Kallum’s an interesting guy. Far younger than his relaxed and confident manner would have you believe. Already a serial entrepreneur at the age of 24, his real skill is as a connector; he possesses a natural ability to get people together and working well, which will see him go far, of that I’m absolutely certain. This skill is at the fore in his key role at the Acorn Enterprise Initiative, aimed at getting fledgling businesses through the “danger zone” ( most businesses fail at the 3 year stage ). He’s well known locally for the popular Dunfermline Talks Business networking events too, another example of his consummate skill in getting people talking, and working together. On top of that, he runs Audacious Marketing, where ( yet again ) he helps people improve their business. Kallum’s a busy man, it seems.

So with all this confidence, obviously bearing fruit, you’d think Kallum wouldn’t be bothered about a photo shoot. After all, first impressions really count, and online doubly so.

Well, no.

Barring a couple of sitters, almost every client I’ve had has viewed a portrait shoot like a trip to the dentist. Kallum was no different, the scrutiny of a professional eye proving an initially unnerving experience.

He’s in good company though, there are tales on the web of some pretty prominent people, crumbling in front of that unblinking lens. The photographer’s main skill during a shoot, if it is to be a successful one, is to allay those fears quickly, relax the sitter and bring that personality out for all to see. This is not a “one size fits all” skill either. We’re all different, and we all need different approaches.

This takes time, and sometimes, I’m afraid, that can mean the photographer has to be surprisingly blunt. Like telling you to stop smiling. Because it’s making you look daft. Nothing shows nerves like a forced smile. So please for the love of Mike, people… don’t do it.

Kallum had initially said, in our pre-shoot planning meeting that he wanted his cheeky nature to come through in the shots, and in some of the shots I think that comes through very obviously. But there are other, less obvious sides to him too, and I felt it was important to show those too. Once I got him to stop smiling nervously, and relax a little, that started to come through, and I believe that you can see, even in the more serious shots, that there’s a twinkle there. What it took though, was a blunt photographer, to tell him to stop feeling the need to smile. By the end, we were getting natural smiles, and having a lot of fun. I know of few people who could get there in the first few minutes. As I’ve said already, it takes time.

All in all, we had an hour to get the shots we needed. We also had minimal space to shoot in ( a small two desk office, which still had the desks in ). This is fast becoming a major skill of mine. I believe I got studio quality images out of a difficult space, in a tight time frame. I’m really happy with the results.

The biggest thrill though, was watching Kallum’s face as he looked though the images for the first time. A huge smile appeared, unbidden on his face. I should have had my camera ready…

You can view some of the final results here:



This gallery contains 6 photos.

Well this is exciting. I’ve started up a tumblr blog to post up my Phonar13 work over the next 10 weeks. First up: Pretask – Journey to work. For me this consists of: Kid to school; Drive past the new Forth Road Bridge being constructed on my to work on my ongoing and ever expanding Forth …

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Not a spectacular shot from me today, but a relevant one. Getting back into the swing of things with the business, of which Facebook is an important part according to almost everyone.

Trouble is the Instagram debacle just before Christmas shone a bright light into a deep dark hole in Facebook’s ToS.

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

So, while you share your work on Facebook it is essentially Facebook’s to do as it will. And if you change your mind about that, you still may not be able to do anything about it if anyone has shared your work.

This may not matter if you don’t want to make a living out of it, but it really matters to me. And really, it should matter to you too. If they own the rights to your work there is absolutely no telling where it will end up.

It’s an extreme thought, but would you want pictures of your children or yourself appearing in any kind of marketing material, let alone an organisation you may despise? It is sub-licensable after all. Which means FB can sell it on as if it were an image library.

I know of one person a couple of years ago, who actually had marketing material fall through his letterbox with pictures of his own kids on it, because someone he knew had shared his photos on FB. The marketing company apologised but the ToS essentially covers it.

From a professional point of view, the notion that my clients’ images could be used for something without their or my permission, however remote that possibility, is terrifying. It would surely leave me open to legal action.

Just my luck, I posted a shoot on FB days before the debacle. It got shared by family and friends instantly. No matter what I do, the chances of reversing that situation are nil now. I admit the chances of FB using these shots are also nearly nil, but why put that clause in there in the first place?

So. I’m thinking of another way to do things. Certainly a shift to Google Plus, possibly ditching FB altogether. It’s certainly made me think hard.

/end rant

My beautiful old Crown Graphic.

My beautiful old Crown Graphic.

…but on the other hand I love the fact that something that might have taken a day, can be done so quickly now.

I miss the enforced long thought processes that old school photography had, but I love the fact that the feedback loop from concept to draft to finished image is lightning fast now.

I read an article this morning where the photographer said they spent a week of back to back shoots to build a portfolio and got business out of that. That would have been impossible when I came out of uni in ’97. The art form has been turned upside down in the last 15 years, but given that photography was always the great democratiser, that’s how it should be.

Isn’t it?