The following article is written by Rowena in order to give you a broad understanding of; what you need in a photographer and what Photographic Memories can provide for you, as a supplier. Should the two marry up, then Rowena will be expecting a call from you...!
Photographs are my world and they have been for the last 20 years. I have always felt the need to record history with a camera, because, as we all know, time moves by very quickly and before you know it, 20 years have passed you by!
If you are looking for a photographer - you need to do your research.
There are thousands of photographers across the country from which to choose. Each has their own style, operating mechanisms and remit of photography. Some only do studio. Some only do location. Some only do wedding. Some do traditional photography, some use more contemporary or avant-garde techniques. Some photographers are very communicative, some are more detached and adopt a more documentary style. These are some of the things that you need to be considering when you are looking for a photographer. But the most important clue as to whether a photographer is for you or not, is their body of work. Perusing their online gallery, or a physical portfolio, should give you a good idea of the style of the photographer and how they capture their subjects. A bit like Marmite, you will generally love their work or hate it.
Another major thing to consider is cost. Every day I get bombarded with personal emails which are marketing ‘studio shoots’ for crazy discounted prices. Only this morning, I had one that said you could get a 1 hour, up to 6 person + 2 animal photo shoot for a meager £13.50 (normal value £850…?!), which included 8 photos and a CD and 2 key rings (yet surprisingly, not the kitchen sink..!) I’m not being funny, but would you do all that for £13.50??!! When you consider the costs that the photographer has undergone, in training, in equipment, in premises hire, in time, in materials, £13.50 just doesn’t make sense does it? No. So there has to be more to it. That shoot has to be followed up by a hard sell, it has to be. So you need to be prepared for that. Ultimately, if you are taking the time to get this work done, you do want photos at the end of it. And once you see the results of studio photography, as opposed to what you might come up with on your i-phone or some suchlike, you will be a relatively easy sell, and you could walk away from a £13.50 experience hundreds and hundreds of pounds down. That’s what’s happened to most people that I know that have done one of these bargain-basement shoots. Whether they want to or not, they have ended up spending more than the “well, it’s only £13.50 for 8 photos” that they originally went in for.
So bearing all this in mind, I will now tell you about how I work…
I can do commercial and wedding photography. But my main area of expertise is studio / location portraiture.
I specialise in the photography of people;
- children and siblings
- groups / friends / family
All of the above can either be photographed in my Somerset based studio or on location or in the comfort of your own home. My lighting systems are portable and I use either flash, tungsten constant or available light, depending on the desired mood or client needs.
Photography is about 2 things; painting with light (photo – light, graph – painting) and capturing a moment in time. The art of good photography, is being a good painter, so to speak, and also interacting with your subject to just the right degree to make them, for a split second, truly reveal their essence and forget that there is a large camera pointed directly at them!
I always take an array of photos on a shoot; from the more timeless, sultry or classic through to the more amusing, laughter-filled, relaxed and informal photos. These last type of photographs, or character shots are firm favourites for both my clients and myself, because they capture that instantly recognisable expression or smile, attributable to just one human being. A moment in time – halted for ever more, to be keep and looked back on in years to come. A photo where you actually can ‘feel’ the emotions simply by looking upon it. Where noone notices the double chin or wrinkles, they just see the essence of the person captured in a beautifully framed shot. If you want, you can have a 'high key' white background, but if you want something more unusual, you can have a vintage 1940's Golden Hollywood shoot. This will involve the constant lights provided by tungsten lights - the type that they used on the film sets back in Rita Hayworth and Greta Garbo's day. These are my forte and I can guarantee that you will LOVE these shots. You can see some examples on my Image Gallery, in the Studio / Hollywood 1940's Gallery.
Your character, or that of your child, will be fully represented throughout the body of work.
We all have pictures taken on our iPhones or instant cameras - but how many of these are you actually happy enough to have printed and put on your wall? Professional shots will always outshine instant shots, because the camera is far superior and the operator knows what they are looking for.
Everybody deserves at least one set of photos in life that they are proud to put on their wall.
I am not a typical 'groupon' style studio photographer. Unless doing a Hollywood 1940's shoot, which is heavily 'set' based and artistically inspired, there are limited gimmicks and props, mostly, because I am trying to strip back the individual to their essence, rather than allow them to hide behind things. Props and additions have their place in a photo, when they are needed to help the subject relax or enhance the aesthetic, but I generally try to keep them to a minimum. As I said, you need to consider what you want from your photo shoot. If that’s what you are looking for, there are plenty of other people out there that can prop-agate (sorry…!) a photo with hula-hoops, balls and bubbles etc.
As you will have figured out by now, I am a very interactive and informal person, and you will have little trouble relaxing in my presence. My goal is to make you forget that you are in front of a camera and allow you to simply be your wonderful, glowing self – a goal that I have no doubt that I can achieve, no matter how camera-petrified you might be!
If you don’t like the idea of a studio shoot though, I can always come to you. We can do an ‘at home’ shoot, or an ‘on location’ shoot. An at home shoot can easily be done with little extra lighting, just an on camera flash, maybe some reflectors and the use of natural window light. If your child is rather restless, for example, this might be better. I can take photos of them plalying with some of their favourite toys or we can go out into the garden and take more candid reportage type of shots of them playing with their siblings.
An ‘on location’ shoot is also worth considering. Are there any scenic or dramatic places near you which could feature as the backdrop for the shoot? An 'on location' shoot might also be good for you if you are a terribly busy bee, working during the day. These shoots are often conducted during the early evening because the best photographic light of the day can be experienced at sunrise and just before sunset – meaning you don’t need to take the day off work.
With regards to pricing, I pride myself on how transparent and reasonable my pricing is. I value the work that I do, as do my clients, so you will find that I am not the cheapest around. There is no ‘free-photo shoot’. I charge for my time. As I said, although I adore photographing people, I really can’t offer my services without attaching a price-tag to my time and expertise. The cost of a shoot accounts for the time the shoot itself takes and the post production time associated with the shoot. These fees are chargeable upfront. You will then have an opportunity to purchase photos or packages of photos upon viewing. It is probably not the most marketable of marketing techniques to speak so freely about fees and costs, but, this honesty is just part of my ethos. I want people to come to me knowing what they are buying into. And equally, I want to know that I am buying into you for the right reason. I put my time, physical and emotional energy into every photo shoot that I do, and just like any other professional with a skill, I charge for my time.
It’s a lot to consider isn’t it?! But I can honestly say, a good photograph is worth its weight in gold. I have photos of my children which totally capture them. I never tire of looking at these pictures and they always bring my love bubbling to the surface in near tears.
So, now you know a bit more about what I can do for you, why don't you look through my portfolio on my Image Gallery to get an idea of what I have done for people in the past, and the style of my photography. Also, take a look at the Testimonial page – because other people might be able to put what I do across to you better than I can!
I hope you like what you see and if you want to have a chat – drop me a line and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.