meet me, see the studio / props etc. Possibly hand out vouchers / goody bags etc. Advertise on social media….contact Evening Leader?

Enter more competitions, try and win an award which would look good in my bio & website

Creating Visually Appealling Content

I have been working on my website to make it much more user friendly, clearer menus, better explanations of my package options & how to book.

I have also done the same on my Business Facebook Page and these both link to my Bigcartel online shop and this is where clients can book their sessions and pay via paypal. So all my text for everything and images are all the same for each site so that it is easy for clients to recognise and decide what they want.

Pinterest – I have started pinning all my images from my website to my pinterest account.

– Get some info about Pinterest and its growing popularity

Progress Since | Newborn Workshops

** For confidentiality reasons i am not allowed to discuss or share online what i have been taught on the workshops so i will just be showing examples of how they have improved my work **

Since attending Jillian Greenhill’s newborn workshop, The Newborn Retreat, Dewdrops Real Time Workshop & Kelly Browns Newborn Bootcamp i feel like i have improved, but i am still not creating the images i want to. I want to increase my vintage prop collection because thats the type of style i am drawn to and i feel like i have still got a lot to learn about the editing process to really take my images further. And my confidence in posing has improved a lot but i think i would benefit from a refresher course at some point so i have started saving up for that.

Below is one of the images from the workshop where Jillian set up & posed the baby and then we photographed them (the images are unedited) and then i have put my own recent work below to it as a comparison to show how i’m using the techniques in my current work.

_srh4154 Jillian Greenhill – Workshop Image (Unedited)

Calla Lucia-13Calla Lucia – Recent Newborn image – Perfect Moments Photography

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 12.38.39Amy McDaniel Dewdrops Photography Real Time Workshop

Aniela hatAniela Elsie – Recent Newborn image – Perfect Moments Photography

 

heidi hope workshopImage from Heidi Hope – Newborn Retreat | Going With The Flow

AnielaAniela Elsie – Recent Newborn image – Perfect Moments Photography

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 12.42.39Image from Kelly Brown – Newborn Photography Bootcamp

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 12.27.18Ieuan – Recent Newborn image – Perfect Moments Photography

I am really pleased with how i am improving….but there’s always room for more 🙂 And i know that what i should be doing now is concentrating on getting my work noticed and i hope by doing my Dissertation on Creative Marketing it will help me with attracting more of the clients that i want.

SEO

SEO … my nemisis!! Well up until recently anyway! I was so frustrated with the limitations of WordPress.com because i can’t use any SEO plugins like Yoast which is supposed to be really good …But i have been putting the hours in re-wording every page, tag, metadata so that NEWBORN, BABY, CHILD, FAMILY, WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER features everywhere and i am blogging and getting clients to leave reviews on my Facebook, Google page & FreeIndex. All which link to my website…and its working!!

So without paying for SEO i am now on page 1 of Google when you type in:

Newborn Photographer Wrexham / Baby Photographer Wrexham / Child Photographer Wrexham / Family Photographer Wrexham / Wedding Photographer Wrexham / Photographer Wrexhamnewborn photographer wrexham - Google Search.pdf

 

 

PORTRAIT | Specialist Study

BRIEF

Produce a mini portfolio and capture the spirit of a person within a controlled lighting situation and a location that they feel most comfortable in. Produce 4 images for each .

MY IDEA

I have chosen PORTRAIT because it is very relevant to the work I currently do and is something I’m very passionate about. The idea of being able to capture someone’s personality, a side of them, an emotion… or even several emotions in a single photograph fascinates me. I plan to edit the images in black & white because in my opinion the best portraits are because colour can sometimes distract you from the subject.

RESEARCH

Portraiture is something that dates back to the Egyptian times, in those days portraits were mainly paintings and sculptures and it was the only way to record the physical existence of people.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=portraiture+in+egyptian+art&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwidzNSBsszTAhVSLVAKHX1SCJoQ_AUICigB&biw=1440&bih=756#imgrc=hRhj2fFaj4WZHM:

In nearly all the work from that period, each individual has a very similar expression. They appear in their idealistic form, free from sin with solemn faces showing harmony & equilibrium. And this was because the sculptor had to conform and follow this fictional portrayal and create idealistic statues that revealed the admirable qualities of how the deceased were to be remembered.

Drawn, painted and sculpted portraits have had great importance through the ages and were often ways for people, especially in Monarchy to show their taste, wealth, power etc. And these would be sometimes be very fairly accurate in physical appearance as far historical research shows.

anne4x4_hi_res

https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/anne-boleyn-portraits-which-is-the-true-face-of-anne-boleyn/

To the very extreme artists impressions:

Weeping Woman 1937 by Pablo Picasso 1881-1973

Weeping Woman 1937. Picasso

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/pablo-picasso-1767

Below is the work of Yousef Karsh, his iconic Black & White portraits of the leading men & women of the 20th century really capture the essence of that person as we know them. He appears to use very low-key lighting in almost all of them, which is like a spotlight and really draws your eyes into the subject.

