Ashley Morrison's Blog

January 4, 2014

Escape to the Country…

.. sounds good to me – so when we when to shoot Sonya & Glen’s converted barn near Donaghadee in County Down…
Sonya and Glenn McDowell's century-old cottage near the seaside town of Donaghadee in County Down.
.. I was really looking forward to seeing what they had done inside, as this sort of thing really appeals to me – being the son of a farmer and all that.

The storyline:

An “Escape to the Country” storyline along with a massive re-furb.
The barn and stables were derelict and had never been used for residential dwellings when the couple bought them.
They hit major problems with planning consents, etc, but “hung in there”.
Sonya loves pattern and colour and had great fun adding the finishing touches.

Well let me start by saying I sure wasn’t disappointed; however, it was a tricky one to light for a number of reasons – so we started with the kitchen…
Setting up the kitchen shot.
.. which being a Chalon style kitchen with a large 4-oven AGA Classic cast-iron range cooker…
The kitchen in Sonya and Glenn McDowell's century-old cottage near the seaside town of Donaghadee in County Down.
.. got two thumbs up from me.

Then pulling back a bit…
Setting up the kitchen table shot.
.. we captured the kitchen table…
The kitchen table in Sonya and Glenn McDowell's century-old cottage near the seaside town of Donaghadee in County Down.
.. with the kitchen behind – before pulled right back to shoot the whole room…
Setting up the living room shot.
.. which as you can see just looked amazing…
Sonya McDowell in the living room of her barn conversion near Donaghadee in County Down.
.. especially with how Sonya had furnished it, with different patterns and colours.

Turning around to shoot it in the other direction…
Setting up the living room shot.
.. looked equally as good…
The living room in Sonya and Glenn McDowell's century-old cottage near the seaside town of Donaghadee in County Down.
.. as did the rest of the place – which probably explains why it made it onto the cover of Ireland’s Homes Interiors & Living magazine…
The cover plus pages 90 to 101 in the February 2013 issue of Ireland's Homes Interiors & Living magazine featuring Sonya and Glenn McDowell's century-old cottage near the seaside town of Donaghadee in County Down.
.. at the start of last year.

So why did I forget to write about this one?
Well a few days later we were in the south of France…
The view from Janet and Ken Hamilton's villa called 'Jasmin' near the French Riviera village of Saint Paul-de-Vence.
.. which I did write about here: Day 4 – so can you blame me smile

Anyway, as I look back at the start of this New Year, I came across this one – and I’d still have to say this was one of my all-time favourite homes – so better late than never as they say – I’d now like to thank both Sonya & Glen here, for our wee escape to the Country.

From Marie, me and the rest of the team at ampimage.com.

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January 3, 2014

New Beginnings.

Is the title of our latest published work in the February 2014 issue of Ireland’s Homes Interiors & Living magazine…
Pages 96 to 106 in the February 2014 issue of Ireland's Homes Interiors & Living magazine featuring Rosanne Irwin's ground floor apartment in the Malone area of Belfast.
.. on pages 96 to 106 – featuring Rosanne’s ground floor apartment in the Malone area of Belfast.

“Rosanne’s two-bedroom ground floor apartment in a ‘Victorian gentleman’s residence’ in Belfast is a beautiful elegant period property which has been decorated with stunning pieces which befit this home.”

Which we talked about shooting here: Bring more to the table.

I really do love those big double page spreads, as it just shows the huge amount of work that goes into each and every one of these images…
Rosanne Irwin in the sitting room of her ground floor apartment in a Victorian townhouse in the Malone area of Belfast.
.. and it’s not just at our end but at the homeowner’s end too – as you really do feel like you are actually standing there in the room.

So a great beginning to the start of a New Year, for Marie, Mandi & me – and without a doubt, a lovely thing for Rosanne to have, to look back on in years to come.

For more information about us or should you like us to tell your story, please visit: www.ampimage.com.

Lets talk cushions.

As the girls debated the merits of cushions…
Victoria and Marie talking shop.
.. and which ones worked best – so it was all about “keeping with the neutral scheme but adding interest and depth with unusual cushions with writing and numbers” or some such thing – as I set-up the camera and lights to produce a number of images…
Victoria and Neil Robertson's converted farmhouse near Portglenone in County Antrim.
.. of this beautifully converted old farmhouse…
Victoria and Neil Robertson's converted farmhouse near Portglenone in County Antrim.
.. near Portglenone in County Antrim – the home of Victoria & Neil Robertson.

The story-line:

Victoria is from Northern Ireland but studied and worked in London for several years where she met Neil who is from Cornwall.
Moving back to Northern Ireland was very much a lifestyle decision for the couple – slower pace of life, starting a family, being closer to Victoria’s parents, etc – and also the fact that their budget stretched so much further when it came to buying a house in Northern Ireland compared to the South of England.

