Ashley Morrison's Blog

February 5, 2016

Location, Location.

Is the title of our latest published work in the March 2016 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine…
Pages 107 to 109 in the March 2016 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine featuring Anna & Jamie McMinnis's contemporary detached house which overlooks the County Down town of Holywood and Belfast Lough.
.. on pages 107 to 109 – which features Anna & Jamie’s contemporary detached house which overlooks the County Down town of Holywood and Belfast Lough.

“Moving home wasn’t really part of Anna and Jamie McMillen’s plan until they fell for the spectacular views a spacious new-build offered.”

Which I talked about shooting here: Overlooking Belfast Lough last September.

So just want to say a big Congratulations to both Jamie and Anna here…
Anna McMinnis in the living room area of her contemporary detached house which overlooks the County Down town of Holywood and Belfast Lough.
.. for making it into this top selling national magazine – Location, Location indeed – from Marie, Mandi & me @ ampimage.com

January 30, 2016

Farm cottage renovation.

Is the title of our latest published work in the March 2016 issue of Real Homes magazine…
Pages 70 to 77 in the March 2016 issue of Real Homes magazine featuring Dominic & Louise McGuane's renovated farmhouse called 'The Safe House' near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. on pages 70 to 77 – which features Dominic and Louise McGuane’s renovated farmhouse called ‘The Safe House’ near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.

“Louise McGuane used natural light, modern design and open space to transform her 18th-century stone cottage into a contemporary masterpiece.”

Which I talked about shooting here: The Safe House – at the end of July of last year.

So just want to say a big Congratulations to both Dominic and Louise for making it into this top selling national magazine – because this was indeed an amazing renovation, whereby you differently did manage “to create something unassuming from the outside but utterly modern from the moment you step inside” – from Marie, Mandi & me @ ampimage.com

A piece of living history.

Is the title of our latest published work in the March 2016 issue of Period Living magazine…
Pages 50 to 57 in the March 2016 issue of Period Living magazine featuring Maggie and Robert Graham's 18th century Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. on pages 50 to 57 – which features Maggie and Robert Graham’s 18th century Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.

“Restoring a near-derelict thatched cottage was a labour of love with poignant personal significance for Robert Graham and his wife Maggie.”

Which I talked about shooting here: Creating the dream – at the end of June of last year.

So just want to say a big Congratulations to both Maggie and Robert for making it into this top selling national magazine – because this is indeed a piece of living history now – from Marie, Mandi & me @ ampimage.com

January 18, 2016

Everyone sees things differently and sees different things.

Filed under: Photography — Ashley Morrison @ 1:45 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I believe, and would therefore often say to others, that everyone sees things differently and sees different things too, when they look at my work or anyone else’s pictures.

And so it’s what you see or what other people see, rather than what I see, that I have spend most of my life trying to figure-out – as photography is what I do in an attempt to make a living – as I try to create the type of images that they and possibly others too, would want to use, using light to tell the story.

So for me, as a photographer, lighting is often the first thing that I will see or will look at.
(Because obviously one needs light to take a picture – because without it, the camera or recording device that you are using, would not record anything – so all that you would get in the end is a black picture or image)

So light is obviously very important – and being able to control that, has therefore been one of the many things I have spent my time over the pass 30 years trying to master.

However, I know that light is just one of the many things that could make a big difference, so it’s by no means the only thing – and so that leads me to what I’m about to show and talk about here today.

When I am shooting a home, which I’m hoping that an Editor from a National magazine will want to feature, the goal would normally be to produce about 15 images as I know they will at least want to use 10 images – and so, I would usually put a full day aside to take those pictures.

“A full day to take 15 pictures”, I hear you say – “flip me, I could shoot the entire house in less than 30 minutes, as shooting a few rooms isn’t very hard to do.”

And you would be right – because taking some pictures is easy and I too could easily shoot an entire house in less 30 minutes.
However, producing or creating the type of images that someone like an Editor from a National magazine will actually want to use – and would therefore be willing to pay me some money for the use of them – is very different to just taking some picture that others could use if they wanted to, as almost any type of image would good enough in that case, if that was really all that I had to do.

Which basically means that I know that I may have to do a lot more than just take some pictures of whatever happens to be there – because what the camera often records, doesn’t always look as good as what my eyes see or what my brain records when I look around a room.

To help illustrate what I mean – which should also help explain why it would take me so long to shoot a home, as well as why I’d possibly charge a lot more for the use of my work than many others would – I’m simply going to let you see the set of captures that lead up to this one image…
The sitting room in Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
.. of this sitting room in Jillian’s former Fisherman’s Cottage, which we shot last week in the County Down village of Groomsport.

