Ashley Morrison's Blog

January 27, 2011

We’ve maximised our living space.

Filed under: Publish work — Ashley Morrison @ 6:10 pm
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Is the title of our current work in in the March 2011 issue of Real Homes magazine…
Pages 34 to 41 in the March 2011 issue of Real Homes magazine featuring Pamela and Stephen Wilson's 60's semi in Belfast.
.. on pages 34 to 41 and also page 17 – featuring Pamela and Stephen Wilson’s 60’s semi in Belfast.

Beautiful !!! – what else can I say but go out and buy it and have a look.

So a big Thanks to Pamela here…
Pamela Wilson's in the living room of her 60's semi in Belfast.
.. and her husband Stephen – and Congratulations once again to both of you… your home looks great.

December 29, 2010

Licence to use.

And why you should use it to avoid misunderstandings down the road.

It is, in my opinion, a very important document…
Licence to use
.. which every Photographer should be making use of – especially today in this digital age.

It’s not an Invoice or a Model Release form – it’s a separate document – which is basically​ designed to help avoid misunderstandings, between you and your Clients or anyone else who may be handling or wanting to use your images.

Remember, the guys in the ‘art department’ ​may never see your Invoice – which contains the usage agreement information – because it may have been sent straight to the ‘accounts department’. So that’s where this document comes into play – it’s a separate document, that stays with your images – designed to help prevent misunderstandings down the road.

Filling in this document is simple – just tick the boxes & fill in the blanks.
Then print it out and staple it to your contact sheets, put a pdf file of it on the CD along with your images, email it to your client… whatever it takes – so as everyone knows what has been agreed (which obviously needs to tally​ with what you have written on your Invoice) – as well as what has not been agreed to, which can be even more important to sometimes clearly show too.

The example below is based on the Association of Photographer’s Licence document, which for a while one could have downloaded from their website …along with other useful documents & forms.

(Please note: Having used this document for a number of years now, I have made a few minor changes to their standard template, but it’s basically still the same)

Then print their standard Terms & Conditions on the back, which is relevant to where you are based.

That’s it – my No.1 tip of the day for all Photographers – to help avoid misunderstandings down the road.

Below are the basic definitions of the Media Use terms and what each covers:-

. Ambient – includes: garage forecourt, airport and rail station screens and all public areas where advertising is screened.
. Billboards / Posters – includes: 96/48/16/12/4 sheet, superlites, escalator panels, bus sides & panels, taxis wraps & seats, bus backs, tube, underground.
. Brochure / Catalogue.
. Direct Mail – includes: door drop leaflets & postcards.
. Inserts / Prints.
. Marketing Aids – includes: umbrellas, ashtrays, beer mats, exhibition panels, trolley panels, etc.
. Magazine ads – includes: advertorial features, ads & PR.
. Magazine editorial.
. Newspaper – includes: advertorial features, ads & PR.
. Packaging.
. Point of sale – also known as ‘Point of Purchase’.
. PR – images used to promote within a press editorial/advertorial or trade handout.
. Press – includes: trade, consummer, local, national, magazine & newspapers.
. Television / Cinema – includes: interactive TV, Video, mobiles, CD ads.
. Worldwide web – includes: email ads & internet use.

For more information on this, buy the AOP’s book Beyond the Lens“the essential guide to rights, ethics and business practice in professional photography” – which can be purchased from their website in one of two forms: conventional printed book form or immediate electronic downloads.

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 between them is relatively small – and therefore it’s not worth their while worrying too 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’ …
.. 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 kept 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.)

December 9, 2010

Yes we’ll take this!

Are you impressed at the speed of my response?!

Was the reply we received from the Houses Editor of Country Homes & Interiors magazine this afternoon, less than 10 minutes after submitting yesterday’s images.

But then again, I guess it’s not every day you get snow like this in Ireland…
Nicola and Andy Nemec's farmhouse near Armoy in County Antrim at Christmas.
.. with golden sunlight and a beautiful blue sky to boot.

