Personal Shopper… At Your Service Ma’am

emmaLast Saturday I went on a shopping trip… or more correctly I took a good friend and client on a shopping trip. It was a good trip – it involved camera shops and Italian coffee, and it was a productive trip. It didn’t involve me spending a penny on cameras, lens or other accessories, but Emma did and that’s what she wanted. Mission success.

The reason I’m sharing this is to ask how you’d go about choosing and buying a new camera?  Continue reading

Having a Ball

‘Quality Over Quantity’ as they say, and last night’s Graduation Ball photography was no exception.

Most of the graduation and other types of Balls / Proms / Charity events are quite large, busy events, often with hundreds of guests. Photographing is often geared around the portable studio and printing photographs on site, which is great….

Last night though was definitely different – a Graduation Ball for the UCLAN Sports Therapy Course of 2015. As it was just one course the number of guests was literally those students and staff. That gave a fantastic friendly atmosphere and it felt a privilege to share the event. Rather than a formal backdrop setting, my role was to catch the atmosphere of the night and to be on the spot for photographs upon request.

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I had a fantastic time, largely because they did. It was completely obvious and very moving to see how close a bond had developed during their years of studies together. As always the staff at Barton Grange Hotel looked after them and me brilliantly. The DJ had barely a moment when the dance floor wasn’t full all night.

Click here to see the gallery of images from the evening online – any of these images can be ordered in a wide variety of formats. Ordering details are provided on the Gallery Page.

If you’d like more information about how I can support your function please don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

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From One Bank Holiday To The Next

Having an extended weekend has been great and has reminded me that there’s another one just around the corner at the end of May. With it comes one of our favourite event photography weekends – the annual Chipping Steam Fair which this year takes place on Saturday 23rd – Monday 25th May.

Stuart Homer Photography Ltd proud to support Chipping Steam Fair

The Chipping Steam Fair has grown over the years and has something for all the family, whether it be vintage vehicles and machinery, classic cars and bikes, fun fair rides, country crafts and produce or live entertainment.

We’ve been excited in supporting the fair in having a trade stand on earlier years, photographing the event for the committee and supplying images for publication in their programmes and flyers.

It’s a great event so get yourself down there and take it all in for yourself. It’s in a great cause too. You can see last years images on my Gallery Page or have a look at Chipping Steam Fair’s own webpage (in a new window).

Sadly this year we have a clash and won’t be able to be there, but the good news is that we’ve been able to arrange for our good friends from Myerscough College’s Photography Degree Course to cover the event instead. It will be valuable work experience for their students and should build their portfolio too.

Contact us today if you’d like to know more about how we can work with you to promote and record your live event.

How long has it been…?

Oooopppsss – That just about sums it up.  I’ve just realised my last post on here was last year, and it won’t be too long now until we’re nearly half way through 2015.

Don’t worry though folks, it’s business as normal here at Stuart Homer Photography HQ. Last time around I posted hot on the heels of International Beatleweek in Liverpool and photographing stock for a specialist guitar restorer. That work has continued both with Modern Guitars and another corporate client who travelled from London with a van full of classic guitars to visit our studio.

On the live music theme, there has also been a bit more live music photography going on. As well as a few trips to the world-famous Cavern Club in Liverpool, there was also a chance to tie in with the fantastic 50’s/60’s tribute band The Rockits as they performed a corporate gig at Liverpool’s The Beatles Story.

Don’t get any ideas about one-trick-ponies though, all the normal photography has carried on and has been just as exciting. Late February saw me photographing the most delicious products for a local bakery / coffee shop in support of a very exciting project with them.

Apart from all this corporate work, family photography hasn’t been left either, but that’s a story for another post….

 

Calling All Musos…. (and lovers of shiny things)

Untitled-1Calling all Musos – especially those fond of a bit of vintage and classic axe wielding…

Regular followers of my Facebook feed will have seen that I’ve recently been photographing a selection of 30+ classic guitars of all shapes and sizes for a corporate client. The fruits of my labours, or more particularly my photos are now online at www.modern-guitars.co.uk.

What’s even more exciting that looking at (my) photographs is that all the guitars are for sale. So don’t delay, check them all out and if any of them take your fancy (and what’s not to like), or if you’d just like to know more, contact David at Modern Guitars.

