Ashley Morrison's Blog

March 28, 2016

Five images…

.. and then some, to tell the story about what all goes on both in front and behind the camera, during what one would assume would have been a wee easy shoot.

Which in this case started back in January, when I received an email from Elaine O’Halloran, Director of Sales at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin, which read:

“Good evening Ashley,

I hope this finds you very well?

I would like to arrange some new photography of our suites here at Dylan. Can you please send me through a costing and your availability?

Many thanks
Elaine”

And so after a few emails to help answer her questions and a visit last month to have a quick look around…
The Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. it was time to load up the wagon once again as I had a story to tell – or five in this case, as that is what we had narrowed it down to, to keep within their budget.

Which started of with me having to replace a flat type…
Flat tyre at the beginning of the shoot.
.. on the first morning, before we even got started rolleyes

Anyway, first up was room 106…
One of the first pictures taken in one of the bedroom suites at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. which we mentioned in our concept report after the recce, about this one probably needing two shots – but ideally it would just be one – and possibly capturing a ‘corporate feel’ but still leaving it open to the leisure market.

Naturally I had asked both Marie and Claudio for their help here – so when Claudio had a minute, he took some quick shots to help tell the story of what goes on behind the scenes…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. which in themselves I think says it all…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. as it sure wasn’t a case of just turning up and taking some quick snaps of whatever happened to be there, to please this 5 Star client…
One of the first pictures taken in one of the bedroom suites at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. as two and a half hours passed – and so what started out looking like this…
First picture taken in bedroom suite 106 at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. ended up looking like this…
Bedroom suite 106 in the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. with Barry standing in to not only complete the ‘corporate feel’ story, but also to draw one’s eye through to highlight the fact that there was a bedroom area in this room too.

Which meant just one image was needed in the end, rather than two – which was also our goal, as we wanted to stay within their ‘5 image’ budget as well.

Next up was room 101…
One of the first pictures taken in one of the bedroom suites at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. which we mentioned in our concept report, about this being the “Experience Suite” -which was a lovely bright room (especially on a sunny day like it was when we recced it) with a large bay window.

Anyway, with the camera now in position, Barry worked on the bed, Claudio worked on the lighting and Marie began doing her thing…
One of the first pictures taken in one of the bedroom suites at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. but as Claudio’s behind the scenes pictures show here…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. this was by no means a quick shot…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. as the every last detail was checked…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. over and over again.

So what started out looking like this…
First picture taken in bedroom suite 101 at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. ended up looking like this…
Bedroom suite 101 in the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. some two and half hours later – with Elaine standing in to complete the “Experience” story – and so that was it for the day, as the light was beginning to fade and so were we wink

Next morning, bright and early, we started in the seating area of the bar…
One of the first pictures taken in the bar area at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. which as you can see looked good as is.

However, since the goal here wasn’t just to see if I could take some pictures of what was there, as they already had lots of pictures like that, then we set about trying to create an image that they would want to use a lot instead – so once again the we started…
One of the first pictures taken in the bar area at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. by first turning the grand piano and thinning it all out – then checking to see how that looked on screen…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. before seeing how it would look with a person in it…
One of the first pictures taken in the bar area at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. more checking the results…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. trying that for real…
One of the first pictures taken in the bar area at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. while Claudio recorded us in action…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. then more discussions…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. and so finally after 2 hours, what started out looking like this…
First picture taken of the seating area in the bar at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. ended up looking like this…
Seating area in the bar at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. so that was three out of the five in the bag.

Next was room 303…
One of the first pictures taken in one of the bedroom suites at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. to convey a “shopping message” as we were in the heart of Dublin.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and this one tells a story…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. which no doubt I will talk more about some day – as replacing a flat tire on the Land Rover is easy, compared to what looks to be flat out-of-steam Marie here rolleyes

Still the show must go on – and so once again we tried different things – seeing how it would look with people in it…
One of the first pictures taken in one of the bedroom suites at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. seeing how it would look with some food…
One of the first pictures taken in one of the bedroom suites at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. and so some 2 and a half hours later once again, what started out looking like this…
First picture taken of the seating area in the bar at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. ended up looking like this…
Bedroom suite 303 in the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. which meant that was four in the (shopping) bag smile

The final image was of the bar…
One of the first pictures taken of the bar at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. which they had wanted a ‘late evening’ image of, with some guests drinking cocktails and staff in it, to make it look like somewhere you would want to be tonight.

