Ashley Morrison's Blog

September 20, 2015

Overlooking Belfast Lough.

This week we headed to Holywood in County Down (as opposed to Hollywood in American) were we produce some images of this magnificent house…
Anna and Jamie McMinnis's contemporary detached house which overlooks the County Down town of Holywood and Belfast Lough.
.. which belongs to Anna & Jamie McMinnis.

Pretty stunning – as were the view too, as it looked out over Belfast Lough – which on a day like this, was something else.

Anyway, inside was equally impressive – to the eye anyway – but as can be seen here…
One of the first picture taken in the living room area of Anna & Jamie McMinnis's contemporary detached house which overlooks the County Down town of Holywood and Belfast Lough.
.. what looks good to the eye, doesn’t always look good for the camera – or at least not as good as one would like it to be sometimes.

So the team when to work on this one – Claudio set-up the lights and Marie…
One of the first picture taken in the living room area of Anna & Jamie McMinnis's contemporary detached house which overlooks the County Down town of Holywood and Belfast Lough.
.. well she posed for another ‘a behind the scenes’ image by the looks of it wink

Anyway, after both Marie & Claudio had done their thing, the transform was from the camera’s point of view, was now more like what my eye was seeing, i.e. a beautiful room which would look amazing especially if the sun was pouring in.
So once we had achieved that, then it was time for a shot of Anna – and this was the result…
Anna McMinnis in the living room area of her contemporary detached house which overlooks the County Down town of Holywood and Belfast Lough.
.. as she posed to perfection, to complete the story we were trying to tell here.

The kitchen was next…
One of the first picture taken in the kitchen of Anna & Jamie McMinnis's contemporary detached house which overlooks the County Down town of Holywood and Belfast Lough.
.. which as you can see here…
The kitchen of Anna & Jamie McMinnis's contemporary detached house which overlooks the County Down town of Holywood and Belfast Lough.
.. required very little work, besides the placement of a few very nice cups and the controlling of the light.

And so it was throughout this contemporary style house – Claudio worked on the lighting, Marie posed for another behind​ the sense shot…
One of the first picture taken in the TV room of Anna & Jamie McMinnis's contemporary detached house which overlooks the County Down town of Holywood and Belfast Lough.
.. as well as added the final touches too – which, joking aside, I think she is brilliant at – and I took lots of pictures like this…
The TV room in Anna & Jamie McMinnis's contemporary detached house which overlooks the County Down town of Holywood and Belfast Lough.
.. to complete the story that we were all trying to tell – which was simply to say, it looks amazing, as you can see Smile​

Anna’s reply, after I sent her a link to preview our work, as well as her own of course:

“Thank you very much, Ashley, ​for sending us the photographs, they look stunning!”

“Praise is bread to an artist” – so thank you and thank you for inviting us in too – because we felt that your house and what you had done here inside it, was pretty stunning too – so great teamwork​ is how I would see it Smile​

From Marie, Claudio & me overlooking Belfast Lough in Holywood.

August 6, 2015

Working hard or hardly working !

Near the seaside town of Portaferry in County Down, is where you will find this thatched cottage…
Jill and David Crawford's thatched cottage near the town of Portaferry in County Down.
.. which belongs to Jill & David Crawford.

“Picture perfect” as they would say – but nevertheless Marie here…
Marie in the sitting room of Jill and David Crawford's thatched cottage near the town of Portaferry in County Down.
.. still had to work on the finishing touches, as there is often a difference between something looking good to the eye and looking good for the camera.

So while I worked on the lighting, Marie kept a close eye on what was in front of the camera…
One of the first pictures taken in the sitting room of Jill and David Crawford's thatched cottage near the town of Portaferry in County Down.
.. and between us, this was the result…
The sitting room in Jill and David Crawford's thatched cottage near the town of Portaferry in County Down.
.. which when done well, we believe shouldn’t look as if we did anything at all.

Which in itself, can sometimes causes problems, especially when it comes to quoting – because people often feel that I should be able to produce lots of images like this in a day – whereas if the truth be told, each shot sometimes takes hours to produce and then there is the pre-planing part too, especially at Marie’s end – as things like flowers, throws, and cushions, etc, just don’t happen to appear out of thin air on the day wink

Anyway, I guess that is why I often like to show our ‘starting point’ or the first image captured – like here…
One of the first pictures taken in the kitchen of Jill and David Crawford's thatched cottage near the town of Portaferry in County Down.
.. because then that kind-off lets people see what all was done – which in this case, was probably a lot more than anyone would think – but anyway, here is the final result…
 the kitchen in Jill and David Crawford's thatched cottage near the town of Portaferry in County Down.
.. which is all ‘The World’ will see when it’s featured in the various magazines over the next few years.

