Ashley Morrison's Blog

September 8, 2014

The Money Shot.

The Money Shot is like the all-important one – which if we get it right, could help the client make a lot of money over the years to come.

Well today I’m going to show one of the first images which made me realise, that what we do, is often more than just turn-up and take some pictures – which then made me realise that charging for just one’s time to take pictures, was all wrong – as that part, is often only a small part of the work involved. Especially when it comes to producing the Money Shots.

Because creating such images can often start days or even weeks before the shoot – in one’s head – as you plan ahead to ensure you get it right on the day.

Anyway, in this case, as I’d already been out to this hotel a few months before to recce it and talk to the marketing people – then that’s really when I started to create the image you will see below.

Which in this case was to be a shot of a bridal couple standing out on the balcony – which as you can see here…
The Redcastle Hotel near the town of Moville on the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal.
.. overlooks Lough Foyle.

And this being Ireland, the weather is the one thing you can’t count  on – unless it’s overcast & rain you are counting on, as that’s what it’s most likely to be Smile

Having said that, we do get some sunshine and when we do, it can look wonderful – and so, in this case, the image I had in my head was of the couple standing on the balcony with the sun setting behind them – which I reckoned would look very romantic – or should I say: that would be the ideal image- to help them sell the dream to any young couple who would be thinking of getting married here.

Anyway, as chance would have it, on the morning of our first day, I woke to see this beautiful sunrise…
Sunrise at the Redcastle Hotel near the town of Moville on the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal.
.. so I took a few quick handheld shots of it from my bedroom window.

And then later on, just after breakfast, I took a few more which looked like this…
View from the Redcastle Hotel near the town of Moville on the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal.
.. which I also thought may work as a background – IF when we came to the actual shoot, it just wasn’t what I had been hoping for.

So I was starting to piece the image together hours beforehand – and I’m sure glad I did – because as you can see here…
Setting up the shot.
.. by the time we were ready to shoot, it wasn’t looking so good.

Still, I had this picture in my head – even if it wasn’t in front of me – and so with all the lights set-up and the camera in place, the final touches were added to the bride & groom…
Setting up the shot.
.. by Kathleen & her assistant.

Wasn’t quite as I’d imagine…
Original capture.
.. but by adding a touch of warmth…
Original capture of the Bride & Groom.
.. I reckoned this was as good as it was going to get.

Not exactly a Money Shot I hear you say – but then came the part that nobody sees, which was the image in my head from weeks ago.

Which in this case I did two versions of – this one…
Bride & Groom standing out on the balcony at the Redcastle Hotel near the town of Moville on the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal.
.. which I personally loved the look of but knew it may not be right for them – and this one…Bride & Groom standing out on the balcony at the Redcastle Hotel near the town of Moville on the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal.
.. which was very close to how I’d pictured it beforehand.

The Money Shot – which I reckoned was worth a lot more to them, than all the other shots we did that week put together – as seen here in this magazine…

The Carlton Hotels Ad in the Spring 2006 issue of Northern Irelands Wedding Journal magazine.

(Double page spread ad in the Spring 2006 issue of the Wedding Journal magazine)


.. as well as in almost every other media too, even to this every day…
Screenshot of the wedding page on the Redcastle hotel's website.
.. as seen here on their current website.

So for all those brides who have asked their photographers to recreate this image over the years – now you know why they struggled to do so – because although it is real, it was only ever real in my head, which was then later created wink

From Marie, Bradley & me at the Redcastle Hotel, on the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal, creating images… just for you.

July 10, 2011

Never work with kids and animals…

.. they say – or bank on the weather…
One of the pictures taken of the Kids play area at The Lodge at Doonbeg in County Clare.
.. here in Ireland.

Well we were recently back down with one of our favourite clients – The Lodge at Doonbeg – where they have a well-tuned market strategy aimed at showing how this stunning resort has more to offer than top class golf for anyone who doesn’t necessarily play the game. With their incredibly stylish self-catering cottages, it’s ideal for family breaks…
Kids play area at The Lodge at Doonbeg in County Clare.
.. and this time our role was to show the many varied attractions they have laid on…
Outdoor games at The Lodge at Doonbeg in County Clare.
.. to keep everyone happy & occupied during the day.

I must say the two boys where complete stars throughout…
The animal farm at The Lodge at Doonbeg in County Clare.
.. however, getting the rabbits & chickens to pose was a bit trickier smile

Still, there is nothing quite like the appeal of a chilled drink while enjoying a beautiful sunset !! And in the west of Ireland, the sunsets over the Atlantic can be spectacular – so our goal was to capture all of this as well for their marketing material. The only problem was when we were shooting the outdoor social area, it was mid-afternoon and the clouds were rolling in fast…
Capture-157643
.. so it didn’t quite have the look we were after.

This is Ireland after all – where it rains approximately 225 days a year.

So creating that whole feeling of being there as sunsets, was challenging to say the least – but with lighting, etc…
Marie McMillen and Ray Kearney outside Darby's Bar & Restaurant at The Lodge at Doonbeg in County Clare.
.. I think we came close to making it look like the real thing.

Anyway, as always we had a wonderful time at this 5 Star Resort – which is the home to one of the best golf courses in Ireland, built by two-time British Open champion Greg Norman – and would just like to say big thanks to Ray for making a good call on the weather last week – it may not have been perfect but I think we got there in the end – plus big thanks out to everyone else at Doonbeg, for all their help & co-operation throughout the days we were there.

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com

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