Posted on July 29, 2016 by under
Photography and weddings are synonymous; they are practically joined at the hip. Any photographer worth their salt will be a veteran of a dozen weddings (with the scars to prove it). We jest of course. Although, it has been said that love is like a battlefield. If so, then perhaps the signing of the wedding contracted can be equated with the signing of a peace treaty? As usual, we’ve stretched the analogy too far.
Truth is, we are actually veterans of dozens of weddings; each one a unique and magical experience (even in the rain). Cheryl probably rivals some ministers/registrars in terms of weddings attended – and she always take something new away, in terms of knowledge. Our philosophy when it comes to wedding photography is to be invisible on the day but integral to your memory. Basically, we ensure the special day remains yours and yours alone; but the images we produce will keep those magical memories alive forever. For a day that takes so much preparation, it often passes by so quickly – helped along by the positive whirlwind of emotion. That’s why we will be there to capture every moment in time, so you can live it again eternally.
Each wedding is unique but they often take the same shape, in terms of the flow of the day. Our vast experience means we know where to be, at any given time, in order to capture those images to treasure. Occasionally, its important for us to come to the fore (capturing group shots etc.) and we know when/how to direct large groups of people. Of course, prior to the big day we can run through the battle-plan together so we are all on the same page. This holds true for any special thoughts/ideas you may have, our door is always open and we will endeavour to accommodate every need. We love to enjoy the day as much as you! Most of our work is done after the fact, to edit and get the best out of your already amazing images.
All our wedding packages included a comprehensive selection of digital images, presented to you on a heart-shaped USB (cute, we know) in full colour and black and white. We also offer a wide range of album/printing services for those who want a physical reminder of the day. Everyone is different and so is every wedding. Therefore, we tailor each package to the individual and can accommodate all budgets with packages starting from £195. Photography by us (and your friends/family) will be the primary visual memory of your day, so we encourage you to consider that when allocating funds (if you allot more for party favours than your images then perhaps that could be considered something of a mistake).
If you are getting married, or thinking of popping the question (we photographed a proposal once), please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01942 396 228 (Ashton) or 01524 846 697 (Lancaster) with any enquires. Or book a consultation with us for an in-person chat. You can also find more of our wedding images here.
That’s all for now – once more into the fray for us.
This is long overdue and arguably should have been one of, if not, the first posts on our blog. Why the delay? We’ll admit, it was mainly because we couldn’t find any suitable pictures of ourselves! The trouble with being photographers is that we are always behind the camera; its ever-so rare that we manage to step in front and its almost always in jest. Thus, finding serious (and flattering) pictures of us all was quite the task. It would have been nice just to have one nice group picture to show you all… Then again, it would be nice to see pigs fly. However, after much searching and deliberation we’ve arrived at some acceptable outcomes.
First one up to bat is Cheryl, ‘our glorious leader’. Cheryl opened our Ashton branch just nearly 6 years ago! (we can’t believe it either) – she originally got into photography after beginning to take pictures of her beautiful daughter Olivia. She took lots of pictures, then she started taking pictures of her friend’s children and before you know it she had her own studio called ‘CAM Photography’. six years and 19 awards later, we are here today. Its rather a long story short; of course, there were many trials and tribulations along the way, with much laughter and learning to. A particular lover of newborns and pets, she approaches every task with the same dedication and enthusiasm as she did when first starting out. In early 2015, she opened our second studio in Lancaster but continues to steer the ship in Ashton as well.
