And so it begins…

It’s taken me something like 30 years to have a long, hard look at myself and I am sure you’d all agree that’s far too long. It’s not that those years have been wasted as I have achieved all I set out to do professionally…but not creatively! Apart from bursts of outright creative artistry I have stifled myself in pursuit of business. Had I learned much earlier that the poles could have been mutually satisfied, who knows what I could have achieved. But its not too late…

I’m less that a month into my new journey that has involved much soul seeking. Quite surprisingly having picked up a camera a day ago after doing literally nothing for the last two years, it has been as easy as getting back on a bike. My creativity and mind are as vibrant as a twenty year old. Ideas flourish. But its not quite as simple as that. I have helped so many, judged imagery globally (I still do for Master Photographers International) and supported creativity and inspiration. What I have also seen is an upsurge in gratuitous imagery obsessed by technique. And that my friends is no good thing. Other than other photographers, no one is impressed with photographers who produce meaningless, technique obsessed clever imagery with no meaning and no narrative.

I would much rather see raw, honest images loaded with and supported by narrative. It’s ok to say a picture is worth a thousand words, but an image supported by or illustrating a story is priceless! Just take a look at the paintings of the Renaissance and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. One inspired by the Biblical and the other by the Romantic Literature illustrating the age of ancient classicism and Mediaeval stories of Chivalry.

So, after a beautiful and heartfelt day with my lady, my muse, with a word of suggestion I picked up my camera. I knew exactly what I wanted. Something we share a deep passion for. Prepared a tableau, shot ten frames (I’m quite rusty) and side by side, we downloaded, selected and I processed my first two images…I’m not going to show them here yet but I will reveal the titles…

“Dreaming of Vampires, Praying for Absolution” and “I wait, Restrained, yet Hoping for Reward”

Onwards and upwards Martin

Professional fees – what are we really worth?

There have been so many changes in our industry since the halcyon days of the 80’s and 90’s. I well remember a day rate as a commercial & advertising photographer commanding £5000. How things have changed and clearly, from our perspective, not for the better! But as consulate professionals we do have a worth. Indeed we should be commanding respectable fees for our work. All to often I hear and see discussions with tales of woe describing just how much our fees have dwindled to across the board.

Weddings are a prime example. Fees in the thousands used to be commonplace but we are told that due to the advent of the smartphone that we simply cannot command such figures. But there are some that still do. Perhaps its a case of understanding your true value and holding your nerve. Much easier if you have a unique presence and style of course.

In portraiture I well remember fees in excess of £1,000.00 for a portrait sale. Wall portraiture was at a premium. Photographers simply wouldn’t sell loose prints, and as for giving away one’s captures (negatives now digital files) it was unheard of. Almost a capital offence linked to either giving away part of one’s soul or copyright. In either case a bad move that today has become commonplace.

To put things in some perspective and show that not every profession has  similarly suffered, a solicitor, and not a principal I might add, commands a fee of around £2,640.00 per day or an hourly rate of £330 Inc VAT. So perhaps it’s time to up our game and recognise our worth as an industry. I for one will be reviewing my fee structure for Mentoring, training and legal representation & conciliation services. Not everything in life, or our industry, should be for free.

 

HIPA Grand Awards – Dubai Photo Week – Dubai Photo Forum

Its hard to believe another year has passed and we are about to witness the climax of the HIPA “Happiness” Competition. The glittering ceremony will be held at Burj Park on March 14th as a reprise to the very first season awards. Lucky or should I say deserving and talented winners will be recognised and awarded with some $400,000 dollars in prizes as well as stunning trophies by His Highness, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, HIPA’s Patron and Crown Prince of Dubai.

From 16th – 19th March the new D3 Design District will be the host for the inaugural Dubai Photo Week where Curators and Exhibitors from all over the world will exhibit photographic works of art.

Dubai Photo Forum 2 - Judging: International Standards and Judges personalities

Dubai Photo Forum 2 – Judging: International Standards and Judges personalities

For me, a real highlight will be to moderate a new format of Photo Forum on the 18th March where the key subjects will be the processes, ethics, mechanics and intricacies of International Judging and image evaluation. I have high hopes that with the participation of my learned panel, it will be a real eye opener for those who have entered or will enter competitions and awards globally. See you there!

 

Creative Workshop in the Derbyshire Peaks July 2016 – Places still available!

This “Pride and Prejudice” meets “Wuthering Heights” creative workshop is being held on Sunday 24th and Monday 25th July 2016 and is suitable for just about any photographer wishing to explore their creativity and indulging in it as an art form.

