EP133 Dealing With The Year Ahead With Joy And Positivity!
So it’s 2023 already! What happened to 2022? This episode says a big thank you for 2022 and kicks off the year ahead with some thoughts on how to deal with so much negativity in the years and the media. We’re hitting it all with positivity, energy, creativity and laughter! Well, you wouldn’t expect anything different from us would you?
We also say thanks to some incredible brands who have put a little faith in us and asked us to be ambassadors:
Graphistudio (they create the best photographic albums on the planet!)
Pixellu (we use their brilliant Smart Albums application to do the heavy lifting for all of our album designs). If you fancy a discount use the following link and discount code:
Panasonic Eneloop Batteries (not as sexy maybe as let’s say, a camera but massively important!) These guys have very kindly helped with a little funding for the podcast – useful given that we entirely fund it, write it and produce it ourselves. A little help like this goes a long way – just like the life of their AA batteries (sorry, couldn’t resist!)
Finally, we mention a package that is proving priceless for us in our colour correction – Imagen AI. Machine Learning (aka. Artificial Intelligence) is certainly going to be a huge part of all of our lives in the future – some of it for good and some of it otherwise – and one or two applications have already emerged that are stunningly elegant in the way they support our business: this is one. Since we added this to our workflow, it has not only saved us hour upon hour but has also improved the consistency of our colours and grading. Ai isn’t all bad! If you fancy getting 1500 free edits, use this link:
We also want to thank all of our clients – both as subjects and as delegates to our workshops – we could not be happier and more grateful that you’re part of our lives!
THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU and here’s to a fabulous year ahead!
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So it’s new year’s day. I’m sitting in the studio on Sunday, January the first, 2023. Actually. I’m standing here in the studio: one of the jobs I’ve managed to get done today is getting one of these sit-stand desks. Uh, because it was doing my back in constantly sitting in front of monitors, and this is the first go-round at recording the podcast standing up. Go me.
It’s completely deserted in the studio, which is why I’ve had the time to rearrange my desk and get this bit of kit to work, rewiring everything, though. It does need a bit more time.
Even the heating’s off. There are no fans running. It’s just me, what’s left of the residual Christmas decorations and peace. I have a mug of coffee. It’s in my cup that says the boss, which Michelle ironically purchased. Everybody knows I’m not the boss around here, but it’s full of coffee.
And goodness knows. Goodness knows. Where on earth did 2022 go?!
So we’re already here.
It’s 2023, a brand new year; it’s shiny and unsullied. And these are not words. I guess that could easily be applied to me. I am anything but new, shiny and unsullied, but whether I am sullied or not, I’m Paul, and this is a New Year’s Mastering Portrait Photography Podcast.
Now, before we get any further, I have to tell you this is the second time I’ve recorded this because I did not notice that the audio was clipping the first time. I recorded the whole thing and got to the end of it, only to realize the audio was quite cruddy and it upset me so much I’m now rerecording it from the ground up
Also, I am rustling a little bit – I don’t know if you can hear that. That’s my coat. Because it’s so cold in here.
So let me ask you, how do you feel about the new year? Is it, is it a new year for you? Does it feel like, can you, yes. It’s something you look forward to? Is it something you dread? Is it just another day?
So here at the studio for us, it genuinely does. I think mark, the beginning of a new season, there’s no getting away from it. Uh, it’s not like the transition from let’s say June to July. Much as I’d like it to be. It just isn’t because of the way we sync with retail, we sync with other people’s lives. And of course, we have careered into everything needed to be finished in time for Christmas. So all of the shelves are empty. All of the orders are gone. And now we have a diary full of new stuff to create. I mean, there is a ton of stuff in the diary. We’ve lots of show shoots books, some weddings, lots of workshops. And I’m judging. I’m still currently.
Chair of judges for the British Institute of professional photographers. And it just a couple of weeks, I’ll be headlong into judging for the Federation of European photographers. Which is something the FEP, which is something I absolutely love to do, but it is a huge, is a huge amount of work.
we did ultimately finish 2022 on quite a high, it was ultimately the third highest revenue of any year we’ve had since we set up this business. Uh, which isn’t a bad thing. When you think about it, particularly when you cast your mind back to that, we were coming out of the back end of the pandemic lockdowns at the beginning of the year, it was a little bit rattly. And so to end the year on such a high really is something else.