So lights up…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. lots of test shots…
One of the first pictures taken of the bar at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. before the models arrived and the cocktails too…
One of the first pictures taken of the bar at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. then it was time to shoot, while Barry and Elaine kept a close eye on the screen…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. before a quick look at the results…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. and so what started out looking like this…
First picture taken of Cocktail Bar at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. ended up looking like this…
The Cocktail Bar at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. just before 6pm – which was perfect timing, as that’s when this place became naturally busy, as this was Easter weekend here in the heart of Dublin.

Which meant it was then time to pack – very tired but very pleased with the results – and so to complete the story, Claudio took one last picture…
Behind the scenes during the shoot at the Dylan Hotel in Dublin.
.. of me with all the gear that we had used, to make it look like I used nothing at all smile

So at the end of this (short) story [within this (very long) story, which unfortunately also shows the end of another chapter, which is another story in itself], I would just like to say a big thanks to Elaine & Barry from the Dylan Hotel for this opportunity to tell your story and for also making us all feel so welcome too.

From Marie, Claudio & me @ ampimage.com

March 15, 2016

Like something you would see in a magazine.

About a month ago Marie visited a friend of Jillian’s, whose kitchen we where about shoot – which I talked about us shooting here: To tell a story – and she sent me an email to say:

“Welllll – I had a lovely morning meeting Emma – Jillian’s friend.
She is really good fun and totally up for a feature.
Couldn’t believe it – I have admired this house for years.”

The storyline:

The couple had always yearned for a period home – and as they had some experience renovating/extending their previous homes, they weren’t afraid to tackle one that needed a lot of work. And this one needed a vast amount of work as it had been badly converted to flats. Emma sourced period salvage items wherever possible to bring the house back to its former glory. She even built a little guest annex in the back garden using lovely old architectural salvage.

Anyway, Marie attached a few pictures to let me see it – this being one of them…
The sitting room of Emma and Graham Cooper's Victorian semi in Belfast.
.. and so last week it was time to see what we (as a team) could do.

The weather forecast said it would be cloudy for most of the day but didn’t predict there would be any rain; however, as we set-up for the first shot of the sitting room here…
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Emma and Graham Cooper's Victorian semi in Belfast.
.. it started to rain – or drizzle as we would call it, as that is what it usually is here in Ireland.

Anyway, while Stuart set-up the lights, Emma – whose beautiful house this was – was all go and totally focused as you can see here…
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Emma and Graham Cooper's Victorian semi in Belfast.
.. which is the sort of image I would often joke about, and say “Well that’s the homeowner shot done” when I capture something like this smile

Seriously though, Emma did work hard throughout the day here – and was clearly very pleased with what she had achieved – and so besides keeping a close eye on what was appearing on my screen, she recorded all her hard work too, on her iPad…
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Emma and Graham Cooper's Victorian semi in Belfast.
.. which put me to shame, as she made taking pictures look so easy wink

Anyway, after about 40 minutes of great team-work and a quick change of trousers too, it was time for Emma to strike her pose…
Emma Cooper in the sitting room of her Victorian semi in Belfast.
.. which she naturally did to perfection – as one would expect from a former cover girl, who clearly hadn’t lost her touch.

And the comments from the team the following day, when I sent them this image:
Stuart: “Absolutely beautiful!!!”
Mandi: “oooh lovely!!”
Marie: “Love it 🙂 “

I love it too – but like I said above, I’m very aware that the reason why people say things like that, when they look at my images, is because a lot of work will have gone into making them look like that – which sometimes I capture…
Emma Cooper cleaning the door handle during the shoot in her Victorian semi in Belfast.
.. just for the fun of it – as well as to complete the story here in my dairy – as this is what one doesn’t see when you are looking at the pictures in a glossy magazine.

Because this really was all about teamwork…
One of the first pictures taken in the kitchen of Emma and Graham Cooper's Victorian semi in Belfast.
.. followed by attention to detail…
One of the first pictures taken in the kitchen of Emma and Graham Cooper's Victorian semi in Belfast.
.. lots of fine tuning…
One of the first pictures taken in the kitchen of Emma and Graham Cooper's Victorian semi in Belfast.
.. and then finally – it was time to strike that perfect pose once again…
Emma Cooper in the kitchen of their Victorian semi in Belfast.
.. as you naturally would do, especially when there is a crowd of people standing behind the camera all looking at you, saying: “That’s like something you would see in a magazine” smile

Before starting all over again…
One of the first pictures taken in the bedroom of Emma and Graham Cooper's Victorian semi in Belfast.
.. to make it look like I did nothing at all, bar take some quick snaps with a very good camera, of whatever happened to be there…
Daughter's bedroom in Emma and Graham Cooper's Victorian semi in Belfast.
.. on a very nice day too.

