Insights and information (from me, Steve Barnes, principal photographer) regarding Business & Marketing; Visual Identity and the important role Professional Photographic Images play in successful Business Branding & Marketing Campaigns.
You’ll find all sorts of technology insights and comments; contextual remarks from many years in business strategy, branding & marketing, visual identity and image making for organisations. If you have a question you’d like answered, I’m always up for sharing the love, so please ask!
I enjoyed a lovely photo shoot with Laura, Branding Specialist for Maven Dental Group, and the staff from Maven Dental South Yarra & Maven Dental Brunswick (both inner Melbourne) a few weeks ago. I captured branding elements, individual and team portraits, interior shots of the practice and some ‘street view’ shots.
I just got the final selection from my proofs from Laura and have performed final treatment on the Maven Dental South Yarra images this afternoon. I quite like Maven Dental Group branding. It’s a classy, minimalist style and the colour is good for the dental profession. My images will be used for the practice webpages to give customers some familiarity with street view, waiting room etc; for local area marketing, and as part of their photo stock for future requirements.
Here then is a selection of the images from Maven Dental South Yarra.
note: some images have been removed until Maven Dental follow through with their model release process. I’ll hopefully get to reinstate them shortly, as there are some lovely shots 🙂
Graham from Old Fart Garden Art is a consummate craftsman; working blocks of lifeless metal into unique sculptures.
Graham cleaned a rental house I recently moved out of. We got on well, and had a nice chat. A while later he calls me and asks my help as a photographer.
“I’ve tried to photograph some metal art I’ve done that I want in an Australian Metal Art competition; but I just can’t get a decent shot! Can you help?”.
What kind of questions is that? I LOVE A CHALLENGE!
So a few days later Graham comes over; one day before this image has to be on a Facebook Page; carrying his crowning creation, which I named ‘Old Man Emu’. It’s a beautiful piece of work. As an artistic person myself, it’s my honest opinion, we may be seeing the genesis of something really significant in Graham’s artistic career. I told him “I know you’ve got offers, but for goodness sake, don’t sell it for less than! This may be the first of some significant works based on what I’m seeing”. And I was quite serious.
I got the image photographed whilst he was in my temporary studio (we just moved house); but treated it after he left. I got a good reaction when he received the email containing it:
“That is totally awesome. Thanks so much. I am going to post this around the world. Lol. I’m so impressed. It looks better than in real life!”
I’m glad you like it Graham 🙂
Wilberforce is a Constant Delight
This little fellow is a constant delight. His name is Wilberforce. He’ll be two years old come July, and we got him from the ShihTzu breeder we got our oldest from, Amadeus. They breed beautiful dogs.
Wilberforce has always been talkative (lots of expressions in an almost constant stream) and a comedian. If anyone is going to get into trouble, it’s him! Despite him stealing the diffuser for one of my photography flashes yesterday, and chewing it into a useless state, I still love him. Sure, he owes me, but the payback will be in laughter and cuddles. And I can buy another diffuser on eBay.
Here we see his tendency to get as much out of life as possible demonstrated. He catches the first ball, then tries for the second ball without dropping the first. I know some people like that. They are larger than life and always want more!
Will I remember this moment?
This video will go into my personal Flickr account under ‘Pets 2017’. Will I still use Flickr in ten years time? I really don’t know. Chances are I won’t as I’ve used it for about ten years now and I think the way we store and browse media will change. Them there’s also the absolute mass of media we constantly accrue on our phones, tablets and digital cameras. Thousands of files each year for the average person. Many thousands if you’re under thirty or keeping up with that age group!
A Moment Captured or a Memory Created?
So is this a ‘moment’ I captured or a ‘memory’ I created? I guess that depends on how much I value it. From my experience, that value is composed of a few different things :
- Was the making is the memory enjoyable? Did it last now than a few moments so you could savor it? Sure, extremely funny moments lodges in our minds vividly in an instant, but in general it takes some savoring of the moment to deepen the emotional registration. It’s like your first kiss. If it’s a quick, embarrassed peck, there may not be an emotional memory; but if it’s a deep, warm, engaging epiphany with a lingering head-spin, you’ll probably remember it forever!
- Is the result of the memory something good? If that first kiss leads to a life long love affair, it’s a fair guess you will prize the memory.
