Welcome to the Mediaphotos Blog. Words and pictures from owner / photographer Roger Donovan relating to the business and all things photography related.
Like most, I look forward to the summer months with some warmth, sunshine and blue skies. However as a photographer I tend to look at things from a slightly different perspective. Strong sunlight means harsh light and strong shadows. None of which are ideal when photographing people, particularly groups of people.
Full sun on the face would be the easiest way to shoot the picture but the light would be unflattering and result in squinting eyes as the subject gazed into the bright sun behind the photographer.
The photographers answer is to position the subject with the sun to the side or slightly behind the subject to avoid the squinty eye scenario. This can bring it’s own problems by creating harsh shadows or putting the face into full shadow. I bit of fill flash overcomes this by lightening the shadows.
Finally just to add to the photographers problems, throw in the social distancing thing. It may not look it in this picture but everyone is two metres apart. The choice of a long lens to compress the scene and positioning the subjects not just two metres apart laterally but behind one another too, gives the impression that all are side by side. Oh, yes and just for good measure, keep some client branding in the shot too.
Even apparently simple images such as this image, shot recently for house builder @Redrow, require some considerable photographic knowledge and experience to create successfully. The need to work quickly and efficiently on the hoof and with the scenario that you are presented with whilst sticking to the clients brief is why you need a professional photographer to tell your story and reflect your business values through great PR photography.
Even a seasoned professional like me still still gets a buzz on seeing ones work used across other platforms and social media such as this story used recently on Business News Wales.
The pandemic has been the dominant story of 2020. Deserted streets, lockdowns, job losses, sickness, deaths and the NHS under pressure. All our lives have been affected so lets hope 2021 with the help of the vaccines now rolling out can see a turnaround with our lives starting to return to some form of normality soon.
I’m still open for business and working in a Covid secure manner as has been the case since the first lockdown back in March last year.
Creative images can be the key to success for your business in the year to come. Strong visuals stand out in news feeds and on web pages, they draw the reader in and speak volumes about the quality of your product or service. If you want to showcase your product or introduce new personnel, a bespoke image crafted to highlight your product or demonstrate the welcoming face of your business can be the key to unlocking potential sales or custom.
The start of a new year traditionally offers an opportunity to look back over some work highlights from the previous year. Needless to say thanks to covid the highlights together with picture commissions have been few and far between but nevertheless here are a few pictures from the past twelve months.
January started well enough with a commission to photograph a Welsh Government Tourism launch addressed by The First Minister Mark Drakeford in Porthcawl.
Again in January I spent a chilly day on the docks in Newport photographing new senior management personnel at various locations around the port.
February brought a commission to photograph the new HMS Cambria in Cardiff, The Royal Navy's only reserve base in Wales.
At the beginning of March I had the opportunity of photographing the band BCG as they performed at The Iron Duke Public House, Pontypool. Covid was very much in our minds at this time but no-one knew what was just around the corner. This was my last live gig photography of the year.
March also saw me photograph the green-powered cruise vessel MV Fridtjof Nansen as she docked in ABP’s Port of Cardiff. The Barry Male Voice Choir were there to greet the many passengers with a Welsh welcome as they disembarked for a day in the capital city. Just a few days later the first full lockdown would come into effect.
In the midst of the first lockdown in May I ventured into Cardiff City Centre to record the effects of the pandemic on city centre life. I was greeted by deserted streets at midday on a Monday when the city would usually have been busy with shoppers and office workers. The city felt like it was in post apocalypse, silent and empty but for a very few workmen and the usual homeless people who seemed to have claimed the streets for themselves. In addition to some stills I also shot a short video which I felt portrayed the scene better than stills. View the video.
In mid July I crossed The River Severn to photograph The Riverside View development in Keynsham, Bristol and in collaboration with a colleague shot stills and drone footage of the new development for the construction trade press.
At the end of July I photographed Robert O’Neil, ( foreground ), the new Chief Executive of the Welsh Automotive Forum together with the outgoing Chief Executive Tim Williams for a press release to announce the new appointment.
Another construction site shoot in September saw me in Swansea to photograph the City's West Pier where work was underway to replace the crumbling old pier wall where The River Tawe flows past the marina. The pictures were all shot with a long lens from the rivers opposite bank high up on the former Irish ferry terminal loading platform which afforded an excellent high viewpoint from which to photograph the operations below.
September saw me in Pontypridd to photograph beef and sheep farmer Richard Isaac on his farm at Ynysybwl near Pontypridd, South Wales. Richard is pictured at the highest point on his land where a water tank fed from groundwater pumps at the farm feeds water troughs in the fields and fine views of the surrounding hills and valleys are to be had.
