interior

Interior Design and Photography

These days, professional photography is pretty much a requirement for many industries. With more and more people on social media and even better, higher resolution screens on mobile devices, it's illogical to have sub par images demonstrating your service/product. Fortunately for us, our clients only demand the best photography, which not only keeps us on our toes, but also adds allot of value to the work we do. 

The framing stand of the bedside cabinet brings a really unique look. 

We recently had the pleasure of working with interior designers, Tareen and Tareen. Sisters, Nadia and Ayisha Tareen, produce some amazing results together and we were lucky enough, to be able to photograph their latest work.  Their passion and flair is clearly visible in what they do, from the smallest details to the bigger picture of creating whole room sets. 

Many people don't consider the benefits of hiring an interior designer and allot of the times, it's based on assumptions relating to price. The value of working with an interior designer, is to essentially create something that couldn't have ordinarily been created by one's self. In many cases interior designers have benefited clients by preventing costly mistakes and even helped increase property values, thus negating the initial apprehensions relating to price. Not to mention the fact that, a good interior designer will have a significant number of contacts which can again, help reduce the overall cost. This is similar to the photography industry, clients hire professionals because they understand the importance and value it brings. The initial cost is effectively an investment rather than a sunk cost and therefore has a return associated with it. On occasions those returns may be intangible, however, not hiring a professional poses a higher risk factor. 

There are allot of great reasons why you should hire an interior designer for your projects. Picking the best one for you depends on your project and vision. Having said that, a good designer can also provide much needed help when devising primary plans. We highly recommend Tareen and Tareen, because we firmly believe in their customer service and more importantly, their ability as designers. It's an absolute pleasure working with them and we look forward to continuing with them. 

 

Travel and photography in Qatar

I probably should have posted this a while ago but better late than never right? 

I'm huge fan of the middle eastern architecture and the new modern buildings are beautiful. I've been fortunate enough to have travelled to a number of countries and I think Qatar is now one of my favourite places to visit. Firstly, the airport, dear god the airport is beautiful. I only wish I wasn't half out of it due to lack of sleep and took some proper pictures of it. 

For this trip I stayed at the Oryx Rotana Hotel, I managed to get a pretty good deal. The hotel interior was amazing and the room I had was stunning. I definitely tip the proverbial hat to the hotel and the staff, to say they were helpful is a severe understatement. 

The reason for my trip was architecture and the country does not disappoint. The Corniche was by far my favourite place to relax in the evening. The view of the city skyline and the National Museum really make this place extraordinary. 

Overall I think the country is beautiful, the buildings are unique and awe inspiring and really make Doha stand out. There are still various under developed areas in the country however I think with the world cup coming in 6 years they have plenty of time to really bring Qatar onto the world stage. 

Anyway that's enough from me, here are some images. 

 

Creams British Luxury Leeds

I'm always looking for an excuse to indulge a little and a new tearoom in Leeds is just too difficult to resist.

Creams British Luxury, recently opened their doors in Leeds city centre and wow is it something. Although I haven't visited their original location in Huddersfield, the new location is very impressive. Upon entering, you can immediately see the attention to detail and how much effort and investment has gone into the place.  A single chandelier costs £20,000, and the piano... well, let's just not get into that, it's safe to say the interior is pretty awesome.

Now considering the fact this is a tearoom/restaurant, let's get down to brass tacks and talk about the food. I've had the pleasure of dining there a number of times and in my humble opinion, it's very good. The presentation has been thought out properly and the cutlery feels premium. There are a number of dishes available from sandwiches to believe it or not, Fish and Chips. The food is reasonably priced and also the portions are far from pretentious. Lastly the tea and desserts are where Creams really excel. They haven't made the classic mistake of making the desserts overly sweet, instead there is a great deal of discernible flavour. My favourite has to be the strawberry scone. They have a large selection of teas available and depending on your mood, I'm confident there's something for mostly everyone. 

There a few things I think could be improved, for instance the physical menu, it feels and looks tacky and not at all like the brand. The food selection also feels a little scattered and lacking identity, some of what's offered seems out of place. Also the location they have in Leeds is almost hidden away and took us a bit of time to find it the first time. Lastly being the photography nerd that I am I think the images they currently have could be improved. As you may be able to tell, I am nitpicking and the negatives I have pointed out, are insignificant when considering the overall experience. 

Even the view compliments the interior. 

My favourite thing about Creams is the fact that the staff are so amazing. I've visited both as a customer and a photographer and on every occasion they've gone above and beyond. I have allot of admiration for the team at Creams and I think with them managing the tearoom, it's in safe hands. 

