iPhone Photography

Enjoying IPhone photography in the beach last weekend!

I had a lovely walk on one of Irelands many beautiful beaches over the weekend with our extremely crazy but oh so lovable chocolate lab.. The day was cold and hazy and the waves were rolling in after the many storms we have been enduring… how I wish I had brought towl and togs, but wishful-thinking gets you now-where… Instead I had to do with my iPhone… A few shots later and very wet, this is what I got! What a fabulous little lens my iPhone has, considering how small it is!

The mobile phones have become a way of life for many of us. There isn’t much you cannot do with them; Talk, text, write, play games, on your own or with friends from all over the world. The only thing they will not YET do, is clean for you, but wow, what a great little camera it is!!

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“Fun Photography”

Ever feel like you’re stuck in a creative rut? Do you feel your images have lost their appeal? If so, then it’s time to inject some fun into your photography techniques or your photograph portfolio. This injection of fun requires you or your commercial photographer to experiment with different approaches when capturing images. The essence of fun photography is centered on capturing images that stand out from the crowd. Come on and stir up those creative juices!

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Now, let’s put those creative juices to the test. I will outline some fun photography techniques that I believe are most useful when capturing those stand-out from the crowd images.

The Miniature Effect

  • This effect can be achieved by tilting the lens in a different direction to the image. If the lens is tilted and the image is taken from a distance, blur areas outside the small strip of the frame, then this gives the impression that photograph is a close-up view of the model or object.

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Long Exposure

  • Using a tripod, keep the shutter open for longer period. This will enable you to create smooth images of running water, streams etc. If you want to catch night time star trails or street lighting, use this technique whilst also lowering your ISO settings. The long exposure and longer shutter speed captures the rising steam, hence making the photo more appealing and real.

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Another example of long exposure: The longer shutter speed allows you to capture that running spray:

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Creative Vision

  • This is something that can easily be captured in a photograph however creating the scene is somewhat objective. This vision cannot be thought and is inherent in the minds of individuals. Or is it? This is the great thing about fun photography. There are no boundaries or limitations. It’s all about getting creative and letting your imagination do the talking. Let yourself go and create images without boundaries. Experiment with props and lighting and see for yourself what fun photography can do for you! How much value can fun photography add to your portfolio?!

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“Abstract Photography”

Abstract photography is all about drama. The main aim of this type of photography is create dramatic images. It tends to rely on our primal sense of form, colour and curves rather than explicitly on detail. When it comes to abstract think “Subject Matter” not “Detail”.  It is difficult to define abstract photography, however the key points to consider is that it focuses on communicating through form, colour and curves instead of the image detail.

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Abstract images are most effective when creating a brand or logo. As mentioned these images are all about drama and impact. The association of your brand with a dramatic abstract image will not only become a talking point but will raise awareness of your brand. The sheer impact of these images will remain imprinted on the minds of the consumer.

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When viewing an abstract piece it is believed that the brain’s logical processes tend to be more subdued. Your reaction tends to be more instinctual, in essence the photographer is communicating to the viewer through their emotions. From a branding perspective this plays to your advantage as humans emotional systems are deemed much more powerful and responsive than their logical systems. Again this comes back to imprinting your brand on consumers’ brains. Associating your brand with an abstract image communicates directly with consumers’ emotions hence they immediately form an emotion response to your brand.

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This emotional response is a form of competitive advantage which is uniquely exclusive to your company. This advantage is impossible to replicate or copy thus highlighting the importance of integrating a sense of drama into your brand. Using a commercial photographer to capture that all importance dramatic image will facilitate the growth and success of your brand. Abstract photography and drama are closely linked so consider creating your own piece of drama and watch your brand blossom!

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“It’s That Time of Year Again”

At this stage it’s safe to say we are all over the fright of Halloween. Once the clocks past midnight on October 31st and we sail into November it’s like Halloween never happened. Instantly we are capitulated into the festive Christmas Season. Christmas is coming earlier and earlier each year. The opinion on this movement seems to be rather divided, some appreciating the longer time to prepare others feeling the true sense of Christmas becomes all to commercial. Whatever direction the debate takes, it simply doesn’t matter as Christmas begins long before December ever does!

