Video for an Alternative

Alternative Images has mentioned in past posts that it has been investing in DSLR camera equipment to produce small video sequences for clients. The path here is not to produce large productions with complicated editing but to supply a straight forward answer to many companies that want to use video on their web sites. Maintaining a good quality with an achievable Pro Res 422 but keeping all within the allocated budget. This system I think is the answer. Shooting in HD using a 36 mega pixel chip the quality is quite amazing and suites many applications.

It is mainly used to be more static on a tripod situation. The lenses are the same as if using it as a still camera, so panning in and out is possible but limited. The microphones are external of good quality and are used for background or voice depending on the situation.

Being what it is the system is very transportable and if desired you can transform from video to stills and shoot images at high resolution and then switch back again as needed. If a more involved shoot is required beyond this system then Alternative Images can provide more comprehensive camera equipment and editing services. But this is available at high quality for the smaller budget.

This video was produced and donated to the Rickmansworth Waterways Trust by Alternative Images in support of the work they do. Shot on DSLR with 50mm lens and Mono Pod. Some shaky parts but ‘hay they have beer at canal festivals and I was in my own time’   Enjoy


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Professional Photographic Fees Part 3

So we return on the subject of the relationship of fees and profit within the field of professional photography. In my last post I referred to the time allocated that many clients do not see happen. The time post production of images from their shoot does take. Often after a shoot at an event the client wants to see images uploaded to a viewing gallery for the guests that attended. Here the corporate photographer may have too much to do in the time frame, so is forced to seek outside help from a colleague who can do some of the processing. This comes at a cost.

Now we have talked about the event and the processing to obtain the final product. But also there is another factor to address. The equipment a photographer has with them at a shoot is no ordinary camera equipment. Professional digital cameras and lenses cost anything from £1,200-£6,000. A good event photographer will always bring various lenses and back up camera just in case the primary fails.

But I hear you say,” why do you have to have the most expensive top of the range gear. There are many cameras that could do the job that are cheaper”?

The reason here is that the specifications and quality that the professional range has is far superior to the every day high street obtainable ones. Also the work they have to do with the amount of frames taken in its life span is excessive. They do take a great deal of punishment with knocks and bumps and have to be tough enough to handle it. Do you ever stand in the cold at -15 or try to obtain a shot while in a thunderstorm with the rain dripping off your head. No. I do!

On top of that there will be spare batteries, cards, flash guns and even a portable laptop travelling around all day with the photographer. On an average the photographer may be carrying £18,000 worth of equipment at a shoot. To consider also that they need to have some of the most advanced computer software, studio facilities, lighting. All this has to be updated and maintained. Like running a car, as things wear out or servicing is needed the bill comes with it on collection.

There is also the responsibility of insurances. The equipment insurance is one avenue to address but also professionals have to be covered for public liability and professional indemnity. Often working in a venue like a hotel, managers will ask for proof that you a covered while working on site. Additional costs to the corporate photographer in London are the constant update to their web site and having an advertising campaign that promotes their work to gain clients to employ them.

So in conclusion, the fees that professional photographers feel they are worth. The answer is quite simple. They spend a lot of time and money in developing their business into a solid and reliable service. And have done this because they are passionate about photography and your particular requirement.

A quote by author and poet John Ruskin, I think sums this up:

 “It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.”

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Lincoln’s Inn with BSDA

Alternative Images has been commissioned to attend the Gala Dinner for the annual summer assembly for the European Federation of Bottled Water hosted by the UK office BSDA, the British Soft Drinks Association. The venue this year was the historic buildings of Lincoln’s Inn with the famous Great Hall an Old Hall that houses many events during the year. The start of the evening was a guided tour for the guest group around the Old Hall where the guide gave a detailed history account of the years gone by of the famous building. Then the group were taken over to the chappell to explore more facts of British history. They were impressed with the fantastic stained glass windows of the chappell that stood tall at both end of the building. The Chapel was erected in 1623 and, at the end of the seventeenth century, chambers were erected in New Square, which had formerly been an open space contiguous with Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

The exact origins of Lincoln’s Inn, and indeed of the other three Inns of Court, are not fully known. The extant records of Lincoln’s Inn open in 1422, the earliest of any of the Inns of Court; but a society of lawyers by that name was then already in existence.   It is likely that it evolved during the late part of the fourteenth century. In contrast to many of the colleges of Oxford or Cambridge, which it resembles, there was no conscious founding or dated charter.

The weather for June was not at its best for the European group but after the short tour of 45 mins they gathered for a relaxed photograph outside with the Great Hall in the background. There followed a drinks reception held in the Crypt that is beneath the Old Hall for the group accompanied by the sounds of  flute and harp players before they were called for the more formal Gala Dinner situated above within in the Old Hall. The Old Hall is the finest building in the Inn and, indeed, is one of the finest buildings in London. It is small but beautifully proportioned and executed.

Lincoln's Inn, BSDA, Gala Dinner

EFBW Lincoln’s Inn

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Professional Photographic Fees Part Two

This is part two of photographic fees blog to explain and justify the costs of employing a professional photographer. From previous blog continued:

There are a number of reasons why there are so many cheap photographers out there. Here are some of the most common ones:

The lack of knowledge of the market. Some amateur photographers enter the market, confident of their photographic skills; naively start trading without knowing the fundamental elements required to be a photographer. Most professional wedding photographers are running a business as do corporate and commercial ones alike. And with any type of business there are many costs involved in running it. However, due to their lack of experience and knowledge of the industry, amateur photographers do not realise how much they need to invest to start a successful photography business. The mindset is that as long as they cover their material costs they will be fine. As a result their prices are a lot less than a professional who has done it as a full-time job for years.

Low quality of work. You then have photographers who have been in the industry for a number of years but still charge very little. Less than the newcomers because their quality of photography and service are so poor that nobody sees any value in their work.

Many armature and newcomers are still trying to build a portfolio of work. If they charged as much as a professional though being extremely talented they would not get a foot in the door and therefore never gain experience.

So why is wedding photography so expensive. Not only the photos themselves, albums and other products offered photography is not a solely commodity business. It’s a mixture of many. Firstly photography is an art. A skill and a service. Then a photographer has to be a good sales person.

For a wedding photographer it’s not just a case of turning up and taking a few well composed shots and then handing you a disc. There is a lot more involvement in creating the perfect memory of your wedding day.  One of the most important things is the labour. An average wedding can be 6 to 8 hrs in length. Photographers most often arrive well before hand to capture small detail before the event. During the actual event they will be on their feet throughout the entire period, capturing those special moments and will have taken between 800 -12000 frames from the day. That is physically demanding.

A great deal of people are not aware that a photographers job does not end when the event ends. It is not uncommon for people to think that it’s a simple job of downloading images and putting to disc or uploading to a web site. In fact images from cameras need to have what is called ‘post production’. This is to sort to categories, delete shots that are not wanted and to spend time enhancing with sharpness and contrast and levels to produce the final image. This process on a large job with many images can take a good few hours per day, over say three or four days. So if you were to spend time at an event say 8 hrs also time spent with the preparation perhaps 3 hrs and then over a three day period 4 hrs a day. This photographic session is now turning into 23 hrs and then its not finished there because of archiving and other services that may need attention. So the rate assumed at 250 per hour is now decreased to 70 per hour. This is still good money to earn but its not all profit as you will read in Part Three coming soon


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