Apr 092011
 

Its been an interesting start to April, a sudden influx of jobs bucking the trend of the past 12 months or more. Its still a long way from business as usual but it would be nice if things carried on the way they have over the last ten days. The month started with call to cover the Spots vs Stripes challenge for Cadburys in Meadowhall then it was a shoot for a company who has sold their  500,000 curry which we shot at Chef Hallam. Job number three came in via email requesting coverage of the Torvill & Dean  Dancing on Ice 2011 tour photo call at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena.

From there it was a quick drive back to the office to get the photos edited captioned and out to the client and off to celebrity shoot number two. Lookers the new Alfa Romeo dealership on Saville Street Sheffield had celebrity chef  Mr Aldo Zilli on hand to help them celebrate their opening with an evening of “fine Italian food and wine”. Had he not made it as a chef I think he would have made pretty good Comedian. Having got the images required from the Aldo Zilli shoot its back in the car and back to the office to get a few images out from the evening so they would be waiting for the client when they get in on Friday morning then off to bed just before midnight.

Friday was an office day finishing the edit, post production, captioning and distribution of the Aldo Zilli Photographs while fielding calls, emails and taking delivery of a new camera and getting invoices out. Saturday was back to Meadowhall for celebrity shoot three and oddly enough another Italian celebrity chef this time it was Gino D’Acampo who was doing a cooking up a storm and by the look of it he certainly managed to get one ladies heart racing when he asked her to check if his pasta was al dente.

Some where in amongst all this I actually found time to buy myself and take delivery of a new toy, a Kiev 4 range-finder film camera. Cosmetically its in very nice condition with original leather case and 5cm F2 Jupiter lens.  Everything seems to be in working order I just need to put a film through it. If it all works as it should I have a feeling that it could end up as a blog for another day.

Mar 182011
 

How To Create A Good PR Photo people actually want to publish?

Recently I wrote a guest post “What Makes A Good PR Photo” for Leeds based Quest PR’s blog. Bloggers will tell you that posts work best at around 300 to 500 words and it was while trying to work within these constraints I realised what I do, what all good PR photographers do, is far too complex to impart as a “How To” in 500 words or less. I was barely scratching the surface of “What Makes A Good PR Photo” let alone how to produce one and that led to this post.

How does a professional PR Photographer Create A Good PR Photo people actually want to publish? He or she considers all the things below and more, though not necessarily in list order.

Is the image sharp?

Where should I focus for best effect?

Shall I use a wide aperture or narrow aperture?

Fast or slow shutter speed?

Natural light or Full flash, Fill-in flash?

Will anything fool the camera meter?

Do I choose Wide Angle Standard or Telephoto lens?

Which camera will be best for the job?

Is it best Mounted on a tripod, monopod or hand-held?

Use camera mounted flash or portable studio flash?

What elements best tell the story?

Which do I include, what gets left out?

Is the background relevant?

Can it be made relevant or is it just distracting?

What’s the best way to set this up for maximum visual impact?

Do I put movement into to an image?

If I do should movement be frozen or allowed to streak ?

Shall I isolate the subject with a blurred background?

Use front to back picture sharpness?

How many people do I use and why?

What’s the message my client is trying to get across?

How do I get the branding in?

Does it look natural or forced or just ruin the picture entirely?

What style do I need to shoot in?

Where will the images appear?

Have done Upright and landscape shape?

Beyond considering all of the above the professional PR photographer needs people skills in bucketfuls. Some people are lucky they just enjoy being photographed and/or are simply photogenic. Many are not, good results are required even when the subject hates being in front of a camera. Photographers need to work with people from all spheres of society all ages all outlooks all political persuasions and a good photographer can deal with just about anyone. Sometimes the image will require getting people to do things they wouldn’t normally dream of doing. Other occasions it will require the photographer do something they wouldn’t normally dream of doing.

In short How To Create A Good PR Photo…..

Understand your equipment, use it to best technical effect, understand the brief, interpret it creatively, work well with people and get the best from them in what can sometimes be quite difficult situations.

Mar 072011
 

A Lincolnshire based Lottery Syndicate has won a  whopping £4.1 Million Jackpot from the February 5th 2011 Lottery draw. Syndicate member Andrew Mowat with his wife Christine and syndicate members John & Chris Bell and Joe Burton went public at a press conference in Sleaford on Monday (7th March).
John and Chris play seven of the syndicates ten lines giving them a massive £2.9 Million pound Share while Andrew and Joe collected £419,776 each. A fifth Syndicate member chose to stay anonymous.