To my eye, I can assure you it looked great – however, as you can see from this first picture that was taken…
The first picture taken in the sitting room of Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
.. it appeared very dark on screen – which was mainly due to the weather outside, as it was raining at the time.

Plus the windows – which were very much in keeping with this type house – were relative small and deeply set in the 2 feet thick walls, so not a lot of natural light would poured in, even at the best of times I reckon.

Anyway, that was my starting point – and so as I knew that this would probably be the lead shot or the one that an Editor would want to go big with at the start of the feature – then it was pretty obvious that I and my team were going to need to do a lot here, should we want to achieve our goal. Which was of course, not just to see if I could take a picture, but was to see if I could produce an image (or set of images in this case) that an Editor from a National magazine would want to use… and naturally want to use badly enough, that she would be willing to pay me something for the use of them too :)

Because at the end of the day, as far as I’m concerned, photography is all about trying to make some money – as this is what I do for a living – rather than for a hobby or for the fun of it.
So if you don’t see me smiling or looking like I’m having a load of fun, that’s because I’m totally focused on my goal – which I know I need to be, if I’m to succeed – because no one has ever paid me for excuses, only for results :)

So this is why I’d ask Marie to help me – and often someone else too, like Claudio here in this case, to help both of us – because people only pay me for what they want to use, not for me to do the actual work for them.
Which means I know I need to produce some images that they will actually want to use, if I’m expecting them to pay me anything afterwards, for the use of our work.

The chicken or the egg, which comes first… type of thing.

Anyway, they say a picture is worth a thousand words – so since I’m obviously rambling on here about all sorts of different things and I know, as I said at the start, “that everyone sees things differently and sees different things too”, when they look at my work – and many of you who are reading this, will be looking at it for very different reasons too, then I’m now just going to let the pictures speak for themselves, to let you see what all we did here.

And for those of you who would often ask me questions about what all I do, because you would like to do this type of work too – I would suggest as you look at each capture frame below, you ask your self what would you have done next, if that was the image that appeared on your screen, after you had taken the picture – because it’s what you would have done next (rather than what we did here) that would result in your image looking different – be it a lot different or just a little bit different in the end… because everyone sees things differently and sees different things too :)

Anyway, I have said enough, so I’ll let you enjoy putting the words to the pictures – as I’m quite sure what you will see here is not what I see…
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
The sitting room of Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
.. which just leaves me to say a big thanks to Jillian here…
Jillian Espey at the dining table in the kitchen of her former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport..
.. for not only inviting us in but also for putting up with us, as we turned her beautiful house upside down :)

All of which should also let you see why, it takes us a full day to shoot a home – and why the amount that I would charge for the use of our work, would therefore naturally be reflexed in all of this too.

Cheers
Ashley
www.ampimage.com

December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

To you all…
Amanda McGuile with her son at Christmas time in their Victorian terrace which overlooks Bangor Marina in County Down.

Julie Morrow outside her cottage near Comber in County Down at Christmas.

Helen Madden in the sitting room of her home in Holywood at Christmas.

Marie McMillen outside her Cherryvalley house in Belfast at Christmas time.

Sarah Mitchell in the living room of her Victorian gentleman's detached house called Ivy Lodge in the County Down town of Bangor at Christmas.

Nicola Nemec and her childern playing in the snow outside their farmhouse near Armoy in County Antrim.

Paula Strain in the sitting room of her Victorian detached house in the County Down town of Newry at Christmas.

Marie McMillen in the sitting room of her detached 1960's house in Belfast at Christmas.

Amanda Cunningham her children in the sitting room of their double fronted mid terrace house in Belfast at Christmas.

.. and a very prosperous and Happy New Year to you all as well.

From Marie, Mandi & me.

December 17, 2015

A ‘Work Made For Hire’ type of agreement.

A question that was recently asked on one the photography forums, in connection with coming-up with pricing to shoot for a Kitchen and Bath Designer, was this:

“What are your thoughts on setting an hourly rate for this type of interior shooting. Is there a downside to pricing it this way?”

My answer, since this is a question I have asked myself many times over the years too, (which I have now decided to post on my blog here, for others to read as well, who may be wondering the same thing) was this:

There are advantages and disadvantages to agreeing to do (what I would call) ‘Work Made For Hire’, verses just ask someone beforehand, to pay you for ‘the Rights to use the work’, that you are agreeing to hire yourself to do.

