The Kaleidoscope Plus Group Ambassador Pack by CWDmedia

CWDmedia takes stock following busy year with new clients

The end of another year approaches, and what a busy year it has been!  So busy, in fact, that I’ve struggled to find time to keep the CWDmedia site updated periodically, which is of course what Google likes when it indexes your site for its search engine results.

It has been a pleasure working with regular clients including Xtreme Fitness, Farmer Phil’s Festival, Sweetcheeks Beauty Boutique and more, while it was great to welcome on board a number of new clients across a diverse number of industries:

The Kaleidoscope Plus Group

The Kaleidoscope Plus Group Gala Ball 2018West Bromwich-based charity The Kaleidoscope Plus Group has been promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in the Midlands and further afield for over 45 years.  #TeamKPG engaged CWDmedia to work on a number of projects in 2018, including key publications (corporate & ambassador brochures, annual report and more), fundraising toolkits and social media support.  The latter involved me providing photography services at several fundraising events across the West Midlands.  I even got involved in the fundraising myself, raising over £1,500 for the charity by shaving off my beloved beard – a feat which got special mention at #TeamKPG’s Annual Gala Ball, for which CWDmedia was a sponsor.

Double Vision Mobile Bars

Shropshire-based Double Vision Mobile Bars provides quality mobile bars, hog roasts and candy carts for all manner of functions across the county.  They engaged CWDmedia to redesign its company website, the anticipated launch of which is in early 2019.

Jordan Red

As mentioned in my previous update, Jordan Red is an exciting new band whose founding member Dan Baker is a long time client of CWDmedia.  I was engaged to develop their initial logo ideas into a finished article and create their official website which launched in December 2018, with expansion phases anticipated in 2019.

Rosie O’Sullivan

Rosie O'Sullivan 'The Nashville Sessions' EPBirmingham singer Rosie O’Sullivan first rose to prominence when she wowed the judges on Britain’s Got Talent with her soulful voice, prompting David Walliams to say “I just want to hear you sing all night” and Simon Cowell to comment “Absolutely bloody fantastic!”  CWDmedia first worked with Rosie to design artwork for her 2017 release ‘Tempo’ and the subsequent digital single ‘Time’.

This year Rosie engaged CWDmedia to provide art direction for her new double EP ‘The Nashville Sessions’ and supporting digital single ‘Help Me Make It Through The Night’, both of which were showcased during a promotional tour to Nashville itself.

Inar Group

The newest client to join the CWDmedia roster is Stafford-based Inar Group – an engineering and software programming business with an exciting new project set for launch in 2019.  CWDmedia has been engaged to design Inar Group’s corporate website, also set for a 2019 launch.

So in summary, there’s lots going on and some exciting things planned for 2019 already.  I can always do more, however – if you have a requirement for anything design-related, I can probably help.  Get in touch and let’s get to work – happy New Year to you all!

Photography: Positioning and the Rule of Thirds

When taking photographs we are all aware that there are tricks for getting great shots. Pointing and shooting works for some people but the majority of us are looking for something better than that. That’s where the rules of positioning comes in. But although we call them ‘rules’, they’re not strict, they are guidelines to help you get those great shots you see in magazines, galleries and on mantlepieces.

So what is the rule of thirds?

When you look through your lens, imagine 2 horizontal and vertical lines splitting up the image in front of you. Then try to position your image along these lines.  Why? Because it makes your photographs consistent, professional and definitely more pleasing to the eye.

How to use the rule of thirds?

You can imagine the lines are there for yourself or you can set them up to show as you shoot, on your digital camera for ease.

The horizontal line helps you line up the camera with the landscape in front of you (for example the upper line could line up with the sky and the lower with the ground). And the vertical lines help you determine where to place your subject.

Avoid ‘Mugshots’

You would think a centralised shot of a person would be a great way to shoot a portrait, as it makes it symmetrical, but more often than not it creates more of an uncomfortable ‘mugshot’ style. But by placing your subject off-centre you can create a much more natural image. This also gives you the opportunity to get creative with the surrounding empty space.