- Is the memory captured in such a way that you have a really good quality reminder if it?
- Is that reminder easily accessible? Is it something that brings you constant enjoyment?
I’d like to think this clip of Wilberforce will be enjoyed by many of my friends as we post it on social media (why does my phone want to show suicidal media?) . It will give many of us a chuckle. But that will probably be the last time anyone but my immediate family sees it. I may see it on the odd occasion, but it will probably be ‘stumbled upon’ rather than planned.
Reflecting on my Pet Photography
This, dear reader, takes me back to the reason I do pet photography. I want to create high quality, enjoyable memories that my customers will regularly savour and share with friends. I want my artwork to bring pleasure to people’s lives. I want my customers to look at my prints and remember the photography session like a wonderful first kiss, a pleasurable and distinctive ‘first time’ memory shared by owner(s) and pet(s). And hopefully, that first session will make you come back again for more; be it other pets, an annual portrait or even custom Christmas Cards.
Why do I compare the photo shot to the memory if a first kiss? Because both have potential for significant emotional enjoyment and lasting impact:
Goal : Your enjoyment of the shoot
Firstly, I actually think on and review my photo shoots to try and make them more enjoyable for the customer each time. It’s a culture of constant improvement. I incorporate things that worked to enhance the end photographic result; but also things that the customer derived pleasure from. Wedding photographers get to make the shoot a wonderful experience for their customers, and regards the pleasure of the shoot as an important part of their service. I think pet photographers should think this way too because there’s a strong emotional element there. It’s not all about the end artwork, it’s about the crafting of a memory that lives with the artwork. I want you to truly be carried away by the experience of the photo shoot, and be thoroughly ‘in the moment’.
Goal : Artistic Creativity
Most photographers who take time over shooting their images are creative people. I’ve been a photographer for a long time, going back to dad building me my own black and white photo lab after not having the one at my high-school to use once I graduated. I’ve done portraits, landscapes, nature shots, shop front and panoramic interiors, hotels and motels, virtual tours, products and more. You get a feel for images, but pet photography really gets you thinking all over again.
As a pet photographer, I have to be creative with angles and composition, but I also have the pets and their owners to interact with. Getting a feel for the relationship between owner and dog (for example) is interesting, because all owners and dogs are different, and interact differently. Some owners want studio shots that are highly defined, classical looking or maybe quirky & trendy. Others want a portrait in an outside setting, or an actions shot of the dog running, jumping or splashing through water. Each of these has it’s own technical and artistic challenges, and to me it’s a lot of fun understanding you and your dog; getting the interaction and ideas you may have; and creating something really above and beyond what you ever thought of for your pet.
I’ve been a member of a professional pet photography community for a few years now. I get ideas and encouragement there. I’m also a constant viewer of training videos to help refine technique. Lastly, when it mattered the most, in early days of serious pet photography, I was privileged to get a bit of encouragement and feedback from two famous pet photographers based in the USA. When you really want to be outstanding, it;’s a great thing to have a few legends give you a pat on the back, encouragement and ideas.
I’m always open to new ideas for customers, so whatever you have in mind, share it with me. I’ll certainly share shots from my previous shoots, from other international pet photographers, and my own ideas too because I want your shoot to be just amazing!
Goal : Technical Perfection
I do everything I can to ensure the images I create are of the highest possible quality. I want the images I produce to provide a solid, warm, emotional link back to the enjoyable experience of the photography session. In that respect, it’s again like wedding photography. The images the photographer produces are of a special day, and when the photographer sits with the couple to decide which images they want printed, the warm memories of the day are pleasurably reinforced and sustained by the images professionally captured of those poignant moments. To this end, I’ve recently invested again in the new Pentax K-1 full frame 36mp DSLR camera and the new Pentax 24-70 f/2.8 lens (over $5,000), to compliment my existing Pentax based gear. The results are astonishing, but only achieved with much study and practice.