Overall I definitely recommend Creams, I think they've done a fantastic job. There aren't allot of places like this and it's a very welcomed addition. I understand they're expanding quite rapidly and new locations will be coming soon all across the country and in Dubai too. 

In the meantime click here to check out some of the other images we've taken for Creams. 

A week with Leica..... and $50,000 worth of equipment

Yesterday I must have spent more than 6 hours looking at different Leica cameras trying to figure out which body and lens is best for me. My wife has heard nothing but Leica this and Leica that and after using and reviewing the Leica SE for a week I might be a little smitten. The Leica S 007 is soon to be released and in preparation for that we decided to review the currently available model.  

Cambridge has to be my favourite city for street photography and the Leica does not disappoint. Even handheld the image quality is jaw dropping, especially when you consider how heavy a lens and body combination really is. 

As this is a medium format camera the sensor, the body and the lenses are bigger. My 5D mark III looks small in comparison.  So what's the actual camera like, well its big, its clunky, its slow at focussing, I'm used to having multiple focus points and medium format cameras only have one in the middle of the frame. The camera has no image stabilization which makes handheld even more difficult especially with let's say the 180mm F3.5. The Leica SE has a CCD sensor which means low light performance is pretty bad  and ISO can only be boosted up to 1600 (you'd be wise to stay below 800). There is no live view, no video mode and the top part of the camera is made of plastic, possibly due to the GPS node being there, but who uses GPS anyway?  Lastly although its considered to be a medium format camera, the sensor is only 20% bigger, its less medium format and more "Full-Frame Plus". 

HOWEVER...

We used Dylan Patricks technique for the above headshot, for more information and to learn this technique, please click here.

When you attach one of those behemoth sized lenses onto the camera, all of the above issues seem to magically disappear. The image quality is simply astounding, even with just 37.5MP (for medium format) it feels like the lenses are making use of every single one and maybe a few more just to be safe. I don't profess to be a great headshot photographer but even my shots are looking pretty good. The way the Leica renders fine details, skin texture and contrast really make an image pop. The lack of noise at its base ISO (100) is really impressive and the amount of detail that can be brought back from the shadows still surprises me. Although we talked about this camera having a CCD sensor and it's low light performance, this camera wasn't built for those environments. When you give this camera enough light and use it for what it's been built for, it truly excels beyond expectations. 

Being an interior and architectural photographer my favourite Leica lens is of course the 24mm F3.5. This is a beautifully made lens with fantastic build quality, the front element is big and gives off a slight reddish reflection. Leica are known for their lenses and I could be wrong but to my eye this lens has absolutely no distortions. The 24mm lens isn't a tilt shift making some architectural photography a little difficult, however, I've been told Schneider are currently developing a wide angle tilt shift lens which will be compatible with Leica, this is definitely great news for us :). I had the opportunity to take some images of the The Midland Hotel in Bradford whilst using the 24mm lens and the results speak for them self. 

FB Before FB After

 In conclusion I think the Leica S system is amazing to work with. The camera has been built for settings where the light can be controlled. It's probably not the best camera for events and wedding considering the ISO performance but then it would be pretty overkill for that too. When this camera has enough light it really comes into it's own. The Leica SE may not be the best medium format camera considering it's smaller sensor size and the fact that you can't upgrade "the back", however it has a really well built DSLR form factor making it very straight forward to use. All I needed were two dials and a shutter button, and because of it's form factor even street photography was easy. This camera is a true photographers camera, it doesn't need all of the other fancy features when it produces such amazing images, The lenses are simply wow, I really can't say enough about how great they are. Some of the people at Leica tell me that relative to the other medium format brands, they make the best lenses, and honestly I don't have any reason to disagree.  

Ultimately I'm very pleased with the Leica S system and would definitely consider upgrading to it, however as the Leica S 007 has been announced I think I'll wait till I've seen what that can do before making a decision. 

Professional Photography is Critical for Virtually Every Industry

My interaction with professional photography has made me agree that it’s a very significant part of every industry today. The job of a professional photographer is to be able to capture some of the best aspects of every industry.

You might be asking why interior and architectural photography. Well it’s mostly because of the fact that architecture as a visual art lets buildings talk for themselves.  With professional photography equipment and a creative attitude goes a step further and interprets it in a number of ways.

Whether it is photographing the interior or exterior or capturing the unique and magnificent images through various techniques, the professional photographer is helped by an observant eye capable of realizing different capture points and points of view. This is the kind of photography I love and provides both clients and artists, amazing images.

