Our Wedding Photography Swansong

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We certainly finished on a high for our Wedding Photography Swansong! ‘Twas a beautiful day for a lovely couple who we’ve known for many years through their studio visits.

We decided some time ago that we would not be taking any new wedding bookings for after May 2019.  Not a decision taken lightly, but we know it’s the right one for us.

Thought I’d share a little of what’s involved when entrusted with this very important task.

Even though I’ve never advertised weddings, we’ve been lucky enough to have had our fair share over the years, from family and friends getting hitched, to some of my lovely studio clients, and of course, word of mouth referrals.  Each wedding equally beautiful in its own unique way. Come rain or come shine, it’s been a joy. Yes, even in the downpours! Heavy rain is challenging, I won’t deny, but you just have to make the best of it and use it to your advantage and grab some fun shots which you wouldn’t otherwise get on a sunny day!

It truly is an absolute honor when you’re asked to photograph a wedding. As the official photographers, you get to share and virtually live the day alongside the happy couple. You see everything first hand and capture all the emotions that invariably occur, from the nerves and tensions of the morning and the excitement shared by the bride and groom with their respective “tribes” as they get ready; the sighs of relief once the ceremony has been done, and the relaxed atmosphere and fun and happiness by the end of the day! Especially once the champagne has started flowing! You also get to photograph at the most beautiful locations and stunning venues – a photographer’s dream!

I won’t pretend it isn’t a tad stressful though. Weddings are after all, a one stop saloon – you just get the one chance and if you miss a shot or something fails, it’s too late to go back after the event. All the suppliers involved, and not just the photographers, want to make sure everything is top notch for the happy couple and their guests and do their utmost to ensure the day goes as smoothly as possible. And of course it always does even if there are one or two hiccups during the proceedings. But these are the moments most treasured and which make every wedding unique – it’s often these little “hiccups” that become the best memories in years to come!

Yes, you can plan all you like but on the day anything can happen and often does, quite out of the blue, not least the weather being so unpredictable in this country. With experience, you learn to take whatever is thrown at you in your stride. But it sure keeps you on your toes throughout the day and that’s a good thing! Lee and I always took our backup cameras. Even though our main cameras are expensive and very reliable, in the back of your mind there’s always a little niggle that technology might fail you at a crucial moment, like during the ceremony. Yikes!! I still shudder at the very thought!!

Fortunately, we were lucky that we never needed our backups but it was always reassuring to have them just in case! (Haha I have never wanted to say this before in case of jinxing any future weddings we had to photograph!!)

Love all those little details too that help make each wedding so individual.

Well I guess all good things must come to an end, although I must admit it’s a little bit of a relief too. Photographing a wedding is perhaps more exhausting than you might imagine. Even fellow photographers, mostly much younger than we are, suffer from what’s known in the trade as “Wedding Photographer Hangover”. Yep, when you get home after shooting all day it sure hits you! And the following day too. You physically ache from head to toe! I think this lady, Karen Julia Wedding Photography, describes it so well in her blog post https://karenjuliaphotography.com/how-to-prevent-wedding-photographer-hangover/ It’s reassuring to know you’re not the only ones and it doesn’t get any easier as the years go by!

We would always try and keep the day after free so we could chillax a bit. I found it a perfect opportunity to go through all the photos Lee and I had taken between us and sort out favourites to post for a sneak peek on Social Media and to start the initial edit. Downloading the images from the memory cards in itself could take a couple of hours due to the enormous size of the Raw files out of camera and there being at least a couple of thousand to download. Speaking of the memory cards, I would not let them out of my sight until all the backups had been done, which was as quickly as possible believe me!

Because we limited the number of weddings we booked, I would try to keep the couple of weeks afterwards free in order to devote this time to work on the edit so I could deliver them to the newlyweds as soon as possible. They’d be very excited to see them of course so didn’t want to keep anyone waiting any longer than necessary. It’s no mean feat doing a wedding edit, especially when you have developed your own style, as most photographer’s do, it involves several hours each day at the computer during this time.

Edit finished and 1000 or more images delivered to the happy couple, I’d start work on designing the artwork for the photobook, which was included in most of my packages. Once that had been approved by the couple, I ordered it, and then time to put together a slideshow of around 25 minutes, using the favourite song tracks of the bride and groom.

Thus, all in all, a fair amount involved from start to finish, but because I really love being creative, it never felt like a chore, just fun to do.