If of course you’d like me to photograph your own personal collection or you’d like to know more about my corporate and product photography solutions then please don’t hesitate to give me a call. The studio used for all of my Modern Guitars photos is fully portable and you might just be pleasantly surprised by my terms… D8N_7591

I Read The News Today, Oh Boy…. Beatles Week Photos Online

After nearly a week of sorting through thousands of pictures, my collection of International Beatles Week 2014 photos are now online.

This year I was commissioned to photograph for a number of bands as well as being booked by Cavern City Tours to provide my services to other parts of the weekend. For that reason I’ve published images in several galleries so you can skip to the one you want. There are even some images photographed on my 1969 Nikon F vintage 35mm film camera too.

Please bear with me if they occasionally may be a little slow loading (it depends how many thousands are viewing!).

If you’d like me to professionally photograph your band or event please give me a shout. You might even be pleasantly surprised by my prices.

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Band Photographer For Hire

Live music photography is ace! Even better, it’s coming up to that time of year when Liverpool opens its doors to the International Beatles Week festival which I’ve been proud to photograph at for the last three years.

During that time I’ve applied my little touch of magic to some of the best including Gerry Marsden, The Searchers, Mark Hudson, Brian ‘Boots’ Jones (The Undertakers) along with many great bands including The Rockits, The Overtures, The Beatelles, The Shakers, Cavern Club Beatles and many more.

This year I’m equally excited to be working again, photographing for the event’s organisers and working with very good friends The Rockits during the weekend. Apart from the gigs and events which are in the diary already, I’ve got a little bit of spare capacity and so I’m open to commissions from any and all of the bands and artists.

The event features celebrated bands who travel from literally all around the world. If you’re one of them and you’re reading this, contact me and I’ll let you know the very special offer price I can offer for professional photographs of your Beatles Week gigs.

So, make the most of your time in the city – let me photograph your gigs and supply you high resolution, publication quality images at a fabulous price. From a single image to full behind the scenes coverage, the choice is yours. Get in touch today to learn more…

International Producer Mark Hudson joins The ROCKiTs on-stage at The Cavern Pub, International Beatles Week 2013 in Liverpool

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Celebrating A Hard Day’s Night

Four Liverpool Lads with a bit of a musical talent found themselves being wined and dined at a very special Civic Reception hosted by Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, to celebrate the Liverpool Premiere of the A Hard Day’s Night film – just like The Beatles had done fifty years earlier!!!

The event was a Gala Dinner in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of that movie. Dignitaries, guests and good fiends The Cavern Club Beatles repeated a famous moment as the fab four took to the Town Hall’s Balcony to wave to the crowds.

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Unique commemorative photographs from last week’s event are available to order and all of the official images of the event can be found on my Gallery Page

Hope you like them!

Flaming June?

Don’t know about ‘flaming’, but it’s certainly been the busiest month so far.

I’ve photographed three events this month, from the West Lancashire Football League Awards, the fabulous Blackpool Young Diabetes Ball and the St Ambrose Barlow Catholic High School Leavers’ Ball. Photographs from each can be found via my 2014 Gallery Page.

Each of these featured a full size On-Site Portrait Studio, and Cameras WiFi linked to instantly beam photos to the viewing station. Professional On-Site Printing technology allows photographs to be printed and placed into the Clients’ hands in seconds. At last Friday’s ball, over an hour-and-half period I was averaging a print supplied every 75 seconds – phew.

The month has also seen two Weddings photographed back to back over one weekend, resulting in over 2000 raw images (and a 35mm film!), now all sorted into full sets of proofs for my clients. Oh, and also photography for the Myerscough College Open Day and a First Communion.

All in all, it’s been a blast!!!

Back to Normality?

It’s been a bit of a strange few weeks…

The last couple of weeks have felt just a little bit of a strange – but the good news is that things are back to normal now.

Big apologies to anyone who was hoping to see the annual Goosnargh & Whittingham Whitsuntide Festival photographs here. In the fifteen years we’ve lived here we’ve never missed the Festival, and I’ve photographed it officially for the Festival Committee for goodness knows how many of those years.

This year however we had an immediate family bereavement to attend to, with the added complication of it being overseas. Hence on Festival weekend we found ourselves jetting out of the country on a less than pleasant mission.

However, the good news is that’s all settled down and normality is resumed!

Last weekend it was ace being able to photograph again at the West Lancashire Football League Awards Evening, held at Blackpool FC and then to spend all day Sunday catching all the sights and attractions of the fantastic Myerscough College Open Day. Hope you like the photographs.

Three of my next four booked jobs are this year’s Wedding photography along with a follow-up to last year’s St Ambrose High School Leavers Ball.  Can’t wait….!!!