However, professional photography is real, diverse and very vital today. Every industry today deserves great, quality and perfectly captured images and moments. While everyone can take a selfie and some images it takes a professional photographer to bring out the details, points of view, angles and all kinds of aspects out of a simple item. Food related photographers are one of the key reason we make orders for groceries, pizzas, meats, ice creams, hamburgers, French fries and all kinds of delicacies because of the way they capture them. I love taking a peek at these photographs and marvel at the way they literary compel you to eat fruits, green leafy vegetables, salads, make an order or simply eat at a certain exotic hotel.

It is also the same with wedding photographs. They are so vital that while you can take another image of a delicacy a fortnight later, you cannot do so in the case of a wedding. Everything has to be perfect from the beginning and the expectations are way too high. Just any photographer is not sufficient. A professional is demanded, sought and given the job.

Any professional interior and architectural photographer will tell you why clients demand professional photographers. Even high school senior year photographers must be professionals and schools are very meticulous. This is the reason any yearbook looks awesome and perfect 30 years later. At the same time, professional baby photography is big business and a superb job is expected.

A real estate firm dealing with properties also demand professional photography. I love a well taken image of a building for sale, both the interior and exterior. A shoddy photography will not draw any buyers and this is counterproductive for any seller.

In a nutshell, professional photography is extremely important in virtually every industry today. I’m aware this post is very biased self-serving, however it’s difficult to refute the argument. I work within an industry that is over saturated for a reason and I absolutely love it.  

The Part-Time Photographer

Just like you I have noticed there are affordable DSLRs compelling so many people to consider photography either as a part-time or fulltime career. Camera equipment can really be expensive, but photography is one of those businesses with a low overhead and once you have your own photography gear you can enjoy a flexible yet rewarding part-time job.

As you’d expect, to begin with things were quite slow for me so I used that time to develop my craft and learn as much as I possibly could. A subscription with Lynda.com and a ridiculous number of hours spent on YouTube watching anything and everything about photography. I loved the technical aspects of photography and I think that really helps with my interior and architectural photography. Once I felt like I was ready (which didn’t take too long) I was able to get my first job through the help of friends. I gave them the world and got paid peanuts for it, amazingly I still made a profit.

Profit was the key thing because I needed to make enough money to leave my part time job, dear god I hated my part time job. The work was menial, I was not being utilised properly in any way shape or form and I had so much more to offer, so I set out to create something for myself. Working initially as a part time photographer meant the majority of my free time was taken up by something I love.

One of the most prominent thing I kept hearing was how difficult the photography industry was and how competitive it is. It seemed like every other video had a warning included about how tough it’s going to be. Honestly I don’t know what all the fuss is about I haven’t found it difficult at all. Anything is difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing, if you haven’t prepared a sound strategy or done sufficient research. Business fundamentals remain the same across all industries and I made it a priority to understand business before understanding photography. I think anyone who wants to set up their own business should do it because I can tell it’s an amazing feeling.

One of the great things about working as a part time photographer is that hopefully your part time job can cover your essential costs. This means the majority of your income from photography is extra income and can be used to properly develop a potentially thriving business. There is of course a pitfall in that when you have disposable income, fancy gadgets and shopping sprees starts to look very appealing. I know I've made a few questionable purchases and even recently I purchased a set of Bang and Olufsen headphones for £399.00!

 

But they're sooo pretty....

But they're sooo pretty....

Fortunately I was quite disciplined when it came to my company and I'm very aware of the affliction known as Gear Acquisition Syndrome. I can’t stress how important it is to manage your finances and remain strict when it comes to any purchases.

The main disadvantage of being a part time photographer is the lack of time. Just when you’re in the middle of doing something amazingly creative, you’re rudely interrupted by that deep dark pit of a feeling… tomorrow is another day at work. Sundays were probably the most heart breaking days ever. Managing time is essential when it comes to being a part time photographer. The week is split into two sections, days when you’re working and days when you’re at your job. Utilising any and all time is so important especially in the beginning, in my mind any time I was not working on my company was time wasted. I keep asking myself one question, “Is there something I could be doing right now to further my company”, the answer is always YES!

It’s amazing how much time can be spent procrastinating, looking at Facebook and Twitter feeds, watching random videos, stuff on Netflix and just surfing the net. Don’t worry this post does not come with a familiar warning because I procrastinate too and yet I still manage a growing company :).

I've now left employment and set up my photography company. I worked at British Gas and while the company may not have had the best reputation in the industry some of my co-workers were pretty amazing. I used to hate every minute in that place and couldn't wait to get out and do my “real job”. It was strange, when I was close to leaving British Gas, I suddenly became very thankful for having that job and realised how important it had been. Without having that part-time job, I wouldn't have been able to set up my company, so in short,...

Thank you British Gas.