Ashley Morrison's Blog

February 27, 2017

Taking a gamble to live the dream.

As one commission lead to us shooting 9 homes which resulted in 12 magazine features – and the best part (besides the amount of money that we ended up earning), was we had the time of our lives – which is what I would call “Living the dream” smile.

Which 10 years ago, is what we would have regularly done – and so day I’m going to talk about the one that we were actually commissioned to shoot, by Rachel from the BBC Worldwide – who was the Houses & Property Editor at that time for a magazine called Good Homes.

The commission by the way, like most of the commissions that I would receive from magazines (as well as from other types of clients too), was simply what I would call a Purchase Order – as it just informed me that they would agree to pay me X amount afterwards, for the Rights to use my images – but ONLY IF after having seen the final results, they did still actually want to use them (so be sure to read the small print too) wink.

So no, this wasn’t a “Work Made For Hire” type of agreement – which is where the client would agree to pay me for my time & expenses, irrespective of the results – this commissioning document that the BBC had sent to me beforehand, was just to let me know how much they would be prepared to me afterwards, for the Rights to use my work – should the Editor (after having seen the final results) want to use my images for a one time only editorial feature in one of their magazines.

Which like I said before, is pretty much the standard deal with most magazines – as they only want to pay for the use of the work, rather than pay me to do the work for them.

And so when I would have agreed to take on these type of assignments, especially the ones which would have involve a lot of travelling – I would have looked upon the original commission as being like ‘My ticket to travel’, to see what I could produce in that part of the world – not only for the commissioning client to use, but also for others to use as well.

A gamble – yes – but it was one that usually paid off – like it did in this case, as I managed to turn the original commissioning amount, into around £14000 worth of sales over the next few years. So with that sort of money to play with, naturally we had a lot of fun – as we tried to make the most of these opportunities that I had been presented with.

And what an opportunity it was, because if there is one name that will help open doors in almost any country in the world, it’s the BBC.
Which is another story for another time wink.

Anyway, like I said before, the original commission here was for me to provide the BBC with some images of Helen and Peter Hannick’s 18th century Italian farmhouse here…
Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. for them to use in their magazine called Good Homes.

Lying between the Tiber and Nera rivers, Poggio le Stalle is a 250 year old estate, not far from the town of Amelia here…
The Italian town of Amelia near Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse.
.. in the Umbria region of central Italy.

Inside was quite dark…
Behind the scenes at Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. so I was glad we had driven over with all the lighting gear – as this was one that I actually needed to punch quite a bit of light into – which I did while Marie & Rachel worked on what was in front of the camera – before it was time to photograph Helen here…
Helen Hannick in the living room of her Italian farmhouse near Amelia.
.. looking like she was “rather pleased with herself”, as Rachel would often say wink.

So while the girls turned the place upside down…
One of the first pictures taken in Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. before putting it all back together again…
One of the first pictures taken in Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. I worked away on the lighting – and this was the final result…
The dining area in Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. before moving into the kitchen…
One of the first pictures taken in Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. after some serious tidying up from the night before – as Rachel had flown over with some of her friends, who were also enjoying Helen and Peter’s hospitality here, as well as some of the product from the local vineyards wink.

So no shortage of bottles – especially empty ones – which obviously were removed along with the dishwasher…
The kitchen in Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. before doing the return shot…
Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. and then it was time to go up the stairs…
Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. to shoot some of the bedrooms and bathroom.

After that, we headed outside…
Behind the scenes at Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. to shoot Helen once again…
Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. this time with Michael, who helped her maintain the place – and who also over the next few days, not only show us around but also introducing us to the locals too…
Marie & Michael talking to the local polizia in the Italian Umbria region town of Amelia.
.. as he informed them all that The BBC was in town smile.

Anyway, that was the commission – and this was the result…
Pages 140 to 149 in the March 2007 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine.
.. which meant I did get paid in the end – for having taken a gamble to live the dream smile.

So a big thanks to Rachel from the BBC for this, as well as to Helen and Peter for inviting us in – and should you ever be in Italy looking for a place to stay, then Poggio le Stalle may be the prefect spot for you to live the dream too smile.

February 10, 2017

You’re a Genius.

Which is what Dizzi Alfons said to me several times throughout the day – when we were shooting his 18th-century former farmhouse here…
Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. called La Fattoria – which is set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.

Words which I naturally always remember – as that was obviously quite a compliment – especially from someone like Dizzi here…
Dizzi Alfons outside his 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. who was originally from Austria, but now owns property in Paris as well as here in Italy too – which in my book makes him the Genius, as I have never been able to figure-out how I could afford to do that wink.

Anyway, they say in the photography world:

“Amateurs talk about equipment, Pros talk about money, Masters talk about light”.

