Ashley Morrison's Blog

September 8, 2014

The Money Shot.

The Money Shot is like the all important one – which if we get it right, could help the client make a lot of money over the years to come.

Well today I’m going to show one of the first images which made me realist, that what we do, is often more than just turn-up and take some pictures – which then made me realist that charging for just one’s time to take pictures, was all wrong – as that part, is often only a small part of the work involved. Especially when it comes to producing the Money Shots.

Because creating such images can often starts days or even weeks before the shoot – in one’s head – as you plan ahead to insure you get it right on the day.

Anyway, in this case, as I’d already been out to this hotel a few months before to recce it and talk to the marketing people – then that’s really when I started to create the image you will see below.

Which in this case was to be a shot of a bridal couple standing out on the balcony – which as you can see here…
The Redcastle Hotel near the town of Moville on the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal.
.. overlooks Lough Foyle.

And this being Ireland, the weather is the one thing you can’t count  on – unless it’s overcast & rain you are counting on, as that’s what it’s most likely to be :)

Having said that, we do get some sunshine and when we do, it can look wonderful – and so in this case the image I had in my head was of the couple standing on the balcony with the sun setting behind them – which I reckoned would look vey romantic – or should I say: that would be the ideal image- to help them sell the dream to any young couple who would be thinking of getting married here.

Anyway, as chance would have it, on the morning of our first day, I woke to see this beautiful sunrise…
Sunrise at the Redcastle Hotel near the town of Moville on the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal.
.. so I took a few quick handheld shots of it from my bedroom window.

And then later on, just after breakfast, I took a few more which looked like this…
View from the Redcastle Hotel near the town of Moville on the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal.
.. which I also thought may worked as a background – IF when we came to the actual shoot, it just wasn’t what I had been hoping for.

So I was starting to piece the image together hours beforehand – and I’m sure glad I did – because as you can see here…
Setting up the shot.
.. by the time we were ready to shoot, it wasn’t looking so good.

Still, I had this picture in my head – even if it wasn’t in front of me – and so with all the lights set-up and the camera in place, the final touches were added to the bride & groom…
Setting up the shot.
.. by Kathleen & her assistant.

Wasn’t quite as I’d imagine…
Original capture.
.. but by adding a touch of warmth…
Original capture of the Bride & Groom.
.. I reckoned this was as good as it was going to get.

Not exactly a Money Shot I hear you say – but then came the part that nobody sees, which was the image in my head from weeks ago.

Which in this case I did two versions of – this one…
Bride & Groom standing out on the balcony at the Redcastle Hotel near the town of Moville on the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal.
.. which I personally loved the look of but knew it may not be right for them – and this one…Bride & Groom standing out on the balcony at the Redcastle Hotel near the town of Moville on the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal.
.. which was very close to how I’d pictured it beforehand.

The Money Shot – which I reckoned was worth a lot more to them, than all the other shots we did that week put together – as seen here in this magazine…

The Carlton Hotels ad in the Spring 2006 issue of Northern Irelands Wedding Journal magazine.

(Double page spread ad in the Spring 2006 issue of the Wedding Journal magazine)


.. as well as in almost every other media too, even to this very day…
Redcastle website
.. as seen here on their current web site.

So for all those brides who have asked their photographers to recreate this image over the past 9 years – now you know why they struggled to do so – because although it is real, it was only really ever real in my head, which was then later created ;)

From Marie, Bradley & me at the Redcastle Hotel, on the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal, creating images… just for you.

September 2, 2014

How it looks today.

At the end of each month my computer’s dairy reminds me of which licenses are about to expire.

So this month for example, three are about to expire – and so the reminder emails were sent out yesterday to let them all know ahead of time.

Just a quick note to let you know Licence No. 20120913-00016726 expires on the 30th September 2014.

Description:-
5 images of various rooms and areas at Ashford Castle in Cong.
DVD Reference: 20100712 Ashford
For exclusive use, for Ashford Castle to use these images for:-
Media use: Worldwide web & promotional emails only.
Period of use: 2 years (ends 30th September 2014).
Territory of use: Internet only.
(BUR £200.00 per image).

So if you would like to extend the license period, on one or more of these images, please let us know by the end of the month.

