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.

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.

July 9, 2016

Freestanding units keep it casual.

Filed under: Publish work — Ashley Morrison @ 2:32 pm
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Is the title of our latest published work in the August 2016 issue of Style at Home magazine…
Pages 100 to 103 in the August 2016 issue of Style at Home magazine featuring the kitchen in Jillian and Jim Donaldson's 1950's detached house in Belfast.
.. on pages 100 to 103 – which features the kitchen in Jillian and Jim Donaldson’s 1950’s detached house in Belfast.

“Stylist at Home Jillian, 46, extended her kitchen and gave it a laid-back country look with standalone cabinets and painted furnishings.”

Which I talked about shooting here: To tell a story – in March of this year.

So just want to say a big Congratulations to both Jim and Jillian here…
Jillian Donaldson in the kitchen of her 1950's detached house in Belfast.
.. for making it into this national magazine – from Marie, Mandi & 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 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

February 28, 2016

“WOW, I take my hat off to you Ashley! Just wonderful”

Was the lovely reply from Amanda, after I sent her the web link to let her see the final results, as we had been shooting her Victorian town house a few days before.

Amanda loves renovating old period properties – so this was actually the fourth renovation of her’s that we were shooting here, as we find the Editors of the various magazines that we would submit to, just love what she does.

So a easy one for Marie, as it was pretty much sitting up camera ready, which therefore gave her plenty of time to take some pictures of Stuart here…
Stuart & me.
.. and me at work.

Where we produced a load of images like this…
The kitchen in Amanda and Keith's renovated Victorian town house in Belfast.
.. of the over all kitchen – before swapping over the camera system…
Stuart & me.
.. to zoom in on detail areas like this…
Clocks in the kitchen of Amanda and Keith's renovated Victorian town house in Belfast.
.. of the clocks on the wall.

Marie refer to Amanda’s style as being “shabby chic feminine decor” – so after a nice cup of tea with little finger in the air…
Me drinking Tea.
.. it was time to shoot the dog house…
Dog house in the kitchen of Amanda and Keith's renovated Victorian town house in Belfast.
.. and then into the sitting room…
Stuart & Amanda.
.. which when light, was where I shot Amanda with her two boys, Bailie and Oliver…
Amanda with her two sons Bailie & Oliver in the sitting room of their renovated Victorian town house in Belfast.
.. before shooting lots of details areas like this…
Picture in the sitting room of Amanda and Keith's renovated Victorian town house in Belfast.
.. which was like a work of art within a work of art smile

There was so much to shoot here – so we called it a day early and then came back the following morning, to shot the up-stair areas – which again Amanda worked very hard on…
Amanda.
.. while I stood around…
Me.
.. and Marie took some pictures of…
Me.
.. of me with my two arms folded – “There is no work in me” Marie wink

Anyway, this was one of the many results…
The bathroom in Amanda and Keith's renovated Victorian town house in Belfast.
.. which Amanda here…
Amanda at work
.. should be rightly proud of – as even this landing area…
The Landing area in Amanda and Keith's renovated Victorian town house in Belfast.
.. looked Picture Perfect to me.

So a big thanks to you Amanda, because “WOW, I take my hat off to you” – as this was just wonderful to shoot too smile

From Marie, Stuart & me, who had little to do, so this is just to say: “Thank you”.

December 16, 2015

Looking back.

As I look forward to what 2016 may have in store for us.

Currently trying to tidy-up the studio a bit – or the Top Hen House as I call it, as that is what it once was – and I do still remember as a young boy, collecting eggs in there every day after school to make some money – which after about 10 years, was enough to enable me to buy my first camera smile

Anyway, as you can imagine, 40 years on, there isn’t any hens in there anymore; however, there is now a lot more in there than just that one wee camera.
Mountains of stuff in fact – and boxes piled high with stuff that does bring back a lot of memories too.

Especially the props and items we would have used on jobs like this…
The room set inside a warehouse near Dungannon where we were prodcing an image of the Ribbed Shaker Sandy Birch kitchen by OS Doors Ltd.
.. which is we were shooting kitchen & bedroom sets a warehouse near Dungannon.

Ten years ago – but it really doesn’t seem that long ago that Marie here…
Marie working in the room set inside a warehouse near Dungannon where we were prodcing an image of the Ribbed Shaker Sandy Birch kitchen by OS Doors Ltd.
..and the guys from OS doors…
Working in the room set inside a warehouse near Dungannon where we were prodcing an image of the Ribbed Shaker Sandy Birch kitchen by OS Doors Ltd.
.. were working on this set.

