31 December 2010

UK Mail Fail

I don't really do Xmas, and neither does my family.  We don't normally exchange gifts or do anything other than eat stupid amounts of food on Xmas day.  So having no gifts to open on Xmas day is fairly normal, my choice, and I'm cool with that.

However a week or so before Xmas day, my Dad, who's been rather ill over the last couple of months tells me he wants to get me something this year and asks me what I'd like.  So I think for a while about something special that I'd like.  An old fashioned bankers table lamp if you're interested.  I couldn't find it in any local stores, so we had to order it online.  A bit of a risk with the dodgy weather the UK was having at the time, but no choice.

A few days later when UK Mail try to deliver there was no one home.  They put a card through the door.  Bugger.  Delivery re-arranged for Xmas Eve.

Xmas Eve comes and goes, someone was home all day, no knock on the door from UK Mail.

Fast forward 4 days and I phone them up to re-arrange for delivery today, New Years eve.  There was going to be someone home all day, so a safe time to deliver.  Come 3pm nothing, so I decide to call them to see if its worth staying in for.  They tell me my parcel wasn't even put on the van today and won't be delivered.

So we re-arrange for Tuesday.  The joke is that they tell me they can't even promise it'll be delivered then.

I ask if I can drive over to their local depot to collect, but the next day they're open is also Tuesday.

I've never had dealings with UK Mail before, but they seem like a bit of a joke of a company.

I don't like to use this blog for this kind of stuff, but this has annoyed me, so here it is....

29 December 2010

Wedding Photography at Rownhams House

I visited Rownhams House when it first opened its doors as a wedding venue.  Being just a couple of minutes drive from where I live it's the perfect location for me.  I've wanted all year to photograph a wedding there, and with just a few days left in 2010 my wish came good with the wedding of Beth & Stuart.

The wedding was being filmed by Wedding TV for one of their shows called The Great Cake Bake.  It airs late January / early February and I'm hoping I can then advertise myself "as seen on Wedding TV!"  As the title of the tv show suggests the film is based around the wonderful cake made by Louise at Couture Cake Company.  I'm not allowed to show any photos of the finished cake until after the show airs, but I can confirm that it was rather nice!

Although some 10 degrees warmer than the week before, the weather was challenging.  By the time came to do the group and couples shots it was spitting with rain, and the thick fog that had been there all day hadn't shifted.

A special thank you goes out to Kerry at Your Day Your Way for her referal to Beth & Stuart.  Without her I'd never have got the gig.  Thanks Kerry!

Also, thank you to Roger and his lovely family (the owners of Rownhams House) for looking after me so well and keeping the cups of tea coming throughout the afternoon.

NB.  While I'm not allowed to show the cake, I've still managed to include a few photos at the end of the cake cutting.

24 December 2010

Happy Xmas!

I don't really "do" Xmas, but it's all but impossible to escape.  So whatever your religion and beliefs, hope you have a good day tomorrow!

Just to prove I can smile...

22 December 2010

Real Networking

Early in the year I decided to change the way I network.  I've never been much of a morning person, and breakfast networking meetings just weren't working for me any more.  Besides, I was bored with the format, with the mind numbing scripts, speakers you don't really want to listen to, and the awful around the table introduction round.  Awful mostly because I was bloody awful at it, often I'd just stand up and say "I shoot people" and sit back down again.

Shortly after I give up eating cook breakfasts, I discovered Business in Southampton.  Business in Southampton is aimed mostly at the bigger businesses in the city, but once a month they hold an evening networking event, normally at the Dock Gate 4 piano bar.

I'm sure Business in Southampton have a more politically correct name for it, but to me its real networking without the "dicking about" that's normally associated with business networking.  At other meetings I've been to up to 50% of the meeting time is "dicking about" with eating, the intro round, and the speaker.  Held one a month, this event there is no format, just good honest real networking in a room full of people for 2 hours.

The added bonus is that in almost a year of meetings I don't think I've met a single MLM (multi level marketing) person.


Oh, the picture is from The Southern Daily Echo (Wednesday 22nd December 2010) who had a photographer at the Xmas meeting last week.

21 December 2010

Photographing a fitness girl who likes to stand on her head...

The title says it all really.  However, a couple of weeks ago I made the trek up to North London again for what looks like being my final fitness shoot of 2010.  My subject for the day was fitness model and personal trainer Bex Redding.  She's a little bit bonkers and likes to have photos of her standing on her head.  My job is not to ask why, my job is just to take the photos.

We did the shoot at The Manor Health & Leisure Club in Muswell Hill.  Like with most gym shoots I didn't have a chance to check out the location beforehand, so I had lights ready in the car just incase.  I don't like using studio lights in a gym still open to the public, too many cables for people to trip over.   As luck would have it, we were able to do most of the shoot with the sunlight coming in through the windows, and for the rest I just had to push the ISO up a bit.

The job spec was a little different, Bex wanted shots of her body, and of her looking away from the camera.

