Feel the Fear and go out Clubbing

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Club outing to St Monans, Fife Scotland

In a time where communities are becoming further reduced and in a world where often we don’t talk to or even know the name of our neighbours, loneliness is a mental disease that is starting to spread – especially amongst the older generation.

One solution to combat this insular life style is to create Cafe Coffee Corners where people can meet others to have a coffee and simply start talking.  Some corner organisers bring chat cards with a subject for people to discuss, in order to help break the ice.  People may feel they have nothing interesting to tell others about, but in reality every one has a book in them they could write about.

I myself am single and live with my feline soul mate Mr Darcy – if it wasn’t for him my life would be totally empty.  He fills a void that only a cat could.

However I have always been a member of a club since primary school age when I joined a Judo club and cross country running club for most of my schooling years.  These clubs gave me discipline and a focus with goals to achieve.  Judo and Running were hard work and I would train every week year in year out.

I could never foresee that I would give up my beloved Judo and cross country running when I would reach middle age.

I am now a member of 2 Scottish Sub Aqua clubs and have recently joined my local camera club.  These clubs provide me with plenty of social contact and support if needed.  I have learned knowledge and gained qualifications and  experiences that have enriched my quality of life.  It’s great to make new friends and exchange experiences.

I have always been mad about cameras and in a camera club you’ll find plenty of passionate camera enthusiasts who will quite happily talk tech the night away.  I have found myself often enjoying speaking to fellow club members who use the same camera format as myself, chatting about body and lens gadgetry.

After only a few months of being in my camera club I’ve made new friends, visited different parts of Scotland on photographic location shoots that I have never been to before, and now as autumn approaches, enjoy listening to Master Photographers at the club house evenings, gaining handy photographic tips from their presentations.

At college, our tutors explained that Photography is all about experimentation – you never stop trying new things or learning more about The Craft.

You don’t even have to know anything about photography to join in a club, all you need is the willingness to learn and enjoy taking pictures with others.  During our presentation meetings there’s time for a coffee break  and then after the meeting, there’s the further opportunity to socialise with members at our favourite local pub.

Now for the first time in history, Digital Photography can provide consumers with an abundant choice of cameras at affordable prices – the difficulty for some people is trying to decide which equipment to invest in.  At the moment I’m trying to help a club member to try the camera system I have enjoyed using for a couple of years and it gives me great satisfaction when I can help provide someone with a solution to making important technical decisions.

Most enjoy taking photos and camera enthusiasts experience satisfaction from being able to use a variety of lenses to achieve a creative effect.  Taking photographs brings joy and creativity into your life in such a simple way and with modern smart phones, we can edit and share these images across the world in minutes.

If you’d be interested in joining your local Photographic Society, or any local group for that matter, don’t procrastinate – feel the fear and go out Clubbing!  

Aid for Africa

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It’s 2019 and the Easter Weekend has arrived with glorious weather here in Kinross, Scotland.  We’ve spent the weekend at Tullibole Castle near Crook of Devon, Kinross at the wedding fair.  We enjoyed meeting some couples and demonstrating some aerial photography.  We also enjoyed feeding the Peacocks some of our lunch and in return they put on amazing feather displays for us and some singing skills too.  So am looking forward to doing some more work with Tullibole Castle in Future.

I also will be working with Jo Middlemiss of Kinross who runs the Ethiopia Medical Project which is carrying out aid work in Africa so am feeling blessed for the tools I can use to help Jo with her mission.

More updates to follow!!   Watch this space…..

 

Tullibole Castle Wedding Fair

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This weekend we’re excited  to attend the Wedding Fair at Tullibole Castle which is by Crook of Devon, Kinross, Scotland.  On display I’ll have a tv monitor with some wedding footage showreels and I will proudly have on display ‘Millie’ our first wee eye in this sky.

I am looking forward to meeting the other exhibitors and of course meeting new clients for 2018 and 2019 bookings.

 

Edinburgh Glamour Nights

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The Golden Era of Edinburgh’s most glamorous Business Networking nights seems like a distant memoir.  Classy venues such as Bonhams, The Royal Society of Edinburgh, Divino Enotica, Gusti, Hotel Du Vin, The Old Waverley are to name just a few of the night spots where Edinburgh’s most stylish clientele did the Business.

Two ladies ran the glamour roost in my opinion – Fiona and Gordana.  I did some of the photos for their events to help promote what they were doing and I even managed to gain some clients myself.

Taking the photographs didn’t feel like work, more fun and a chance to socialise with a variety of people from diverse business’s and backgrounds.  With these events there was no entry fee, you just payed for your drinks and the networking was up to you.  At many of these events drinks and nibbles were provided free of charge by the venue hosts.

Fond memories indeed.  These events happened in the  early millennial era and now that it’s 2019, they seem so distant.  I now network in rural Kinross-shire – early mornings!!  A different networking experience altogether – our venue is Loch Leven’s Larder and once the sun is above the horizon, you’ll hear cocks crowing, tractors happily plough the fields while your doing your 60 second elevator pitch.