And in this case their reply was:

Dear Ashley
Many thanks but we will NOT be renewing the Licence , as Ashford has been completely Restored in the past year , since Ashford was bought by Red Carnation hotels.
Trust all is well with you and Maire and hope to see you both again soon.
Very best regards

So I decided to have a wee look to see how the castle now looks, as we had talked to Suzie from the Red Carnation Hotels last year about all of this, during this shoot…

.. which we talked about here: Welcome to Ashford Castle.

And yes there has indeed been a lot of changes – so I’m not surprised that they no longer need to use our images anymore.

Anyway, many of the new images they now show on their website are of rooms and areas of the hotel we never shot; however, I did notice a few have been re-captured by a London photographer – who says he aims to create natural feeling imagery that brings out the best in people, places and all things in general”.

So was obviously very interested to see how those rooms now looked – both in terms of decor and naturally how they had been photographed too – as I remember this being a tough one to shoot back in 2010, which I talked about here: Ashford Castle in County Mayo.

So here are two of them: “Space to relax and entertain in the lovingly restored Presidential Suite”  – as it looks today…

(The newly restored Presidential Suite at Ashford Castle)

.. as opposed to how it looked back in 2010…

(The old Presidential Suite at Ashford Castle)

.. and  “Enjoy fine dining in the George V dining room, lovingly restored”  – as it looks today…

(The newly restored George V dining room at Ashford Castle)

.. as opposed to how it looked back in 2010…

(The old George V dining room at Ashford Castle)

.. when we produced this image of it.

Love what they have done here in terms of decor – but not so sure about those images – so may just reply:

No problems and thanks for letting us know.
 
Trust all is well with everyone at Ashford Castle – and yes, no doubt we will be seeing you’ll again real soon, to produce some new images that you will want to use. 

Since that is what I feel they really now need here – to help them market & advertise this magnificent old castle throughout the world- which currently looks to have been beautifully restored.

Or is that just wishful thinking on my part ?

Anyway, one down and two to go, so we will see how it goes – but I sure would like to make that place sing for them, as it is without doubt, one of Ireland’s most magnificent hotels :)

 
Comments (2)

September 1, 2014

The only constant is change.

Filed under: Photography,Publish work — Ashley Morrison @ 8:47 am
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After my last blog about A selfie – where I talked about how Ireland’s Homes Interiors & living magazine had opened up doors of opportunity and one of those was when I meet Marie – who I have now being working with over the past 10 years – I thought it would be interesting to show how not only Marie’s style has changed over the years but also how the style of my own photography has changed too.

So looking at this image…
Bedroom in Marie & Alan McMillen's home in Belfast.
.. which was the last one we created of this bedroom in 2008 – and then going back to the first images we produced of it in 1999, which was this…
Bedroom in Marie & Alan McMillen's home in Belfast.
..  which was part of a series of images, which both Marie to use to lunch her interior design business back then and Ireland’s Homes Interiors & living magazine to use too, for an editorial feature on her home in their February 2000 issue.

You can see the framing is actually very similar in both and both have clearly been very well styled too – but what a difference 10 years can make – so is it any wonder I don’t charge for my time any more :)

Anyway, to show the transformation over those years, here is the series of images produced in between. This being second image which we created  in 2004…

Bedroom in Marie & Alan McMillen's home in Belfast.
.. which was around the time when we both started working together – as part of a home feature, which was then used by a number of magazines, including House Beautiful magazine…
Pages 32 to 36 in the May 2005 issue of House Beautiful magazine.
.. in their May 2005 issue on pages 32 to 36.

In 2006 we then produced this image…
Bedroom in Marie & Alan McMillen's home in Belfast.
.. as part of a Christmas home feature – which again was used by a number of magazines – both nationally as well as locally – including 25 Beautiful Homes magazine…
Pages 12 to 17 in the December 2006 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine.
.. as the lead home in their December 2006 issue on pages 12 to 17.

Also in 2006, we produce this image for Ulster Carpets
Lotus Scroll carpet by Ulster Carpets in the bedroom at Marie & Alan McMillen's home in Belfast.
.. to show how their Delta Scroll carpet would look in this room – as well as in various other rooms of Marie’s house too – which they then use to help market their Anatolia Range …
Ulster Carpet product catalogue.
.. in their product catalogue – as well as on their website, etc, over the past 8 years.