Admittedly, we have, we do seem to have had fewer shoots and we’ve had over previous years, but those shoots have netted more revenue per shoot. And if you could write down a single characteristic that you would like out of a photography business, It would always be to do fewer shoots and make more money per shoot.
Work less earn more. So in the end it’s a really good thing. Or is it, of course. Being a photographer and naturally worried. I do have my concerns. It may be that we’re seeing a little bit. Of stratification in the marketplace between those that can afford things. And those who maybe can’t .
Either way there’s not a lot I can do to change that. Uh, but it does just, it is worth keeping an eye on.
But whatever happened. There’s no denying that last year was a weird year with some ridiculous politics, some crazy, crazy economics, a war in Europe, the end of the Queen’s reign and the beginning of king Charles’s time on the throne. Of course in the UK. I do try to keep on top of, or keep in touch what’s going on in the world. But right now for us, we have high inflation. High interest rates or at least for recent times , and wall-to-wall repeats on the tele. Uh, honestly, going through the TV was just like, is there anything on, is it actually.
And it all feels a bit gloomy. I mean, has it been raining for a couple of days and that never helps. But, we did spend this year, the most glorious Christmas up in north Wales in my, at my mom’s and my family and with Sarah’s folks as well. There were 14 of us and it was brilliant.
Tons of laughter lots of food. Uh, my mom has one of those old fashioned kitchen ranges to cook on. And Sarah and I took on cooking Christmas dinner. Now, when I say Sarah and I cooked Christmas dinner. I am definitely, definitely. Uh, wallowing in a little bit of her glory. I just did, as I was told, um, fix things, chop things, peel things, fetch things.
Uh, kept people out of the kitchen. Which was a task in its own, right? So that Sarah, broadly speaking, had a free run to get everything out. And we battled it out with this great big range. We started the morning with a, it cut out. They had cutout lights all over it. So at 11 o’clock in the morning, when the Turkey should be going in, there was no cooker.
Uh, luckily, uh, an engineer and, uh, an instruction manual. Uh, we managed to figure out where the resets, where they can get it reset and get it up and running. Uh, but like I said, a bit of about, but it was absolutely wonderful. A beautiful Christmas. Um, And, uh, tons and tons of wonderful thoughtful gifts from the family and given to the family.
Uh, this beautiful picture. So Harriet, our daughter has painted this gorgeous, this most incredible water color of our house. Our little thatched cottage which needs a needs to go into a really beautiful frame, and we’ll get that up on the wall, but it’s just a Christmas full of those little moments.
Uh, but afterwards UN. At least not in my family, but certainly out in the great wide world, people seem to be a little bit Aggie. So the drive back home. I’ll tell you what one Audi is lucky. It kept all four wheels on the road. Because it undertook a whole load of us. It careered its way through the traffic. And then it’s last lunatic lane change was to almost slide sideways through the gap in front of me. Now how he missed my bumper. I do not know. Um, He caught it so tight. So the queue of traffic must only been doing about 40 miles an hour, but he was doing about 70, at least. That’s how he felt. I’ve got video of it somewhere. I’ve got a dash cam, so we’ll have a look.
Um, but how he didn’t clip my bumper and go airborne. I do not note. And it feels a little bit like that. It feels like people are frustrated. It feels like, uh, people across and then. This Audi driver. Howie squished that car into that game. It’s like a Harry Potter moment. There must be a spell or an, or an enchantment or something.
Uh, where. The car just became really small, momentarily and crept through a gap that I did not think was there. Um, but everywhere you go, it feels like people are a little bit cross. Now I can’t change anything to do with what’s going out in the news. I can’t change what’s out there in the economy. I can’t change politics. Can’t I can’t do anything about it.
But I do think as a business, we have choices. I can choose. How to react. I can choose. How we assess how we deal with how we predict. And how we react. So many of these market conditions, any of the ones that we’re looking at, whether it’s high interest rates, high inflation,
High cost of living, the things we’re seeing out there. All of these are things I’ve got no control over.
But I can control what we do. I can control how I feel about it. And it’s really hard to stay positive when all you hear is negativity and really crappy news. But we can make a decision. And so this year, when we get, as we do every year, we get to the end of the year, Sarah and I take a bit of a breather. I did some shoots last week.
Which is unusual for me to be shooting in between. Uh, Christmas and new year, but we decided we needed to do it. Um, For a numerous reasons and just wonderful clients. It was so lovely to do. Um, but we take a little bit of, uh, we take a bit of a breath. With just capture our heartbeat a little. Slow things down and have a look at what we’re going to do for the following year.