The business breakfast networking is organised by the Kinross-shire  Partnership and for a small fee you receive a hearty cooked breakfast with tea coffee and orange juice.  I of course supply photos for the business section of the Kinross Newsletter glossy magazine.

Event’s photography is one of my favourite types of job, there’s usually a positive atmosphere in the room.  Edinburgh is a cosmopolitan city  and so you get to meet such interesting people from all different parts of the globe.  Kinross is central Scotland and you never know who you’ll bump into in this secret beauty spot.

But what of the golden era of Edinburgh’s Classy Business Networking Night scene? Who knows, maybe a revival is in the pipleline?! Maybe glamour Networking will be resurrected!!

Mine’s a Martini on the rocks, shaken not stirred…..

Fashion Modelling

03When I was approached this year to carry out some modelling photography, I was somewhat surprised – after all, the source of the job was most unexpected – a nice lady from the Green Hotel in Kinross had passed on my number to an up and coming model who had been looking for a photographer to help him produce a portfolio.  Apparently he had contacted Photographers in Edinburgh as he didn’t even think there were photographers in Perthshire.

There was also the added complication that although Edinburgh based photographers were available, their prices were OTT.

As a local photography and videography service in Kinross, I know what people can and can’t afford so am always able to speak with clients to see what I can do on their budget.

We got together on a frosty February morning, and started the best way of a shoot with lovely roasted coffee from Jocks Lodge bar at the Green Hotel.  Kinross by the way is a fantastic location for doing photography and videography.  It’s central to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fife, Ayr, and Perth.

My model arranged the different types of clothes he wanted to change into and we started by doing some lobby and stair shots in the hotel.  We moved out into the centre garden court for some shots by the waterfall.

After a change we drove down to the Loch Leven where the water was frozen, so we had great fun slipping and sliding on the ice to get some shots of the frozen surface.

Then it was back to the hotel for more coffee!!  That’s what I like about photography or filming – the coffee breaks and fortunately for me, my client likes his coffee as much as I do!!

This experience made me realise that you don’t even need a studio to do modelling photography – all you need is imagination, which for me, is a prime requirement for a photographer or film maker.  The image capture begins with the thoughts in your head, and being creative in your head.

There’s nothing quite like shooting out in the countryside, surrounded by the natural environment – it’s invigorating!!

After visiting 3 different locations around the loch we were wrapped up after only four hours.  Of course we had to end the day with a final coffee at the Green Hotel which is a place I will be using for a discussion group in the not too distant future.

My client was happy with his edited shots so I look forward to doing more modelling work if possible in the near future!!

 

Location Location Location

If you’re looking for a fantastic location for your Film production or Photography fashion shoot – Kinross may just fit the bill. Located in central Fife, Scotland, Kinross is within a short commute from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Dunfermline, St Andrews and Clackmannanshire.

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Loch Leven Castle

The area is steeped in history and perhaps the most famous historical icon of Loch Leven is Loch Leven Castle where the legendary Mary Queen of Scots was captured while she tried to escape the English crown in 1568.  Interestingly, this year (2019) a Mary Queen of Scots movie was released in the UK cinemas – I’m not sure if any of it was shot in Loch Leven, and the main cast being Americans and Australians.

The castle ruins themselves provide a very haunting and atmospheric scene for your movie, documentary or photo shoot.  The castle can be accessed during the summer months via boat from the Historic Scotland office which is located by the Boat House.

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Model Shoot, Green Hotel Kinross

So, lets begin our location tour, starting at the Boat House restaurant.  Here you will find a small jetty where you can take the boat to Loch Leven Castle.  There is ample parking and you are also close to the giant wall that protects Kinross House, which keeps the local population well at bay.  Kinross house is rented out to the rich and famous for various functions.   

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Boat House Jetty Location

All the locations can be found round the road which circles the entire loch.  You can leave your car at the handy car park which has ample spaces.  From there you can walk the path towards Kinross house which after 15 mintues walk, you’ll find another small jetty which I used as a backdrop for a fashion shoot.  You can also drive along a small road from the town centre to get to this location and park at the small jetty. Close by is a haunting graveyard which belongs to Kinross house but is accessible to the public.

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2nd Jetty along from Boat House

Next on your tour you can drive round the loch either direction until you pass by RSPB Vane Farm visitor centre and cafe.  Don’t stop there but just past Vane Farm you’ll find Loch Leven Lodges cafe and picknick stop.

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Drystone Wall, Loch Leven Lodges

There is a car park and you can walk down to the sluice gates where the river flows into the loch.  There’s a country lane with a small bridge and drystone wall which I’ve used for a backdrop.  You are also a stone’s throw from the waterside with panoramic views of the Ochil Hills.

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Beach Location at Loch Leven Lodges
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Historical Scotlandwell

Continuing on your location hunt, you may wish to stop at Scotlandwell.  This historically famous location is where the magical mystical healing well rests, its healing properties have been used by the red monks in mediaevil times.  You’ll find a car park next to Scotlandwell church, and from there you can cross the road and walk up the the Kilmagad woodland walk.  You just follow the path and it will snake up the hill giving you several vantage points showing a backdrop of Loch Leven.