Tips for Shooting

  • Like we said before, it’s not about hard rules here. The guidelines don’t have to be perfectly aligned to your image. As long as you get your subject and horizon is close to these lines, you will still get a great shot.
  • If you are going to take a picture of a horizon, try to incorporate another subject into the frame – like a person or a tree. This will act as an anchor for the image and will provide a more interesting focal point.
  • If you are going to try to capture a vertical subject, like a person or building, take it slightly off centre so the image doesn’t appear split down the middle.
  • We are drawn to people’s eyes, so place eyes near one of the intersections of the guidelines.
  • Give a subject ‘breathing space’ when taking a few portrait shots, put them slightly off centre, it’s much more aesthetically pleasing and natural.
  • When doing a close up, it’s also good to provide some empty space. The whole frame does not need to be filled up. As long as you line your subject up with the guidelines, the image will look great.
  • Leave more space in front of moving subjects so that you can capture the direction they are travelling in. Your picture will then be able to tell a story.
  • Even if you didn’t capture the image right in reality, you can still use the rule of thirds when editing. On software like Photoshop, you can use built in crop guide overlays to help you see the lines as you crop.

But by all means play around with your images. The rule of thirds won’t work for everything, experiment with other styles but use it as an idea of how you can make your photos more pleasing to the eye and less conventional.

How to Get Your Model to Act Naturally

It can feel a little awkward for clients standing in front of a camera posing, particularly if they’re not used to it.  And especially when the photographer is not someone they know.  But after doing numerous shoots for various projects (from wedding shots, to live performances and business profiles) you tend to pick up a few tips along the way to get your model to act naturally in front of that lens.

Talk to Your Client

This might seem like an obvious one but it really will help make everyone feel at ease. Chat over the phone before the shoot and do a little pre-snap pep talk. By doing that, you will not only show them that you care about being on the same page as them – you both want a quality outcome, right? – but also that you want it to be a comfortable experience for all involved. Instant stress relief for you and your client.

Have a Laugh!

It sounds a bit weird but there is nothing more calming than being able to have a laugh when you’re working. Make the shoot as fun as possible!  Chat as you take photos about things they care about and you will see the real model begin to shine through.  Natural smiles and laughter always look the best in photos after all.

Encourage Comfort

Ask your client to wear something that they feel good in. If they feel uncomfortable then they will certainly look that way too.  Relaxation is the key to great results.

Poses

Some poses can be really uncomfortable for clients to hold, so always be open to trying new postures.  For example, if it’s a dance style shoot and they are struggling to hold that perfectly pointed leg, take your shots quickly and then move on to other ideas.

Give Encouragement

Show off a few of your photos so far to show them they look great and definitely tell them when a shot has really hit the mark – it’s an instant confidence boost!

Welcome to the new look CWDmedia

As the saying goes, “New Year, New You”.  Well, in addition to mentally committing to get fitter, eat cleaner and rid myself of my bad habits, I thought I’d give the CWDmedia site something of a makeover ahead of what I hope will be a busy year on the freelancing front.

Besides the facelift, you probably won’t notice an awful lot different with CWDmedia save for the introduction of a blog, in which I intend to provide straightforward and practical advice, ideas and tips on all things graphic design, photography, copywriting and marketing.  There’s already a few posts – feel free to browse and, if you’ve something positive to add to any, leave a comment!

 

Paper daisy photography & Beauty by Sweet Cheeks

Make Up Artists – Are they Worth the Money?

When having photographs taken, you want to get the best possible shots you can. Whether it’s for a wedding, a corporate shoot or for an album cover, it’s maybe worth considering the use of make up.

People often misconstrue the idea of using cosmetics in photo shoots for vanity reasons – we’ve all seen the news and the negative publicity that airbrushing gets. But really the use of make up is purely to assist the camera.

In the same way lights are used to highlight the face and features, make up is used to compliment it.

Make Up in Photo Shoots

The way women put make up on for everyday wear is actually very different to what a make up artist would put on for a photo shoot. To be honest you would probably look at the model at first and think she was wearing far too much, but in front of lights and a lens, her face is transformed.

Make Up Artist Techniques

When a make up artist selects colours, it’s not always to compliment clothing, it’s to make that person’s eye colour stand out or to change the shape of their face with highlights and shaded contouring.  And let’s not forget, make up is not just limited to women – just ask Steel Panther or Mötley Crüe!

So, Make Up Artists – Are they Worth the Money?

To answer this question, it’s obviously cheaper simply to make the most of what you already have, but equally, if you want a professional look to your images, sometimes only a make up artist will do. They have the tools, knowledge and experience to make your model look and feel their best, and that’s exactly what a photographer wants in order to capture the best shots.

Make Up Artists also know how to compliment skin tones, how to balance colour pigmentations and how to diffuse light so the shot can come out flawless first time.  It’s about getting the shot right without needing hours of retouching in Photoshop – saving time and money… and who doesn’t want to do that in this day and age?

 

Want to know more about CWDmedia’s photography services? Get in touch today!