Interacting with clients

Well, the last couple of months have been an education… Better than any course could teach… Seeing how a business needs to have a marketing strategy or some other gimmick to attract potential customers…

I’ve had to learn that attracting potential clients isn’t as easy as you’d think… If you aren’t an established name, companies don’t look twice… So my marketing strategy has had to be to use social media and a local Facebook group and offer services for free to build my portfolio…

So I chose to advertise services for free (while building my portfolio)… This strategy has attracted several different potential clients: one person outside catering company to small local café/bar to national business… This has prompted a lot of face-to-face meetings, emails & telephone calls… And I’ve completed one project… YAY ME!

Below I’ve put together, in no particular order, some nuggets I’ve gleaned from my interactions with clients:

1) When having a meeting, know your stuff. They are expecting you to be able to answer questions & come up with ideas. 

2) Prepare any questions you have before your meeting so you can show your client you know what you are talking about. Do a list, that you can refer to & make notes on. 

3) When arranging meetings, give yourself and your client some extra time – things come up and if they’re running a business, emergencies happen. 

4) Be flexible/accommodating/easy going – circumstances change from one day to the next/from one hour to the next, be willing to change appointments should problems occur, understanding the business your client runs should help you accept these changes.

5) Make sure you have any paperwork to hand to let your client know what is expected with your collaboration – nasty surprises might impact on future relationships. Particularly regarding copyright & image usage. 

6) Be professional/look professional – this shows you are someone to take seriously. 

7) Take your lead from your client – they might have something they want to show in the images that is part of their image. But if that won’t work, say so. Ask about alternatives. 

8) Give your client your undivided attention whilst you work/meet – no taking of telephone calls while you are supposed to be working for or meeting with them, after all you don’t want to jeopardise any future relations. 

9) Be timely in the way you work – if you give them a timescale, stick to it. Excuses are not a good idea, unless unavoidable. But don’t expect repeat custom. 

10) Be polite and charming without being creepy – the client needs to know you have some highly developed interpersonal skills… This is important as you are the gave of your company… Skills mean next to nothing if you aren’t someone they can talk to…

Community Spirit

What makes a community? People, you would hope…

But these days, people move around and don’t spend their lives in the same places they were born… And so, they don’t get chance to put down roots or meet their neighbours except when there are issues…

But there is one place that has a small group of people who thought it would be a great idea to bring a community together by the use of ART… But how does art bring a community together, I hear you ask…

Well, the idea was to ask people of the town to allow the use of their gardens, sheds or garages to showcase artists… But people saw an opportunity to showcase their own works and share it with the people of the town… It also allowed the local schools, nurseries, groups both young and old, to create some very engaging projects…

Walking round the Horsforth Walk of Art this year it was lovely to see neighbours talk to each other and finding a reason to communicate and make connections…

Also it was fascinating to see all the different styles of art… Painters, wood carvers, screen printers, cake decorators, ceramic designers, portrait pencil artists, yarn bombers, etc

This is what helps a community come together… An opportunity for people to come together in an appreciation of something EVERYONE can do, in so many imaginative ways… Giving people a chance to talk and connect… “What have you seen?” “What’s the best thing to see?”

Light Versus Dark/Props

I was going to put together a 3 part blog today, but for some reason I can not remember what the third subject was going to be – think I need to start writing ideas down… 🙂

Any way, thought I’d put together two bits that are intertwined… Light food photography versus dark food photography and props.

A subject can be viewed very differently if it is photographed on a bright pristine background with lots of light and white or silver reflectors, than if it is shot against a dark surface and background with subdued lighting.

I find that both have their positives and negatives, and trying to use either is fun to experiment with. Trying different light and reflections, different surfaces and backgrounds, and different views.

As well as the mood of the photo, there’s the little touches that add a little extra “depth” to the image. Something that makes it feel a little more real – PROPS!

Props can add ambience or interest to a subject. You can also blatantly tell the viewer the contents of the subject without words; such as a berry muffin, strawberry tart or a cup of coffee.

Other props can just add a little authenticity to the image, by giving the unconscious mind something to accept. These can be a little jug of cream or even a dusting of powdered sugar. Something that really adds interest is the right cutlery and crockery.