To keep with the shipping analogies… First mate is Kenny (or Kenneth), who keeps the ship steady and afloat in our Ashton Studio. Kenny followed a slightly different path to Cheryl; he actually studied photography at college and university before life took him in a different direction. One day however, his daughter (Ruby) came along to re-ignite the photographic spark, bringing him back into the creative world. He joined us at the studio almost two years ago now and has been making great work ever since (he has the awards to show for it). A portrait and location specialist, he loves the challenge of working to the needs of each individual as they come through our door. Perhaps a painter at heart, he is the pioneer of our ‘Fine Art’ portrait sessions and introduced us to the delights of the textured background. He has also been training hard under the supervision of captain Cheryl and our next team member to become a newborn aficionado…
Desperate to continue with the seafaring metaphors, we need to find a suitable title for Janine. Previously in our newborn blog we compared her skills to that of a sculptor. Now our shipping scenario doesn’t have too much room for sculpting, perhaps a carpenter? No; we need a mainstay on the ship. Lets go with head chef – that will work. The kitchen is the heart of any good ship and its often where the biggest intricacies are accomplished. Janine is our newborn specialist and recently joined the team at CAM Lancaster. Winner of multiple awards for newborns and little-ones, she certainly knows her wraps from her blankets. Aside from helping Cheryl in Lancaster, Janine has been both invaluable to our clients and to us, with her veritable sea of skills and knowledge. We don’t know what we did without her!
How to describe our penultimate team member in nautical terms? Potboy? Cannon-Fodder? Anchor? We joke, of course. Sam has been around almost since the beginning – 5 years in fact. He’s certainly served his time; turning up one day at the age of sixteen and sticking around ever since. He is, unfortunately for us, a full time student of Photography at University and will be beginning his final year this September (This means we only get him on Saturdays). Primarily based in Ashton, he is second in CAM experience only to Cheryl and is chiefly focussed on keeping the ship sailing smoothly. This usually involves plenty of editing, social-media upkeep and of course photography. In the studio, he is passionate about portraits and loves the challenge each individual brings. Pets (especially dogs) come a close second, however.
Last but not least is the captain of the second ship in the CAM fleet, Jodie – who is in charge of operations at ‘Beauty Boutique’ (Lancaster). This may be the first mention of our beauty salon on the blog; however, it is an integral part of our setup in Lancaster. We offer a range of services, from nails to makeovers (find out more here). Jodie is, of course, trained and qualified and does a fantastic job at the helm; she knows each product inside-out and will be there to guide you through all the available options. For us, its the perfect combination. There’s nothing better than having a mini-makeover prior to a shoot, or ‘pamper party’, to make you look (and feel) amazing. The salon is on site at CAM Lancaster (which is great for us), but its not intrinsically tied to our photo-sessions. So you can pop in anytime!
Well, there it is; the team (or crew) has officially been introduced. Each of us has our own specialties and knowledge – when combined, however, we are both diverse and deep. That said, each of us is in a constant state of learning and each day brings a new challenge, with something to get excited about. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
Posted on July 9, 2016 by under
Today we thought to highlight one of our services tailored specifically for professional and corporate needs. We recognise the importance of professional presentation and enhancing visibility for the corporate persona. Having a quality portrait for services such as ‘LinkedIn’ is a vital communicative tool, it helps to promote yourself as an individual and certainly looks the part.
Our vast experience working with families and children means we know how to get the best out of everyone; we concentrate on making people feel at ease, which allows the great images to flow. We’ve had great success with this package and have photographed people with a wide spectrum of requirements. Our ‘Headshots’ have been used for: modelling/actors portfolios, social media/website profiles and even the successful campaign of a local counsellor.
The package itself is tailored for those who need digital images as a priority. Thus, it has been created differently from many of our other options. As usual, the session may last up to an hour in our studio; however, instead of a print you will TWO digital images suitable for digital use. This means the freedom to copy and distribute the images as you feel necessary (sending to prospective clients etc). We think this is a really fantastic prospect and the session is available for just £95, which includes the cost of the photo-session. This is really fantastic value considering the inclusion of digital images! Professional hair and makeup services are also available at a minor added cost; although, it will hardly be necessary because we will make you feel confident and look great.
Take a look at this image of Councillor Jenny Bullen (mentioned above). This was used as part of a successful local election campaign by Jenny and acts as a good representation of the quality and professional results offered by this service. As previously eluded, this is also a great option for anyone looking for modelling/actors portfolios – because of the focus on digital images. We know what the agencies are looking for and how to get the best out of each session. Of course, the visual appearance of the image carries less of a corporate air, which is appropriate for the intended use of the images. As always, we work to individual needs and strive to deliver and maintain the highest possible standards and customer service. Please feel free to call us on 01942 396 228 (Ashton) or 01524 846 697 (Lancaster) with any enquiries.we’ll be back with another blog again next week, thank you for reading and your feedback is always appreciated.
