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Covid 19

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Coronavirus

So I thought I should write something about how Covid 19 has affected me and my business. I should probably start by saying I know how lucky I am. Only one person I know has ended up in hospital with Covonavirus, and they are back home now and all is good. I know that so many other people have not been so lucky. I am also fortunate that my job doesn’t expose me to the risk of catching Covid 19 on a daily basis like NHS staff, carers and other keyworkers. 

And now for something completely different

Now this is a story all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside down,
So won’t you take a minute, just sit right there,
I’ll tell you how I got stuck at home because of Covid-19
In West Wiltshire born and raise
Taking photos was how I spent most of my days
Checking apertures, exposures, and all
And shooting some photos that looked pretty cool
When this one bad virus that was up to no good,
Started making trouble in all our neighbourhoods
We got in one big fight and everybody was scared
And the WHO said stay inside and don’t go out there…

With apologies to DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. I just thought I would have a little fun with that to lighten the mood.

What has changed

When the lockdown in the UK started, I stopped selling prints of my work. I did this so I wouldn’t have to go to the post office to dispatch orders, as I felt it wasn’t worth the risk to anyone’s health, as I explained in a previous blog. I also stopped selling to countries outside the UK for the same reason. Obviously, I can’t go very far to take photos and I can’t take photos of people.

I decided that the best thing to do was to treat this as a unique opportunity. There was now time to do all the things I hadn’t done because I didn’t have the time. Also, I could use the time in a way which meant that when the lockdown was over, I wouldn’t have to spend anytime at home (unless I wanted too).

I tried to throw myself into work and carry on as though nothing had changed. I gave myself lots of tasks to keep myself busy. However, as time wore on, and the lockdown was extended I started to find it hard to get it all done. This seemed odd to me, I had the time to do it, so why couldn’t I just do it? I realised that it was because I was putting too much pressure on myself. This isn’t a time for getting stuff done, it is a time for looking after yourself and those you care about. Of course, keeping busy is a big help in dealing with these uncertain times, but there shouldn’t be any extra pressure to do more. And so I have taken a step back, and taken the pressure off myself, and by trying to do less, I am able to do more.

What I have been doing

I have planted potatoes and I’ve been clapping on a Thursday night with my neighbours. As you may have noticed, I have started blogging regularly (ish). There was a time when I had to fixed the toilet. I have re-designed my website. I have made a start on a project I’ve had in mind for about a year. I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking, probably too much, because thinking too much is something I am good at. But mostly I’ve been trying to look after myself and my other half, and those I care about, even if it’s only by checking that they are OK. Oh, and I’ve been drinking tea.A mug of tea, laptop and a DSLR camera

Hope going forward

It seems that things are getting better. All the Covid 19 numbers that we want to be seeing going down are. Of course it’s not over by a long way. However, things seem a little more hopeful and we can start to think about coming out on the other side. It might be a long way off, but we can still start thinking about it. I have started selling prints again. I am only selling relatively small unframed and unmounted prints. This is so I can just put them in a post box and not have to make a trip to the Post Office. I am still only selling to the UK. You can see what is available in my Etsy store. You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Please stay safe and I hope we will be able to play outside soon.

Photo shoot with The Lost Trades

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The Lost Trades

Back in January, you know, before the world went crazy and we were allowed to interact with other human beings, I was lucky enough to do a photo shoot with new band The Lost Trades. Although the band was new, the band members were not. I’m not saying they are old, just that I already knew them. I have shot photos with two of them before, Phil Cooper and Jamie R Hawkins. The third member, Tamsin Quin, I had met at gigs in the past. Now they have combined their musical talents to form The Lost Trades.

The plan – as much as there was one

The band were filming a live video session with Dug at Bentham Studios. I went along to take photos while they were recording, and then do a photo shoot once they were finished.

What I wanted to capture was the sense of fun and enjoyment that they get from playing together. That was something that really came across and I wanted to show that in the images I did for them.

