Ashley Morrison's Blog

December 31, 2013

To take a picture or to create an image !

That’s often a question I ask because I need to know, which do they want me to give them a price for.

So what’s the difference?

Well as we approach the end of another year, I like to look back on what all we have done and what all we have achieved – as I look forward to the year ahead.
So I’ve been updating some of my earlier 2010 Blogs, to show more of what we actually did and still do – by showing the original capture file and then the final image – so as to let people see that it just didn’t happen to look like that at the time, but was in fact created to look like that instead.

Because very often, all that anyone will ever see – including the client – is the final image. So one could therefore easily just assume, that all I did, was turn-up and take a picture of what was already there.

Which doesn’t sound that hard, if you’ve got a decent camera – right?

Anyway, while looking back I came across this set of capture files…

.. from a shoot, I did back in 2007, of a kitchen in Robinson Interior’s showroom.
So this frame show what it actually looked like, because all I had done here was set-up the camera and pressed the button, i.e. I took a picture.

And because they not only wanted to use the image on their website but in other media too – to promote and advertise their business – then I took a picture of the top as well…
.. which when joined together, ended up looking like this:
What the image of the high gloss white kitchen in Robinson Interior's Belfast showroom could have looked like.

So what do you think?

Do you think they would they be happy with that and would, therefore, want to use it – and if so, how much do you think that image would be worth to them?
Because that’s usually the very first question that a client will ask, i.e. How much would you charge to take some pictures for me ?

Anyway, personally, I reckon it wouldn’t have been worth very much to them, as they probably wouldn’t have wanted to use it very much (if at all) – even if I’d said they could use it, as much as they liked for the price I’d quoted.

So rather than just take a picture of what was there, I decided to create an image instead…
.. by lighting up, etc- and adding the top part…
.. which when jointed together, ended up looking like this:
What the image of the high gloss white kitchen in Robinson Interior's Belfast showroom could have looked like.

So what do you think?

Do you think they would they be happy with that and would, therefore, want to use it – and if so, how much do you think that image would be worth to them?

Or what about this…
High gloss white kitchen in Robinson Interior's Belfast showroom.
.. which is actually the final image which I provided them with, to help them promote and advertise their business.

So what do you think?

Do you think they would they be happy with that and would, therefore, want to use it – and if so, how much do you think that image would be worth to them?

Well looking back – which as I said before, I tend to do at this time of year – I see that they used it quite a bit…
The cover plus a double page spread advertisement and an Advertorial feature for Robinson Interiors in the Irish Kitchens magazine showing the high gloss white kitchen in their Belfast showroom.
.. and it also made it onto the cover of the best of Irish kitchens magazine too.

And as we approach the year 2014, I see they are still using this image 7 years on…
Screen grab of Robinson Interior's website showing the high gloss white kitchen in their Belfast showroom.
.. as one of the main images on their website.

Anyway, hopefully, that will help explain the difference between taking and creating – and also help explain why I charge for the use of my images, rather than just for my time to turn up and take some pictures – which, unfortunately, is very often all that a client thinks they will need to pay for, when they first ask the question: How much would you charge to take some pictures for me ?

So to answer that question this coming year, I think I’ll simply reply: I don’t take, I give… by adding – so would you like me to give you a price, for me to create some images for you to use instead ?

In other words, I usually create images for others to use, rather than just turning up and taking some pictures – so I charge for the use of my images after I have created them.
Which means, I simply ask clients to pay me for the use of my work, rather than to do some work – as the amount of work involved in creating an image that they will want to use a lot, often goes way beyond just turning-up and taking some pictures of whatever happens to be there.

Which is the part that most people don’t ever see, but yet, it’s that creative part that could make a huge difference – as it’s that part that could make them want to use the images a lot or not at all – which in this example, has been to use this image for 7 years in multiple media so far.
So an image which someone wants to use for say 7 years in 4 different media, is obviously worth a lot more to them than an image that they only want to use for 1 month in 1 media – and so that’s what I go by, when trying to determine what the fee should be, for me to produce and then provide them with some images for them to use… which I’m saying I will create, rather than just take smile

And so on that note, I wish you all a very happy & prosperous New Year.

From Marie, me and the rest of the team @


December 23, 2013

Vision of Christmas

When creating an image for others to use, most images start out with some sort of vision in my head – but sometimes that vision simply doesn’t pan out.

And so it was at Doonbeg Golf & Spa resort – after having taken a quick shot…
Setting up the Christmas table shot at Doonbeg.
.. of what I thought would make for a very nice Christmas table setting.

Put up the tree, dress the table and quickly lit it to see…
Setting up the Christmas table shot at Doonbeg.
.. but it still just didn’t seem to be right – and possibly was never going to be – as sometimes happens in life.

Trying too hard or trying to get too much in, is often the problem – so rather than continuing with this, I decided to go for an alternate tighter angle instead…
Setting up the Christmas table shot at Doonbeg.
.. which immediately looked so much better.