Goal : Wonderful, distinctive papers and other creative print options
It’s not enough for me to capture wonderful, artistic, quality images and print them on newspaper stock! Newspaper clippings always have rough color, lack detail and deteriorate quickly. Cheap photographic papers are not much better. If I’m going to print an image that’s so important to my customers, and which frankly I pour my heart and soul into, it has to go on really high quality photographic stock that replicates color faithfully, has beautiful depth and tone and is able to replicate the finest detail of the digital image I so carefully took. In late 2016, I moved from a major paper manufacturer to a European manufacturer with a distributer in Victoria. The company is called SIHL, and the paper I use for most of my portraits is called SIHL Masterclass Lustre. It’s not your average paper. You won’t look at my prints and think they are much like the full gloss prints you get from most professional photographers who use the big commercial labs. I choose this paper because it is distinctive and makes my prints look awesome. It’s a beautiful way to print pet portrait images. I also print most images myself, as I want control over the final product. I think you’ll like what you see.
Goal : The absolute best for you and your home
Lastly, in order for the photographic artwork to provide lasting enjoyment, the way I print it must be accessible. In an age where we have media thrust in front of our eyes all day long, I think it’s vital we have things in our homes that cause us to pause, to smile and enjoy warm memories, and to appreciate what we have or even what might have passed. That means producing photographic artwork to hang in your home as you would a family portrait or painting you fell in love with and brought home ; not to bury in a box, but to hang where you can see it easily; to savour and enjoy.
Goal : A fun Artwork Selection Session
I visit all my local customers in their homes, and I often suggest people talk to me about their lifestyle and what’s currently adorning their walls. When I come to your home after the photo shoot to have our artwork session, it’s to create another good memory. I’ll have already have culled the photographs down to technically good shots; rated them; and given them good photographic treatment. I’ll be showing you high quality pictures on my photographic tablet so you can see the beautiful depth and colour a print will bring.
Seeing the end results of the photo shoot for the first time, you’ll rate the photos and mark (with a love heart ♥) ones you really ‘must have’. By the time you’ve rated the photos, you are down to a select few that really do something good for you. It’s from those photos, we’ll decide on artwork. You’ll decide on photographic or fine art prints (like on a subtly textured linen based paper), and decide the sizes you want for each. You may even want a throw rug or other creative option I offer. The type and size of print will depend on wall space, average viewing distance, maybe fitting in with existing artwork and definitely competing with that big TV you stare at every night!!!
In the end, my mission as a pet photographer is to provide you with beautiful, professional artwork of high quality, artistic images of pets you really love; from a photo session you really enjoyed. You’ll love and treasure your photographic artwork for years.
To see more about Four Foot Fotos pet photography, Ballarat; visit www.fourfootfotos.com
We had our 2017 World Wide Whippet Walk at Ballarat, Victoria, Australia today. Four Foot Fotos Ballarat was the official photographer. I got some lovely shots. and a few of the group ones will hopefully hit the local newspaper.
The whippet is a lovely, affectionate dog. They run at amazing speed, but only in quick bursts; the rest of the time they are often couch potatoes, and are often really cuddly! I speak from experience as a pet photographer – whippets will be on my knee as fast as any dog or more so!
It was a great day, and lots of fun for everyone. If your dog is in these photos, please register and comment. I’m thinking of making a book for the participants. If enough owners would like one, we’ll get names of owners and dogs, plus a little to say about each one. It will make a lovely momento as a coffee table book. You can also ‘claim your whippet’ at my Four Foot Fotos ‘World Wide Whippet Walk 2017 – Ballarat’ album.
I subscribe to a few WordPress sites because I’ve been using it for perhaps 18 months now and there are still things I’m looking for and I want to stretch it to provide great customer solutions. Back in 2008, I’d say to people “Use Joomla!, it’s the only open-source CMS that is solid and feature rich”. What happened? Some very big companies started putting into Joomla! It’s still feature rich (amazingly so) and is evolving in amazing ways, but it’s serving the top end of town more than it used to. By that I mean corporations with teams of people who require team features and may have complex scenarios. WordPress has also matured since 2008. It’s stepped mostly into where Joomla! was, but has developed in ways that make it better than Joomla for a ‘team of one’ or a small business team that needs ease of administration.
I came across an article just now “Do you want to know which big name brands are using WordPress?”. Interesting, I thought. “One of the common misconceptions about WordPress is that since it is open source, it may not be good enough for big brands. To disprove this myth, we have created a list of most notable big name brands that are using WordPress on their websites.” Sounds like something my clients may like to know, thought I. So, if you’re interested in my website platform of choice, read more at http://www.wpbeginner.com/showcase/40-most-notable-big-name-brands-that-are-using-wordpress/.
