Tom Simone Commmercial Photography

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I’ve started selling gift cards for photoshoots, which can either be on location or at Golau Media studios in Menai Bridge.

Photoshoots with me are lots of fun and so this a great gift idea for family, friends, or even yourself.

I’ve photographed babies, children, models, couples, celebrities, animals… everything really…get in touch if you want to see specific examples, make an appointment to see me at my studio, and for details on how to purchase.

The introductory price is just £50, and for this you get a 1 hour shoot, CD with photos, and 2 x 7×5″ prints of your choice.

Terms and conditions

Voucher must be redeemed with 6 months of stated date.

Date and time of photo shoot is dependent on my availability.

Maximum of two people per photo shoot. Please enquire if you want group photos.

Travel beyond a 30 mile radius of Bethesda and Menai Bridge costs extra.

 

 

 

 

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Night hut and ghostly/silly faces (North Wales Photographer 365 project)

 

Light painting at Moel y Ci, Gwynedd, North Wales

Sam and I went looking for owls (change from bats) to photograph.

We saw a couple with help of his recorded owl calls, but didn’t get close enough to get a picture.

Instead, we tried a bit of light painting – where you have an exposure of a few seconds and use a torch to light what you want.

The picture above was actually mostly lit by the moon, and it’s a bird hide at Moel-y-ci farm.

The picture below is in the same location, with Sam flashing a torch in his face. We used a 10/15 second exposure, a fence post for stability, and the torch to pre-focus.

Light painting at Moel y Ci, Gwynedd, North Wales

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Tips for photographing for PR companies – and other clients (North Wales Photographer 365 project)

es mountain bike sports photographer BUCS MTB championship

I photographed the BUCS Downhill MTB Championship in South Wales this weekend, something a bit different from what I usually do.

I thought I’d share some thoughts on how to get work like this and then take photographs for a specific client, in this case a PR company in charge of looking after the brands who were sponsoring the mountain biking event.

 

Tip 1 is: Google is your friend, work hard to get ranked for search terms relevant to you.

I got the work because of this blog and the fact that I started out in photography and journalism (if I can call it that) by writing and taking photos for Cycling Plus magazine.

So, if you google bike photography wales I come up on page 1 of the search results. It probably helped that the other sites on page 1 look pretty naff, because I’m not a sports photography specialist.

About half my clients find me through google and I always feel I should be doing more to improve my website and online presence, it’s the best way to get work.

I know my sites have got a lot of room for improvement, so specific feedback to do with user experience is very appreciated.

 

Tip 2: Plan, Plan, Plan

Next step, the client asks for a quote. This can be quite difficult to get right and I’ve definitely made my share of mistakes in this department.

If you really want the work, you need to give a quote that not only gives a good price (I can’t help you with that, you have to work it out yourself), but also details what is that you’re actually going to do.

If I’m working for a couple getting married, a big organisation, or a PR company I’ll always include a plan of exactly what I’m going to do and when, and exactly what it is they’re going to get.

This not only gives them the reassurance that I’ll do a good job, but also means I will do a good job because I know what I’m doing.

 

Tip 3: Have a relevant portfolio

Then, it is important to provide examples of previous work that are relevant to what the client is after. Further evidence you can get the job done.

Luckily for me, I’ve been doing this long enough to have a portfolio that covers pretty much everything at one point or another, so I can get work that isn’t my bread-and-butter stuff, and this can keep things interesting.

From a business point of view it is better to become very good at a specific thing, but I prefer to mix it up a bit because I find it more fun.

And if you have an area of interest, it’s not that difficult to build a portfolio of photos relevant to the work you’d like to get. Simply start taking photos of that thing, like many people do with mountain biking events, and put your work out there.

es mountain bike sports photographer BUCS MTB championship

 

Tip 4: Your best photo isn’t necessarily their best photo

Photographers look at photos through photographer’s eyes, and appreciate things like nice composition, lighting, post-processing etc.

Clients also appreciate these things, but often have other things higher up their priority list.

With this MTB event I knew the PR company wanted images that showed their sponsor prominently. After all, a large part of their job is to get brand names into the media.

So they were very happy with the image above which has the red bull, bare foot wine and BUCS championships logos in it.

In January I attended a talk by the founder of XSight wedding photography, one of the world’s top studios, and he was saying the same thing about brides.

The photos the photographer likes are probably going to be the crazy technical ones, the ones a bride loves will probably be totally different. Definitely worth remembering as a wedding photographer who you’re taking the pictures for.

Clients often also value speed of delivery way above quality. Anyone whose worked in the media will know this – they’re looking for news, not art.