So planning for the next year. It isn’t as straightforward as people might think in as much as. At the time we really should be laying down all of our plans, which has sort of September time planning, sort of three or four months ahead. We’re at our busiest, very hard to see the wood for the trees at that time of year. And so we really do use use this time. Now, these couple of weeks to slow things down.
Just take a breather and figure out what we’re going to do. I haven’t quite got there yet. Uh, but this year there’s very much a broad brush strategy. Now, I don’t know if I’ve told this story. I think I have, but I’ll tell it very briefly again. Back in 2008, when I went full-time into the photography business, I came out of a really well-paid consultancy job, working in London for a, I was working as an it consultant for a big corporates.
And in March of 2008. Jacked it all in. I became a photographer at precisely the same time. Gordon brown. Uh, our then chancellor was bailing out the banks as fast as they could, because we were just careering into the world’s greatest financial crash. Everywhere. We, every bit of news, every newspaper, every TV article was all talking about financial meltdown and there I was a new photographer.
Just. Entering into the market. And so Sarah came to a wedding that was shooting cause she came to give me a hand later in the day that particular wedding. And I called her. She walked in and muttered, and people listened to the news. They’re going to, they’re saying it’s going to be the worst. Recession his country’s ever faced on the world’s ever faced. What do I do? We’ve just become very exposed as a brand new business. And she.
In the way that Sarah does laughed at me. And told me that was the last time she ever wanted me to hear me being negative like that. From now on end, it was all about joy. It was all about positivity. It was all about creativity. It was all about energy. It was all about all of the good things. And that was exactly our strategy back then. And that’s where we are today.
That’s what we’re doing right now. That’s not a strategy as such, but it’s our broad brush. Under which, or over which on top of everything else. Uh, we will set out exactly what we’re going to do. The details, the money, the shoots, the timetabling, the diary. The pricing, all of those things. Being joyous and spreading happiness is not exactly a strategy.
But it is a behavior. And behaviors are important, particularly in a business like ours, where it’s all about other people, it’s all about clients, you know, I’m not a wildlife photographer. I’m not a product photographer. I. I don’t sit in a room on my own. I don’t photograph buildings when there’s no one on the street.
I am a people photographer.
I spend my entire life in the company. Of others. And that’s why we need to be spreading joy. So funnily enough, it feels like we’ve wound the clock round. We started in 2008 with these precise. Uh, ideas and here we are in 2023. About to do the same thing again. With all of the news that is out there is so miserable. And I don’t know whether it’s just because that’s what’s going on at the moment or that’s because that’s how to get people to pick up a newspaper or click on a webpage. I have no idea, but I do know if I’m reading really rubbishy stories. My clients are reading really rubbishy stories too. And on top of that, there is a truth in the fact. That the cost of living has climbed. People are not as buoyant as they have been.
And so just for a moment, whether it’s corporate headshots, whether it’s personal branding, whether it’s the training workshops and master classes, weekly run, whatever it is. Every email, every post, and even, even this podcast, it’s all about spreading some positivity, spreading a little happiness into other people’s lives, because if we can do that,
If we can do that. Then we’ll be fine. The photography is great. I’m not, well, I say I’m not worried about the photography. I’m a photographer. So I’m, I’m inherently. Worried about the photography. Uh, you know, I wake up in the morning worrying. I’m not going to be to do it. I worked my way through a shoot wearing that. I am not doing it. I get to the end of the day, worrying that I didn’t do it. I looked back two days later and think it’s all right. I look back a week later and think it’s really good.
I looked back a year later and thought that I was doing some decent stuff. And I looked back two years later and think actually I should have entered some of those images into competitions. That is my life. But Sarah and Michelle are not worried about the photography. So that’s not the strategic focus. The strategic focus is all about how we make our clients feel.
How do we add something to their day, to their month , to their year? How do we make what we do an experience, how do we write emails? How do we greet them at the door? How do we work in the sales room. And of course, at least as far as I’m concerned, How do I behave during a shoot?
Now, luckily for me, I’m already high energy. You may have got that. Um, nearly, always on a high, when I’m with a client, I have energy and enthusiasm. I’m always laughing. Of course I have a massive inferiority complex, but Hey, that’s just me. And I’m guessing a lot of photographers have the same thing. My job is to both take pictures, but also to bring joy to impart laughter or positivity or energy or confidence or whatever it is.
