Local Commercial Photographer

This week we met local photographer Tom Arran. He is a young man who decided not to study photography at university but instead took on a photography apprenticeship at Hull College.

The apprenticeship has given Tom lots of experience and he is now running a successful business that includes commercial, music and wedding photography.

Tom was able to talk about local business grants, enterprise grants for young people and Badger’s Set Enterprise Challenge. These are probably not for me, given my more senior years, but may be useful for other ventures.

Tom explained that he now gets some of his work through photographic agencies. One of them being Mercury Press. This has enabled him to go on some great assignments around the country. His advice was to always do what people ask and then always do a bit extra too. He has often found that the bit extra is actually what the client uses. He also recommended using bursts of photos, particularly of groups of people. Shooting on a multiple frame setting makes it more likely that you are going to get a photo with everyone in the picture looking good.

We talked about the equipment that Tom uses and he recommended Value Basket and DigitalRev as great value places to buy equipment. While Scribes is his supplier of choice for printing.

Tom talked about Public Liability Insurance and Professional Indemnity Insurance that he has taken out with the artist’s information company a-n as being good value and offered by people who understand what a photographer’s needs are.

Finally Tom revealed his formula for pricing jobs. He recommended that we include a rate for photographing, editing, expenses and profit in an hourly and daily rate. He also recommended WaveApps as an easy and cost effective way to do accounting and invoices.


Mobile Phone

Our second photo challenge was to recreate this photograph of a mobile phone.


Like the white cup, this two looks easy at first glance but was actually quite tricky.

I set up the phone my phone on a sheet of white perspex on a table with the camera directly in front and one single lamp above with a large softbox on it to give soft lighting.I was using my 50mm lens so, considering the depth of field, I positioned the tripod and phone so that I could focus about a third of the way into the phone, keeping the whole phone in focus. I metered the light, checked the histogram and finally decided to set my camera at ISO50 and 3 sec at f20, this would allow the flash to go off and the camera to remain open momentarily in order to capture more light and detail from the phone’s screen.

The original picture has a reflection of the softbox going across one corner to illustrate that the screen is reflective. I spent nearly an hour moving the light, up and down, this way and that trying to get that line and just could not manage it.

These are a few of my test shots on a contact sheet.


This is my final image next to the original.