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Kilmagad Woodland Walk Vantage Point

I used this location to make two horror micro movies.  A word of warning – if you’re shooting in this location during the winter months, wrap up warm!!  The winds cut right through you so best to wear waterproofs to cut out that windchill.

Your final stop will be at Burleigh Castle, another historical place where Mary Queen of Scots used to dine with friends before she was put under surveillance. 

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Burleigh Castle

The Castle is a mini castle and makes a haunting backdrop for any movie or photo shoot requiring atmosphere, especially on a foggy day.

So there you have it – Loch Leven is beautiful in all weathers and everywhere is accessible by car.  There are plenty of cafes and Farm shops where your cast and crew can dine in style.  You also have the town of Kinross nearby with amenities, petrol stations and hotels.

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Horror Movie Location

 

D.I.Y Property Photography

D.I.Y. Property Photography – the Pros and Cons

I’m a media provider based In Kinross, which can be found in central Fife, Scotland.  In fact Kinross is part of Perth Council and is located near Stirling, Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Kinross is a vibrant town for property development and has a growing housing market.  Homes here are being bought and sold like hotcakes – why?  Well Kinross is situated next to the M90 within commuting distance of Edinburgh, Perth, Glasgow and Stirling – it’s smack bang in the centre of Scotland.

Kinross is a tourist location and is rich in history.  Loch Leven castle is the famous location where Mary Queen of Scots got captured while trying to escape the English crown.

So!  Now that you know where to find me, I’ll get on with it.

When you’re selling your home, first impressions count.  Even before prospective buyers put their foot over the front mat, they will have most likely viewed your property on line and perhaps in an estate agent’s glossy brochure.

It never ceases to amaze me, just how many people try to skimp on paying for professional property photography and shoot their own property photographs with their mobile phone.  If I were to sell my home I would not skimp on anything – especially if I’m trying to sell my home more quickly.

Pros of DIY Property Photography

  1. It’s Free
  2. There isn’t a number two

Cons of DIY Property Photography

  1. Image quality will be darker
  2. Angle of view will be limited
  3. Your rooms will appear small
  4. Creativity of shots will be limited

On a subtle level, prospective property buyers when judging the quality of images, could easily come to the conclusion that if the owners have skimped on their photos – what else in the house have they skimped over?

Pros of Professional Property Photography

  1. It’s not expensive – the costs will be a fraction of the sale value of your home
  2. Superior Image quality – a professional camera will have a larger image sensor
  3. A Pro camera will produce diffused brighter images with use of a flash gun
  4. A Pro camera will have interchangeable lenses that can offer a variety of angles
  5. An Ultra Wide Angle Lens will show more of the rooms in a single image
  6. Image file sizes will be much larger which is required for printing brochures

Cons of Professional Property Photography

  1. You will have to allocate a time slot for photography
  2.   Photographers have no control over the weather eg if it’s a cloudy day
  3.   The rooms have to be arranged right first time

As a local Kinross Property Photographer, all my clients have been happy with my work.  The advantage of using a local photographer is that I have been able to carry out re shoots for clients with ease as I live near the homes for sale.  If it’s cloudy on the day of the shoot, I can offer to re shoot the exteriors when it’s sunny, to show that lovely blue sky.

One thing I’ve noticed whenever my photos are published in magazines is that the image looks a bit darker than the original.  So property owners should be aware of this if shooting with a smart phone.  This is another reason why paying a tiny sum to a professional will promote your sale better in the long term – especially if you’re estate agent is going to print brochures.

Framing the shot – very often when I look at smart phone photography on social media, many of the images are framed so that they include objects in the image that can distract the viewer from the main subject.  Some images are just plain squint which can be like looking at a lopsided painting on a wall – you just want to straighten it!!

Flashing:  Smart phones have a tiny flash which will light up only a certain portion of the image in the direct line of view of where the phone is pointed.  When using a flash gun, the photographer can produce a bright enough image and also direct the light so that no parts of the image are brighter than the rest.  There is also less chance of seeing horrible flash reflection on shinny surfaces such as wide screen tv sets. 

Post Production:  if you use the services of a professional photographer, each image will be edited and optimised before being sent to the printer.  Many smart phone shooters will be less likely to want to spend time editing photographs when they can just email the whole lot to the estate agent with one touch.

I enjoy the challenge of different forms of photography.  In the past I have carried out HR employee head shots and I enjoy shooting macro shots of nature images.  For me, carrying out macro photography is not only enjoyable but also therapeutic.  It gives me a good excuse to get out the house and be in nature.

Why do I shoot properties?  Because I simply love to do this type of work.  I also find it therapeutic.  I am under no real pressure, I can take my time and I will take my time so that I can be inspired to take the shots that will promote my clients property in the best possible light.  I will even try to be creative with shooting some of the visually spectacular features of the homes furnishings.

If you’re a home owner in the regions of Kinross, Fife, Glenrothes, Stirling, Cupar, Dunfermline and looking for a property photographer who will methodically spend time taking your shots with professional level gear, please get in touch.

You’ll find my prices very reasonable and well worth the investment if you want to sell your home more quickly.

Which Property Kitchen Photo is more Pleasing??

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Taken with a Smart Phone

 

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Taken with a Camera