To be told how much the images, book and slideshows have meant to our wedding couples over the years, has been the icing on the (wedding) cake! Great feedback means the world to us and truly makes our day 🙂

It just remains for me to take this opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU to all the wonderful couples who have entrusted us with photographing their beautiful days over the years.

It has been a privilege and a joy.

There is one thing a photograph must contain. The humanity of the moment.

Quote by Robert Frank

Loving Two “Babies” Equally?

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Here we are almost at another summer holidays already and another year zooming by! There’s been lots going on here even though you may have noticed fewer posts from me on Facebook of late. Read on and I will explain all!

As many of you know already, I now split my time wearing the two hats, so to speak. Romsey Fotografix being one, and my Zazzle Store – Fotografixgal Designs, t’other.

Now please don’t get me wrong. Just because I have found a new love in my Zazzle store, doesn’t mean I’m no longer “in love” with my photography and Romsey Fotografix. Nah, not at all, that’s still my baby. As we all know, when the second “baby” comes along, you love it just as much don’t you, if you’ll forgive the analogy!  I guess what I’m saying is, it’s possible to love two babies equally.

Of course, finding time to devote to each and give them both my all has meant a little compromising – but not at the expense of letting go of good customer service I hasten to add. So yes, I have cut back on my photoshoots, which means that I can still devote the time necessary for each photo session and the subsequent edit and correspondence, and thus maintain the standard of customer service you are used to from me and, of course, deserve.

My time is split about 50/50, with a little leeway naturally where needs be. Hence, I only do studio photoshoots now on Sunday mornings and outdoor location shoots on Saturday mornings. I edit the images from these as soon as possible afterwards so I can get your galleries out quickly without keeping anyone waiting.

Once I know everyone has their pictures to look at, I devote the rest of the week to designing for my Zazzle store. This really has become such a passion for me, I can’t tell you just how much I enjoy it! Haha my friends and family know exactly how much as I do go on about it a lot!!!

(Goes without saying that I deal with enquiries and orders for Romsey Fotografix regardless of when I get them!)

A little about Zazzle if you’ve not heard of them before. They’re a huge print on demand website and they do all manner of goodies – as you can see from their website. And here’s their story. As a designer, artist or photographer, or indeed anyone who wishes to, you easily set up a Zazzle store, or several stores if you want to. I just have the one store for now Fotografixgal Designs, as that keeps me plenty busy enough!  I also set up a separate website especially for it to help showcase the items in my store.  

There’s quite a complex strategy involved in running a Zazzle store, it’s not just a question of designing and plonking it onto any old products if you want to progress and do well on there. When I first started on there about a year ago, I had no idea at all about best practices for it and it was frustrating not to be making many sales at the time. I took the step of investing in some fantastic training from Elke Clarke one of Zazzle’s top sellers. She was running an offer at the time and I can honestly say it was the best money I ever spent and am so pleased I decided to go for it. I would never have discovered it all on my own. It’s been onwards and upwards since putting into practice everything I learnt (and am still learning). And the training from Elke doesn’t just stop when you finish the course, so you’re not left high and dry. She has a private Facebook group and does regular live sessions so we can ask her anything we need to know. She also assesses our stores if we ask her to and tells us how we can improve and what we’re doing right and wrong which has been invaluable.

A year in, and I’m delighted to say my sales are really starting to take off which has been very encouraging. Ironically, my most popular items are wedding stationery, photo gifts and photo blocks – so the “sisters” Romsey Fotografix and Fotografixgal Designs do cross paths in some ways!  Oh and not forgetting inspirational/motivational quote products, I have loads in store, which I decided to do not only because I love this sort of thing myself, but I reckoned they would be popular as you see them in shops all over the place nowadays don’t you. And indeed they have become bestsellers for me – I’m always racking my brains so I can add new ones.

OK, heading back to the subject of Facebook posting. As I do fewer shoots now, I have less photos from current sessions to post on Facebook and am therefore not posting every day or two, as I did at one time. And I don’t want to bombard you with too many Fotografixgal Design related posts as I guess you didn’t follow me on Facebook to see those 😉!!  Maybe just the odd one or two if you don’t mind lol. In the main though I use my Instagram and Pinterest accounts to promote my Zazzle store. To be honest, Social Media takes such a lot of time to get it right. There’s quite a strategy involved if you want to keep your loyal following entertained. And unless you pay for your posts to be promoted, they invariably only get shown to a small handful of your followers so it can be very soul destroying taking into consideration the amount of time and effort put into creating them. I’m not knocking it, because it’s obviously very useful and brilliant for connecting with your audience. As long as you stay in control of it and not let it take over at the expense of other things.

