Friday, 12 July 2013

Moving Over

I'm moving over to blogging on my own site now, just so I can control all the image sizes and things.
You can see it here on the RobG Photography Blog Page.

Monday, 18 February 2013

So what's it like having me as your wedding photographer?

A few days after I exhibited at a wedding fair I got a phone call asking me about my wedding photography. So one Saturday morning I drove over to meet Liz and Chris.

It turned out that they had been at the fair but didn't get to talk to me because I was chatting with someone else. They did, however, like my flyer that was in the goody bag and went to my website to check out my pictures.

So I had a cup of tea, showed them some wedding albums and just generally nattered about wedding related things. Then, for some random reason, we got into a discussion about Monty Python and Star Wars (both of which I really like) and stayed there for a while just laughing and joining in with old jokes about the knights who say 'ni'.

A few days later I got an email with the subject heading 'What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow' saying that they'd like me to be their wedding photographer.

I was really glad that they wanted me to be a part of their day and grabbed the opportunity with both hands (as well as giving the answer to their question – it's roughly 24mph).

Side note – in case you don't understand all the swallow nonsense, it's from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

So everything was ready for a Spring wedding. Unfortunately due to a family illness the wedding needed to be moved up to November so, after a bit of diary juggling, I said that was fine and went ahead with my preparations. I make a point of visiting the wedding and reception venues prior to the big day to get a feel for them, take a few test shots and have a chat to the happy couple. I also do things like getting in touch with the priest, celebrant or registrar, researching sunrise and sunset times and planing routes.

As for the actual photographs, Liz and Chris decided that what they wanted was a set of formal groups outside the church and then just a more reportage feel for the rest; just generally capturing people having fun on the day. In the weeks on the run up to the wedding, there were regular e-mails between myself and Liz to keep me up to date on the changes in timings for the day and tweaks to the list of photographs that they wanted.

On the day of the wedding the batteries were charged, the lenses were clean, the shot list was printed out (twice) and my shirt was ironed. I set off feeling excited and everything was going great for at least ten minutes until I got a flat tyre. I called Liz to let her know what was happening, and then had the fun of standing in a layby changing my tyre while wearing a three piece suit (that can't have looked strange at all...).

Despite all that I was still at Liz's parents' house in plenty of time to take photographs of hair and makeup in progress and get all those little detail shots that are great to look back on.

From there it was a busy but very enjoyable day involving loads of laughing (mostly during an impromptu photo-session in the playground with a lot of the bridal party) and lots of bubbles from the back of the wedding car (seriously) and during the first dance.

A couple of weeks after the wedding I personally delivered the disk of just over 300 pictures and we started to go through them and discuss which ones were going into their Graphistudio album and they decided on the cover (which eventually changed) and the paper (which stayed the same throughout).

Side Note - Liz came up with the best description of metallic paper that I've ever heard. She said it was like seeing the pictures in HD. I know that sounds a bit weird but all the colours are richer, the contast is deeper and the photographs themselves just seem to have more depth.

Over the next few weeks pictures were swapped around, more pages were added, the colour of the cover was changed and we ended up with a great album.

As I usually do, I asked Liz and Chris if they'd give me a testimonial statement for my website, here's an extract:
'He was always happy to answer any questions we had and every time we met him he was friendly and doing whatever he could to help.' If you'd like to see he rest of it, my testimonials page is here.

How did the album turn out?
Well you can see the page designs and some photographs of the finished product RobG Photography album page.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Why a great picture is still important in business.

A couple of years ago I started taking driving lessons (better late than never) and so I went online to look for an instructor.
As you can probably imagine there were a huge number of choices in my area. I eventually decided on one after a few hours of looking.
Was the choice based on pass rates? Nope.
How about a really impressive website? Not so much.
Maybe the price? No... Well ok, maybe a little bit but this still wasn't my main reason.
I chose the instructor who looked friendly in her picture. My reasoning being that I was going to have to spend hours in a car with her so it needed to be someone who I could get along with (and as it turned out I needed two tests this time a lot longer than I was expecting...).

Your business works hard at projecting the right image, from it's website through to flyers and brochures and even how staff dress, but there are still a whole bunch of businesses that end up with photographs of their staff that are little more than (or in some cases exactly the same as) snapshots that belong on Facebook. What do they say about you?

An example. I was at a music festival and my friend's son took a picture of me in a helmet he'd just bought that happened to match the T shirt I was wearing at the time.