It’s to talk with people and possibly more importantly to listen to people. Now, obviously, as I’ve said already, that isn’t quite a strategy. If you wrote that down as a strategy book. I don’t think it would sell that. Well. But it is an ethos. It is a belief system that by bringing joy, bringing energy, bringing the stuff that is good into people’s lives, we will run a really effective year once again. They’re Sarah Michelle, Sarah, Michelle, and myself, have an absolute ball running this company. We have the nicest people come through the building. I get to work with two of the nicest people in the world every day, we laugh a lot. We talk a lot.
We get stuff done. Um, we’re very flexible in the business. We can work when we want to, of course I worked long hours. Um, I had a very funny. We’ll say it was very funny. My serious article is a serious piece. Uh, the Guild Of Photographers asked me for a magazine article and one of the questions they asked me was how do I stay motivated?
And I, every time I read the question, even now thinking of the question makes me laugh. Stay motivated. Trust me, motivation. Isn’t a problem. Sarah dragging me away from it. That might be something that she needs to do or wish she knew how to do. I love it. I love all of this world. I love the photography. I love the creativity. I love the people.
I love the technology. I love. All of it, all of it. I’m fascinated by it. I’m fascinated by people and am fascinated by things. I’m fascinated by technology. Well, Staying motivated is not a problem. And that energy is what this business needs. That’s what we’re going to have to do. So, although I’m not necessarily a big believer in new year’s resolutions, I honestly have a funny relationship with new user solutions in as much as I don’t do them.
Um, I’ve never really understood why people wait until January the first to say, they’re going to do something. If you’ve thought of it. Don’t wait. I do it now, obviously things like, you know, you’re going to eat less. Is a problem. If you try to do that before Christmas, I do get that. But so many times I think people set up news resolutions. They’re too easy to say.
And then the too easy to break. And one, one other thing. Dry January. Uh, really, sorry. No way not doing it. If there’s ever a month, I need a drink in January. Is it? It is cold. It is dark. We’ve just got over the joy of Christmas. We’ve been with our families and now we’ve all had to go back to work.
Um, even though I love what I do. I don’t ever think I’ll have a dry January.
So that’s not to say that I won’t set some goals. Um, and of course that’s what we’re doing. That’s what we’re doing right now. Is beginning to think about. What the photography is going to look like, how are we going to shape the business? What are we going to do with clients? What’s the focus to forgive the pun.
What’s the focus of the business. And this is such a good time to do it. So there is. It’s all about joy.
So we’re going to take a little bit of a break from the business just for a moment to get our heads together and think about the things we’re gonna do. And when I’m standing here looking around the studio, and one of the things we’re going to do is spend a couple of weeks tidying up, taking it apart and putting it back together. Again, I have got my sit-stand desk in, uh, but I have kind of shoehorned into a very cluttered desk already.
But think is it, we, you see these things. So, uh, there’s some, uh, some friends of ours that we’ve been working with recently, uh, about an hour’s drive from here. And we went over to their new studio brand new they’ve just moved studios and it looked glorious. It looked absolutely brilliant. It’s full of opportunity because everything’s tidy and organized.
And they’re just trying to figure out how to use the building. Whereas we’ve been here a decade now. And of course that makes a difference. And so as we want to spend a couple of weeks, or I want to spend a couple of weeks. Emptying out boxes that probably should have been jettisoned years ago. Tidying up shelves, doing a bit of painting, getting things organized and seeing if we can really get back to that idea, that to see the studio assay, to see the studio as someone else would. Now I found a list. I was tidying up a little the other day and I found a list. We had an intern. Junior year. And I asked her to walk through the building as a stranger. What do I mean by that? Well, the thing is when you go to the same locations every day, you become blind to it.
So I asked her to walk through the building as if she was a new client or just walked in here for the first time. Um, I asked her to do it on the first day she was here. So it still be, everything would still be quite fresh. And tell me the things I didn’t notice. Where was the clutter? Where are the things that just looked out of place?
Cause I don’t notice it. I just don’t notice it. And I still have that list. It’s scary it’s quite, a lot of stuff on it. So I’ve got to sort all of that. Out. And it’s all part and parcel of just setting out what we’re going to do. This is such a good time to do it. Setting out. Uh, for the year ahead.
