Taking a look inside…

If you’re a regular reader of my blog or familiar with my work, you’ll know that most of the family portraits I shoot are outside, taking advantage of the wonderful Suffolk countryside around us. However, a few weeks ago I was invited into the holiday home of one family to capture an intimate portrait from the comfort of the sofa – and what a joy it was!

As a photographer, you can sometimes become accustomed to using the same backdrops or surroundings for shoots. This new challenge threw me outside of my usual routine and make me think about new camera angles, allowing me to still learn after years in the industry.

Being indoors for this portrait was a really wonderful experience. I felt I got to know the family better, build a stronger rapport and most importantly capture some beautiful images for them that they’ll treasure forever (I think the following photograph speaks for itself here…)

From now on I’ll definitely be thinking more outside of the box (or perhaps inside is more apt) when it comes to locations for portrait shoots … watch this space!

Photograph or return ticket?

I’ve heard this saying before and think it really sums up what I do. Capturing special moments for people and providing them with prints that they can look back on with fond memories is, in essence, like giving them a return ticket to a particular moment in time.

Anyone who has been reading and following my blog will know that I love portrait photography – they really are my favourite type of shoot (if any of my corporate clients are reading this, don’t worry – I still love working with you!) However, on a portrait shoot I get invited into a special moment with a group of people and am able to share this with them, documenting it at the same time. Not only does this make my job an awful lot easier (albeit, sometimes even the most well behaved children can be camera shy) but it also makes it really enjoyable!

Recently I joined a lovely family staying in Aldeburgh for a shoot, which is partly why I’m reflecting on it for this blog post. It really reminded me that actually, photography can bring people together. I’m lucky also that the area I operate in is full of natural beauty – from the coastline at Thorpeness, Orford and Southwold to the forest in Rendlesham, I have a fantastic backdrop which ensures any portraits I shoot have an impressive backdrop.

The whole aim of portrait photography is to capture personality by using effective lighting, backdrops, and poses (or at least, it was when I last looked). But, its not quite that simple – these 4 tactics are ones I swear by to try and make shoots as enjoyable as possible, particularly with young children!

  • Wear clothes you’re comfortable in
  • Bring children’s favourite toys and teddies
  • Juice, milk and sweeties are always helpful
  • Be prepared to have fun!

If, after reading this you’re considering booking a shoot or would like to know more, please do drop me a line – even if it’s just to ask a question, I’m more than happy to help!

Flying high with video…

Just lately, our corporate video offering has been gaining momentum and it feels like we’ve been soaring to new heights with the work we’ve been doing (apologies for the pun – I just can’t help myself).

A couple of weeks ago now I ventured to Gatwick Airport to help Norwegian Airlines with the launch of their Inaugural flight to Austin in Texas. The day was full of laughs and smiles from captain to cabin crew, and I have to say the commission is one of my favourite corporate shoots I’ve done.

Not only were all of the staff cooperative and extremely friendly, but the exposure the shoot gave me was a real eye opener. Being able to explore most of the plane on my trip, I realised how fascinating being a pilot must be (although it does look very complicated).

If you haven’t seen the video yet (I’ve been sharing it so hopefully you have) then please do so using the link below, and for some similar stills please also refer to our corporate portfolio.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xO8l7I_cPdk&feature=youtu.be

Working with Norwegian Airlines on this video commission got me out of the Suffolk countryside and into the buzz of an airport which was an exciting change, and I also got to do what I love – capture people’s joy and excitement through photography. The passengers boarding the plane were all happy to pose for the camera as they boarded the aircraft, and it made me smile to see a group of people united by their cheerfulness.

I love being able to create a more personal approach to any corporate work I do to really show off that company’s personality and I feel that’s exactly what I did here with Norwegian – they’re a light hearted and friendly airline that created a warm atmosphere for everyone involved – a great project to be a part of!

Springing into the new season…

With the warmer weather on the horizon and the sight of spring creeping into view, I thought it was time to update my blog with what I’ve been up to before the summer season fully takes off.

It’s been a busy few weeks with a huge amount of variety for me, from filming the ‘Big Beach Clean’ at Thorpeness, working with Gatwick Airport during their ‘Hidden Disability Access Day’ to commissioning work for ‘Best of Suffolk’ and shooting a wedding! (phew)

Here in Suffolk, the community spirit is one of the strongest I’ve witnessed and so to be able to document this during the Thorpeness beach clean (when the people of the village came together to help save our planet from pollution) was very rewarding. If you haven’t watched the video on my Instagram page yet, you should definitely give it a view – heart-warming teamwork at its best.

