Photography for Indie and Creative Businesses

 
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Every brand is a creative brand. Why? Branding is storytelling, and storytelling is a creative work.

Steve Jobs.

Following on from my last post, I thought it timely to chat about one of the workshops that I offer - Photography for Indie and Creative Businesses - a guilty pleasure of mine as I get to share my knowledge of branding and my pet passion, Signature Style for your business photography. We also cover the importance of understanding the branding of your business. Don’t worry if you are not this far on with your business…

The day workshop runs from 10 until 4 and will cost (location workshops) £150 and private house workshops (in a host’s home) £115  to include light refreshments, lunch (this often turns out to be a working lunch where people quiz me about their branding and own Signature Style). You get to take home a few resources on your own memory stick to help you on your way… You must bring along your own camera that is capable of shooting manual - either a mirrorless camera or a DSLR. Please bring your instruction manual if you have any doubts about your camera.

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The day will be loosely broken up as follows

Welcome coffee and a chance to informally introduce ourselves and our businesses. Then we begin with…

An introduction to branding - understanding brand awareness and consistency and it’s importance for you

We shall look at finding your own Signature Style (see my last post)

We then have a short break

Learn how to find and use natural light or available light

Understand the importance of telling a story with your image

Early-Ish light lunch - I do ensure that my workshop lunches are good, using locally sourced, seasonal food

After lunch we quietly learn to shoot manual on your camera and unpack the confusing language into plain English! Then we put it in to practice with time to take some photographs, with all the support you need to feel confident to shoot manual when you leave and also with the knowledge of knowing about branding and your own Signature Style.

Once these workshop are done, I do find that my lovely students often keep in touch with each other, having found like minded creative thinkers and independent business folk.

If you think this workshop is for you or feel that you would like to host such an event, then please do feel free to contact me. You may like to sign up for my complimentary 7 day mini course to do before the workshop.

I look forwards to seeing you…

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Signature style - some words

 
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A style born out of a sense of place, a deep love of country and a particular colour palette.

I am often asked about signature style - what is a signature style? what are the elements of my signature style?…

Simply put, it is a style that is so personal, that it is you… remember the Nike ad - just be yourself?  If you truly let your heart speak through your camera and not try to make your signature style, then it will form naturally, organically.

I am interested in narrative - getting in to the very soul of my clients, so that I can distill the very essence of their story readily.

Let me chat about my own signature style - what makes my work recognisable as being mine - place, love of nature and country, colour, localness and seasonality.

You will see that my work is minimal, sparse with a muted palette.  Intentional, thoughtful and considered.  It often exudes a calm, a sense of peace.  Photographs can be bright and airy or more subdued and moody.  Over time I have come to realise that my signature comes from a deep rooted sense of place and a love of nature and country.  Couple that with my love and interest in Scandinavian Art and it’s quiet colour palette and there you have it.

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PLACE If you live in a place long enough, then its identity becomes embedded in your DNA, in your very soul.  For me the Cotswold Hills and its villages have directly influenced my work over time.  The light, the local colour, the food (seasonal, growing and preparation), the slower pace of life, the artisanal ways of doing things - a lot haven’t changed at all.  Then there are the Estate colours that houses and cottages are painted in and the subtle geographical changes in the local stone from which they are built.

NATURE/COUNTRY My love of nature and country - I seem to have a reputation for my floral photography.  However what I do like to shoot/record is not a particular genre but rather nature/life from the ground, the soil, upwards and onwards.  From the soil to our plates, our adorned homes, our well being, our life styles and jobs.  Seasonally.  Bringing nature home.  All encompassing.

COLOUR  For me where you live defines you.  It is this that I find so very exciting.  Local Colour has long been of interest to me through my research into Colour Psychology.  I do love to form a narrative through colour stories within a shoot.  A colour story is a palette of colours used together to make a cohesive statement throughout a body of images.  When curating a collection, it is important to know the ways our  colours interact - back to Colour theory here for my lovely fledgeling photographers…

If you are shooting a story outdoors, say food for a client or to make a story from a special family gathering, then it may be something as simple as terracotta shades that will become a that will become a thread that will run through the story - from clay pots, paint work, furniture or table decorations.  Not an obvious thing, but simple and subtle.  It is such a device that will help you get to the very soul of your collection.

