Refreshing the photographic creative juices

REFRESHING THE PHOTOGRAPHIC CREATIVE JUICES

Gosh its been a busy start to the year. Our busiest January ever followed on from our busiest December, and don’t even ask me what happened to February, I blinked and suddenly found myself striding into March.

I love it when we are busy and the shoots are stacking up and we are running from one job to the next. It’s exciting, it’s varied and it’s everything I love about the job.

But every now and then you have to stop and take stock, and in those quiet moments I love to pick up my camera and go shoot… I know that sounds backwards…. surely that’s when you take a rest from the camera, but for me one of the best ways to rest is to go shoot….. but shoot for myself and not for anyone else. Where you only ned to care that you like the images and don’t need to think about anyone else in your creative process.

There is a big difference between working photography and personal photography and no matter how busy you get you sometimes have to make time just to go out and have fun with your cameras.

On a job you don’t often have the luxury of time, but an important part of good photography is just taking your time… sitting and watching the world go by. Getting into rhythm around you and then moving through it looking for your images. Sometimes you just have to take your time. If you don’t you run the risk of reaching that point when your brain goes into work mode every-time you reach for your cameras. Too often that means you stop actually opening your eyes and mind to all the images around you and you just focus on the ones that clients need, and that is the start of the downfall of your own creativity.

One of the things I love to do to keep myself sharp is a “one-on-one” challenge…. In my work I have a myriad of camera bodies, lenses, lighting gear and so on that help me meet any challenge a client can throw at me and deliver the images they want…. but in a one-on-one challenge I strip it all back to one camera body with one prime lens…. one focal length, no zooms, no flash, nothing. It strips you right back to basics and makes you start to think about your shots a lot more.

So this morning was my first day in weeks where I had nothing to do for anybody else. It was wet and a bit miserable but what they hey. Leaving my car I jumped on a bus and travelled into Brisbane CBD. I love taking the bus or train when I do this kind of thing. That dead time in the journey gives me a chance to just gaze out the window and wipe my mind of everything and just let my eyes wander and properly look at the world as I go by. Something you just can’t do when you drive.

So I spent the day with my little Canon EOS M5 mirrorless camera with the wonderfully sharp and punchy 22mm f2 pancake lens (35mm full frame equivalent). When I first started in photography the 35mm was my go to lens and I would hardly ever take it off my old Canon AE1. These days I hardly ever use one so for me it was a nice step back in time as well as a good part of the challenge. Then with no plan I just wandered round the town going wherever my feet took me with no plan. Below are some of my favourites and it was only once I loaded up the images on my computer that I realised that today’s theme seemed to be mostly reflections… maybe because the rainy day put me in such a reflective mood today, who knows LOL.

No matter what you do for a living, no matter how much you love what you do…. every now and then just remember to take the time to recharge the creative batteries, find some breathing space and isn so doing keep that passion for what you do alive.

Andy



RUNWAY RESURFACING PROJECT

ROMA AIRPORT RUNWAY RESURFACING PROJECT

Some jobs are just special right from the word go.  From the first conversation with the client you know it’s going to be epic.

Like when a client calls and says: “….so, this runway in a rural Queensland town is getting resurfaced over 30 days or so but all the work has to be done at night and every morning each night’s work has to seamlessly blend with the existing runway so that the airport can re-open and the runway can operate as per normal each day.

So every night we have to scrape off the top layer of a section, flatten it, seal all the cracks, resurface it, roll it smooth, re paint all line markings and then clear the area of all equipment and debris so the first plane of the day can land. Now we need a film that can capture every stage of the process, filmed at night and feature airport operations during the day and be around the 2 minute mark. What do you think….”

What do I think? I think that sounds epic.

WELCOME TO THE ROMA AIRPORT RESURFACING PROJECT

Client: Cross Copywriting representing both Fulton Hogan and Maranoa Regional Council

Brief: Create an approx. 2 min film showing all aspects of the resurfacing work and the importance of the airport to the regional community.

End use: General marketing material and historical record.

Required:  Two trips out to the rural hub of Roma, three-night shifts and two-day shifts (the longest being 18 hours straight), two staff, nine separate cameras including three go pros, 280gb of B-roll footage and 21,000 still frames for time-lapse segments. 

Every job presents particular challenges to overcome. The Roma project was particularly interesting. Not only were there the “normal” safety issues of working around some seriously large plant and equipment in constant motion but also the added risks of working around them at night and the technical difficulties of filming and photographing fast moving objects in low light.  