@RunshawCollege Law Society Ball Photos Online…

Friday night saw me catching up with @RunshawCollege again for their annual Law Society Ball at Kilhey Court.

Photos from the event are on my gallery at http://www.stuarthomerphotography.co.uk/2014-gallery/4th-april-2014-runshaw-college-law-society/

Contact me to order any items from the night or to discuss how I can help with your event.

Services include roaming photography, on-site studio, greenscreen and on-site printing.

Never Meet Your Idols

It has been said, “Never meet your idols – you may be disappointed” (or something along those lines). Yesterday I think I may have proved that point;

After a very late night on Friday night, one of those when you get into bed closer to breakfast than supper, and then being up for a 9:30AM appointment, yesterday had the potential to be a back-to-bed day. But with our Son away on a scout camp, we had to make the most of the day and Debs agreed (to my surprise) that we should use our complimentary tickets to The Photography Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

One of the first stands I made a beeline for, with Debs trotting behind trying to keep up, was unsurprisingly Nikon to see one of their stars of the show.

Nikon have two new stars on display, the first is the new professional full-frame body the D4S. It’s very nice, but not something I’m really interested in just at the moment. It’s sensor resolution is OK, but still somewhat less than my D800. It’s very fast, but not dramatically faster than my D3. It’s main selling point is it’s cosmically high ISO values and low light performance which would be a great asset, but with a price tag of over £5000 I don’t need to get too interested in it yet.

The other jewel in Nikon’s crown is their retro styled D-SLR, the Nikon Df. This is a great looking 80’s style camera with rotating dials and an authentic 50mm prime lens, and it was that which I went to see and got my hands on yesterday for a quick play.

You may have seen the Nikon Df being featured on The Gadget Show last week, with veteran Photographer Paul Berriff putting it through its paces in Liverpool to photograph today’s live bands in The Cavern Club using similar vintage technology and film.

By moderate coincidence. the reason for Friday’s late night was part work / part pleasure, photographing and supporting some videoing of my very good friends The ROCKiTS on stage during their Friday night residency at the same Cavern Club in Liverpool.  So as well as the state of the art digital technology, I had also put a roll of black & white film through my latest purchase, an original 1969 Nikon F.

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Now in Birmingham with ears still ringing from Mike Beck’s drumming, I got my hands on the Df – and I have to say was just a bit disappointed. It’s a nice enough camera, and it looks quite pretty, but it just doesn’t feel the same as the original Nikon F (the first 35mm SLR to orbit the moon, the camera that saved Don McCullin’s life when it took an AK-47 bullet for him).  The original Nikon F doesn’t have particularly ergonomic grips, but feels right and feels solid, just right. The new Df feels OK and reasonably sturdy, and it’s got a great digital sensor and electronic brain…. but it doesn’t feel right to me. On top of that, it doesn’t have some of the essential pro features like dual memory card slots and it also has a hefty price tag.  Sorry Nikon!

 

In other news, the Photography Show was good. It was great to catch up and chat with our favourite product suppliers and look at some exciting new products. It was great to catch up with master photographer (and another source of inspiration) Damian ‘The Big Dog’ McGillicuddy. We’re still chuckling about one of his put-downs when we met him at a previous show.

The only downside was the way part of the throng seem to think they have to walk round with every bit of kit they own in a rucksack on their back and their biggest lens round their necks. There’s only so many times you want to be clobbered when they turn round and anyway, do they really think they’re going to impress anyone?  Really?

If you’d like to see more of my live music work using both state of the art and vintage technology, or to discuss any aspect of photography which I can support you with, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

Sit Thi Deawn – It’s For Charity

It seems to have been a little while…. But I’m back!  This weekend has been a great one, they always are when I’ve got chance to give a little something back.

In this case it was being able to support a fundraising event for St. Catherine’s Hospice in Preston. Anyone under the age of forty-something may struggle with the title of this post, but it’s the name of a long-running TV series starring local folk group The Houghton Weavers.

They are still going strong and this has been the third time I’ve had the pleasure of working with them in the last twelve months. David Littler of the Weavers had pulled together this event for The Weavers and it was a pleasure to also meet and photograph local TV personality and comedian Phil Cool, along with ex-Steeleye Span guitarist Ken Nicol and guitarist Pete Frampton.

I had only popped along to the event at Ingol Golf Club in Preston to catch a few pictures for St Catherine’s Hospice to submit to the media. As it was I ended up staying pretty much to the end!  An amazing event raising money for an amazing local cause and one which I’m proud to have been able to be involved with in a little way.