The ‘Hidden Disability Access Day’ held by Gatwick Airport was another inspiring project I worked on. Being able to document the effect the event had on people who usually struggle with airports was quite moving. The team at Gatwick had evidently worked hard to make the day a success and put those with hidden disabilities first. This commission is one of my favourite corporate jobs I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of.

Sticking with the corporate side, my friends at ‘Best of Suffolk’ have also been busy during the start of this year. We had a hilarious morning filming the team in their (very) impressive office space, and managed to also get out into the beautiful Suffolk countryside to film this! The company work hard to ensure all of their 300+ properties are truly amazing, allowing a visit to Suffolk to be the best it can be.

And, as if this wasn’t enough – I also shot a wedding at ‘The Ickworth Hotel’! It was a really special day for everyone involved, and if you’re getting married soon and looking for that perfect photographer please get in touch! A portfolio of some of my work can be found here, and if you’d like to know more about the package I offer please click here.

I think it’s fair to say the first part of 2018 has been pretty hectic – and it’s just the way I like it! I’m really looking forward to this year after the positive start I’ve had!

The Beast of the East…

As the blizzards and wintery weather continue to wreak havoc with the roads, our journeys to work and getting the kids to school, they’re definitely aiding my content creation.

At this time of year, living in Suffolk can definitely have its downfalls – the snow ploughs and gritters don’t make it around our smaller villages so easily, needless to say through Iken where I live. However, what this does mean is that if I venture out and about, I know I need to make it worth it – and I’m sure you’ll see I have been!

If you haven’t though, take a look at my Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/tonypickphoto/

Several people have been saying to me that I must be mad to wade out to the far corners of the world to capture some photographs, but it’s always worth it. The Suffolk coast is dramatic on even calm days here, so to see it exposed to the elements like this is a photographers dream come true.

The opportunities lately have got me thinking about themes on Instagram, and how it can look if you transition from one to another by creating similar content. This is how the top of my feed looked yesterday – and I rather like it! Definitely something to bear in mind as we transition into the springtime!

Flying high…

Excuse the pun, but the last few weeks I really have been.

Working with airlines is always something I’ve enjoyed, and just recently I’ve been working with Norwegian Air as well as Stansted Airport on some exciting new projects.

With my new video venture in full swing now, I was keen to offer up my services on my recent shoots and in turn was able to create the below video – take the time to sit back, relax and enjoy the flight as the film develops…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XypPX4knzEI&feature=youtu.be

It’s great to be back on the press side of corporate photography, after working as a partner in a busy photo news agency before I started out on my own in 2001.

Working and living in Suffolk can be fantastic for photography which I know I’ve mentioned before (who wouldn’t love all of the natural scenes around here?), but as I work from home in Iken it’s sometimes exciting to get out of the house and immerse myself in a corporate environment where there’s a real buzz.

Going forwards I’d love to team my videography with more corporate clients – so watch this space!

Did you mean MailChimp?

… I’m not too sure, did I?

Well actually, that’s not strictly true – if mention MailChimp, I definitely did mean to, because it’s not something I tend to shout about.

In their own words, MailChimp is a

“creative company that gives other companies digital tools to grow in their own creative ways”,

which basically means a platform useful for designing and sharing a mass-delivered email newsletter to your mailing list (I see what they did there though, makes it seem more valuable and less see-through).

However, I wouldn’t be talking you through the uses of MailChimp if they hadn’t caught my eye for their own promotional campaign – they created 9 individual concepts that all revolved around puns of their name. These consisted of:

  • 3 short films released in cinemas nationwide in the US – MailShrimp, KaleLimp & JailBlimp
  • WhaleSynth, a real musical tool made entirely out of whale noises
  • VeilHymn, a musical collaboration that resulted in a hit single and music video
  • NailChamp, a world-wide platform for nail artists to be pitted off against each other for the title
  • MailCrimp and SnailPrimp, hear and beauty trends
  • FailChips

Check them out here!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8FGi6BwjJE

For more analytics and details on the campaign and its results click here, but what I wanted to touch on was the way they used a paid search campaign to ensure they were noticed. In terms of marketing and PR, I’m gradually learning that it’s a bit of a taboo subject. Paid posts and content are now more obvious than ever before, and hence it has become more difficult for small businesses to promote themselves in a way that is tailored as opposed to targeting the masses simply for ease and guaranteed exposure (see what I did there with the photography pun? I’m learning…)

MailChimp dropped themselves into every part of culture and waited for the right people to pick them up, leading to some amazing coverage and results as summarised in the video above. This campaign really highlighted to me that in order to reach a specific audience, the most effective path isn’t always the obvious one and maybe it does require you to be a bit more creative to get noticed…

Whilst I appreciate the aid paid for posts can give you, I also now understand how much more aware of this people are and can disregard you for it… a lesson for all of my friends running a small business!