(More examples of ‘Headshots’ can be found on our website, here)
Posted on July 4, 2016 by under
‘Milestone’ is one of those words will multiple meanings or uses. Traditionally, a milestone functioned as a physical marker, along a path or road, to signify the passing of a mile. In more recent times, it has come to be associated with an important event or point in time, such as a significant birthday or anniversary. Both meanings signify the importance of change and, to some extent, growth. For us, the word milestone is synonymous with the photograph, even to the point of becoming interchangeable. For what is a photograph if not a mile-marker to our lives? In its simplest form, the photograph functions as a record of a moment in time. Even the most fleeting of moments, those that seem ordinary and banal, can be elevated by a photograph.
The photographic milestone allows us to reflect on specific points in our lives, which in turn helps us to appreciate our growth both individuals and family groups. Each new image can be a milestone, we just don’t necessarily know it yet. Cast your mind to that box in the loft or cupboard that contains the old family album (maybe its even on a computer somewhere). There will be likely be images of the family on the beach, a wedding or at Christmas… ‘What was your mum wearing? What were YOU wearing? How on earth could you let yourself be seen in public like that! Aww look at how cute they were, if only they could have stayed that way’. Fashion changes and so do people; in part, thats why we assign such importance to these memories.
Eventually, the pictures in the box will be usurped by their digital brethren and there is a certain sadness to that. However, the function of the images remains the same. The photos from your iPhone will likely make up the bulk of the digital box (and so they should) but there is a place for other things as well. You could say that we at CAM are milestone specialists, of a kind. A family portrait from us will certainly find a special place now and in the future. Take this image as an example. Its a beautiful image now, but imagine how significant it will feel 2 or 5 years into the future? the little ones will have shot up, and the bigger ones will have grown out of the frame! ‘I already have loads on my phone’ you might say – True: but are they all together? is everyone smiling? Do they all look, happy, smart, and content? If so, then perhaps you don’t need us (unless you want to be on the picture as well).
We love images like this. However, what really fills us with joy is when the same group comes back the next year and we can see and capture the changes for ourselves. Hopefully one day, someone here will have kids of their own and we will get to capture those as well. These images are milestones, just like every birthday is a milestone. You could say that some birthdays are more significant than others. It can be like that with images to; be sure there are no gaps in your mile-markers.
Speaking of milestones, this is our 10th blog! Please feel free to like and share, or let us know how we are doing (for good and bad). Feedback is always appreciated.
Posted on June 27, 2016 by under
Inspired by Kenny’s recent win from ‘The Guild Of Photographers’, we thought would we do a post to highlight some of our favourite award-winning images. We are proud to say that our skilled team of photographers has notched up over 30 individual awards, from both The Guild and ‘The National Photography Society’ (NPS). As a team, we value these accolades because it recognises that our work is of a consistently high standard and has a place in the wider world of art and photography. Not every image can be award-winning but we strive with every session to learn and improve, which enables us to equal or better our already high standards. However, our first priority is always our clients and their individual needs – some of the best images we’ve produced have been created from pure spontaneity. Although, the images we have chosen to highlight today are perhaps better described as purposefully crafted.
This time around, Kenny was awarded three bonze bars from The Guild. Below you can see our favourite of his recent winners. This particular image is a particularly striking ‘Fine Art’ portrait and is full of subtle melancholy. No doubt you would see many gleeful smiles from the other images from the session; however, there is something special about the pensive gaze coming from those eyes, which are so full of innocence. A perfect example of one of our ‘Fine Art’ sessions at it’s best.
One of Cheryl’s most recent awards is the image of the dog below. Describing it as an ‘image of a dog’ is perhaps underselling it somewhat. This image is a real tableau and is overflowing with clear narratives. It is also technically a bit of an accomplishment, taking real skill to create and finalise. This image represents the realisation of a creative vision and hours of preparation, presentation and post-prodcution. Again, this was awarded a bronze bar by The Guild and is Cheryl’s 19th individual award. Barring all the technical and creative achievements for this image, you have to admit everyone loves a good picture of a dog.
