Ashley Morrison's Blog

June 28, 2015

Creating the dream.

Our latest road trip took us to this wee place…
Maggie & Robert Graham's 18th century Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. which was a beautifully restored traditional Irish thatched cottage, by Maggie & Robert Graham, near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.

Anyway, having already seen images for what it looked like inside…
Recce picture of the sitting room in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. Marie came well prepared to transform it, into the sort of thing you would see in a magazine – since that was our goal.

So just before we left, she emailed me to say:

Have just taken an old dust sheet out of the tumble drier to cover up the sofa …… Crumpled as hell and I love it 🙂

I will either fail miserably with this wee place – or it will be my finest hour !!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

And sure if nothing else, it will be a lovely couple of days in a beautiful part of the world 🙂

And so she did, as you can see in the first picture I took…
First picture taken of the sitting room in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. which when lit as if the sun was shining in, ended up looking like this…
The sitting room in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. after the fire was lit and we played around with the re-positioning of a few items.

To the right was this little room…
Recce picture of a bedroom in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. which once again Marie transformed…
Bedroom in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. as I as filled the room with some sun light – and upstairs was the master bedroom…
Recce picture of the master bedroom in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. which is actually were we started – so while Marie sorted out the bedding, etc…
First picture taken of the master bedroom in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. I once again worked on the lighting – and the result was this…
Master bedroom in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. which we were both very please with.

As Marie would often say to clients:

Photography and Styling go hand in hand – if they sing from the same hymn sheet – voila.
If they don’t – then it can be a loooong and very unproductive day !!!!

Which is very true – because without her, I honestly won’t have known what to do here…
Recce picture of the kitchen in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. but between us, we just started to sing…
One of the first picture taken of the kitchen in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. and so while Marie worked on the styling, I worked on the lighting…
One of the first picture taken of the kitchen in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. and before you know it… voila…
The kitchen in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. another masterpiece had been created smile

Wow !!!!

I truly didn’t think we’d get anything so good when I saw the first cut 🙂

It was when the vintage white linen went on the table that it suddenly came together.

And so it when throughout the day – which just left the outside to shoot, which we completed the following morning as the sun came out to play…
Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. to complete the dream.

Which is basically what we do, when it comes to creating images which we are hoping others will want to use, be it for a feature in their magazine or for advertising.

Selling the Sizzle, as well as showing Steak smile

Anyway, the reaction to date has been…

“Wow and indeed Wee!!!!!absolutely stunning. You must be v proud of having pulled something of this level off!! Also very special that a wee thatch cottage is styled so uniquely!!! Big pats all round!!!”

.. from Stuart who has assisted us on may such shoots.

From Janet…

“Now Marie – Wow! Triple wow! I am totally blown away by what you have achieved here. Seriously, that is astounding!!!!

You have made a totally run down cottage into a MOST desirable rental!!! You have played to its strengths – it’s rustic/shabbiness and given it charm by the bucket load…and all without even a lick of FB paint – Hee hee!!! Your wee sis is seriously impressed. You have excelled yourself Madam!!! Blimey no wonder you’re tired Marie. You are one talented lady “

.. who’s varies properties we have shot over the years, including one of my all time favourites: Jasmin near the French Riviera village of St Paul de Vence.

And from Claudio – who we have recently been working with quite a bit on our latest hotel work – after seeing the first of the preview images which Marie sent him:

“OMG!!

wow… fair play to both of you!!
I’m not too sure I’m looking at the same house here lol!!

You have done a beautiful work setting up this room, your experience and vision really comes through in a house like this.
I don’t think Ashley could have done anything here without you…
I can see his sunshine light coming through but it’s the décor of the room and your abilities of hiding a pretty average looking furniture by creating a luxury look in a very simple way…
honestly Marie, well done!!

thanks also for forwarding on your before images.. a great example of been able to see past what’s in front of you!! Your determination has paid off!

looking forward to the rest now!!”

So there you have it – creating the dream – by Marie & me near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal smile

June 21, 2015

How much does it cost to take a picture ?

That’s often the first question a client will ask.