So from a Pros point of view here, since that is what I see myself as, the big question for me therefore was: What did he actually mean by that ?

Was it because of my photography skills or my lighting skills – or was it in fact to do, with me having obviously worked-out a way beforehand, to enable me to afford to do this type of work at this level ?

Because let’s face it, what I was actually doing here…
The sitting room in Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. wasn’t exactly Rocket Science.

However, to be able to afford to travel to Italy with a professional stylist like Marie here…
One of the first pictures taken outside Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse near Luccan in the Tuscany region of Italy.
.. wasn’t exactly a cheap thing to do – and since without her help…
One of the first pictures taken outside Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse near Luccan in the Tuscany region of Italy.
.. I knew my images wouldn’t look anywhere near as good – then the real ingenious part as far as I was concerned, wasn’t so much to do with the work that I was actually producing here…
The sitting room in Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. it was more to do with me having figure-out beforehand, how I was going to be able to afford to do this type of work, at this level…
The second floor library in Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. that we were now doing here.

Because I’m 99% sure that there are hundreds of others photographers out there, who could in fact produce just as good an images as I did here…
One of the guest bedroom in Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. IF ONLY they had the budget to play with and/or IF ONLY they could figure-out how they could possibly afford to work at this level…
The kitchen in Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. with a professional stylist like Marie here…
One of the first pictures taken in the dining area of Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse near Luccan in the Tuscany region of Italy.
.. who’s main job is basically to make sure that whatever is in front of the camera looked great…
The dining area in Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. which in-turn therefore made my image look great too smile.

So personally – since I tend to think of myself as a professional, rather than an amateurs or see myself as a Master – I think what Dizzi really meant when he said: “You’re a Genius Ashley”, is more to do with the money side of things – because “No money, No Funny” as one of my friends at college used to say smile.

Which is actually very true, as far as I’m concerned – because if you know that you don’t actually have the money to play with in the first place, then you simply can’t even begin to think of what is really possible.

Anyway, having already figured-out how licensing works (as I’d jointed the AOP back in 2002 and had read their book Beyond the Lens from cover to cover several times, in an attempt to move my business forward) – I was now not only able to live the dream but was also able to afford to create the dream too…
The swimming pool outside Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. for others to see & read about – in the likes of the BBC’s GoodHomes magazine…
Pages 84 to 89 in the February 2009 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine - featuring Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. which is where our work here finally appeared, on pages 84 to 89.

So when I look back at what we did here – The Italian Job – and remember those very kind words of Dizzi’s: “You’re a Genius Ashley” – which obviously made me smile at the time and still do – I can’t help but think to myself, “Yes I was” – because I’d managed to do something here that most will only ever be able to dream of doing.

Unless they too one day, can somehow figure-out a way first, to be able to afford to do what they would love to do – because it basically does all come down to The Money, as that is ‘the thing’ what will ultimately determine what you can afford to do or even think of doing before you begin.

Anyway, all of this happened long time before I started my Blog here, so I’m simply remembering the past today – as I look to the future, to see if I can come-up with another ingenious way to move my business forward – now that I’m older and possibly even a little bit wise too… than a Genius wink.

Seriously though, a huge thanks goes out to Dizzi here…
Dizzi Alfons outside his 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. for making us both feel so welcome at La Fattoria – as we obviously loved ever minute of being part of your dream…
Marie sitting outside Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.
.. which even to this day, we still both talk about – as that was definitely a day that we will never forget, nor do I ever want too – especially as it not ever often that someone will says to me: “You’re a Genius Ashley” smile.

January 31, 2017

Ship Shape

Is the title of our latest published work in the March 2017 issue of Ireland’s Homes Interiors & Living magazine…
The cover plus pages 60 to 71 in the March 2017 issue of Ireland's Homes Interiors & Living magazine featuring Eleanor and Stephen Blayney's mid terraced house called 'Marathon' in the County Down coastal town of Donaghadee.
.. on pages 60 to 71, as well as on the cover too – featuring Eleanor and Stephen Blayney’s mid terraced house called ‘Marathon’ in the County Down coastal town of Donaghadee.

“Eleanor and Stephen have used colour and light to make their coastal home a favourite port of call for friends and family.”

So just want to say a big Congratulations to Eleanor and Stephen here…
Eleanor and Stephen Blayney in the upstairs sitting room of their mid terrace called 'Marathon' in the County Down coastal town of Donaghadee.
.. for not only making it all Ship Shape for us to shoot, but also for making it onto the cover of this top selling Irish magazine too – from Marie, Mandi, me and the rest of the team here @ ampimage.com
Smile

January 3, 2017

The Folks on the Hill.