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 16.52.52

http://karsh.org/overview/#thumbnails

The subject for my Portrait Project will be my sister. We have had photo shoots in the past together or with the children but nothing as an individual so this was a great opportunity for both of us.

CONTROLLED LIGHTING 

Equipment – NIKON D750 / TAMRON 24-70 2.8 / 300W Strobes / White & Black Vinyl Backdrop & Stand

To create the controlled lighting portraits we set up a home studio and I chose to use Low key lighting like Yousef Karsh and High Key lighting so that i could experiment to see what worked the best.

For the low key lighting i used a black backdrop and a 300W Strobe with rectangular softbox off the left (and then i swapped it over to the right) pointing diagonally towards her as the key light and then another 300W strobe on the opposite side at the back as a hair light to separate her dark hair from the background.

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A video that i watched a while ago on Low Key Lighting which was really good is from Gavin Hoey ( Who i met at the Photography Show this year … and picked his brains about lighting and backdrops! )

And for the High Key Lighting i set up the white backdrop, 2 300W strobes with rectangular softboxes at each side pointing diagonally towards the middle of the backdrop and had these on full power so the backdrop was completely white when they fired. I also had a third 300W strobe as the key light which was directly behind me when i was shooting face on.

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Another great video from Gavin Hoey explaining High Key Lighting:

These 2 set ups each created a very different look, with the black background and one light it was very moody …and Caroline also adapted the same demeanor, the lighting made her feel shy almost and out of all the images with this set up she was very much in a sultry pose until I made her giggle. Whereas with the high key lighting she seemed to be more relaxed, whether that was because she was getting used to be photographed or perhaps that it was less like she was under the spotlight of one light.

Final 4 Images – Controlled Lighting

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LOCATION SHOOT

Equipment – Nikon D750 / Sigma 50mm 1.4

For the location shoot Caroline chose Hope Mountain, it is somewhere she loves to go for a walk and it’s got such a beautiful horizon backdrop which was perfect for the type of images we wanted to create. I waited until 5pm to shoot because I wanted to have backlit images which creates soft hazy backgrounds as the sun spills through all the grass and foliage. This shoot was much better than in the studio, she was so much more relaxed and this really shows in the images. Plus we were able to walk around and find different spots to shoot which meant we had more variation in the collection.

For some reason i took a huge camera bag with lots of lenses and as always i didn’t even use them! I must learn to travel lighter….. walking up a mountain with them all was tiring before we’d even started the shoot.

FINAL 4 IMAGES | LOCATION SHOOT

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MY CONCLUSION

What I learnt from this assignment was that it is very difficult to capture someones personality in a controlled lighting situation, it seems to put them under more pressure being restricted and faced with lighting. It took a lot longer for me to get her to relax and be herself in comparison to the location shoot in a place that she loves and this really shows in those images. Next time i shoot a studio portrait i will make sure that i have plenty time with the client before hand to chat and get to know them so that they eel relaxed before they stand in front of the camera.

This project has helped me look at how I approach my portrait work for the future and I feel that i have achieved all the learning outcomes for this assignment by:

  • Researching & planning lighting
  • Working through problems & finding solutions
  • Using the correct media & techniques
  • Working to a brief
  • Evaluating the process along the way, learning and making notes of how I could have improved.

ARTICLES READ

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/p/portrait

http://www.arthistoryspot.com/2010/04/portraiture-in-ancient-egypt/

Camera Tracking

I filmed this at home in my living room, i did want to film my children outside running and dodging around things but unfortunately thanks to the all the bad weather we’ve had i was unable to get outside. So i had to make do inside and i struggled with the light because our living room is quite dark so that wasn’t ideal.

It took several takes, i handheld the camera to film because it needed to be shaky footage and we set up an island in the middle of the sofas originally because i wanted them to jump onto that and have the lava bubbling around them but trying to convince my 5 year old that he had to jump straight from the sofa onto the island without touching the carpet (lava) proved an impossible feat so instead they just jumped from sofa to sofa. I also had to keep re-shooting because he kept looking at the camera….and no matter how many times i told him not to he did so for that reason and that he kept standing in the lava the clip ended up being only 8 seconds long because i had to cut it in between him doing those things.

I put the footage together in After Effects, using green screen footage of lava and explosions that i used from Youtube  and used the track camera footage, masking, levels and colour correction adjustments.