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The run up to Christmas is the prime time for businesses and organisations to showcase their products, services and offerings. This is a time when customers are actively seeking out purchases and often find it difficult to make these decisions. This is your opportunity to facilitate the customer and ensure they make an informed and appropriate purchase decision. Cue your commercial photographer! Timing is key as we mentioned Christmas begins earlier and earlier. People are beginning to start their Christmas shop long before we hear the tune of Jingle Bells. Use your commercial photographer to create festive images to educate customers on what exactly you have to offer. Provide them with party ideas, gift solutions and much more besides.

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Christmas is a time of indulgence, fun and family. Cleverly constructed images will portray these feelings of indulgence. The ability to have your brand associated with Christmas in the mind of customers is something you cannot put a price on. It’s simply priceless.

 

Getting your portfolio of images and Christmas campaign out early is a major success factor. Educating customers on gift item solution will make their purchase decision a lot more straight forward. Visually prompting customers on what you have to offer is preferred over simply telling them. Memorable visual images will remain imprinted on the minds of customers and inevitable they will associate your brand with that all important festive season.

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“Up Close and Personal”

The theme of this week’s blog is macro photography. Macro is all about getting up close and personal with your subject. Macro is defined as extreme close-up photography of small subjects often where the size of the subject in the photography is greater than life-size.

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In simpler terms macro photography is simply photography magnified. It is generally recognized as “macro” when you are increasing the size of an object in your picture from about half life-size, as represented on the image sensor, to five times life-size. Elements of macro can be seen in the photo displayed above. Macro places emphasis on detail, pattern and texture. This type of emphasis can yield both rewarding and unique results.

The question often asked is: “How to turn extreme close-ups into compelling photographs?”

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This is not an easy task. The use of a macro lens can facilitate the generation of these images however ensuring they are compelling is another matter altogether. Every element of the photography must be carefully constructed to ensure a desired result. Remember macro is magnified photography hence nothing must be left to chance. Lighting is a key element which can contribute to both success and failure. Compelling macro images will captivate the audience so much so, that the image is portrayed in such a realistic manner, the audience are completed captivated and feel like they can literally reach out and touch it. This is what macro is all about. The feeling that you are so close to the image, that you are literally present within the contrived environment.

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Macro is ideal for wildlife, landscape, food, and all sorts of commercial photography. The focus of macro can be whatever you want it to be. Remember it is magnified photography therefore it may be essential for your business, product or service to zoom in on your unique selling point on create that all important compelling photography.

 

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Capturing and Capitalising on your Social Media Corporate Image

In today’s age, businesses must recognize that effectively engaging in the marketing game necessitates engagement in social media. Your company’s presence in this “social sphere” cannot be overlooked and warrants serious attention. In a fast paced corporate world, where customers are continually being bombarded with information from a variety of competing sources, it is essential to stand out from the corporate crowd by using vivid images in your company’s social media communications. It is what will truly capture customers’ “social attention”.

 

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90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and images are processed 60,000 times faster than plain text. As a result, images are more impactful than text and can stimulate more emotional reactions. It is therefore not surprising how effective images can be when used in corporate social media communications to successfully and quickly connect with followers, “likers” and subscribers. Zoning in on twitter – given that each tweet is limited to 140 characters, the inclusion of links to images (e.g. of products or services offered) can be a powerful way of communicating with your company’s followers.

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As the saying goes, “a picture tells a thousand words”. Essentially, showing customers your products is more effective than describing them. Regardless of the sector in which your company operates, inclusion of images in your social media content, whether it is through twitter or facebook links, can be a powerful way of reiterating the range of high quality products and/or services that your company offers.

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A picture not only “tells a thousand words”; it also “creates a curious mind”. In fact, inclusion of images in links to your company’s website in post on your social media networks has been proven to positively impact traffic from that link to your website.

The inclusion of images in your company’s social media content also fosters “personal” connections with customers. For example, inclusion of friendly, yet professional images of staff members can strengthen relationships with repeat customers, reminding them of the recognisable and genuine faces behind your organisation.

