So, Christmas now well out of the way, as is New Year and we are off again. Firstly a big thank you all my wonderful customers who trusted me with their beloved and treasured pieces over this last year.
The uniqui thing about the way we do business is that, because we do not have a retail premises and all our work is done from our custom design studio at home, I get to visit our customers in their homes. This means they can discuss their query, whether it’s a repair or a commission in their own relaxed atmosphere with no pressure and, they can include their spouse, partner or any other family members in helping them make their decisions. It also means that I get to meet their family and all will tell you I am a dog lover! So as well as becoming ‘friends’ with my customers I’m also friends with their dogs AND cats! 🙂 .
Some of the jobs I have had the pleasure of working on this year have included:
Taking all the unwanted jewellery of the mother and making wedding band for the daughter.
Taking a beautiful 22ct yellow gold Welsh Dragon and mounting it on a 9ct yellow gold textured backing plate. The customer loved the dragon that her husband had made for her, but because of the shape and design, it meant that the dragon pendant would catch in her clothes. So this way by being set on a backing plate it meant that she could wear it with anything.
I have made another witches heart pendant. Some readers may recall the original 9ct gold Witches Heart I made for a customer a couple of years ago from her unworn jewellery and her mother’s engagement ring. This was similar only smaller, lighter and the stone was a very pretty pear shaped opal.
Plus plenty of others which I will talk about later, and hopefully publish some photos of the pieces.
When I say late what I really mean is LAzY! Well kinda. I’m not naturally lazy in fact I’m the opposite, I need to be doing something all the time, otherwise it tends to have a significant impact on my frame of wellbeing. So I am continually doing something, admittedly it is usually in front of a computer and if not then it’s behind the lens (hopefully).
I did mange to actually get out with the camera this past week just for an hour – I have been behind the lens in the studio every day. I decided to visit my local Castle and Country Park (Caldicot) which is really only 2 miles from where I live. It was really enjoyable, I was amazed at how many people were out during the week. It was nice to see them taking advantage of the facility, after all it has been there since about the year 1011. Henry the VIII was rumoured to have stayed at the castle on his way somewhere. I have been fortunate enough to use the inside of the castle for a number of photo shoots. The last with Queenie Mae earlier this year for her Album Cover.
The Autumn colours were truly awesome and I was fortunate enough to capture a couple of colourful shots.
I am now preparing for my ‘dreaded’ birthday next weekend. Age never ever bothered me much not until I reached 65, then in common with many other men no doubt, I began to ‘think’ about age. I was suddenly classed as an OAP, and Old Age Pensioner. But yet I didn’t feel like one thank God! Well that was 6 years ago, so you can imagine how I feel now! And don’t you just hate it when people say “ah…Age is just a number” one will usually find that those persons’ number is under 30!
But having said that I am grateful for relatively good health and I am able to combine some photographic work with looking after and caring for my darling wife of 38 years, although we have been together since the week we met, on the Englebert Humperdinck Summer Show, so that’s 43 years. Her MS of 17 years continues to progress but she does a fantastic job of dealing with it, much better than I could ever do.
Ok…I promise I will post again before Christmas (it says here) but just in case, I hope you will all have everything you wish for, for yourselves and your loved ones.
Hi everyone, as you will be well aware, once again I am guilty of NOT posting to my blog on a regular basis. There are so many of you out there that I follow who are able to post every day! I only wish that I had the same…..whatever!
This time I have plenty of good reasons, but that is no excuse for not dropping the odd line now and then, and I am sorry for that.
Most of the time I have been attempting to get a website up and running. Somewhere, where clients and prospective clients could go and take a look at what it is I do. I have finished part of it and published, but I feel I should have waited a little longer and added more content before publishing. But what is done is done. I would appreciate it if you took a look and I would welcome your feedback. You can find it here http://www.magphotopix.co.uk .
I finished the photo shoot for Queenie May the young girl singer I told you about, and a shoot that I did last year for another album was for a singer named Robert Garney. That album is due out next week. And then last week I spent an evening shooting a heavy metal band named DeadManSugar. Talk about tough lighting conditions. I think the lighting crew had two scenarios, On or Off!!
It was very difficult for me, and a long time since I have shot any kind of concert or performance.
I had an enquiry from an old client who is a serial entrepreneur. In the past I have shot antique wristwatches for him, then he started a Sola Panel company and now his latest venture required my photo skills. He rang me to say that this was urgent and he needed me to shoot between 8 and 10 models for his new website and business. As it happens, I couldn’t fit it into my schedule and I had to politely refuse, but I passed him on to a fellow photographer – who as it turned out was also too busy. Imagine my surprise, when he sent me an email to tell me that the site was up and running and he gave me the address. It is an ESCORT AGENCY! The actual photos of both male and female straight and gay, are actually very good. The photographer he found in the end does nothing else except shoot glamour pics, and I must say that the photos are really very tastefully done. But when one starts to read the text on the site it soon becomes very clear what it is he is selling. When he rang me to ask my opinion I called him a Pimp! I said it in a half hearted kind of jokey way, but I meant it just the same. Needless-to-say, he was not amused and proclaimed his businesslike enterprise as being very much a service industry.