It was here that I was going to write about how I approach doing a photo shoot with a band. And I did. However, I soon realised that I had a lot I wanted to write about the subject. So, rather than getting away from the original point of this blog, I’ll write another one about it.

How the day went

A camera recording the Lost TradesI travelled to the studio with Phil, so upon arrival I did some roadying from Phil’s car into the studio. This was interspersed, with hellos, introductions and re-introductions. The next thing to happen was that tea was made, which I found very pleasing. The band and Dug set up while I took some shots, to get exposure levels and the feel for the layout of the room. I did my best not to get in the way and soon they were sound checking, with another round of teas.

The Lost Trades playing at Bentham StudiosIn the end I only took photos of them while they were sound checking and not when they were actually recording. I would have got in the way of the video cameras, probably put them off, and the sound of my shutter would have picked up in the recording. So while they recorded, I sat in the control room with Dug, listening to the beautiful harmonies and drank tea.

The photo shoot

Once they had finished recording, we used the lovely wood clad studio as a background. Taking a variety of shots, some very posed and almost formal.3 piece folk group The Lost Trades

Other shots were much more relaxed and casual. They could be considered ‘outtakes’, but it is those candid, unguarded moments that give an insight into the sense of enjoyment the band have when together.The band The Lost Trades

We then took things outside to add a bit of variety, so we made use of the surrounding open fields.Photo shoot with the lost trades

Next we took the opportunity to make use of what else was available around the studio, mainly an old piano.

This is the moment the piano was spotted.The Lost Trades pointing

Although you can’t go and see The Lost Trades live at the moment, you can still check them out and catch one of their live streams. You can also check out Phil’s, Jamie’s and Tamsin’s solo work as well.

In conclusion…

…tea was drunk…
The Lost trades drinking tea

… recordings were made…

…fun was had…

…photos were taken…

…and don’t forget to check out The Lost Trades.

Shiny New Website

Hello, and welcome to the first blog on my shiny new website.

When I started on the redesign of my website we weren’t all staying at home to avoid spreading coronavirus. But that is where we find ourselves now, and it is in that world that I am sharing with you my redesigned website. However, these strange times we are living in mean my plans for my website have changed slightly.

Why the redesign?

There were two main driving forces behind the redesign of my website. The first reason was that with a new website I could illustrate what I do better. The second was that I wanted to incorporate a shop into my website so I could sell directly to you without using a third party site.

This redesign has been a long time coming. I have made several attempts in the past but I have always come up against problems that I didn’t have the time to overcome. So now, having moved servers, sorted out my sites SSL certificate, and redesigned the site, here is my new website.

I have gone for a simpler layout, with less clutter and distraction. I have switched around the colour scheme, which hopefully makes it easier to read.

How have my plans changed because of coronavirus?

Well, as it stands there are only a few pages at the moment, and the plan was to add more over the coming months. The next page that I was going to add was going to be my own webshop. This was one of the biggest reasons for revamping my website. However I rely on going to the Post Office to post anything ordered that is bigger than a card and for anything going overseas, and following government advice to only make necessary journeys, I am only selling cards at the moment. So this doesn’t feel quite the right time to start the webshop. However, I will continue to monitor things and see if I can find a way of dispatching prints that is safe for all. For now, I am still selling cards through Etsy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
What will I be doing now?

Instead of working on the shop next, I have decided to work on and share a couple of projects with you. One is a project that I started a long time ago, but has never seen the light of day. The other one is a new project that I have been planning for a little while and now seems a good time to start it, as I won’t be leaving the house for a while. I will write more about both projects in future blogs.

So, please have a look around  my redesigned website and let me know what you think.

2017 – Looking back

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2017

2017 – what have I done?

Well, looking back at the blog I wrote at the start of 2017, it seems things didn’t really go according to plan.

I had intended to give my website a complete overhaul in 2017 and add a shop. While I did manage to redesign my website, I didn’t manage to add the shop because I encountered a number of problems. I run out of server space and once I overcame that issue, I was then unable to find a third party shop interface with safe and secure card transaction facilities that I could (with my limited web design and development knowledge) make work to my liking.

