Ashley Morrison's Blog

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…
.. 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…
.. 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 @

February 4, 2012

All Kinds of Everything.

Is the title of our current published work in the March 2012 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine…
Pages 67 to 69 in the March 2012 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine featuring Janet and Ken Hamilton's 1930’s semi-detached house in Belfast.
.. on pages 67 to 69 – featuring Janet and Ken Hamilton’s 1930’s semi-detached house in Belfast.

“Janet and Ken Hamilton furnished their home with a stylist mix of retro, modern and antique pieces.”

Which we talked about here:Hamilton’s 1930′s semi.

So congratulations to Ken and Janet here…
Janet Hamilton in the sitting room of her 1930’s semi-detached house in Belfast.
.. once again – from Marie & me @

November 21, 2010

Christmas in New England…

Filed under: Photography — Ashley Morrison @ 6:08 pm
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.. well not quite – but I must say, Marie did an amazing job here on this one.

It was pouring down outside too – so the lights got totally soaked – plus I discovered the old Land Rover has a leaky roof too.
But looking at the end results…
The Master bedroom in Marie and Alan Millen's 1950s New England style cottage in Belfast. was worth it.

So 10 out of 10 Marie – and thank you once again for helping me produce another set of beautiful images.
Fingers crossed the Editors will like it too – and we will see the full set of images in a Christmas issue next year.

Added note on the 25th Nov: 25 Beautiful Homes magazine said: “Yes please”… so that’s one to look out for this time next year.

February 2, 2010

1 + 1 doesn’t always equal 2.

Filed under: Licence fees — Ashley Morrison @ 8:44 am
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This is an email I sent to a client, trying to explain why 1 + 1 doesn’t always equal 2 after they asked: “Can you confirm the cost for a stylist (if not already included) for this project”.
Which on the face of it sounded like a strange forward request and could easily have been answered by just saying the Stylist’s day rate fee is £££.

However, sometimes things are not that simple – hence this email to explain why – which I have decided to post here for others to read … and hopefully it will make sense to some of you.

Hi ___________
You will be well aware, putting a price on what we ‘creatives’ do, is never easy or straightforward.
There are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject – from quick snap-shots through to full production staged images – which means all images are not equal nor will they be the same. That, in turn, means there value to others could vary hugely… from zero to thousands of pounds.

So when Quoting a fee – to produce & provide images for others to use – I need to look at a number of things, besides the subject matter, to determine where to start.
For example, I not only need to take into account the type of images they require – the style, the look & the feel – I also need to take into account the number of images they require, plus the Media use, Period of use and Territory of use.

This information will not only help me work out what my basic production costs need to be – but it will also help me determine what else I may need to bring to the table, to meet the client’s needs. So it’s this information I use to help me determine the value of the images to them.
Value to them‘ being all important.

As a general rule of thumb:
Little Use = Little Value.
Greater Use = Greater Value
… to them.

So it’s the Usage Value that will usually determine what they (the client) feel the images are worth – and that in turn will determine what they are prepared to pay i.e their budget.
It’s that budget that will ultimately determine what I can afford to do or ‘bring to the table‘ for them – in terms of the total amount of time spent on the project, number of people involved, their roles and what all can be put aside to cover expenses, etc.

Like I said before – there are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject – and our before & after images here – Test shots – clearly shows this.
Same room (subject) but different images.
From a client’s point-of-view, the big difference here would be the Usage Value of these images.
Little Use = Little Value.
Greater Use = Greater Value

So that is what the Licence fee is based on i.e the Usage Value.