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Use of images in this way is also an effective means of reminding followers and “likers” of the high quality and authenticity of the products and/or services that you produce/offer.

Here are a few guidelines and tips that I believe will help to optimise the use of images on your company’s social media networks:

  • Use original, high quality images.

-       Ensure the images are unique to your company.

-       Ensure the images are of an adequate resolution and brightness.

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-       As I mentioned in my previous blog post on originality, do not overlook copyright issues.

  • Use images that promote the products and services that your company offers in an innovative and exciting way.
  • Clearly describe what the images represent.

-       Include relevant text with each image posted. For example, if the image is of a new staff member or product being offered, clearly state this.

  • Target communications across different social media networks

 

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-       Remember that an image which is effective on one network may not be as effective on another, as each network will have different types of followers, “likers” or subscribers. For example, your company’s twitter followers may be a younger demographic on average than its facebook “likers”.

As a result, it may be necessary to place different emphasis on the products/services offered and use different images on each network. This marketing strategy will allow your company to most effectively appeal to the audience on each network.

 

I hope this blog has given you some insights into how you can integrate and leverage images to maximise your company’s returns from its social media marketing activities.

 

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“Still Life Photography”

The theme of this week’s blog is still life photography. For those of you who are unfamiliar with technical terms, still life photography is defined as the depiction of inanimate subject matters. The subject matter most typically being a small group of objects. A large proportion of commercial photography is closely entwined in still life photography.

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A still life photographer makes pictures rather than takes picture.  The meaning behind this is that, this type of photography is considered to be more of an art form compared with other photography actions. Still life is more consistent with art forms and art theories, it is considered to be one of the most demanding photography actions. This art form demands a redefined sense of lighting coupled with compositional skills. The photographer needs that all important artistic vision to select the most complementary props and seductive settings.

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The key to still life photography is to remember that you are working with far less variables. Within this situation the photographer has complete control including the subject matter. The success of the shoot entirely depends on the photographer’s ability and vision. There is a need to think creatively in order to capture the image in an interesting and engaging way.

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The compositional element of the still life image is considered to be the most crucial element which will decide on whether or not your image is unique and engaging. You need to engage your viewers with the image. Before commencing a shoot carefully consider your subject. Ask yourself the following:

  • What are the defining features?
  • What is the subject matter used for?
  • Can I put the subject matter in context or is it a stand-alone subject?
  • Are the frame, subject and backdrop all I need?

These are just some of the variables to consider. As mentioned still life photographer is an art form. Whether this is a learned theory or a natural talent is always debatable. Truly, still life is all about that all important artistic vision. The absence of this vision will result in unimaginative bland images. That sense of engagement has been well and truly lost. A well-executed still life image won’t just engage, it will literally jump out and grab you!! Browse through my images and see what grabs you!

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“Hotels, hotels, hotels…………..”

The theme of this week’s blog is………? You guessed it hotels. This service has been around for many years and looks like it’s going to stay. Even Jesus booked into the Inn! How long have hotels been in existence is impossible to measure but one thing we know for sure is that hotels are here to stay!

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The hotel industry is extremely competitive and it’s important to showcase your establishment in the best possible way. From a commercial photography angle it is essential to create memorable images that are imprinted on the minds of guests and potential guests. There are many advertising avenues the hotel industry must pursue in order to reach their global marketplace. From personal experience within this industry commercial photography is most effective through vehicles such as brochures and online slideshows. These vehicles can truly capture the meaning behind the establishment.

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Online slideshows can be used to announce new discounts and special upcoming features. These visual slideshows provide potential guests with food for thought. Other items for the slideshow include menu items, special functions and special performance. All these activities help to differentiate your business hence there is a need to represent this differentiation with effective and memorable imagery. The purpose of featuring images on the website is to convey the experience, to show the value offered within the hotel’s premises. Choosing the right images that show off the hotel’s values and services can increase online conversion and overall revenue.