In 2007 we produced this image…
Bedroom in Marie & Alan McMillen's home in Belfast.
.. as part of a ‘make-over’ editorial feature which Real Homes magazine ran with in their November 2008 issue…
Pages 136 to 139 in the November 2008 issue of Real Homes magazine.
.. as well as this image…
Bedroom in Marie & Alan McMillen's home in Belfast.
.. which was one of my personal favourites – for this similar type of feature, which appeared  in the May 2008 issue of Northern Ireland Homes & Lifestyle magazine…
Pages 69 to 72 in the May 2008 issue of Northern Ireland Homes & Lifestyle magazine.
.. on how to create a ‘Summer time’ look.

And at the end of 2007, we produced this one for a Christmas home feature…
Bedroom in Marie & Alan McMillen's home in Belfast.
.. which appeared in Country Homes & Interiors magazine…
Pages 32 to 38 in the January 2009 issue of Country Homes & Interiors magazine.
.. in their January 2009 issue on pages 32 to 38.

So there you have it, the changes in both our styles over the years, as seen in this one room – which no doubt would look totally differently again today, as this last image…

Bedroom in Marie & Alan McMillen's home in Belfast.
.. was taken over 6 years ago – and now of course Marie is totally into white and bright…
Bed linen and cushions.
.. as opposed to ‘Yella’, as she would often call it – which was naturally partly due how I lit it back then too :)

Over 2000 years ago, Heraclitus of Ephesus, a Greek philosopher known for his doctrine of change being central to the universe, once said:

The only constant is change.

Boy was he right about that – from Marie & me at ampimage.com, who would appear to be constantly  changing too :)

Comments (2)

August 30, 2014

A selfie

Filed under: Photography,Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 7:02 am
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Email in from Ireland’s Homes Interiors & living magazine to say:

Hi Ashley

I am sure you know we are approaching our 20th birthday and we are planning on dedicating a page to our contributors over the years, we would like to include you in this page, would you be able to supply me with a head shot of yourself and 50 words or so on working with the magazine. Could you also ask Marie to do the same. If you could send this in in the next couple of weeks that would be great.

So I replied by saying:

Time to call up David Bailey or Annie Leibovitz, and ask them for a wee favour then :)

Hard to believe it’s been 20 years, as it really doesn’t seem that long ago – as I do still remember those early days like it was only yesterday.

Anyway, no problems – I have plenty of shots of Marie – so I’ll let her pick.
Pictures of me – those are few and far between – but I’m sure I’ll find something that makes me look 20 years younger :)

A selfie is a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera – and since David & Annie were currently unavailable for obvious reasons, then I reckoned it was therefore going to be a selfie.

So out with the Canon, a 50mm lens attached and with the aid of a reflector, I started to snap.

Looking old…
Ashley Morrison
.. but they do say the camera never lies :)

Ah well, so I guess is how I now look 20 years on – after having produce thousands of memorable images of people and their homes.

Included this one…
The sitting room in Marie & Alan McMillen's home in Belfast.
.. which was actually one of the last homes I shot on film, before buying my first digital system almost 15 years ago.

Remember thinking at the time, this girl has worked hard – and so wasn’t surprised that Ireland’s Homes Interiors & living magazine liked it too – and so ran with this home on the cover of their February 2000 issue…
The cover plus pages 86 to 96 in the February 2000 issue of Ireland's Homes Interiors & Living magazine.
.. which was actually around the time they changed their name, to become an all Ireland magazine as well.

So what was so memorable about this one you ask !!

Well for one, we shot it again in 2004…
The sitting room in Marie & Alan McMillen's home in Belfast.
.. and then in it again in 2005 for some Ulster Carpet ads…
Carpet by Ulster Carpets.
.. which were a lot of fun and the begining of a whole new look…
Carpet by Ulster Carpets.
.. so we shot it again in 2006…
The sitting room in Marie & Alan McMillen's home in Belfast at Christmas time.
.. and again in 2007…
Marie McMillen in the sitting room of her home in Belfast at Christmas time.
.. this time with the homeowner in it – looking rather please with herself :)

And at the end of 2008, after may other shoots in it for various company’s ads etc, I shot it for the last time…
The sitting room in Marie & Alan McMillen's home in Belfast.
.. to help them sell it – and so this became by far the most photographed home in the country I reckon – and probably the most featured home in the the UK too, as I think we managed to get this one featured in almost every publication there is.

But I guess the main reason for this one being so memorable – if you haven’t already guessed – is this is where I first met Marie, as this was her home.