Uh, anyway, I’m going to just say a few thank you’s really, um, firstly, to some of the people who have asked us to be ambassadors. It’s a lovely thing to be asked to be an ambassador. Particularly when it’s companies, you already use. They’re products we already swear by they’re products that we already provide for our clients. Not because I’m an ambassador for them, but because, well, they’re the best products.
It’s as simple as that. Um, and so after having worked with, uh, some of these guys for quite a long time, actually to be asked to be an ambassador, because we thoroughly believe in the product, we know the product really well. He’s a real honor. Uh, the first of those up is Graphistudio of course the Italian album manufacturer. We’ve worked with those guys for a decade. All of our albums are made there.
And they are simply brilliant, but it’s not just about the quality of the product. It’s all about customer service. Now, you know, I’ve talked about this before. Don’t spread yourself thin amongst your. Suppliers. So we only use one supplier for our albums. That’s it. Why. Well, you can always be tempted away with an offer here and offer. There are different style of book, or maybe someone has a really cool product somewhere else.
But if you don’t send enough business through a supplier, then you’re not important enough to them. I mean, every client, every, so every supplier will tell you. That your business is important to them, but if you put all of your album product through someone, well, you’re a bit more important than someone only puts one a year through.
And there’s no going away from that. And I meet too many photographers who will buy this bit of a product from over there and another supplier will do this for them. And then I’ll get these things, these widgets from this other place, try not to do that. And we’ve never done that. Graphistudio are brilliant. They make the best albums.
They have the most beautiful leathers and boxes. They’re an innovator in terms of their technology. That’s never really been something that fascinates me. It’s not important to me as a business. What’s really important is the quality of the product. And the quality of their customer service. So on Christmas Eve this year,
We delivered the last of our wedding albums from the air to our client, or they came here actually and picked it up. It had actually arrived. Four. For five weeks earlier than that, but it had a slight fault . Now you could say that’s not great. . It had a fault. You will always get fault. They’re always going to happen. And I’m really hoping to Graphistudio aren’t cross some heat for saying this.
Things go wrong. I’m acutely aware of that. And I don’t actually worry too much. And there’s a podcast I’ve done called own it. Fix it.
When things go wrong, it’s how it gets solved that makes the difference. And the guys at Graffie pulled up. All the stops. For this album we’d found the fault. It went back. Back to Italy. So we’ve got borders and border control and customs and everything else. And it came back to us with literally no wiggle room. It was a little bit.
A little bit finger, finger chewing. Uh, but arrived just in time for our client to pick it up. They loved it. And then for me to close up the studio and head away for Christmas. That’s why. We use Graphistudio. Best albums. That’s a given. But customer service I can rely on and more importantly, my clients can rely on.
So it’s just an honor to be an ambassador and a ambasciatore. Uh, and it, Sarah and myself are ambassadors for them. Because it’s Sarah, in fact, In many ways Sarah uses the much or talks to much, much more than I do. Yes. All right. It’s my name on the door. It’s my photography that goes in them. But as he, as a company, it’s Sarah and it’s Sarah and Michelle.
He’ll deal with Graphistudio all the time. And so it’s a real honor that they haven’t just recognized me for the photography, I guess. But they’ve recognized both of us for what we do in our business and how we service our clients. So thank you to Graphistudio.
On that note also Pixellu. The smart albums product from Pixellu. Um, Sarah and I, again, have been asked to be ambassadors for them.
Then we use smart albums to do all of the heavy lifting. Uh, with our album design it’s absolutely phenomenal! It changed everything. When we put that into the workflow. Um, Sarah used to do all of the design in Indesign and actually was really, really good at it. But it took a long time and I had to write scripts. In fact, we still use scripts in InDesign.
To error check and make sure that there’s no. You know, a picture hasn’t appeared twice by accident, for instance. Stuff. That’s a little bit more tricky in InDesign and it is. Then smart albums, smart albums allow us to do all of the heavy lifting, and it does it in a way that makes design both fast. And better.
It’s a proper. Oh, yeah, we like that a lot. All right. You pay for another software license and you do find over a year. We spend a lot of money on software licenses, but this thing. He is absolutely brilliant. And again, it’s actually, Sarah really has driven that. Yeah, I get some credit. Um, but it’s, Sarah’s design work and she’s a phenomenal album designer. I love watching her work.