Understanding the difference and what one would actually charge for, if it was either one or the other, is (I believe) very important for an artist (like yourself) to understand.

One is basically where you would ask the client beforehand (when you are quoting a price), to agree to pay you (either before or afterwards) to do the work for them – and the other, is where you ask the client beforehand (when you are quoting a price), to agree to pay you afterwards, for the use of the work that you are agreeing (to hire yourself and possibly others as well) to do.

And then I went on to try and explain what my understanding of a ‘Work Made For Hire’ type of agreement was, by saying:

If I was wanting someone to help me for a day, to create some images for others to use, (an assistant or a stylist for example) I would (usually just) simply agree to pay them beforehand, for their time and expenses. So if I (their client) was wanting to keep their expenses part down to a minimum, then I (the client) would obviously need to supply them with anything and everything that they were going to need to do the work that I (the client) wanted them to do for me.

So unless beforehand, I (the client) had specify asked them to bring something along that day, like a camera or some lights or a computer or some cushions or some flowers, etc, etc – then for the most part, they would just turn-up with their two hands in their pockets and expect me (the client) to supply them with everything that I (the client) wanted them to use or work with.

So that’s what I would call, a ‘Work Made For Hire’ type of agreement.
(Please note: I do understand that in America, the term Works Made for Hire is a Legal Term; and so therefore, it may mean something slightly different as a result – but I believe it’s based along these same lines of thinking).

So what the actual work was used for (or even not used for), by me or anyone else, would therefore not come into it.
The assistant or stylist (or the person who was being hired) would still get paid for their time, plus for any expenses that they occurred during that day, irrespective of how much or how little the work was used or even by whom.

So that keeps it nice and simply, for both them (the person being hired) and me (their client) to understand, what the deal is and what they are going to be paid for or will be paid for afterwards.

So with this type of deal, in your case, it would therefore be all about: Expenses, Expenses, Expenses – as that would be the only real difference between one job and another, i.e. what camera they wanted you to use, lights they wanted you to use, lenses they wanted you to use, computers they wanted you to use, etc, etc… because you could even take the pictures with your iPhone, if all they wanted you to do, is turn-up and take some pictures.

So not a bad way to work as far as I’m concerned – as you may actually get to play with some really neat stuff, like a Phase One camera system for example or some Profoto lights – IF you fully understand how it works, and they are prepared to pay for all of those things as well, as for your time to do the work.

However, it would all really need to be agreed to beforehand – and ideally put in writing too (a signed agreement) – because after all the work is done, it’s that pre (written) agreement that would be the all important thing here… as far as a Judge would be concerned, should they not pay you afterwards and you ended up in court over that.

As for asking someone beforehand (when you are quoting a price), to agree to pay you afterwards, for the Rights to use the work that you are going to (agree to hire yourself and possibly others as well to) create – that’s a completely different deal and/or thing altogether – so should you want to know about that, you can read more about what I have already said about that type of deal here: Licence to use.

In other words, I believe both ways can work and both ways can work very well in your favour too, IF you fully understand the difference between the two and don’t start mixing them up – because that’s when things can often start to go pear-shape, based on my own experience over the past 30 years or so.
Double page spread advertisment for a National Trust kitchen by Mark Wilkinson in the August 2006 issue of Country Living magazine.

So I hope that helps this photographer, answer their own question here – because at the end of the day, it’s thier business, to run it as best as they see fit – as there is no Rule Book for self employed people (or people who agree to hire themselves or employ themselves), which is what I am assuming, is what this photographer is.

Anyway, your thoughts on all of this, as usual, are most welcome too – as it is, like I said at the start, a question that I have asked myself many times over the years too, i.e. each time before I quoted a price :)

Cheers,
Ashley
www.ampimage.com

December 16, 2015

Looking back.

As I look forward to what 2016 may have in store for us.

Currently trying to tidy-up the studio a bit – or the Top Hen House as I call it, as that is what it once was – and I do still remember as a young boy, collecting eggs in there every day after school to make some money – which after about 10 years, was enough to enable me to buy my first camera :)

Anyway, as you can imagine, 40 years on, there isn’t any hens in there anymore; however, there is now a lot more in there than just that one wee camera.
Mountains of stuff in fact – and boxes piled high with stuff that does bring back a lot of memories too.

Especially the props and items we would have used on jobs like this…
The room set inside a warehouse near Dungannon where we were prodcing an image of the Ribbed Shaker Sandy Birch kitchen by OS Doors Ltd.
.. which is we were shooting kitchen & bedroom sets a warehouse near Dungannon.

