Ashley Morrison's Blog

January 26, 2014

One of the greatest discoveries a man makes.

As Henry Ford once said:

One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.

So we are in Spain with all our gear, sitting by the pool after having shot what we came here for – and I’m thinking: “this is an opportunity, not a job” – so we asked David, the local real estate agent who was keen to promote the area to the UK market, if he had anything else on his books for us to look at while we were here.

Well he naturally jumped at the opportunity and so took us out to see this property…
Spanish finca located near Javea.
.. which was a restored Spanish finca (farmhouse) set amidst vineyards and almond groves near Javea or Xabia (as known in Valencia) in this beautiful part of the Costa Blanca.

The property was built around 300 years ago for a farmer, his family and animals – all sharing the same building. In fact the court yard would have been a corral with the animals feeding from a trough which is now part of the wall beneath the kitchen window.

Yes, I can work with that…
Black's Spanish finca located near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. but what’s it like inside…
living area inside Spanish finca located near Javea.
.. or should I say, what could it look like…
Black's Spanish finca located near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. as the recce images…
living area inside Spanish finca located near Javea.
.. are just our starting point…
Black's Spanish finca located near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. to give us an idea of whether it’s worth spending more time on…
Kitchen inside Spanish finca located near Javea.
.. doing whatever we feel needs to be done…
the kitchen in Black's Spanish finca located near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. to not just take some pictures…
Kitchen inside Spanish finca located near Javea.
.. but to create images…
the kitchen in Black's Spanish finca located near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. that others would want to use.

THE STORY
The couple had dreamed of owning a place like this since their student days but were almost put off by the prices of renovated fincas – until they decided to undertake the work themselves and create the archetypical holiday home we all dream of – exposed stonework, beamed ceilings, terracotta floors and ochre colour-washed walls.
Mind you, they had to learn that Spanish and UK deadlines aren’t always the same!

Anyway, Marie had clearly a lot to do here…
Bedroom inside Spanish finca located near Javea.
.. while I just had to figure out how to light this place…
Master bedroom in Black's Spanish finca located near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. with just one main light..
Bedroom inside Spanish finca located near Javea.
.. as the power supply was to say the least…
Bedroom in Black's Spanish finca located near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. minimum.

Still, the natural light was very good, as our recee images showed…
Bathroom inside Spanish finca located near Javea.
.. so it was just a case of making the most of that…
Bathroom in Black's Spanish finca located near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. to create what was to become one of the most fantastic periods of my life.

So I’d just like to thank David and also his wife Christine here…
Christine & David Black outside their Spanish finca located in Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. for not only their time but also for this Opportunity – as that’s how I started to view at this type of work and almost every other assignment from this point in time onwards.

Featured in the October 2005 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine…
Pages 24 to 28 in the October 2005 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine featuring Christine and David Black's converted Spanish farmhouse near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. on pages 24 to 28, plus in the 4th issue of Templeton Robinson’s Property Life magazine…
Pages 12 to 17 in issue 6 of Templeton Robinson's Property Life magazine featuring Christine and David Black's Spanish finca located in Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. on pages 12 to 17 – as well as in many other magazines around the World too (which unfortunately I’m unable to show here, because I wasn’t able to pick-up a copy of those magazines here in Ireland).

From Marie & me @ ampimage – who simply tried to create the dream of ‘living the dream’ in this beautiful part of the World that they call Costa Blanca… just for you 🙂

January 25, 2014

It’s an opportunity…

Filed under: Photography,Travel,Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 4:14 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

.. not a job – is what I would often say to other photographers.

Which is what I was thinking here, when I received a request from an Editor to say:

Would you be interested in shooting this villa in Spain…
Villa in Spain.
.. as we would like to run an editorial feature on it ?

