pix improves

Back in July 2012 I stumbled across something called pix magazine and was so taken aback by it’s absurd fixation on girlie accessories for female photographers, other wise known as photographers, that I felt compelled to lay into it.

My problem with that edition of the magazine was its focus on pretty fripperies like flowery camera straps, pretty shoes and make-up and seemed to be written from the point of view of people who really didn’t have a clue what photography is beyond an excuse to buy pretty things. For a photographic magazine aimed at women photographer it featured very few photographers talking about their work or giving guidance on how to break into a male-dominated industry.

When the Spring 2013 issue dropped into my inbox I took another look. I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised with the transformation. This time around there is more focus on working photographers. This edition focusses on travel photography, so there’s plenty of scope for pretty pictures and they are present in abundance.

Cover of pix magazine

The latest edition of pix magazine. Big improvement!

The copy is still fairly light and a little fluffy for my tastes; photographers talking about capturing emotions and moments is something of a cliché and I still wish there was a magazine out there for people (of either gender) wanting to know more about the stories behind photographers who’ve made a success of their work. It would be nice to know the stories of photographers who have failed once or twice so we could all learn from their experiences. Stories of photographers who “love to capture the moment” aren’t really that interesting.

There are still articles on buying groovy kit, but then I suppose a magazine has to attract advertisers if it is to survive. I remember when I was much younger a magazine entitled PIC (People In Camera) which was interesting because it interviewed photographers in depth and pix could do more of that and still talk about accessories.

Credit where credit is due though, a change of editor has worked wonders and it would be good to see this direction pursued further. It might even become something I would spend time reading for the sake of a good read, rather than for the sake of a good blog article.

Chocolate zombies and shaving penguins’ bums

It’s always good to get a new client, but when that client happens to make chocolates you know life just got a little sweeter.

James Chocolates approached me a few weeks a go because being based in Somerset they wanted to find a more local photographer than their previous one (based in Essex) with whom they could build a relationship. I had a conversation with their marketing man Matt and took delivery of the first batch of these quirky chocolates to shoot.

Product photography isn’t my bread and butter, but having discussed my client’s requirements I knew I could help. I was pleased with the results from the first batch and more importantly, Matt and his designer were pleased too. Aware of what the designer needed to do with the photos once I’d delivered them I made sure I got feedback from the client and the designer to ensure I was presenting them with what they deeded and making the designer’s life as easy as possible.

With a few minor tweaks to the set-up I was presented with a larger second batch to tackle which included chocolate lollies for Halloween and Christmas treats. The results of the Halloween shoot are already in sales literature, and the Christmas one is underway.

Halloween chocolate lollies

Spooky Halloween chocolate lollies! Woooo!

One particularly tricky product to shoot was a selection bag which included a couple of large chocolate lollies. I wanted these to stand on their stick ends, against the bag and with a little bit of an angle. Chocolate may be sticky, but it’s obviously difficult to attach chocolate objects to other things, especially when trying to attach a top-heavy lolly to a paper bag. I ended up using duct tape on the back of one, and Velcro to hold the other in place against the bag. Hopefully you’ll see the result another time.

The Christmas shoot included mini crackers with chocolate penguins in, but I wanted to make some of the penguin figures stand up as if they were marching out of the crackers, which is where shaving their bums (ok, their feet, but bums is a funnier word!) came in. It occurred to me, while shaving their “bases” with a craft knife, what a curious job I have sometimes and how the obsession to make something look just right can leave me doing strange things.

Read lens review (not Len’s review)

I’m painfully aware that for the second week running I’ve missed publication day for my blog, which is normally on a Tuesday. For this I am quivering with apologia as I know some of you do little else on a Tuesday than await the publication of my next thrilling article; the truth is I’ve been busier than a bee with a very long to do list, and while I’m not sorry to be working and making a living I genuinely do regret the obvious disappointment caused by the non-appearance of fresh reading fodder for you here.

By way of compensation (or perhaps for some, this is a further slap in the face) I can present you with this lens review wot I wrote and which appears over on the Wex Photography blog. I do hope at least some of you go and read it and that a reasonable proportion of you (maybe 36.5% or thereabouts) might actually enjoy it. Even if 53.284% of those who click the above link actually read beyond the opening paragraph, there is a fighting chance that around 40.7239999 (recurring)% will read to the end. I suspect the larger proportion of those of you who respond positively to the survey question “Did you enjoy reading Tim’s excellent lens review?” will be lying, but that’s ok. I’m interested in statistics, not the truth.

Enough of this nonsense. Move your mouse pointer back to that link… go on… now cli…