Ten years ago – but it really doesn’t seem that long ago that Marie here…
Marie working in the room set inside a warehouse near Dungannon where we were prodcing an image of the Ribbed Shaker Sandy Birch kitchen by OS Doors Ltd.
..and the guys from OS doors…
Working in the room set inside a warehouse near Dungannon where we were prodcing an image of the Ribbed Shaker Sandy Birch kitchen by OS Doors Ltd.
.. were working on this set.

This was actually just one of 5 sets that was built…
One of the room sets inside a warehouse near Dungannon where we were prodcing an image of the Ribbed Shaker Sandy Birch kitchen by OS Doors Ltd.
.. all which we were also able to shot from different angles too…
One of the room sets inside a warehouse near Dungannon.
.. which meant we were able to work on some while the others were still being completed…
One of the room sets inside a warehouse near Dungannon.
.. so needless to say, this was a huge lighting…
One of the bedroom sets inside a warehouse near Dungannon.
.. and styling job too…
Prague-Ivory bedroom doors by OS Doors Ltd with French fabrics known as 'toile de jouy' and 'ticking'
.. which actually kept us pretty busy throughout that year – as there was something like 60 kitchen & bedrooms sets to shoot in total.

This being the very first one we shot…
A Ribbed Shaker sandy birch kitchen with island unit by OS Doors Ltd.
.. which was then use in their over sized A3 catalogue, as seen here…
A Ribbed Shaker sandy birch kitchen with island unit by OS Doors Ltd.
.. along with just a few of the other images we produced at the time too.

And I see they are still using many of these images on their website too….
A Ribbed Shaker sandy birch kitchen with island unit by OS Doors Ltd.
.. even after all this time – as well in their more current ‘Posh Kitchens Cosy bedrooms’ catalogue…
Kitchen and Bedroom door catalogue by OS Doors Ltd.
.. which included many new images that we produced in the showroom at their factory too.

Anyway, I still have many of the items that we used in these images, in boxes gathering dust – so I think it’s time that much of that was sent to the local land-fill site. Still, some of the stuff is pretty timeless I reckon – which is often what we would aim for too, when we are creating images for others to use, i.e. timeless images that they would want to use of years to come.

So just looking back here, as I look forward to what 2016 may have in store for us, as we approach the end of another year – as I really enjoyed doing this type of work.

Cheers
Ashley
www.ampimage.com

December 8, 2015

Up to my neck in it.

After days of rain and very overcast skies, I finally saw there was going to be a break in the weather, so I decided to go back and shoot the exterior of Rosemary’s cottage, that we had shot the interior of a few weeks ago – which I talked about shooting here: Wanting to be there.

Anyway, as you can see here…
First picture taken of the exterior of Rosemary Bothwell's cottage near Fivemiletown in County Tyrone.
.. the sun was indeed shining and the sky was blue… with hardly a cloud in sight.

Perfect – bar the fact that the sun was shining on the back of the house, rather than on the front – which I knew it would probably be, as we had already been there a few weeks ago.

So I came prepared for that – but not really for the mud – so I was sure glad I was wearing my Brasher shoes and the camera gear was in Pelican cases, because to put it mildly, I was up to my neck ankles in it :)

Anyway, running of a car battery, the 3K did the trick – and so this was result…
The exterior of Rosemary Bothwell's cottage near Fivemiletown in County Tyrone.
.. which I pretty much managed to get in one in the end, after a few attempts to get the balance right.

Was it worth the effort ?
No it wasn’t, would be the answer for many – however, the way I see it: if this was going to be ‘The Image’ that a magazine would want to use at the start of the feature, and my name was going to be on that page beside it, for all the world to see – then I would obviously want ‘That Image’ to be a good image – so from my own personal point of view, since I would see Magazine work as being a big part of my portfolio too, then Yes it was very much worth the effort.

Still you can’t beat The real McCoy of course – which was how it was when I shot the exterior of this house in Belfast…
Siobhan and Barrie McQuillan's semi detached house in Belfast.
.. later on that same evening – which we also shot the inside of, earlier on in the week – and so more on that later, because what’s behind that door, was not what I was expecting :)

Which is actually one of the things I love so much about this type of work, i.e. seeing how creative other people are – because it never stops to amaze me, as to how unique some people’s homes really are.

Anyway, that’s what I was up to over the weekend – besides being up to my neck in mud of course – so just a wee Blog on that, for my own personal records – since I reckon no-one will ever know otherwise – or even care, to be honest – when they see the final results in print.