Well I really didn’t need to see much more to say yes to this request – but they sent me these pictures of it anyway…
Villa in Spain.
.. to let us see what the interior looked like…
Villa in Spain.
.. which does help, especially when it comes to known what we need to bring…
Villa in Spain.
.. to not only light up the place…
Villa in Spain.
.. but possibly style it as well…
Villa in Spain.
.. as one is only as good as the weakest link…
Villa in Spain.
.. which is something I’d often say too 🙂

Anyway, one month later we were in Javea…
Brian McHardy's villa located in Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. on the Costa Blanca in Spain – to basically take the same images…
TV area in Brian McHardy's villa located in Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. as they had sent us…
Living area in Brian McHardy's villa located in Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. from basically the same spot…
Sitting area in Brian McHardy's villa located in Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. which I enjoy looking at afterwards…
Dining area in Brian McHardy's villa located in Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. as it clearly shows what it is we do…
Bedroom in Brian McHardy's villa located in Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. and why it may take us a full day to create images like this…
Bedroom in Brian McHardy's villa located in Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. rather than just a few minutes.

It’s an opportunity to show what we can do.
It’s an opportunity to produce some images that others may want to use.
It’s an opportunity to good to say no to.

So you can’t really call that ‘a Job’ now can you 🙂

From Marie & me @ ampimage in the Costa Blanca – living the dream.

Featured in the March 2006 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine…
Pages 116 to 122 in the March 2006 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine featuring Susan & Brian McHardy's villa located near Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. on pages 116 to 122 – plus in issue 14 of Templeton Robinson’s Property Life magazine…
Page 10 to 20 in issue 14 of Templeton Robinson's Property Life magazine featuring Susan and Brian McHardy's villa located in Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. on pages 116 to 122, in the summer of 2007.

January 23, 2014

Staying power.

Is the title of our current work in the March 2014 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine…
Pages 124 to 126 in the March 2014 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine featuring Janet and Ken Hamilton's traditional Irish cottage called 'Rose Cottage' in the County Down village of Greyabbey.
.. on pages 124 to 126 – featuring Janet and Ken Hamilton’s traditional Irish cottage called ‘Rose Cottage’ in the County Down village of Greyabbey.

“Janet and Ken Hamilton loved their holiday home so much they decided to move there permanently.”

Which we talked about shooting last September here: Something old, something new.

And Marie’s comment:

It’s out – small wee feature but I think you will be verrrrry pleased – the repro on my copy is stunning smile

And they gave us a wee plug for our spotty throw smile

Loving the way when you turn to the stockist, Natural Calico appears first under the N’s smile

So you can now read all about Janet & Ken’s staying power here – and see this Merino lambswool throws too…
Grey spot throw
.. in this top selling national magazine, which should be on the bookshelves this weekend.

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com

January 19, 2014

Over 6000 views in less than 48 hours.

Filed under: Web links — Ashley Morrison @ 11:13 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Wow !!

I often wonder what one has to do to get others to react to something that I have or am about to create – to click on an image or take time out to make a comment – rather than just do nothing.

So I like to post images up on the web, in places like Flickr, for the world to see – and so after our most recent shoot that’s just what I did.

In less than 12 hours after having posted this image of the bathroom in one of the Heritage bedroom suites at the Ice House Hotel…
Bathroom in one of the Heritage bedroom suites at the Ice House Hotel in Ballina.
.. which we shot last week – I noticed at 11am 1,453 had viewed it – and by 2pm that that figure had risen to 2,422 views – which I mentioned to Marie when she emailed to say:

Morning Ashley
Any feedback ??????

Obviously meaning from the client, to which I replied:

Morning Marie
Yes, this image has so far got the most hits Icehouse-177825 | Flickr – Photo Sharing! – which is currently 1453 after just one day.
The rest have got just over 100 hits, so hopefully we made a good call on shooting that bathroom 🙂

In other words, what I was saying to Marie here was: yes, I have got some feed back from the general public, who have in a way voted by clicking to view – but not from the client as yet.
Which to me is as important – although I’m not quite sure why – but I do find it interesting all the same, from an advertising photographer’s point of view.
As producing images that gets others to react or stop them in their tracks for a few seconds to take time-out and look, is a big part of what I try to achieve.

Especially on the Worldwide web, where there are literally millions of images for people to look at every day!!

