29 Oct 2009


This week in London at the Canon Pro Photo Solutions event Getty images were part of the free seminars being offered. Tom Hind and Nick Mullord were there. Nick talked about the production side of how images were handled while Tom chatted about the current creative direction.
As a getty contributor I went along to see if I could gleam some gems of information to help me shoot more accurately. What they said actually surprised me. I don't quite know what I was expecting but they seem to want more imagery and don't seem to care that much where it comes from.
For those photographers who might be interested in what they said below is a brief summary, if I can read what my notes say!
If you're a experienced getty stock shooter probably none of this will be new and will only reinforce what you already know, for others, it may help.
Tom started off talking about portraits. They are looking for more realistic pictures of people. The warts and all photos with wrinkles, not necessarily smiling and showing more attitude. He was particular about pointing out they are looking for more on-location lifestyle portraits showing real people doing real things. The real-life things people do. Not people running and jumping on a beach - it could be as simple a someone reading a paper on their bed. There is a lack of imagery of older people doing young people's activities and shots of the less heroic side to people.
Tom then went on to talk about family-type pictures. Similiar to the individual portraits they want pictures that capture the real moments in family life with the gritty backgrounds and unflattering poses that come with them.
He touched on the flickr collection which is probably proving a little unpopular with regular getty contributers especially those who are paying $50.00 to submit a picture to the photographers choice collection. To see flickr photographers have their images signed up without them having to pay a fee is bound to cause some tension.
Flickr, he says, seems to be doing very well, especially in europe. Their flickr scouts have been searching for more european images showing culture of the country of where they were shot, again, less generic imagery.
Anyway, hope that helps a bit. Probably nothing new to regular getty shooters but a bit of an insight into what they are looking for at the moment.

26 Oct 2009


Sometimes, in fact, most of my time as a travel photographer is to go to a destination and blend in (sometimes this is quite hard outside of europe!) The theory is, and it is not rocket science, that by melting into the background and observing you should get better pictures than if you brashly go around clicking your camera at everything that moves. While being observant, patient and respectful of the culture you visit you thereby get better pictures. While this tends to hold true, sometimes being the obvious tourist photographer can produce results. The above picture is an example. This thai lady found my fumbling with my camera equipment worthy of a quick glance and my opportunity to take a nice picture.

21 Oct 2009


Every year for as long as I can remember I've been creating my own christmas cards. The early ones were embarrassingly bad such as the time I stuck holly leaves onto a bit of card! This year went for a photograph (stick to my strengths) and in tune with the current economic crisis I thought the above picture quite appropriate. It's a very simple image but it really needs a amusing caption so anyone who can come up with something please get in touch with your effort

19 Oct 2009


What makes a great photo is a bit like asking what is beauty. It's one of those questions that doesn't really have an answer for. On the one hand you have what makes a great photograph for you and then, the other, what art critics tell us is a great photo. One thing is for sure. Whenever you see a photo that you like I'm willing to bet that there is some element in it that illicits some emotional response. A landscape the creates serenity, a shot that brings back a memory, a news picture that makes you angry, some tragedy that makes you cry. Whatever it is there is some emotion attached to it. Thing is the majority of pictures we take, sorry to say, are sometimes quite boring. We can't always take photos that makes someone burst into tears but try and put a little emotion into a shot and see what happens.

18 Oct 2009


Ahhh, those magic words - what sells in stock photography? If only any of us know. Saying that, with a bit of research you can actually increase your chances of making a sale. Nothing is guaranteed but a little bit of research really does help. So I thought I was on to a bit of a winner with the above shot. I wanted to come up with a picture after reading a newspaper article on Asian's whose populations are getting fatter each year. It wasn't much of a surprise that the influx of western food and culture is making Asians larger. So an image of a chopstick and a french fry summed up what I was trying to say and, hopefully, make it a stock seller. It has been with Getty for about 2 years and hasn't sold once. So there you are - maybe not a good blog post if you want to learn what sells but at least you now know what doesn't!

15 Oct 2009


I'm a big fan of chocolate - shame my waistline isn't. Doing some sweet shoots this week for stock and this is just one of many.

13 Oct 2009


Call me a sucker for a lost cause or just plain stupid - I don't know. But today saw a post about one man's quest to buy a leica and some lenses (http://www.leicadream.com/). But leica's aren't cheap and this man can't afford one so he set up a website and asked people to donate - And I did! In return he put one of my pictures and weblink on his site (see above screenshot).

I'm hoping he gets his leica and one day becomes a famous photographer and he owes it all to fools like me. Or maybe he doesn't quite make the $15,000 he needs and instead buys a cheap compact. But whatever happens hats off to the man for having the gaul to give it a go.


This is a great idea. Let's get involved.

12 Oct 2009


Today I tweeted a blog article http://pauldymond.blogspot.com/ from Paul Dymond as he talked about the difficulty of doing both the photography and writing on an assignment for his editorial clients. If you have time you should really read his entry but the gist of the piece was that when doing both there is a compromise in the end result - poorer pictures and words.

What prompted his post was his recent job for DestinAsian Magazine where he was working solely as a photographer and he stated how unusual it was these days. With editorial budgets being cut magazines are looking for writers to be photographers and photographers to be writers and, while cheaper, the end product isn't nearly as good.

I can testify to this as I've done a fair bit of photography and writing to know that one always suffers. Being a photographer I concentrate on my strengths so the writing suffers. Like DestinAsian, I do a lot of work for Food & Travel magazine, and they know the value of sending a photographer and writer on most of their features and it makes the magazine all the more stronger for it especially when food writing is such an art form to do well. Long may it continue.

8 Oct 2009


As a photographer and someone involved with visual media this is quite exciting. Your newspaper or magazine of the future will be a moving interactive beast. Whether you or I like it or not, print media is dying and new digital technologies mean we are all going to be faced with reading and seeing things on a flexible screen of some description. It may mean it will bring more people back to reading because it will mean we will get to read and see the things we really want to read - items of news or entertainment that we have chosen to receive. Either via our iphone, kindle, or whatever the new technology will be at the time. I do it already on my laptop but to have something more portable would be handy. Something to think about that is not that far away.

7 Oct 2009


I was looking through some past pictures from a job I did in Turkey and this picture stopped me. It was taken early one morning at a cafe in the countryside far away from any of the tourist hot spots of Turkey. This lady was taking a break from cooking breakfasts and she has look that is so mesmerizing - I wouldn't dare compare it to the famous Afghan girl by Steve McCurry but there is something about it that reminds me of that picture.

5 Oct 2009


Some kind soul has nominated me for 'Photographer of the Year' award at this years Travel Press Awards. So chuffed that someone has put my name forward. I guess all I have to do now is enter some photographs!

2 Oct 2009


For some time now I've been meaning to get an etsy shop front up and running to try and sell some of my polaroid prints from asia that have been mentioned a couple of times on this blog. We will see just how well they sell but at least they are now out there and available if people want to buy them.
Here is the link to the shop front CLICK HERE