Its that time of year again, and I’m on the look out for houses that look great at Christmas time… colourful, cosy, well designed pads that I can shoot for magazines and make features of. So, if you have a nice place and you go to town at yuletide (I’m not sure I have ever used that word before!), or know someone who does, do let me know. We normally photograph in the couple of weeks before christmas, (or sometimes after new year), and its an informal affair, as long as the house is reasonably tidy (!) we can work miracles (christmas miracles!!). Keep in touch and let me know if you have any leads. And happy christmas ;-)…
I have been photographing gardens for 25 years and this year has been one of the best for this time of year. Fabulous light, the flowers on top form and plenty of colourRead More
I am increasingly being asked to photograph houses, flats, apartments and second homes for the purposes of listing them with agencies like Airbnb or Booking.com, and I thought I’d do a short blog post about how it works.
I have been photographing beautiful houses for 20 or so years for magazines, websites, book publishers or just for private records. It doesn’t matter what the space looks like, the principle remains the same for all shoots - presenting it in its best light - as good as it gets. I style each shot, using the props that I have either brought with me or that are available. The composition is carefully chosen to enhance the room without overdoing it, so no ultra wide angle shots that exaggerate the size for instance - there’s no point in overselling to guests who will turn up and then be disappointed . I’ll tidy up any unsightly mess, and careful post production means that the shots are bright and ‘clean’ with blemishes removed in Photoshop.
I use natural light, the pictures will be warm and inviting, and above all I am very flexible and careful. I am not an ‘estate agent snapper’ and each shoot will take at least half a day to do which is worth it considering it’s your ‘shop window’.
After the shoot, I review the images and take them through post-production so that they work well together and have a cohesive feel. I then send a full set to you so that they can be uploaded to your listings agent, or simply kept for your own records.
Airbnb state that proper ‘professional’ images can increase a listing’s earnings by up to 40 percent, so it pays to use the best! Please contact me with your queries and I can give a quote for your place. Rates take in to account how many shots are required and where in the UK the shoot will be.
Over the years I have been with many picture libraries, and in fact I used to make all my money by shooting with them in mind. I would get a good sized check each month with a statement telling me where and who had bought use of the image (magazines, commercial companies, private individuals and so on). Then along came the internet and suddenly all the images that flooded on to the ‘market’ literally cut away the bulk of stock photographers earnings. Many amateurs and enthusiasts simply didn’t understand that you need to charge for use of an image, and it was enough to have a picture published… Nowadays, stock photography is a poor comparison to the ‘good old days’. Never mind, I still contribute to some agencies, most of all to GapPhotos, who represent all my garden and plant photography (and very well they do too!).. If you are specialist and good at your subject, there are still fees to be made. Here’s a pic I am just sending them, part of a set I did for Country Living magazine a couple of years ago.
Searing heat and vicious shadows don't usually make for great photography, but the last week I have just gone with it. Love the conversion to Black and White in Lightroom... Make hay while the sun shines!
At least it is in the world of magazines who are already on the lookout for features for their December issues. Many’s the Christmas shoot I’ve been commissioned to do – in July… With gardens looking blooming lovely and trees sporting the greenest of leaves, I’m inside with stylists lighting a roaring fire, decorating a tree and wrapping presents for a cosy, rosy glow, front cover.
Luxury hotels on the other hand are a different matter. Although they like to get ahead producing brochures that showcase their festive delights to entice guests and Christmas party bookers, many are happy to have their Christmas hotel photography completed the year before. The brochure above which I photographed for Bowood Hotel & Spa was actually shot last December when the place was in full festive mode and decorated for the season. This can only be a good thing as I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable asking the chef to knock up some mince pies or roast turkey in August while demanding the guests swap shorts for reindeer jumpers.