So I’ve seen lots of changes over the years, including both the style of Marie’s work and my own, since we first met via this magazine – and then I take another look at that picture of myself and think “ah well, I guess I’ve changed too” :)

Now just need to think of 50 words or so on working with the magazine, to sum all of this up and the doors of opportunity they opened, which really I guess has been the big thing, which I’d like to thank them for.

Cheers,
Ashley
www.ashleymorrison.com

Comments (1)

August 28, 2014

Classic

Filed under: Licence fees — Ashley Morrison @ 12:26 pm
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Interesting request in last week from a PR agency in England, who was looking for someone to produce some images for them to use to help them promote their client, who makes very high quality doors for houses.

Not sure how they came across my name, as they also asked to see my portfolio / website – but anyway, after sending them a link to it, I realised they probably wouldn’t see to many images on our website of just doors – which I assume they wanted to see – so I quickly dug out a few actually ‘door type images’ I had on file like this one…
Enterence hallway door
.. and this one…
Enterence hallway door
.. which I explained to them in the email, were images which were produced along with a set of other images those days, for mainly ‘editorial use’ in various home interior type magazines – both nationally as well as locally.

Which was basically the same market they were hoping to target here, with these images which they were asking me to produce and then provide them with for them to use.

Also sent them this image…
Door by Hayburn Wood Products
.. which was produced almost 10 years ago and is still being used by Hayburn Wood Products to promote the fact that they also produced beautiful doors too – to show a slightly different style, which is more advertising like – being puncher, cleaner and eye catching – due to a number of factors.

So in other words, I wanted them to see that even something as simple as an image of a door, could be made to look very different – which it may need to here, to appeal to her target market and get them the desired results.
Which is at the end of the day, is what it’s all about. i.e. me helping them get results.

So anyway, that all when down well and they loved what they saw – so then came the big question: How much?

Well as always, the answer is “it depends” – as there are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject.
And so the questions at my end often are: “How good do the images need to be ?” and “How much are you prepare to spend ?”.
No point in asking that, because I already know what they would say if I did, which would be: “We want them to look amazing but we don’t want to pay very much.” :)

So instead, I ask them what did they need to use the image for, as that will then help me to determine not only what they may be worth to them but also what I may have to do to ensure I get it right for them.
And in this case they said they where needing them for PR use, as they would be spending to the various home interest magazines (like the ones we would often submit our work to) for them to use in the “How to get the look” sections – which you would often see at the end of a feature, etc.
Period of use – well forever naturally if it doesn’t cost anymore – and the Territory of use would be the same, if it didn’t cost anymore.
But it does – because producing an image which someone would actually want to use more, usually means it will need to be better and more timeless looking – which again I need to take into account – as well as, who their target market is, i.e. local people, national people or even international people – as what the style may need to be, to appeal to each of those could be very different.

So anyway, with this information on hand, I sent them through this quote…
Quote-00016856
.. to get the ball rolling here – as this is what I reckoned the minimum would need to be – both in terms of what I’d need to charge and they would be wanting to use the images for too.

Which is based on what I would consider to be ‘Standard use’ – that is, for me to produce and then provide them with a number of images here, that would be good enough for them to want to use in this one media for at least the next two years in throughout the UK & Ireland.

To which they relied:

“Hi happy with that but we don’t want a restriction on use.
Please can you look at that and take that off and re-send the invoice?
Thanks so much”

Classic, I thought :)

So now instead of me producing some images that she may want to use for more than 2 years PR use, she now wants what exactly ?

For me to produce some image here that she would want to use for in multiple media for the next 10+ years throughout the world, which would obviously cost a hell of a lot more OR for me to just take some quick pictures here that she could use if she wanted to… and stay within that budget ??

As it is obviously the budget here, that will ultimately determine what I can or can not afford to do – which in turn will then determine how much she will actually want to use the images for afterwards.

So that could be like the difference between me providing her with something like this…
Preview use only
.. or this…
One time only editorial use
.. or even this…
Multiple media use for 10+ years
.. depending on how money I had to play with.

So, since I know I can take some quick shots for her – should she not want to spend much money – and I also know I can produce some images which she may want to use a bit more or even use a lot more (if I really ‘go for it’ and bring in a team to help me) – then what are we talking about here now !!

