Sep 09

A day in the life of a Manchester photographer

Manchester Photographers Vintage CameraThe role of the photographer has definitely undergone changes over the decades.

Gone are the days where photographers used to turn up 30 minutes before the shoot and leave about an hour afterwards having taken around 70 pictures.  Nowadays a 10-hour working day is more the norm, shooting upwards of 2000 images. A modern photographer has to be a dab hand at still-life photos, fashion pictures, reportage, event-style pics. low-light photography, flash photography and much more…And they have to be good at diplomacy too – with a myriad of obstacles bound to be set in the way of a Manchester design consultancy photographer.

A day shooting can be strenuous, and a photographer who faints due to lack of food and water and is no good to anyone. We asked Paul Craig of Paul Craig Photography “Quite often you can be on the road at breakfast-time and be shooting non-stop until the wedding breakfast which can often be around 3.30pm.” You’ll need to be taking fluids during the day and have made preparations for food, as often there won’t be any laid on for you. You will also need to consider what to wear. A suit, shirt and tie may look smart but could leave you sweaty and uncomfortable or with blisters on your feet.  Make sure you look smart but that you are dressed for function! Take money for parking meters and at least have a plan of where you are going. Finally, don’t forget that your kit is worth too much to leave it lying around unattended as a temptation to thieves.

GO prepared, charge your batteries, take multiple lenses, camera bodies and memory cards. You’ll probably need at least one tri-pod, you might need some lighting and some soft boxes and it might be worthwhile taking a computer to save your masses of photo’s to during the day. Then make sure your tea cupboard is stocked up, because you’re going to have a lot of editing to do when you get home!

May 08

Masterclass: Getting the Best Out Of Photographing Children

After being a family photographer for a considerable amount of time, I’ve learnt a little bit about photographing children and families.  With a little bit of practice and by following a few simple tricks of the trade, you can achieve professional looking shots of your children.

When photographing children, the best angle to take the picture from is their own eye level so kneel down and put yourself at their height, snapping photos from the child’s point of view.   This will give you excellent pictures set in the world as they see it at their height. The mistake many people make is to take childrens pictures looking down from an adult’s point of view which can lend itself to pictures of the top of a child’s head or an awkward angle of their face or surroundings.

When I am shooting children I try to maximize the quality of the details on their face. This is very important, as you will want to capture every aspect of their expression to help to personalize the photos that you take.  It is often not the smiling photos that best capture your childs personality and you want to take photos which show their little eccentricities! can also be useful to take candid shots where the children are relaxed and not focused on you as the photographer, or sometimes, when they are engrossed in a fun activity.  This shot of children on a pier at the bridge, draws you in.  This may be the time when you really capture their expression and personality.  Again it is important to place the camera  at eye level when taking these shots. This will provide a more personal perspective that lets the viewer feel naturally drawn in. As I’ve said before accomplishing this with children may require you to get down on your knees.

With children, it is also important that you learn how to take your shot  quickly. Don’t wait for them to pause or pose as this might not happen and you may miss your moment.  I would also recommend taking several pictures on burst.   By taking your pictures quickly, you will get natural expressions and pauses, whereas if you wait too long, your subject will probably have a rather rigid and artificial expression.

Taking photographs that you enjoy taking and that others enjoy looking at is the best thing about being a photographer.  Capturing that “look” that sums up a child’s personality is a magical feeling. So, follow my simple tricks, you too can take better looking portraits of your children.

Mar 12

Streaming Professional videos – Video on Demand (VOD) Streaming

So, you’re the entrepreneur in charge, and you’ve just spent the first six month’s marketing budget on an all bells and whistles corporate video gig which shows you off to perfection (there’s reasons why you wouldn’t make such a video, but that’s another post).

So you upload it to YouTube and show it on your website, right? WRONG!

monitor-1326722-mSending your video via YouTube opens you up to all sorts of problems when you’re trying to show off your seamless, beautifully crafted corporate video or whiteboard video animation. Think about it, you’re a global sales company with partners worldwide, the CEO of your company has just said his most important message to his adoring employees, and the video stalls half way through cos you’ve just not got enough bandwidth or something. Ug. What you need to be able to do is to stream your video content live, making it quickly available and accessible to all interested parties. The key point here is LIVE. A LIVE video experience is a totally different experience to a crafted video. And it doesn’t cost half as much. When something’s live, people aren’t expecting broadcast quality, they’re expecting to hear a message, not be wowed with the latest video production techniques.

Our source at has talked about their experience of corporate video production Leeds based. “Live video streaming can be easy to set up so you can directly inform customer groups and employees, hold training seminars or just generally spread your video message to a wider group of people.” You can enable live chat at the same time and stream your video over quality HD streams through top tier content delivery networks. You can use a secure platform, so that only those who you want to see your video message can get it. Using video makes sure that you can use both a video and audio component to ensure your video message is conveyed clearly at the same time as developing a closer and more personal engagement with the viewer.

credit raphael pto

credit raphael pto

That’s not the end of it either – if you can find a group of individuals to pay for your live training event, then you’re quids in, because it pays for itself. Try looking for companies like DaCast and others who’ll be able to point you in the right direction. You could also get a company like Motiv Productions to give you help in setting this up.

Mar 12

Working in Corporate Video – your options

Undeniably, corporate video is where video production companies leeds based and of a medium size are making their money at the moment. Businesses of all sizes (but mostly those turning over a decent enough amount to be able to spare a few thousand on video to enhance their internet presence) are turning to video to show themselves off to a wider audience.

corporate-vidCorporate video is an area that’s probably only going to grow in the next few years, so it’s a good area to aim at. There are three main areas that you could work in – content, technical and more general. Before you embark upon a career path in corporate video though, remember that this is NOT broadcast video, with it’s sleek production values and sky-high budgets. You’ll be expected to work on much less appealing jobs than the next Buffy video…you’re more likely to be stuck in a boardroom listening to a middle manager espouse why his company beats the socks of the next, and so on, but hey – it pays the bills, and it’s STILL an exciting industry to work in.

There can be convergence with Broadcast video work, like when you’re called upon to organise and document Live Events on behalf of a corporation (mebbe an awards ceremony, or a glamorous company get-together).

They can be small, or larger scale, but they’re likely to need a mix of skills – from standard video technical production, through to graphics, print, internet and so forth. They all need pulling together by a competent provider of corporate communication.

http://www.manto.tvAnd if you’re thinking it’s going to be Dullsville, remember that by working in the corporate video sector, you’re going to be earning your slice of the £3.5 BILLION that’s spent on corporate video every year in Europe! That’s way, way more than is spent on the feature film industy. Put an order in for that Porsch, and get yourself a job in Corporate Vids seems to be the message here. Hang on a minute though, what am I likely to earn in corporate Video production though? .. I hear you ask… Well, generally wages are much better than working in broadcast media and in feature films, because there are fewer graduates looking for employment in it, (remember the point about it being Dullsville?) but also because there’s a commercial reason for firms spending cash on it – because a well produced corporate video makes them look great, and so they’re happy to spend money on it because they’ll get more money by getting new clients.

There are lots of small and medium sized companies all competing for corporate video work in the UK. Some of them do really sterling work, some of them are so, so, but you’re likely to be able to find work if you get on your bike and start looking.

Mar 06

New Site for 2014 – under construction, come back soon!!