Pretty right? This went straight up on Facebook and caused a large amount of hilarity. Fair enough. It's a snapshot taken at an event, people want to see silliness. But would you hire this guy to take your wedding photographs?
How about this one:
Better. Nice lighting, a bit of gentle photoshopping (not that I'm vain or anything) and presenting a much better, professional image. This is the portrait I use for my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.

The thing that a lot of people forget is that a photograph can say an awful lot about you. The subconscious cues really do have an effect on the viewer.

Lets look at angles.

I took both of these portraits on the same day using the same equipment but they have a very different effect. The one on the left is taken from a slightly lower angle. this emphasises the strength of the jaw, closes the eyes a little and makes the subject seem much more dominant and perhaps a little aggressive. On the right, from an angle that is much more level with the eyes he seems more approachable, more friendly (for the record he's a really nice guy, not scary at all).
So what does your photograph say about you?

If you want to have some great portraits taken I'm currently running a competition to win a day of photography for your business for free. There are also other prizes of discounts.
Details here
You just need to send me a DM on Twitter or an email to enter.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Little scam alert

For the last half hour or so I've had 'David', his supervisor 'Charlie' and a third senior supervisor (whose name I didn't even bother to remember) all with very strong Indian acents trying to tell me that my computer was seriously infected with malware and files that hamper my internet and all sorts of horrible things!
I was dubious to say the least (hey, my Norton antivirus is bang up to date on its definitions) but went through the process with them just to see what they would do.
I asked repeatedly what the error message consisted of, they couldn't tell me - Clue 1.
I asked what the name of the malicious file was. Apparently a really serious W52 malware that I couldn't find on any search - Clue 2.
They got me to hold down the windows key and hit R - which brings up the run window and then got me to start up my event viewer (this is a little program that lets you see all the litle messages that go in the background of your computer). They talked me through (about five times really slowly) how to filter the list so that I could see lots of scary looking red exclamation marks and yellow warning triangles.
I gasped as they showed me my error logs on event viewer!
I shuddered at how my antivirus wasn't protecting me!
I shrieked when told that I was told that online shopping sites actually aren't secure and they download malicious files to my computer!
He then, very politely, directed me to a site and asked me to login so that he could help me deal with all the horrible internet nasties that had made it onto my computer - and there was Clue 3.
I asked him to wait as the web page was loading (yet more evidence that my computer is being eaten at by nasty little gremlins!) and I did a quick google search.
Guess what, there have been a few scams done in exactly this way over the last couple of years.
All of them originated from India, all of them asked you to login to a website so they could take control of your pc and help you with your problems - presumably one of which is that you have too much money and they'd like to relieve you of that burden.
I didn't login to their site, told them I knew it was a scam and hung up.

Things to remember:
Don't for goodness sake login to that Windows PC Cure website on the link above.
If you allow someone to have remote access to your computer they will be able to get hold of all your records, bank data and any other little juicy bits and pieces you have on there.
Microsoft does not do cold calling regarding anything, much less any error reports that come through to them.
Your computer will have a whole list of little things going on if you look at Event Viewer, the majority of which are no big deal.
Make sure your computer is virus protected (yes even you Mac users given the discovery of the first Mac OSX virus - details and removal tool here ).

Please pass this on and lets put these scammers out of business.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Q: What do you do on a cold Sunday afternoon?

A: Take some retro style pictures of your wife... Well that's what I do anyway.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Yep, that's why I do this.

I'm just in the process of getting prepard for my first ever wedding fair on Sunday ( The East Midlands Wedding Show , if you're in the area drop by and say hi) and amongst all of the decision making on what to wear and how to present myself I've been sorting out which pictures to show.
The albums were decided on weeks ago (hey, getting stuff custom made in Italy isn't an overnight thing), the flyers are just right and the canvasses look really cool so it's all down to what I'm going to be showing on my nice big monitor slideshow.
Looking back on some of the pictures from the last few weddings I've done I started smiling, even had a giggle at a few. I got reminded that encouraging 230 people to do jazz hands for a photograph just so I could get them smiling and enjoying having their picture taken was a huge amount of fun.

I really like looking at the pictures, I know the happy couples do too. It's nice to be involved in what is a really romantic occasion with (usually) some laughs thrown in.
That's why I do wedding photography and it's nice to remind myself of that.