As that’s our goal: to produce a set of images that either someone will want to use a lot or that a lot of people will want to use or even both if we can manage it – because the more our work is used, the more we will earn – or at least that’s the theory  Smile​

Anyway, delighted with this one so ​big thanks to Jill & David for inviting us in and we will keep you posted on when it will appear next year.

From Marie, Mandi & me – who actually do work very​ hard, to make it look like we didn’t do any work at all wink

March 16, 2015

House of fun.

Overlooking the Ballyholme Bay in the County Down seaside town of Bangor, was where we shot this townhouse…
Keri and Paul Johnson's townhouse which overlooks Ballyholme Bay in the County Down seaside town of Bangor.
.. which belongs to Paul and Keri Johnson, who is both an occupational therapist and a vintage home stylist.

The Storyline:

Keri is from Northern Ireland but met her husband (who is English) when she lived and worked in Bath. When the opportunity arose to return to Northern Ireland, they took it – and bought their present home. She had picked up the vintage bug when in Bath and has filled their home with favorite vintage purchases. Until recently she jointly owned a vintage shop. They did a huge renovation to the home – in particular, they reconfigured downstairs putting the kitchen at the front to enjoy sea views.

Anyway, having already looked at some pictures like this on the Property News website…
 Page on Property News' website showing the living room area in 4 Ballyholme Esplanade.
.. we knew that this room would actually photograph very well – so after deciding this would be the main angle…
First image taken in the sitting room of Keri and Paul Johnson's townhouse which overlooks Ballyholme Bay in the County Down seaside town of Bangor.
.. then it was simply a case of moving a few things around to suit the camera…
One of the first images taken in the sitting room of Keri and Paul Johnson's townhouse which overlooks Ballyholme Bay in the County Down seaside town of Bangor.
.. while Stuart set-up the light outside – and then Marie and Keri kicked-in to add the finishing touches…
The sitting room of Keri and Paul Johnson's townhouse which overlooks Ballyholme Bay in the County Down seaside town of Bangor.
.. which I must say looked pretty Wow to me.

And so it was throughout the day, as we moved a few things around…
 Marie & me in Keri and Paul Johnson's townhouse which overlooks Ballyholme Bay in the County Down seaside town of Bangor.
.. to suit the camera, while Keri kept a close eye on the laptop screen…
 Marie & me in Keri and Paul Johnson's townhouse which overlooks Ballyholme Bay in the County Down seaside town of Bangor.
.. as we produce a series of images like this…
The dining area in the sitting room of Keri and Paul Johnson's townhouse.
.. as well as some detail shots like this…
 Display of mirrors and Lounge sign in the sitting room of Keri Johnston'stownhouse.
.. of the mirrors and signage.

All of course under the watchful eye of Keri…
Keri Johnson and me in her townhouse.
.. who really did study each image as they appeared on screen…
Keri Johnson and me in her townhouse.
.. which we laughed about – as she was even more eagled-eyed than us…
Keri Johnson and me in her townhouse.
.. which I can assure you is saying something, as we often spend ages on even a simple detail shot like this…
Corner unit in the sitting room of Keri and Paul Johnson's townhouse.
.. to ensure it just looks right.

And so when it came to the bedrooms, even though Stuart and I thought we had done a good job here…
Setting up the bedroom image in Keri and Paul Johnson's townhouse.
.. it was all changed once, Marie…
Marie setting up the bedroom image in Keri and Paul Johnson's townhouse.
.. and Keri arrived – but yes, as usual, they were right to create a lot more layers here…
One of the bedrooms in Keri and Paul Johnson's townhouse which overlooks Ballyholme Bay in the County Down seaside town of Bangor.
.. which is like one of those things I would say, that obviously needed to be done, after I had seen it done by the experts  Smile

Which I guess is what they mean when they say: Hindsight is 20/20.