Proof if proof were needed that networking is one of the best ways to get business.  While Bex was changing, I got chatting to a guy who was working out.  He told me that he's doing a 10k run along the Great Wall of China next year and was looking for a fitness trainer to help him get in shape.  I told him Bex was a trainer, phone numbers were exchanged, and I believe business has been done!

She took me out for a very late breakfast after the shoot, and bought me cake from Marks & Spencer.  This makes her one of my favourite subjects of the year.  Thanks Bex for a fun shoot!

20 December 2010

Published in Planet Muscle

Having gatecrashed (with his permission I might add), the FitHeat photoshoot organised by fellow fitness photographer Marc Thyssen at the Mandalay Bay back in September I was asked to take a few photos of a couple of the models there.

Fast forward a couple of months and Planet Muscle magazine ask me if they can use one of the photos I took of fitness model Pia Friedrich.  Today I was sent a copy of the tearsheet from the February issue of Planet Muscle.  It's only a little picture at the bottom of the page, but they all count!

Congratuluations to Marc for getting the cover with Monica Brant.  Proof that hard work does indeed pay off!

15 December 2010

Training day with Karla Adams

I've done a couple of shoots with Karla Adams over the last few years.  Both in the deserts around Las Vegas.  Some of the photos were recently featured in southern California lifestyle magazine ieStyle.

Congratulations Karla on another great magazine feature.  Looking forward to our third shoot.  :-)

14 December 2010

Kool & The Gang

Playing a longer set than the other bands after a 20 minute interval Kool & The Gang were the only complete band of the evening.  While their songs weren't my favourites, without question they put on the best show of the evening.  Brilliant performances from everyone.  The climax of which was having everyone back up on stage for the grande finale "Celebration".

Sister Sledge

Not really my cup of tea, but damn can these girls sing and dance.  Brilliant performance by the girls of Sister Sledge.

13 December 2010

Howard Jones

Some days later and I've still got some of Howard Jones songs stuck in my head.  Damn you Howard!


Singing the hit songs, All of my Heart, Poison Arrow and The Look of Love, Martin Fry from 1980's group ABC was one of my favourites of the night.  Top singing, top 80's classics.

I was told on the night by one of the promoters that Martin wanted a new headshot from my photos on the night.  Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but it was certainly good motivation for me to try and get some good headshots for him on the night.

12 December 2010

Go West

The third of seven 80's bands on the night was Go West.  I didn't notice it at the time, but singer Peter Cox puts so much effort into his singing, really makes for great images.

Four more bands to come over the next couple of days, ABC, Howard Jones, Sister Sledge and the finale Kool & The Gang.

The Christians

A couple of photos of Garry Christian from The Christians set at the 80's Rewind concert at the Bournemouth BIC.

11 December 2010


On Thursday I had the privilege of photographing lots of 1980's pop legends, all under the same roof at the same time at the Bournemouth BIC.

I'll be sharing a few pictures a day of each of the acts, starting with the first group of the night, T'Pau.

I felt a connection with T'Pau because it was partly because of Carol Decker that I was there that evening.  I've been following her on Twitter for a little while now, and had seen her tweets about the 80's concerts she was involved with.  I sent her an @message asking who I should contact for a photo pass, she replied, and the rest is history.

Come back over the next 6 days for photos from The Christians, Go West, Howard Jones, ABC, Sister Sledge & Kool and the Gang.

Update:  T'Pau played, "Sex Talk", "Heart and Soul" and of course "China In Your Hand".

10 December 2010

Making things happen

Yesterday evening I managed to get myself a photo pass to the 80's Revival concert at the Bournemouth BIC.  Lots of big names 80's bands all playing on the same stage on the same night.  There were T'Pau, Go West, The Christians, Howard Jones, ABC, Sister Sledge and Kool & The Gang.

Why?  I wasn't paid, it actually cost me money, but I want to get more into shooting concerts and entertainment events, so I figured I need to raise my profile and what better way than to shoot 7 A List 80s bands on one night.   I had a friend of mine (because I'm rubbish on the phone) call up the promoter pretending to be my agent, and he managed to make it happen.

I even had the promoters come up to me during the evening and tell me that Martin Fry (ABC singer) wanted a new head shot from the shots i was taking...  The promoters want some photos from the evening, which of course I'll be sending their way as soon as I've sorted through the 1,500 or so images I took.

As it happens I was the only photographer there.  I was expecting to have to fight my way through lots of them to get the shots.

If you want something to happen, you gotta get up and make it happen.  I need to learn from my own example and make more stuff happen for me.

My next challenge will be to get in and photograph some current day A list concerts.  If you, or know someone who has contacts that might be able to help, please get in touch.  :)

I need to thank Jules for making the phone call and also to Carol Decker from T'Pau.  I tweeted her asking who I should contact regarding getting a photo pass, and she replied with a phone number.  So big thanks to Jules & Carol!

Photos from all of the bands coming up over the next few days...