You can see more images of the night in my 2014 Gallery and learn more about St Catherine’s Hospice here.

If you’d like to know how Stuart Homer Photography Ltd can support your fundraising please don’t hesitate to contact us today.SGH-018SGH-048SGH-060SGH-066

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Do You Do Video?

I get loads of enquiries “do you do video?”.  Normally I concentrate on still photography because that’s what I’m best at.

This week though I’ve been working on a little mini video project for my very good friend Chris Grindrod. Chris is a bass player and it’s not the first time he’s been mentioned here. This time around he’s been recording the bass track on a song as part of an international collaboration with friend Hal Bruce and needed some video footage to send out to Canada.

Many modern DSLRs like my D800 can capture HD video. They definitely aren’t camcorders – they don’t autofocus in the same way, they don’t record for hours and need careful setting up. But when you put a pro lens onto the body, the results are stunning.

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Chris made it easy for me too. We filmed him with just one camera, playing along to the raw music track, and recorded six clips, one after the other. Each clip was from a different camera angle and focus points. I was expecting the edit to be a nightmare, but once I’d lined up the tracks together everything else slipped into place.

I don’t know how he did it (well, I’ve got a good guess), but on each track his timing is millisecond perfect, even though some tracks were filmed several coffees and nearly an hour after others. That made it possible to cut in and out, between any of the tracks seamlessly.

I’m really looking forward to seeing the overall result, once all the artists recordings from across the world have been combined into a single track. I might even splice the final audio mix onto my video for Chris and give it a debut – watch this space!!!

Merry Christmas…

1497568_10151926459503163_207310507_nMost of this year’s work is done now, apart from some on-going edits and design.

It’s time for mince pies and mulled wine, time to enjoy Christmas.
We’d like to send a huge Christmassy cheer to all our friends, clients, suppliers and partners – hope you all have a fantastic Christmas time and New Year.

It’s been an absolute pleasure working with you this year and we can’t wait to carry on into 2014!!!

All our best wishes and season’s greetings – Stuart, Debbie & Nathan.

Happy Birthday To Us…

Stuart Homer Photography Ltd is 5 years old today!!!

It’s been an amazing roller-coaster ride with some amazing highs, as well as some fairly deep lows to be remembered. It’s given the opportunity to build some brilliant long term client relationships and turn them into deep friendships. It’s given the chance to visit and work in some amazing places from mediaeval dungeons and prisons to world famous stages and the grandest of ballrooms.

From new-born babies and newly weds, to the last portrait of a dying man, from Nigel Mansell’s Ferrari to world famous legends of music and sport, the last five years have indeed been amazing.  I feel incredibly privileged to have taken every single of the many, many thousands of images using some of the world’s finest camera equipment, all now safely backed up for the future.

Huge thanks go out to every single person and company who have booked my services – individuals, schools, companies, government departments, charities, teams and even armed forces. To some very special product suppliers and to all those who’ve encouraged, supported, criticised and even on occasions copied my work. I’ve learnt a huge deal along the way – here’s to carrying on that learning over the coming years (practise makes perfect so they  say!)

Biggest thanks of all must go to my Wife and best friend Debs and son Nathan, along with some very closest of friends (you know who you are…).    Thank You One and All.

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Now It’s Official

There might be a bit of a theme in my recent blog posts… but now it’s been confirmed that Preston’s Got Talent. Last night saw hundreds pack into Rumes Nightclub in Preston to see the fifteen finalists from the three heats performing live to be chosen as 2013 Preston’s Got Talent Winner.

There was a bit of a surprise in store as not one, but two winners were chosen. Huge congratulations go to Connor who will perform at the Preston Christmas Lights Switch-On in November. Also, Nina was stunned to be awarded the chance to perform live on stage with Russell Watson at his forthcoming concert, specially dedicated to The Katy Holmes Trust.

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The full gallery of my event photographs from the evening can be found in my 2013 Gallery, including ordering instructions for your own copy.

Preston’s Got Talent – For Definite!!!

D3N_5680Wednesday and Thursday night have found me working with the Katy Holmes Trust, supporting one of their charity fundraising campaigns. I’ve been photographing singers, bands, musicians and dancers who all have two things in common – they’re from Preston and they’ve got talent!!!

Preston’s Got Talent is the name of the charity competition event which the Katy Holmes Trust are running, both to raise the profile of paediatric brain tumours and to fund further research.

