Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
I'm sure I'm not unique in having a very busy festive period, with the usual last-minute shopping, some very excited children on the big day, a night at the panto and some new toys to play with!
But first, I've made another tweak to my website, so that clients can buy prints or full-resolution downloads of images. This is enabled through a company called Fotomoto (www.fotomoto.com) - they're based in California, but have European print partners to keep postal costs down. I can see this will be really useful for selling prints at events, without having to worry about handling payments at the event itself. I can easily set up a password-protected gallery and give the required details out on cards. The clients can choose size and finish as they require and the print is then posted directly to them. Another nice touch is the ability to send an ecard to anyone, and they get a web-quality picture with your message attached. They can then click direct-links to buy the print or download if they like it. The Fotomoto system integrates with the Squarespace site pretty seamlessly, so overall I'm really happy.
The new toys I mentioned are a nice little pile of studio kit from my good lady - backdrop frame, lighting stands, lighting umbrellas and some continuous lights. Continuous lights aren't ideal for event portraits, but they're excellent for pet or baby shoots as there's no flashes to make the subject jump or blink! For the occasions that I do want to use flashes, the stands etc all still perfect.
I was also lucky enough that Santa brought me a Blackrapid Yeti camera strap. The Blackrapid (www.blackrapid.com) system is different from the standard camera strap in that it fits over one shoulder, rather than around your neck. This is really comfy, and keeps the camera out of the way if you're not shooting. The Yeti adds another strap to the standard set-up, allowing 2 cameras to be carried - this is great for weddings or parties where I need to be able to quickly switch between long and short lenses. I'm looking forward to trying it out on my next shoot!
The photo at the top of this blog post was taken outside of my in-laws' house. I was hoping to get a long-exposure shot of Santa / International Space Station flying by, but cloud ruined that! I then decided to try a shot of the neighbour's Christmas decorations! I had to place my tripod in the middle of the street, but as it's a quiet cul-de-sac I felt pretty safe!
Thanks for all the support in 2014; I hope you've all had a great Christmas, and that you've got a fantastic 2015 ahead of you.