Ashley Morrison's Blog

January 2, 2014

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 where 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 have 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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September 10, 2012

Real Estate

Back at Doonbeg last week…
The court yard at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in County Clare.
.. to shoot a number of cottages and suites that are currently for sale – so basically we were being asked to do what some would call ‘Real Estate photography’, which really is the same as ‘Advertising photography’ as far as I’m concerned, as these images will in fact be used to advertise & market that these properties are for sale.

“Real estate at Doonbeg Lodge combines luxury accommodations and five-star amenities for good times with your family and friends. Each of the cottages and suites have been constructed to the highest specifications, with French limestone floors, marble bathrooms, expansive bedrooms, spacious living areas and gourmet kitchens – as well as spectacular panoramic views across the fairways and surrounding coastal landscape”.

Anyway, started as usual by taking a quick picture of the first of the cottages to get the ball rolling…
First picture taken of the living room area in one of the cottages at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in the Irish County of Clare.
.. and then as usual turned of the lights to see how the natural light looked…
On of the first picture taken of the living room area in one of the cottages at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in the Irish County of Clare.
.. and so while Carl then started to work on the lighting…
Carl Czanik setting up the lighting gear in one of the cottages at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in the Irish County of Clare.
.. Marie as usual added the finishing touches to what was in front of the camera – and so before to long, we had our first image of this room…
Living room area in one of the cottages at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in the Irish County of Clare.
.. in the bag.

A quick bedroom shot and then it was over to the next cottage, where once again I started by taking a quick shot…
Living room area in one of the cottages at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in the Irish County of Clare.
.. while Carl worked this time on blocking the light…
Carl Czanik setting up the lighting gear in one of the cottages at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in the Irish County of Clare.
.. as well as adding some too – and after Marie had done her thing, it wasn’t long before we had the living room area in this second cottage done…
Living room area in one of the cottages at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in the Irish County of Clare.
.. which when compared to this bedroom in that same cottage…
First picture taken of the bedroom in one of the cottages at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in the Irish County of Clare.
.. was a doddle – as I reckon it took us twice as long to create the final image of this room, as seen here…
Bedroom in one of the cottages at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in County Clare.
.. due mainly to me struggling to control the light.

Anyway, lots of beautiful detail area throughout the place, so we also produce a series of images like this…
Dining area in one of the cottages at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in County Clare.
.. as well as the main over all room images too.

Lots of pushing and shoving at times, so it was great to have Carl with us…
First picture taken of the living room area in one of the bedroom suites at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in the Irish County of Clare.
.. to not only help with that but to also help with the lighting of course – as I often needed him to hang-out the windows with the 3k, to give me some directional light like so in this living room area…
Living room area in one of bedroom suite at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in County Clare.
.. in this suite which was on the top floor.

“Imagine a coastal haven, hidden on a sheltered corner of the wild Atlantic Ocean – luxurious yet unpretentious – where world-class golf meets an intimate spa – where every taste is catered to and every request considered.
Imagine a rugged landscape that stretches as far as the eye can see, across rolling waves and sand dunes and thousands of years of stories, buried within them.
Imagine a grand, Irish country house, where the staff welcomes you home”.

And so it was very much a team effort this one…
First picture taken of a bedroom in one of the suites at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in the Irish County of Clare.
.. but what an amazing place…
Bedroom in one of the suites at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in the Irish County of Clare.
.. as I just loved these rooms.

Anyway, they say a picture is worth a 1000 words
First picture taken of the living room area in one of the cottages at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in the Irish County of Clare.
.. so we changed a few words here…
The living room area in one of the cottages at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in the Irish County of Clare.
.. as we weren’t there to just take some pictures…
First picture taken of the living room area in one of the cottages at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in the Irish County of Clare.
.. we were there because they wanted us to create some images instead…
The living room area in one of the cottages at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in the Irish County of Clare.
.. to help them complete the story they wanted to tell – or should I say sell in this case – as they are wanted to be able to use these images to advertise & market these properties are for sale, in various media for the next few years throughout the World.

So that’s Real Estate photography for you – done the ampimage way – by Marie, Carl & me at this coastal haven known as the Lodge at Doonbeg.

January 25, 2011

How beautiful images…

.. and a photo shoot can change peoples’ perceptions and feelings for their home.

A lot of the discussion at yesterday’s shoot was whether the owners of this very pretty cottage style bungalow…
Patricia and Christopher Abbott's detached cottage in the County Down town of Bangor.
.. should move to a larger house in order to get more space – or stay put and extend.

They’d tried putting their home on the market – but selling homes in the current climate is difficult to say the least!!
After a while, people trying to sell their home can become very disenfranchised and disheartened.
They begin to wonder “what’s wrong with my home” !!

So when a team like ourselves come along ‘out of the blue’ and tell them their home is gorgeous and we’d like to shoot it for a magazine – it often reminds folk why they fell in love with the home and bought it in the first place.

And then when they see our final images, which are all about lifestyle…
Patricia Abbott in the living room of her detached cottage in Bangor.
.. and atmosphere…
Patricia Abbott in the living room of her detached cottage in Bangor.
.. which is different to how the Estate Agency’s photographer’s picture below looks…
54641135.jpg
.. which is more about showing the space – they suddenly seem to look at their home with fresh eyes, remember the lovely times they’ve enjoyed there…
Finuala in her bedroom.
.. and begin to feel happy with it once again.