 
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Process as meditation…

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Many of us have been running all our lives. Practice stopping.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Process as meditation…

Hello world,

In my last post, I chatted about wandering with my camera - wellbeing through photography… since then I have had my head well and truly down, working on my iterative process that I apply to improve all aspects of my work. As you know I love classic photography and black and white silver printing in the darkroom. At the moment I can’t have a darkroom of my own, so I have created a lighter stage of darkroom - a dim room so that I can carry on some form of printing from home - cyanotype. Printing feeds my soul.

I have been thinking how this, for me, is yet another form of wellbeing. Wellbeing through process… Through studying classic photography, over the years I have become interested in all sorts of processes for producing photographs - beyond cyanotype printing - platinum printing, contact printing silver prints in the darkroom with digital negatives and also hand colouring.

The pure concentration needed to perfect these various techniques to me is a form of mindfulness, of wellbeing.

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I can loose myself for two or three hours whilst hand colouring a black and white photograph. Working the colours to achieve the right tones and shades, applying the colour gently to achieve the translucent feel and shading that I love. Equally, I can loose myself in Lightroom and Photoshop processing an image that I know is to be printed through one of these printing processes. Converting to black and white, making a digital negative with the right amount of contrast and density or simply weighing out and mixing chemicals for cyanotype, then coating papers takes me away from all that is going on in the world. In the zone. In a state of complete and utter flow…

If you are interested in Cyanotype prints, then I can throughly recommend Linda McCartney’s book Sun Prints. It is a beautiful book to read - even if you have no interest in printing your own. Such an organic process, quietly connecting me nature and process.

Hoping this is a little soul food for your own creativity and wellbeing

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Consider this...

 
Beauty and wholeness are worth preserving.
Unknown.

Consider this… Photography as a meditation practice.

Hello lovely reader,

How often do you have seemingly unconnected thoughts in your head that are just there? Time will pass and then the wires join? Well, this happened to my a while ago and the result of the fusion is a series of courses that I am planning to share… They have seeds of an idea for a very long time and I haven’t been able to articulate them sufficiently in order to take them further. When this happens, I simply leave them to germinate slowly when the time is right.

You know how I love wandering in the countryside either with my hounds or my camera, drinking it all in - well it was when I was out with my dogs here, that I had that lightbulb moment. I recalled the simple Japanese practice of Shinrin Yoku - forest bathing that brings together ancient ways and wisdom with the latest environmental health science - by coincidence, I have also written about it in the same post too. I was suddenly connecting the benefits being out in nature and photography as a meditation practice. I had long been aware that my own heart rate lowers when I am alone in my studio behind my camera. I had brought together various thoughts and the result was that I had something I wanted to share - a form of creativity that brings about a frame of mind, in which a person actually taking photographs is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, this state of flow is characterised by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one's sense of space and time. Share the benefits I glean whilst behind the camera.

Building on those firm foundations already laid…

In order to enter such a state, you obviously have to be totally at ease with the rudiments of photography, hence my foundation courses. This holistic approach was designed specifically with Art Photography and/or Photography for Wellbeing in mind. The craft of how to - the technical side - gently, simply and easily put. All the technical expressions unpacked and understood and go down to form solid foundations on which the rest can be built. Once this is firmly embedded in you, then your mind will be open for the creative side of your mind to work.

I truly believe that there is creativity in each and every one of us. We may choose not to use it or tell ourselves that it isn’t there and so creating a barrier, a block, but I truly do believe that it is in us all.

It is through these courses that I will help you discover the creativity that actually has been there all along, nestling deep within you. The creativity that comes from the fusion of heart and mind and a particular moment.

If you are interested in learning more, as the courses progress to becoming live, then do please subscribe to my New Shoots Magazine with occasional supplements and gain access to my Inspiration Library…

Sending a little inspiration your way to unlock that creativity within,

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ps By coincidence, I am going a wandering in some bluebell woods this week end with my family as we celebrate Easter. I hope you enjoy the long week end and manage to get out in the countryside. Maybe bring a little nature home too? :)



At last, some progress...

