Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Firstly I would like to state that all images on this blog are copyright to Cecil Paul Studio’s and we do not give any permission for any individual or company to copy, transfer, alter or amend any image in any known or unknown format without permission. Don’t be a digital thief and pay for the image if you like it that much!!

The above statement comes after one particular radio station robbed an image from here and used it for a promotion. Unbelievably another radio station then robbed that copy for their own radio promotion. The music industry complains about kids downloading songs for free and yet they are thieving when it suits them. Double standards at work which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.

So onto September –

Things kicked off for us on the first weekend with the third series of the National Trampoline & DMT League, held at Birmingham University. This was a superb venue and being almost new gave us possibly the best balanced lighting of any event this year so far. When you can have your speed with a nice low iso its almost xmas as a photographer and this place delivered in swathes of light.

The weekend as a whole was manic as expected with some 600+ competitors over the two days. We were constantly busy and without barely time to visit the loo for most of both days. The evening meal and a few cold ones, on the Saturday evening, to wash it all down makes things worthwhile though and helps us get a nice nights sleep.

We took some 8500 images in total and had our usual excellent response to the quality of our image and montage offerings over the weekend. Sadly the organisers hadn’t produced the promised event program and so, with no advert, all things regarding our gallery codes went out of the window which had a knock on effect to the subsequent online sales. You’d think they would learn from this, as we were not the only disappointed sponsor, yet you’ll see in Octobers roundup they never. Incompetence at the highest level.

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One thing can always be said for the competitors though is they have a good laugh when there and will happily pose for images such as this one below.

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Our equestrian coverage also continued with several dressage events over the month, one of which was our own business dedicated event. This was a lovely day not only with the quality of competition shown but we had our own branded rosettes. Manor Grange Stud had commissioned a whole series of garlands and rosettes with our name and logo on which was absolutely lovely to see.

The other equestrian events were, as usual, slick and with no messing about. Thankfully the weather held out and so there were no monsoon days where I end up hiding under the main building canopy to shoot from. Our business from these events continues to grow at a steady rate and thus I believe we will chose to continue providing coverage into 2018 and possibly beyond.

These galleries remain our only open event galleries and can be found here – Equestrian Galleries

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Gymnastics also played a key part in September with two competition weekends hosted by Bridlington Gymnastics. This is proper grass roots stuff and we love it. No big arenas, no ego’s, just lots of enthusiastic kids and parents doing what they do. The competitors start around 4-5 years up to the seniors around the 16-17 age group. We are well looked after by the hosts and have a fantastic rapport with both the organisers, adults and kids alike. We are already booked for the 2018 events and look forward to them as its just a fun set of weekends.

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Back in July this year I did a bit of work with the band Wayward Sons when I covered their first ever live gig down in Bristol. This had come about from my involvement with their promotional videos for the new album which can all be read about in an earlier post.

September saw them out supporting UFO on their 2017 UK Tour. One particular date, the 15th, was also the official release date for the album. Thinking it would be a good idea to capture that night I emailed Toby and he said thanks, yes, pop along and do your thing. The night was superb and in my personal opinion the Sons were head and shoulders above UFO in musical deliver and enthusiasm. The crowd were bouncing along to the music, which noticeably stopped once UFO had taken to the stage. The UFO set was slick and polished though I feel lacked a raw feel. I could honestly say that you could have listened to this on the radio as visually and engagement wise things were seriously lacking. To put it into context I was sat uploading and editing my images in the main hall area whilst they were on. Looked up a few times just to make sure things were still going when the music stopped.

On a working basis the Picturedome at Holmfirth is not actually too bad to work in. Yes it is compact though the fans are all stood on a sloping floor leading upend away from the stage. Tis allowed me to move up and down and simply shoot over the top of those in front of me. Non of the usual clamouring about to secure a gap between heads and phones which is nice. Setting were mediocre as though the lighting operator did give some light it wasn’t nearly as much as that given to the headline act. Thank the lord for full frame cameras and f2.8 lenses.

The night finished, I had a good chat with the band and then it was away home, still damp from sweating in the pit for a nice warm shower and bed.

