Awards from the Guild of Photographers 2017

As most of you are aware I am have been a member of the Guild of Photographers for the last 3 years.

The Guild of Professional Photographers is a highly regarded association for those committed to the art of photography. Each month they run their image of the month (IOM) competition which receives thousands of entries. Their Awards are highly sought after.

Images are assessed by a full Panel of highly experienced Judges who grade them in accordance with international judging criteria, and the higher scoring images are awarded a Bronze, Silver, Gold or even a Platinum Bar. These Awards are very difficult to achieve.

A Platinum Bar .. Images of exceptional or outstanding quality (only awarded to the ultimate of images)

A Gold Bar .. Images of particular distinction (very rare)

A Silver Bar .. Images that are very well crafted (difficult to achieve)

A Bronze Bar .. Images of a high standard (something to be proud of

Classified .. Images of a good standard but which are not deemed award winning at national competition level.

I am thrilled to have received 45 awards from them this year!!!!

Awarded Images

Debbie Longmore QGNBP, QGPP, achieves Qualified Status

Well it may have been a very long 3 week wait since my submission, but I am thrilled to say that I have passed not one, but TWO qualification panels and received a Qualified status. This is an awesome achievement that I am so proud of. I have been working towards this for last few months, and I am so pleased to have passed.

So what is a Qualified status?

This is what the Guild of Photographers say about it…

Our ‘Qualified’ status is aligned to standards of competence that reflect a level where the customer should be ‘pleased with the results’, when employing the services of a skilled tradesman (the photographer). In other words ‘Qualified’ indicates professional ‘competence’ to a level where the Guild is willing to recognise the photographer as an ambassador of the association , so those who achieve that level should be proud of doing so.

So which panels have I achieved a Qualified status in?

As most of you are aware, I specialise in Newborn, Baby and Child Photography and I wanted to be able to achieve a qualified status to reflect this.   I therefore submitted panels for both of the following categories:

Newborn & Baby Category (QGNBP)

This category required a selection of 3 images from each of 7 different customer commissions. ‘Newborns’ are defined as those up to 28 days of age, and ‘Babies’ are those which are either pre-walking or under 12 months of age (whichever comes first).

Professional Category (QGPP)

This category required a selection of either 7 images from 3 different customer commissions or 3 images from 7 different customer commissions (none from ‘live’ weddings).

Thank you to all my lovely clients who have visited me over the last year as without any of you this would not have been possible.

Here are my panel submissions:

Newborn & Baby

Newborn & Baby Qualified Status QGNBP

Professional Business – Child Portraits

 

How I created my hand painted backdrop

One of the things I have always wanted is a beautiful hand painted fine art backdrop for some fine art portraits and unique to me.  I would love to be in a position to buy a bespoke hand made creation but unfortunately that is not something that my bank balance will allow 🙁

So what is a girl to do? Well the answer to everything always lies in google so that is what I did! I read tones of articles where people have tried to create their own backdrops and I was so inspired that I had to give it a go!

So last week that’s is exactly what I did. I managed to pic a hot sunny day and spent the afternoon after the kids were back from school in the garden with them painting away on my hands and knees.   I do not recommend this position as my poor knees and back after were not thanking me!

So what did I use? What do you need?

Well the first thing I thought of was “what am I going to use to paint on?” So I visited B&Q and decided that I would use a dust sheet.  I cut this to fit my 2m backdrop stand (although its a bit thinner than 2m) and left it fairly long with the idea of painting the whole length.  I didn’t really want to use the whole dust sheet this being my first attempt in case it all went horribly wrong!  I also have a similar sized one left and maybe some smaller pieces I can use for some newborn sessions. I am not one to waste anything he he.

The next thing to sort was the paint, and after a bit of research I decided that acrylic paint would be the best option and knew that Hobbycraft would easily have enough colours in to choose from and it should, hopefully, leave a more matt finish.

Every article I read though seemed to suggest that the dust sheets would need priming so I thought a primer would be the best option.  To be honest I should have brought a bigger tub of it as it didn’t cover as much of the sheet as I initially thought, although in retrospect I am quite glad I never painted the whole sheet as I was already suffering enough!