The PR company wanted to get images of the MTB event out to the BBC. I made life easier for myself by taking the photo above before the actual event.

 

Tip 5: Take photos before an event

I think this probably applies to most event photography. Give yourself time to play around, set more elaborate shots up, and get images to your client quicker. Common sense really.

 

Tip 6: Deliver quickly

This is where I didn’t do so well on this job. The bbc were after a handful of photos for an online gallery, but I missed their deadline.

In fairness, I’d had chest pains and NHS direct ordered me to casualty as it sounded like I was having heart problems. Thankfully it was just a strained muscle, but frustrating nevertheless.

The BBC used my initial photos instead, so it was ok.

 

If anyone has any other tips or comments I’d love to hear them.

Update: Here are images from the event….

 

 

3 comments to Tips for photographing for PR companies – and other clients (North Wales Photographer 365 project)

  • joe

    Nice shot from the top of the mountain, can’t wait to see all the other photo’s you took!

  • estradiol

    Hey this is a great looking site, is wordpress? Forgive me for the foolish question but if so, what theme is? Thanks!

  • Tom Simone

    Thanks Joe… think this is prob the best one tho, hah!

    Other commmenter, not sure if that’s spam or not, but the theme is atahualpa

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Photographing children (North Wales Photographer 365 project)

Sol - North Wales photographer 365

There are different challenges when it comes to photographing children and adults.

In my experience, young children want to grab my camera out of my hands, so I get a load of super-up close photos of them slobbering into the lens.

Or they’re not interested, but don’t stop jumping around.

On the plus side – with young children – you don’t have to work to get them to act natural. They are so in-the-moment they can be incredibly photogenic – and this is why I love photographing children.

I chose this photo of Sol, my friend’s son, out of a whole bunch of photos I took while we were all trampolining in my garden.

In the other photos he was actually being very smiley, but I liked his expression here.

I also chose this over photos of my son Jac doing crazy jumps on the trampoline, because although he loved them, I couldn’t get past the fact they have lots of background distractions.

If I’m taking photographs of children – usually my own – I generally try and get them to ignore me and then take a lot of photos, which compensates for the fact that I can’t ask them to pose.

Also, it’s easier to keep things simple with regards lighting etc.

I think the only light in this photo comes from the evening sun, (although there may have been some off-camera flash to the left of the frame), and this allowed me to photograph him with great light wherever he decided to toddle to.

The biggest challenge with photographing adults is probably getting them to act naturally, or simply look comfortable – usually they don’t grab and slobber.

The best photographers of people are not the best because they know what all the buttons on their camera do, they’re the best because they have the best people skills.

A good tip for photographing adults is to try and get them to behave more like children.

Put them in the spot where you want them – where the light, background etc is good – then ask them to talk/interact with other people, things, whatever.

Bingo! Great photos…

1 comment to Photographing children (North Wales Photographer 365 project)

  • HP

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I’m hoping you write again very soon!

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Bloody Face: Should you shoot with the sun behind or in front of you? (North Wales Photographer 365 project)

North Wales Photographer 365 project - Raffi Simone

Most people think that you should have the sun behind you when you’re taking a photo.

And they’re right – it makes sense to have your light source pointing at the thing you’re taking a picture of.

But – with a bit of flash – it’s also great to have the sun in front of you and to use it as a hair/rim-light, which you can see in this picture of Raffi.

Granted, it’s not the most amazing photo in the world, but it illustrates what I mean.

It was taken after Raffi had cut his mouth open on a toy drum and was smearing blood all over his face – great pic opp :)

If I took this photo without any flash then his face would be dark, so I bounced a bit of light off the wall behind me.

You can try this with a camera that has a regular pop-up flash – just make sure you’re close enough to the person you’re taking photo of for the flash to light their face.

This is a technique that I use at weddings all the time (well, the sunny ones) because it’s very quick – no need to set up off camera flashes – and sunlight in a bride’s hair looks great.

Your camera will have something called different metering modes – the place/s in the frame that the camera will take a reading from to decide how much light is needed.

If you choose the one called spot metering or central metering and focus it in on the face your flash should  light the face just right.

Oh, and you should be in manual mode and adjust your aperture and shutter speed to the hair lights.

Haha, sounds bit complicated maybe, but pretty easy once you’ve got it sussed – feel free to contact me if you want me to elaborate.

I picked up the keys to my new studio yesterday and will perhaps aim to run some classes. I’ll keep you posted.