Another thing that I failed to do was to write this blog regularly. I had thought that doing it once a month would be manageable, but I failed to do that. I’m not sure why I didn’t manage it, time just seemed to get away from me.

Also, my experiment of using Redbubble to sell my images was something that didn’t work out. I’m not sure why it didn’t. Perhaps it was because I didn’t promote it enough. Maybe it just isn’t the right platform for me to sell my work. Whatever the reason, it didn’t work for me. I’m going to keep the store open for now and see if anything changes.

That was all a bit negative, wasn’t it? Well, now for the more positive stuff that I did in 2017.

Although selling my images through Redbubble didn’t seem to work for me in 2017, selling through my Etsy shop did. My sales increased, along with my product range. If you head over there to have a look before 31st January 2018, you can get 30% off orders over £15.

I’ve started selling images through a photo library. I started contributing images to it in 2016, but it was in 2017 that my images started to sell. A lot of work goes in to choosing images and preparing them for an image library. It’s work that isn’t seen by anyone else, but it has now started to pay off for me, which is always gratifying.

Also in 2017 I started selling my cards at the Three Daggers Farm Shop in Eddington, Wiltshire. They currently stock 12 different designs of my cards, and the designs they carry will change roughly every three months or so.

I did a number of photo shoots with bands and musicians, which was something I planned to do and actually managed to see though. I did photo shoots with Jamie R Hawkins, Phil Cooper and Scout Killers

Another thing I did in 2017 was my first craft fair. I had hoped to do more than one in the run up to Christmas, but I was about a week or so too late applying so they were mostly already fully booked. I did manage to do one, which was local to me and was only on for a few hours so it was a good introduction into what it takes to do a craft fair.

Learning

Something else I did was learn. Somewhere, I can’t remember where, I read an ‘inspirational quote’. It said something like ‘running a business without advertising is like winking at a woman in the dark, only you know you are doing it.’ Which, despite the weird winking at women thing, made me realise I really need to promote myself better. I think that is something I started to do.

Thank you

Thank you for reading, and thank you for your support. I will try to write my blog more regularly. My next one will be about what I intend to do in 2018.

thank you

2017 – looking ahead

2017

Yes, I do know that the first month of 2017 is almost over. I began this at the start of the month, but then being busy happened and I’ve only just got around to finishing it off.

‘What have you been busy doing?’ I hear you ask, well, let me tell you.

Among other things, I’ve been adding new items to my Etsy Store as well as improving the listings of the items already available.

Image of pedal to the floor card available to buy in 2017

I’ve also set up a shop on Redbubble. This site uses a different model to selling as they are responsible for the printing and distribution of items once sold, which means a greater range of products can be made available, from art prints to leggings (yes, really) and from clocks to phone cases, without any additional cost to myself. However, this means that less of the money from the sale comes to me. I’m not sure if this going to work for me, but the only way to find out is to try it and see. Have a look at my shop here, I’ll be adding more images over the coming weeks.A robin sitting on a fence post

In the last week or so I also did a photo shoot with singer/songwriter Jamie R Hawkins, which was a lot of fun. It was also a little on the cold side, although that was more of an issue for Jamie than myself. You know it’s been a good shoot when you end up lying down on the cold ground to take shots and also dodging traffic between taking photos. Hopefully I’ll be able to share some of the results of the shoot sometime soon.

What does 2017 hold for me?

Well, I don’t actually know, because I’m not  psychic… I guess the real question is what am I planning to do this year. In general terms it’s really a case of more of the same, except, well, more.

New website

I intend to give my website a complete overhaul. It will include more up to date examples of my photos. It will hopefully also have a shop so you can buy direct from me, quickly and simply. After I have redone the site, it should be easier to understand what I can do for you.

Working with bands and artist will remain a large part of what I do. Collaborating with other creative people is always rewarding.

I am also planning to keep you updated with what I am doing by blogging at least once a month. Something for you to look forward to.