So please forgive me if I don’t post as often. However, I’m always very grateful when you give me permission to post pictures from your session as this allows me to showcase my work for others to see and also give you a little sneak peek and to share with your FB friends.

Another decision I have not taken lightly is to introduce a small booking fee for my studio photoshoots from August 2019. This won’t apply to outdoor shoots. I’ll only be taking one or two studio shoots a week on a Sunday and will request and pay for the studio as and when someone contacts me to book. This session fee is to safeguard me against late cancellations and no shows and cover my costs. I know I have never charged a session fee before as I didn’t feel it necessary when I had my own studio and was doing loads of shoots in a week, therefore I wasn’t out of pocket in the event of no shows. However, now if someone doesn’t show up on the day, which does happen sometimes, I won’t be able to fill that slot at that short notice and may even have turned other clients away for it, it’s just to ensure I’m not out of pocket. The good news is I’ll refund you the booking fee when your order comes to £150 or more.

You may also have seen that we have now photographed our last wedding as the official photographers.  I was going to tell you all about that in this post however as it’s already quite lengthy (haha sorry that’s not like me at all 😉 ), I’ll do a separate post shortly about the reasons behind our Wedding Swansong.

I truly hope you understand my decision to veer in a slightly new direction wearing my two different, yet complementary, hats. I am a firm believer in doing what you love most in life, after all you only get one shot at it (excuse the photography related pun!!) Grab those opportunities as they arise!

You gotta be content and fulfilled in your work. I have found my very Happy Place.

As ever, thank you so much for your support. It means the world to both Lee and I and we look forward to taking your next set of pictures!

The secret of being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most out of every day 

anonymous quote (but oh so true!)

It’s Christmas!

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Christmas is just around the corner and 2019 is on its way!

Haha, just stating the obvious!

I hope 2018 has been a good year for you.  In some ways, it seems to have rushed by. To me, it feels like five minutes since last Christmas – but on the other hand, it seems like forever ago since I had the old studio at Basepoint – even though I only finished there at the end of March.  The mystery of time, eh?

The move was a massive decision for us at the time, but happily it’s worked out really well. Hive Studios feels like my second Sunday home now! To find such a great studio, so close by, was incredible luck.

It has also given me the flexibility of concentrating on my artistic pursuits, as well as my photography.  I enjoy both immensely; now I can split my time equally on each. Best of both worlds.

It has been really lovely to see so many familiar faces this year and welcome you to Hive Studios, as well as meeting lots of new faces of course!  Not forgetting the numerous shoots in the great outdoors during the summer months too! Great fun, and we were mostly lucky with the weather! I am so appreciative of your continued support. It means such a lot to me, thank you.

Lee and I have also photographed some beautiful weddings this year, come rain and come shine!

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With my artist hat on, earlier in the year I started some courses spanning the whole year, which I mentioned in a previous post. I have managed to work my way through most of the lessons, and golly have learned so much! Not only to improve my drawing and design skills, but also learning lots of new tricks and techniques in Photoshop, which have helped speed up my editing processes for my photos too. It has been very inspiring.

The most amazing outcome of the art courses though was to set up stores on a couple of Print on Demand websites.  Firstly Red Bubble, and then, WOW, I discovered Zazzle.

I promise I won’t gush too much about Zazzle but I can honestly say it has transformed my life!  Best. Fun. Ever. I invested in a course from one of Zazzle’s topsellers, Elke Clarke, and through her I have learned the very best strategies for making it work. And I am over the moon that it is paying off 🙂 My store is still growing but after only a few months sales are already going well and I know with the techniques I have learned, and am still learning, it will get better and better as I add more goodies to it.

I truly believe everything happens for a reason. This time last year I had no inkling I would be leaving Basepoint (I would have shuddered at the thought!!) but fate stepped in with other ideas for me and I am actually very grateful it did.

I’m closing for the holiday this weekend. We have a wedding to photograph on Sunday; Christmas weddings are always especially magical! Then we have our eldest son’s birthday to celebrate on Christmas Eve, and a big family get together on Christmas Day, followed by a trip to Brighton on Boxing Day. Then a little R&R before reopening in January.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy, Happy and Peaceful New Year.

SUMMER UPDATE!

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Just to keep you posted on what’s been going on at Romsey Fotografix (and beyond) lately – and notice of our upcoming holidays!!