So we did our best to make the most of it…
Nicola Nemec with her children playing in the snow outside their farmhouse near Armoy in County Antrim.
.. as the weather conditions were perfect – as was the kitchen table…
The kitchen dining table in Nicola and Andy Nemec's farmhouse near Armoy in County Antrim at Christmas.
.. so we pushed this one forward at the very last minute.

Which meant it was all hands onboard as both Nicola & Marie scrambled to get the whole house ready…
.. in record speed. And because the days are short now, that meant no time for tea breaks or hanging about – plus on my side, additional lighting was required at the end of the day, to light-up the last few rooms.

But we did it – and what a result…
The girls bedroom in Nicola and Andy Nemec's farmhouse near Armoy in County Antrim at Christmas.
.. to which I replied:

Wow … that was fast <img

So one to look out for in next year's Christmas issue of Country Homes & Interiors magazine – and I’d just like to say a huge Thanks and Congratulations to Nicola & her family here… for everything.

December 4, 2010

2 in a row.

Filed under: Publish work — Ashley Morrison @ 7:43 pm
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Two features in the January 2011 issue of Period Ideas magazine this month.

“With 180 pages of advice and inspiration, Period Ideas is the biggest traditional homes magazine on the market. Covering everything from the bricks-and-mortar of renovation to the most beautiful interiors, you’ll find every issue full of practical wisdom and design suggestions from some of the UK’s leading experts.”

So congratulations to Wendy and John Goody…
Pages 12 to 17in the January 2011 issue of Period Ideas magazine featuring Wendy and John Goody's 17th-century cottage in East Sussex.
.. who’s 17th-century cottage in East Sussex is on pages 12 to 17 – and to Pauline Bingham…
Pages 20 to 25 in the January 2011 issue of Period Ideas magazine featuring Pauline Bingham's 1980s chalet in the County Down town of Bangor at Christmas.
.. who’s 1980s chalet in the County Down town of Bangor is on pages 20 to 24.

Plus a big thanks to Steve at Chilli Media once again, for making it 2 x 2 in a row.

October 13, 2010

Day 5 on our road trip.

Today we were working again with Liz and Jim Gibney (who provide an interior and refurbishment service) here in the French Riviera near the village of Saint Paul-de-Vence.

People love to entertain friends in their homes – and beautiful table settings are very much a major part of creating the right ambiance for the evening !!

So one of today’s main shots was to show this…
Setting up the table shot
.. as our goal here was to create a beautifully elegant, yet simple, dining shot…
The dining table in Jim and Liz Gibney's home near the French Riviera village of Saint-Paul de Vence.
.. that shows the gorgeous table ware, accessories and furniture that Liz sources and sells in her shop/studio: Coup de Foudre, in the picturesque little hilltop walled village of Saint Paul-de-Vence.

Obviously, we produced a few other images as well, while we were there – but on day 5, I think this will be the main image that we will all remember it for.

So that was day 5 on our road trip – more to follow – from Marie & me in the south of France… which I have got to say, we we absolutely love 🙂

October 12, 2010


Woke up this morning to a beautiful day here in Saint Paul-de-Vence
The view from Janet's balcony.
.. and so we decided to make the most of the good weather and the amazing view…
The view from Janet Hamilton's villa 'Jasmin' near the French Riviera village of Saint Paul-de-Vence.
.. from the balcony of Janet’s villa – which we were shooting today.

The storyline:

The setting is simply out of this world – you can clearly see the stunning medieval village of St Paul De Vence from the balcony – and the villa itself was built in traditional Provençal style. Every direction you turn, there are beautiful towns and places to see and visit – from sleepy little villages in the mountains to buzzy cosmopolitan towns on the coast – bliss!!

Janet and her husband Ken toyed with all sorts of ideas about furnishing and decorating their villa – which incidentally is called Jasmin Villa because Jasmin trails over the balcony – when you throw open the shutters, the scent fills the air and is something else !!