A slight departure from the previous images (which fall squarely within the ‘Fine Art’ category), Janine’s trademark newborns are also award-winners. We’ve previously devoted an entire post to the sculptural endeavours it takes to produce an image such as the one below. You can find it here if you missed it. Although, there is definitely a cuteness overload with this particular image. The image was awarded as ‘Highly Commended’ from the NPS and is one of Janine’s six individual awards.
If you’ve been reading this post and have been thinking: ‘Bronze? Highly Commended? Pfft. Where are the Golds?’ you have a point. The competition is very tough and we have a long way to go before hitting those elusive gold and silver bars. However, we are proud of our achievements so far and continue to consistently improve our work (Life would be dull with nothing to strive for).
Awards certainly represent a positive thing for us, showing that we are moving our photography in the right direction. The thing we are most proud of, however, is our service to our clients, which isn’t so easily measured but is always our top priority.
Posted on June 18, 2016 by under
Why choose professional photography? Truth is, you don’t have to. Almost without exception, everyone in our corner of the world has access to high quality digital cameras. Photography has never been easier. Smartphones have been a great equaliser; with each passing day it get easier to take better images faster. On average, 80 million images per day are uploaded to Instagram – an almost inconceivable amount. Granted, Instagram is a mobile platform and is therefore not necessarily indicative of peoples everyday usage of professional services. The point, however, is that in the ‘digital-age’ photography is clearly oversaturated. Every parent, has dozens if not hundreds (or thousands) of pictures of their children available at the press of a button. So why pay for a few drops of water in a veritable river of images?
There was a time (skip this if you care not for history) when photography was solely available for the gentry. The primary reason for this was the cost, both of production and equipment. Alongside this, people of import have always desired have their likeness recorded and preserved. First it was with painting, then photography became the new vogue and the eventual accepted standard. Photographers in those days were often scientists, or people with money to burn. To create a single image was incredibly time consuming and required an awful lot of chemistry to produce. Technical skill was of the upmost importance. Eventually, as the equipment was more widely produced and the process refined, photography studios (as we know them today) started to appear in town centres. It still wasn’t cheap but gradually it became more widely available. It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that photography really became portable, the Box Brownie camera is often cited as the ‘game changer’ in this regard (perhaps your parents had one). It took another 70 years for colour photography to really develop (pun intended) – and then another thirty for the digital revolution to begin for the true democratisation of photography.
Photography has a rich but admittedly brief history. However, there have always been those who recognise its value to society; from those early scientists to the professionals today. Like any other creative profession, photography takes years to hone the craft and it is arguably beyond mastery.
If the goal of this blog is to persuade you to choose a professional, its fair to say that so far its been a mediocre performance. This is a topic close to our hearts, which makes it difficult to tangiblise (let alone persuade). However, it will perhaps help the case somewhat if we correct a few misconceptions surrounding professional photography – and the seemingly biggest barrier, the costs involved:
False: Your phone or compact can’t (yet) match the quality of our cameras. On a small screen, like a phone, the difference is imperceptible; however, on a large 24×20 canvas or print the difference is huge. With quality comes cost, ‘you get what you pay for’ (we say in our best Grandad voice)
True: Uncle Andrew may have an equal or better camera than us. So why not get him to do a few pictures? There’s no harm in it. Unfortunately, Uncle Andrew hasn’t spent years training and developing both his interpersonal and technical skill to create the images you seek. With portraits especially, the key skill is communication and making people feel at ease (everyone knows Andrew is a bit of an odd ball). Jokes aside, it isn’t just about the equipment its the intangible skills, which can’t be quantified that makes the biggest impact on the end product.
False: Prints from your phone at from a machine in Boots won’t be as good as a product you may receive from us. We don’t print in-house (that’s another craft in and of itself) but we do work with numerous skilled professionals to produce something of real quality. The same goes for our frames, canvases and wall-art. We don’t just press a button, there is whole boring and laborious process that goes on behind the scenes. It takes time to produce anything of quality, the same goes for prints.
