Up close and personal (part 2)

So I went on a mission around the Trans pennine trail the other day because there’s loads to see and the trails go on for ever! I think a covered about 5 miles which is nowt, but the next time a do it am going to double it me thinks.

Tell you what does me head in though is I walk everywhere generally as I don’t like catching bus and I don’t drive so a walk around 20 miles a week on average, now you’d think whoa loads a opportunity there to take pictures.

You’d be spot on with that assumption but I don’t like using me phone camera, and am not walking everywhere with all me camera gear  all time, so a thought am going to plan a session which is specifically for me photography work and it turned out decent.

Shame about the photo bombing bug, but moving it would have affected the condition of the subject (Nikon D3100 – freehand (ISO 400, aperture: 5.6, shutter: 1/400, lens: 70 – 300mm Sigma, additional gear: battery grip) – fully manual

The weather for the spring bank holiday Saturday were meant to be good and they weren’t too far off with the prediction (cos we know they never get weather right!) as a may have mentioned before I struggle with landscape photography. With this in mind I have been using Twitter for the hourly gatherings, and there’s one called #Barnsleyhour which is every Thursday between 20:00pm – 21:00pm where I’ve been chatting to some great folk regarding various types of photography.

One guy I got chatting to from a recommendation from Amy Law was a great bloke from Yorkshire who does fantastic landscape photography and has recently launched a new website which has incredible work on it and can also be purchased through his site making it a jack of all trades.

Seemed to work better as a B & W image this like the one above (Nikon D3100 – freehand ISO: 200, aperture: 5.6, shutter: 1/400, lens: 70 – 300mm Sigma, additional gear: battery grip) – fully manual

With the landscape stuff I have realised that there needs to be fore ground interest that leads you in the rest of the image, so when I actually get around to having another go I’ll do a post on it and tell me what you think.

With my spring bank mission around the trans pennine trail I hoped to get more images I was pleased with but that is a issue of mine. If I am completely satisfied with the images then other folk wont be so why would I post them? – quite simply put, I wouldn’t. I took around 100 images but I only liked so many due to me going free hand with a 300mm macro lens chasing after stuff makes it difficult to keep them in focus long enough for some top pictures.

This guy dropped out of a tree right in front of me, he stayed still long enough for some good shots – Shame about the stick obsuring his head though! (Nikon D3100 – freehand, ISO: 800, aperture: 5.6, shutter: 1/400, lens: 70 – 300mm Sigma, additional gear: battery grip) – fully manual

With the image above I had to make some slight corrections in Adobe Lightroom as the area had a large tree canopy so the light was really low, that with the narrow-ish aperture meant decent light was an issue, so I jacked the ISO up to 800 to compensate which introduced some colour noise in to the image. A quick soften in Lightroom with a 4 pixel highpass on a separate layer in Photoshop sorted that though!

The images below are from a session the weekend after where the weather was absolutely boiling so I couldn’t stay out as long as I wanted to unfortunately because I forget that if I walk say…. 6 miles and it takes me a couple of hour I then have to obviously walk that same distance back turning it into a 12 mile 4 hour walk! which takes its tole in hot weather carrying camera gear.


Basically a massive daisy this, all over place down there (Nikon D3100 – freehand, ISO: 200, aperture: 5.6, shutter: 1/400, lens: 70 – 300mm Sigma, additional gear: battery grip) – fully manual
Pain in arse throttling colour back with these buttercup flowers, I like the intensity but it over saturates the details making it look more like a yellow silhouette instead of a flower (Nikon D3100 – freehand, ISO: 200, aperture: 5.6, shutter: 1/400, lens: 70 – 300mm Sigma, additional gear: battery grip) – fully manual
Little bit different for me this, but this were weird! seemed really out of place like it didn’t belong here, some kind of abandoned tunnel (Nikon D3100 – freehand, ISO: 800, aperture: 9 shutter: 1/400, lens: 70 – 300mm Sigma, additional gear: battery grip) – fully manual
Proper tiny this fly, really didn’t think i’d get a focused one as the slightest bit a wind moved the entire image out of shot, I were actually waiting on some rabbits just behind this guy but they never showed. (Nikon D3100 – freehand, ISO: 200, aperture: 5.6 shutter: 1/400, lens: 70 – 300mm Sigma, additional gear: battery grip) – fully manual
Well chuffed with this one, he were constantly moving so a must have looked a right tit chasing him about for a good shot, tried to get him face on but it weren’t happening! (Nikon D3100 – freehand, ISO: 400, aperture: 5.6 shutter: 1/400, lens: 70 – 300mm Sigma, additional gear: battery grip) – fully manual

Understanding my audience (keeping it simples)

So since am starting a business in photography and my services offered are for the most part a “luxury” (item which was pointed on in a workshop session, more on that later) it can be difficult to get sales especially in my home town of Barnsley! – the folk living here are so reserved with their money am positive their coffins are going to be made from actual £20 notes.