Anyway, we finished off in the kitchen…
first picture in the kitchen of Keri and Paul Johnson's townhouse.
.. and I think this smile of on Keri’s face really summed up the day she had had…

.. as it was indeed a lot of fun.

Anyway, just like to say ​big thanks to Stuart for helping us out here – as this was indeed a big house to shoot on a day when the weather conditions were far from perfect – and of course to Keri as well, for making us feel so welcome in her magnificent house of fun.

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com in the County Down seaside town of Bangor.

March 31, 2014

Little to do here.

Things have been going crazy lately for me – but recently we shot this amazing architectural new build house…
Fiona and Brian Shiells' architectural new build house near Dungannon in County Tyrone.
.. near Dungannon in County Tyrone.

Which was basically naturally lit…
First picture taken of the sitting room in Fiona and Brian Shiells' architectural new build house near Dungannon in County Tyrone.
.. and so required only a touch of fill to achieve results like this…
Fiona and Brian Shiells in the sitting room of their architectural new build house near Dungannon in County Tyrone.
.. of Fiona & Brian in the sitting room.

The couple’s last home was very traditional and I actually shot it many years ago for an Irish magazine. However they decided they wanted a complete change; bought a site and commissioned Des Ewing, a local Architect, to design a contemporary home for them.
None of their existing furniture would have suited so they had fun starting from scratch – they even went to Milan to buy some of their new furnishings !!
Although they wanted a contemporary new look, they didn’t want it to be too monochrome or cold and opted for lots of vibrant colour.

Which looked great from every angle…
First picture taken of the sitting room in Fiona and Brian Shiells' architectural new build house near Dungannon in County Tyrone.
.. especially once lit…
The sitting room in Fiona and Brian Shiells' architectural new build house near Dungannon in County Tyrone.
.. and it was the same all the way throughout to the kitchen…
First picture taken of the kitchen in Fiona and Brian Shiells' architectural new build house near Dungannon in County Tyrone.
.. which was also easy to light and needed minimum done…
The kitchen in Fiona and Brian Shiells' architectural new build house near Dungannon in County Tyrone.
.. so even Marie had little to do here Smile

Love it – and hopefully, the Editors will too – so just a quick note to say thanks to Fiona & Brian here for inviting us in and making us feel so welcome once again.

From Marie & Me @ ampimage.com in County Tyrone.

February 19, 2014

Industrial Chic & Shabby Chic.

Shooting a Victorian terrace in Belfast this week, which belongs to Kelly Ann and Dominic – along with their two young children Evie, aged 2, and Rory, who is only 7 months old.

The Storyline:

The major work had been done when the couple bought the home but they have spent the last couple of years putting their own stamp on it – Dominic loves a little bit of Industrial Chic – whereas Kelly Ann loves a little bit of Shabby Chic – so they have had fun finding a balance between the two !!

The weather at this time of year isn’t ideal, so even in a house like this, that has made full use of the natural daylight…
First picture taken in the living room of Kelly Ann and Dominic Preston's Victorian mid terrace townhouse in Belfast.
.. on a grey old rainy day, it still needed a lot to light it.

So we started in the main downstairs living area – which was at the back of the house – and that’s where we took the shot of Kelly Ann…
Kelly Ann Preston in the living room of her Victorian mid terrace townhouse in Belfast.
.. before her daughter Evie stood-in to copy her mother’s pose…
Evie Preston in the living room of her parent's Victorian mid terrace townhouse in Belfast.
.. and then informed her father it was his turn – which made us all laugh Smile

As Marie later commented when I sent her this image:

That’s the most adorable and bright wee one we’ve ever met I reckon – sure she even had you playing on her xylophone – the “big scary man” was no bother to her 🙂

Anyway, we slowly worked our way through to the front of the house, which is where the kitchen was…
The kitchen in Kelly Ann & Dominic Preston's Victorian mid terrace townhouse in Belfast.
.. which was a bit unusual – as that is where one would normally expect the living room to be – but as you can see that worked very well…
The kitchen in Kelly Ann and Dominic Preston's Victorian mid terrace townhouse in Belfast.
.. and in fact, made a lot of sense.

Lots of stairs up to the bedrooms – but with high ceiling and double windows…
Master bedroom in Kelly Ann & Dominic Preston's Victorian mid terrace townhouse in Belfast.
.. they were very easy to light…
Master bedroom in Kelly Ann & Dominic Preston's Victorian mid terrace townhouse in Belfast.
.. and so we rattled thought this one in record time, after a bit of a slow start.