Or let me put it another way, for £510, for me to produce and then provide you with 4 images for you to use – which of the above 3 images do you think you would be getting from me at the end of the day, for you to use for whatever you liked ?
(keeping in mind that there is at least 2 or 3 hours travelling involved here too).

In other words, what would your exceptions be here ? – because I sure wouldn’t like to disappoint you and get this wrong !!

Now obviously if what they were simply just asking me to do here, was just to take some pictures – and it was all sitting-up camera ready and perfect to shoot – then no problems at all. However, after looking at the recce image they sent me of what the door actually looked like ‘as is’ – it was very obviously to both of us, that for me to create some images here that they would actually want to use a lot, then a lot was going to be needed to be done. Otherwise, they would just end up with some images which they could use a lot, but probably won’t want to use very much.

So the question for me is: What do they want me to produce and then provide them with here ? – and: How much would they be willing to pay for that ?

Well if they are only prepared to pay £510 and where wanting to use the images as much as they like, then obviously I’d need to say within my budget and keep my costs down to a minimum – especially if I was wanting to maximise my profits.
So naturally I’m not going to want to do anything more than I would absolutely need to – because this for me, is all about making as much money as possible at the end of the day – as opposed to me wanting some really great images here, because I personally need to use them for something.

So really, the only reason why I’d want to go the extra mile here and produce some amazing images, is if either:
(a) I needed to use them for something.
OR
(b) If I felt that would increase the value of them, i.e. the amount that others would be prepared to pay me for the use of them – because then there would be a real incentive in place.

But obviously if you remove that incentive, by saying something like: it’s a fixed fee for unlimited use, then trying to produce better images that others would want to use a lot more, all becomes very counter productive – as this is like saying: it doesn’t really matter how good they are any more.

That’s obviously not really a great way to work, especially for a creative person, who will naturally always want to their best – but since I’m a ‘professional’ photographer (who is a person who takes photographs to make money, rather than an amateur, who may take photographs for pleasure and to record an event, emotion, place, without a monetary motivation) – then taking photographs to make money means, that the money side of things needs to come first – otherwise, what I’d be doing, would really be no difference to what an ‘amateur’ would do.

So the question for me is: If you want me to provide you with more, how much more are you willing to pay ?

Which in this cased turned-out to be a lot more, for the same amount of money that I had quoted here.

Sorry, but that doesn’t work for me – and so that was basically the end of it – as there is simply no way I’m going to provide something that is possibly worth thousands of pounds, for just a few hundred.

So would love to hear from others here, as to how you go about handling requests like this – whereby a client specifically asks you to give them a price for one thing, but then says they want you to provide them with something totally different afterwards… for the same price.

Comments (6)

August 18, 2014

Our needs V’s Their needs.

Filed under: Licence fees,Photography,Publish work — Ashley Morrison @ 3:21 pm
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Was over shooting at Marie’s the other day – and so while she was busy and very focused on doing her thing here…
Marie at work.
.. to create a series of lovely banner images like this…
Bed linen and cushions.
.. to show the new head board she is selling, as well as cushions and lamps, etc – which I must say all looked very well…
Bed linen and cushions.
.. as she mixed & matched them…
Bed linen and cushions.
… to show how simple changes could completely change the look.

I on the other hand, was busy thinking about a solution, to the new terms agreement which IPC Media have recently introduced.

This being the problem:-

IPC Media has updated its rights agreements to reflect our needs as a multi platform business. Our previous agreements were written when all content was produced for print, but now our customers expect to be able to access content on whichever platform they chose to experience it – in print, on tablet, on smartphones, online or through events and other experiences.
The rights we are buying are All Rights, in return for IPC’s agreement to pay the fees agreed for each commission.
All Rights means the assignment to IPC of all of your right, title and interest in, and to, the copyright and all other rights of every kind or description in the material(s) commissioned from you, throughout the World whether those rights are now known or are created in the future and in each case for the full period of existence of those rights.

This assignment to IPC is made with full title guarantee, which means that you guarantee to IPC that you have the right to pass to us the entire ownership of the rights in the material(s) i.e. you have not copied anyone else’s work, and only you have been involved in the preparation of the material(s).

And it is a problem on different levels too – as agreeing to this would not only mean the end of additional usage sale – which I personally do count on to cover the extra cost of hiring people like Marie here, to help me produce the type of images that these people would want to use – but it would also remover any & all incentives to do anything more than the bare minimum anymore.