 
The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.
Yousuf Karsh
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Hello lovely people,

Hope you are all bright eyed etc :) Spring at last here in the Northern Hemisphere…

After quite a few teething problems, false starts and delays - no internet, slow internet, dying laptop - I am, at last, making headway with my first of three eBooks. The content has been solid for quite some time now but actually getting that content onto my computer ready for the design and page layout has been a non starter. I even resorted to writing out copy in a notebook with a real pen and paper!

Fortunately, I do love the theatre of writing - the lovely paper, notebooks, the right fine liner, then there is the table where you write and the flowers - of course - and the drink to sustain… tea or coffee? The cup, the pot and so on. Yes I insist on setting the stage so that it becomes a pleasure that it elevated from the ordinary to the extra ordinary. It’s all in the detail. The little things. The image above was from a time early in the morning when I set up a writing place in my studio - the light is beautiful in there first thing. So inspiring. So very peaceful. Lovely.

The framework of the second and third volumes in the series are all set out, so they will too be a pleasure to bring together, as and when I get there.

It is now, and only now that I feel I can think about other things.

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By nature, I aim a very caring and generous person. So, naturally I’ve been wondering what I can give to you, my lovely community of followers and supporters. It needs to feel good in my bones, whatever I do. From the heart.

Whilst I was out wandering with my dogs earlier in the week, I had a spark of inspiration! From that, I am planning to make an eBook to put in my Inspiration Library for all my subscribers to my New Shoots Magazine to enjoy, to download for free. What’s in it for me, I hear you ask. I’m seeing it as a personal project that will fill my need for design and photographic exploration, whilst at the same time celebrating my love for all things seasonal and country. I am conscious that we can all bring a little seasonal country into our lives - wherever we live - town or country.

I would love to think that I can pop this in my Inspiration Library towards the end of Spring, to celebrate that season. I have a good working title, notes of ideas of what I would love to include and share. I am going to proceed with fingers crossed that there will be no more hurdles to slow down this project and I have a vision in my mind’s eye that I will be doing the work towards publication on this from my lovely new all white, light filled workspace that is being painted now!

If you are not already signed up to my New Shoots Magazine, but want to take advantage of my Inspiration Library, then please do subscribe in the panel in the right hand margin here or from the one at the bottom of my home page.

Wishing you a light filled week end

love

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ps There are some new calendar pages for April going live this week end in my Inspiration Library. Jx

This Still Life - a personal project

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Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health.

Dalai Lama

Hello again you lovely folk,

Hoping this finds you well and with Spring in your step! Not long now here in the UK…

Early musings

For my new readers, let me tell you - I love to play with words and love to consider dictionary definitions. I take inspiration from those that aren’t first of th list - the less obvious get me thinking laterally. The phrase Still Life is a great example. I have been pushing ideas around in my head and trying to articulate my thoughts for ages - all this time, I have been shooting images that speak of this, for my personal exploration. My camera speaks readily.

Whether or not I have yet found the words, remains to be seen, but the stillness that I experience in This Still Life is central to my work and people regularly get in touch with me or mention in conversations about the sense of calm they experience when they consider certain of my images.

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A couple of definitions to ponder…

STILL

/stɪl/

noun

deep silence and calm; stillness.

  1. "the still of the night"

    synonyms: quietness, quiet, quietude, silence, stillness, hush, soundlessness, noiselessness;

 
 
 

QUIETUDE

/ˈkwʌɪɪtjuːd/

noun

  1. a state of stillness, calmness, and quiet in a person or place.

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Flow and Memory

This very personal project explores this - together with flow a positive psychology phrase/theory that was first coined in the 1960’s by Martin Seligman meaning in the zone.

Basically when I am taking photographs, I am in the zone - I completely switch off from the outside world and all that is going on around me. Apparently I even stop speaking mid sentence! It is nothing to do with creating Still Life Tableaux to shoot - rather making note of little pockets of calm in our everyday world that is full of noise.

I am shooting both on film and digitally - who knows where this will take me, but that’s the beauty of personal projects, isn’t it?

Some of these little pockets of calm appear on commercial shoots, when likeminded people work together - whether on brief or props quietly gathered in the wings, they may appear as everyone else has left… it’s simply a question of quietly noting your surroundings.

Some of the images on these shoots evoke memories of the quiet found, the light or the odd unplanned moments. Memories. The power of a photograph.

