Friday, 23 March 2012

Ideal Homes for Heroes Appeal

The band of The Grenadier Guards play at the opening of the Ideal Home Show
Mylene Klass
Great day last Friday working for ABF: The Soldiers Charity at the Ideal Home Show at Earls Court. The Ideal Home Show always has a star line up including Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, Mylene Klass, Tommy Walsh and Dick Strawbridge and this year the week long exhibition was opened by His Royal Highness Prince Charles. 

Tommy Walsh and Chelsea pensioners
The Ideal Homes for Heroes appeal received a visit from the Prince of Wales as he toured the show. The appeal, launched during a dedicated Troops Day of military-themed celebrations, provides support to soldiers, veterans and their families to help make their house a home. Launched in 2010 by the Ideal Home Show the appeal has so far raised £250,000 for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. The money has been used to help more than 1,000 soldiers, former soldiers and their families with needs around the home.

Details of the Ideal Homes for Heroes appeal can be found at

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Choosing a PR Photographer

There are several things you should look out for when selecting a photographer for your press releases and PR photos.

Provide a good brief

PR Shoot - Richard Branson and Giant Suitcase
To begin with ensure that you provide the photographer with a good brief. Outlining the key message of the photos, intended publications, as well as who and what needs to be included (and excluded) will all contribute to effective shots and smooth running on the day of the shoot.

Obviously, these days it is fairly easy to look at a photographers portfolio online and it will give you a clear indication of their range of assignments and technical abilities.

Look at the photographers testimonials, either on their site or on resources like LinkedIn. Testimonials will give you an insight into how easy they are to work with and how they deal with people. Speaking to them on the phone will also help you assess the next point...

Personal as well as photography skills
Good PR photographers are creative, work quickly and deliver consistent quality images, enhancing the brief rather than just fulfilling it. In addition they need to be good at interacting with people so they can build a rapport with clients quickly and make them feel relaxed in front of the camera. They are equally confident in directing a CEO of a blue chip in his boardroom or a group of kids at a charity event, if necessary for the purposes of the shot.

PR Photography - corporate appointment
The photographer is also more often than not representing your company or organisation - they should be professional, presentable and approachable.

Image delivery
Press releases are time sensitive and so your pictures need to be delivered quickly, normally within a 24 hour window. For professional photographers this should not be a problem, but make your photographer aware of your deadlines and ensure that they can process and deliver the images in time. For smaller images email is normally sufficient, for larger files FTP or services such as dropbox are recomended.

Professional PR photographers will normally provide you with hourly, half-day and full-day shooting rates. Discuss with the photographer your requirements to work out how much time will be needed and get a written quote (or at least a confirmation email). For long term PR projects a photographer may well be willing to offer discounted rates if put on a retainer.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Reflecting on a varied and busy 2011

2011 turned out to be a pretty interesting year, testing me in a wide range of photographic disciplines, as well as testing me personally and mentally. From attention to detail product photography shoots, to extensive travelling around the UK for various events, conferences and pr shoots; corporate briefs in Texas and Qatar to six weeks with the UN/AU in Somalia. Politicians, celebrities, soldiers, acrobats, prize winners and business leaders were amongst those in front of my lens over the year.

The highlight was certainly Mogadishu. Having never done any kind of editorial photography in a hostile environment, the oft-called 'most dangerous city in the world' was possibly not the first place that one might consider to break into it. However, despite the obvious potential dangers I found myself in my element and I enjoyed  my two 3-week tours there with the African Union troops. It's an extraordinary place ravished by 20 years of war, blighted by famine and disease and a constantly complicated, precarious political situation. Against this backdrop there were also incredible moments of hope, joy, pride and humour.

I'm also proud of the body of work that I produced, some of which was published across the world including in the UK, Germany and Australia.
I am looking forward to the opportunity of doing similar work in the coming months - both in Somalia and other regions of Africa.

The year literally ended with me on assignment for a third sector client as as Big Ben chimed to signal the passing of 2011. This picture was taken at 5 seconds past midnight. Not a bad way to start 2012 photographically. Lets hope this year turns out to be as challenging and interesting.