Because she takes the chaos. I create with a camera and pieces it together. Not only so that aesthetically, every spread looks beautiful. But also so that it tells the story of somebody’s day, particularly a wedding day. And it’s, Pixellu smart albums that, uh, really does make that a completely possible.
Also, uh, find a, one of the people that we are, uh, have been ambassadors for. And, uh, this is a unusual thing. It’s hard to get excited about rechargeable batteries, however, I have to say that we’ve been using Panasonic Eneloop AA batteries, not just in my, uh, recorder, that’s recording this way now my Zoom F4, uh, but also my speed lights and.
Isn’t it, you call it really excited about AA batteries and chargers. When you probably can. Um, but I’m, I, they’re just, I’m very pragmatic when it comes to the things, but I do have to say it’s a real pleasure to have these Panasonic battery chargers that work perfectly. They tell you when the batteries need conditioning and to have batteries that have a hugely long life, they don’t fade when they’re in my bag.
And why does that matter? Well, it means I don’t have to keep checking them. I charge them up and then sometimes they’re left in their, just in their boxes for maybe eight weeks because I didn’t flatten the batteries that are actually in the speedlight. I’ll take them out and rotate them and just make sure all is well. But what I’ve learned with these things is they are ultra reliable. Um, and I can’t say better than that, and it’s really kind of them. They have sponsored the podcast over the past year, they helped us a little bit with some funding, which is really nice of them. So, it’s nice to be able to talk about a product that I really like. And that’s true of all of the things we’re ambassadors for. But, it’s Panasonic Eneloop who’ve given us a little bit of funding. So thank you to those guys too. And if you’re looking for AA batteries, please do give Panasonic Eneloop a try.
So what else is there? So these are, there’s a couple of other, companies that, are used an awful lot of about. Well, I’m not an ambassador for, by any shape, but this year has been a year of some new technology. Uh, I’ve obviously spoken about the Nikon Z9 at the beginning of the year. And so after a year of using it would not give that up ever.
This thing is phenomenal. It’s absolutely brilliant. Um, just rock solid assured focusing, um, It handles beautifully. It’s seamless into our workflow. It feels like a natural extension of me. I mean, I’ve used Nikon for the past. Well, I don’t know, my first Nikon camera was a Nikon D100. I got one of the first ones when it came out. That’s how, how long I’ve used Nikon for then this is the first year when I’ve actually had to change all my lenses to get the new Z-Series fittings.
I do have the adapters to use my old lenses, but in the end, if you’re going to use new technology, you might as well go the whole hog. So, I mean, we’ve laid out probably 20 something thousand pounds on switching over to the Z9. And a new bag of lenses, but it’s absolutely brilliant. Uh, things like it’s really subtle little stuff. Like I now shoot a 2.8 constantly. With the D5, which I came across from, I never trusted it quite that much. I’d shoot at f4, just a little bit of depth of field. To give it a little bit of bite now, quite happy, just letting it lock onto someone’s eyes. And when we were shooting with the Hearing Dogs, we used to do three or four runs with a dog coming at the camera to get just half a dozen pictures, pin sharp.
Now every run I do. I’ll get essentially every image, pin sharp at 2.8. Which means I can have a ridiculously fast shutter speed, a lovely out of focus background and a dog that’s razor sharp in the middle. And you can’t say better than that. The pictures are just beautiful.
Also, you’ve heard me talk a little bit about AI this year and another product that kind of walked its way into our world, is ImagenAI, I pick this up. I actually looked at it last year, but didn’t have time to do it properly. And this year I really got my head round. It. So we uploaded 15,000 images, which is no small commitment. I grant you a 5,000 portrait images, 5,000 hearing dogs, images, and 5,000 wedding images. Not that I create completely different colours for each of these, But they are slightly different scenarios. And so understanding the way AI works and the way biasing works. I wanted each of those color sets to represent how I would normally expect a wedding for instance, to look so for a wedding, there’s no studio shots for instance, but with the portrait side,
Uh, there are hearing dogs. Also. There are, but there’s a lot of greenery because with the hearing dogs, one of their. Uh, brand. Uh, requirements is that I shoot things with a nice mushy out of focus green background, because that’s the way they like it to look. So ImagenAI is the perfect use of artificial intelligence. And by that, I mean, the thing with AI is it biases . Artificial intelligence learns what you teach it and ONLY what you teach it! And this is perfect for colour correction
I want to use AI in a way that biasing rewards me. I don’t want my images to be beautiful colors for everybody, every other photographer. I don’t want to train it so that every photographer’s colors come out like that. I want it. So that mine too.