Do hope you enjoy this ongoing project… you can find the gallery here.

Sending lots of light and quiet your way,

lots of love



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taking care...

 
 
 
When you breathe out… the planet breathes in.

Michael Townsend Williams co-founder of
BreatheSync and Author of Do Breathe

You can download Michael’s app here.

Hello lovely people,

Hope you are all well and full of creativity…

It’s a funny thing isn’t it, but how often are the obvious things right in from of you and you don’t even notice?

There is much talk on Instagram about algorithms and how fragile some people’s futures are as they are completely dependent on it for their income. Some have thousands and hundreds of thousands of followers and drop more followers that I have overnight! I personally find social media too noisy and hard work as you have to watch it all the time. I prefer to travel a path less trodden in that and most things in life. Are you the same? Recently I was brought to a halt when a highly successful (and quiet soul) online designer wrote about her tiny foot print on social media and her success from and care for her blog and newsletters.

This is me! I have always been precious over my both - both with content of posts but also the design side. Ditto my newsletters.

This made me consider the feedback I receive from my blog. I have had a lot of feedback about my look back on the last season as we start a new one. This has made me want to do more posts for you like this… Can I commit to one such post every month? I certainly want to give it a try. So, from the end of the month - maybe it will settle at every other month, I’m certainly going to give it a go… I should have lots to write about, living my seasonal life emerged in nature, as well as my photographic world existing in the same universe.

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A gift

In the meantime, can I leave you with this? A gift from me… if you would like to download this image to enjoy as wallpaper, then simply click on the image. It is 2400px wide. Please respect my © and do not use it elsewhere without my permission… simply contact me. A photograph from possibly my favourite woodland in the world. It is a twenty minute walk from the nearest road and if you stop and listen, there is absolutely no manmade sound at all. A place that I have visited regularly for over a decade. At certain times of the year, the sound of the birds can be deafening. I visit this special place frequently to just be… I will take my dogs and a flask of tea so that I can sit a while and take even more of it in.

If you are interested in reading more about the Japanese way- the practice of walking slowly through the woods, in no hurry, for a morning, an afternoon or a day, then pop here, published last March, you may find it interesting.

The image at the top of this post is from a shoot I did with Fiona Perry Flowers in an entirely different wood.

If you would like to receive more gifts from me - from wallpapers for your monitors to calendar pages and some discount codes in the future, then simply sign up to my New Shoots Magazine in the right hand margin here → I love to share.

Wishing you good health and relaxation,

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I know a place...

let me take you there…

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The London coffeehouses of the 17th & 18th centuries were the engines of creation that helped drive the Enlightenment - the European intellectual movement of the time that emphasised reason and individualism rather than tradition.

I love to play with language and with that comes my love of writing. Lately, in designing my new online world, I have been pushing words around in my head so that I can visualise the whole thing. How lovely to stand back and look at your own world once in a while.

In doing this I have realised that I have my virtual workplace firmly embedded in my head, so I thought I would introduce it to you and walk you round… I have obviously been influenced by In Praise of Shadows without realising it until now. Read the book club post here.

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Do come in

It’s like a little house - just as a child would draw. The whole place is very light and airy, painted in white to draw the light in for my photography. Let me start with the upstairs - first up is my studio - this has a dark end and a light end. Next to that is my darkroom, a place where I do all my online editing from digital files. It is in these two rooms that house my new eCourses - on photography, styling and editing and more…

Downstairs, there just HAS to be a library… lined with eBooks and zines and visuals. There is a comfy chair and a table to encourage you to stay a while. There is a section for my Inspiration Library - this is available only to the band of lovely people who subscribe to my New Shoots Magazine along with the Supplements that come along. When you sign up to my New Shoots Magazine you get a key to this space. The area is new and has empty shelves all ready for a collection of eBooks that I will publish and release especially for my subscribers. This is where the free inspirational desktop wallpapers live and you will find a monthly calendar to download too - all of these are for your desktop so that you computer will become a place of serenity and zen.

Next door to the library is the zen den and tea/coffee house. Two areas for calm and contemplation.

And there, my little tour has come to an end.

Sign up

Have you signed up to my Newshoots Magazine yet? If not, simply pop over to the margin on the right and pop in your email address.