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Burmese Monk – how I turned a boring image into a nice black & white one (North Wales Photographer 365 project)

Monk in Burma

Monk in Burma original image

 

I took this photo of a monk in Burma not long after our taxi driver had crashed down a big step (see a couple of posts down)

As you can see, the original image isn’t great. The symmetry of the building is broken, the monk is somewhat lost in the picture, and there is a bit of a red cast.

When I look through my photos to see which ones I want to edit I look to see if I can make a stronger image by cropping in. In this photo it was obvious that the monk is more interesting than the building, and I wanted to focus attention on his face.

I cropped so that the doors either side of him act as a frame, and the banister gives lead in/pointing lines towards his face.

I used Adobe Camera Raw to convert the image into black and white, because I think it looks better. When you convert into black and white you get 8 different colour sliders which will adjust how light and dark specific bits of the image are.

A good tip for Aperture is, after you’ve done the bw conversion, you can use a bunch more color sliders under the color tab than those offered under the bw tab, but I still prefer using Adobe camera raw for bw.

In my original image the banisters were lighter than the monk’s face, and so were a bit distracting.

I wanted your eye to be drawn to the monk’s face, so I made this the lightest part of the image.

I made the other parts of the image a bit darker by adding a couple of gradients in Photoshop.

I probably also sharpened and increased the contrast, which you need to do to pretty much every image that starts off in RAW format. And that’s it – prob took about 3 minutes in total, discounting messing around time :) .

 

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Old lady in Burma (North Wales Photographer 365 project)

Old lady in Burma

I spent a bit of time wandering around the backstreets in Mandalay and Yangon taking photographs of people.

I didn’t take as many as I’d have liked, it took a while to kinda of get in the zone – and it was actually the first time I’d done street photography in a non-English speaking country, so that was an added challenge.

I resorted to learning the Burmese greeting for how are you – Mingleba – and then pointing with my camera to ask if it was ok to take a photo.

I realised after I’d taken this photo that the lady was either blind or not all there because she kept chatting away, even as I was leaving.

In the post processing I exaggerated her wrinkles by increasing sharpness and contrast, and lightened her eyes a bit using layers and a mask.

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2012 – Try again with North Wales photographer 365 project

I didn’t do particularly well with my attempt to do a 365 project last year – where I attempt to post a new photo every day – so I’m going to try it again.

Crazy taxi driver in Burma

This was taken in Burma last week – it was the scariest taxi ride ever.

We started by rushing around the mountain roads looking for a monastery to pick up a couple of monks who would be sharing a ride with us back to Mandalay.

Because he wasn’t sure where he was going the driver seemed a bit stressed  – although it could’ve been the beetle nut red stuff he was chewing on that caused this- and when he eventually found the monastery he decided to take a shortcut down this step.

Needless to say, we got stuck with the bottom of the car grinding along the rock. It took us, the driver, some laughing monks and a couple of randoms to lift the car back up (wish I’d got that picture!)

The journey back to Mandalay was insane – no-one wears seatbelts, everyone is buzzing on beetle nut, and our driver was overtaking on the hard shoulders as a matter of course. Bumping into the back of a motorbike didn’t slow him and it seemed a miracle that we didn’t hurt or kill any of the other bikers, cyclists, school children, carnival processions or anyone else.

On the plus side, it put my fear of flying into perspective.

2 comments to 2012 – Try again with North Wales photographer 365 project

  • Diana Davidson

    Oh no this scares me. We leave for Burma in a couple of weeks. I have had drivers like that before and it scares me to death. I hired a driver from yangon. Did you prearrange the driver? Are the mountain roads bad?

  • Tom Simone

    We didn’t pre arrange the driver…. I’d like to say something reassuring, but in honesty travelling by car was generally pretty scary… sorry!

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Mum’s funeral details…

Mandy Simone: 17/04/1953 - 3/10/2011

Mum died at 11.30pm on Monday, October 3rd, 2011.

She died peacefully at home, knew what was happening, and had said that she was ready to go.

Her cancer had spread to her lungs and heart, making breathing difficult. Her health deteriorated over the summer and into autumn.

Although her body gave up on her, her spirit stayed strong until the end.

Mum was known and loved by a huge number of people – not least Liam and I – and so her funeral is an open invite. If you feel to come, then please do. We have tried to let as many people know as possible.

Her funeral will take place at 2pm on Sunday, October 9, at Boduan Eternal Forest Trust Sanctuary.

Directions: From Y Ffôr (on the A499, 4 miles north-east of Pwllheli), take the B4354 westwards towards Nefyn, for five miles.  Look out for a small hill on the left, a village boundary sign saying Boduan, and a sign showing a cow. You will then be approaching the wood and should see it on the right hand side of the road.