During the day our set pieces were relaxed as were shown round the airport by airport manager Ben Stewart and his friendly team. Taking time to work out angles and stage our shots.

The night time job was a completely different story. The Fulton Hogan team were working to incredibly tight deadlines and it was made very politely and equally firmly clear from the start that nothing could be done to interrupt or hold up any work as everyone had a great big clock in their heads counting down the time to the first aircraft coming in to land in the morning…. An operational deadline that could not be held up for anyone.

The answer? Bring loads of cameras and set them up running all round the works area so that at any one time we are filming two or three b-roll pieces, having Go-pros rigged on vehicles capturing driver-eye views of the evening while another three cameras work on static and slider based time-lapse pieces… then throughout the night we run around breaking down and resetting everything for the next set of shots.

For us it was a non-stop, slightly manic job with little down time as the Fulton Hogan team professionally, systematically and efficiently smashed through their work.

But despite all the cameras and gear we had with us, our greatest asset for the job was simply the people we were working with. Namely Philippa Cross of Cross Copywriting whose agency was the central point of contact for managing and matching our work to the desires and needs of the two end clients, Fulton Hogan and Maranoa Regional Council, and of course the attitude of the men and women of the Fulton Hogan and Roma Airport teams. 

Yes they were extremely busy and under a great deal of pressure but every one of them was also as helpful as they could be. Ready to assist whenever we needed it and incredibly welcoming to the point that even though we were the interlopers dropping in and buzzing around like annoying mosquitos at a barbeque they instantly made us feel like an integral part of their team. Making a hectic job that much easier.

This job was amazing and memorable in so many ways. Being Brisbane based commercial photographers it’s good to get out and about in regional Queensland. Watching the way the FH team worked liked a well-oiled machine. The incredible logistical challenges of the job for everyone involved and the resulting piece of film that we achieved.

But for me the greatest memories that I take away from this job are the working relationships forged over the project and the wonderfully warm, cohesive team spirit that was shown across the board from everyone involved. Those more than anything else made this job simply epic.


 

OMA GOSH WHAT A WEEKEND

SURFING IN THE SHADOW OF CYCLONES

With Cyclone Oma causing havoc up and down the Southern Queensland coast this weekend there seemed no better time for my son and I to have a father and son weekend combining our love of surfing and of cameras.

Now when it comes to photography I’m pretty confident saying I know my stuff but when it comes to surfing, while I love both doing it and watching it, I have to be honest and say I’m pretty hopeless at it.

My little boy on the other hand is still learning his camera work but loves his surfing and after only a couple of lessons can go off and catch a wave and unlike his dad actually stay standing riding it to the end.

All that said the set after set of bumper waves crashing up and down the Gold and Sunshine Coasts were well beyond anything we could even pretend to go out in so we decided to stay on dry land, break out the cameras and have a great father and son weekend watching and capturing the action by surfers we can only dream about ever being as good as.

And what a pleasure it was to watch those men and women out among terrifyingly large crashing waves. Saturday was the most dramatic down at Kirra Point and Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast and then Sunday a quieter session up at the Spit at Noosa.

Though while I must say the surfing was impressive, and it is always fantastic to photograph people in their element, what was more impressive to me was my little boy using a big telephoto lens for the first time and shooting fast sports for the first time and nailing some absolutely amazing shots.

No random firing of the camera for him, but careful framing and timing his shots for the best drama. He has owned and been using cameras since he was three. Now at 11 he is becoming a really accomplished young photographer.

As a father there is no greater thing than sharing two of your favourite things with your child and also watching them develop realising with pride that they will, without doubt, one day surpass you at both of them.

So here are my pics….. and my son’s follow below…

…and here are some of Jack’s…

Brisbane Commercial Photography - Brisbane Event Photography, Australian Event Photography, Lifestyle Photography, Advertising Photography

Inside an Industrial Warehouse Project for Miele & Tomkins - Brisbane Architectural Photography

We regularly photograph architecture and building and construction completion projects across Brisbane, Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast and last week I felt like an ant inside this warehouse!

I photographed the Miele Warehouse at Brisbane Airport for our valued client Tomkins, doing an amazing job on the project. Comprising of a 6,000sqm warehouse and an attached 1,065sqm office, this project continues the ongoing relationship that Tomkins have built with Brisbane Airport Corporation.

The Miele Warehouse includes a showroom and service centre with polished concrete in the office. The development also includes an external car park and a concrete loading facility.

See some of the images below of the completion project photography.