And so as these first captures show…
Victoria and Marie talking shop.
.. the talk was all about how a tiny little splash of pale blue here…
Victoria Robertson in the sitting room of her converted farmhouse near Portglenone in County Antrim.
.. could make all the difference – and so naturally Victoria had to sit on the edge of the sofa, so as not to disturb them smile

Even in the master bedroom…
Shooting the master bedroom.
.. the talk was all about cushions & throws…
The master bedroom in Victoria and Neil Robertson's converted farmhouse near Portglenone in County Antrim.
.. and how adding a wee splash of colour…
Setting up the sofa shot.
.. could make a big difference – right through to the last image…
Sofa in the master bedroom of Victoria and Neil Robertson's converted farmhouse near Portglenone in County Antrim.
.. of the day.

So forget about what camera I used or what lights I used, etc – let’s talk about cushions instead smile

Seriously though, as I would often say to Marie – when we talk about all of this stuff – one is only as good as the weakest link – so what’s in front of the camera, is every bit as important as what’s behind it – which is where she as a Stylist comes into play – because those cushions did make a big difference here… which I know little about.

Not surprising then, that Marie recently set-up a new company called Natural Calico – which is all about cushions such as this Carte Postale Cushion
Carte Postale cushion available from Natural Calico.
.. and those finishing touches, that can greatly help turn your house into a beautiful home.

So a way to go girls – great teamwork – which at the end of the day, as far as I’m concerned, is what this type of photography is all about.

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com

January 2, 2014

First time buyer.

This 1910’s terrace that we shot…
Jemma McCann's three-bedroom Victorian terrace house in Belfast.
.. was totally run down it seems, when Jemma (late 20’s) first viewed it.

The Story-line:


Having qualified at Liverpool University, Jemma decided to return home to Belfast and after various rentals, decided to buy her first place. Luckily for her, Andrew Brennan, an old family friend who works in interior design, was more than happy to help & steer her through a surprisingly affordable re-furb.

They say small is beautiful – but small can often be very hard to light, as far as I’m concerned…
Setting up the shot in a Belfast terrace.
.. so when it came to the Homeowner Shot – which most Editors will require when they are featuring someone’s home, as the feature will very much be about the homeowner and what they did, etc – I had to resort to a bit of creative lighting on this one…
Shooting Jemma McCann.
.. as that was the only way I reckon I was going to get the natural look that I was after…
Jemma McCann in the living room of her three-bedroom Victorian terrace house in Belfast.
.. in the final image of this long narrow room.

Still, that was really the only difficult shot, as the dining area…
The dining area in Jemma McCann's three-bedroom Victorian terrace house in Belfast.
.. kitchen and even the bedrooms as you can see…
Setting up the bedroom shot.
.. were all sitting up perfect and looked amazing…
The master bedroom Jemma McCann's three-bedroom Victorian terrace house in Belfast.
.. for such a small house in this part of town.

So no surprise then, that Ideal Home – which is Britain’s best-selling interiors magazine – also said they wanted to be a first time buyer too.

So way to go Jemma and Andrew too, from Marie & me @ ampimage.com

Victorian townhouse for sale.

At the time we shooting Laura & David’s Victorian townhouse in Holywood, it was actually up for sale…
For sale.
.. but as that was not what we were there to talk about, then let’s forget about that…
Laura and David Menary's Victorian townhouse in the County Down town of Holywood.
.. and let’s see what was behind the door instead wink

The Story-line:

David is an Estate Agent and Laura is a Solicitor.
Laura has taken time out to look after Lily but has set up a little business sourcing vintage tea sets and converting the cups to candles.

Basically a complete refurbishment along with a kitchen extension.

So it was all about creating a set of images to tell that story – and so we first set-up a shot…
Getting ready.
.. to show Laura and her daughter Lily…
Laura Menary and her daughter Lily.
.. sitting in front of a large framed ‘Come to Ulster’ print, of Belfast lough – so now you know this is Holywood not Hollywood we are talking about here smile

Anyway, we then turned around to shoot the kitchen extension…
Setting up the kitchen shot.
.. which when lit and styled…
The dining table in the kitchen of Laura and David Menary's Victorian townhouse in the County Down town of Holywood.
.. looked amazing, as did their ground floor sitting room, which was very striking…
Setting up the sitting room shot.
.. and so after lighting that up…
The sitting room in Laura and David Menary's Victorian townhouse in the County Down town of Holywood.
.. it was time to zoom-in on some of Laura’s vintage tea set candles…
Vintage tea set that has been converted into candle holders in Laura and David Menary's Victorian townhouse in the County Down town of Holywood.
.. before heading upstairs with Marie…
Setting up the bedroom shot.
.. to shoot the bedrooms…
The master bedroom in Laura and David Menary's Victorian townhouse in the County Down town of Holywood.
.. and complete the story that we wanted to tell – about this Victorian townhouse in Holywood and the people who live their – which is for sale – as we are now hoping that this set of images and story behind them, will be of great interest to a number of different magazines over the coming years Smile

Producing images to tell a story, by Marie & me @ ampimage.com.

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