Mollie Makes Magazine
Nice coverage for Mollie Makes of Shevie Moyles work down in Cornwall...
17 04 13
Wow, its all gone mad now! off to Cornwall for a hotel shoot tomorrow, back to Bath for a hotel shoot on tuesday, then to East Sussex for two days shoots for magazines, then back to Bristol to prepare for four days in Italy... see you on the other side...
20 03 13
Ongoing work with Chateau Impney in Worcestershire see here... and many other jobs too.. Homes and Gardens shoot last week in Devon, and some rather smart new architectural clients based in London this coming week... watch this space!
17 01 13
Well, the year's turned and I'm mooching around in the office trying to reorganise/springclean and generally do nothing! It was a good year (2012) and you can read a review here... At the moment its snowing here in Bristol, so any excuse to discuss 'not snowing' weather would be gratefully received!
15 7 12
Well its 'here we go again' time!... off to Cornwall again shooting for 25BH magazine, then straight back and up the M4 to shoot for a day with Esti Barnes of 'Top Floor Rugs' in London on wednesday. Then another shoot for Route One in the next couple of weeks, and a final shoot for the wonderful National Trust at Powis Castle Gardens ... Blimey...
Tag Archives: hotel
I’ve been hard at work in Worcestershire recently, photographing the recently updated (ongoing!) Chateau Impney Hotel, in Droitwich Spa. A fabulous building, dating from the 1870′s, Chateau Impney was made in to a hotel and exhibition/conference space in the 1970s. The hotel went in to a decline in the late 20th century, but has been revitalised by its new owners. PR and marketing gurus ‘Alias‘ were bought in to help bring the website and marketing in to the modern era, and they called me in to shoot a new set of pics for the website. Now the results are there for all to see, and apparently its already having the desired effect…. There are still areas of the hotel that we need to photograph when they’re done, but you can see from their new site that there have been vast improvements!
We had an interesting and frantic shoot at the Naval Club in Central London last week… a days shoot in which we needed to get food, staff, rooms and atmosphere in one of Londons most ‘elegant and comfortable’ town houses. The staff were a great help, the weather wasn’t (!) and I think we distilled the ‘feel’ of the place quite well. These images are of the dining room and the food… a grand but relaxing room in which the chef served excellent modern food. Food Photography in these circumstances can be a tricky affair… there usually isn’t much time, so we need to work quickly, but the staff were a great help, and the chef was brilliant…
After spending a lovely new year at Fingals, it’s time to get back to the grindstone, but not before I have a brief look back at the work I did last year. It reall was a mixed bag of assignments, from following NT gardens through the seasons to shooting a top hotel in Tuscany, Il Borro. My work is varied (that’s how I like it!) and I feel as ‘at home’ in a vibrant spring garden as I do in a Midlands ‘Spa Resort’ with four swimming pools and a 5 star chef!
Hotels wise it was a good year, and I shot a range of places, from small ‘bed and breakfast’ businesses (Bolotho Barns for example), to huge, multi-restaurant and spa resorts with hundreds of bedrooms (Hoar Cross Hall). Somewhere in the middle are the small hotel operations, with 10-15 bedrooms, owner operated, and with , more often than not, very good kitchens serving locally sourced food. These are enjoyable jobs as the owners know every room, the staff are their friends and they are able to put their own stamp on the places (Gliffaes Hotel, Boskerris Hotel, Tasty Ski Company). I have often said it but I love shooting these sorts of hotels as I get to do a bit of each of my favourite types of photography – gardens, interiors, food and lifestyle.
It was a busy year too, shooting for my commercial clients: Mandarin Stone are one of my favourites… we shoot lovely houses, finished with wonderful ‘products’, and the client really enjoys, and more importantly, understands the value of careful styling and propping. Another valued client is Top Floor Rugs, with whom I did a fantastic shoot at an amazing house in North London. Again, the client understands the importance of photography and the way that the products are shown (apart from the fact that she is also a world class rug designer!). I also had a good year doing editorial for interiors magazines and shooting major features for Country Living, Homes and Gardens and Saga.
