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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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

A tip, a quote and a book for March

 
I believe photography is a tool to express our positive assessment of the world. A tool to acquire ultimate happiness and belief.
Ansel Adams
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Hello creative people,

Here in the UK it is grey, cold and wet after an unusually glorious spell of the complete opposite. Hello Spring :)

I am thinking that a tip, a quote and a book is a good collection for a series of blog posts to kick start the new growing year here. Hope you enjoy them….

The image above is of a Crocus Giant Ruby and I have applied one of my own photoshop actions to give it that pared back, muted colour palette that resonates with me so readily. The image speaks of quiet beginnings in early Spring rather than a literal, documentary style that is not me. Hope you like.

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On slowing down.

Something I always share with my creative students and fledgeling photographers is simply to slow down! This actually helps you see better, by placing you in a better creative zone. Every little extra moment of slowing before you press the shutter will help.

Slowing down is like a tiny meditation of gratitude.

Slowing down, not only opens your eyes, but will also open your mind and your heart to discover the magic in the everyday.

I really do believe that by finding little pockets of you in the everyday, slowing down, is a path to creativity.

A simple pleasure in any event.

And finally a book - I feel that I want to recommend something that aligns nicely which my thoughts on slowing down. Something that will add to your photography through increased awareness of creativity. Enter The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard.

‘A prism through which all worlds from literary creation to housework to aesthetics take on enhanced and enchanted significances.’

…from the new forward in my copy, that has been read several times and is now full of underlines, annotations and asterisks! Thats a recommendation in itself. Do go and find yourself a copy to read, well worth the effort. Enjoy. Read slowly :)

sending lightness through this grey week.

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ps Thank you for all the lovely kind words on the Spring edition of my New Shoots magazine - much appreciated…



A little Art History - Scandi style.

 
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A low, almost monochromatic tonality unifies the otherwise disparate elements within each room.

Richard Dorment, reporting in the Telegraph on the Vilhelm Hammershøi Exhibition in the Tate in 2008.

Hello lovelies,

It is still rather cold out there, but the birds are singing and there are snowdrops and crocus flowering out and about… a great incentive to get outdoors after this long old Winter, here in the UK. I’m regularly asked where I get my inspiration from… that is one huge question, which is actually far too big to answer.

Through my studies and ongoing interest in Art History, I want to share how diverse my inspiration is - from the Silverware of Archibald Knox for its simplicity and use of shape, through the design philosophies of the Bauhaus to the colour inspiration gleaned from Scandinavian painters renowned for their held back colour palette and resulting light.

Two of my favourite painters are Carl Vilhelm Holsøe (1863 to 1935) and Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916). They regularly inspire my choice of colour. I naturally gravitate towards these two painters - their use of colour speaks to me - of the quiet, considered tints that result in the gentle light that is synonymous with Scandinavian painters of that era.

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How the colour palette works

A quick snippet of Colour Theory for those of you who are interested… my pastel colours are called tints - these are made up from a pure colour that has been mixed with white. For me there is a clarity in these mixes as opposed to shades where blacks have been added to the same pure colour. I could go an awful lot deeper into this and start chatting about Colour Psychology and colours collected throughout the seasons, but instead I will send you here

If you visit the link, you will find Joen Wolfrom’s Colour and Design tools - aimed at people who use colour in their work - Artists and Crafters, Graphic Designers, Illustrators and Interior Designers. For the lovely people who book one of my private creative workshops, I always like to give them a copy of Joen’s Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool and a Studio Color Wheel Poster…

Simply chose a set of two complimentary tints or three triadic tints of equal strengths, then you will not go far wrong.

I hope that I have given you just enough information to encourage you to dip you toe into the world of colour. Do go and look at the Colour and Design tools - they are really worth the investment - and no, this is not an ad!

Sending lots of delicate tints and sublime light to inspire you…

 
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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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Looking back as Autumn becomes Winter

 
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If you hear a voice within you say - you cannot paint - then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

Vincent Van Gogh

Oh what a glorious Autumn we had here in the UK - after the long hot Summer, we had an equally amazing Autumn, but this time it was the colours that took centre stage. As you will know I started Autumn off in my beautiful Cotswolds and ended it in Cheshire - getting to know it. Country lanes and the flat plains where you can see for ever and oh, those big skies!

What has struck me most about my shift in geography is the difference in tones! The greens are so different - lush, saturated, bright - compared with the gentle greens of the Wolds. The reason? Simply, it’s the rain.

I have been creating and settling in to my new studio… I still have the peach coloured vertical blinds to swap for white voile curtains so that the whole place becomes one giant soft box… slowly, steadily that is happening. I have sent my camera kit off for a much needed service too in the studio down time.

New friends and contacts are in the making, just as finding new locations and venues for workshops and 1:1 Mentoring sessions… as you will know, location matters hugely - as does the food. I want my guests and students to make my offerings a destination as well as offer quality content.



AUTUMN, SEASONAL, PHOTOGRAPHY

I have been quietly shooting in little corners - finding little pools of quality Autumn light and making my seasonal colour wheel - part of an ongoing personal project for my research into Colour Psychology… No russet tones here this year - instead a wheel fuelled with brights and gorgeous bedfellows - bright oranges and fuchsia pinks go so well… Mother Nature - ow I love you - the ultimate colourist.

 
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Mentoring & Questiontime

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Mentoring.

Phew…

Now that I’m getting organised in my lovely new natural light studio, I thought I would chat about my Mentoring offerings

Only yesterday someone asked me about my genre of photography… my quick answer to that is that I don’t particularly restrict myself in this way, it’s more of a way of shooting, a signature style. I feel that this is because of my spending all my life with a camera in my hand - shooting film, digital, polaroid… the whole darn lot! Because of this I love to Mentor people and help them on their journey, wherever that is taking them.

I work with a broad range of people and situations - from those who simply want to become better in their hobby right through to people wanting to dip their toes into the professional world of photography - bloggers, editorial, fine art… or individual creative entrepreneurs who need to be spontaneous and take top quality images of their products, staff or other for their website, social media, blogs or for marketing purposes.

I see Mentoring as a creative trainer for creative entrepreneurs and those peeps who are simply keen to learn… just as you would have a personal trainer to get fit, then why not think about a Creative Mentor to hone your creative skills?

I would love to work with you…

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Questiontime.

I get quite a few people asking me questions about all sorts of diverse things within my Creative and Photography worlds… giving these questions the full attention that they deserve, they may now easily fit into a Mentoring framework. To fill this conundrum, I have now launched Questiontime. It is a one off virtual package consisting of one hour, dedicated just to you, where you get my undefined attention. It is your time and I want you to get the most from your session. Through being involved with photography all my life, I have a huge bank of knowledge that you can tap in to.

I’ve popped it up on my website under both the Learn and Work with me categories as I would love to reach out to both people who want to quiz me about their learning and also to those creative entrepreneurs that are thriving out there.

In other news…

I am working on a new format newsletter - I’m calling it New Shoots Magazine. I’m planning to send out every month or so - designed to inspire - it’s more of a read than a newsletter… full of thoughts to inspire, chatter about all sorts of things - processes, backstage thoughts for my workshops, books to read and more…

Sign up here if you want to join the list.

 




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The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera. Dorothea Lange