Pictures of the year

Last year was my busiest so far with more business, more photos and more new clients than ever before.

On top of that I published my first book, Tring People - Portraits of a Town which was an amazing experience. They say that to improve you need to be out of your comfort zone and I think from about April to October I was thoroughly out of mine!

On selecting my favourite images of the year it always surprises me how much variety I encounter, something which makes the job increasingly interesting - and challenging!

I do a lot of work with schools, colleges and universities but I’m not that comfortable uploading images from those shoots so it’s easier just to leave them out. However if you are interested in seeing a selection visit Berkhamsted School, Lockers Park School, Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries, West Herts College and the University of Northampton.

And in no particular order, here we go…

The petrol heads amongst you will know this Mad Max dune buggy-type monster is an Ariel Nomad. We shot this at about 5am (if not earlier!) near Ashridge and this was one of the key images I was keen to get from the shoot. We spent plenty of time shooting this wonderful car in water, mud and dust but I like the serenity of this shot. Man and machine in harmony!

The petrol heads amongst you will know this Mad Max dune buggy-type monster is an Ariel Nomad. We shot this at about 5am (if not earlier!) near Ashridge and this was one of the key images I was keen to get from the shoot. We spent plenty of time shooting this wonderful car in water, mud and dust but I like the serenity of this shot. Man and machine in harmony!

It’s been a pleasure to shoot the  Pepper Show  for the last five years or so. Apart from being an excellent fundraiser for a very worthwhile cause it’s also a fantastic live music show. This was one of those ‘right place, right time’ images. Singer Tom Billington was giving it large on stage when all of a sudden his son stepped up right next to me and - click. Father and son in musical solidarity!

It’s been a pleasure to shoot the Pepper Show for the last five years or so. Apart from being an excellent fundraiser for a very worthwhile cause it’s also a fantastic live music show. This was one of those ‘right place, right time’ images. Singer Tom Billington was giving it large on stage when all of a sudden his son stepped up right next to me and - click. Father and son in musical solidarity!

Earlier in the year I was commissioned by Help for Heroes to photograph former soldiers and their artwork for an upcoming  exhibition  exploring how art can help their recovery. This was taken in the Help for Heroes garden in the naval base in Plymouth.

Earlier in the year I was commissioned by Help for Heroes to photograph former soldiers and their artwork for an upcoming exhibition exploring how art can help their recovery. This was taken in the Help for Heroes garden in the naval base in Plymouth.

This photo of former model Beverley Dodds was commissioned by a skin cancer charity. Beverley used to cover herself in Coke to help get the perfect tan. She is now recovering from skin cancer and this image was featured across many national newspapers, magazines and websites.

This photo of former model Beverley Dodds was commissioned by a skin cancer charity. Beverley used to cover herself in Coke to help get the perfect tan. She is now recovering from skin cancer and this image was featured across many national newspapers, magazines and websites.

The following three images were taken for my book  Tring People - Portraits of a Town . I told each sitter that there were no rules and they could do anything they liked. This gentleman closed his eyes and looked so serene I couldn’t resist.

The following three images were taken for my book Tring People - Portraits of a Town. I told each sitter that there were no rules and they could do anything they liked. This gentleman closed his eyes and looked so serene I couldn’t resist.

One of my favourites. The relaxed pose, the confidence and a face full of stories.

One of my favourites. The relaxed pose, the confidence and a face full of stories.

Taken at a local butchers in Tring. I love the attitude!

Taken at a local butchers in Tring. I love the attitude!

This was taken at the newly refurbished South Bank Centre in London. The company which commissioned me had been responsible for the carpentry on these multi-coloured ceiling lights.

This was taken at the newly refurbished South Bank Centre in London. The company which commissioned me had been responsible for the carpentry on these multi-coloured ceiling lights.

Help for Heroes asked me to come to their HQ in Wiltshire to photograph their choir.

Help for Heroes asked me to come to their HQ in Wiltshire to photograph their choir.

The Little Sock Company, based locally, needed some imagery to promote the launch of their new business. I spent a morning crawling on the floor with lots of little people while they played. Terrific fun!

The Little Sock Company, based locally, needed some imagery to promote the launch of their new business. I spent a morning crawling on the floor with lots of little people while they played. Terrific fun!

This was taken in a synagogue in West London and commissioned by a stone supplier. I had never stepped into a synagogue before so I was totally overwhelmed and honoured to be with them while they prayed.

