Monday, 23 November 2015

Christmas List

So what do you buy a photographer for Christmas ?
It's not exactly a cheap past time and surprise gifts could be an expensive mistake. Of course you could just ask. Maybe have the photographer in your life draw up a wish list ? With Black Friday and Cyber Monday almost here I thought I might share a few ideas...

Clutch camera hand strap - by Peak Design - £24.99

 I've never been a big fan of traditional neck straps but cameras can get heavy, especially with telephoto lens attached and they will give your wrist and grip a work out. Enter the Clutch strap from Peak Design. It's supper comfy with a cool little alloy clip that lets you adjust the grip on the fly. Totally comfy and totally secure. (I totally have one). 

Color Checker Passport - X-Rite - £52.00

A must have for any photographer, especially those who do their own prints. X-Rite(website) make a range of calibration devices for your monitor, tablet and even your phone. The Color Checker Passport is the first step in guaranteeing accurate colour reproduction. Place in shot or shoot a separate file with the same lighting. What ever editing software you use you can sample a point on the card and instantly correct the colour temp and white balance and then apply it to all the other shots. The included software can even automate some of the process for you.

Portfolio website - SmugMug 
All those fabulous photos getting ruined on Facebook and social media = lots of likes but no sales or jobs ! If only there was an easy way to set up a professional site with a built in print store that you could use to attract paying clients, with lots of design templates, all easily customizable and makes your pictures look awesome ? SmugMug has four price plans but only the Portfolio (£8.23 mth) and Business (16.46 mth) have the print store. If you want to buy this as a gift I suggest a annual subscription, also if you use this link - SmugMug you will get a 25% discount.

Lens - 24-70mm f2.8 Canon - £683.00 used / £1400,00 new
Not a cheap lens (even second hand) but worth the investment, The build, the quality of the glass. The softness of the background when shortening your depth of field. This is the go to lens. Fashion, journalism, headshots, travel, this lens will deliver.  It does weigh just shy of 1kg though. 
This lens, along with my 85mm f1.8 and 50mm f1.8 is always with me.

Online shop - Wex Photographic
My favourite go to website for buying gear is Wex Photographic. They have a huge range, from entry level to top of the line professional equipment. Delivery times average two or three days.
My favourite part of the site though is their used pages. Whoever writes the product descriptions under sells the quality of the item. I bought a 24-70mm f2.8 that was described as having a few marks and signs of use but when I un-boxed it I could not find a mark on it. The lens was as new but at half it's normal price. Definitely worth a look if you want to upgrade but don't have a large budget.

I might update this as Christmas gets nearer !

                                                     More T.K...

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Egyptian Memories For Sale

OK so a few years back I went on a Nile river cruise and it was one of the coolest things I have ever done ! Better still I took some awesome photographs that I then put into a book using Lightroom & Blurb so that I would have a hard copy to share with friends.
I have posted the best of the collection online before and received great feedback. So now, with Christmas approaching,  I am offering the book for sale.

So if you are a lover of Egypt or know someone who is this may just be the perfect present.

More T.K....

Sunday, 20 September 2015

An Eventful Few Weeks

Have I mentioned that I have started doing event photography ?
The folks at Cheshire Life Magazine have taken me on as a freelancer covering Manchester. It's only part time, which means one job every four to six weeks, so not enough to live on but it's work and it gets my name in print (about 30,000 in circulation).
All I have to do is be available, turn up on time and cover every important detail and get peoples names spelt correctly. Luckily for me this summer saw a few extra events so I've already shot three with two more booked.
The key is to travel light, eat before you go, don't drink alcohol and be respectful.

Salvi's Restaurant launch event

My first job was covering Salvi's Restaurant and a dinner they laid on to promote their new restaurant  and deli which will be opening across town.

I was lucky with this one. It was early enough for the daylight to make exposure easy and I didn't have to fight the camera over slow shutter speeds  when it did get dark. There is nothing worse than uploading the shots onto your pc only to discover that some are too 'soft' for print. Low light shooting is a whole new arena. More on that to come...

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Getting on Track and Getting Serious

Finally life has given me space to get back to doing what I love.
    So in the last two months I connected with the editor of Cheshire Life magazine and she gave be the opportunity to do some freelance event photography. Go to a venue photograph people enjoying the hospitality and make sure you get their names spelt correctly. Then deliver the shots promptly.
    It's only occasional work (once a month if lucky) but you get to go to interesting places and meet interesting people. I have learned though that it is a good idea to check in with the PR person a couple of days before the event to make sure there haven't been any last minute changes or cancellations !

    So far two events covered and a few more lined up over the next few months (and yes I get paid !). For the first event I used my prime lenses -50ml f1.8 and 85ml f1.8 these are great for interior shoots thanks to their big apertures. Then combine a TTL off camera flash and you have got it covered. Obviously this means lens changes are needed according to the subject matter which means carrying the lenses and stopping every couple of minutes to change over. Not too efficient. Well, when you know there is more work coming and you are serious about it you invest in the appropriate equipment. In this case a 28-70ml f2.8 lens. This is the lens that every Canon shooter talks about and wishes that they could afford. Used for portrait, fashion and editorial it is a fabulous piece of kit but at £1400.00 new it is out of reach of mere mortals.