Sending peace and light this January day,

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On following my own 'golden thread'

 
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Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.

Imogen Cunningham

I have always seen the path of my photography as a sort of golden thread that I follow… sometimes it’s path is straight and at other times, it may twist and turn. To follow this path allows me freedom, and not have to contort myself into a particular genre of say, portrait or still life, but simply follow my heart and work with what resonates with me at any one time. I am certain that doing this results in my very best work.

Listen.

Over the years I have had many comments about my photography - the most common being that people find my photographs calm, poetic, painterly, having a sense of calm.

I strive, not for perfection but for perpetual improvement and development.


My recent move has been full of thoughtful, intentional and considered decisions… My aim of my business is not to get rich quick, but to actually focus on the gift of my craft and grow my business in a way that is aligned with my values and my conscience - following that golden thread that feels completely honest and meaningful to both me and my customers/clients/students. I want to do this whilst continually striving for my own perpetual improvement and development. I don’t want to be at the forefront of social media, living my every breath out there. I want to be able to engage with the real world and share my love of process, the seasons and nature - to share all that it has to offer through my photography… I love the idea that we now live in a world where we no longer have to work 9 - 5 and are able to both connect and work with people on different sides of the world at a moment’s notice. I love the idea of the flexibility that all this brings - enabling us to spend our most important times how we want to whilst being able to schedule work releases ahead.

I have listened to your comments, I have listened to my creative heart and I have stood back and looked at my business and learned just how passionate I am about sharing the world of my photography. I want others to experience the deep happiness and contentment that I do, I want to build my business around that passion, whilst at the same time sustaining me with a good living. Only over Christmas I listened to a comment from someone about not being in control of his camera and therefore unable to think of the photograph that was before him. I want to fix that.

All that said, the time is now right for me to forge ahead with my eCourses and eBooks that have been on the back burner for quite some time now.

During 2019, I am going to closely follow my golden thread and fill the world with inspiring, accomplished photography - both film and digital - and share it with you all along the way. To spread the word. Why not subscribe to my New Shoots Magazine style newsletter to follow that golden thread with me?

Wishing you all the very best for 2019

love

 
 


In Praise Of Shadows

 
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In Praise Of Shadows Junichiro Tanizaki

This is a book that I have read numerous times. Short, quick but so very delightful. First published in 1933, I believe.

This truly evocative essay on Japanese Aesthetics - by one of the greatest Japanese novelists Junichiro Tanizaki - combines really focussed sense of space together with perfect descriptions that take you right there… a classic description of the shadows of traditional Japanese interiors meeting the light of the modern day.

There is a filtering of ordinary pleasures through tranquil half-light, that make it so gripping in my eyes - hints of everyday moments that reveal how light and shade are so very dependent on each other. Truly inspirational for me. This is why I have read it time and time again.

More like a poem than an essay

A delight to read
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Try it, buy it, borrow it,

enjoy…

 

My new look Magazine style newsletter

 

Have you signed up yet for my new look Magazine style newsletter?

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I’m all for unplugging to find some silence, room for inspiration and creativity to grow, but I took this to a whole new level recently and quite unintentionally! I was without internet for just over five weeks… I have now tidied up the chaos that followed in the wake of this.

During my downtime I very quickly decided that I would make this a beneficial time for me. I took to the old pencil and notebook. I wrote, wrote and wrote some more - germs of ideas, thoughts, inspirations and more.

One thing that rose from this was my new newsletter - it has now become more of a magazine style where you can look at the index and read the relevant articles. The ones that interest you most.


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My magazine style newsletter was born.

In keeping with my own visual style it is blocked out - divided into sections. Headline articles, sub headline articles and then a couple of feature articles. All with you, my lovely band of subscriber readers. I can now reach you all without bogging you down with lots of scrolling to find the pieces relevant to you.

If you aren’t yet a subscriber, then please do pop over to the bottom of this page and fill in the block.

In the future, there will be articles for everyone - from pieces on brand imaging for my creative entrepreneurs through to hints and tips and links for my students and guests who are on or planning to join one of my workshops or courses.

What I am hoping for is that each an every will offer something new and different and interesting.

Do please sign up and enjoy.

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