This was taken in a synagogue in West London and commissioned by a stone supplier. I had never stepped into a synagogue before so I was totally overwhelmed and honoured to be with them while they prayed.

A commercial project commissioned via  Satellite Creative  to shoot a trailer business in Hemel Hempstead for its new website.

A commercial project commissioned via Satellite Creative to shoot a trailer business in Hemel Hempstead for its new website.

This PR shoot for Uno buses features a stunning De Havilland DH 90A Dragonfly and some shiny new Uno Dragonfly buses. The plane seemingly flew very close to the buses getting a tad closer every time!

This PR shoot for Uno buses features a stunning De Havilland DH 90A Dragonfly and some shiny new Uno Dragonfly buses. The plane seemingly flew very close to the buses getting a tad closer every time!

This was one of a series of images taken at the University of Northampton’s degree show. These exceptional portraits, that look like photographs, are in fact incredibly detailed paintings.

This was one of a series of images taken at the University of Northampton’s degree show. These exceptional portraits, that look like photographs, are in fact incredibly detailed paintings.

This wonderful tightrope walker, part of the The Bullzini Family featured in Waddesdon Manor’s spectacular weekend event, Feast. Shortly after this was taken I was ushered away - just in case!

This wonderful tightrope walker, part of the The Bullzini Family featured in Waddesdon Manor’s spectacular weekend event, Feast. Shortly after this was taken I was ushered away - just in case!

Taken at Arctic One’s ParaTriathlon at Dorney Lake in the summer, this is Arctic One ambassador and European, World & Paralympic Champion, Andy Lewis MBE.

Taken at Arctic One’s ParaTriathlon at Dorney Lake in the summer, this is Arctic One ambassador and European, World & Paralympic Champion, Andy Lewis MBE.

I was approached by leading trainer brand, HOKA to photograph various running events for a press trip. The runs took place just down the road from me in Tring, Ivinghoe and ending up at Champneys.

I was approached by leading trainer brand, HOKA to photograph various running events for a press trip. The runs took place just down the road from me in Tring, Ivinghoe and ending up at Champneys.

I undertake about a dozen interiors-style shoots every year from luxury homes in London to major construction projects but this is closer to home. This is the newly-opened  Home Office  in Tring, offering freelancers and small companies a space to meet and rent office space.

I undertake about a dozen interiors-style shoots every year from luxury homes in London to major construction projects but this is closer to home. This is the newly-opened Home Office in Tring, offering freelancers and small companies a space to meet and rent office space.

Backstage at the Swanbourne Music Festival this is the guitar rack belonging to frontman Roy Stride…

Backstage at the Swanbourne Music Festival this is the guitar rack belonging to frontman Roy Stride…

…and Scouting for Girls in action.

…and Scouting for Girls in action.

Countess Spencer giving a talk to students at the University of Northampton.

Countess Spencer giving a talk to students at the University of Northampton.

I spend a lot of time at the wonderful Court Theatre in Tring photographing and filming various shows. This image was of the sell-out rock musical Rent. Definitely one of the highlights of the year!

I spend a lot of time at the wonderful Court Theatre in Tring photographing and filming various shows. This image was of the sell-out rock musical Rent. Definitely one of the highlights of the year!

Live photography - comedian Phill Jupitus

Phill Jupitis

For the past four years or so I've had the privilege of photographing lots of comedians who take part in the annual Tringe Festival run by the Get Stuffed Comedy club in Tring.

As well as the festival, The Court Theatre in Tring also hosts plenty of touring comedians and in March the legendary comedian, musician and poet Phill Jupitus brought his show Juplicity to the stage.

Phill Jupitus

The theatre itself is a pleasure to shoot in. Apart from the audience's view you can also photograph along the sides and sometimes the back of the stage so it means you can get a lot of variety and different angles of the performer.

But it all amounts to nothing unless you can get *the* expression. Some comedians stand still, others charge about, ranting and raving and Phill Jupitus does both.

Phill Jupitus

I always shoot in manual when photographing live events - I've tried shutter and aperture priority but it never delivers the dramatic results as totally overriding the controls. I'm always fascinated by the black space and the isolation of the act, something the audience would never see.

Phill Jupitus

Sometimes, if I'm lucky and standing in the wings I'll get 'the look'. The 'you've been spotted' look. Sometimes I'll get a funny face, or a sticking out tongue, or sometimes, something else. Like this image above. Is he posing? Is he thinking? Have I distracted him? Who knows but it's a strong look.