Anyway, it was then into the main bedroom, which Marie sorted out very quickly…
Setting up the bedroom shot in Janet's villa.
.. while I lit it up to complete the dream…
The main bedroom in Janet Hamilton's villa 'Jasmin' near the French Riviera village of Saint Paul-de-Vence.
.. before finally heading down to courtyard area…
Setting up the courtyard shot at Janet's villa.
.. which Marie styled to perfection…
The courtyard at Janet Hamilton's villa 'Jasmin' near the French Riviera village of Saint Paul-de-Vence.
.. as I put up netting to reduce the contrast, before we sat down to enjoy what we had just shot 🙂

So that was basically day 4 – which we would like to thank Coup de Foudre for the tablecloth and cushions – and Janet for giving us the opportunity to produce such lovely images – in what has got to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

From Marie & me – in the French Riviera.

September 18, 2010

Castle Leslie

Having fun producing these videos – which I feel give a new lease of life to our images and show what else they can be use for – in this ever changing world in which we live in.

So here is our latest YouTube video, which shows the series of images we produced back in 2008, at Castle Leslie Estate in County Monaghan.

Some of these images were produced for Castle Leslie to use and some where produced for editorial use – which have now been featured in both 25 Beautiful Homes magazine and NI Homes & Lifestyle magazine. Ideal Home magazine also ran with some other images we produced here, which showed ‘Wee Joey Farm Hand’ cottage – the home of their Chef, Matt King and his wife Shauna.

Castle Leslie Estate
Life, the way it’s supposed to be.

This Castle Hotel in County Monaghan is nestled on 1,000 acres of undulating Irish countryside, dotted with ancient woodland and glittering lakes, Castle Leslie Estate Monaghan is one of the last great Irish Castle estates still in the hands of its founding family. Since the 1660s, the distinguished and somewhat individual Leslie family has lived on the Castle Estate, welcoming everyone from politicians to poets, ambassadors to ufologists to one of the finest luxury hotels Ireland.
Now you too can experience some of the most unique and enchanting castle accommodation in Ireland. Following significant investment and a major restoration programme over the last decade, the beautiful Castle Estate is waiting to be discovered. Located in Co. Monaghan, Ireland, the Estate is only 80 minutes from Dublin and 60 minutes from Belfast. Full of character and personality, it’s the ultimate Irish rural escape and boasts a variety of accommodation and activities to suit all tastes. A truly private and stunningly beautiful estate, it is a magical setting for your special event or wedding celebration.
The Castle, at the heart of the Estate, offers authentic original interiors and old-style hospitality and is a complete respite from the world. The Lodge is the social hub of the Estate and brings locals and guests together in an atmosphere of conviviality and comfort. The Old Stable Mews is the perfect spot for groups that want the convenience of hotel living combined with private self catering.
The Estate offers an idyllic setting for outdoor activity and adventure. It’s the perfect place to discover the thrill of exploring the countryside on horseback or foot. You can spend a few hours fishing on one of Ireland’s best-preserved lakes. Alternatively, you might prefer to enjoy a massage in the Victorian Treatment Rooms at the end of an activity packed day or relax with a book in one of our many beautiful rooms while staying at one of the finest Castle Hotels Ireland.

Castle Leslie Estate
Tel: +353 47 88100.

August 28, 2010

Hectic Harmony…

.. and the series of captures which led up to the final images produced, at the CityNorth Hotel in County Meath this week:

It’s hectic – but shows the amount of work and attention to detail, that goes into each and every image – as we piece it together and work around their guests too.
“Great images don’t just happen” – which is something we would often say to clients – and I feel this video shows what we mean by that.

Music: Hectic Harmony by Musicshake.

Enjoy !

August 21, 2010

Creating the images…

The series of captures which lead up to the final image – from some of our recent hotel bedroom shoots…

just for you !

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