Map

There is parking along the road, but car sharing is a good idea.

There is no dress code, but it would be more fitting to be colourful.

Bring flowers if you want, but she asked that donations be made to the One Heart charity she set up for the homeless – ask Evie for details about this.

Rosie is arranging for singing to take place as the coffin is brought up through the woods – participation is obviously very much welcomed, and you may want to arrive a bit before 2pm.

Liam and I will then say a few words about her, and then if anyone wants to make some brief contribution they will be welcome to do so.

We would like to thank everyone that has been thinking of her, who has helped with her care, and particularly to Eric, her partner.

There will be more singing as the coffin is lowered down. While the singing is taking place you may come forward to place a handful of soil onto the coffin.

Some songs will be played following the singing and as people are leaving.

At 6pm there will be a get-together at Liam’s cafe (Beach Hut on Llanfairfechan promenade). Please bring food/drink to share and volunteers to help tidy will be appreciated.

Please leave comments/tributes below.

Anything else you need to know then feel free to get in touch.

17 comments to Mum’s funeral details…

  • Toni Dewhurst

    A beautiful photograph of a beautiful person.
    Mandy lived her too-short life to the full. She was an uninhibited, creative, joyful, much-loved, loving inspiration to everyone who knew her and will be greatly missed.
    I’m so sorry Tom.

  • Colin & Ceri Hughes

    Hi Tom,

    Sorry to hear of you loss, thinking of you and your family,

    Sending our love at this sad time,

    Colin & Ceri

    xxx

  • Nicky Jones

    R.I.P Mandy, a true inspiration and beautiful person who enriched the lives of everyone you met. I am proud to say I knew you and will always cherish our walk and chats. Lots of love xxxx

  • Fiona Owen

    Thanks so much for this, Tom. It’s a lovely photo of Mandy – just exactly how she was. Been thinking of you and Liam, of course, and of the family, and of Eric. Mandy was an incredible person – loved by so many, including me. And she loved, valued, cherished and respected you and Liam so very much. She was so proud of you both – of the people you are.

    She was a living song – and that song will never die.

    Much Love,
    Fiona (Anglesey)

  • Carly Jones

    RIP Mandy, such a lovely caring kind lady. You will be very sadly missed. Carly x x x x

  • Femke

    Dear Tom, sad to hear the news about your mum. She was such a strong spirit! I feel she will always be with us in many ways. Wishing you, your family and all your mums friends strength and a funeral full of warmth, memories and singing. My thoughts will be with you xxx Femke

  • Pauline

    I always smile when I think of Mandy.
    Her energy and enthusiasm for life were so contagious and inspiring. She didn’t hold back!
    I remember how much she loved singing this song (the words are based on Goethe ):
    Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it just begin it
    Boldness has genius, power and magic in it
    Need I say more…!

  • cory

    A wonderful, warm and caring woman, who truly loved life! She will be missed.
    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there. I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry;
    I am not there. I did not die.

  • Nikki Perry

    The world has lost a very special lady,Mandy touched so many lives,heaven has gained another angel I know she will be watching over us,R.I.P Mandy I will miss you xx

  • Tom Simone

    Wow, I like that.

  • Sally

    I used to sit and drink various different teas and chat with your Mum while I waited for you to get ready ;)
    She is one of the founders of my ridiculous herbal tea habit :)
    I will always remember coming over to Bryn Eithin and hearing you and your Mum singing loudly, her better than you I think? ;) I hadnt seen her for years until I met her and Liam at Bron Cae to show them around, I was so excited to see her I nearly hugged her – now I regret that I didnt. (I shouldnt be embarassed about being so soppy and enthusiastic!) What a wonderful lady she was. I wish I’d known her better. I take some comfort at times like these in the knowledge that although we’re all grown up now, and live all over the place – we’re all still close when it matters. Sleep well Mandy, you were definatly one in a million xxx

  • Ceri

    I will never forget a party that Banda Bacana played at for Mandy in Llanfairfechan not so long ago and something stuck in my mind about how music had kept her going and how the spirit can live and dance through music…this really touched me and so I am going write a song for her in Bacana style so that she can dance with us in spirit :-)

  • Dearbhaile

    Dear Tom.
    I only found out at 2 today that Mandy had died. I don’t know if you remember me but your mum was just about the most wonderful neighbour that anyone could ever have wished for. I lost touch with her many years ago as I moved around a great deal. I am so sorry to hear of her passing. Mandy was such a warm, open, generous woman and when I look back I don’t know how I’d have gotten through some of the challenges of my time in Rachub without her support. My thoughts are with you all on this sad day.
    Bless,
    Dearbhaile

  • Lynn

    My mum loved this poem. I know our lovely Mandy would too and I hope it brings some comfort….

