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.

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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 .

Nov 012010
 

07:00 hrs ,as the military call it, is an early morning start at St Dunstan’s in Sheffield, this morning Im  covering the beginning of a fund raising challenge 10 squaddies 10-marathons 5 days.  Ten soldiers, (or Squaddies) from 39 Engineer Regiment Cambridge, and their support team. The team totalling around 14 are undertaking  10 Squaddies, 10 Marathons, 5 Days challenge to raise funds for the only charity to provide direct support, rehabilitation  and training to service personnel and veterans blinded in conflict.

If  the challenge of 10 Marathons in 5 days wasn’t “hardcore” enough for these members of the British Army,  “just to make it a little more interesting” they will be also carrying 40lb Bergen’s and wearing combat boots” on a gruelling test of endurance. Thirty-four year old Staff Sergeant  Jim Offord (the man  behind the fund raiser) and nine fellow soldiers will complete a marathon every six hours,  day and night, followed by six hours recovery time as they tab from St Dunstan’s Rehab & Training centre in Sheffield on the 1st of November  to finish at St Dunstan’s centre near Brighton in East Sussex on the 5th of November.

“I created the 10 Soldiers, 10 Marathons in 5 Days to support St Dunstan’s as we want to give something back to a charity that helps fellow soldiers. I threw in the idea of wearing our Bergen’s filled to weigh 40lbs, plus combat boots to keep it interesting and opted to do 10 Marathons in 5 Days as I couldn’t find a record that it had been done before. Said Jim.

The original aim of the this mammoth effort was to raise £4,800 for St Dunstan’s but that target has already been smashed and the Engineers have reached £10,000 more than double their initial figure.

Staff Sgt Jim Offord, (front) and team members from 39 Engineer Regiment , Lance Corporal Dean Howard, Corporal Dave Little, Sapper Darren Pallatina, Lance Corporal Rich Holmes, Corporal Mark Cammock, Sapper Garry Scott, Lance Corporal Dave Hopkins, SSgt Darren King, Sapper James Payze, Captain Jo Miles, Sgt Steve Bedford and, Lance Corporal Lee Melia with support team members Ami Offord paramedic and Arlene Howard sports physio. Who will be working to complete the 10 Squaddies, 10 Marathons, 5 Days Challenge carrying 40lb Bergens. The team aimed to raise £4800 for St Dunstan’s Charity for blind ex-Service men and women but the figure now stands £10,000 raised…1 November 2010 .Images © Paul David Drabble

Rough Guide to the route……..

Monday 1 November The team left St Dunstan’s Sheffield around 8am aiming to arrive at Chetwynd Barracks, Chilwell, near Nottingham at 4pm. From there they will head for Loughbourgh University arriving on Tuesday 2 November. The second day sees the group tab to Nuneaton via Leicester before heading for Staverton Park Hotel Daventry where they will arrive on Wednesday 3 November. They will leave Staverton Park Hotel heading for Milton Keynes TA Centre and from there to Sportspace, Hemel Hempstead, Herts. Which they will reach on Thursday 4 November They will leave Sportspace at 12 noon  and march into London along the Edgware Road at 2.30pm on Thursday 4 November to visit St Dunstan’s HQ in Marylebone, where they will be greeted by soldiers the charity works with, ex-Service men and women, staff and supporters. They will leave St Dunstan’s HQ at 8pm to tab to the TA Centre, Northgate, Crawley arriving on Friday 5 November. The team start at 8am to tab the final marathon, through Brighton, arriving at St Dunstan’s Rehab & Training Centre, Greenaways, Ovingdean, east Sussex. Where they will cross the finish line to massive cheers from the soldiers the charity works with, staff and supporters and the people who have followed them through the streets of Brighton.

Oct 252010
 

Everyone misses a picture, even the pros don’t get every shot every time but sometimes, just sometimes there is something you can do to salvage an image you really wanted but just didn’t quite get.

The photograph below is my cousin with his niece at a family party. I spotted the opportunity grabbed the camera and the shot unfortunately having consumed the odd  (double)  Bacardi and Coke or two I missed one small but very important detail, the on button for the flash. Three frames later, the moment has passed and the best of the three images is the one below, rather orangey red, dark and slightly too soft.

Carl & Pauline 30th anniversary.23 October 2010 .Images © Paul David Drabble

For the technically minded it was shot on a Nikon D700 and 50mm f1.8 lens. The settings were manually set to:  1000 ISO,  f4.5,  1/60th sec.

On the night I wrote off the shot  as a duff one but I didn’t delete it, I never do, I think its because, back in the days of film, I was taught never throw away a negative.  The next morning , well OK  lunchtime, it was a great party and we did have one or two more of those Bacardi and Cokes, I spotted the shot again and considered it worthy of five minutes  TLC.  My first instinct was to lighten it and try and take some of the redness out. While I was pleasantly pleased with the results of lightening the photograph it quickly became apparent that recovery wasn’t going to be totally successful thanks to masses of colour noise while trying to get the colour balance right, at which point I decided to get all retro and just turn the thing Black and White. A little more fiddling this time with contrast  and unsharp mask to loose some of the softness in the photograph and finally a little cropping to tighten the picture up and hey presto the result……..

Carl & Pauline 30th anniversary.23 October 2010 .Images © Paul David Drabble

You cant make a silk purse out of sows ear, as they say, and the same goes when trying to  recover a photograph  like this one. Sometimes a mistake will leave you with an image that really is not salvageable, no matter how skilled you are or how much time and effort you put into it, so be realistic.  This photograph will never be a technically perfect image it will always be a little soft and a little noisy  but  it does leave me with a  satisfied smile, especially after reading mums comments about her daughters photo in my Facebook  photo album.

Oct 202010
 

Fashion Guru Gok Wan paid a visit  to W.H. Smiths book shop in Meadowhall Shopping Centre, Sheffield today as part of his book tour promoting the autobiography “Through Thick and Thin”. On his arrival the “How To Look Good Naked” took a few minutes out to walk down the large cue of thrilled readers waiting to meet him before sitting down to Sign copies of the book and pose for photos with fans.

If you want to know what Gok had to say about Sheffield check The Real Gok Wan on Twitter

Aug 262010
 

Lytham held the first of what could turn out to be a very good annual event on the weekend of 21st and 22nd August 2010. The 1940s war weekend was a celebration to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and to help raise funds for a memorial to the members of the RAFs Fighter and Bomber Command which, when erected, will stand on Lytham Green where the event took place. The weekend which kicked of on Friday evening with a 1940s dance held in the park pavilion, included Re-enactors from The Northern World War Two Association who put on excellent living history displays and a battle re-enactment. There was also full size replica spitfire complete with aircrew waiting for the call to scramble, period military vehicles including a German Sd.Kfz. 251 Auf C half-track and a mini assault course for the kids.  The  period atmosphere was helped along by re-enactors from the North West Military Colletors group,  live 1940s music and dancing all in period costume during the Saturday and Sunday bringing in crowds of sightseers. The whole weekend was topped by a flypast on the Saturday by a Dakota of the type that would have dropped allied paratroops into France on D-day and Arnhem later in the war. Sundays fly past was by the last Hurricane ever built, PZ865 was finished in summer 1944, there were 14,533 of them built throughout the war. She bares the inscription ‘The Last of the Many’ on her port and starboard sides.

There is also a video report here from the weekend from Blackpool TV