And so, after Marie had worked her magic – which once again involved ‘less being more’ – we all smiled at the final result…
Christmas table shot at Doonbeg.
.. as it just looked so simple in the end.

So if your vision of Christmas isn’t quite panning out – remember, sometimes less is more – or alternatively, there is always Doonbeg should you fancy a wee break from it all 🙂

Anyway, Merry Christmas everyone – from Marie, me and the team at ampimage… have a good one!!

December 21, 2013

Creating the images at Mount Juliet.

Filed under: Web links,Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 3:02 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Youtube video is now live, which shows the series of images taken earlier this year, from the start of two different bedroom shots to the final result.

Going from this…
Honeymoon suite before
.. to this…
Honeymoon bedroom suite at Mount Juliet Country Estate in County Kilkenny.
.. and this…
Bedroom before
.. to this…
Bedroom suite at Mount Juliet Country Estate in County Kilkenny.
.. to show what all was done.

So enjoy…

.. from Marie, Stuart & me @ ampimage.comjust for you!

December 19, 2013

Pianciano Holiday Rentals

Received a request this week from an old client in Italy, who emailed me to say:

A new agency, Holiday Rentals, wants to see your authorization before publishing your photos.

Which I found very interesting – but was actually very pleased to read – as all to often these days, people don’t ask or double check this sort of thing, before going ahead and publishing images, especially on the internet or Worldwide web.

Anyway, this document…
Licence to use
.. is what Claudia was asking for – which I talked about here: Licence to use – and why I highly recommend all photographers use it, to avoid misunderstandings down the road.

So I was very pleased to hear that this Holiday Rentals company was asking for such a thing, rather than just assuming that the person who owned the property, had actually obtained the Rights to use the images from the photographer first.

Anyway, besides this, it was also lovely to have another look at those images again and remember those amazing roads trips across Europe and how we stumbled across this place which Claudia & Francesco call Pianciano – which is a stunning haven in the heart of Umbria.
Comprising of a number villas and this beautiful swimming pool…
swimming pool
.. and relaxation area…
relaxation area
.. on the side of a mountain.

La Roccia villa was the first one we shot, when we first met Francesco 8 years ago, as seen here…
Francesco Bachetoni outside La Roccia villa
.. sitting outside enjoying the view.
This was one of the smallest of the villas, but nevertheless, we just loved what they had done inside…
The living room in La Roccia villa.
.. which included a lovely country kitchen…
The kitchen in La Roccia villa.
.. and three very nice rustic bedrooms like this…
Main bedroom in La Roccia villa.
.. all of which we captured before heading north to shoot 3 other properties, before returning a few days later to shoot L’Arco…
L'Arco villa in the Pianciano hamlet near Spoleto.
.. which was amazing…
The living room in L'Arco villa.
.. from every angle…
The living room in L'Arco villa.
.. as it appeared to be built out of the side of the mountain, so the doorways…
leading into the dining room in L'Arco villa.
.. and rooms themselves, like this dining room…
The dining room in L'Arco villa.
.. just blew us away.

And the view…
The view from L'Arco villa.
.. well needless to say, we both just loved this place.

So when they asked us back a few years later – to shoot IL Cipresso…
IL Cipresso villa in the Pianciano hamlet.
.. with it’s beautiful courtyard area…
Courtyard area at IL Cipresso villa.
.. country kitchen…
The kitchen area in IL Cipresso villa.
.. and bedrooms like this…
Master bedroom in IL Cipresso villa.
.. and this…
Bedroom in IL Cipresso villa.
.. we jumped at it.

And of course, while we were there with all the gear, we shoot their own personal villa…
Claudia & Francesco Bachetoni's villa near Spoleto in Italy.
.. which later appeared in the July issue of Period Living magazine…
Pages 82 to 86 of the July 2010 issue of Period Living magazine.
.. on pages 82 to 86.

Oh, I want to be there right now…
.. but in the meantime, I’d just like to thank the Holiday Rentals company for not assuming here – and of course thank Claudia for this wee trip down memory lane – which I thought I’d share with you all, as this all happened before I started Blogging – which is a bit of a same, as those road trips across Europe to shoot places like this where truly amazing.

Anyway – here is Pianciano should you fancy something a wee bit different – which I can highly recommend, as I truly loved everything about this place.


December 16, 2013

Nice Bit of Rough…

Nice Bit of Rough
or Totally Dotty…
Totally Dotty
.. were two of the titles of a number of framed prints we were shooting over the past few days, as well as things like these six glasses…
Six glasses
.. unusual dishes…
Clam shell dish
.. wash bags…
Wash bag
.. candle holders…
Glass candle holder
..display stands…
Display stand
.. etc, etc, for the Natural Calico website, which just after 3 months, has hit the 10,000 visitor mark it seems – and according to an email in from Marie today:

“I’ve just wrapped our 40th order – now I know it’s not a huge number – but from a standing start just 3 months ago, I think it’s not to bad at all.”

So “Way to go, Marie” – as that’s more than “not too bad at all”, that’s fantastic… as I know many of those orders were for multiple items.