The Old Cottage Hope Valley. Our base for the Two Day Creative Workshop

The Old Cottage Hope Valley. Our base for the Two Day Creative Workshop

There are just 8 places available and the extremely affordable fee of only £495.00 per person will cover all tuition, models in period costumes and a post event produced Album Epoca Event book designed by Martin incorporating some of the best images from the workshop. Picnic lunches and an evening meal on the first day are also included. This will be two days indulging in art through photography and literature. For more information or to secure your unique place either email Martin at mgrahamedunn@mac.com or call 01926 335247 or 07854 249710 very soon. A deposit secures your valuable place!

To look for Hotels and Guest Houses go to http://www.booking.com

10 things a Photographer should know – Part 8

8. “Value” is different from “price.”
Don’t compete on price alone. That is certain death in any creative field. Focus on delivering value and price yourself accordingly. If you deliver great value with your images — better than expected, and better than your competition– and you can illustrate that through any means, then you should be more expensive. And remember that value comes in many forms.
Chase Jarvis
 
* Businesses in Photography fail because they try to compete on price, fact! To simply base your pricing structure on what your competitors are offering without the same costs and overheads is nonsensical and best and financial suicide at worst. Yes, sure, people are motivated by price. We are often told that the customer cannot see the difference but I ask you…can you? Do you accept sub standard based on price and make do? Or do you feel bad about that and go for quality, longevity and by implication, better value?
Martin Grahame-Dunn

LIVE Wedding Day Masterclass

 

 

Following the success of my recent LIVE Wedding Day Training event, I am offering the opportunity for three professional photographers to develop their style and approach to contemporary wedding photography.  This is a one off training opportunity to participate in the photography of a wedding with my support and art direction on the spot.  The fee is £395 per person. The wedding is on Saturday 12th September at the stunning venue of Stanbrook Abbey, Worcester.  It’s a photographers dream with a wealth of opportunity to create some inspirational images.

 

The brief is to train three photographers with my observation and art direction.  Images are to be compiled and shared.

The following terms must be agreed and contracted as key to participation:
1. All participants to attend a pre-meet/briefing prior to the wedding.

1. All participants to agree to give all images, copyright free to the couple

2. All participants to agree to share all images shot

3. All participants to agree to attend an image evaluation and album design session to be held at Victoria House, Leamington Spa after the wedding on a date to be arranged.
Please register your interest at katehughes.mgd@gmail.com and you will be sent an application form.  Closing date for applications is Friday 31st July 2015.

Stanbrook Abbey

 

Second iLux Studio Lighting Masterclass – 30th April London

Masterclass-Banner 304

 

This second in the 2015 series of Studio Lighting Masterclass Workshops is on 30th April and is designed to examine and implement ‘best practice’ in professional portrait studio lighting. The course will cover ‘Low Key’, ‘Mid Key’, ‘High Key’ and a glance at ‘Beauty Lighting’ for good measure. How often have we been told to simply place your lights at position ‘X’ and at forty-five degrees and it will be OK? What does this mean and why? I will take the myth and legend out of studio portrait lighting and cut to the chase with a common sense, practical approach that will be understood and above all, a workable solution.

Who should attend and why? 
This is an ideal course for those wanting to firmly establish and understand lighting techniques for consistency and profit in a successful professional business. The term ‘Studio’ can mean any location in which we set up a controlled lighting scenario so this will work particularly well for those who work in clients homes or other non-permanent situations. This is the ideal “Pop Up Studio’ scenario.
The Workshop will run from 9.30am until 5pm. The day will be split into 4 sessions with Q&A to finish.
Workshop Fee: £60.00
A light lunch and refreshments are included.
To book your place simply email: mgrahamedunn@mac.com with your request and we will take it from there.

Wedding Day Training Opportunity

 

I am offering the opportunity for three professional photographers to develop their style and approach to contemporary wedding photography.  This is a one off training opportunity to participate in the photography of a wedding with my support and art direction on the spot.  The fee of £195 per person will be used to cover the cost of production of the albums. The wedding is on Saturday 4th July at Islington Town Hall Registry Office followed by a reception at The Lamb at Leadenhall Market from mid morning to mid evening on the day.  Two London Buses will be used to move people between the locations. The brief is to train three photographers with my observation and art direction.  Images are to be compiled and shared.   Each photographer, as well as the couple, will receive a cooperative album that may be used as a working sample for portfolios.

The following terms must be agreed and contracted as key to participation:
1. All participants to attend a pre-meet/briefing prior to the wedding on 7th June at 11-1pm.

1. All participants to agree to give all images, copyright free to the couple

2. All participants to agree to share all images shot

3. All participants to agree to attend an image evaluation and album design session to be held at Victoria House, Leamington Spa after the wedding on a date to be arranged.
Please register your interest at katehughes.mgd@gmail.com and you will be sent an application form.  Closing date for applications is Saturday 4th April.