    Death is nothing at all,
    I have only slipped away
    into the next room.

    I am I,
    and you are you;
    whatever we were to each other,
    that we still are.

    Call me by my old familiar name,
    speak to me in the easy way
    which you always used,
    put no difference in your tone,
    wear no forced air
    of solemnity or sorrow.

    Laugh as we always laughed
    at the little jokes we shared together.
    Let my name ever be
    the household word that it always was.
    Let it be spoken without effect,
    without the trace of a shadow on it.

    Life means all
    that it ever meant.
    It is the same as it ever was.
    There is unbroken continuity.

    Why should I be out of mind
    because I am out of sight?

    I am waiting for you,
    after an interval,
    somewhere very near,
    just around the corner.

    All is well.

  • caroline.coppock

    Mandy was so “on” about life.She was so full of humour and strength and joy. She always cheered me up when we met.She loved the singing.i shall go to visit the place in the llyn- the beauty of that place suits her well. I wish all love to her nearest and dearest-what a treasure to have had mandy so close with her lovely vibes to carry on with you. With deepest respect to that funky rattlin’ good woman!! from caroline coppock (a pal)

  • Jac

    What a beautiful tribute to my wonderful and unforgettable sister Mandy.

  • Tom Simone

    Thank you for all the very touching comments x

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North Wales photographer 365 project 9/04/11

Mark, artist at dance encounters, galeri, caernarfon

Apologies I can’t remember this guys surname… his first name is Mark and he’s an artist, pictured here giving a talk at Dance Encounters, March 31 2001 at y Galeri in Caernarfon.

He’s got some interesting ideas relating to art projects.

More info available from Datrys in Llanrwst http://www.datrys.org/.

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North Wales photographer 365 project 8/04/11 – look at my hands!

Raffi looking at his hands

Raffi’s started getting interested in his hands. Most of the time he’s trying to chew them off because he’s teething.

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North Wales photographer 365 project 7/04/11 – young Apple fanboy

Mabon

Mabon

This is our friends Oli and Bec’s little boy Mabon. We went there for tea last night.

I liked the top one because Oli is such an Apple fanboy

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365 north wales photographer project -FIRE!

Fire on mountain near Deiniolen

Really big fire on the mountain between Deiniolen and Mynydd Llandygai.

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North Wales photographer 365 project 08/03/11

Chair at Bangor Museum

This is a chair from the furniture collection at Gwynedd Museum in Bangor.

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North Wales photographer 365 project 02/03/11

Artifact at Bangor Museum

I’ve been photographing a selection of the artefacts at Gwynedd Museum in Bangor this week, many of which I wasn’t able to identify.

This is a fancy container for holding your gunpowder in to keep it dry.

The museum is near the bus stops in Bangor and is well worth a visit.

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North Wales photographer 365 project 14/02/11

Water dripping of a light bulbOur upstairs toilet has a kind of mechanical flush which needs electricity to work.

We’d ran out of electric so it flooded down through the ceiling, down the light, and into the dining room.

There was water everywhere.

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North Wales photographer 365 project 12/02/11

Mum and Jac at Newbrough beach

Mum and Jac at Newbrough beach.

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North Wales photographer 365 project 10/02/11

Photograph of Caz at Rhaeadr Aber Falls, Gwynedd, North Wales

Went for a brisk walk up to Aber Falls with Caz and Raffi today. Loads of water because of all the rain.

Then went to bros cafe (Beach Hut in Llanfairfechan) and had a fry up. Caz had a home made cheese burger. If you haven’t been, you should try it – great food and not expensive.

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North Wales photographer 365 project 06/02/11

Afon Ogwen Parc Meurig woods Bethesda

This photo was taken in pouring rain and wind near my house in Bethesda, and it nearly killed me.

Ok, slightly over dramatic.

I had a heavy tripod and umbrella with me and was trying to clamber a muddy embankment. Before I knew what had happened my feet had slid from underneath me, my camera span around on the tripod and the lens smashed into my neck, an inch away from my windwipe.

I lay face down in the mud and leaves for a few moments, dazed enough to wonder if I’d hurt myself, and then to wonder if I’d hurt my camera.

It crossed my mind that it would be somehow fitting if my camera had hit my windpipe and killed me – live by the sword die by the sword kind of thing.

Anyway, thankfully my camera and I were both fairly unscathed and instead it looks like I’ve got a hicky.

Thankfully, also, because the weather’s been miserable, there was no-one else around to see me take a tumble.

After that I went home.

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