December found me in Cardiff on a very cold evening to photograph ABP’s Queen Alexandra House headquarters lit up in purple light to mark International Day Of The Disabled. The building looked dramatic against a background of a clear starry night.
My final shoot of the year was to photograph an Aston Martin DBX SUV as it was put through it's paces by motoring writer Robin Roberts for a road test on his website Wheels Within Wales.
We had a change from our usual coastal locations and this time went in land to feature the beautiful valleys of South East Wales in the pictures which I think provide a stunning backdrop for a stunning vehicle. In the low winter sun the mountain tops between the Rhymney and Sirhowy valleys were beautiful if not a little cold and felt all the colder for a strong breeze which made the eyes water. Thank goodness for autofocus. The relative shelter of the valley floor at Gelligroes provided the backdrop for the high end 4x4 as it squeezed over the little humpback bridge over the Sirhowy river.
Aston Martin DBX SUV
4 litre V8
Top speed 180mph
0-60 4.3 secs
Prices start at £158,000
#AstonMartinLive #AstonMartin #AstonMartinDBX #DBX #Wales
I was surprised to get a picture of the #ISS last week whilst photographing a building bathed in purple light to mark #PurpleLightUp #IDPWD2020 on Cardiff Bay Barrage.
At the time I was just grateful that the days rain had blown through and wasn't really paying too much attention to what was in the very dark sky overhead but I was extremely surprised when viewing the pictures back in the warmth of the office later to see just how much detail was visible in the night sky despite the cities light pollution.
On one particular frame I noticed a streak of light just above the top right of the building. My first thought was that it was an aeroplane but then thought that unlikely as this was a continuous streak. After ruling out Santa doing a test run in readiness for the forthcoming big day I wondered about the International Space Station and on checking with the NASA timetables can confirm that this is indeed a picture of the ISS over Cardiff.
It's a fifteen second time exposure, hence the streak of light as the ISS moves across the night sky.
As Wales comes out of lockdown for the second time and the good news of a potential vaccine breaks, there is hope for a future when life can return to relative normality.
In the meantime I’m still open for business and working in a Covid secure manner as has been the case since the first lockdown back in March.
Creative images can get your business noticed for all the right reasons at the best of times but during the pandemic, quality images can be worth their weight in gold.
The Covid pandemic has forced businesses to look at how they operate during these strange times. The challenge has been how to continue working, selling and communicating whilst maintaining social distancing.
At a time when the internet is providing the answer for many businesses, creative, quality photography and video are more important than ever.
For the past twenty three years through Mediaphotos I have been providing such photography for businesses to use in their press, pr and marketing campaigns. A powerful photograph can help sell your product or service and I can shoot that photograph.
Whether you want to showcase your product or introduce your personnel, a bespoke image crafted to highlight your product or demonstrate the welcoming face of your business can be the key to unlocking potential sales or custom.
If you want to stand out from your competitors get in touch.
A short video showcasing the photography I provide to business clients throughout the UK. As we begin to recover from lockdown, photography and video can be a great tool to enhance your pr and marketing campaign and get your brand message across to clients both old and new.
Essential additions to the kit bag for the socially distancing photographer post lockdown.
Like so many businesses I'm adapting to new safe ways of working post lockdown to ensure that all photography I undertake is carried out in a safe and socially distanced manner where all risks are assessed and kept to an absolute minimum.
Face masks and hand sanitising gel will be the order of the day. Cleansing of all kit before and after shoots will also be called for. On the shoot itself the two metre rule will be observed and no physical contact made with other participants and contact with all surfaces will be kept to a minimum.
Event and conference photography may take some time to restart although if the one metre rule is adopted in Wales there will be some reason to be optimistic of an early restart. With all sensible precautions being observed there is no reason why PR, portrait, editorial, marketing, advertising and product photography should not go ahead.
Photography can be a powerful tool in your PR and marketing campaign and now the time is right to shift up a gear with your campaigns to attract both old clients and new to your business as we ease out of lockdown and begin to get business and the economy back on track.
Up until December 2019 The Ford Motor Company had been a major client of mine. For the previous seven years I had shot photography at their Bridgend Engine Plant for their internal communication magazine “Ford News” as well as other corporate events and visits by public figures and Ford top brass for distribution to the media.
Back in June 2018 I was being kept busy photographing the commissioning of the new Dragon Production Line at the plant ( pictured above ). A huge investment by Ford which would ensure the future of the plant. It’s unbelievable that a little over a year later the plant closure was announced. A huge blow for Bridgend, South Wales and the 1800 workers at the plant as well as the huge numbers of other local companies that supplied the plant including myself.