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any rollers at home (which I thought I did have otherwise I would have brought myself one from B&Q), so I found a lonely paint brush left over, unused from painting the studio.  I only used the one brush through the whole process and next time I am thinking i may get some Artist sponges and the paint from The Range – as it would be cheaper than Hobbycraft!

So what did I do?

So the first step I need to do was iron the blooming dust sheet.  I hate ironing at the best of times so ironing the dust sheet wasn’t a highlight of mine but it is an essential step. You could at this stage sew a seem at the top of the sheet to insert the backdrop pole into but to be honest I didn’t really think of this at the time but I left enough room at the top of the sheet to be able to hang and support my sheet with clips.

Once ironed, the fun was about to begin!!!!

I decided to sit in my garden with the kids not having a big enough place to paint the sheet and also thinking it would be safer with little hands helping me!

I covered the floor with some plastic sheeting, placed the dust sheet on top sticking down some of the edges with tape to ensure it did not blow away with any breeze that may come my way.

I then started painting the sheet with the primer from the middle out with a paint brush.

Now ideally a roller on a pole would be a much easier way of doing this and I will of course be using that method next time!!!

I only did one coat with the primer as I ran out and to be honest I don’t think it really need a second coat but time will tell I guess.

Then it came to the really exciting bit – getting a bit creative!

I had an idea of what sort of colour and style I wanted to go for.  I had purchased grey and a black acrylic paint with the idea of mixing some of the grey with some white primer to get another tone of grey too but as I ran out of the primer I found some left over white emulsion in my shed and decided I would use this too.

I then mixed some of the grey with the white emulsion and used this lighter grey in the centre of the backdrop and slowly worked my way outwards darkening the paint as I went.  Lots of dabbing and brushing and generally messing around happened here and I even started mixing some of the edges with my hands to get ride of some of the brush strokes.  I really did end up in a bit of a mess!!!

I guess there are no rules as to how you paint it, just have a play and just go for it using whatever technique you want!

And the Result?

When I stood back I have to say I was rather pleased with myself.  Whilst I may have been very achy and completely covered in paint I was feeling pretty happy with my little self!

How to paint your own fine art backdrop

Yesterday I got to try my new backdrop out for the first time and I have to say I am really pleased with the result.  There are some things I would change in my next one, such as I wouldn’t have my lighter shade so square (this came from me not really stepping back and looking what I was doing when I did it).

Fine Art Backdrop
My fine art backdrop in use

I do love my new back drop and have plans to make a number of different variations with varying colour palettes, once I have forgotten the effort it took to make this one ha ha

Have fun!

Debbie x

 

The Photographer’s Bar

As you will know from my previous blog, I have recently been awarded two Top 10 placements with the Guild of Photographers, coming 7th in the Newborn and Baby Category and 10th in the People Category for my child portraits.  I did not know where I had been placed until I received my Certificates through the post yesterday.

Not only was I overjoyed to find out I had come 7th in the Newborn and Baby Category but I let out a little squeal when I realised I had passed the Photographer’s Bar!!!

_DSC9443-Edit

Becoming a member of the Photographer’s Bar is a unique distinction awarded to those photographers who have had images assessed by the Guild via the Image of the Month competition over the course of a competition year, attaining a score the equivalent of a point for each entry made.

In other words any member who can secure 24 points in one section of the Photography of the Year Title chases from 24 images in any 8 months of the same competition year will be awarded honorary life membership of the ‘Photographer’s Bar’ in order to acknowledge the fact they have submitted strong images consistently throughout the year in competition judged in accordance with national scoring criteria – a distinction that is very difficult to achieve!!

_DSC9450-Edit

Membership of this exclusive club is clearly something to aim for and I am delighted that I have managed to achieve this.

 

Top 10 Photographer of the Year 2016

This is a blog I did not expect to be writing! Certainly not this year anyway!!! But here goes … (little eek before I start) … I have managed to achieve Top 10 Photographer of the Year 2016 with the Guild of Photographers in not only one category, but TWO!!!! [images below]

Bit of Background

As most of you will know by know (sorry if I sound like a broken record) but I have been a member of the Guild of Photographers for the last 2 years, joining in November 2014.