Because producing ‘better images’ is clearly now not going to make us any more money – and so the last thing one would want to do, is give them some images that they would want to use that much – as the more they would use those images, the less they would need to use us.

So it’s all very counter productive in away, as it’s like ‘just about good enough’ will now become the norm – as the incentive to do more than that, has just been removed.
Because a quick snap-shot, which may be of little use to them or anyone – is now worth exactly the same to the photographer, as an amazing image which may be worth thousands to them or possibly other people – as they are now talking about a fixed fee for ‘All Rights’.

Which basically means it doesn’t really matter what the images look like anymore – as it’s not going to make any difference to what they are worth.
At least not as far as we (the photographers) will be concerned.

But it doesn’t just stop there – as agreeing to this would also mean we are no longer just talking about ‘Editorial use’ – and so we would now need to let the homeowners know that – as these images which we are about to take in their home, could now be use in almost any media for almost anything, including advertising.
And we would have no say in that – as IPC Media would own the Rights – to do as they please with the images.

And incase you’re thinking “No, surely not” – I can assure you it can and most likely will, as I’ve been down this road before and that’s exactly what started to happened.

So take this image that we produce in Marie’s house the other day…
Bed linen and cushions.
.. if we agreed to IPC Media’s terms here – then they would own All Rights to it – which means neither Marie (the homeowner in this case as well as being the stylist) or I would have any say in either how IPC Media used it or even who else they sold it to, for them to use.

So she could easily see pictures like this of her home, being used by not only other magazines in different parts of the world over the next few years, but also being used for advertising by others too – on Billboards, Posters, Ambient; Brochures, Direct Mail, Magazine ads, Newspaper ads, Point of sale, Television as well as on the Worldwide web – as we are no longer talking about just a one time only editorial feature anymore, in one magazine, in one country.

Because “All Rights means the assignment to IPC of all of your right, title and interest in, and to, the copyright and all other rights of every kind or description in the material(s) commissioned from you, throughout the World whether those rights are now known or are created in the future and in each case for the full period of existence of those rights.”

So that’s the problem – now what’s the solutions ??

Henry Ford once said:

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.

So would love to hear from others, especially those who may also be directly effected by this new agreement – not to dwell on the problem, but to hear what you feel would be a good solution here – as that is what we need find, before this all ends in tears.

As that is exactly what is going to happen here, if we don’t – as this could very well be the end of ‘editorial work’ as we know it – for everyone… including them.

Cheers
Ashley
www.ampimage.com

Comments (1)

August 11, 2014

Back in action.

Filed under: Photography,Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 5:20 pm
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Well it’s been a while – mainly due to me not being well, which is another story – but anyway, we were back in action this week…
Setting up the shot in Donna Wilson's guest room above her garage near Greenisland in County Antrim.
.. shooting a room which Donna, a good friend of Marie & Stuart, had been working on above her garage.

So it was just like old times – ‘Deep in thought’ as Stuart said here, when he sent this image through…
Deep in thought.
.. of the girls studying the image on the laptop screen, while I’m trying to figure out how to work the camera by the looks of things :)

Anyway, both Stuart & Marie worked their magic….
Setting up the shot in Donna Wilson's guest room above her garage near Greenisland in County Antrim.
.. and so before long the first image of Donna, sitting so as not to disturb the cushions…
Donna Wilson in the guest room above her garage near Greenisland in County Antrim.
.. was in the bag.

Then it was detail shots…
Setting up the shot in Donna Wilson's guest room above her garage near Greenisland in County Antrim.
.. which Stuart once again titled ‘Many hands’…
Setting up the shot in Donna Wilson's guest room above her garage near Greenisland in County Antrim.
.. which they did indeed made light work here…
Chair in Donna Wilson's guest room above her garage near Greenisland in County Antrim.
.. and so before long we were almost done.

Still there was the return angle to shoot – so Marie took a quick picture with her iPad here…
Marie's image.
.. to show use all what she felt should be the shot.

So while I set-up the camera to see what it would look like…
Setting up the shot in Donna Wilson's guest room above her garage near Greenisland in County Antrim.
.. Marie explained her vision of how she saw it:

“Bathroom door closed – grey sofas just cutting in each side – cushions on white day bed framing the shot :)
Graphic/Classy.”