December 3, 2015

Time Travellers.

Is the title of our latest published work in the January 2016 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine…
Pages 122 to 124 in the January 2016 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine featuring Lynne & Hugh Doherty's 1940's semi-detached house in the Belmont area of Belfast.
.. on pages 122 to 124 – which features Lynne & Hugh’s 1940’s semi-detached house in the Belmont area of Belfast.

“Swapping their new-build home for a much older property threw up some interesting design challenges for Lynne and Hugh Doherty.”

And the other one is called Lucky for some on pages 138 to 141…
Pages 138 to 141 in the January 2016 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine featuring Lisa & Conor McCann's detached house located in Rosetta area of Belfast.
.. which features Lisa & Conor’s detached house located in Rosetta area of Belfast.

“Lisa and Conor McCann were in the right place at the right time when it came to finding their dream home.”

Which I talked about shooting here: Straight forward – a few months ago.

So our first published work in 2016 – time travellers, lucky for some indeed :)

Anyway, just want to say a big Congratulations to both Lynne & Hugh and to Lisa & Conor, for making it into this top selling national magazine – from Marie, Mandi & me @ ampimage.com

November 29, 2015

Wanting to be there.

Short winter days here in Ireland, means either having to work much quicker than usual or having to put 2 days aside rather than one, to get the job done.

Well one of the the job in question this week was at Rosemary’s cottage near Fivemiletown in County Tyrone – which we decided to go to the day before we had planned to shoot it, to see if we could at least make a start.
And I’m very glad we did, because due to the weather it was very dark, even in the middle of the day – but like they say, the show must go on.

Anyway, we decided to kick-off in the sitting room – so after we had moved a few things to where we thought they would work best for the camera, I took my usual first shot…
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Rosemary Bothwell's cottage near Fivemiletown in County Tyrone.
.. to see how it looked – before adding some directional light…
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Rosemary Bothwell's cottage near Fivemiletown in County Tyrone.
.. which just didn’t seem right – or should I say, feel right, as it’s that feeling of ‘wanting to be there’ that we often try to create or capture when doing this type of work.

So while I played around with the lighting, Marie played around with what was in front of the camera – as we both watched it getting darker and darker outside…
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Rosemary Bothwell's cottage near Fivemiletown in County Tyrone.
.. even though it was still only about 3:30 in the afternoon Cry

Anyway, leaving the shutter open for about 16 seconds after a blast of light – and this was the result…
The sitting room of Rosemary Bothwell's cottage near Fivemiletown in County Tyrone.
.. which we were both very happy with in the end – as it now looked like something you’d see in a magazine – which was obviously our goal here smile

Anyway, that was it for the day – but at least we had made a start – which was good – and so it was time for a beer in front of the fire, as there was “No work in me” as Marie would often say smile

Next morning we were up bright & early of course; however, it wasn’t until after 8 before there are any real sign of some light – and so it wasn’t until about 9:30 before we really managed to make a start on the kitchen area…
One of the first pictures taken in the kitchen of Rosemary Bothwell's cottage near Fivemiletown in County Tyrone.
.. by which time help had arrived – as Claudio jointed us…
One of the first pictures taken in the kitchen of Rosemary Bothwell's cottage near Fivemiletown in County Tyrone.
.. and so we started to move more quickly as a result.

Anyway, 20 minutes later and it was time for Rosemary to smile for the camera
Rosemary Bothwell in the kitchen of her cottage near Fivemiletown in County Tyrone.
.. as the rain poured down outside – on what can only described as a very missable winter’s day here in Ireland.

Still, “the show must go on” as they say – and so with Claudio helping on the lighting, it wasn’t long before we were heading upstair to shoot the bedrooms – which once again were rather dark on a day like this…
One of the first pictures taken in the guest bedroom at Rosemary Bothwell's cottage near Fivemiletown in County Tyrone.
.. until Claudio lit them up…
Guest bedroom in Rosemary Bothwell's cottage near Fivemiletown in County Tyrone.
.. and Marie had styled to ‘within a inch of her life’ of course – which she has normally done long before I arrive.

Anyway, that was basically it – and the good news is, that it was all well worth it too, as we got a “yes please” the following day from the Editor of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine, who said they would love to run with it in one of their Spring issues next year smile

So a big thanks to Rosemary for inviting us in – and to my team, thank you for all your hard work too – as I know I simply couldn’t do any of this without you guys.

Cheers from me in sunny Ireland, where it only rains about 225 days a year Irish smile

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