Ashley Morrison's Blog

December 29, 2010

Licence to use.

And why you should use it to avoid misunderstandings down the road.

It is, in my opinion, a very important document…
Licence to use
.. which every Photographer should be making use of – especially today in this digital age.

It’s not an Invoice or a Model Release form – it’s a separate document – which is basically​ designed to help avoid misunderstandings, between you and your Clients or anyone else who may be handling or wanting to use your images.

Remember, the guys in the ‘art department’ ​may never see your Invoice – which contains the usage agreement information – because it may have been sent straight to the ‘accounts department’. So that’s where this document comes into play – it’s a separate document, that stays with your images – designed to help prevent misunderstandings down the road.

Filling in this document is simple – just tick the boxes & fill in the blanks.
Then print it out and staple it to your contact sheets, put a pdf file of it on the CD along with your images, email it to your client… whatever it takes – so as everyone knows what has been agreed (which obviously needs to tally​ with what you have written on your Invoice) – as well as what has not been agreed to, which can be even more important to sometimes clearly show too.

The example below is based on the Association of Photographer‘s Licence document, which for a while one could have downloaded from their website …along with other useful documents & forms.

(Please note: Having used this document for a number of years now, I have made a few minor changes to their standard template, but it’s basically still the same)

Then print their standard Terms & Conditions on the back, which is relevant to where you are based.

That’s it – my No.1 tip of the day for all Photographers – to help avoid misunderstandings down the road.

Below are the basic definitions of the Media use terms and what each covers:-

. Ambient – includes: garage forecourt, airport and rail station screens and all public areas where advertising is screened.
. Billboards / Posters – includes: 96/48/16/12/4 sheet, superlites, escalator panels, bus sides & panels, taxis wraps & seats, bus backs, tube, underground.
. Brochure / Catalogue.
. Direct Mail – includes: door drop leaflets & postcards.
. Inserts / Prints.
. Marketing Aids – includes: umbrellas, ashtrays, beer mats, exhibition panels, trolley panels, etc.
. Magazine ads – includes: advertorial features, ads & PR.
. Magazine editorial.
. Newspaper – includes: advertorial features, ads & PR.
. Packaging.
. Point of sale – also known as ‘Point of Purchase’.
. PR – images used to promote within a press editorial/advertorial or trade handout.
. Press – includes: trade, consumer, local, national, magazine & newspapers.
. Television / Cinema – includes: interactive TV, Video, mobiles, CD ads.
. Worldwide web – includes: email ads & internet use.

For more information on this, buy the AOP’s book Beyond The Lens“the essential guide to rights, ethics and business practice in professional photography” – which can be purchased from their website in one of two forms: conventional printed book form or immediate electronic downloads.


December 24, 2010

It’s Christmas eve…

Filed under: Photography,Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 4:45 pm
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.. and so the last of the images were produced today, out in the snow…
Julie Morrow outside her Edwardian terraced cottage near the County Down town of Comber at Christmas.
.. of Julie Morrow outside her Edwardian terraced cottage near the County Down town of Comber.

So now all that’s left to say is: Merry Christmas everyone!!


December 21, 2010

It’s slow in the snow…

.. and the shovels were out at The Old Inn in Crawfordsburn…
.. while we set-up. But that M3 was going nowhere fast, as far as I was concerned. So I just had to work around it…
The Old Inn in Crawfordsburn.
as the chefs headed back to the kitchen and the sun began to set.

Then it was over to the Radisson Blu at the Gasworks, where the light was fading…
.. very fast.
So we decided to wait for the magic moment – the twilight zone – before setting-up to capture it…
The Radisson Blu Hotel Belfast at the Gasworks
.. against the clear blue moon lit sky.

It’s slow working in the snow – but as it doesn’t look like this that often here, then just trying to make the most of it while we can.

Or as we would say: producing images … just for you.

December 20, 2010

Record low…

Filed under: Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 10:39 am
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.. and more snow across the country last night – but the skies are blue here at the studio this morning…
Ice hanging outside the window.
.. so we are in for another lovely day by the looks of things.

