Next Saturday, 12 August, at 4pm, talented local photographer Matt Savage and I are hosting an Instameet in Winchester, Hampshire. It’s one of a series of meet-ups of Instagram users taking place across the South West that day, organised by The Southern Collective. Similar events are taking place in Wells, Exeter and Cardiff, and on the Isle of Purbeck.
We’re meeting in front of the West Door of Winchester Cathedral and, after a quick group photo, we’ll take a leisurely stroll for about an hour and a half around photogenic parts of the city, and the tranquil water meadows on the south side of the city. There might well be an ice cream van along the way; we’ll head off for a drink near the cathedral after the walk.
The event is completely free, so pull on some comfortable walking shoes, bring along your DSLR or just your smartphone, have fun and make friends with the people behind some of the profiles you follow.
If you’re a Facebook user, sign up for this event so you get a reminder in your news feed. To whet your appetite, I’ll be sharing images of Winchester on my Instagram travel feed, @3dbrenton, this week.
To recap: meet Matt and me at the West Front of Winchester Cathedral (Google Map) at 4pm next Saturday, 12 August – we’ll try to make ourselves obvious. See you there!
In mid-June, I was pleased to help a former colleague from Ordnance Survey in her new role at HTEC, a point-of-sale technology company based near Southampton Airport. Melanie had been appointed Marketing Manager a couple of months previously, and urgently needed corporate photography.
Thus I reported to their offices at 7am two mornings later, to be met by Francesca, her Marketing Executive. I was lucky with the weather: mild, with clear skies.
My first task was to take shots of their brand new fleet of vans. At Melanie’s request, a driver parked six of them diagonally along the front of the building and I began with shots of the vans alone:
Then I asked for men to stand in front of them. In the first shot, the men adopted the same pose in front of the vans:
In the next one, they stood in a line:
This felt very stilted, so I asked them to relax and talk – much more natural:
Next was an archetypal shot of the cheery man in a van, which would be ideal for leaflet, brochures and the website:
Then he stood by the van and I was able to include the rest of the fleet:
Finally, a shot focusing on the vans:
The next segment of my morning took me inside for headshots of senior managers. The sittings were brief and cordial; I got the shots needed. This is one of the final results:
Finally, Francesca took me upstairs to their customer service desk, where I captured a range of action shots. The team were very helpful, closing their curtains and moving mugs off desks:
Real-time information displayed onto a wall across the front of the office made for a great backdrop.
Despite having worked there for only a fortnight, Francesca was very good at approaching people on my behalf, asking them to move mugs, bottles and the like.
I felt it was important to remove as many distractions as possible from the images I delivered, so that HTEC could present a positive brand image to the world. For example, a car park barrier and white markings needed to come out of the shot along the building facade:
When it came to the headshots, I brought a large softbox to the shoot for my main light, and a small umbrella for my fill light – both lit using flashes. Although I had a white fabric background to hand, Melanie and Francesca wanted me to use a wide exhibition panel featuring a shot of Britain from space, as used in HTEC branding. I quickly found that I was getting a white reflection from its slightly glossy finish but, despite trying different flash settings and positions, I couldn’t avoid a white cast on the background:
This needed to come out, but initial results using cloning and healing tools in Photoshop weren’t great:
In the end, I dropped a clean shot of the corporate background into images of each of the directors. Luckily, the service centre shots required less retouching.
Melanie received the photos urgently for a presentation this week, which I hope went well for her. I look forward to seeing how they use my imagery.
If you’re running a business and need photos to project your brand with impact, please get in touch – I’ll be delighted to help.
Yet there is a serious point here. In spending so much time looking for the next ‘photo opportunity’, it’s so easy to forget to pause, stand back and take in the scene ourselves, rather peering into a screen or down a viewfinder. I’m certainly guilty of doing this myself. So let’s put down the camera or phone once in a while and enjoy the moment.
I can think of a few other places and occasions where it would also be good to ban photography: Paris, Venice, wedddings, meals out. But only once I’ve taken my shots, of course…