Well the answer to that would obviously depend a number of things, some of which one may be able to estimate beforehand, especially if it was something that you could totally control. However, when it involves shooting a subject where many things are possibly beyond your control, like the weather for example, then it’s not so easy.

Charge for ‘your time & expenses’, is often what you will hear other photographers say – but how much is that really worth to your client, if at the end of the day, they are not happy with the results and don’t really want to use any of the images that you have taken ??

In other words, is one image which may have only taken you a second to capture – which they do actually want to use and use a lot – worth more to them than 1000 images they don’t want to use at all ?
And if it’s an image they want to use a lot, rather than one which they don’t want to use very much, is that then worth more to them or is it still only worth the same amount as the time it took you to take it ?

Questions I’ve asked myself many times over the years, as well as asked other like minded photographers too – as the difference between being asked and not being asked, often comes down to how one answers these type of questions… right at the start.
Because if you get it wrong, then you may not get the opportunity to show what you can do or you may not be able to afford to do what you would like to do, if you had the money to do whatever it takes.

Which brings me to this latest assignment which I did this week – which on the face of it, sounded liked an easy one – as it was just a couple of exterior shots the client wanted taken.
Sure anyone could do that – so why he asking me ? – because it’s not like I’m the cheapest guy in town or that I even live in a town close by – quite the opposite in fact.

Anyway, according to Wiki:

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.

And so that was what I had be asked to do last week, i.e. take some pictures of their castles.

Having recced them both the week before – and keeping in mind that it rains here in Ireland, over 250 days a year – I knew it was all going to be about timing, i.e. being in the right spot at the right time – as that’s what exterior shots are all about.

Anyway, the first was Bellingham Castle in the heart of the medieval village of Castlebellingham in County Louth – which I knew needed to be an early morning shot – ideally ‘first light’ as it’s know in the business. So was up at 3am to be sure (to be sure) I was on location and in the ‘right spot’ to capture that perfect moment.

At 5:30am it looked like this…
One of the first images taken at around 5:30 in the morning at Bellingham Castle in the heart of the medieval village of Castlebellingham in County Louth.
.. by 6:30am it looked like this…
One of the images taken at around 6:30 in the morning at Bellingham Castle in the heart of the medieval village of Castlebellingham in County Louth.
.. and by 8am it was a rap…
Bellingham Castle in the heart of the medieval village of Castlebellingham in County Louth.
.. as they would say in the Movie business – as even their Irish Wolfhound posed to perfection around about then too smile

Then it was over to Cabra Castle outside the town of Kingscourt in County Cavan – where they had closed off the parking area in the front of the hotel, to ensure it would be ready for me to shoot at 2pm – which was the time I reckoned the light would be ‘just right’ here.

So at 1:45pm it was all hands on board as the light came around onto the front of the Castle…
Setting up the shot at Cabra Castle outside the town of Kingscourt in County Cavan.
.. while I took the first few shots from the Cherry Picker they had hired – and by 2pm it was all over…
Cabra Castle outside the town of Kingscourt in County Cavan.
.. due to perfect origination and preparation by Howard and his staff here – as well as their Irish Wolfhound too of course, who posed like a pro smile

And so that was it for the day – lots of pictures taken but only 2 images created, to tell the story using light – which in this case, was all done by the Big Guy up above.

So how much does it cost to take a picture ?
Well the answer could be ‘not very much’ – but if you were to change the question to: ‘How much would it cost to produce some images that I would actually want to use and use a lot’ – well then the answer to that could be very different, as that may be a lot harder to achieve.

Anyway, I must have done something right here, as they do want to use these images for at least the next five years in multiple media throughout the world, so a great result for everyone in the end – as they got what they wanted and I achieve what I wanted too smile

Cheers
Ashley
www.ampimage.com

June 17, 2015

Brand New Build.

“Model Village” is the title of our latest work in the beautifully printed July 2015 issue of Period Ideas magazine…
Pages 30 to 35 in the July 2015 issue of Period Ideas magazine - featuring  Julie and Stephen Patterson's new-build outside the village of Hillsborough in County Down.
.. on pages 30 to 35 – featuring Julie & Stephen Patterson’s new-build outside the village of Hillsborough in County Down.