If you would like to discuss some festive hotel photography, do get in touch. That’ll be one thing ticked off your Christmas to do list…
Thanks so much, Mark
I spent a lovely day at one of the most fabulously located hotels in the UK... Gara Rock is an institution in the South Hams of Devon, and its recent change of ownership, and upgrade that came with that, has ensured a state-of-the-art kitchen, supplying fresh and simple food for residents and visitors alike. The chef in charge is Lewis Glanville, and it was great to spend time with him and his team, photographing them as they cooked up some great dishes; clean and crisp, colourful, and above all else, tasty. Worth a visit, even if it's the most southerly hotel in Devon, and quite a drive to get here!
Situated on the beautiful Douro river and not too far from lovely Porto, is the luxurious and rather grand looking 'Casa Da Calada' Hotel. Its famous for its wonderful food, and Tiago is a renowned Michelin starred chef. The food tastes amazing but it also looks wonderful... an easy job for a food photographer!
I've been photographing a lot for David Harber recently. He and his team make the most amazing garden and interior sculptures, using metal and stone. They are often on a monumental scale, and are always built with the surroundings in mind. So, for instance, the circular metal sculpture above is situated so that the sun rises in the centre of the circle (it can be moved easily so that it works at all times of the year). Truly beautiful, they are found throughout the world now, in some of the most fabulous locations. I am very pleased to have been asked to photograph them!
I'm happy to announce that I have a new portfolio of my interior design photography. Please do get in touch if you'd like to get a copy. If possible I would like to drop it off in person, but am also happy to post to you if preferred. Full of gorgeous houses, amazing design and sumptuous spaces, it looks and feels like a magazine... and on another note, I am about to send out my first newsletter for a while, so please do contact me if I can put you on my list. I promise it won't be a deluge of posts, just a quick email once every few weeks... thanks!
What a year for REAL seasons in the countryside of Britain. We had a real cold winter, a wet spring, a LONG hot summer and now a colourful autumn. We are just moving in to winter, which is bittersweet I always think, but the memories of a lovely year, weather wise, come flooding back (maybe not the best analogy?!) every time I flick through all the photographs on my computer.. and here are some of those images, along with a bit of John Clare's poetry (the best ever nature poet?)
I was pleased to to be asked to photograph the latest hotel interior design project by Martin Hulbert Design (featured in House and Garden's 'The List'). The Grove , Narberth is a country hotel in deepest Wales... understated, quiet, luxurious and very, very cool. This is partly to do with the design, which manages to be completely 'in keeping' and authentic, but at the same time contemporary and chic. Jay Grierson, who I worked with on the shoot, says that the aim was 'to combine traditional and contemporary and be thoughtful, considered and appropriate... Creative with an extra layer of magic on top.' I think it worked!
Nowadays, if you are planning a trip to Tuscany in May, pack an umbrella alongside the suntan lotion! Two weeks in Chiantishire, photographing four hotels, was an exercise in dodging the showers and then basking in beautiful sun. The light was always lovely though, and the four places, Borgo Pignano, Borgo Argiano, Follonico and Castello Di Vicarello certainly looked wonderful, whatever the weather! On a whistle-stop tour, we photographed rooms, spas, pools, food and staff... thanks to all of them for the views, the welcome and the superb food.
Two day shoot for the fabulous 'Kitesgrove' interior design company, in an enormous apartment in London. Their work is wonderful, easy to photograph, meticulous in detail and well finished... also a great palette with soft tones. Luckily we had some good weather, so the sun was able to light those HUGE interiors! A joy to work with them again.
Lovely day in the beautiful Dartmoor countryside photographing a location house for Mandarin Stone. The house was a converted old cottage with a rather funky extension, near Bovey Tracey. Photographing floors and tiling can be a little tricky... compositionally, making the floor the centre of attention isn't 'normal', and the flat shiny surfaces in a bathroom or kitchen can create problems with reflections. However, the beautiful soft wintry light was a help and clever use of Lightroom and Photoshop finishes off the images afterwards. Lovely house, lovely people and lovely client! what more do I need...