Friday, 6 May 2011

Being creative helps get you work - Monkton Elm Garden Centre

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This is a story of how being creative and going the extra mile got me loads more work than I was expecting...

Shoot 1: Somerset Life
A few months back I was asked to shoot a group portrait for Somerset Life magazine at Monkton Elm Garden and Pet Centre. I was to be shooting the Pet Centre team and I needed to make it interesting and tell a story. The people who work there bring in their own pets once every week or two to show others the animals and teach them a bit about them. These vary from the fairly normal dogs and rabbits to the less normal snakes and lizards.

After a chat with the Liz, the lady in charge of the pet centre, I decided to go the extra mile and do something exciting. I wasn't getting paid loads for the job but my thought process was ""why not make it fun and get an image that I am proud of out of it". Plus the added bonus was that it would be published for many people to see.


After a bit of thought I realised that something similar to my personal work with Koc-pol cat*PL would look good. I arrived at the location and tried to pass on my idea to the people I would be photographing. They seemed interested and enjoyed the fact that I was doing something different from the usual kind of photography they are used to. In fact I seemed to impress the lady in charge of the pet centre so much that she introduced me to the management team.

Shoot 2: Spyder's Web facebook page

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So I cracked on with my shoot and got all the frames I needed to create the composite image above. But that wasn't to be the end of this job as I thought. The pet centre manager then asked me if I could photograph some images of her dog to be used on the Monkton Elm facebook page: Spyder's Web. I obliged happily and spent another 30 minutes taking some fun photos of the manager's dog following her instructions for the type of image she wanted.

Shoot 3: Andrew Pitman

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Just when I was about to pack up the lady who manages the whole garden centre arrived and asked if I could take some portraits for an advert they were running in a couple of regional magazines. I said "yes, of course" and was lead off to meet the person I was to photograph. I then spent a further 40 minutes or so getting some happy portraits of Andrew Pitman. He is a gardener who has been at the centre for many years. He regularly wins prizes for his gardens at the Taunton flower show and loves gardening. The management felt that some great pictures of Andrew would add the personal touch to their adverts that was currently missing.

So after two more shoots than planned I packed up and headed home. But that is not the end of the story...

After the shoot
The original image of the pet centre team has just been published in article in Somerset Life and it looks great. Better than that the manager at the garden centre loves it so much that she called me up to purchase usage rights to the image for advertisements and promotion.


The moral
If you have the time put in the extra effort. Being creative and enjoying your photography leads to more opportunities, new clients, more money and happier people. So next time you have to shoot a 'small job' approach it just as you would a big job or your personal projects and do your best.

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