The ticket with the Jackpot winning Lottery numbers 33 34 37 40 41 47 was bought at Browns Newsagents in Coningsby and was one of two winning tickets from the Saturday draw that shared a roll-over Lotto Jackpot of £8,395,528

Mar 052011
 

Three days on from Matt Cardle and it’s back to Meadowhall Shopping Centre, celebrity spotting again. This time it’s Chris Moyles sidecick from Radio 1 “Comedy Dave” Vitty.  Now a Dancing On Ice Star “Comedy Dave” was signing autographs and meeting fans in the lower arcade close to Marks & Spencer as part of the  promotion for  Torvill & Dean’s Dancing on Ice 2011 Tour which has its opening night on the 9th of April 2011 at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena. As part of the promotion fans were also given the opportunity to win Torvill & Dean skating costumes as worn by the superstar skating couple, a signed skating boot and free tickets.

28EAP6DVMCGU

Feb 232011
 

Have you ever wondered why professional freelance photographers keep their copyright and talk in terms of intellectual property and licensing? After all the whole idea of hiring a professional photographer is so that you can use the pictures you paid them to take for you right? Yes it is and during the snows of 2010 I received a call asking if I would be free to photograph Deana Sampson a past UK National lottery winner for use on the winter cover of the Lottery winners own Magazine and to accompany an article about her in a national newspaper. The trouble was snow and ice was causing traffic chaos, the sky’s were generally grey and cloudy resulting a flat uninteresting light and a to make matters worse the photography was to be out of Sheffield so the roads I would be travelling on were very likely to be untreated. This looked like it may well be a job destined for disaster, but I have always loved a challenge and hate letting any client down. With that in mind I said yes to the job and pointed out the potential pitfalls, checked the weather and between myself the client and Deana we put in place a plan ‘A’ and plan ‘B’ One of those two two plans was a good one and resulted in some really nice wintry Christmas images images that fulfilled the clients brief.

So what does this have to do with photographers keeping copyright?
Well when Woman magazine got in touch with Deana asking to do a story about her during that process she very kindly pointed out to them that I already held some nice images of her and gave them my contact details. The result was a call from their picture editor who looked through the images and chose two to accompany their double page spread. I could do this because I keep the copyright of the images I shoot.

Tear Sheet Deana Lottery Winner Woman Magazine.22 February 2011.Images © Paul David Drabble

This all probably seems very unfair to the original client who paid for the images to be shot but in actual fact its the opposite. The original client only paid to use the images as they needed to. The magazine did exactly the same they paid for the use they required.

Still not making sense? Try thinking of it this way. A small tin of baked beans might costs 35p and realistically it will feed one person one meal once. If you want to feed two people you have to buy two small tins or one large tin. Either way the manufacturer and retailer of the beans get paid every time you want baked beans. If you want all the beans you can eat for the rest of your life you have to pay even more money, either to buy enough tins in bulk or weekly or if it works out cheaper to buy a baked bean factory which produces cooks and cans your baked beans. Any which way its a lot more than 35p. So the original for the original client and the magazine it was really a little like them paying for the “beans” they required. OK this isn’t an exact analogy but it does go some way towards explaining the situation.

How does that help anyone thinking of hiring a PR photographer? It shows there is no need to be afraid of licensing embrace it, its good. You only pay for what you need. If you are commissioning a photographer think about why you want the photographs, how and where you want to use them. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone, call a photographer and ask, all the photographers I know are flexible when it come to licensing agreements. You tell them what uses you do and don’t need and they can tailor a license fit your needs. Photographers are just like any other small business they trying to make a living in difficult times.

Feb 082011
 

Grimsby Couple Sue and Lee Mullen are celebrating a life changing £4.8 Million win on last weeks EuroMillions (4th February 2011).  The couple only started playing the national lottery Six weeks ago after Sue had a dream they were going to win. At the press conference Lee explained how they used to play the national lottery but gave up some years ago when they missed out winning the jackpot because they couldn’t afford a ticket to play their usual line of numbers. Disillusioned by seeing their six numbers drawn but not having bought the ticket they said they would never play again, that is until Sues dream.  The couple began to play the Monday and Wednesday National Lottery draws and the Friday EuroMillions Draw it was Saturday morning when Sue checked the laptop to see if they had won.