June of that year Ford also held a hugely successful open day at the plant something I also recorded for posterity. A few of images and a video can be seen below.
In the same month I was also asked to help with shooting a wall panorama for a new recreation facility that was being created for the workforce in the main office block.
The plan was to turn two walls of the area into a giant photographic backdrop. Their first thought had been to buy in an image for the job but it quickly became apparent that sourcing an image of sufficient resolution to reproduce at such a large size was difficult if not impossible and so they contacted me.
Whilst the Nikon kit I used at the time did produce very high resolution images this was going to require something special to achieve such a large image with sufficient detail. The solution was to shoot several images of a scene to create a stitched panorama of a high enough resolution.
The brief was to shoot a generic scene of greenery, nothing that was recognisable or too detailed just something that would give a pleasing and relaxing backdrop. Luckily for me the grounds around the plant provided the ideal location and all that remained was to wait for Spring to pass and the greenery to flourish and a blue sky to appear.
The camera, a Nikon D800 was mounted on a level tripod in the upright position and rotated through 360 degrees taking an image approximately every 16 degrees. Each image needed to overlap the next to allow for seamless stitching. The finished panorama is made up of 22 separate 103 megabyte images stitched together using Photoshop to create a high resolution image with a file size of 700 megabytes which with some upsizing in the printing stage is large enough to produce a print approximately 3 metres high by 16 metres long.
The top image here is the whole of the stitched panorama image although the limitations of online use don't allow the true resolution of the image to be seen. The bottom picture shows the finished print on the wall of the relaxation area with me included to give it all some scale.
The final image was printed in-house by Ford onto sticky backed wallpaper stock at 300 dpi. The amount of detail visible in the finished work is amazing with individual leaves and blades of grass being clearly visible.
All of this just goes to show how uncertain the future is. We never know what is around the corner. I’m getting on with what I do best, taking pictures, whilst constantly looking for new clients who understand the benefits that quality creative photography can bring to their business.
The pandemic and subsequent lockdown have hugely affected the economy of the country and once again the future is uncertain. As individuals we can only do what we can do and not worry about things that are outside of our control. I can only concentrate on my work but hopefully I can help the corona crisis by sticking to social distancing, something which if we all do our own little bit towards will ultimately be the thing that will defeat the virus.
Shooting a successful selfie is not as easy at it sounds. Lots do it on their phones but is it really the sort of image you want to represent you in business?
A new portrait for my social media channels was long overdue and I had the dilemma of shooting a selfie or not. Trish usually helps but this time I thought I’d use some new technology to help me shoot my own.
Shooting your own portrait can be a challenge and involves setting the camera up on a tripod, focussing and framing an imaginary subject, jumping in front of the camera and firing the shutter either on a self timer or using a radio trigger. You do all this blind as you have no idea what you look like.
My Nikon Z6 camera connects to my iPhone with wifi and using an app on the phone I’m able to make exposure alterations and fire the camera remotely whilst viewing the camera image on the phone. I set the camera up on a tripod and began shooting.
I’m never comfortable in front of the camera ( I’m certain this is why I chose a career behind the camera ) but went through various poses in front of the camera trying not to grin too manicly. I’d set the software to download a low res copy of the image as soon as it was taken so was able to check how I was looking without moving back to the camera.
Taking your own picture is somehow not natural. The process of taking a portrait should be a process of give and take between photographer and sitter. The photographer needs to create a rapport with the sitter so the sitter relaxes and finally gives up a little of themselves to the photographer that allows a small part of their personality to be captured in the image. That relationship obviously just isn’t present when doing a self portrait.
Final image selection was made on my desktop computer, followed by a bit of post production and conversion to B/W with a little colour tone added I was happy with the result.
If you are uncomfortable in front of the camera, a good pro photographer will help you through the process, relax you in front of the camera and cajole that little extra something out of you to create an image you will be pleased with.
If you don’t fancy going through the selfie palaver to shoot your own portrait then give me a call, I'd be happy to help create a business portrait image you'd be happy to use across your social media platforms and website.
Came across these in the archive today taken back in 2004. A day in the life of South Wales super hero, Captain Beany. Captain who changed his name officially from Barry Kirk is a charity fundraiser who can be seen in full character going about his daily business around his Port Talbot home or taking part in fundraising events. He even has a bean museum in his home. I’m sure you all have similar characters in your localities around the country and society is enriched by them but Captain Beany is definitely one of ours here in South Wales.
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