   Step in Wex Photographic who are fast becoming my favourite supplier. Free and almost always next day delivery and their used department is excellent. Who ever writes the descriptions and ratings for the used equipment is very modest and conservative. The 28 -70ml lens that I invested in was described as having some wear on the focusing ring and around the mounting. Well when I received the parcel, wrapped in about 6 feet of bubble wrap, even the original box looked as new ! I spent five minutes examining the lens looking for any sign of wear. I could not even find any dust inside the elements. So at £749.00 it's an investment but if you pick carefully you can get your hands on an 'as new' lens at half the price ! So how serious are you ?
    I intend to keep shooting and want to keep Cheshire Life magazine happy so this lens is a real investment in my career and that has to be a good thing.

More T.C...

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Why I Won't Be Spending £3,000 On A New Camera

    Canons new 5DS is an awesome piece of kit. Full frame 50.6 megapixels, 61 AF points, Digic 6 processor; the list goes on...
Their 5D mk3 - 22.3 megapixel, 61 AF points, Digic 6 processsor, basically the smaller brother to the 5DS, is also awesome; but they ae over £2000 just for the body !

   Lets be honest. Most of us cannot afford that kind of money and anyone who does buy one is probably using a credit card or a payment plan. There is an alternative. (or 2)

some pro photographers rent their gear. They build the cost of one or two days equipment rental into their budget for a shoot. So the client is paying and the photographer is playing.
All those pros who talk about medium format, they hire the camera per shoot.
   Yes this is a valid option but in today's market I don't think most budgets will accommodate.

    So Canon are also releasing two other cameras. The 750D & 760D.
The 760D has a APS-C 24.2 MP sensor, 19 AF points & Digic 6 processor. Oh and it's £649.00 !
Canon do not class this as a professional camera but when you look at the specifications what else do you need ?
The 760D out performs the 5D mk2 one of the most successful pro cameras on the market !

Now let's be honest, the 760D has a cropped sensor (1.6) but it can except all of Canons lenses. Pro full frame cameras can only except EF lenses. Yes you loose the full width of view of any lens but you avoid the flaws that can be found at the edges.
  For someone who spends most of his time in the studio photographing people I see no reason why the 760D can't be taken seriously. Some of you will be thinking bokeh, that lovely transition from sharp focus to soft fuzzy gorgeousness ! Well cropped sensors tend to have a harsher transition but a larger sensor can improve the transition. So it is a trade off, if you're not sure try it out and make your own mind up. I know what my decision will be when the 760D comes out in April.

More t.k.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

USA Print Store

    Being based in the UK I of course favour a UK based printer - Loxley Colour. They are one of Smugmugs printing partners so they are an obvious choice. Trouble is that half my audience is in the lovely U S of A and shipping costs from the UK are a little steep ! Now if Smugmug allowed me to have more than one print supplier and used the customers location to guide them to the appropriate one, that would be awesome; but no for some reason this is not possible !
Fear not -
    Step forward Fotomoto. Recently aquired by BayPhoto (another Smugmug partner) their plugin allows me to set up a print gallery page on my blog. So now the USA and close neighbours can order prints without having to pay over the odds for shipping !

 Here is the link -

UK & Europe -


                                                                                             More t.k...

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

New Business Start Up Package

    Introducing a fixed price photographic package for people who are starting up new businesses in and around Manchester UK.
If your new business is the kind that needs professional photographs for your products and marketing and if you are receiving assistant from an agency or a new business start up scheme, such as the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) or similar you can benefit from my 'Startup' package -

This includes; consultation and preproduction,
                        a full day shoot,
                        edit & retouch of final images,
                        image licensing / usage rights.

Normally all these things are priced and billed separately but by offering a fixed price package I hope to help new businesses successfully launch themselves into the market place and hopefully cultivate some long term clients.

    For more information visit my website and contact me with information about your business needs.

More t.k...

Friday, 2 January 2015

New Year New Deals



Now that that's out of the way lets get back to work. Start as we mean to go on because before you know it the Christmas ads will be back on and you'll be wondering where the year went and why your 'To Do' list is still two pages long !
    So to kick things off I have put together some packages for my photography business. This achieves two things -
It helps me define my own Brand Identity and it position me within the market place. 

This is something that I have been thinking about over Christmas. I asked myself - 
                                                    What kind of photographer am I ?
                                                    What is my style?
                                                    How much do I need to make to cover expenses ?
                                                    What does the local market charge ?
    A lot of people make the mistake of undercutting the competition and so becoming known as the 'Cheap Guy' who most probably is not making his fortune just yet. In fact he will probably go out of business because to pay the bills he will have to get a day job which will then prevent him from committing any time to his photography.

    When you do your research in to your local competition look at how long they have been in business and whether they work from home or have a separate business address. Then look at what they charge for specific services.
    If someone charges £180.00 to £220.00 for a days shoot it is because that is what they need to charge to keep themselves in business ! More importantly they have clients willing to pay that amount !

    Look for at least five local competitors and look at their rates. Most of them will be fairly close to each other, with at least one exception who will either be way out of your league or too cheap to be doing this full time.
    The simple maths of it are that the average of these rival rates is what your local market currently supports. So why would you price yourself out of it ? Too cheap and people will ignore you (waste of their money) Too expensive and people will still ignore you (You're not competitive enough or just plain egotistical).  

    You need to get into the game so price yourself accordingly. Position yourself - 

within the marketplace

not outside of it !

Immediately you are making yourself comparable to the successful photographers in your area the difference of course will be what makes you stand out. Your Unique Selling Point. 
This is where you have to sell yourself and what you have to offer. This is the reason that clients will come to you and not the competition. Not how cheap you are but how good the services are that you offer !

    So start the new year off right and reassess your place in the market place and reposition yourself in a more realistic position and then work damned hard at justifying it !

More t.k.