As you know, time is money – so from my point-of-view, that’s what I need to keep an eye on too.
If I shoot it on my own, I will be able to produce X number of images in a given period of time.
If I hire a basic Assistant (bag carrier / gofer) he will help me produce more images in that same given period of time.
If I hire a more expensive & experienced one, he will not only help me produce more images in that given period of time, but he will also be able to help me with lighting, etc – so the images would be more appealing; and therefore, of more Value to the user.
If I hire a Stylist, she will help me produce more appealing images too; however, a Stylist will slow the whole process down – so I will not be able to produce as many images in a given period of time – it could easily take twice as long to produce each of the images. Plus, for a Stylist to be able to do her job properly, she will need the budget in place to allow her time to prepare for each of the shots – and she will also have to have the budget in place to buy props and other items, which she feels will be needed. That stuff can add-up fast – especially if the client wants different items in every shot – which most do.
If I hire both an Assistant & a Stylist, then things speed up again – so not only would we be able to produce more appealing images but we would also be able to produce more of them, in a given period of time.

So… this is the sort of stuff I need to take into account before Quoting a fee… because as you can see, it’s not just a simple case of saying 1+1 = 2… as other factors need to be taken into account.


Ashley Morrison
M: +44 (0)7860 391196

January 28, 2010

Wow… wonderful indeed.

Filed under: Web links — Ashley Morrison @ 2:31 pm
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A Wonderful Demonstration of Creating Interior Photographs.

For those that may not have noticed Jeremy Esland’s thread in the PFRE flickr group recently, I think it is worth posting here again. This before and after gallery is from The owner of the site, Ashley Morrison, specializes in interior and hotel photography. Ashley works with Marie McMillen an interior designer when shooting hotel interiors. While this is technically not real estate photography the concepts are very relevant to shooting and marketing real estate photography.

As Jeremy points out, “…there’s immense educational value in lengthy examination/dissection of these examples“.

Before & After

From a marketing point of view, this sequence of before and after shots shows that the difference between a casual snapshot and a carefully crafted and staged image is huge. This simple display is a powerful marketing presentation for why a client would want to pay top money for their services.

The other aspect of interior photography that Ashley and Marie’s before and after sequence illustrates is the impact of staging interiors. It is well known that a staged home will sell for more and sell faster than a vacant or unstaged home and Ashley and Marie’s before and after sequence demonstrates why.

Thanks Ashley and Marie for this great set of examples and thanks to Jeremy Esland for pointing it out.

For more on this visit: Photography for Real Estate… as this is indeed wonderful stuff 🙂

January 27, 2010

Honeymoon suite plus.

We were back down at Doonbeg Golf & Spa Resort this week, to produce some more images to cover weddings and show their newly refurbished Link Cottages.

To the eye, the newly refurbished Link’s Cottage looked great; however, the camera does sometimes see things very differently – as you can see here…
Setting-up the Link's cottage shot.
.. but with a wee bit of pushing & shoving – a blast of light, plus some Marie magic added to the mix…
The link cottages.
.. we had our first image in the bag pretty quickly- as this is what we do.

First I set up the camera to get the framing…
Setting-up the kitchen shot in Link's cottage.
.. then we re-arranged things to suit the camera – and while I work on the lighting, Marie adds the finishing touches…
Setting-up the kitchen shot in Link's cottage.
.. without saying anything to one another sometimes, until we both stop – and say…
The kitchen in the Link's cottage.
.. I’m happy with that.

Anyway, shooting the cottage was just like shooting a home – which we regularly do for the national magazines – so that was easy 🙂

The tricker shots where the wedding ones – as those actually needed to be created.
So after some discussion with Ray (the marketing manager) and having looked a few different rooms, we decided that this one…
Setting-up the Honeymoon suite.
.. would be the most suitable, to be turned into a honeymoon suite.

So once again, while I worked on the lighting, Marie…
Marie McMillen.
.. when about doing her thing.

It took forever – but in the end we where all very pleased with the final result…
Honeymoon suite at Doonbeg Golf & Spa Resort.
.. and so now Doonbeg has officially got themselves a Honeymoon suite 🙂

Anyway, that’s what we were up to this week – as we worked with Ray here, to let the world see what this amazing place has to offer.

Cheers, from Marie & me.

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