Late afternoon in autumn on Lake Wendouree, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia and the lake has a beautiful glow. It’s great to look back on. The rain is pounding down as I write this post and has just turned to loud hail. It’s now almost drowning out the YouTube video I’m listening to!
…but this image pulls my mind back to a really enjoyable moment.
That’s what I love about capturing beautiful landscape images. They bring back a feeling evocative of being there. I’ll be offering this one as a print if you’re interested; and I’ll be publishing a few more in days to come.
Isn’t autumn a beautiful time of year? The colours change and intensify. The mood is different. We spend time tidying the garden from fallen leaves; and I take time to appreciate what I see as I tend to my garden.
Just click on the image below and you’ll be able to browse through four images I captured from my garden just this morning.
Nelly is really quite a gorgeous girl, and I wrote about her a few weeks ago when I photographed her.
I had the privilege an hour ago of delivering her portraits to her ‘mum’, Ebony (minus the large watermark you see here). I had mounted the prints on white board*, leaving a 5cm border so it could be used for framing. It turns out these prints look beautiful on white. Nelly’s lighter colour fits with the white border really well.
Ebony loves the artwork, which is great. It’s the tail end of my work, I know, but it’s a great feeling when I deliver artwork and the customer says “it’s beautiful”, “I love it” or “oh wow”. So my best days are the one I do the shoot, and the day I deliver the artwork. I’m looking forward to seeing a photo from Ebony of the artwork on the wall when it’s been framed.
* I use acid free foam-board, which is ‘archival quality’, meaning it won’t leech into the prints or stick to them. ‘Archival Quality’ pretty much means it’s museum quality. Leaving a 5cm border means it’s good for framing too. The A4 size is small enough that it can normally be left without a frame, but A3+ is large enough that a frame is required to stabilise it.
What a great little shop! I had coffee there this morning because it was handy for a business meeting. When we needed to reconvene this afternoon, we choose to go back to the same place. It’s got a great atmosphere. It’s very eclectic, and the mix of bike gear amongst the cafe is really cool. It’s friendly, and the coffee is good. A nice place for bicycle riders and Cafe Cruisers alike ; and if you’re both, it’s heaven!
From a photography perspective, this kind of eclectic place is interesting to the eye. This photo was taken without any lighting, but if I get the chance to shoot it commercially, I’ll take several speedlights with me to really light up the pace and “make it pop!”.
Architectural shoots that offer a wide view are prime candidates for panoramas too, because the field of view extends so far horizontally. Certainly a wider angle lens can be used (this was 24mm on a full frame Pentax K1 camera), such as a 14mm, but whilst it’s a nice look, it does distort the lines near the edges of the frame. Using a 35mm (natural view on a full frame camera) lens and deliberately shooting for a panorama, then stitching the images together gives a much wider image that’s far less distorted. Sure, it’s more work, but doing this really well often are!
Better look up! Pets do get worried during thunderstorms.
Wasn’t it a huge storm last night! Water everywhere, electricity outages and trees coming down. And of course there were lots of warning notices among dog groups and dog lovers on social media. “Keep your dog inside”, “be prepared to comfort your pets”and so on. Whilst we can learn about what’s coming, they get no formal notification; although many animals do detect changes in the weather! It’s small wonder they get a little apprehensive about the change in barometric pressure, rising wind and gloomy and flickering light. And whilst we know what’s happened when all of a sudden our TV and computer goes off and the lights go out, they have no clue as to the cause. One moment is all normal household light and noise. The next: nothing!
Times like these often make us stop and think how much we love our pets. I don’t know about your family, but ours and many I’ve talked to find their dogs on their laps, seeking comfort, as a thunderstorm hits. There’s often a lot of cuddling and reassurance goes on. This photo wasn’t taken in a thunderstorm, but it came to mind when I thought of this post. If you’ve seen me work with individual pets, you’ll know I have a bag full of tricks to get their attention as I try to generate fun and interesting expressions that characterise the dog. This one will always stick in my mind!
Do you have any “funny looks” photos of your dog, why not ENTER THEM IN MY Four Foot Fotos BALLARAT’S FUNNIEST PET PHOTOS COMPETITION for Autumn 2017, which will commence this week. Details will be here on my website, on my Four Foot Fotos website, on my Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/fourfootfotos, on Instagram at www.instagram.com/fourfootfotos/.