Archive for June, 2015

The last seven days has been something of a rollercoaster within Cecil Paul Studio’s.

Firstly we finally took delivery of our new battle bus a Mercedes Vito now named ‘Molly’. This has been purchased owing to the fact that we needed to use 2 cars for every event we now cover. The sheer volume of equipment meant both cars were stuffed to the gills with passengers holding equipment. With the new van everything now fits easily into the rear leaving us all to have an un-encroached seat. This also allows us to now purchase additional tables, mounts and TV Monitors for our display area at events.

The van itself is a crew van, 5 seats, and the ‘Long’ version, allowing us to easily drop in the 3m rolls we use for backdrops. It will be getting the corporate vinyl stickers on soon to make use of advertising space.

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Last Friday saw a first for me doing video with a green screen. This was regarding a medical incident which took place where my wife works. The company who manufacture the medication used wanted some interviews, with those concerned, against a green screen. I was asked if I would undertake the studio side of things and I agreed.

A fantastic day with several people up from London and some good footage captured. This opportunity also gave me a massive insight into what studio rates are in London, simply extortionate.

Everything was captured on a tripod mounted 5Diii. This is not as simple as things seem. Lighting is a nightmare and even with five 250w modelling lamps the camera struggled for light. Just about adequate for interviewing one on one but not much else.

The client and his promotions company left very pleased with the results so I’m looking forward to the end result. From just over an hour of interviews there will be a 2 to 3 minute video produced.

My wife being interviewed –

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Some of the visitors –

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Finally we had another National Trampoline League Qualifier over the weekend. Two days as always this is something not for the faint hearted photographer. I took a total of 3850 images of which 3842 made it to gallery for potential sale.

Two days, of 9 hours straight, stood on a gantry holding 4+Kg of camera and lens certainly takes its toll on your arms and back. Today has been one of rest and stretches to bring my spine back to life.

Thankfully the event was local so no big drives either side of the event or staying at Travel Lodge etc.

A fantastic weekend both personally and financially and we are now looking forward to the next one in Wales.

The arena just after the doors opened –

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This weekend we have a Kingston League Qualifier to cover so more gymnastics fun to be had.

TTFN.

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Editing on Fathers Day

Posted: June 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

The things we do for our customers eh !!!

Everything from yesterdays Ruby Wedding Celebration is now processed and into a gallery for the customer to view and purchase. Only 120 images but needing to strike whilst the iron is hot as they say means processing on a Monday might just be too late for some to bother looking and potentially purchasing images.

Everything was taken outdoors in a most beautiful garden which also allowed for a lovely family group photo with several generations of the family involved.

This first image actually shows me working. I decided, knowing the group images would be large, to light everything with a couple of studio flashes. Simple to balance the daylight to, using a meter, they add that little bit more ‘pop’ to an image. I genuinely think a single speed light would have been insufficient in the circumstances as when the sun did come out there were some harsh shadows to be had without the fill light.

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And this subsequent image shows the fun image, after we captured a suitably quality formal version.

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A few days rest now until next weekends two day gymnastics event. With 550+ competitors entered its going to be a seriously busy weekend again.

New products

Posted: June 19, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Adapting to your customers needs and changing attitudes to products is something we need to be up to speed with. The traditional wedding album of images is almost obsolete with most couples. All of my weddings this year have simply asked for a USB with the days images on. Now whilst they are not fussed about the USB they receive, my own personal values felt that it was just not sufficient enough for a cheap plastic USB to be handed over.

With this in mind I conducted some research, earlier in the year, and decided upon offering a bespoke USB unit packaged in a suitable outer. These USB/box combo’s come in a variety of styles and colours including Oak, Ash, Blue, Pink and Ivory. A variety of box fill options is also available. This one is filled with recycled medium. Reasonably priced, though not cheap, they are a lovely way for any discerning customer to keep their images within.

I am now including these options, as standard, with all full priced wedding packages and as an option with family portraits, christenings, Bump-2-Baby and discounted weddings etc.