Hope you’re enjoying the summer and heatwave!  We’ve been making the most of it with lots of shoots outside, which, as I’m sure I’ve probably mentioned before, are great fun for all concerned!  There’s something very calming about being in the great outdoors surrounded by nature in its glory, basking in the shade of woodland trees on a glorious sunny day, with dapples of sunlight seeping through the leaves. Makes for some great natural and carefree shots!

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It’s been several months since I left my old studio, and happy to report that working out of Hive Studios is going very well indeed, and very pleased to have made the jump 😊 It’s been lovely to have welcomed lots of you there already and I’m already starting to book up my Sunday slots there in the lead up to Christmas, so please let me know if you’d like to reserve a slot before they all go!

Things have been very busy of late, not only with the studio and outdoor shoots, but we’ve also been out and about photographing local goings on, for ourselves and some for stock images.

We had an incredible evening back in June in The Terrace Pavilion in The Houses of Parliament, no less, taking photos for my friend, Lynn, at an evening event there for her wonderful charity Their Future Today It was a bit surreal being there to be honest, had to keep pinching ourselves and remind ourselves where we were!

We were up bright and early (4.45am!) a few weekends ago to get ourselves down to Hurst Castle in time to photograph the yachts in the round island boat race. It was a beautiful morning, albeit a bit of a trek with all the equipment along the pebbles, but worth it to sit on the shore and watch the boats go by in the lovely morning sun, with a little picnic to keep us going! We did cheat though and take the ferry back, which was very pleasant in itself! It wasn’t just the race we photographed as you can see!

Then of course our annual trek to the Winchester Hat Fair which is always a great day out with photo opportunities right, left and centre. A very enjoyable and colorful day for sure. I added a few to my stock photos on Shutterstock  (which is still a work in progress by the way, I’m adding new images as time permits!)

We’ve managed a couple of trips to Marwell as we love taking pictures there and making the most of our membership.

As well as the photography,  I have three online art and digital art courses on the go and am learning lots.  I’ve been working on some Fairytale characters, this one is Snow White and the Wicked Queen, a lesson I did from the fabulous Ever After Course by the very talented Tamara Laporte at Willowing Arts  I’m a little behind with all my coursework, as of course my photography takes priority, and these paintings take quite a while to do, but hope to catch up on some more of the lessons during my holiday. I will have my Ipad and IPencil to hand for sure 🙂

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And great excitement!!!!!! I’ve recently opened a Zazzle Store where I can sell my art and designs on a myriad of items! I’m adding new goodies to it almost daily, as time allows! Best. Fun. Ever!!

Amongst other things, I’ve been preparing a BACK TO SCHOOL range of lunchboxes etc  (good timing eh 😉 ) as well as a new Collection of items for LITTLE MISSES and LITTLE MISTERS including clothing and party invites etc. They’re not showing up in my marketplace yet as it takes several days for them to appear, but hopefully will be there soon.  And according to Zazzle, it’s time to start uploading  products for Christmas – a little task for after our holiday I think!

Of course it’s still a work in progress as I’m only a month or so in, I have nearly 600 products in my store so far and some of them take a little while to show up in the store front. I’ve also taken a training course to learn all being part of the Zazzle Marketplace, which is slightly more complex than I expected.  It’s not just a question of uploading a design onto one of their T shirts or mugs or any of the other thousands of items they sell (take a look it’s amazing!), and hoping for the best – there’s a lot more to it! The great thing is everything can be personalised, which is brilliant if you’re looking for a special gift or maybe some personalised items for a sports club you may belong to (badges anyone?) or whatever! Lots of choice across the whole of the Zazzle site with some amazing designs and art from thousands of artists from all over the world.  Haha, shameless plug there!!

And now – it’s time for a holiday! We have a couple of separate holidays coming up … we close from Thursday 9th August until the 20th  and then again between 14 and 23rd September.  Looking forward to a bit of a breather!

Happy holidays to you all as well!

 

Al Fresco Anyone?

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There’s just something very special about spending time in the great outdoors on a glorious sunny day, whether it be a BBQ in the garden, a picnic in the park … or a photoshoot in a beautiful location.

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Having photos taken outside in the open is a sure fire way for everyone to feel chilled and relaxed – which of course makes for some great spontaneous images!

Speaking of which … I thought you might like to see some highlights from our visit on Sunday to  The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens.

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Such a beautiful setting, and with a lovely family 😊 who I’ve known for several years now, having done numerous photoshoots in the studio with them since their children were babies. The girls were brilliant as usual, star models in fact, and even coming up with several ideas of their own for some of the shots – and good ones at that!