I am pleased that I didn’t do the shoot. Firstly, I have no experience in that genre and the pressure would have been to much. And secondly, it’s not a side of photography that I personally would enjoy, give me the outdoors and nature & wildlife every time. And I will leave the glamour stuff to those who are good at it and enjoy their work.
My Local Stomping Ground
As many of you will know I have been away a lot this year shooting wildlife and nature from the comfort of our new Caravan, hence I hadn’t visited my local wildlife area for a number of weeks. Imagine my surprise when I visited last week and found that people had been down there and ‘tidied’ up! Not only have they removed 90% of the reeds growing naturally in the water way, they have also poisoned all the Budleia which the butterflies absolutely adore. They have also, dredged the waterbed and dumped all the silt on the banks. Unfortunately, I didn’t see one Damselfly or one Dragonfly. No butterflies at all, whereas last year I took one photo of 7 butterflies on one bush! As a fully paid up member of my local Wildlife Trust I immediately got on the phone to enquire who had wreaked this havoc on the local wildlife. Yes it looks very pretty down there now, all the nettles cut and carted away great for people to walk their dogs and drag their kids, but nowhere for the insect life and the Reed Warblers and Sedge Warblers to build their nests.
The charming young lady I spoke to at the Trust was as alarmed as I was and said that she would investigate and come back to me with an explanation. Watch this space I guess.
Well I turned up an hour before the shoot was due to start and was directed to the ‘Guard Room’. It was just inside the portcullis. I got a backdrop up and a couple of strobes and did a few test shots and waited. The Record company boss turned up on time with the Make-Up Artiste and his assistant, we then waited for Queenie to show. Unfortunately, she had an art exam that morning and was late getting away from school but she duly arrived with her Mum about 45 minutes late.
Next the Make-up girl had to do her thing, unfortunately (unbeknown to me) Queenie is having some trouble with her skin/complexion at the moment and requested the make-up girl to use Queenie’s make-up. So by the time all was finished I guess we must have started the shoot proper about an hour late!
I had a couple of main problems:-
The record company had no specific requirements. Now this may sound fine, as I have free rein, however, if you don’t know what the customer wants, how are you supposed to give it to them? I would have liked to have had an idea of what the forthcoming album was going to be like. I mean was it going to be Katy Perry or Ethel Merman?
The Guard Room was cold and it was giving Queenie goose-bumps on her bare arms.
We had too many people in the ‘studio’ which was having an effect on Queenie, bearing in mind she is only 15 years old (hence the skin probs).
The complexion and the Goose-bumps caused me so many problems, trying to hide them as much as I could via the camera, to save me time in post production.
Anyway, we finally finished, Queenie was a little angel. She never once complained (even though it was obvious she hadn’t done any modelling before) and she just tried everything that people were shouting out to her (including me, but I was allowed). The last thing she said to me as she left was “thank you very much and can you please touch-up my skin before you submit them?” I repied that I would add a little blur here and there if it was needed, she said “NO not a little blur a whole lotta a blur!” And she was deadly serious.
I must say that I did need a lot of time in the digital darkroom but at the end of the day the record boss selected about six or seven shots that he liked and that was that. As many photographers will know, it is strange how the client never choses the photos that you think are the best. They always chose the ones that you wished they hadn’t for various reasons.
I have included a small number herewith, not fantastic I know but chosen by the company. Please feel free to comment, I would welcome any feedback good, bad or indifferent.
It appears that there is a lot of interest in this Chepstow based band. Readers of this blog will be familiar that the band won a National contest, now they have been offered a record deal by Welsh based record company Optimum Records.
The band are in the studio at the time of writing completing their EP and will not make a decisions as to which label they will aim for until all tracks are in the bag.
Spent the day with new client’s Rancid Monkey. They are brand new studio band and make a great sound for just two guys. The photo shoot was prompted by the fact that they have jus one a National Music Mag competition and needed some PR shots urgently. So, by some quick rearranging and burning a bit if midnight oil, we managed to fit it all in in and the pics were all done and dusted by about 4.00 am and emailed to the mag by 8.00 am.
Hot Graphics Foundry Did a photo shoot for new clients Rancid Monkey. A heavy but melodic studio band that have just one a National Music Mag competition. It seems that if plans materialise for a planned tour the guys are going to have to recruit some like minded musicians. http://www.youtube.com/user/TheRancidMonkey
A small selection of the shots for the new Lazarou Hairstylists website that I have been commissioned to shoot. The site is not live as yet but I am told is nearly there. The site is being built by Website Design Centre Group http://www.websitedesigncentre.com for Lazarou Hairstylists and Beauty Salon for their salon in Pontypridd, s e Wales.
Just completed the design and production of the Door Magnets for DB Stonemasons, part of a whole re-branding for this busy small business. When one thinks of how old the art of stonemasonry is, I think it is really good news when you hear of these new young businesses, practicing this ‘ancient’ skill starting up. They don’t have a web site as yet but they come highly recommended if anyone wants a lovely olde worlde patio for the summer! 🙂