Em

Brisbane Commercial Photography | Brisbane Architecture Photography | Brisbane Architectural Photography | Brisbane Construction Photography | Brisbane Building Photography

A WEEKEND CELEBRATING THE BEST IN AUSTRALIAN COMMERCIAL RADIO

A WEEKEND CELEBRATING THE BEST IN AUSTRALIAN COMMERCIAL RADIO

The Faces of Radio - Recap of the Australian Commercial Radio Awards Conference Radio Alive and the Commercial Radio Awards for 2018.

Going Behind the scenes with an award winning cutting edge company: Life Portraits visits QLD Telstra Business Awards Winners, HeliMods

The Telstra Business Awards has been and continues to be a wonderful journey for us here at Life Portraits and LP Commercial Photography. It has helped us focus our minds and take a long hard look at how we do business and how we plan for our future. 

But the best thing about the awards process has been the amazing and inspirational people and businesses we have met along the way. One such is the team at HeliMods, this year's Queensland overall Telstra Business Awards winner. The team are now through to the national finals and stand a real chance of bringing home the national award in their category and overall title for Queensland.

It's said that no matter how far you think you have come in business, if you want to excel, don't surround yourselves with your equals or those who are not developed as far as you.... that only leads to flattering your ego or keeping you comfortable. Instead seek out those who have surpassed you, who inspire you, who you can learn from and by doing that you challenge yourself to raise your own bar and excel further.

Well when it comes to inspiration HeliMods hit that nail on the head big time, so when they invited us to visit them at their base of operations at Caloundra airport on the Sunshine Coast, we jumped at the chance.

From the outside the office and hangers look like any airport side industrial park buildings, but when you enter the reception you know this is no ordinary business. You are greeted by two massive windows. One opens onto a pristine hanger spotlessly clean and organised despite it containing a helicopter stripped down to its bare bones with technicians working to build a complete custom interior for it and in the distance you see state-of-the-art computer controlled production equipment. The other window opens to a room that is filled with some of the most advanced, next generation scanning and imaging systems, connected to a 3D printer. I have to admit that as an equipment and engineering geek I started grinning a grin that didn't leave me until well after we had finished our visit and started driving back to Brisbane.

In complete layman's terms, HeliMods customise helicopters, but in a way, that's a massive over-simplification. It's probably more accurate to say they completely re-engineer existing airframes to suit any role a client might require. Part of that includes building and inventing complete new systems from scratch to deliver the perfect unit, including a world first and supposedly impossible to create air ambulance stretcher system that will literally save lives and cut down injuries in the transferring of patients in helicopter medevacs.

This is the type of business that Queensland and Australia should be shouting about and celebrating. High-end, world leading ingenuity, know-how and manufacturing all in the most unassuming position at Caloundra airport, opposite the Queensland Air Museum. A monument to the past across the road from a foundation of the future.

Modern thinking comes into every part of the HeliMods experience. The team not only employs leading edge technology throughout every part of their process, but also uses it as an enabler in their truly user-centred approach to every project, involving clients and end-users in their iterative designs and solutions. This allows the team to deliver truly custom outcomes to every client and often to provide better engineering solutions that their client may not have had the opportunity to consider. The end result is a finished helicopter perfect for whatever role is required and allowing HeliMods to not just deliver on a brief, but cost effectively adapt and perfect the finished product beyond the brief specifications.

But as with any good business, the end-product, no matter how amazing, is only half of what makes this company special.

While you can walk around the facility and easily get lost at marvelling at the high-tech toys and creations that are key to delivering their end-product, for those not in their sector, it's how they operate and have structured the business that is the true inspirational aspect of HeliMods.

In an industry which can be slow moving and hierarchical, HeliMods have thrown away the handbook on how an aeronautical engineering business should be run.

They have started out with a flat management structure. The principle is, whoever is the expert at any part of a business, engineering, manufacturing or installation processes, naturally adopts a leadership position across those project areas, so that at every stage, expert teams of highly skilled people are coordinating the outcome seamlessly as opposed to relying on 'management'. This means not only is control in the hands of the most knowledgeable person in the room at all times, but also that people are encouraged to use their intelligence, experience and imagination to seek out new ways of working and resolving issues, rather than risk being held back by a general manager who may not have the depth of knowledge and experience or creativity to do anything more than what is the norm.

This in turn does present some issues when recruiting new staff as not only do they need particular skill-sets they also need a particular, non-standard mindset. But as Tim explained, when they find the right people, particularly grad students, it's amazing to watch them blossom and their imaginations flourish creating new and innovative solutions.