A day in the life…

… of a Suffolk photographer!

Now that I work at home in the beautiful village of Iken after relocating from Aldeburgh High Street, I sometimes like to sit back and reflect on my day to day job – hence what I started blogging again for!

I think we’re all guilty of rushing through the working week, cramming in as much as we can to alleviate ourselves at the weekends (this case is definitely true if you’re self-employed – if you know, you know!) and so taking time out is important.

Being based in Suffolk, it’s fair to say we have some great escape routes on our doorsteps that are perfect for clearing the mind – Aldeburgh, Orford, Snape, and Thorpeness to name a few. It’s hard to walk around these places without taking my camera with me, but sometimes if I need a break during the day I’ll endeavour to leave it at home – it’s amazing what you miss when you’re always looking through a lens!

Listening to the dawn chorus watching the sunrise is a fantastic way to start the day.

Having said all of that, I’m not always wishing I was away from my desk – I love my job. Someone once said to me that being a photographer is one of the most rewarding jobs, because photography helps tell a story people fail to put into words. I absolutely love this phrase, and it’s one that’s stuck with me through my career. Whether I’m documenting a wedding or helping families capture their memories in a portrait shoot, I always feel pictures speak a thousand words and this is all part of why I love my job.

Even if I’m sending a whole day editing photos from a corporate event shoot, I’m still engaged in the images and proud of the work I’ve produced, always looking forward to the next piece of work!

So, a day in the life of a Suffolk photographer? Pretty good if you ask me!

When one door opens…

… so do many others it turns out!

When I started creating short videos to try and prove to small local businesses that they are far more engaging than stills on social media and

can drive interest in the company, I didn’t expect such a quick take up! (saying that, if you haven’t been in touch yet please do drop me a line!)

So far, I’ve had one of the most exciting meetings I’ve ever had in my career with a local venue that is absolutely incredible, so my fingers are

very firmly crossed for that.

I’ve also been asked to help the Suffolk charity ‘The Alde and Ore Estuary Trust’, which is committed to raising vital funds needed for maintaining

the estuary defence walls. Their current campaign, ‘Save our Suffolk Estuary’ is a £5m public fundraising appeal to unlock matching funds, and I

really feel I can help.

By creating stunning short videos for the towns and villages along the rivers Alde and Ore, I plan to help raise awareness of the natural beauty

of these areas, in turn helping to prevent future flooding like that experienced by Snape villagers in 2013.


North Sea Storm Surge – The Crown Inn at Snape Dec 2013. Photo by Tony Pick

I love the Suffolk landscape, and want to give something back to the beautiful place my family and I live in. Without significant investment in

maintaining the estuary walls, this landscape will soon not be able to

withstand tidal surges, and therefore it is crucial to raise peoples’ awareness of this. I am excited to be able to help local businesses achieve their

goals too, and this leap has definitely lead me to new

connections, new business and new ventures!  Speaking of which, I received some coverage for the EADT online and would love you to head

over and check it out!

http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/photographer-turns-to-video-to-help-promote-suffolk-estuary-1-5365047
Orfordness – On the Suffolk Coast. Photo by Tony Pick

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How much do you know…

… about video?

You might think you know rather a lot, or at least enough – but that’s what I thought. I always knew video was an important tool, but recently my eyes have been opened to just how much impact these clips can have for your business.

Let’s start with an example… the video below, titled ‘Riding the waves’ which I’m sure you’ll have seen on my social media channels (if not you can view it by clicking the image below!) reached an impressive 7,000 views within a week. Now, here is where I have to come clean; I did use Facebook Boost to help with these figures, but the below stats taken from a Guardian article should help reiterate my point that video can be really effective at driving more engagement for businesses online.

 

  • In 2015, Cisco predicted that by 2017 video content would account for 69% of all internet traffic
  • In early 2017 the firm shifted their prediction to say that video content would account for 74% of internet traffic
  • They project that by 2019 global internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all internet traffic
  • 4x as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product/place/service rather than read about it
  • More than 60% of small business owners said they planned to increase investment in video marketing in 2017
  • Using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19% and click-through rates by 65%

This means that any local business interested in creating short, impactful and engaging stories through videography would be foolish not to contact me – I can help you provide beautiful, professional and eye-catching videos that will really work for you.

Using another example, my promotional video of ‘Orford – a beautiful place’ earned 2,000 views on social media in just 48 hours.

Although I’ve just started my venture into video, I’m really excited to see where it goes, and am extremely passionate about creating videos that promote the breath-taking Suffolk countryside we live in – watch this space!