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Past experience in this industry has thought us that we can learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others. Keeping this is mind here are a few tips to consider when capturing that memorable image:

  • Don’t add temporary props. i.e. temporarily taking a lampshade from the lobby and placing it in a suite for the shoot. This addition may enhance the photo however these small enhancing details will be remembered by the customer and can be consider misleading when they visit and these additions are no longer in their suite.
  • Don’t add artificial touch up’s i.e. While the photo might look good with pink highlights, using Photo editing tools to spruce up the room’s picture could deceive the guests into thinking they are being short changed when they actually see the room’s true colours or lighting. When booking the customer expect to see the hotel as they did in the online brochure. The photographs featured on the site should convey the experience guests can expect when staying in the hotel.
  • Make the pictures timeless by avoiding use of people in the photograph. Using people will put a stamp date on the picture as fashion trends change season after season. This can make the image time sensitive and only useful for a short period of time.
  • Use high-quality, high-resolution images for clearer pictures. Grainy pictures can make the image seem old and dated
  • Take pictures from a bird’s eye view – this trick allows capturing a larger space and highlighting room features.

To finish, utilising these tips here is something I created earlier!

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“Commercialise Yourself: Part Deux!”

Commercialise yourself part deux is a follow on from last week’s blog. In last week’s blog we explored the notion of commercialisation and how the process can add value to your business, product or service. We highlighted how commercial photography is an invaluable commercialisation vehicle and explained how this process is strongly embedded in the core beliefs of GM Photography. We also briefly outlined our vast experience throughout many different sectors. So, the theme of this week’s blog is part deux hence throughout this blog we will visually present images showcasing our experience in differentiating sectors.

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Last week we listed the routes to commercialisation we offer. To recap these were

  • Editorials
  • Advertising
  • Brochures
  • Annual reports
  • Company newsletters
  • Billboards
  • Direct Marketing
  • Point of Sales
  • Websites
  • Cookery Books
  • Engineering Fields
  • Food Industry
  • The list goes on…..

To successful execute these routes having experience and know how in the sector you are working within is critical. Remember these are visual messages and the correct image needs to be captured to showcase your business, product or service. At GM photography we are extensively trained and experienced in all sectors. This experience has enabled us to successfully and harmoniously work with a varied range of clients. Even these furry friends!

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“Commercialise Yourself”

The theme of this week’s blog is all about commercialisation. Commercialisation is a process or indeed a cycle of introducing or the reintroduction of a production or service onto the marketplace. There is a place for commericalisation in every product and service. The biggest and most effective example of commercialisation is Christmas. Each and every year we are bombarded with commercial images of products associated with Christmas. The introduction of these images is slowly but surely emerging earlier and earlier each year. I agree this method is often viewed as premature, but the early commercialisation of Christmas increases our awareness of the impending festive season and ensures we are adequately prepared for its arrival.

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The thought of commercialisation can seem very daunting indeed. There is a misconception that if you want to successfully commercialise your business then you will need a team of business experts and consultants. This option could prove to be extremely costly and the return may not be exactly what you wanted. When investing your time, effort and resources into a process like commercialisation it is helpful to see visual results throughout the entire process. It also helps to be involved in the process and take more of a hands on approach.

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If you prefer the option of a hands on approach then the option of commercial photography is the media or marketing channel you should use to facilitate the commercialisation of your business or product. Commercial photography can offer many avenues for a business to successfully commercialise. At GM photography we offer all of these avenues and have vast knowledge and experience throughout many sectors. The voice of our clients is extremely important to our core business beliefs hence we aim to work alongside our clients to ensure they are happy at every stage.

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The routes to commercialisation we offer consist of the following:

  • Editorials
  • Advertising
  • Brochures
  • Annual Reports
  • Company Newsletters
  • Billboards
  • Direct Marketing
  • Point of Sales
  • Websites

 

These are all visual routes which prove to be extremely beneficial. A visual marketing media will capture the true meaning behind a product or service. As mentioned, the method of commercial photography will enable you to see immediate results and offer results that you can believe in. What you see is what you get. These are measurable results which add value to the commercialisation process. Browse through the images on my website to see what commercialisation method would best suit your product or service. Our photos displayed tell a story of the products and services we have successfully worked alongside. Whatever the challenge we are ready and willing!

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