Is the title of our latest published work in the February 2017 issue of Ireland’s Homes Interiors & Living magazine…
The cover plus pages 74 to 85 in the February 2017 issue of Ireland's Homes Interiors & Living magazine featuring Rosemary and Harold Bothwell's cottage near Fivemiletown in County Tyrone.
.. on pages 74 to 85, as well as on the cover too – featuring Rosemary and Harold Bothwell’s cottage near Fivemiletown in County Tyrone.

“Rosemary had always loved the old cottage which overlooked the Fermanagh Lakelands so when she had the chance to buy it not even the challenges of restoring a listed building could stop her.”

Which I talked about shooting here: Wanting to be there – in the rain.

So just want to say a big Congratulations to Rosemary here…
Rosemary Bothwell in the kitchen of her cottage near Fivemiletown in County Tyrone.
.. for not only making it to the top of the hill, but also for making it onto the cover of this top selling Irish magazine too – from Marie, Mandi, me and the rest of the team here @ ampimage.com
Smile

December 10, 2016

The home page.

On the Straffan House home page today, I see they are now using some of the images that we created a few weeks ago – like of the Swimming pool with the swim-up bar…
The home page showing the swimming pool in Straffan House on the K Club's website.
.. the Dining room
The home page showing the dining room in Straffan House on the K Club's website.
.. the Drawing room
The home page showing the drawing room in Straffan House on the K Club's website.
.. and the Master bedroom here…
The home page showing the Master bedroom in Straffan House on the K Club's website.
.. which is still the part that I always love to see, i.e. how our work is used – even after all these years smile.

Looks amazing as far as I’m concerned – not that I’m bias or anything like that wink. – as it was and is an amazing place to start with – but Wow, I really do love how it looks now – so be sure to check it out, as I’m very proud to say that I was a part of this – as it was like a dream come true for me, after 30 years of practising the art of writing with light to tell a story.

November 28, 2016

Black Friday sale.

As we approach the end of another year, it was time to take advantage of the 50% off ‘Black Friday’ sale over the weekend smile.

So some new books have been printed…
A book called Irish Hotels by Ashley Morrison.
.. which even includes the work we did at Straffan House last week…
The dining room in Straffan House at The K Club near Straffan in County Kildare.
.. which I plan to write about later on this week – so watch this space, as that was a totally amazing shoot smile.

Anyway, Irish Hotels is a large format coffee table book containing a collection of hotel images created by me and my team over the past few years in Ireland – which I’m thinking should make for a very nice Christmas present, as well as hopefully help kick start the new year wink.

November 26, 2016

Seven years on.

Filed under: Publish work — Ashley Morrison @ 7:30 am
Tags: , , , , ,

And you can see our latest published work in the December 2016 issue of Architectural Digest magazine…
The December 2016 issue of Architectural Digest magazine in Russia featuring the kitchen in Marie and Alan McMillen's 1920's bungalow in the County Down town of Holywood.
.. in Russia – featuring this kitchen…
The kitchen table in Marie and Allan McMillen's 1920s bungalow in the County Down town of Holywood.
.. which we shot 7 years ago, in Marie and Alan’s 1920’s bungalow in the County Down town of Holywood.

So way to go you guys for creating this timeless look and to Steve at Chilli Media as well, who not only handled this deal but also sent me this file too – as that’s definitely another one that I’ll be putting in my portfolio Smile.

October 21, 2016

From Russia with Love.

It’s always nice to hear how our work being used, even if we never actually see it – however, sometimes we do – and whenever that happens, I do like to show it… as you may already know.

Anyway, recently we were asked about the use of some of our images that we had produced a number of years ago, as it seems Architectural Digest magazine in Russia wanted to use them.

So the agent who handled the deal, kindly sent me a pdf of the pages as seen in the magazine – so here is our latest published work in the July 2016 issue of Architectural Digest magazine…
The July 2016 issue of Architectural Digest magazine in Russia featuring the girls bedroom in Libby and Peter Johnston's 200-year-old stone cottage which overlooks Belfast in County Down.
.. in Russia, featuring the girls bedroom here…
The girls bedroom in Libby and Peter Johnston's 200-year-old stone cottage which overlooks Belfast in County Down.
.. in Libby and Peter Johnston’s 200-year-old stone cottage which overlooks Belfast in County Down.

And in the August 2016 issue…
The August 2016 issue of Architectural Digest magazine in Russia featuring the kitchen in Mary and Arthur McAllister's converted coach house near Portstewart in County Antrim.
.. which features the kitchen in Mary and Arthur McAllister’s converted coach house near Portstewart in County Antrim.

Which I talked about shooting here: It’s a tough old job – back in July 2011.