Anyway, just now I checked it again, and to my amazement it has been viewed 6,159 times now – whereas the other images I posted at the same time have only been viewed about 200 times.

And it was the same last week, when I posted this image…
The kitchen in Ciara Nelson's three storey semi-detached villa in Belfast.
.. of a kitchen in a three storey semi-detached house in Belfast – which was just the return image of what I would have considered to be the main image, and the one which I would have thought would have got the most views.

Currently 6,283 views for this kitchen image – which just blew me away – but it looks like this image of the bathroom is about to surpass that this weekend and may even go on to surpass the number of views this image of the Bamboo studio in myhotel Brighton has received…
The Bamboo studio in myhotel Brighton.
.. which is currently my highest viewed image on Flickr, at 11,628 views.

So what is it about these images – and why do these one’s get so many views, but yet images which I would personally consider to be much better / more interesting / more appealing – don’t get people to react in the same way, by clicking to view ?

How important is the general public vote on things like this – and is it something that the client should be made aware off ??

More questions than answers – or as songwriter Don Henley wrote in the lyrics of his song, The Heart Of The Matter:

The more I know, the less I understand.

Which is very true – and what I’m sitting here thinking today – 30 years on, as someone who tries very hard to create amazing images for others to use, to get them results like this.

So that’s my thoughts & questions for the day – from me @ ampimage.com

January 18, 2014

Until the next time.

Kicked of the second day at the Ice House in one of their deluxe bedrooms…
Setting up a bedroom shot at the Ice House Hotel.
.. with little sign of any good weather in sight according to the met office.

There remains no let up in sight to the unsettled conditions with showers or periods of rain expected to continue over the rest of the week and into next week.

So it was a case of trying to create the feeling that the sun was shining in here – as their unique selling point of these rooms was very much to do with the amazing river view outside the windows – which meant Marie ended up not only having to style the room – using mainly items which FoxFord Woollen Mills had kindly offered to let us use – but also having take this shot too…
Deluxe bedroom at the Ice House Hotel in Ballina.
.. while I acted as her assistant and held the lights in place.

As I’d often say to clients: I can light up a room, but I can’t light up the world – we are good, but not that good 🙂

So this was a case of having to think a wee bit outside the box here – and then making a call on what else was worth trying to shoot, as it was very dark and grey outside.

In other words, avoid windows if at all possible, was my thinking – and so we decided to shoot the bathroom in one of the Heritage bedroom suites…
Bathroom in one of the Heritage bedroom suites at the Ice House Hotel in Ballina.
.. which we both felt looked amazing and was a unique selling point of theirs for sure.

Before setting up to create the last image, which wasn’t of me looking worried…
Setting up in the kitchen at the Ice House Hotel.
.. but was of their head chef Anthony Holland…
Head Chef Anthony Holland at the Ice House Hotel in Ballina.
.. while he added some final touches to his creations.

And so with little sign of good weather insight, we decided to leave it at that – which was a bit of a same really, as there was still so much more we could have shot if the weather had been better.

Anyway, until the next time, as they say – that was basically it for us.

So just like to say a big thanks to everyone involved – especially to Carmel from The Marketing Department, Ken form the Ice House Hotel and the folk at FoxFord for helping us out here.

Oh, and a special thanks to the models too – as you were both great to work with.

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com

January 17, 2014

Better late than never.

Due to the poor weather we had to put our first shoot of the year back a week – still better late than never – so we headed down to Ballina in County Mayo over the weekend to produce a number of images at the Ice House Hotel, while keeping our fingers cross for a wee bit of sunshine.

Weather is always a major concern at this time of year, but there was a 50% chance of some sunshine – so rather than waiting, we kicked of in the bar…
Setting up the bar at the Ice House Hotel.
.. as they had two models booked – and so everyone set about doing their thing, which including rearranging the drinks…
Setting up the bar at the Ice House Hotel.
.. and asking Carmel form The Marketing Department to stand in as well, while I lit it up…
The bar at the Ice House Hotel in Ballina.
.. to capture our first, of hopefully many great images of this year.