Shattered – but very pleased with this one – as we both felt Kelly Ann & Dominic had got the balance just right here, between Industrial Chic & Shabby Chic.

So just want to say big thanks to both of them for making us feel so welcome – and to Evie as well, for letting me play with her xylophone Smile

From Marie & Me @ ampimage.com in Belfast this week.

January 3, 2014

Lets talk cushions.

As the girls debated the merits of cushions…
Victoria and Marie talking shop.
.. and which ones worked best – so it was all about “keeping with the neutral scheme but adding interest and depth with unusual cushions with writing and numbers” or some such thing – as I set-up the camera and lights to produce a number of images…
Victoria and Neil Robertson's converted farmhouse near Portglenone in County Antrim.
.. of this beautifully converted old farmhouse…
Victoria and Neil Robertson's converted farmhouse near Portglenone in County Antrim.
.. near Portglenone in County Antrim – the home of Victoria & Neil Robertson.

The story-line:

Victoria is from Northern Ireland but studied and worked in London for several years where she met Neil who is from Cornwall.
Moving back to Northern Ireland was very much a lifestyle decision for the couple – slower pace of life, starting a family, being closer to Victoria’s parents, etc – and also the fact that their budget stretched so much further when it came to buying a house in Northern Ireland compared to the South of England.

And so as these first captures show…
Victoria and Marie talking shop.
.. the talk was all about how a tiny little splash of pale blue here…
Victoria Robertson in the sitting room of her converted farmhouse near Portglenone in County Antrim.
.. could make all the difference – and so naturally Victoria had to sit on the edge of the sofa, so as not to disturb them smile

Even in the master bedroom…
Shooting the master bedroom.
.. the talk was all about cushions & throws…
The master bedroom in Victoria and Neil Robertson's converted farmhouse near Portglenone in County Antrim.
.. and how adding a wee splash of colour…
Setting up the sofa shot.
.. could make a big difference – right through to the last image…
Sofa in the master bedroom of Victoria and Neil Robertson's converted farmhouse near Portglenone in County Antrim.
.. of the day.

So forget about what camera I used or what lights I used, etc – let’s talk about cushions instead smile

Seriously though, as I would often say to Marie – when we talk about all of this stuff – one is only as good as the weakest link – so what’s in front of the camera, is every bit as important as what’s behind it – which is where she as a Stylist comes into play – because those cushions did make a big difference here… which I know little about.

Not surprising then, that Marie recently set-up a new company called Natural Calico – which is all about cushions such as this Carte Postale Cushion
Carte Postale cushion available from Natural Calico.
.. and those finishing touches, that can greatly help turn your house into a beautiful home.

So a way to go girls – great teamwork – which at the end of the day, as far as I’m concerned, is what this type of photography is all about.

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com

January 2, 2014

First time buyer.

This 1910’s terrace that we shot…
Jemma McCann's three-bedroom Victorian terrace house in Belfast.
.. was totally run down it seems, when Jemma (late 20’s) first viewed it.

The Story-line:


Having qualified at Liverpool University, Jemma decided to return home to Belfast and after various rentals, decided to buy her first place. Luckily for her, Andrew Brennan, an old family friend who works in interior design, was more than happy to help & steer her through a surprisingly affordable re-furb.

They say small is beautiful – but small can often be very hard to light, as far as I’m concerned…
Setting up the shot in a Belfast terrace.
.. so when it came to the Homeowner Shot – which most Editors will require when they are featuring someone’s home, as the feature will very much be about the homeowner and what they did, etc – I had to resort to a bit of creative lighting on this one…
Shooting Jemma McCann.
.. as that was the only way I reckon I was going to get the natural look that I was after…
Jemma McCann in the living room of her three-bedroom Victorian terrace house in Belfast.
.. in the final image of this long narrow room.

Still, that was really the only difficult shot, as the dining area…
The dining area in Jemma McCann's three-bedroom Victorian terrace house in Belfast.
.. kitchen and even the bedrooms as you can see…
Setting up the bedroom shot.
.. were all sitting up perfect and looked amazing…
The master bedroom Jemma McCann's three-bedroom Victorian terrace house in Belfast.
.. for such a small house in this part of town.