Like me mum telling me that these glass jars she bought from a charity shop the other day were expensive and they should think about reducing the price… (they were £1.49 each by the way, so not even 3 quid!) This is a perfect case in point, it doesn’t matter the quality everything is ALWAYS too expensive for people around here.

Another example for you would be someone getting in touch with me on Facey B which can be found here (Facebook business page if you fancy a peek at me page) and she inquired about me covering a christening for around £50 with photos included! – I mean whats that all about? not even worth getting out of bed for…

One to One

So with this new found ammunition at the ready I went to an Enterprising Barnsley session at the Barnsley Digital Media centre in Barnsley today and met with Ben Hawley, who’s a top bloke and gave me some fantastic advice throughout the session which lasted nearly an hour an half.

The thing is I attend lots of different events like these because without fail someone else’s perspective will have another spin that I can try out which always helps and I try and get the most input from folk as humanly viable. The focus of the session with Ben today was refining my Facebook page (totally remastering it really) as I know that I will get a good amount of work from it if I learn how to utilise the beast more effectively.

if am honest social media actually does me head in when am using it for me self but doing it for other folk I really like because ultimately they provide the content I just present it in a nice way.

Some of the tips he put to me where to add a nice call to action on all my images that I post, plus a nice description to get people more engaged with each image. We then got chatting about the customer life cycle (known as AIDA) which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. This is the general pipe line that everyone searching for something works with subconsciously, here is an example:

Attention: So I add a nice large image to Facebook from a shoot I have done, adjusted colours and cropped it in slightly [which creates…]

Interest: They click the image and see a nice description and they start thinking [creating a…]

Desire: They think hmmm, i’d love some up to dates photos of the kids since they like what they see and the description has pulled them in [creating an…]

Action: Each image has a clear call to action button directing them either email, a phone number, email address or website which ever place to need them to be.

AIDA marketing model
I work best visually so a thought I’d stick this in to better understand the process

This was a really insightful view on it, as this path makes you require a purpose for all your marketing content, this may sound really silly as you’d be thinking of course it must have a purpose. But speaking from experience I’ve spent unnecessary cash on advertising for what? – a page “like” on Facebook? – and whats that got me? they might “unlike” me in a week so that’s money wasted.

Ben did mentioned that Facebook has around 13 different advert templates! – have you noticed which ones Facebook push the most? “get likes for your page” & “Boost your post” these for me personally has served me no purpose at all that’s why I haven’t been active on Facebook enough.

The most interesting template was one where Facebook only charged you when someone clicked through to a particular page such as book now! – which in all fairness is what most of us would be wanting, or maybe driving them to your website for booking.

“Always assume they are stupid and lazy”

You need to be thinking outside the box with this one, an open mind. With the internet being what it is and content being updated constantly and the constant refining of the customer life cycle, it is important to assume that people cannot navigate your site, know how to book and so on. A mean you’ve seen the tutorials for keeping your site navigation as simple as possible.

The simple reason for all this is to keep everything “dummy proof” its that simple!

Take me for example, I like painting warhammer figures on the gamesworkshop site, and the site it’s self is always being reworked to keep things dead simple for viewing and purchasing, because if it took me more than 10 seconds to figure out how to order some stuff and pay for it a wouldn’t bother and just nip into my local town in the future to pick it up. Its all about the attention span these days, simplicity is expected in this day and age.

That’s that one wrapped up, hopes you liked it. Don’t be shy to drop me a comment about what am talking about and if you have any input yourself, remember its all about helping each other.

Dave signing off…


The Comfort Zone

Honestly coming from experience, that “comfort zone” thing will actually dictate your entire life if you let it, your only born once and need to make the absolute most of it while you’re here! –

Why is it so EASY to pass on knowledge to other folk but never actually listen to your own chuffing words!