The Guild of Professional Photographers is a highly regarded association for those committed to the art of photography. Each month they run their ‘image of the month’ (IOM) competition which receives thousands of entries.

Images are assessed by a full Panel of highly experienced Judges who grade them in accordance with international judging criteria, and the higher scoring images are awarded a Bronze, Silver, Gold or even a Platinum Bar. These Awards are very difficult to achieve.

– A Platinum Bar .. Images of exceptional or outstanding quality (only awarded to the ultimate of images)
– A Gold Bar .. Images of particular distinction (very rare)
– A Silver Bar .. Images that are very well crafted (difficult to achieve)
– A Bronze Bar .. Images of a high standard (something to be proud of)
– Graded (G) .. Images of a good standard but which are not deemed
award winning at national competition level.

About my Awards

In my first year with them (from January 2015, when I picked up the courage to enter the image of the month competitions, to December 2015) I was awarded 12 bronze awards and I was absolutely thrilled.

Last year, as you may know already from a previous blog,  I received 31 awards from them including my first silver and my first award in wedding photography!!!!

Silver Award, Child Photography
Silver Award, Child Photography

How does the Top 10 Photographer of the Year work?

The IOM Competitions are open to enter from January to November with the final awards being announced just before Christmas. This competition also feeds their ‘Photographer of the Year’ Title chase (with Top 10 Photographer awards in each competition section).

Points are awarded to images entered into the IOM competition and the photographers getting the highest total of points in each section from any 8 months of the year (or less) will become the Guild’s ‘Photographer of the Year’ or a ‘Top 10’ photographer for that category (eg ‘Wedding Photographer of the Year’) – subject to a minimum 6 months entry in that section.

How are the points awarded?

For the purpose of the Photographer of the Year Title chases, the points awarded to Image of the Month entries are as follows –

Platinum – 10 Points
Gold – 7 Points
Silver – 4 points
Bronze – 2 points

The points from 8 months of the calendar year will be combined to determine the final score in the Title chase of the sections in which we have entered. If you have entered more than 8 months in the year, the highest scoring 8 months will be the ones that count.

An email is then sent out to those that are close to being in the Top 10 in November to let you know you may be in the running but they are unable to confirm until the rests of the Decembers IOM awards are announced.  I received this email and was completely thrilled I was anywhere near the Top 10!!!

Each February, the Guild hold an awards evening, which is an event that everyone one looks forward to.  Until this prestigious event no one knows if they have managed to reach the Top 10 nor who the individual winners will be in each category.  Not expecting to be in the running I never attended the awards ceremony but the Guild are amazing at giving all the non-attendees a full run down of the evenings events as they unfold and when my phone started lighting up on Saturday night with people tagging me in posts on facebook I literally screamed with delight.  There was my name mentioned as being in two Top 10 lists!

_DSC9444-Edit

There are no words to describe how over the moon I am to be listed as being a Top 10 Photographer in the Newborn and Baby Category and a Top 10 Photographer in the People and CFA Category for my child portraits.

_DSC9447-Edit

So what does this mean to my clients?

Well as you can probably tell from the above, consistency is a huge factor in reaching the Top 10.  I have been fortunate to achieve awards every time I have entered, and whilst I have achieved only one silver for 2016 all those individual bronzes add up!

I strongly believe that my images, whether shot purposely for IOM or for my individual clients (and most of my IOM entries are from normal sessions), are at a consistent level and I give the same attention to detail to every client, session and image ensuring my client’s get the best I can provide.

Now on to 2017 and I hope to keep improving and learning as I seriously love what I do!

Awards from the Guild of Photographers 2016

As most of you are aware I am have been a member of the Guild of Photographers for the last 2 years.

The Guild of Professional Photographers is a highly regarded association for those committed to the art of photography. Each month they run their ‘image of the month’ (IOM) competition which receives thousands of entries. Their Awards are highly sought after.

Images are assessed by a full Panel of highly experienced Judges who grade them in accordance with international judging criteria, and the higher scoring images are awarded a Bronze, Silver, Gold or even a Platinum Bar. These Awards are very difficult to achieve.