Which this is actually something we’re encountering quite a lot, especially over the last few years.

And the upshot with yesterday’s shoot – well Yes, it very much looks like the Patricia and Christopher are going to stay put and extend.
They have remembered what a unique home they have and why they fell in love with it in the first place !!

Anyway, just like to say a big thanks to Patricia and Christopher for making us feel so welcome yesterday – and we hope you & your family enjoy your new found unique home, for many more years to come 🙂

From Marie & me @ www.ampimage.com

December 11, 2010

How good…

.. do the images need to be to help sell a home ???

That was the big Question-of-the-day, during the shoot yesterday …
First picture taken in the sitting room of Mairead and Owen McIntyre's Victorian terrace in the university area of Belfast.
.. where there was much discussion, about whether or not the owners of this particular home…
The sitting room in Mairead and Owen McIntyre's Victorian terrace in the university area of Belfast.
.. in the university area of Belfast, should perhaps invest in better images than these:
The sitting room.

The dining room.
.. which are being used by the estate agency – to at least help get more people through the door – which after all, is a big part of what ‘advertising’ is all about.

It’s a difficult one to answer – because if someone is looking for a certain type of home in a particular area, will they find it regardless ?
Is it really therefore all about: Location, Location, Location ?
Or will better images…
The dining area in Mairead and Owen McIntyre's Victorian terrace in the university area of Belfast.
.. perhaps widen the net ?

For the most part, we know there really isn’t the budget set aside for Estate Agent photography, to be more than a series of quick shots – so that does need to be taken into account – even though their actual Usage requirements are often a lot.
(Which usually is the thing that will determine the importance of the images to the client – and therefore their budget).

With Estate Agents – because of their pricing structure – which is more based on the final sale value – it’s very different e.g.
1% of 300,000 = 3,000
1% of 275,000 = 2,750
So as you can see, the difference to them is relatively small – and therefore it’s not worth their while worrying to much about this.

By comparison, shooting an editorial feature for magazines, will usually mean the photographer will have a much larger budget to play with – even though the client’s actual Usage requirements are often less – so the photographer can afford to spend more time on the job – light, style, hire others to help, and even re-arrange the furniture, etc, if need be.

Naturally the Editors of the magazines will be more demanding as a result – and will want their Readers to be “drawn into” the home, rather than simply show them the space…
The upstairs living room.
Make it look real…
Mairead and Owen McIntyre in the upstairs living room of their Victorian terrace in the university area of Belfast.
.. but complete the dream as well.

Having said that, the features are usually more about the decor, the homeowner’s style, what they did, and even the homeowners themselves in some cases.
So a different set of images is required – all be it the same subject matter and even the same framing (as seen here) – for these two different clients – who are actually targeting very similar markets, in a different way.

Still, back to the original question: How good do the images need to be to help sell a home ?
.. and where does one draw the line between: Good, Very good and Good enough ?

Do you simply just need to show the ‘Steak’ …
Bedroom.
.. or should you be actually trying to sell a bit of the ‘Sizzle’ too …
Guest bedroom in Mairead and Owen McIntyre's Victorian terrace in the university area of Belfast.
.. more inline with what you expect to see in the magazines you buy & read each month.

It’s a huge market – and for many, it will be the single biggest ‘thing’ they will ever sell – which means there is often a lot of money on the line.
So should they invest more money in this .. and if so, how much ?

Note: In the world of Advertising, the rule of thumb is up to 5% of your media spend.

We don’t have the answers – but we often hear of the homeowner’s disappointment, as to how their home looks – at a time when it’s important to them. So we keeping coming back to these questions – to see if we can find the answers.

Any suggestions or comments are most welcome.

(Added note on the 18th January 2011: Ideal Home – Britain’s best-selling homes magazine – said ‘Yes’ to this home, so you will be able to see the full set of images we produced in their magazine later on this year.)

September 4, 2010

The French Connection.

Trying to put our years of experience working in advertising to good use – when Marie decided to renovate this old house…
Marie and Alan McMillen's 1920's semi detached house in the tree-lined Cherryvalley area of Belfast.
.. to put on the market.

So we photographed the it to what we would call ‘full National magazine’ standard…
The hallway in Marie and Alan McMillen's 1920's semi detached house in the tree-lined Cherryvalley area of Belfast.

The living room in Marie and Alan McMillen's 1920's semi detached house in the tree-lined Cherryvalley area of Belfast.

The kitchen in Marie and Alan McMillen's 1920's semi detached house in the tree-lined Cherryvalley area of Belfast.
.. and also put together a YouTube video.

The house is only on the market 2 weeks; however, it has already attracted widespread interest – lots of viewings, 460 hits on YouTube and a key slot in the recent Belfast Telegraph homefinder newspaper – as seen here:
Belfast Telegraph homefinder newspaper.

Because of the current economic climate, we believe top class imagery and creative marketing has never been more important – be it filling hotels, selling kitchens, or as in this case, marketing a house is For Sale.

Time will tell of course – but very pleased with the results so far – and the interest that this one has attracted.
In fact, we may now be of to the south of France, to do the same thing there, for someone else – as a result.

So the French Connection may actually turn-out to be more than just a headline in the local newspaper !!

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