Quite often I'll spend time backstage with the acts either before or after the show and I'm always intrigued by the difference between the act and the person. Some comedians pace up and down rehearsing the set, others just seem to step on stage and deliver themselves. Jupitus was on stage before the show started and both during the interval (where he handed out Tunnock's teacakes - don't ask - you'll have to see the show!) and at the end, he mingled with the audience, took selfies and chatted. No showbiz persona, no attitude - just a funny, bright and engaging comedian.

You can see more photos of comedians by clicking here.

Phill Jupitus

For the camera geeks amongst us these were shot on a Canon 5D MK3, 70-200mm f2.8, manual, spot metered, 125th f2.8 ISO 2000 and most importantly - using silent shooting.

Who are your photos for?

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New imagery for door manufacturers Urban Front

New imagery for door manufacturers Urban Front

This may strike you as an odd question. But it's always a stumbling block when I meet new clients to discuss their imagery. We regularly talk about what imagery reflects you as a business but can rarely identify who it is for.

Who is your demographic? Do we need to consider cultural differences? What are the implications of using stock imagery? Is black and white appropriate?
Your prospective customers may have already decided whether they want to use you before they've read a single word on your website - but only if your brand imagery is right.

New imagery for door manufacturers Urban Front

Towards the end of last year I was commissioned by door designers Urban Front to undertake a series of candid portraits of their workforce. The images were to be used on Instagram so needed to be a tad more punchy than you'd expect to see on the website.

At the same time, Elizabeth Assaf, co-founder of Urban Front was in need of a portrait for her new book Door Couture. She wanted to come across as relaxed and stylish - very much herself. 
We shot in the factory, the showroom and outside and ended up with way, way more than we needed but at least we had options!
Here's a few from that shoot and the one that ended up in print.

"Love your work – you put me at ease straightaway and it’s always a very fun experience. The pictures have surpassed any ideas I had and completely work for my book and for other press opportunities coming up. Thanks so much you are a star at what you do!"
Elizabeth Assaf - Urban Front

Brand building

Satellite Creative recently commissioned me to shoot some new imagery for TRL's forthcoming website.

Satellite Creative recently commissioned me to shoot some new imagery for TRL's forthcoming website.

Sometime around the middle of last year I had been thinking about my brand. You know, me wrapped up in an identity with a fancy logo, perhaps some thought-provoking colours and a win-all strapline. 

But I had no idea how hard it was to even start. Who’s it for? What should it say? What should it look like? What colours should I use and how are these interpreted by different people and across different cultures? Who are my clients now, but where should I be heading? Will it be future-proof?

I started looking at other photographers’ logos and branding but didn’t come away particularly inspired. Many of them felt 'off the shelf' and not really....me. 

I’ve been working with the team from Satellite Creative for a while and have always liked their design work so naturally went to them and blurted out all the above questions.

We had a look at various fonts, discussed colours - which ones are cheap but impactful and which ones were subtle and high end. I wanted to keep the logo simple, clean and understated. We discussed lower case, upper case, shapes and tints and I must confess by the end my head was melting. 

A few weeks later I was presented with eight options for my logo. Three of which I was happy to use straight away and one which was so, so close - but like all awkward customers I had an idea. 

I was keen to explore the pros and cons of removing the cross bar from the letter A but was troubled that it may be confusing to the eye or may even be used in another alphabet. We toyed with moving it up and down and then taking it off the H for Hollier... 

I showed the finished logo to my wife, friends and colleagues and everyone loved it - which was a great relief! It was important that it was something that represented me and with agreement from others it was time for the big launch.

And here it is heading up this page.

Some recent examples of building/construction projects.

 


Here’s what Viki Brockett, the account director of Satellite Creative had to say about the design: “We've been partnering with Adam for over three years now, so the team were very flattered when he approached us to help refresh his brand identity. The monogram is inspired by a camera's viewfinder, with the AH using the crossbar of the letters as the horizon line. We kept the line weights light and chose Avant Garde to create the logo - we felt both were confident yet discreet, which captures the very essence of Adam's persona.”

I found the whole experience definitely more enriching than just searching for fancy fonts and a flash design. The process of finding out who you are as a brand and how it may be seen by your customers involved a fair bit of soul searching and was very fulfilling.

But what’s this got to do with photography? Because the questions I asked myself about my brand are exactly the questions I ask new clients before undertaking their imagery. Anyone can take pictures, but the trick is knowing what to photograph.

Let's talk about the photography in your brand by calling me on 07801 414732 or email adam@adamhollier.co.uk