“I thought hang on a minute, my ticket looks exactly the same as that! I dragged my husband out of the bathroom to take a look and then dragged my eldest son out of bed too! We just couldn’t believe it! we jigged around the living-room together for about an hour before I could call Camelot. we have been on cloud nine ever since!” said Sue.

Sue who is registered disabled and Lee who was medically discharged from the Royal Navy and are both unable to work told how “money has always been tight” but Lee said they will not be cavalier with their win. He said of his old 1999 T registered Mondeo

“I will keep the car and when I feel I need to I will go and take a look it, It will remind me of how things used to be and keep my feet on the ground”

Sue and Lee Mullen from Grimsby are just one of three UK Winners celebrating  a £4.8 Million EuroMillions win, their share of the £24.3 Million pound Jackpot, which was split between a total of  5 winners.

Dec 232010
 

Its Christmas Eve Tomorrow so I would like to wish you all A Very Merry Christmas and I hope Santa brings you all exactly what you asked for!

Merry Christmas and very best wishes for this festive season

Paul…..


Back stage and Eliot Kennedy gets a Christmas kiss under the mistletoe from Geraldine McQueen, winner of Britain’s Got the Pop Factor and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice. AKA the British Comedy Genius Peter Kay

Nov 292010
 

Anyone  interested in watching what could well turn into a PR disaster may like to take a look at Hamleys Facebook page – Why?

Well Hamleys are having live Reindeer and Penguins in store at what must be one of the busiest times of the year and the Animal Welfare groups are not happy. They claim the environment these wild animals will find themselves in, surrounded by throngs of shoppers and the travel through central London to reach the store will cause them unnecessary stress, they are also concerned about the message of combining animals with toys sends out. Personally I can see their point how long have we heard the slogan “A dog is for life not just for Christmas”.

The question is how will Hamleys use their social networking and the Internet skills? Have they worked out that social networking in business is a two way street?  Not only do you get to tell your customers, clients what’s happening, raise your on-line profile and  hope to reach potential new customers and clients. Its is also a way for those customers and potential customers to make their feelings about your business known to you and when they do maybe just maybe you should listen.

If enough people are creating enough negative noise via social media about Hamleys Christmas PR stunt they could find what began a snowball rolling down hill becomes and avalanche by the time hits them and by that time its too late,  all there is left to do is damage control, silly really when acting earlier may have sent the message “we listen and we care what people think”.

The Born free blog say of the event which started today, Monday 29th of November and finishes on Friday the 3rd of December.

“Born Free Foundation, the UK wild animal welfare charity, is shocked to learn that Hamleys, the world-famous London toy shop, is planning an event featuring live penguins and reindeer in store. Our message to Hamleys? Please don’t do it”

In a very unscientific test I ran the search “hamleys” through my Twitter account turning up over 50 tweets posted within the space of an hour and almost all of which were negative. When combined with the  Comments on Hamleys Facebook  it looks like this could go viral. If that happens and it draws draw the attention of the mainstream press then that is when you may well see that  PR disaster avalanche hit Hamleys fair and square, leaving them with more to clean up than just Reindeer and Penguin Poo.

Nov 212010
 

OK so they didn’t visit Sheffield today or even together and while these photos may not be exactly “before they were famous”  the headline did get your attention long enough to read this far so here come a few old pictures of the current X Factor Judges visiting Sheffield starting with Cheryl Cole


Most of these were shot back in November 2004, bonfire night to be precise. The on stage shots were a personal appearance by Girls Aloud at Sheffield’s main public bonfire and and fireworks display, earlier that day Cheryl and the the Girls had done a live radio interview at Hallam FM studios. The images of Cheryl in pink are from the Girls Aloud show at Sheffield Arena on th 20th May 2005.

Next up is Simon Cowell at Meadowhall shopping centre where he was officially switching on the Christmas lights back in 2004. Most of the images I have included are from the back room area and were candid shots of Simon being interviewed by various local media journalists before he stepped out into the public glare.

Finally Dannii Minogue from back in 2002 when she  performed at Sheffield Arena with the Smash Hits tour.  The photos show her both on stage and back stage during interviews.

My personal favourite is the one of Dannii holding a Polaroid picture. I remember she rushed into the room where the interviews were being held waving the picture excitedly saying “I’ve just had my picture taken with Blue”  it  just goes to show celebrities can find themselves star struck just like everyone else .