Out into the rarified world of the internationally important garden, and I spent another year shooting, through the seasons, with the National Trust. I worked at three gardens, The Courts, Lacock Abbey and Powis Castle, and spent many happy hours watching the way the gardens changed through the year… frosty views at Powis, early spring shoots at the Courts and fullblown summer borders at Lacock. It’s hard to think of a job I prefer more…
All in all then, an excellent year… even if the weather wasn’t amazing!
A couple of years back I was lucky enough to be asked to help shoot the food and lifestyle images for a book about places to stay that were in tune with the Slow movement which originated in Italy. It was commissioned by Alastair Sawday’s, a small travel publishing and media company based near Bristol as part of their Go Slow series. I took off for Italy, travelling mainly by train from Lombardy to Sicily and stopping off at some stunning places along the way whose owners had chosen to opt for a less frenetic way of life – growing their own fruit and vegetables, producing olive oil and wine from their land and respecting the seasons. The book is available here on their web site…
I Shoot Horses Don’t I?
I’ve just returned from a few days hotel photography at ‘Il Borro‘, near Arezzo in Tuscany owned by the Ferragamo family – designers of very beautiful footwear and bags worn by proper Hollywood royalty over the years – Marilyn, Audrey and Angelina amongst others. The estate is vast with its own medieval ‘borgo’ where we stayed, a spa, stables and huge winery. They’ve managed to pull off the trick of respecting their traditional Tuscan roots while introducing super slick, up-to-the-minute design elements particularly around the spa with its infinity pool and Vincafé. I spent my time racing around photographing interiors, charming staff, atmospheric vistas and even the horses!
The next day we drove into Chianti where classic Tuscan views of ancient hilltop estates flanked by cypress trees and surrounded by dusty olive groves forced me to leap out of the car, camera in hand around virtually every bend. Volpaia is a tiny village which sits high above Radda in Chianti where the restaurant La Bottega and bar are both owned by the same friendly family – there can’t be too many better places in the world to have lunch.
All this bucolic bliss can get a bit much so it was time to head into the hubbub of Florence – 92 degrees, many shops and restaurants closed for holidays, swarms of tourists (like me), coffees at 5 euros – but still utterly amazing. Best bits were midnight photography of Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria and an early morning trip to the food market at Sant’ Ambrogio to stock up on pecorino and tasty tomatoes.
Hotel Photography in Italy is a tough job, but someone has to do it…. so, if you have a hotel, Bed and Breakfast, Spa or restaurant , and you need some marketing images, please do get in touch…. I’m photographing a ‘Gourmet’ ski chalet in the French Alps next month, and back to do more at the slightly bonkers Hoar Cross Hall in Staffordshire after that… come on, catch me while you can…
Have just sent out a new ‘newsletter’ to those of you who have subscribed… its about ‘Small Hotel Photography’ and can be reached by clicking on the relevant link on the right hand side of this page (or here)… here are some of the images that I sent out in the newsletter…. and if you’d like to be sent the newsletter (very infrequent, don’t worry!), please let me know.
We spent a great day at The Wellington Hotel in Boscastle, Cornwall earlier this week, revamping the hotel’s photography for the new owners website. I’d been to Boscastle a couple of times before, but never really stayed long (It was a stop off on a walking weekend once and a ‘drive through’ on a family holiday), and this was a chance to get to know the place a bit better… The Wellington is set back from the road and is an impressive building with castellations, and the village is a lovely place, in the news a few years ago after terrible floods wreaked havoc in the middle of summer. The staff were very welcoming, chef Isaac Robb and his team were on hand to cook up some amazing food, and the sun shone… the brief was to do some interior photography in the new rooms, do some food photography, and some lifestyle photography. It’s a lovely old hotel, with some history (past guests have included royalty and celebrities such as King Edward VII, Sir Henry Irving, Guy Gibson and Thomas Hardy), its very warm and comfortable, and I’m sure the new owners ‘Cornish Coastal Hotels’ will have every success… thanks again for a good day…
After last weeks escapade at Coleton Fishacre in subterranean light levels, I didn’t think I’d be under the same pressure for a while, but it seems the dark clouds and heavy rain are following me around! I drove up to Mid Wales on Monday for a shoot at Plas Dinam Country House to shoot some hotel photography and arrived first thing on a stormy autumn morning. As a photographer, one hopes for atmospheric and interesting light… not full on sun, but ideally a directional and slightly filtered light… we didn’t have any sun on monday, and the light we actually got was gloomy and uninspiring. So, the challenge at Plas Dinam was to shoot as many rooms as we could, instilling some calm, peace, warmth and cosiness into a magnificent 1870′s house. The current owners, related to the famous Welsh entrepreneur David Davies who built up a vast fortune and bought the house at the turn of the century, have decided to open the house to the public, and Plas Dinam is available as a self catering country house, perfect for large parties, corporate getaways or spectacular walking holidays with groups of friends.