Right – so how about this…
Side table in Donna Wilson's guest room above her garage near Greenisland in County Antrim.
.. was my thinking – which by the look on Marie’s face here…
Setting up the shot in Donna Wilson's guest room above her garage near Greenisland in County Antrim.
.. wasn’t quite what she was thinking :)

Anyway, it was good to be back – and finish with my personal favourite image…
Donna Wilson's guest room above her garage near Greenisland in County Antrim.
.. which I’m hoping the editors will like too.

So this is just a wee note from me to say thank you to all of you guys – and especially to Donna for inviting us in – an amazing job, so thank you.

From Marie, Stuart & me.
www.ampimage.com

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August 2, 2014

Victorian Vintage.

Filed under: Publish work — Ashley Morrison @ 2:49 pm
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Is the title of our latest published work, in the September 2014 issue of Ireland’s Homes Interiors & Living magazine…
September 2014 issue of Ireland's Homes Interiors & Living magazine.
.. pages 82 to 95.

“Amanda and Keith used vintage inspiration and shabby chic furniture to transform dingy workplace offices into a stunning forever family home in Belfast.”

Which we talked about here: Never work with children or animals – when we shot it.

Anyway, a massive 14 page spread which looks really stunning – so this is just a quick note to say a big thanks to everyone involved here – and congratulations to Amanda & Keith once again, for this time making it into this beautifully printed Irish glossy magazine.

From Marie, Mandi & me @ ampimage.com

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July 17, 2014

A real life fairy tale.

Filed under: Photography,Travel,Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 3:24 pm
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A 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes-sur-Ciel in the French Tarn region…
John & Angela Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. which belonged to Angela & John Goodwin, was our home for a few days while we shoot in this area – and what a magnificent place it was too…
John & Angela Goodwin's 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. like something you’d normally only except to see in a fairy tale book :)

THE STORY:

The couple went out to find and refurbish a wreck but ended up with a readymade home which one friend said was like something out of a fairytale. By immersing themselves in the French way of life they are now fully fledged Francophiles enjoying a home which is the epitome of rustic manor house living.

First impressions?
“Ironically, this isn’t the type of property we’d usually go for. Our previous two homes in France had been ‘projects’ and indeed so had our last home in Devon before we moved here permanently 16 years ago. We’ve always really enjoyed the challenge of doing up a property and putting our own stamp on it – but when we viewed the tower house all the major work had already been carried out. We just couldn’t resist the wow factor we know France well – we’d holidayed here for 20 years before John took the chance of early retirement and we moved out here – and we knew this particular area in the Tarn region very well as a previous property of ours had been on the south west coastline. But once we discovered and fell in love with the quaint little medieval hill town of Cordes-sur-Ciel, we knew this was where our next move would take us.”

Their favourite room – and mine too – was the living room…
The living room in Angela & John Goodwin's 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. with its double height, overlooked by a gallery – and centres around this huge fireplace…
The fireplace in the living room in Angela & John Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. which they light in winter, because it does actually get quite cold here it seems.

Talking of lighting, that was a challenge for sure, as capturing the atmosphere of this wonderfully old place…
Four poster bed in the master  bedroom of Angela & John Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. was for me, what it was all about.

This wonderfully romantic four poster bed is the centrepiece of the master bedroom, which was bought locally and the rest of the room is furnished with a range of antiques sourced in nearby Albi.

Marie on the other hand, was more concerned about how the table setting looked…
Marie setting the table in the conservatory of Angela & John Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. before Angela stood in…
Angela Goodwin in the conservatory of her 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. to showed her how it was done :)

Anyway, we stayed in what we referred to as ‘our wee cave’ – which was underneath and right beside the swimming pool…
John & Angela Goodwin's 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. which was just amazing – but this was the other option…
Guest bedroom in Angela & John Goodwin's 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. which was in the tower section – with it’s own spiral staircase which leads to a glass floored mezzanine level above.

Stunning or what ?

And this is why I love shooting homes abroad so much, as you not only get to see things like this – which you just wouldn’t see back in the UK or Ireland – but you also get to meet the truly amazing people behind all it too.

And Angela & John where definitely two of those amazing people – who even went to the trouble to set-up this final shot…
Angela & John Goodwin setting up outside their 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. to complete our story of how they had made their dream come true…
Angela & John Goodwin outside their 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. and what a dream that was too !!