The images from this event are behind a secured gallery and only for the band to see. Images from the gig will be released as and when they see fit which is sad in a way as I like to see my images out there in the wild. To stop any thieving radio stations or any other publications grabbing images of the band you’ll just have to put up with this montage again. Shame how people spoil things for others.

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The month was topped off with a visit to City Of Leeds Trampolining & Gymnastics to undertake a specific shoot of gymnasts who had qualified for a host of national and international competitions. With all new leotards the head coach wanted a series of portrait images taking to help promote the club within the Yorkshire region.

The whole thing took around 4hrs to complete and with a happy head coach, general coaches, kids and parents I headed home.

That was not quite the end though regarding this as we are returning in January to film a whole series of short films about the club, their offerings and what kids can expect to be doing if they join the club. Really looking forward to that.

This image was a fun pic taken after all the kids had individually paraded in each of their leotards for their portrait to be taken. I know from my school photo experiences this isn’t fun so when the coach suggested a pic in the foam pit, we ended up with this.

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I’ll try not to leave things too long before blogging our October exploits.

 

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I’ve been meaning to get this all up to date recently, and indeed I will soon be doing so, though a recent event has prompted me here in advance.

We recently covered our third National Trampoline League & DMT finals at the Olympic Velodrome in London as the official photographers of the event. Now whilst this will be subject to my all encompassing end of year update, it was actually our journey down to London which causes me to write today.

We always stop somewhere for tea, a loo break and a coffee for the onward journey. It helps break up the long journeys to events and as any driver will tell you, that half hour rest can do you the world of good. Last Friday was no exception and whilst travelling down the A1 through Lincolnshire it was time to indeed stop for this break. A Burger King Restaurant along with a petrol station approached and after a quick consultation, with the kids, I pulled in and parked up. The Burger King was almost empty, which I like, so items are usually cooked to order and indeed that was what we were informed by the counter assistant. Mmm nice hot fresh food rather than the stuff thats been kept Luke warm in the heater display trays.

I saw the most luscious looking image of a Triple Cheese & Caramelised Onion Angus Burger on the display board, placed my order with the wife and went to the loo. Upon my return the family had all placed their orders and had sat down to wait. Imaging my excitement when the young counter assistant brought over our freshly cooked meals, oh was my mouth drooling. We almost yet not quite.

Indeed if my mush had of been drooling at the prospect of this lush looking burger on the display board it would have been sorely disappointed in what laid beneath the wrapper.

I think its time for an image, the image of disappointment, corporate greed, misleading advertising and the blatant rip off that these soulless fast food outlets have become….

Burger King

Now excuse me for being disappointed with what I unwrapped, but do the two images match? Of course they don’t and Burger King just don’t care either. I enquired as to my lacklustre looking offering against the most pristine of images on the display board and was assured that it was indeed what it was supposed to be. I think my look of disbelief prompted the comment “We cant replicate those images but your burger does contain what it should”. This is surely the biggest con going and they are getting away with it. If I ordered a new car with a luxurious leather & walnut interior I think I’d have recourse to complain if it came with some tatty old worn cloth seats from a bus in. Why should food be any different?

To be fair to the poor counter assistant it would appear that I wasn’t the first to complain about this limp excuse for a burger. I tweeted my disgust and some four days later no response from Burger King. I’ve placed it on Facebook and again no response. In an age where there are many offerings, of fast food outlets, it would appear that Burger Kings silence on the matter speaks volumes. Do they actually not care about customers like me who will never eat Burger King again. Heaven forbid I might order chips one day and receive wood shavings instead. Hey ho we have your money, just eat and drive on.

To rectify things we stopped at one of the many “OK Diners” restaurants along the A1 on our way home and enjoyed four sumptuous meals (kids had burgers) and drinks. I used to like Burger King for their bigger burgers, though after this experience I doubt we shall return any time soon.

Independents rule.

The following image is one of a series that I have undertaken with a very lovely young lady who has participated in several ideas I have had over the last few years.

The idea of body painting someone in either a single colour or multi colours is certainly nothing new yet something I would recommend to any photographer who has the time, a studio and a willing model. The whole experience is something different to the usual humdrum high key imagery normally produced in the studio. With the right people involved you can also have a jolly good laugh as we both did on this occasion.