Hard to know if it’s worth heading out though – because according to the BBC online weather forecast, visibility is very poor in most parts of the country today, as a record low temperature is recorded.

Quoting the words of one of my favourite songs by The Clash: “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” – that always seems to be the big question.

Blue skies…

Filed under: Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 7:05 am
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..and sunshine but there is still lots of snow around – so it really is picture postcard in many ways, here in Ireland.

However, the days are short and I really should have got out of bed earlier, to make the most of it. Nevertheless, I managed to get down to Newcastle – but unfortunately was a wee bit to late, as the sun dropped behind the Mourne Mountains, just as I arrived. Still it was a beautiful drive – and I saw lots of great images – but sadly only managed to captured a few.

The Stormont Hotel being one of them…
Christmas at the Stormont Hotel near Belfast.
.. where the sky was truly blue – so I decided to make the most of that by capturing it from a few different angles – to be sure, to be sure – as we don’t often get it as nice as this here.

Having said that, one of the biggest problems I find with stuff like this, is knowing when to call it a day – because Ireland being Ireland, it can look like this one minute…
.. and then like this…
Christmas at the Stormont Hotel near Belfast.
.. a few minutes later.

So I guess that’s why am shooting this stuff right now, because it’s almost impossible to commission or should I say: quote for.

Which means trying to make hay, as they say – while it lasts.

December 18, 2010

It’s the weekend…

Filed under: Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 8:04 pm
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.. before Christmas – and for those that love the snow, this is what you want to see first thing in the morning…
The Land Rover out in the snow in front of the studio.
.. as it means another beautiful day ahead.

So it was off to shoot a few more exteriors to day – top of the list being the Culloden Hotel
Christmas at the Culloden Hotel near Holywood in County Down.
.. with it’s new extension now completed – and the Clandeboye Lodge Hotel on the way.
Christmas at the Clandeboye Lodge Hotel near Bangor in County Down.
Looks like more snow tomorrow; however, there should be some sunny spells too.
So may head south in the morning – and if nothing else – enjoy looking at the beautiful countryside this weekend, magically covered in lovely white snow.

December 17, 2010

Time to Rock & Roll…

Filed under: Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 10:29 am
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.. and put the Discovery to the test – because as you can see…
The Land Rover out in the snow in front of the studio.
.. we are getting a White Christmas in Ireland this year.

So time to get out there and make the most of it by getting a few exteriors in the bag…
Sarah and Geoff Mitchell's Victorian gentleman's detached house in the coastal County Down town of Bangor.
.. for next years Christmas issues.

December 16, 2010

The temptation …

Filed under: Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 8:16 pm
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.. of mince pies was just too much for someone…
.. as several disappeared throughout the day!!!

But thankfully Marie picked up a few extra packs – and as always did a magnificent job here.
So another great Christmas home shoot in the bag.
The kitchen table at Sarah and Geoff Mitchell's Edwardian villa in the County Down town of Bangor at Christmas.
(The ultimate family home – warm and inviting with an “ever open door”)
So many thanks to Sarah and Geoff for making us feel so welcome – as that’s it for this year on the homes.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Added note on December 21, 2010: 25 Beautiful Homes magazine said ‘Yes please’ – so you will be able to see the full set of images in their 2011 Christmas issue.

December 11, 2010

How good…

.. do the images need to be to help sell a home ???

That was the big Question-of-the-day, during the shoot yesterday …
First picture taken in the sitting room of Mairead and Owen McIntyre's Victorian terrace in the university area of Belfast.
.. where there was much discussion, about whether or not the owners of this particular home…
The sitting room in Mairead and Owen McIntyre's Victorian terrace in the university area of Belfast.
.. in the university area of Belfast, should perhaps invest in better images than these:
The sitting room.

The dining room.
.. which are being used by the estate agency – to at least help get more people through the door – which after all, is a big part of what ‘advertising’ is all about.