So I actually attended me first networking event today at Digital Media Centre (DMC) in Barnsley town centre, as word a mouth is meant to be a powerful tool in a entrepreneurs arsenal which in me opinion trumps social media any day a week! – now maybe it’s me not utilising social media properly or am simply not putting the time in but word a mouth advertising always works best for me as a photographer.

Starting the day

So a had to be there for half 8 this morning, meaning I had to be up for about half 6 as a only catch bus if I absolutely have to, so generally a walk everywhere. The DMC from me is about 2 and half mile which takes about 45 minutes (ish) depending on weather, but today the weather were on me side thank god! – I do all me general stuff that you do in morning like brushing your teeth and that but this morning had it in for me.

I’ve got an electric tooth brush (not them proper swish one’s mind you) it cost me 3 quid from me barber (Yep, me barber) but batteries don’t fit right….EVER so a whack base of it on wall to (ahem, click it) into place to then split back a tooth brush and leave a fantastic print in wall paper for me grandparents to find and skin me over when a get home.

Wicked! – well played sir…

so a gets me teeth done and goes to get me shower gear from me gym bag which a used yesterday, only to find when showering at gym that I’d not put lid back on me shampoo! – What sort a pudding does that?! The chaos, the blue oozing catastrophe which was presented to me in me gym bag, it were everywhere! – absolutely everywhere. All me shower gear were covered in it not to mention me gym towel and gloves. But I didn’t even notice this at first, a put the bag down on me grandma’s fresh clean bath mats in bathroom first to see the blue fountain coming out of a split in bag! – second strike for me from me grandparents.

b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l  – this were before I’d even had me breakfast, quality start to me day. Do you ever have those days where you think… knackers to this am going back to bed and starting me day again? – A thought this were one a them days.

The Event

I’ve never actually been to one a these networking thingies before, so a were nervous as it’s a comfort zone thing with me, a gets in only to see an ocean of white shirts and black suits everywhere! – am thinking oh no, these aren’t sort a folk I want to be networking with they look like a bunch a bankers or whatever.

A nips to toilet to reassess the situation, talking myself out of it and thinking to simply walk out without even signing in but then… I have an Epiphany !  NO I’ll have 5 minutes to have a look around properly (thats a lie, am actually willing someone to approach me instead like a coward!) whips out me phone so a don’t look awkward but inadvertently creating a barrier to be approached due to me phone. (vicious cycle engaged)

But then someone walks up stairs that I actually know called Sarah Valentine (kept wanting to call her Jill Valentine accidentally! – bloody computer games) and she gives me a proper pep talk and boosts me confidence to get stuck in! – she chats to a couple a folk and brings them over and the conversation starts flowing, I ended up making 5 contacts when me plan were to only engage 2, already creating a barrier for me self.

It’s amazing how much is in your mind, how difficult a person can make something when there simply is no reason to. Take for example all the suited and booted people that attended and intimidated me – why did they? What because they know how to wear a suit and put a tie on? So what! I could do that, but that doesn’t represent me as a person, so I would be creating a fake impression of myself to fit in. I was actually going to bail on the entire event because of how they dressed and the misinterpretation in my mind of what a suited person stands for, I actually felt out place like I was more common than they were, and it actually turned out they were fantastic people to chat to and I learnt so much from the experience.

This cant be any truer, I know its difficult but its the only way to move forward and actually mean something.

So… with this in mind about how a dress code manipulated me for my next networking event I am going to wear the brightest yellow t-shirt I can find and just see if this intrigues folk into thinking “wow, how loud is that shirt his wearing, I wonder what his business is? – what kind of a person is he? in fact am going over to ask.

Lets see whats happens, a shall keep you posted on the outcome.

Signing off…


P.S am after posting every couple a week to start with so I can get into the swing of blogging because being honest a reckon a could definitely get into this. 😉




Wondering around the crowd

A sojourn in the city of Halifax gave me the opportunity to draw the morning rush for coffee and doughnuts at Tim Horton’s in Scotia Square Mall. I’m always astonished at the efficiency of people who work there; your order is placed neatly on a tray almost as soon as the words stumble out of […]

via Morning tide at Tim’s. — drawthepublic