Photographically, we needed to ensure the rooms were sympathetically lit and ‘warmed up’ (thanks to the current Lord Davies, the fires were lit and roaring by the time I got there!), and we tried to instill some homeliness with various bit and pieces… tea cups, books etc. I also wanted to show the ‘grandness’ of some of the rooms… floor to ceiling windows, panelling and fabulous wooden floors. The snooker room (we couldn’t shoot in there as it’s in the middle of restoration) was amazing and I can just imagine spending a long friday evening in there pretending I’m any good at it! Anyway, the owners are pleased with the pictures, and I think another day next spring (with some sun??) doing lifestyle images would be great… I’d certainly enjoy it too!
I shot up to the Lake District last week and spent three enjoyable days near Windermere shooting three hotels for ‘Lake District Country Hotels’. ’Impact’, who own the hotels have decided on a revamp to the website and required a selection of new hotel photography that they can add to their exiting stock. The three places were in such a beautiful area, situated on the banks of Lake Windermere, and these cosy old hotels with their vast rooms and roaring fires are an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding countryside. We shot bedrooms, bars, restaurants, food and gardens and the whole job was made easier by the lovely staff up there. Next time I go though, I’d love to get the chance to see some of the area… too busy doing the job to see much else! As I have said before, hotel photography is my favourite of all the disciplines I cover… It is so varied and there’s just no time to get bored… here are some of the images….
I have just been commissioned to shoot three beautiful, old hotels in the Lake District (all part of the same group) and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been thinking about hotel photography and why I enjoy it so much. My particular interests are interiors and gardens – I love the atmosphere of a fine room that manages to somehow embody the owner’s personality and capturing the very special mood of a beautiful garden at dawn is one of my great pleasures. Both of these I do for magazines where the editor wants a sumptuous set of four to six pages that will convey a particular atmosphere. Very different indeed to commercial work where, while the client will want a bit of ‘mood’, more important, is the element of ‘product reality’ – a kitchen maker for instance will be keen to show off the special design details to their best advantage in the hope of attracting further commissions.
Hotel photography, it seems to me, is where many of these different disciplines come together. A mood must be conveyed while always remembering that I’m actually working for a commercial client. Give me a day or two at a hotel and I can shoot any number of atmospheric photographs – bedrooms be they intimate and cocooning or just out and out luxurious with sweeping views across a vast four-poster to the parkland beyond. Public areas like bars, restaurants and receptions must appear convivial while maintaining an air of efficiency. I will always throw in a few ‘wow’ shots such as swimming pools lit at dusk or a long shot of the hotel that draws in the surrounding landscape too.
Hotels are places of work of course and I’m often asked to photograph some of the staff – perhaps pouring drinks at the bar, polishing glasses in the restaurants or ‘checking in’ new guests – a great way for the client to show off the friendly side to the operation. It’s nice too, particularly at smaller, family run places, to take informal portraits of the owners and guests find them surprisingly useful when choosing a place to stay.
Food photography is terribly important these days. I specialise in informal food shots – current trends seem to have moved on from the old fashioned dining experience with its stiff, white napery and endless courses to a much more relaxed approach where fresh ingredients and no nonsense presentation are much more the order of the day. I like to shoot without lights using natural daylight and it’s great if the chef can present the food just as it would be served and I can photograph it quickly and without too much fuss.