– A Platinum Bar .. Images of exceptional or outstanding quality (only awarded to the ultimate of images)
– A Gold Bar .. Images of particular distinction (very rare)
– A Silver Bar .. Images that are very well crafted (difficult to achieve)
– A Bronze Bar .. Images of a high standard (something to be proud of)
– Graded (G) .. Images of a good standard but which are not deemed
award winning at national competition level.

 I am thrilled to have received 31 awards from them this year including my first silver and my first award in wedding photography!!!!

Awarded Images

The Female Wedding Photographers

Last weekend me and Claire Osborne Photography celebrated our one year anniversary of us working together.  We were at a wedding when we realised, and what made it more special is we celebrated by getting our pictures drawn by the artist at the wedding

Female Wedding PhotographersBrought together through a combined love of photography and being members of the guild of photographers and living very close together we started working together at the beginning of 2015 when I joined Claire as her second shooter. After a few short months we realised that we were not the typical main shooter and second shoot package and we worked to each others strengths and we both decided that “The Female Photographers – FWP” should be born.

Female Wedding Photographers

This combination means that instead of the old fashioned lead photographer and slightly inexperienced or new photographer being the second photographer you are getting 2 insured, award winning, experienced wedding photographers who both take the lead on your special day, making sure that every moment of your day is captured with great expertise.

13405240_10209453659239252_758971120_o

We dont bring our style to your wedding day and make your day our own, instead we showcase our work on our websites showing you all the different types and style we can achieve and we work with you to fine tune your day the way you want it.

13410554_10154284445934743_1128889698_o

Myself and Claire are now a wedding photography team based in Birmingham in the West Midlands covering weddings in Birmingham, Stourbridge, Stourport, Redditch, Evesham, Bromsgrove, Droitwitch, Coventry, Leicester, Northampton, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and all though out the United Kingdom, and we pride ourselves in being one of the leading all female teams, we believe in offering our clients only the best wedding photographers.

We believe we are a very unique and individual wedding photography team as we match our style and packages to you meeting your every need for your wedding day taking the stress out of the search for the best wedding photographer.

13392128_271301293217013_8474340864872558744_oFWP3 Wedding Photography, Birmingham, West MidlandsFWP2

Roundabout Childrenswear

So here it is….one of my exciting new ventures! Child fashion photography

Child Fashion Photography

I am absolutely delighted to be working with Roundabout Childrenswear.

The Roundabout team are focused on offering a choice of good quality, well made clothes for children and excellent customer service. They offer two ranges of high quality children’s clothes, both handmade in the UK. The clothes have a traditional feel and are chosen with fun and comfort in mind. Children love the big, colourful motifs and call them ‘magic’ because lots of the designs are reversible. Two outfits in one.

Roundabout Childrenswear have now also brought out a new range,Child Fashion Photography DESIGNED BY JO.  Jo, owner of Roundabout, believes that children should be allowed to grow up slowly, play out and have lots of fun. For her own range, she chooses cottons in loud colours and unusual patterns that boys and girls will enjoy wearing. Her designs are inspired by the clothes from her childhood with smart features and a contemporary look.

The idea of our up and coming shoots will be children wearing the outfits doing what they do best, having fun! Our shoots will be held outdoors for the most part.  I’m hoping the weather will be picking up soon so we can get outdoors on some of our adventures!!!

Child Fashion PhotographyAs the weather has not been great the last few weeks, me and my daughter, Eva, held a very quick trial session in the studio and I have to say I am so in love with these items.  The quality is absolutely amazing and the attention to detail is evident.  What is more important to me as a mother is that my daughter loved them, and I mean LOVED THEM! She loved being able to choose which way round she wanted to wear the dresses and she loved the patterns.

Obviously as well as beautiful dresses, there are hats to match.  And the boys have not been forgotten either!!! There are some amazing reversible boys shorts that are both fun and practical.

Here are a few sneaky peak images of what we have been up to….

Please keep your eyes peeled for some up and coming model calls, boys and girls!

Newborn Safety

I have previously written my own blog on newborn safety.  This topic is at the top of every newborn photographers agenda!