“Julie and Stephen Patterson created an elegant family residence in an innovative Georgian-style development.”

Which was last featured in Ideal Home magazine…
Pages 56 to 63 of the March 2010 issue of Ideal Home magazine featuring Julie and Stephen Patterson's new build on the outskirts of Hillsborough in County Down
.. in their March 2010 issue, on pages 56 to 63.

So five years on it’s great to see it in print again – big thanks to Steve at Chilli Media for this result – and once again a big thank-you out to Julie & Stephen for inviting us in to their innovative Georgian-style home in this Model Village near Hillsborough.

From Marie, Mandi & me @ ampimage.com

June 13, 2015

Keeping it real.

Over the past week or so, Marie & I have had some great discussions, about not only styling but also about lighting too – when it comes to creating images for others to use.
No rights or wrongs of course, just different points of views, as to what one believes is right – based on what all the images are going to be used for and by who, etc, etc.

So looking back on the work we did a few weeks ago – while we were down in County Kerry at the Killarney Park Hotel
The Killarney Park Hotel in the town centre of Killarney in the Irish county of Kerry.
.. the one thing that we both agreed on, is that it has got to look real.
And so that’s like ‘our style’ or what we try to aim for – even thought sometimes, it may not be entirely real at all wink

Anyway, below shows the first image taken of this bedroom…
First image taken of the bedroom suite at the Killarney Park Hotel in the Irish county of Kerry.

.. where nothing had been done by either of us, bar Marie had places a few items over at the window seat.

So that is real, in that, that is what it looks like if you were to simple walk in and take a picture of what was there.
Your eye will naturally see it slightly different, as your eye can record more levels of light – so the dark areas won’t look as dark and the white areas won’t be as ‘burn-out’ – as you will be able to clearly see what is outside the windows too.
Plus on top of that, your eyes are constantly moving, so therefore it’s like your are recording thousands of images to make up ‘the picture in your head’ – whereas the camera only records a single image from a fix point, with a lens that is fixed rather than one that is constantly zooming in and out too.

So it is different – but nevertheless both are considered to be ‘real’ – as we all know that the camera never lies, even though we all know that’s not entirely true neither wink

Anyway, our goal with this type of work is to make it ‘look good’, make it look like somewhere you would want to be – and as real as possible too – to complete the story we are trying to tell.

So I actually work very hard on the lighting, to create a look that ‘looks like’ I didn’t do anything at all – as seen here…
Deluxe bedroom suite at Killarney Park Hotel in Town Centre of Killarney in the Irish County of Kerry.
.. while Marie does a similar thing, when it comes to the styling of such rooms.

In other words, we both work very hard to make it look natural – or Real – as opposed to an illustration or something that you would only see in Disney World wink

And that is in fact something that we have both worked very hard on over the years – but the funny thing is, the better we become at it, the less people realise how long it actually takes to achieve this look – and so that in itself has obviously lead to problems on pricing (which I won’t get into here, as that’s a completely different story).

But anyway, back to the shoot we did a few weeks ago – as usual I start by taking a picture like this…
First image taken of the bedroom suite at the Killarney Park Hotel in the Irish county of Kerry.
.. to see what it actually looks like from the cameras point of view – ‘as is’ type of thing – and then team kicks into place…
One of the first image taken of the bedroom suite at the Killarney Park Hotel in the Irish county of Kerry.
.. to add the finishing touches – and about an hour or so later – which may be hard to believe – the final image (or in some cases images) are captured.

And this was the result…
Superior bedroom suite at Killarney Park Hotel in Town Centre of Killarney in the Irish County of Kerry.
.. which should, if we have achieved our goal, look as if I did nothing at all bar took a picture of what happened to be there at the time… using ‘a good camera’ of course wink

And so it was – first I put the camera in place and took a picture…
One of the first image taken of the bedroom suite at the Killarney Park Hotel in the Irish county of Kerry.
.. then the team kicked in to make it look more inviting…
One of the first image taken of the bedroom suite at the Killarney Park Hotel in the Irish county of Kerry.
.. and finally it was lit and styled to within a inch of our lives…
The fireplace in one of the Junior Suites at Killarney Park Hotel in Town Centre of Killarney in the Irish County of Kerry.
.. to make it look as one would expect it to look – if you just happened to be lucky to be there at the right moment in time.