True: Our services can seem expensive. Fifty pounds for a print? Extortionate! Fifty pounds for a haircut? Very reasonable. This isn’t us disparaging the good work of hairdressers, but there seems to be a stigma associated with photography and the costs involved. To continue the analogy, a good haircut lasts for weeks? Months? A good print from us lasts for years without fading and can be something you truly cherish in the meantime. We price our services fairly and each session includes a print to ensure there is something to take away.
False: Your skin softening app on your phone can’t make you look as good as we can with a pair of lights. Aside from the camera, there is a lot of other equipment involved to create your images. Lights, props, and software to name a few. We often find less is more, however, the use of professional software is a tangible and vital skill for quality work. It takes time, practice, patience and is best used delicately. The best work isn’t visible in the final product, which is often everyone is continually shocked to see the ‘before and afters’ leaked from popular magazines. We don’t work like that but it is still time intensive, often taking up to an hour to edit a single image to a professional standard.
False: All we do is take pictures. We wish! At our best guess, roughly 10% of our time is spent actually taking pictures. The rest is of course spent making daisy chains or some-such frivolous activity. Forgive the tone but this is perhaps the point that causes us most frustration. The rest of our time is spent on: consultations, editing, viewing, more editing, wrapping and presenting products and all the other boring stuff associated with running a business, admin, cleaning etc. It is both to our credit and detriment that things can often seem so quick and easy.
Misconceptions aside, we truly care about our clients and our craft and dedicate ourselves each day to improving both our work and our service. The truth is you don’t have to choose professional photography. Its the same truth for hairdressers, builders, designers, and any other service. You choose it because you care about the quality of the product and the service provided. We hope, at least, that we’ve managed to waylay some of the scepticism’s surrounding our work and those of our peers with this blog. If you made it to the end and took something from this post please let us know, and feel free to like and share.
Photography is dead; long live photography.
Posted on June 11, 2016 by under
Today’s blog will be particularly bitesized as we avoid chewing the fat on one of our favourite topics, pets. We love pets like a dog loves a ball, like a cat loves a box and like a horse loves a… ride? Nothing gets us more excited than a cute critter in the studio, whether it be a cat, dog, rabbit, tortoise, lizard or the infamous horse – we love them all. Granted, a horse isn’t ideally proportioned to the studio. However, animals are often in their element outdoors and we’ll take any excuse to get out from behind the screen.
Although, the studio is the idea place for animals of a smaller stature. Take this little kitten for example (butter surely wouldn’t melt), we were joined in the studio by him and several of his little brothers and sisters; definitely one of our favourites (not that we have favourites of course).
Kittens are sadly more of a rareity but we are never disappointed to be introduced to a beautiful dog, which is basically all dogs in our eyes. We’d be here all day if we went through all our pretty pooches. However, there was one in particular that caught our eyes this morning. Speaking of eyes, look at those saucers! Amazing.
To highlight the necessary practicalities, all our standard pet sessions run at the same price as our previously posted studio sessions (£35). This, of course, includes a 10×8 print of your choice. Although, we really don’t know how people manage to choose when there’s so much to love. Unfortunately, that’s all we have time for today; look out for our next post when we’ll be turning our eyes to something a little more serious but just as close to our hearts.
However, you can definitely expect more pet posts in the future, hopefully with better jokes.
Posted on June 4, 2016 by under
This week, we want to introduce a session that we love but perhaps wouldn’t be expected from a photography studio. This session is something exciting, fun and can be a really special experience for everyone involved. To avoid further building the suspense we’ll just come out with it; we are of course talking about our ‘Pamper & Pose’ photo-parties, which true detectives will have surmised from the title of the post.
As our hyphenated word may suggest, this session isn’t too easily categorised. In simple terms, it is a party (almost like any other) combined with a fun-filled photo session. Another key portion of the title is the ‘Pamper’ section. Each attendee of the party is also treated to professional hair and makeup ready for their group and individual photos.