Which just leaves me to say: Thank you from Marie & me to you both – as this one fairy tale we will never forget.

Featured in the October issue of BBC Good Homes magazine the following year…
Pages 118 to 123 of the October 2006 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine featuring Angela & John Goodwin's Tower house near Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. and in Templeton Robinson‘s Property Life magazine…
Pages 8 to 19 in the 13th issue of Property Life magazine featuring Angela and John Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. titled ‘Living the dream’ the year after that – plus in Northern Ireland Homes & Lifestyle magazine the year after that too…
Pages 46 to 54 in the June 2008 issue of Northern Ireland Homes & Lifestyle magazine featuring Angela and John Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. on pages 46 to 54.

All of which looked stunning and was lovely to see – as it is like seeing our fairy tale each year come true again as well :)

(Added Note: We are always on the lookout for such homes by the way – so should you happen to know of one and the homeowners are up for it, please do get in touch – as we’d sure love to feature their dream).

Anyway, that’s it from Marie & me in this real life fairy tale, set in the beautiful Tarn region of France – which we have returned to and plan to do again – but that’s another story for another time, which one day I’ll write about too :)

Cheers,
Ashley
www.homesinteriors.com

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July 16, 2014

A former goat shelter.

Filed under: Photography,Travel,Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 10:55 am
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After crossing the Irish Sea – on route to meet Rachel from the BBC, to shoot Duncan’s French Riviera villa in the hills overlooking Cannes, which I talked here: In the Dragons’ Den – we stopped to meet landscape designer Bradley Viljoen, and shoot his four-bedroom hillside villa…
Marie McMillen sitting outside Bradley Viljoen's hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. formerly an agricultural goat shelter building, built in the mid 19th-century, near the French village of Cordes-sur-Ciel in the Tarn region of France.

As a garden and landscape designer based in London England, Bradley Viljoen spends his time creating other people’s dreams. A few years ago, along with partner Mark Smith, they decided it was time to do something for them – they decided to live the dream across The Channel in France.

“The idea was to create a beautiful home and garden to enjoy whenever we could, with the hope of living there permanently one day,” says Bradley. “We would rent it out for a few weeks a year to generate a bit of income so we could continue to improve the property and to create a garden.”

No work in her…
Marie McMillen in the sitting of Bradley Viljoen's hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. but nevertheless, when a home looks this good…
The sitting of Bradley Viljoen's hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. who could blame Marie for just wanting to sit down and enjoy it – as Bradley & Mark had done a fabulous job here.

“We’d spent quite some time checking out various regions, firstly via the on-line agencies and then by visiting various regions. We didn’t really know much about the Tarn until we actually visited it back in the summer of 2001. But once we came here we just fell in love with it,” says Bradley. “South central France has a wonderfully diverse landscape of rolling plains to gentle mountains, it’s crisscrossed by rivers and lakes and enjoys a rich heritage of ancient villages, castles, churches and gastronomy. We just felt it was the ideal spot for us among the rolling vineyards and unspoiled natural environment.”

Still, a bit of work was needed to light the place and get everything tickety-boo for the camera – but Bradley here…
Bradley Viljoen in the kitchen of his hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. was more than ready and as you can see, had the whole place, including the bedrooms…
Master bedroom in Bradley Viljoen's hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. sitting up looking pretty much picture perfect.

“We wanted to achieve something that would embrace the best of living at home with the best of living out here and I’m pleased with how it’s all come together – our little bit of entente cordiale.”

So we actually managed to rattle through this one quite quickly, but the wonderful memories have lived on much longer – as we managed to get this featured in Britain’s No.1 Home Magazine, Ideal Home
Pages 84 to 88 of the July 2006 issue of Ideal Home magazine featuring Bradley Viljoen and Mark Smith's villa in France.
.. which appeared the following summer in their July issue – and also in Templeton Robinson‘s Property Life magazine too, the year after that…
Pages 37 to 46 in the 10th issue of Property Life magazine featuring Bradley Viljoen and Mark Smith's villa in the Tarn region of France.
.. which I’ve got to say looked absolutely stunning.

A former goat shelter it may have been, but definitely not any longer – and so we’d just like to say a big thank you to both Bradley & Mark, for this very special day which we will always remember.

From Marie & me in the Tarn region, having fun on route to the French Riviera, to meet Rachel from the BBC for the very first time & the famous Duncan Bannatyne too :)

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