The first order of these new options arrived today for last weekends wedding and I’m most impressed. The lid is Beautifully engraved, as is the USB too. The overall quality is top notch and justifies the slight premium on other options I had considered.

With a couple of current Bump 2 Babies on the go I’m hoping to have a pink or blue, soft-shell, version too see soon.

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Last Friday was the final hand in of my 3 years at HSAD, or it could have been Monday but hey ho the dates issued were a shambles again, I’d completed it all anyway so in it went on the Friday. Happy with my submission as I was not prepared to simply submit an online or images via USB version. I’ve always loved the physical image and this indeed gave me the opportunity to create a fully working portfolio for potential customers to view. I just hope the portfolio box comes back undamaged as they appear to be unceremoniously stored in a small room after being marked whilst awaiting for students to collect.

Sadly there has been no rest as I had wedding on Saturday. Down in Spalding the weather was atrocious for the whole day. Thankfully I always take some studio lighting with me that ensured all the formal images were professionally captured indoors. The venue, The Woodlands Hotel, were superb in allocating me a room to set up in and conduct the process. Amazingly the weather broke around 6pm, for a whole 20 minutes, which gave us just enough time to grab the brides bouquet being thrown. We also managed a few formals, before the drizzle started again, and managed to cover the main formals with the bride, groom and parents before the constant downpour returned.

The evening work was easy enough, being indoors, and I left after the first dance with many positive compliments about how we had overcome the weather. Whilst you don’t say it to the customer, my belief is that any professional photographer should be able to adapt and overcome all but the worst scenario involving the weather.

So back to the editing now as I’m working this weekend, two days next week and the following weekend so need to get the online galleries up to date.

One of my favourite images from the wedding follows below.  We actually took this in very light rain and I thought my fill flash might show it yet thankfully it hasn’t.

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Customer preference.

Posted: June 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

The customer is always right, even if we think they are potentially wrong, especially when it comes to sales.

The funny thing here though is that I actually like the final product, as requested from the customer. The original image, on the left, clearly shows people encroaching on the floor mat and indeed our own stand. The customer requested that I blur out the people and isolate her daughter. A 60% gaussian blur did the job just nicely.

Certainly not something we would have time to do at competitions yet in the time after events and indeed if guaranteeing another purchase then I think it’s worthwhile.

Just hope the requests stay at a minimum and don’t go mad 😉

Feel free to comment.

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A fun first.

Posted: June 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

A morning of primary school tennis for me today. Great fun as it was all with sponge balls so the kids were howling in laughter at times.

Nothing too technical for me and certainly easier to capture than gymnastics plus another for the portfolio.

Everything took place at the Nuffield Tennis Courts in Hull which I never even knew were there. A well kept secret?

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The final and almost forgotten about document, by Uni not me, which I have now completed. A selection of images which demonstrate our work, and what we are about as photographers, along with some research documentation.

My only issue here was whittling down my images and keeping sufficient content to represent my abilities and genres covered as a photographer.

With over 60,000 images taken last year alone I’ve been a busy lad and with booking up on last year I can only assume the shutter count on my 5D’s will be stratospheric by December.

I managed to get the count down to about 50 images before being rather brutal in culling to 30 which I felt was acceptable to submit as a project. 50 images just seemed too much in physical A3 form.

Owing to the nature of my sports imagery I have only included 2 gymnastics images. There are some in the physical version submitted for marking but I have to maintain that no images from these galleries see the light of day unless with the express permission of the individual(s) involved.

So additional to my FMP images are these which represent me, as a photographer, rather well I believe.

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Potential Calamity

Posted: June 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

One of those horrendous moments when you become alerted to the fact that something you have handed in, for your finals, might just not be the right version !!!!!

After last weeks debacle of getting my FMP document actually printed and bound I have reverted to getting things done in advance again. I’m not keen on it though.