Talking of being lucky, well in a way we where, as you can see here…
One of the first image taken of the Garden Terrace at the Killarney Park Hotel in the Irish county of Kerry.
.. it wasn’t the best of days to be shooting outside.

Still, after adding some light…
One of the first image taken of the Garden Terrace at the Killarney Park Hotel in the Irish county of Kerry.
.. practicing the pose…
One of the first image taken of the Garden Terrace at the Killarney Park Hotel in the Irish county of Kerry.
.. and some lengthy talks…
One of the first image taken of the Garden Terrace at the Killarney Park Hotel in the Irish county of Kerry.
.. the sun finally came out to play – so it was all hands on board…
One of the first image taken of the Garden Terrace at the Killarney Park Hotel in the Irish county of Kerry.
.. to create this image…
The Garden Terrace at the Killarney Park Hotel in town centre of Killarney in the Irish County of Kerry.
.. of their new Garden Terrace, which is located at the rear next to the Garden Bar…
The Garden Bar at the Killarney Park Hotel in Town Centre of Killarney in the Irish County of Kerry.
.. were we all enjoyed a few cold beers later on, needs to say smile

Anyway, there you have it – doing our best to keep it real, but hopefully making you want to be here too…
The lobby fireplace at the Killarney Park Hotel in Town Centre of Killarney in the Irish County of Kerry.
.. as that’s our goal – as we invite you into ‘our world’, through the images that we create.

From Claudio, Marie & me @ ampimage, trying to make you feel like you are already there, in “the kingdom” of Kerry smile

June 8, 2015

Pale and interesting.

Is the title of our latest work in the beautifully printed July 2015 issue of Country Homes & Interiors magazine…
Pages 48 to 54 in the July 2015 issue of Country Homes & Interiors magazine featuring Marie & Alan (McMillen) McKernan's renovated 1960's home near Holywood in County Down.
.. on pages 48 to 54 – featuring Marie and Alan’s renovated 1960’s home near Holywood in County Down.

“Marie McKernan gave her mid-century home a fresh new look with weatherboarding and a crisp blue-and-white palette.”

Which we talked about shooting at the time here: Natural direction of light and here: Left or Right.

Anyway, Marie received her advance copy last week, and this is what she wrote:

Well – my advance copy arrived – and I LOVE it 🙂

We’re the fourth home but that’s ok – they will always lead with the more beachy ones in their coastal issue.

You will be surprised with a couple of the big shots I reckon 🙂

Full page for exterior !!! Wasn’t expecting that !!!

Full page for sitting room – cropped a little

Full page for dining area

Lovely 4 page collage of bath, hooks, guest bedroom and balcony

Full page of guess who – standing on the flippin balcony – though they did use a wee one of muggins on the rocks 🙂

7 pages ….

As Lesley would say, I could cry 🙂

Well not quite – but I am soooooo chuffed with this one 🙂

Thank you

So clearly someone was very happy – which just leave me to say a big thank you to Mrs pale and interesting here…
Marie McMillen in the balcony at her renovated 1960's home near Holywood in County Down.
.. for putting up with me all these years, as this was shot around the time I was in tears too – so it’s lovely to final see all your hard work in print… and printed beautifully too in your favourite magazine smile

So thank you from me.

June 5, 2015

One of a kind.

Filed under: Publish work — Ashley Morrison @ 5:18 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Is the title of our latest published work in the July 2015 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine…
Pages 98 to 101 in the July 2015 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine featuring Keri and Paul Johnson's townhouse which overlooks Ballyholme Bay in the County Down seaside town of Bangor.
.. on pages 98 to 101 – featuring Keri and Paul Johnson’s townhouse which overlooks Ballyholme Bay in the County Down seaside town of Bangor.

“Keri Johnson used imagination and vision to bring a tried-looking terrace by the sea back to life.”

Which we talked about shooting at the time here: House of fun.

Love it.

So thank you to Keri & Paul for inviting us in – from Marie, Mandi & me @ ampimage.com – for this one of a kind smile

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