Since setting up her business seven years ago, Guild Member Lorraine Jardim has been talking about newborn safety. Having come from a health and safety background she has always been nervous about the fact that newborn photography isn’t regulated.

Lorraine has recently had an article published in Bokeh magazine, an international digital photography magazine based in the States.  You can read her article here

Debbie

 

http://www.elliejphotography.co.uk/bokeh39_lorrainejardim.pdf

Dont be swayed by a photographer’s price

Whatever product it may be whether its clothing, beauty, hair or food we always wants to know how much something is going to cost. Of course we do, we are human and we work to earn a living to pay for the things we need and want. Photography is no exception so I wanted to take the time to explain the pricing of a photo session and why it is important.

I have discussed this topic with a number of friends over the last few years (even before I started my own business) and there are a few people who seem to be put off by photographers quoting a DSC_0150-Edit-Editfew hundred pounds for what people are looking for when other photographers are promoting a super cheap alternative.  I know everyone has a budget, but a lot of people seem to always be drawn for the cheaper option.  I have also seen a few posts in for sale groups on facebook where people have asked for recommendations for “only cheap photographers” with a few comments underneath stating they “don’t know how they (photographers) can get away with charging higher prices like they do?!”.

Photography is a form of art and many photographers invest in training and equipment and really have a passion to produce something amazing for you.  When working with children and especially newborns, it isn’t just a case of point and shoot. Being DSC_1450-Edita children’s photographer means so many other things, other than just ‘taking a couple of photos’. There is so much planning that goes into a photoshoot.  There is prep before hand, planning what props to use, what colours to chose, what the child may like, the messages back and forward to the client, the cost of purchasing props for a session, patience, time, care and passion goes into the job.  And this is just the session! There is the hours of editing after a session to make sure that every photo is lovingly crafted and perfect.  We are working with your precious children, we are helping you make memories for you to keep and treasure forever – why would you want someone to ‘just take a couple of photos’?

Being a photographer is of course a job, so yes we need to make a living but there are lots of hidden costs that also need to be covered.  Training, equipment, insurance, props are all part and parcel of each session.  I have been professionally trained as a newborn photographer to make sure that your little ones are DSC_4672-Edithandled safetly and correctly.  I have also gone on a few other training courses and I will no doubt go on more training throughout my time both in terms of newborns and other arears of photography.  These courses are how we keep progressing and ensuring we are producing work you will be proud to hang in your homes.  The cost of a photoshoot therefore isn’t just plucked out of thin air and it is not an easy job.  There is lots of research that goes into pricing and we hope that at the end we have a price that reflects our talent, experience and how much our work is worth and we hope that you agree!

Now I understand everyone has their budget, and I am not saying that you should not go with the more budget friendly photographers at all, we all start somewhere as photographers and a price may reflect that a photographer is learning their skill – I have been there and I am truly grateful for DSC_6270-Editmy Clients that booked with me whilst I was starting out.  So I am not saying you should only go for the top end photographer at all.  What I am saying through is dont be put off by a higher price and only seek out the cheapest options.  If you are looking for a photographer, look at the individuals work before you make your decision.  The amount of times I have seen on for sale sites people asking for a “cheap photographer” and dismissing all other names just before they are not as cheap and without even looking at peoples work amazes me.  Please make sure that when you are booking your photographer they are trained and insured and more importantly that you like their work. Please don’t just book someone because they are the cheapest as you may end up with photographs that you don’t like let alone love!

Your photographs are a physical memory that you can hold and look at for a lifetime.  They capturing your little ones and your family in a moment you will never get back again. You want to be happy with your photos, not only love the photo but hopefully for it to bring back a happy memory from the shoot.

A photoshoot is a luxury product and something special to be Photoblock Wall No 6 PLUS Templatecherished and will hopefully those images will have pride of place on the walls of your home. Consider what the images you are hoping to get will look like and whether the photographer you choose will be able to produce those images for you.

So please consider the end product when choosing your photographer, for whichever photoshoot it may be.  Please do your research before booking.  Don’t be swayed by prices.  You need to love the images you receive at the end of your shoot so please check out a photographers work before booking, even give them a call and discuss what you are looking for.

Debbie