So. Understanding my dataset and knowing it’s biased actually helps the color correction. It actually makes it better. Not worse. So it’s one of those rare moments where a limitation of artificial intelligence actually plays for me. And to give you a great example of that this year. I don’t know if you know, I photograph the Royal institution every year.
, have done for the past, , 12 or 13 years. And I photograph the behind the scenes stills for the Royal institution. , Christmas lectures that go out on the BBC at this time of year. Now the way the stage is set. The way it’s lit the way it’s colored, the way the theater is, the way the behind the scenes stuff looks.
That hasn’t really changed that much over the years, each set is completely different and they’d light it differently. But the feel is very similar. And I want my images to feel similar from year to year to year. So I uploaded another 4,000 images. Over the past 13 years of images I took. At the Christmas lectures and trained image, I say I trained.
I didn’t train it. Also they, the engineers sets. I guessing software sticks it all in. And greeted me a new profile. So I’ve now got a fourth profile along with my portraits, weddings and hearing dogs. I’ve now got one for Royal institution. Now the colors for those are slightly different. Because the way I wanted him to look, I want it to look very similar to the way the TV cameras were picking up the way the lighting worked.
So it’s a little bit different for me. So there’s no point in me using the colors that I maybe use for a wedding. Cause that’s biased towards a wedding. So I created a new dataset. That’s biased, directly bias towards the Royal institution. Guess what? 1500 images went through it in a heartbeat. The colors are pretty much spot on the brightness is all exactly as I want it.
Yes, there’s some fine tuning, but not a lot. Absolutely perfect use of artificial intelligence and I loved it. That’s imagine AI. Now the guys are. Uh, imagine we’re not ambassadors for them. I just use their software. Uh, but they have very kindly given me a link and a discount code if you want it.
Which gives you, I think, 15% off. Uh, it gives you some trials, some free trials. We also get a bonus . There’s no getting away from that. If you use it for a period of time, then we also get some money off our costs because I’m using it for absolutely everything we do. It is brilliant. Uh, it’s absolutely perfect. This imagined AI I’ll put links, including the discount codes into the show notes.
Uh, right. Where am I? Oh, no, sorry. I was just reading my I’m just reading my script. Uh, one of the things I will do in the coming weeks is to do a podcast on what AI is likely to bring to the photography industry.
Obviously I’ve talked about some of the good. , the cameras are using AI. The way they focusing is a lot of that is machine learning. And given, this is what my PhD is in, is really intriguing for me. , imagine AI, the products I’ve just talked about that is absolutely phenomenal. , and that is truly perfect use of this type of, artificial intelligence and machine learning. , whereas one or two areas, I think. , are not so I, I I’m nervous about. The way people are talking about it, but what’s actually happening. Um, I, I’m not convinced that AI is the answer to everything and that’s from someone else a PhD, and that you’d think. Yeah, this is great. And it is great. But it can’t be sort of thing, but it can be really good for is it’s transcribing right now this podcast, and I love that I’m using a bit of software called Descript. and as I talk it transcribes and it’s remarkably accurate.
, anyway in wrapping up. I’d really, what I wanted to do is say a big thank you to everybody who has listened to the podcast. Every client that’s come through the door, the beautiful photographers who’ve come to the workshops. I just wanted to say thank you to every single one of you.
And I must give out a quick shout to Bob and Sylvia from . Georgia. In the states, they came over for one of our workshops. , and when I saw that they were flying over. I just assumed they were on holiday and decided to also come to the workshop. Nope. They came over for the workshop.
So we headed out for them the night before into Oxford. I’ve told this story a couple of times. And had the loveliest evening drank a beer in Oxford. They came to the workshop and. You never know quite where you’ll make friends as you go through life, but make friends we have, and it’s people like that.
It’s the photographers. It’s the clients. It’s the people we’ve met along the way. Our suppliers it’s you who listened to subscribe to the podcast? All of it. All of it brings us so much joy. I cannot tell you. And I cannot say thank you. Enough.
What the year ahead will bring. I honestly don’t know. But what I do know is how we’re going to react to it. We’re going to have a joyous, a creative, a positive and energized new year. So here’s to all of you, every one of you. Here’s to 📍 happiness health. Positivity and creativity. And if you really, really, really must make a new year’s resolution, make it this one.
To be kind to yourself. Take care.