It’s a difficult one to answer – because if someone is looking for a certain type of home in a particular area, will they find it regardless?
Is it really therefore all about: Location, Location, Location ?
Or will better images…
The dining area in Mairead and Owen McIntyre's Victorian terrace in the university area of Belfast.
.. perhaps widen the net ?

For the most part, we know there really isn’t the budget set aside for Estate Agent photography, to be more than a series of quick shots – so that does need to be taken into account – even though their actual Usage requirements are often a lot.
(Which usually is the thing that will determine the importance of the images to the client – and therefore their budget).

With Estate Agents – because of their pricing structure – which is more based on the final sale value – it’s very different e.g.
1% of 300,000 = 3,000
1% of 275,000 = 2,750
So as you can see, the difference between them is relatively small – and therefore it’s not worth their while worrying too much about this.

By comparison, shooting an editorial feature for magazines, will usually mean the photographer will have a much larger budget to play with – even though the client’s actual Usage requirements are often less – so the photographer can afford to spend more time on the job – light, style, hire others to help, and even re-arrange the furniture, etc, if need be.

Naturally, the Editors of the magazines will be more demanding as a result – and will want their Readers to be “drawn into” the home, rather than simply show them the space…
The upstairs living room.
Make it look real…
Mairead and Owen McIntyre in the upstairs living room of their Victorian terrace in the university area of Belfast.
.. but complete the dream as well.

Having said that, the features are usually more about the decor, the homeowner’s style, what they did, and even the homeowners themselves in some cases.
So a different set of images is required – all be it the same subject matter and even the same framing (as seen here) – for these two different clients – who are actually targeting very similar markets, in a different way.

Still, back to the original question: How good do the images need to be to help sell a home ?
.. and where does one draw the line between: Good, Very good and Good enough ?

Do you simply just need to show the ‘Steak’ …
.. or should you be actually trying to sell a bit of the ‘Sizzle’ too …
Guest bedroom in Mairead and Owen McIntyre's Victorian terrace in the university area of Belfast.
.. more inline with what you expect to see in the magazines you buy & read each month.

It’s a huge market – and for many, it will be the single biggest ‘thing’ they will ever sell – which means there is often a lot of money on the line.
So should they invest more money in this .. and if so, how much?

Note: In the world of Advertising, the rule of thumb is up to 5% of your media spend.

We don’t have the answers – but we often hear of the homeowner’s disappointment, as to how their home looks – at a time when it’s important to them. So we kept coming back to these questions – to see if we can find the answers.

Any suggestions or comments are most welcome.

(Added note on the 18th January 2011: Ideal Home – Britain’s best-selling homes magazine – said ‘Yes’ to this home, so you will be able to see the full set of images we produced in their magazine later on this year.)

December 9, 2010

Yes we’ll take this!

Are you impressed at the speed of my response?!

Was the reply we received from the Houses Editor of Country Homes & Interiors magazine this afternoon, less than 10 minutes after submitting yesterday’s images.

But then again, I guess it’s not every day you get snow like this in Ireland…
Nicola and Andy Nemec's farmhouse near Armoy in County Antrim at Christmas.
.. with golden sunlight and a beautiful blue sky to boot.

So we did our best to make the most of it…
Nicola Nemec with her children playing in the snow outside their farmhouse near Armoy in County Antrim.
.. as the weather conditions were perfect – as was the kitchen table…
The kitchen dining table in Nicola and Andy Nemec's farmhouse near Armoy in County Antrim at Christmas.
.. so we pushed this one forward at the very last minute.

Which meant it was all hands onboard as both Nicola & Marie scrambled to get the whole house ready…
.. in record speed. And because the days are short now, that meant no time for tea breaks or hanging about – plus on my side, additional lighting was required at the end of the day, to light-up the last few rooms.

But we did it – and what a result…
The girls bedroom in Nicola and Andy Nemec's farmhouse near Armoy in County Antrim at Christmas.
.. to which I replied:

Wow … that was fast <img

So one to look out for in next year's Christmas issue of Country Homes & Interiors magazine – and I’d just like to say a huge Thanks and Congratulations to Nicola & her family here… for everything.

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