There are many great places to find interesting and unusual objects to use for your food photography, but you’ll need to figure out what works for you. A background could be as simple as a couple of sheets of white or black foam board taped together. These can also be used quite well as white reflectors or as a way of blocking the light and casting shadows in just the right ways. Then there’s thin sheets of wood, perspex or metal that can add different looks to the images.

For crockery and cutlery, I’ve found that there are a couple of options. There’s charity shops, though watch out for damage that won’t look good in your photos. eBay is another good place to find just about anything your little heart could require.Though you might end up with more than you wanted… I should know… I wanted some antique looking cutlery, and ended up with 2 sets by accident. Well, you live an learn… 😦

Next time, I’ll see about giving more information about my photographic studio.

Anyway, that’s it for this time, take care and catch you on the flipside. 🙂

Photoediting?

This is another case where you will get different answers from different photographers.

There are so many things you can do in-camera that will get you the desired effects, but sometimes you want to add a little “drama” or “atmosphere”.

There are many good free programs or apps to achieve most things you can think of to manipulate your images.

These days most photographers use the Adobe products to make most changes, such as Lightroom and Photoshop. Then there are the presets and actions that you can be used to make quick quick changes to images, and thankfully some people have created free presets. One useful one is those created by Karl Taylor. But there are many hundreds of free ones if you look on Google.

I like to use a Lightroom preset occasionally, just for something different. Below are 2 images; first with a Lightroom preset applied, latter without a Lightroom preset.

But, as I said at the outset, it is completely upto you about how you want to show your images and what you want to do to make them stand out.

Anyway, short one today. So, catch you one the flipside. 🙂

Above, below or slightly to the right?

Another part of the food photographic process that has photographers divided is the position of the camera in conjunction with the food.

Some photographers stick strictly with an anchored approach. Either on a tripod set at about 45° above the food and then move the food into position. This is the same for the “directly above” shooting option.

Then there are the photographers who like the “freehand” approach. Set up the food within the working space, then move round to see what looks better. Close up or more distant.

There is no right or wrong with these approaches. Try them both and see what works.

Personally, I like the freehand approach. I set the food then move around the display to see what works.

It is definitely something that evolves as your photography evolves. You find what works and stick with it. But you might want to adapt as the mood and circumstances dictate.

That’s it for this time, take care and catch you on the flipside. 🙂

Light, lighting, reflecting

There’s two schools of thought about lighting, depending whether you do your food photography in a professional studio, at a restaurant/café/shop or at at home studio.

Natural ambient light or artifical light/flashguns.

Hopefully, you’ve already worked all that out.

If you have a home studio or a professional studio, you’ll probably already worked out the best position to get a flat even light. A north facing window or, as I have found, my conservatory works really well. If you’re using a window, the light will be coming in in one direction. Which will give a lovely back light, if the light’s bright enough.

Hopefully, when on site, there might be something similar, depending on the size and position of the windows.

However, when you’ve no choice, that’s when you have to use artificial light. But then there’s the problem with hard shadows. That’s where the best option is to bounce the light to even it out.

Once you’ve worked that out, then it’s down to filling in the shadows. So many options are available to fix the shadows. Something as simple as a sheet of white paper or a t-shirt can help. But by far the best reflector (if you don’t have one in your repertoire) is a sheet of crumpled tin foil. So the choice will be whether you want a softer light from a white reflector or specular light from a silver reflector (or tin foil).

Then there’s the issue of using an assistant or trying to hold it all yourself or making sure you have something that is self-standing.

First Entry

This is the first blog entry. Not sure what to say, be here goes.

I have been an eager amateur photographer for many years. Started with a Minolta film camera and progressed though to Sony cameras. Currently I use a Sony A58, which I love.

I’ve photographed historic places, airshows, people, zoo animals and my home city of Leeds – check out my ABOUT page for my Flickr page for my extensive images.

I started doing food photography fairly recently (in the scheme of things), mostly because it involves several aspects of photography I love – close-up, bokeh (or shallow depth of field), dramatic or subdued lighting and trying to get the best from your subject.

Mostly for my food photography, I have been using 2 lenses. Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 and Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro. These, I’ve found, allow for different views and strength of Depth of Field.

IMG_20160206_083712[1]   IMG_20160205_071536[1]

I’ve learned so far that you really need to check the White Balance, cos you either end up with an orange or blue look which is not good.

Anyhoo, that’s enough for today. Time to sign off. Catch you on the flip side. 🙂