Packing & postage I know has been a bit of a nightmare – but as Henry Ford once said: When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.

So it may be rough at times, but sure, it’s a Nice Bit of Rough, so I don’t think you’re Totally Dotty 🙂


December 10, 2013

There are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject…

Filed under: Photography — Ashley Morrison @ 3:57 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

.. so here are just a few, which we produced of these beautiful Hammam beach / bath & hand towels, over the past few months down at the beach…
Hammam beach towel
.. in bathrooms…
Hammam beach towel
.. hanging over a towel rail…
Hammam beach towel
.. on a wash hand basin…
Hammam beach towel
.. on a kitchen work top…
Hammam beach towel
.. and even being used as a table cloth…
Hammam beach towel
.. as each image tells a different story – all be it of the exact same thing.

So when someone says, can you take a picture of ‘my thing’ and how much will that cost, you can see why I would then usually start to ask them questions, as it’s not just as simple as saying “oh that will be £…”.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so what words would you like me to say – or more importantly, what words do you need me to say when I’m telling this story using my camera and lights?

Will one picture do or do we need to take a few different pictures to complete the story – and so then comes the questions about the use, and what all are you planning on using the images for: in which media, for how long and where in the world or who in the world are we writing to here ??

Lots of questions, because as you can see from this example, there are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject… even one as simple as a towel.

Anyway, that’s my thoughts for today, which I thought I’d share with you – as well as letting you see some recent examples of what we have been up to.

Hammam towels…
Hammam beach towel
.. available from Natural Calico of course 🙂

December 9, 2013

Sometime you sell the sizzle, sometime you sell the steak.

Is an old saying in the world of advertising photography.


And so Marie writes:

Working with Ashley on Nature Calico site has been interesting !! To be involved in direct retail is a very new experience for both of us.

Most of our commercial work is helping others to sell their product – but seeing the outcome at first hand is fascinating !!

Ok – exactly 3 months on and with a VERY small initial email shot to test the water, we have now had over 7,000 visitors and over 70,000-page visits.

And yes, orders are steadily coming in – along with wonderful feedback.

Can we compete on price with the Big Boys? – of course not !!

Can we offer something different ??? – We believe we can !!!

We believe that beautiful imagery combined with a little bit of warmth and personality is a winning combo.

Online shopping can be soulless – what we are doing is showing the product in context. Moreover, we are selling with a personal touch – style tips, a chatty blog, nicely wrapped parcels and so on.

I believe we are showing that online shopping can be enjoyable !! And if the initial reaction continues, touch wood, we are showing that a unique approach to “selling the sizzle” works !!!

So yes, we have been busy shooting – things like this cable knitted hot water bottle cover…
Hot water bottle
.. vintage letters…
.. which Marie can’t seem to resist – plus this girly bust…
.. which we both smiled at the resemblance to Queen Victoria’s shadow created by the light – plus a new range of leather goods…

.. this Yacht…

.. which I really liked – and being Christmas and all that, we naturally had to shoot a Christmas stocking…
.. as well as LOADS of other stuff too.

Selling the steak with a touch of sizzle – is how I would describe it, as we are also creating a mood – which is what we love to do and maybe one day we can do for you too 🙂

From Marie & me @

The Perfect Compromise

Is the title of our latest published work in the January 2014 issue of Ireland’s Homes Interiors & Living magazine…
Pages 80 to 91 in the January 2014 issue of Ireland's Homes Interiors & Living magazine featuring Janice and Billy Shannon's Edwardian mid terrace in Belfast.
.. on pages 80 to 91 – featuring Janice and Billy Shannon’s Edwardian mid terrace in Belfast.

“Jane, her friend Melanie and their cat called Poppy live in a beautiful four-bedroomed Edwardian terrace in east Belfast. Through compromise, the pair has been able to purchase the perfect place for them both to live.”

Which I talked about shooting here: Shannon’s Edwardian mid terrace.

Just love those big double-page spreads, as it really does show the huge amount of work that goes into each and every one of these images – and it’s not just at our end on the lighting & styling, but at the homeowner’s end too, as you really do feel like you are actually standing there in the room.

Yes, the perfect compromise to actually being there!

Anyway, big thanks to everyone involved for their hard work here – and huge congratulations to Jane & Melanie for making it onto this beautifully printed glossy magazine.

From Marie, Mandi & me @

December 1, 2013


.. is very often what we aim for when creating images for others to use – and so some of our other current published work this month can be seen on the April 2014 page of Country Homes & Interiors’ calendar…
Country Homes & Interiors
.. which is of this Anatolia Medallion carpet…
Ulster Carpets
.. which we shot almost 8 years ago for Ulster Carpets to use to help market & promote this style of elegant of carpet.

And in Bloom magazine a few of our images can be seen in this competition…
.. for a this stunning wool throw…
Wool throw
.. from Natural Calico, which ended a few days ago.

Creating timeless images – just for you… as we say 🙂

From Marie & me.

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