This was actually just one of 5 sets that was built…
One of the room sets inside a warehouse near Dungannon where we were prodcing an image of the Ribbed Shaker Sandy Birch kitchen by OS Doors Ltd.
.. all which we were also able to shot from different angles too…
One of the room sets inside a warehouse near Dungannon.
.. which meant we were able to work on some while the others were still being completed…
One of the room sets inside a warehouse near Dungannon.
.. so needless to say, this was a huge lighting…
One of the bedroom sets inside a warehouse near Dungannon.
.. and styling job too…
Prague-Ivory bedroom doors by OS Doors Ltd with French fabrics known as 'toile de jouy' and 'ticking'
.. which actually kept us pretty busy throughout that year – as there was something like 60 kitchen & bedrooms sets to shoot in total.

This being the very first one we shot…
A Ribbed Shaker sandy birch kitchen with island unit by OS Doors Ltd.
.. which was then use in their over sized A3 catalogue, as seen here…
A Ribbed Shaker sandy birch kitchen with island unit by OS Doors Ltd.
.. along with just a few of the other images we produced at the time too.

And I see they are still using many of these images on their website too….
A Ribbed Shaker sandy birch kitchen with island unit by OS Doors Ltd.
.. even after all this time – as well in their more current ‘Posh Kitchens Cosy bedrooms’ catalogue…
Kitchen and Bedroom door catalogue by OS Doors Ltd.
.. which included many new images that we produced in the showroom at their factory too.

Anyway, I still have many of the items that we used in these images, in boxes gathering dust – so I think it’s time that much of that was sent to the local land-fill site. Still, some of the stuff is pretty timeless I reckon – which is often what we would aim for too, when we are creating images for others to use, i.e. timeless images that they would want to use of years to come.

So just looking back here, as I look forward to what 2016 may have in store for us, as we approach the end of another year – as I really enjoyed doing this type of work.

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com

October 23, 2015

The kitchen is now the heart of our home.

Is the title of our most recent published work in the November 2015 issue of Style at Home magazine…
Pages 90 to 92 in the November 2015 issue of Style at Home magazine featuring the kitchen in Nicola and Ray Anderson's period house in the County Down town of Donaghadee.
.. on pages 90 to 92 – featuring the kitchen in Nicola and Ray Anderson’s period house in the County Down town of Donaghadee.

‘Stylist at Home Nicola, 44, put together a contemporary open-plan kitchen with a vintage twist to match her 1920s home’.

Which we talked about shooting here: Free-standing.

So congratulations to Ray and Nicola here…
Nicola Anderson in the kitchen of her period house in the County Down town of Donaghadee.
.. your kitchen is now in the heart of many Style at Home readers too smile

From Marie, Mandi & me.

October 22, 2015

Straight forward.

Located in the Rosetta area of Belfast…
Lisa & Conor McCann's detached house located in the Rosetta area of Belfast.
.. was where we were shooting recently, in Lisa & Conor’s detached house.

Which was a straight forward one for Marie…
Marie working in the kitchen of Lisa & Conor McCann's detached house located in the Rosetta area of Belfast.
.. Claudio…
Claudio in the kitchen of Lisa & Conor McCann's detached house located in the Rosetta area of Belfast.
.. and even for Lisa herself…
Lisa McCann in the kitchen of her detached house located in the Rosetta area of Belfast.
.. as we all felt this house suited this ‘straight down the middle’ type of style.

So while Marie posed in her usual way…
Marie working in the sitting room of Lisa & Conor McCann's detached house located in the Rosetta area of Belfast.
.. Claudio sorted out the wires…
Claudio working in the sitting room of Lisa & Conor McCann's detached house located in the Rosetta area of Belfast.
.. and after some rearranging for the furniture, plus a wee touch of sun light…
The sitting room in Lisa and Conor McCann's detached house located in the Rosetta area of Belfast.
.. it really was as simple as that.

The Storyline:

“Basically a major extension and renovation job !!!!
They specifically chose a popular suburb for good schools and links – and also, they welcomed the idea of a project.
They built a large extension to create a new kitchen and bathroom – and also a roof conversion.”

The bathroom was very impressive…
The bathroom in Lisa and Conor McCann's detached house located in the Rosetta area of Belfast.
.. which once again was pretty straight forward to shoot, style & light – and the bedroom in the roof conversion was also pretty straight forward too…
Bedroom in Lisa and Conor McCann's detached house located in the Rosetta area of Belfast.
.. so were in & out in record time on this one – and had a confirmed Yes please from the Editor at 25 Beautiful Homes magazine before lunch time the following day – so a fantastic result all around smile

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