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Alfresco shoots may be at the mercy of the good ol’ British weather, but really are rather magical, especially when the sun shines! Lil’uns can more or less do their own thing and the natural shots come thick and fast!

At play

Great fun!

After all that walking around the arboretum – haha I understand we did around 7,000 steps (!!) – and ’twas a scorcher of a day, we all had a very welcome ice-cream in the café.

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What a great time we had ambling around in the sunshine.

It doesn’t feel a bit like work you know! 😉

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Here comes Summer!

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Isn’t it great occasionally to do something a little different from the norm?

This bank holiday weekend I set up a stylized shoot in the new studio. My main reasons for this being, a) to take some photos for my digital art projects using techniques I’ve been learning on the fabulous Photoshop Artistry and Awake courses ; and b) to create some studio images for my Shutterstock photo gallery (It’s still very much a work in progress with a very limited number of images at the moment. I’m working on it, but it’s a more involved process than I imagined.)

Anyway … back to Sunday’s shoot. My lovely model for the morning brought along loads of her own shoes, hats and bags, not to mention a fantastic mask, which is quite unique as she had very cleverly glued the feathers on herself. Perfect! As soon as I saw it inspiration sprang to mind in leaps and bounds!

Photo becomes art

We also incorporated several of the props already in the studio, the bright orange deck chairs featured rather a lot – love, love, love ‘em!!! That bright orange really pops against the white backdrop!

Deck chairs

Summer and sunshine was of course the theme for the session what with the deckchairs, sun hats and shades! I was able to create a super variety of images.

I got Lee in on the act to pose for a couple of shots! And, dare I say it, even yours truly – even though I’m much more at home t’other side of camera!!! Suitably disguised of course – and yes, I really did wear these stilettos! Not to walk in mind, I know my limitations!! 😉

We joined in too

And sticking with the beach theme …

Seaside to studio

Shoes anyone?  (Still working on the edit on most of the shoe pics!!)

Stepping out

I’m really pleased there’s a guitar in amongst the studio props! I’m sure this will prove popular with any “budding musicians” you may have in the family when you come in. Instruments always lend themselves nicely to some arty shots.  I’ve given these ones an impressionist feel!

Guitar

This session has really inspired me, as well as given me lots of images to play with. I am already planning the next creative shoots  based on other themes. The more you do, the more ideas seem to come flooding in!

Some you may think, “hey that’s pretty cool”, and others a resounding “blah!!”

Isn’t that just the thing with art and creativity: some things you put together work, and some things just don’t. In your own eyes at least. Whilst of course it’s an amazing feeling when the outcome of your creation makes you happy, it really doesn’t matter when it doesn’t. Experimenting and throwing caution to the wind is all part and parcel of the creative process. You don’t know until you try, and if it turns out to be a disaster chances are you will still have learned a lot, even if it’s what not to do next time. In your own opinion of course. You may find another person would absolutely love it!

That’s the funny thing about art.

I found one of the recent art projects for the Lifebook 2018 Art course I’m doing especially challenging and wasn’t at all happy with the end result. I uploaded to the private Facebook Group in any case as it’s always good to get constructive critique, but was astounded by the positive feedback – it gained more likes and loves and wows than any of the other artwork I had previously uploaded. Well I never – to think I nearly relegated it to the camera roll never to see the light of day!!

Just goes to show, eh? Which is why just doing your thing without worrying about what anyone will think is the way to go. Such freedom is quite exhilarating, and once that penny drops, and the pressure is off, ideas flow much better.

Here’s all the shots from Sunday’s photoshoot in a teeny collage! There are some duplications of course but still lots – you can see why they are taking me a while to edit!! You may need a magnifying glass to see them though!!

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“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Maya Angelou

Oh so true!

 

When White is not All White

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White backdrops are great and still as popular as ever and why wouldn’t they be!

I like to do a very thorough edit on the white background in any images you buy. In case you ever wondered why the final edit can be somewhat fiddly and take longer than you might expect, here’s the answer in this short little video ….

Of course, some images are much quicker than others to process, the fluffy fur in this one make it one of the more fiddly to do. And as with most things you do in Photoshop there are several other ways to remove the marks, which I sometimes opt for, rather than always the eraser tool. No doubt other folk have their own ways of doing things too.

However, it’s well worth doing to give you the best possible quality for your images and ensure that the background will always be pure white.

And, fortunately, I find the process rather therapeutic … 🙂

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