Following two heats this week and one more heat in October, the best 15 acts chosen by the Judges will take part in the Grand Final on Friday 25th October. It takes place at Preston Playhouse  and the best bit – the winner will get to perform at the Preston Christmas Lights Switch-On, alongside an incredibly talented international singing star. (To book your tickets for the final please ring 01772 490718 or email prestonsgottalent@gmail.com with your phone number and ticket request.)

I’m delighted I’m able to support the event. In addition to photographing all of the acts as they perform, I’m also able to supply prints and enlargements of their images with sales proceeds going back to the Katy Holmes Trust.  Have a browse through the Heat 1 and Heat 2 images – hope you like them!!!

Preston's Got Talent - Stuart Homer Photography Ltd. for The Katy Holmes Trust

Earworms: Blessing or Curse?

Earworms, that phenomenon where a tune gets stuck in your head…  After a weekend photographing at the International Beatles Week hosted by the Cavern Club in Liverpool, I’ve currently got two fabulous tunes doing battle in-between my ears.

At this year’s festival I was booked to photograph longstanding clients The ROCKiTs at four of their booked performances as well as catching some new promotional images. The band having recently gained Chris Hunt as a new lead guitarist and it was great to get to know Chris and wife Kay on and off stage over the weekend. Highlights included photographing the band performing the Beatles Hard Day’s Night Album on the Adelphi Hotel’s Ballroom Stage.

The annual festival attracts guests and bands from all over the world on an annual pilgrimage to Liverpool, home of the Mersey Beat with The Cavern Club at it’s heart. It was great to catch up with the Cavern City Tours team, organisers of the event (and my hosts) as well as many of the bands and die-hard fans who I’ve met in previous years.

Now getting back to the Earworms, in this case an absolute blessing. In my case they are the exciting memories of moments in time, places, people, sights and of course sounds and emotions.

The first Earworm is the result of popping into the Royal Philharmonic Hall to see and photograph some of The Overtures live Cavern Legacy show. I met the guys last year and loved their live show, so made a point of catching up with them this year. Hearing Jamie’s rendition of Rod Stewart’s Handbags and Gladrags was amazing and is still bringing out the goosebumps. I’m fairly gutted I couldn’t see the whole show, but had I done I would have missed out on the second earworm.

A regular guest at International Beatles Week is Mark Hudson, the American record producer famed for his writing and producing with Aerosmith, Jon Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osbourne, Ringo Star and many others as well as vocal coaching on the X Factor.

Mark caught some of The ROCKiTs Saturday night set and sang an impromptu track with the band which was repeated on Sunday night during their set in The Cavern. Mark said some amazing things about the band and after his own acoustic performance at the Philharmonic on Bank Holiday Monday, Mark made a beeline for The Cavern Pub where the band were performing their penultimate gig.

This time Mark Hudson spent half the set on stage with the guys, opening with an amazing, unique version of The Rolling Stones hit It’s All Over Now – somehow I can’t really think of a better way to round up this particular promo assignment with the guys and I suspect a lot of people from that particular Liverpool pub are now sharing my favourite earworm right now.

I’ll be sifting through my 1,018 images from the weekend and posting some in the Gallery soon, hope you’ll like them. In the meantime I’ll just keep humming to myself and smiling.

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Feeling Confident?

I’ve just been looking at this year’s bookings and doing some sums…

The headline news is that 65% of work this year is being undertaken for repeat clients. In other words, two out of every three jobs, whether they be weddings, portraits, live music, events or corporate work have been booked by someone I’ve previously had the pleasure of working for.

Some of those are annual events, some are follow-on bookings. I’ve also been privileged enough to photograph the new-born babies of some of my wedding clients.

Of the new clients this year, quite a number have beaten a path to my door based on personal recommendations of existing clients, which is fantastic too.

All in all it’s incredibly encouraging to know that so many people are so satisfied with the service I’ve provided and are happy to keep coming back and recommending me to others. Many of my clients over the last half a decade have become close friends too which is even better.

For me, photography isn’t just about having a good camera; it’s not about a fancy webpage or posting nice pictures online.  Like any business it’s about relationships and communication, understanding the client’s needs, achieving results, delivering the highest quality products from the world’s finest suppliers. It’s about having back-up plans and equipment – being totally dependable and professional.

If you’re looking for a professional photographer I’d be delighted to hear from you today – 65% of clients can’t be wrong can they?

(The figure 65% has been calculated from a sample of 29 bookings during the first part of 2013)