This session makes an ideal birthday alternative for any pre-teen princesses and a group of up to seven friends. The session can be up to two hours (including hair and makeup) and is full of music, laughter and plenty of posing. Each party includes a complimentary print to ensure the special day is remembered.
Although, we advise minimal parental presence during the party; we will of course welcome any parents who would like to see the images after the party itself. Each ‘Pamper & Pose’ session starts from £50. As always, we tailour each session to specific individual needs, so if you have any questions or enquires don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Next week, the plan is to look at everyones favourite kind of images, Pets. We love animals of all shapes and sizes and have certainly photographed our fair share of pampered pooches. We won’t spoil it for next week, when we’ll show off some of our favourites.
Posted on May 28, 2016 by under
Photography has always taken cues from classical painting. It is difficult to think about today but at one point photography wasn’t at everyones fingertips; it was a totally new way of making images. Early photographers had to take influence from somewhere, and the logical source was from paintings. Some even went as far as adding colours, hue and texture over the original images. Its almost ironic that something that is now associated with truth initially shied away from its innate qualities.
Painting has a far richer history than photography and is still inspiring photographers today (including us), which is why we’ve decided to introduce our ‘Fine Art’ sessions. Its completely something new for us, and therefore something to be excited about. We designed these sessions with the goal of creating portraits that are truly timeless.
Take this image for example – A really beautiful portrait in a classical style. This new session is perfect for slightly older children (8+) who are ready for this more sophisticated style. The sessions are focussed on the individual as we tease out different elements of their growing personality. We spend a lot of time working with different poses and making slight adjustments, whilst we search for the perfect picture. This is were our classical influences come into play. By concentrating on simple and natural lighting we create portraits with a relaxed but distinct atmosphere.
Perfect for girls and boys, the shoot is priced the same as our standard Studio and Location sessions (£35), and includes a 10×8 print – a bespoke option for at extra cost. After the initial session, we spend a significant amount of time working with the images to ensure their timeless appearance. We may even introduce some subtle texture as a contemporary reference to the pictorialists of old! Its a great alternative to anyone looking for something different from their images, and we look forward to working with you soon.
Posted on May 21, 2016 by under
Imagine a sculptor who works with stone, marble or similar material – This sculptor is initially presented with something in its rawest from; the task is then to create a piece of refined and considered artwork. Of course, this takes time, patience and skill. To even begin to sculpt, the artist needs knowledge and a vision to create a pre-conceived idea. Beginning with minute adjustments as the artist slowly chips away to create the desired form; a slow but rewarding process. The initial vision undoubtably shifts and changes as the sculptor responds and works with their chosen material. However, with the required time and patience something special can be produced.
Why, as photographers, are we discussing and romanticising the sculptors process? Don’t worry, you haven’t stumbled onto the wrong blog (or maybe you have if you were looking for sculptors), but our specialist newborn process shares a lot of similarities with the above description. Hopefully the metaphor wasn’t too laborious, but it takes the same time patience and skill to produce a high standard of newborn images. Granted, we have it slightly easier that the sculptor because babies arrive ready to melt the heart, unlike a big piece of stone. However, it requires signifiant time to sculpt and shape them to best covey their innate beauty. Our specialists Janine and Cheryl are practically a wizards when it comes to this, with both having won multiple awards for newborn photography. Take the image below for example:
It may look completely natural, but this is absolutely by design. Significant time has been spent positioning little hands and toes to create this pose. To emphasise again, this is the culmination of dozens of hours of training and practice. The simplicity is deceiving, it can be incredibly difficult but equally rewarding. Each baby is different and we endeavour to respond in kind, which makes each session different. Practically, this is why we often need two hours or more to create these images. We also recommend that each session be planned and booked prior to birth; this is because the first two weeks after birth represent the critical window to create these poses.
Each session is £85, including a 10×8 print. This ensures to optimal time in our studio to create these images and guarantees you an amazing print from the session. More of our work is available on our website and Facebook pages. Please don’t hesitate to call with any enquires or questions you might have on 01942 396 22 (Ashton) and 01524 846 697 (Lancaster). Next week we’ll talk about something completely new and exciting, our Fine Art Collection.