Anyway, the rain stopped and the sky turned blue – so it was straight into restaurant…
Setting up the restaurant at the Ice House Hotel.
.. lights up, get everyone in place quickly and minutes before it started to rain again, we managed to get our second image in the bag…
The restaurant at the Ice House Hotel in Ballina.
.. which I was delighted with, as this was a biggie for both them & us.

Marie’s favourite next, a bedroom…
Setting up the Riverside bedroom suite at the Ice House Hotel.
.. which actually took some time to set-up & light – and so while Carmel cleaned the rain drops of windows, Ken looked on and captured the moment…
Setting up the Riverside bedroom suite at the Ice House Hotel.
.. while Marie & I added the final touches…
Riverside bedroom suite at the Ice House Hotel in Ballina.
.. to their riverside bedroom suite.

Short days and ever changing weather meant we then really only had time to create one more image – so it was back to the restaurant…
Setting up the restaurant at the Ice House Hotel.
.. to wait for the twilight moment…
Setting up the restaurant at the Ice House Hotel.
.. to capture a romantic moment…
The restaurant at the Ice House Hotel in Ballina.
.. and an image that got two thumbs up from everyone involved – which was a really nice way to the end the day – before Marie & I collapsed in a heap.

So better late than never – that was day one and our first shoot of the year – which was followed by serval well deserved pints of Guinness smile

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com in the Ice House in County Mayo.

January 10, 2014

It has plenty of character.

Is the title of our latest published work in the February 2014 issue of Style at Home magazine…
Pages 74 to 76 in the February 2014 issue of Style at Home magazine featuring the office in Jillian Donaldson's 1950's detached house near Holywood in County Down.
.. on pages 74 to 76 – featuring the office in Jillian Donaldson’s 1950’s detached house near Holywood in County Down.

Stylist at Home Jillian, 43, from County Down, has created a stylish home office that’s also perfect for a spot of rest and relaxation.

Shot a few months ago…
Jillian Donaldson in the office of her 1950's detached house near Holywood in County Down.
.. which included some quirky pieces, such as this vintage mannequin…
Vintage mannequin in Jillian's home office.
.. and this sign…
Sign in Jillian's home office.
.. which reads:

Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, other make it happen.

Well it looks like we made it happen smile
So way to to Jillian and thanks once again for giving us this opportunity to show the world you have plenty of character.

From Marie & me @ ampimage.

January 9, 2014

What difference does it make ?

Six months after Marie was pictured here smiling, in living room of a new property…
Marie standing in Ascot Park on the 29th July 2009.
.. which she & her husband Alan had just bought – she was once again pictured smiling, as she sat on the stairs…
Marie McMillen on the stairs in her 1950's cottage in Belfast on the 1st February 2010.
.. of this exact same room.

Wow, I hear you say, what a difference !!.

But what is the real difference here, between this image…
The living room in 36 Ascot Park on the 29th July 2009.
.. and this one…
The living room in Marie and Alan McMillen's 1950s cottage in Belfast on the 1st February 2010.
.. from a Professional photographer’s point of view ?

A photographer [the Greek φῶς (phos), meaning “light”, and γραφή (graphê), meaning “drawing, writing”, together meaning “drawing with light”] is a person who takes photographs. A professional photographer uses photography to earn money; amateur photographers take photographs for pleasure and to record an event, emotion, place, or person.

So why on the 29th July 2009, when I took this image…
The living room in 36 Ascot Park on the 29th July 2009.
.. did I as a Professional photographer, not think it was worth my while to use anything more than just a basic point & shoot camera system – whereas when I took this image of the exact same room…
The living room in Marie and Alan McMillen's 1950's cottage in Belfast
.. I felt I needed to spend a lot more time – use a medium format ’tilt & shift’ camera system, thousands of pounds worth of lights and shoot to a laptop – so as Marie could then tweak things and style it to within an inch of her life.

What difference does it make to a Professional photographer?

