Saturday, February 27, 2010

The value of a good freelancer

Take this to the bank. A good freelance photographer can make all the difference between getting a press release published and having it disappear forever at the click of an editor's delete button.

Why? Because the photograph that accompanies a press release often determines whether the story gets published.

"A good freelancer is worth his/her weight in gold to a company. When we look at press releases the photograph is often the deciding factor whether we publish a story. We 're always looking for good pictures for the newspaper. That's where it starts. Sometimes a story which is not as strong may be chosen because there's a good picture. And once we have a good image in the library we may use it again for another story at a later date," I was told by the deputy business editor of a large newspaper.

And he's the guy that makes that decision. Keep it or delete it.

He fails to understand how time and again companies send in press releases accompanied by poor quality or unimaginative photographs.

“Please don't send me a picture of men in suits all lined up together, or someone sitting behind a computer in a boring office,” groans the editor.

He also complained about the poor quality of images sent in with press releases, “clearly taken by a company staff member who is 'into' photography,” and thinks they're a good photographer because they have an expensive DSLR.

Businesses are under pressure to cut budgets but they should think very carefully about where they make those cuts. Creating a press release in the first place is not cheap. It takes people's time, often the CEO is involved, approvals need to be gained internally and from clients and if a PR agency is involved then there's their fee to pay as well. Hopefully though the PR agency would have the sense to hire a good professional photographer. To have all that effort, time and money go down the drain because nobody thought about getting a decent photograph is an absolute waste. The company may as well not have bothered in the first place.

Photographs sell newspapers and magazines. Simple as that. If companies want to get their stories into magazines and newspapers then they have to provide high quality photography. The only way to do that is for the company to hire the most talented photographer they can find.

As the editor says, “A good freelance photographer is worth her weight in gold.”

I think we need to emphasise the value of good photography to the agencies and companies we work with. We have to educate them about the difference a good image can make. Many marketing departments and PR agencies are too focused on the words of a story or press release and under value the images.

If you would like any marketing advice feel free to drop me line.

Till soon,


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Light and time - the essence of photography

I had no idea when I was making this portrait, that Mrs M only had eight days to live before she passed peacefully at the retirement home.

She had a full life and was one of the pioneering Belgian woman photographers, specialising in social photography. She used a large format, bellows camera. While I made the portrait we chatted happily about the changes in photography.

Her hair was in slight disarray but she would not let her son touch it, leaving the sea breeze to play with the strands. That's how she was.

At the moment I took the image she was staring out to sea, seeming to look past her mortal existence.

When I look at this image and think of that sunny afternoon it touches me. I hope it moves you too.

Photography is all about light and time - that particular, never-to-return moment we freeze forever in a picture of light that becomes an 'aide-mémoire'.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Favourite black and white portraits

I decided to publish a collection of my favourite black and white portraits in a slide show. It's a really subjective choice. Sit back and enjoy and please feel free to write a comment or ask a question.

Click through to YouTube to see a larger version.

Till soon,

Monday, February 01, 2010

Slide show of some of my black and white work

I am building my portfolio on Lightstalkers and have so far created a gallery with a selection of black and white images. Here's a beta version slide show...

[Edit ...whoops that didn't work in this blog format]

You can hopefully see the slide show here.

Feel free to comment.