So no surprise then, that Ideal Home – which is Britain’s best-selling interiors magazine – also said they wanted to be a first time buyer too.

So way to go Jemma and Andrew too, from Marie & me @ ampimage.com

December 30, 2012

50 Shades of Grey.

Filed under: Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 5:45 pm
Tags: , ,

Irish Style!!

In my last blog, I showed the amazing kitchen transformation Marie achieved in her new home – a dated 60’s house which she has totally refurbished.

Well, it didn’t stop there…
Motelands before
.. as the room, she was most looking forward to transforming, was the sitting room.

This room was basically a “featureless box”…
Motelands before
.. so Marie concentrated on adding depth and detail by creating a chimney breast and adding things like T&G paneling, deep cornices, and skirtings along with a stove.

From a photography perspective, rooms without contours or features are usually less interesting – which is why we mostly tend to shoot Period or Architectural homes.

But with this one, by the time Marie had dressed it out…
Marie McMillen in the sitting room of her detached 1960's house in Belfast at Christmas.
.. using mostly existing furnishings – but painting some pieces too and adding a few new cushions & throws…
The sitting room in Marie and Alan McMillen's detached 1960's house in Belfast at Christmas.
.. it looked a million dollars.

On a side note: We both enjoy shooting homes with color – but for her own home, Marie usually opts for a calm neutral pallet and then injects interest with layers of accessories and subtly different tones.

So in this case undoubtedly…
The sitting room in Marie and Alan McMillen's detached 1960's house in Belfast at Christmas.
.. she was inspired by 50 Shades of Grey Smile

May 13, 2012

It’s all in the detail

Shooting a home for a magazine is usually quite different to shooting for real estate – the latter is primarily about showing as much of the space as possible – whereas magazine editors want their readers to be drawn into the home and take inspiration from…
Capture-163769
.. the decor and accessories.

So when we’re shooting homes for magazine features, we tend to spend almost as much time setting up the tight “lifestyle” shots as we do the bigger shots – but we know it’s the combination of the two that results in an overall appealing feature !!

Anyway, Marie worked hard setting up some stylish tight shots in yesterday’s shoot…
Capture-163653
.. she tells me, she drew inspiration from one of her favourite stores – Pottery Barn !!!

I’m pretty clueless about stuff like that…
Setting up the kitchen shot in Ciara's home.
.. so it’s great to work with a stylist like Marie…
The Kitchen in Ciara's three-storey semi-detached home in Belfast.
.. as it means I can focus on f-stops…
The Kitchen in Ciara's three-storey semi-detached home in Belfast.
.. ICC Profiles, Colour temperature readings, light levels and those sorts of fun things.

Which I know is really of no interest to anyone else…
Setting up the bedroom shot in Ciara's home.
.. as it’s really all about the attention to detail…
The master bedroom in Ciara's three-storey semi-detached home in Belfast.
.. as that is actually the all-important thing here – to you the viewer and those who will see these images in magazines over the next few years.

So good team work – thanks Marie – and a big thanks to Ciara here too…
Ciara Nelson's three storey semi-detached home in Belfast.
.. from me @ ampimage.com

November 6, 2010

Up against it…

.. but as they say: Where there’s a will there’s a way.

We started shooting homes this week, for next years Christmas issues …
Setting up the living room shot.
.. and as funny as that may sound, it was nothing compared to how funny the camera system looked…
Camera system
..as I tried to squeeze it right into the corner for this shot…
The living room at Christmas in Marie and Alan McMillen's semi in the Cherryvalley area of Belfast.
.. of the living room.

Still, pleased with the results, as I feel we produce some great images here…
The living room at Christmas in Marie and Alan McMillen's semi in the Cherryvalley area of Belfast.
.. which was pretty much sitting up perfect…
Setting up the kitchen shot.
.. so it only needed a few small tweaks…
The kitchen in Marie and Alan's home at Christmas time.
.. and a splash of early morning sunlight, to turn it from this…
Setting up the bedroom shot.
.. into something which hopefully the Editors will like…
The master bedroom in Marie and Alan's home at Christmas time.
.. enough to give it a nice Big Spread in their next years Christmas issue.

So Merry Christmas from Marie & me – as we look forward to seeing this in print next year, in one of the big national magazines… hopefully 🙂
www.ampimage.com

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