The model is simply painted in silver dust mixed with body oil. This allows the dust to spread easier whilst giving it a shimmering almost alive look. We had sampled just applying the dust in its raw form yet I believed, and the model agreed, that it looked somewhat dull in comparison to the liquid version. When I say painted the silver was literally applied with a 1″ paint brush from the pot in which it was mixed. Nothing fancy about that at all.

There was nothing outstanding about the shoot and things progressed as with any other shoot trying out different lighting and poses. A whole series of different image styles and poses were accomplished however I will keep the imagery appropriate for all to appreciate whilst retaining the dignity of the model on such a public forum.

The gold liquid was added towards the close of the shoot to simply add a different dimension within the colours. This almost made it look as if she was either melting or indeed oozing the gold from her mouth which we both agreed was a quality look.

With the ‘melting’ idea firmly afloat I added the flame effects in Photoshop to create a set of finished images the model was extremely pleased with. All in all it was a most satisfactory finish to what had initially been a “what if?” idea.

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I’ve been meaning to catch up with this and splash a mediocre editorial overview in here but to be perfectly honest I’ve just been busy.

Since my last entry we haven’t had a weekend off from work. A total of 35,000 more images have been added to our galleries and today represents a totally clear day from editing or compiling montage images from eager customers. It’s all back to normal this Friday when we have a local Academies prom to cover which should be eventful.

So what have we been up to? Several local gymnastics competitions, 3 x regional competitions and 1 x two day national competition over in Cardiff. 1 x wedding and a couple of family portrait sessions complete the recent workload. The event photography is now so slick it’s almost a pleasure to do other than holding 4.5kg of camera for several hours which is like being down the gym all day. After the second day at Cardiff we stopped off for tea, as we left, with both my lad and I having the shakes from holding that weight all weekend. Arms, shoulders and back muscles certainly take a pounding.

The wedding was breeze as were the studio shoots. I have my first gay wedding next Monday in Scunthorpe which I am seriously looking forward to. Both are mad as hatters and lovely with it so ready for some fun imagery to be captured.

I would love to undertake more wedding photography yet I fear the market is being undermined by individuals whom don’t know their worth. I was sat in a certain coffee shop last week with my wife where a photographer was peddling her wares to an eager couple. We could both hear her pitch, which was fine, as she removed an assortment of large photo albums from a carrier bag. Her final price for covering this couples all day wedding, night function and large A3 style album ……….. £200!!!!!! I nearly choked on my coffee and the look on my wife’s face was classic. £200 for what would be some 12-14hrs work plus editing and the cost of the album. Take the album at £50 (ish) leaves her working at roughly 14p/hr on the day. Suggest double the time editing the images and creating the album and it becomes less than minimum wage. Why I have no idea.

Back to our event work we now have further multi image offering we give at events. This is a deliberate move to continue maximising net profits. Whilst the cost of the print, mount and bag remain the same the increased customer purchase cost of the multi image prints enhance our profits substantially. Whilst I won’t discuss the exact monies these multi prints have increased our revenues by some 40% year on year making things far more comfortable when we come to replacing hardware. It is still interesting that the southern part of the country will happily purchase multiple prints for their kids who are competing along with one for grandma & grandad etc where the more Northern we get money is more sparingly spent. There’s certainly a divide of some sorts in this country.

So the next few weeks see us at weddings, nursery portrait shoots, gymnastics, trampolining and swimming events. Given the time I’ve spent editing all the images from the last few weeks I should be updating this around August time lol.

Until then here are the 2 new additions to our event print options –

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Edit – After feedback from the young lady on these images a small border was placed between the images on the left image.

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Just had a conversation with a rock god of mine who has allowed me to shoot two of his local shows in a months time.

I’ve sent several emails out to various venues offering my services and then directly to performers who I like or feel would gives images worth looking at. Got a polite email from this chap asking a few further details about myself and requested a few sample images. popped those over to him and bingo I’m hired. I have full access for the day at both venues so my University Photo Essay is now sorted.

With my essay subject being a lead singer I included the following two images which I took at Hull’s freedom Festival. The band were ‘The Struts’ with a lead singer, a young chap called Luke Spiller, who certainly commanded the stage and woke a previously lacklustre crowd. It would appear that the sheer cheek of my request along with these images made the decision easy.

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