Because lets face it, from my point of view as a Professional photographer – what I’m looking at here…
The kitchen in 36 Ascot Park on the 29th July 2009.
.. and what I’m seeing here…
The kitchen in Marie and Alan McMillen's 1950's cottage in Belfast.
.. is just two pictures of basically the same room.

Okay, so the first images doesn’t look that good – and the other one looks really nice – but besides what Marie had done here…
The dining area in 36 Ascot Park on the 29th July 2009.
.. over a six month period, to transform this space into something very different…
The dining area in 36 Ascot Park on the 1st February 2010.
.. what’s the real difference between these two pictures ?

Is this picture better…
The TV area in 36 Ascot Park on the 29th July 2009.
.. than this one…
The TV area in Marie and Alan McMillen's 1950's cottage in Belfast.
.. or could it be the other way around ?

For example, if someone wanted to use this image…
The master bedroom in 36 Ascot Park on the 29th July 2009.
.. and was prepared to pay me for that – even thought I didn’t spend much time on shooting and just used a point & shoot camera system – and no-one wanted to use this image…
he master bedroom in Marie and Alan McMillen's 1950's cottage in Belfast.
.. even though Marie had spend 6 months working on it and we then spent hours shooting it with top-end camera gear, etc – would that mean the first image is actually better ?

Because you see, from my point of view – as a Professional photographer, rather than just someone who likes to take pictures in their spare time – the only real difference between this image…
The master bedroom in 36 Ascot Park on the 29th July 2009.
.. and this image…
The bathroom in Marie and Alan McMillen's 1950's cottage in Belfast.
.. is to do with the amount that someone else may be prepared to pay me for use it – and that’s really about it.

Sure, I’d much prefer to take pretty pictures – but being a Professional photographer isn’t really about taking pretty pictures – it’s about making money or making a living – from producing images that others will want to use, and use enough that they will be prepared to pay you some money for.

So in theory, as crazy as it may seem – from a Professional photographer’s point of view, Marie didn’t do anything here – besides provide me with something, which I now felt was worth spending a lot more time on shooting.
The reason being, because I now felt others may want to use these images and would therefore be prepared to pay for that use – so that’s why I went the extra mile.

Take that incentive away, and all you are left with, is two pictures or two sets of images – that are worth the same to the guy behind the camera.

So to answer my own question here: What difference does it make ?
As a Professional photographer, the difference has to do with the use of the images and the amount that others are prepared to pay for that.

Little use = Little value.
Greater use = Greater value
… to both them & me.

Anyway, as a Professional photographer, I’d just like to say a big thanks to Marie & Allen for making a difference here – because I really don’t think that anyone would have wanted to use those first set of images – no matter what camera system I would have used or how much time I would have spent on the lighting them wink

Smiling from behind the camera smile
Ashley
www.ashleymorrison.com

January 8, 2014

A room for the night

Hotels usually have lots to offer their guests – and the g hotel in Galway here…
The exterior of The g Hotel in Galway.
.. with it’s fabulous Pink Salon…
The Pink Salon in The g hotel in Galway.
.. luxurious bathrooms…
Bathroom in one of the bedroom suites at the g hotel in Galway.
.. spa, pool, bars and stunning function rooms for any occasion…
The Event suite at the g Hotel in Galway.
.. is no different.

However, those were not the images that they wanted – or should I say: needed enough to want to pay me for the use of.

So what did they need ?

Well, as you may know, most people today book on-line, via the web – so what they needed us to provide them with, was a set of images to help them to get people to click on that Book Now button.
So the big question was: What are they (the hotel’s guests) actually buying here ?

Bedrooms – a room for the night – was what it basically boiled down to.

So that was what this hotel needed:- For us to produce & then provide them with a number of images of their different bedrooms, for them to use to let their guests see what they would actually be getting for their money, should they click on that Book Now button.

Simple.

In other words, pictures of bedrooms, like their Superior room…
Superior room.
.. styled and lit:
Superior room at The g hotel in Galway.

Or their bright & spacious Deluxe rooms – showing it as two single beds…
Setting up the shot in the Deluxe room.
.. styled and lit…
Deluxe room at The g hotel in Galway.
.. as well as a double bed…
Setting up the shot in the Deluxe room.
.. styled and lit:
Deluxe room at The g hotel in Galway.