And it works, not only in their success but also in the atmosphere in the workplace. We spent some time chatting with aerospace engineer and closest to what would be second in command in a normal business, Tim, in their coffee room and while we were there people from all sections of the business walked in. From accounts to fabrication, engineers to technicians, the mood was jovial, happy, empowered and engaging. People would walk in discussing issues and collegiality working towards solutions. It was a tremendous atmosphere.

Now I'm sure there are arguments and disagreements, no creative process can exist without some interesting, slightly heated moments or difference of opinions and often it is those moments, which are critical to the generation of new thinking and new methods of problem solving.  But what we saw more than anything was the level of easy and happily given respect for skills and knowledge between staff in all the different departments. It lay behind all the banter and discussions, and when you have that working environment you have something truly special.

That spirit is something that I see reflected in us and the way we work. Emily and I are two very competitive individuals and are so different in so many ways that we should argue much more in our workplace when discussing our business, tactics and future, but genuinely we don't.

We do have some great and in-depth discussions mixed in with the odd eye-rolling sessions but nothing ever boils over.  Underneath all differences of opinions there is a strong backbone of respect for the other's skills, integrity and honour. As we grow our business over the coming years bringing in new people and skill sets that is something we must protect and if we do it as well as HeliMods and their team have then that is something we will be very proud of.

So what other things did we learn when visiting....

Many things, but I think the most important was creating a vision and striving for it. Fifteen years ago HeliMods was a small business in a shed run by owner Will Shrapnel. He did one very important thing at this point. He created a very honest and detailed concept of what his business was at the time and what he would make it into in ten years’ time.

Then he laid out a path to create that business and every decision he made was built on what he had to do to lead him to that end goal and continues to lead him on where he now wants the business to be in another ten years.

Emily and I are a two-person business in the creative industries. Over the past three years our critical goal has been to learn how to make best use of each others skills and personalities, build our client base, achieve a baseline earning level that maintains the business and maintains us, keeping food on the table and roofs over our heads and we have done that and built a successful business that is becoming admired by our peers along the way. 

It would now be easy for us to fall into the trap of taking a rest and becoming comfortable with what we have. But becoming comfortable in business is a dangerous thing which can very easily lead to stagnation, a lack of flexibility, a lack of creativity and all too easy end in the death of a business. 

After our trip to HeliMods we realise now it is time to become serious about what we do in the future. So now for us, the big planning sessions start, deciding what shape the business is going form in 10 years time and what the photography industry is going to look like in that time. What do I want to be doing when I turn 60 and start to think about retiring or at least slowing down a little as I pass that milestone and where Emily's life may be by then and how that may shape our business. What staff do we need and how do we incorporate them into the business and so on. 

So now we start to create in our minds, not the business we have, but the business we want to own and, like HeliMods, start down the path of creating the future.

Andy

An Authentic Italian Experience: Brisbane Food Photography

Who loves Italian!?

I'm a hugeeee lover of authentic food and unique food experiences and had the opportunity to experience Prova Pizzeria in Stafford recently for an amazing feast! A big thanks to Cat & Joe for looking after Corey and I with a beautiful tapas entree, two pizzas for our main, red wine and of course finishing with nutella doughnuts surrounded by a pizza base bowl! TO DIE FOR!

I couldn't help but capture some of experience ❤ 

I must try in Brisbane for a beautiful authentic Italian experience with a range of items on the menu. Thanks Cat & Jo for having us, we loved the hospitality, customer service and your added personal touch!

Em x 

Brisbane Food Photography
www.lpcommercial.photography

Commercial Branding in the Fitness Industry: Lifestyle Marketing Imagery for Movement Mecca

Monique took a risk and left her corporate job to pursue her dream... and Movement Mecca was born! 

Monique's idea stemmed from her own personal experience searching for active-wear online, realising that there was a gap in the marketplace for one online location to purchase quality Australian fitness wear.

So Monique acted on this opportunity and created an online destination for women's performance and lifestyle clothing and accessories by 100% Australian boutique brands, Movement Mecca!

After getting an insight into her brand, her values and getting to know Monique myself through our communications, I wanted to channel these fresh, fun and vibrant vibes through her personal marketing imagery. We chose locations that were full of colour, had a lifestyle and nature feel which coincided with the brands target market. See below for some of our lifestyle marketing imagery to represent Monique as the director and also the Movement Mecca brand in her marketing, website and online presence.

Em x

Brisbane Commercial Photography - People
www.lpcommercial.photography