In my first year I would get any project done asap and get it printed, bound and ready for submission sometimes weeks in advance of the due date. This allowed a full proof read and also highlighted any printing issues, which though rare, could be annoying yet easily rectified. Secondly and more importantly I would start re-reading the document and then wanting to add or amend text and images which I felt were out of place or indeed missing and required. This led to at least two documents being re-printed which was just a waste of money after trying to be efficient. I therefore decided to get all future documents printed the day before submission dates. I also decided to quickly check printing and not to nervously re-read the entire document several times as I had before.

This philosophy has worked well and allowed last minute editing that has been beneficial on more than one occasion. It does however potentially raise what may have happened to me last week.

Today I went to get my final document for Uni’ printed early again. Why? do you ask.

Last weeks debacle of getting my FMP printed kept me busy for almost two days and after further binding issues meant I submitted my work with less than 15 minutes before the office closed. The whole process nearly saw me explode when I had to leave the printers, with less than an hour to submission, to have prints re-printed being to an error by the young lady serving me. When the ‘finished’ document was handed to me it was almost like some horrendous game show where if you were late on delivering your life was over. This whole episode however left me in no doubt that if the printers are having issues, they are having issues, nothing they can do about it and that can leave things just too close for comfort. As for the human error over the binding and inclusion of images that, I fully accept, is just one of those things.

So to todays potential issue which almost saw me collapse when it dawned on me what it could mean.

Popped to the printers all sprightly in the lovely morning sunshine, handed over my USB, told them the file to print and sat down. A few moments later the printer starts and I have a smile on my face as, typically, the printers are in full working order today as they probably would be on Friday, hand in day.

Anyway the printer kept printing which I thought odd as this document isn’t too big so I jokingly piped up about only needing one copy. The reply, “….it’s a huge document” was odd and so I queried it. She showed me the front page and it was my FMP !!!! After a few seconds the printing was stopped and we ascertained she had inadvertently selected the wrong document on the USB, my FMP which was still there from last week.

She dumped all the wrongly printed material onto the counter and for some reason I thumbed through the first couple of pages. As I did this I noticed one of the pages was incorrect and missing some obvious text, oh bugger, another printing error so I mentioned it. Her reply was haunting and along the lines of “No thats’ correct” and turned her screen. My heart missed a beat as I recognised this as a working draft and not the final edit for print. Asking for my pen USB back I stated I would return after checking something. Totally stressing out I drove home and upon checking the file on the USB to those in my PC found to my horror it was in fact a working draft, though almost complete.

How did this happen I now hear people ask?

Since receiving advice at Uni I have always developed my documents and as such have 3 versions.

Version 1 is simply the roughest of copies filled with inserts notes and guidance (deleted once V.2 almost completed)

Version 2 is the working copy that develops to the final print copy.

Version 3 is the final print copy after checking of the bibliography, headings, image selection, any final text editing and a run through plagiarism software. I always keep version 2 in case I make an error in version 3 or indeed manage to lose formatting etc whilst polishing things off.

Somehow it seems I have potentially saved V.2 to my USB and not V.3. I know this might be a complete panic for nothing though I can’t see where V.3 would have gone from my USB unless it went during last weeks printing. This could be something of a calamity for my marking score as there are some editorial differences between versions and a couple of images missing which were late additions to one of the content headings. It could also be a complete panic over nothing but the seed is now sown.

The fact that I never had time to even skip through the document last week is now worrying me. I’m pretty confident everything is correctly credited in the bibliography even though there are some considerable text changes in the first half of the document and with only a few images missing things should be safe. Reading V.2 is disjointed at times though this will probably put down to my grasp on the English language (paragraphs) and failure to polish up the text correctly. This will however worry me until I receive the module mark in a few weeks.

So potentially my tutor doesn’t have the correct version of my FMP, though I hope he does, and potentially this could affect my mark.

As this is my second to last document for my degree I don’t think changing processes now will help, yet I will certainly be more aware of what I’m clicking to save things in Word.

Interesting on Google with people asking if there is any way to recover a document when they have saved something wrongly in word etc. Oh the potential calamities ‘Save’ and ‘Save As’ could, and it would seem do, create.

On a more pleasant note, in my next blog post, I’ll post the images submitted for todays, yet to be printed, presentation module.

Chill Paul, Chill.