Their Luxury room…
Luxury room.
.. styled and lit:
Luxury room at at The g hotel in Galway.

Their magnificent Junior Suite…
Junior Suite.
.. styled and lit…
Junior Suite at at The g hotel in Galway.
.. and naturally their three breathtaking Speciality Suites too.

The Atrium Suite – offering panoramic views over Lough Atalia…
The view from the Atrium Suite.
.. which I felt was a USP rather than the city skyline…
Atrium Suite.
.. styled and lit…
Atrium Suite at The g hotel in Galway.
.. making this is a bright and airy room – especially now that we could see that view of the Lough wink

The elegant and opulent Corner Suite…
Corner Suite.
.. which was by far the most difficult to light or control – due to the very strong sunlight…
Corner Suite at The g hotel in Galway.
.. which they say is ideal for either an intimate business meeting or special celebration.

And finally the Evangelista suite – which is pure, unadulterated luxury.
Located on the second floor – it has panoramic views of Lough Atalia, a spacious living room…
Evangelista suite at The g hotel in Galway.
.. with an ‘open air’ private dining area…
Open air private dining area in the Evangelista suite at the g hotel.
.. which I talked about creating here yesterday: g whizz.

Of the living room there is The Bedroom
Setting up the bedroom shot in Evangelista suite.
.. with a super king sized bed – which reportedly was Linda Evangelista’s own bed…
The bedroom in the Evangelista suite at The g hotel in Galway.
.. the one she refused to get out of for anything less than £10,000 wink

Plus the en-suite facilities which included an oversized double shower and stand alone Villeroy & Boch bath…
The bathroom in the Evangelista suite at The g hotel in Galway.
.. which just blew me away – but boy was shooting a room full of mirrors a challenge or what wink

So that’s what they needed from us: To provide them with some images here, of just their bedrooms – so as they could then use those images to show to their guests – so as their guests could then see what they would be getting for their money, should they click on that Book Now button.

Which would be for: A room for the night – or more if they like – but not just any old room as you can see smile

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com … just for you.

January 7, 2014

g whizz.

Was my thinking here – after we recced this hotel in Galway…
The recce shot.
.. and took this image – as this is an area within the most expensive bedroom suite in their hotel – which is a luxury 5 Star hotel – and this is therefore one of their unique selling points (USP) of this room – which they had said they wanted us to look at shooting for them – so as they could use an image of this area, to help market and sell this luxury bedroom suite, to their guests, should they want to use it.

So if they are wanting others to pay them for the use their thing here – just as we are wanting them to pay us for the use our thing here – then I reckon we will BOTH need to do a lot better than this Wink

In our concept report, which we sent to them beforehand, we wrote…

Table set for breakfast OR for evening drinks, this would look great. Possibly a businessman or a couple with their backs to the camera looking out admiring the view – much depends on your market for this suite.

.. to which they simply replied: “That sounds good”.

Great – so where do we begin !!

Well they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’m going to let my pictures speak for themselves here – by letting you see some of pictures I took during this shoot – which started with me getting the camera in place and Marie positioned the table & chairs first…
Setting up the shot.
.. before she started to add a few wee personal touches…
Setting up the shot.
.. while I set-up some lights, etc – which then became this more formal setting…
Setting up the shot.
.. which still didn’t seem quite right – so after a total re-think on our part, about who their target market was here…
Setting up the shot.
.. and discussing all of that with their Sales and Marketing Director, Oonagh …
Setting up the shot.
.. we ended-up with this…
Open air dining area in the Linda Evangelista suite at the g Hotel in Galway.
.. which was the final image, that we presented to them – of this open air dining area in the Linda Evangelista suite at the g Hotel in Galway.

So the next time you say to me: ‘g whizz – why so much to take a picture’ – well now you know what I mean, when I say: There is a difference between taking a picture that you can use and creating an image that you will want to use !! Wink

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com… just for you !

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