So way to go Libby – who can be here in her kitchen…
Libby Johnston in the kitchen of her 200-year-old stone cottage which overlooks Belfast in County Down.
.. and to Mary here too…
Mary McAllister in the kitchen of her converted coach house near Portstewart in County Antrim.
.. from Russia with love smile.

October 8, 2016

Irish Hotels

Filed under: Publish work — Ashley Morrison @ 10:15 am
Tags: , , ,

New coffee book printed…
Book called Irish Hotels by Ashley Morrison.
.. which included not only many of my favourite images that we have produced over the past 10 years but also some of our latest work too.

Irish Hotels by Ashley Morrison and his team over the past few years in Ireland.

Size: Large Format Landscape, 13×11in, 200 Pages.

September 11, 2016

The Exchange.

I’ve talked about Licensing here: Base Usage Rate – which is basically where one agrees beforehand, to hire oneself to do the work first, and then you ask your client (or clients) to paid you (when you go to invoice them afterwards) for the Rights to use that work (that you obviously own, after you have created the images).

So in away, this is a bit like agreeing to sell them ‘Stock images’ afterwards – all be it ones which you knew before you took them or produced them or even created them, that they would want to use them… as well as what they wanted to use them for, how long, etc, etc.

And I’ve talked about agreeing to do work made for hire here: A ‘Work Made For Hire’ type of agreement – which is basically where ones asks their client beforehand, to pay you for not only ‘your time’ to do whatever work it is that they wanted you to do for them, but also cover all of the other expenses too (like cameras, lights, lenses, computers, etc, etc) – so as you can then do whatever work it is, with that gear that they want you to use, during the time period that they have agreed to pay you for.

Both of these types of agreements can work well for both parties, as far as I’m concerned – as they are both pretty clear-cut and therefore easy to understand.

Today however I’m going to talk about The Exchange agreement – which is basically where one asks the client beforehand, to agree to pay you for your time to do the work (and possibly something towards your out-of-pocket expenses too) in exchange for the Rights to use any work that you do.
Which sounds straight forward enough – and is, so long as neither party asks to many questions and everyone just expects that once the invoice is paid, that’s it.
So the photographer gets what they want (which is to be paid for their time & expenses) and the client gets what they want (which is some images for them to use).

Which means everyone is happy smile

Happy that is, until like I said about, one or other parties starts to question what exactly the deal is or was here. For example, did the photographer agree to All Rights here (meaning the client would now own the Copyright) OR was it just for the Rights to use the work in All media for an Unlimited period of time throughout the World (meaning the photographer would still own the Copyright, but the client could use the images for as long as they liked, in anyway that they wanted to, etc, etc) Or was it for the Rights to use the work for less than this ?

And are we talking about Exclusive use here (meaning only this client can use the images) or are we talking about Non-exclusive use here (meaning others could also use these images too, including this clients competitors) ?

So what’s the deal ?

For example, the client agrees beforehand, to pay you £700 afterwards, for ‘your time & expenses’ to do have done the work – and exchange for that, you would agree to hire yourself to do the work first (which is why you would then naturally own it) and you would then grant them or give them what ??
Because it’s obviously not going to be ‘your time & expenses’ that you are going to be giving them here, even though that is what you have actually asked them to pay you for or what they have agreed to pay you for – so it’s what you are going to be giving them in exchange for paying you for this, that needs to be made clear here… before any work is done.

Or may be you don’t need to actually give them any images at all here – because if you were to pay a Musician for example, for their time & expenses, they wouldn’t automatically give you a copy of the music that they played, for you to use afterwards !!

Or if they where only prepared to pay you £400 here, instead of £700, then what would the deal be ?

Or if after seeing the final results, they said that they didn’t want to use any of the images (because they were all basically useless), then what would the deal be ?

Or what if they decided to use them for the next 10 years, rather than asking you back each year to shoot more – which you were banking on – then what would the deal be ?

Or which would you say is better: an image that only took you 5 minutes to produce that they wanted to use for the next 5 years in multiple media OR an image that took you 5 hours to produce that they only wanted to use for a few weeks in one media ?

And do you think the client would agree, i.e. the better image is always the one that they have to pay you more for, rather than the one that they would want to use more ??

In other words, does it actually matter what the images look like or how good they are or even if there are any images at all here !!

More questions than answers – many of which I would find hard to answer – which is why I wouldn’t recommend this type deal to anyone – even though I’m aware The Exchange deal is probably one of the most common type of deal that is use by photographer, especially by those who are just starting out – because at first it seems to be a very simply deal, which it is, so long as as neither party asks to many questions and everyone just expects that once the invoice is paid, that’s it wink

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