Which in this case it was – as we all had a lot fun here, creating what I have no doubt will be, what you will see in one of the biggest selling glossy magazines very shortly.

And so on that note I’d just like to end by saying a big thanks to Emma and her husband Graham here – from Marie, Stuart & me – for inviting us in to tell your story – which is not only like something that you would see in a magazine, it will be something that you will see in a magazine… and hopefully very soon too smile

March 11, 2016

Interesting Interiors.

Was the title of a newspaper feature my Mum spotted yesterday, in the ‘Hot Property and cool living’ property supplement, inside the Newtownards Chronicle…
Page 23 in the 'Hot Property and cool living' property supplement inside The Newtownards Chronicle newspaper on the 10th of March 2016 about the shoot at Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
.. which was by Jillian Espey, whose cottage we shot at the start of the year and I talked about here: Everyone sees things differently and sees different things.

Anyway, this feature was all about her take on the shoot that day – which I naturally found very interesting – as Jillian clearly observed and took-in a lot more than I would have imagined.

Detail on page 23 in the 'Hot Property and cool living' property supplement inside The Newtownards Chronicle newspaper on the 10th of March 2016 about the shoot at Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.

“Claudio the lighting technician shone their lighting rig through the window to give the effect of sun – I was amazed!”

Plus she even remember what we would call the main shot or what we would consider to be the lead image…
Detail on page 23 in the 'Hot Property and cool living' property supplement inside The Newtownards Chronicle newspaper on the 10th of March 2016 about the shoot at Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
.. which in this case was this picture…
Jillian Espey in the sitting room of her former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
.. of Jillian in the sitting room.

So a very interesting feature indeed, especially for me to read…
Detail on page 23 in the 'Hot Property and cool living' property supplement inside The Newtownards Chronicle newspaper on the 10th of March 2016 about the shoot at Jillian Espey's former Fisherman's Cottage in the County Down village of Groomsport.
.. as it sort of tied in with what I had written about here: Everyone sees things differently and sees different things – as this was like the homeowner’s take on what we do and how they saw it.

So thank you Jillian and well spotted Mum smile

March 5, 2016

To tell a story.

Filed under: Photography,Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 10:36 am
Tags: , , ,

Because that is basically what we do, i.e. We try to create some images to tell a story, which we are hoping that others will want to read – and of course want to read badly enough, that they would be willing to pay us some money for the Rights to use our work – because this is what we do for a living.

So I’m basically a writer who uses light and a camera to tell a bunch of stories – and Marie checks my spelling and grammar smile

Anyway, the story line in this case was: A friend of Marie’s called Jillian and her husband Jim, recently purchased a beautiful 50’s detached house in their ideal location in Belfast; however, they found that the kitchen was to small and they really wanted a multi functional family space instead – so after lots of hard work to make their dream come true, while trying to stay within their budget, Jillian invited us along to photograph the final result.

Could have picked a better day to shoot it, was my thinking when the first images appeared on screen…
One of the first pictures taken in the kitchen of Jillian and Jim Donaldson's 1950's detached house in Belfast.
.. as it was ‘black as a boot’ outside, due to the fact that it was raining – but then this is Ireland, so nothing new about that smile

Anyway, with the camera in position, Marie set about doing her thing…
One of the first pictures taken in the kitchen of Jillian and Jim Donaldson's 1950's detached house in Belfast.
.. while I tried to figure out how I was going to light this – because it just didn’t seem to look as good on screen here, as it did to the eye.

Of course it didn’t help that I had forgot to bring my lighting stands with me – which was a first, as I had never don’t that before in all the years I have been doing this cry

Anyway, after a 2 hour drive back to the studio to get the stands, I was then good to go…
One of the first pictures taken in the kitchen of Jillian and Jim Donaldson's 1950's detached house in Belfast.
.. and about 30 minutes after that, it was time for Jillian to strike the pose – which as you can see she did to perfection…
Jillian Donaldson in the kitchen of her 1950's detached house in Belfast.
.. after we had made a few small changes to suit the camera.

So after a very slow start, which was all my fault, we then rattled of a number of other images to show the rest of this room, as well as details like this…
Shelves in the kitchen of Jillian and Jim Donaldson's 1950's detached house in Belfast.
.. to show the attention to detail – to complete the story.

A story, which I’m delighted to say, you will be able to see and read more about in the August issue of Style at Home magazine later on this year.

Which just leave me to say a big thanks to Jillian and her husband Jim for inviting us in to tell their story – as that’s what we do smile

From Mare & me, the story tellers, @ ampimage.com

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