I’ve created this post to illustrate how we can’t help transferring our feelings of the quality of an image onto the person or product that’s in the image. And as a direct result this will influence the interest that we have in that person or product.

We can’t escape that engrained part of our nature that, in the first 5 seconds, we will have assessed and judged a subject by it’s appearance and a lot of our following attitude to the person/product will have been decided in that 5 seconds.

During a recent conversation, I was asked whether or not it was worth having a professional picture of themself to use on websites, email, business cards and other marketing materials?

My reaction to that is of course "Yes", but they suggested that existing snapshots from a recent holiday or wedding should suffice?

While the holiday/wedding snapshot may be free, what image will they really be portraying?
Poor Quality? Slapdash? Cheap?….. none of which you want potential clients or contacts to associate when they think of you or your product.

If you look at successful people or companies, you’ll see a common trend in that they only have quality images representing either themselves or their product or service. As an example, some companies invest tens of millions of dollars in advertising every year just to encourage us drink their brand of fizzy pop.

It’s nothing to do with ego or pride, they just know that people instantly judge by image quality.

So, an example.
If you were attending a business seminar or looking for a professional service from someone and you see a flyer or promotional email or poster with the following images … which person would you instinctively want to listen to or hire?

It’s the same girl in both pictures, but we all expect the person conveyed in the image on the right will be the one that will give us the quality service we want. You may think that it’s an extreme example, but it’s not. You’ll be surprised the number of images you see around that are like the one on the left.

But the good news is that it doesn’t actually cost much to get a professional image and therefore you can be 3 steps ahead of your competition.

If money is super tight then you could still book a photographer for a session, but by sharing the session time with a few friends or colleagues you’ll find that it’s much more affordable. The photographer won’t mind sharing and in fact they’ll probably encourage it.

I recently took some snapshots of the Subaru P1 anniversary which I shared here on this blog and also shared with some Subaru forums/sites and it sparked a comment which, I think, is the worst thing to say to a photographer.

The statement was something like: "Wow!! Great pictures. You must have a great camera"
There then followed a line of people asking what camera I use

While I appreciated the enthusiasm and intended interest, I don’t think people quite realise what they’re innocently saying when this line pops out.

Imagine, if you will, going to 3 Michelin Starred Fat Duck in Bray (voted the second best restaurant in the world) and feasting on the concoctions of Heston Blumenthal….

At the end of the evening you sit back sated … resting your hands on your full stomach with the remnants of your 3 hour taste sensation still fizzling over your tongue and saying: "Wow!! Fantastic!! He must use amazing pots and pans. I wonder what make they are?"

While I hardly class myself in the same league as Heston is in the culinary world, the statement still has the same effect regardless (If i had the same pots and pans then I could make the same food).

If you ask a pro photographer what camera he uses, don’t be surprised if you hear back
"A disposable one" 😉
Camera’s get replaced, but the photographer remains 😀

So what about you, what’s the funniest or worst things you’ve heard said about your pictures ….?

Anyone that knows me will tell you that I’m not a morning person.

In fact you usually have to be up early to catch me before I go to bed ;o)

The BIPP 2009 conference and semenars were held on the 7+8th September in the RAF Museum in Cosford. A fantastic venue, but fantastic enough to get up at 05:30 for?


So I dragged my butt out of bed and lobbed it in the general direction of the shower. 30 minutes later I’m checking emails and munching on some breakfast and swigging strong coffee. I consider throwing the coffee down my pants to wake me up as I’m still half asleep, but 5 minutes later it kicks in and and the brain ticks into life without me jumping around the room swearing randomly

While packing I decided to make a small picture diary of the day. I’d already planned to take some reference shots during the semenars, but I decided to take a broader account of the conference and make them into a small video (below)

Bags packed, camera ready and off I go

Day 1
The day started with registration and a welcome speech from the president and then we all went straight into the day’s courses.
My first session of the day was Hair and Fashion with Jack Eames who is based in London. This short session was mainly about model interaction and the use of props in your session. At the end of his session he was presented with an LBIPP qualification as he wasn’t going to be around for the main awards ceremony in the evening. Happy days

The afternoon double session was ‘It’s only an Iron” with Jonathan Beer. He’s an amazingly talented product/still life photographer based in Manchester and he talked us through a basic product shot.
Jonathan says he has no photographic talent and that he’s 100% technician, but his understanding of texture, shape and attention to detail over a couple of hours was truly inspirational. He’s way more than a technician

Back to the cheap hotel booked from
Turned out to be a service station motel, but a welcome rest. Didn’t bother going to the evening BBQ and awards ceremony as it was a long drive this morning and I wanted to be alive for day 2. So I puttered around the bland hotel room and grabbed a couple of frames to add to the diary before heading to bed

Day 2
Back to the Museum for the morning session with Steve Howdle on Professional Lighting. This tied in with Jack Eames’ session, but was all about the lighting where Jack’s was more the feel and mood of a shoot. Both had very different styles of working and was an interesting contrast.

If anything Steve’s session was much more like Jonathan Beer’s as it was very technical (right down to 1/10th stops) except the model was the ‘product’
Steve’s model in the morning session was Ivory Flame and she appeared again for the afternoon session with Dave Hunt on the human form im fine-art images.

Dave has worked with Ivory Flame quite a few times in the past and you may notice that there are no images of this session due to the content, but the bare(sic) lighting setups were as expected.

I have friends that’ve worked in this style of art, but I’ve never been present during those sessions and so it was interesting to see some “behind the scenes” of how Dave worked with Ivory Flame. Particularly when they role-played the differences in working with a professional model Vs a client coming to you for this style of image.

Then a long drive home, tired, but happy


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