Compelling Time-Lapse Photography Requires a Sharp Axe

“Almost every third assignment we now undertake has a time-lapse photography component”, says Chris Shain, co owner of specialist photography business, Images for Business. “This is because our clients, particularly those in industry, infrastructure, engineering or architecture are realising the wide and growing benefits time-lapse can make to their organisations.”

LONG TERM time-lapse projects are typically those that can take from several months to several years. Commonly requested by construction and civil engineering industries the time-lapse camera and control equipment is mounted in a purpose built protective housing powered by solar panels and data accessed remotely via 3G modem. Typical use of such time-lapse is for the communication of project progress to stakeholders and media. Images are recorded remotely, backed up off line and can be progressively accessed on line (website or private intranet) by clients during the course of the project.

SHORT TERM projects conversely take much less time, often requiring the recording of short time intervals for a sequence that could last as little as 15 minutes through to 12 hours or perhaps a weekend.

Ideally time-lapse is used in conjunction with still images when a few seconds or minutes of compelling time-lapse can be shown to demonstrate one or more particular aspects of a special project. This is particularly helpful in the marketing of a project to potential clients eg the showcasing of the work at a trade show.

 

The Diversity of Time-Lapse
A few seconds of selected time-lapse images from our client portfolio. 

 

The Importance of Planning: “To chop a tree quickly, spend twice the time sharpening your axe,” – Chinese proverb

Chris acknowledges that in no other aspect of commercial photography is the Chinese proverb, “To chop a tree quickly, spend twice the time sharpening your axe,” more pertinent than when planning a time-lapse assignment. “You cannot over plan for time-lapse,” says Chris.

Often the most important aspect of planning is determining the best vantage point for the shot and the obtaining of any necessary permission(s) to access this shot. “We keep all our specialist access capabilities and qualifications current so that we can promptly get to the most difficult places. You’d be surprised just how many stakeholders can become involved in a client assignment. Our clients trust us to work directly with all stakeholders on their behalf across a very broad range of inputs. We do this to achieve the very best outcomes for their time-lapse assignments. And critically both clients and stakeholders are happy with our communication and processes,” says Chris.

A keen eye is kept on the weather and particularly the orientation of sunrise and sunset to the subject over the span of a year. Other subject dependent observation may also be required for the movement of tides, wind and moon.

Special purpose built, stable mounting platforms are used for the cameras to ensure there is no shake from nearby machinery operations, strong wind or other inclement weather conditions.

The most important aspect of planning is to ensure the shot is properly framed. “We need to envision the end result and see how that hole in the frame will fill as the project progresses. We’ll take a good walk around the area that we are shooting from and to, we’ll imagine the shot and we’ll take a look at the scene to find the best location and composition. In imaging the shot we’re doing exactly what we would do as if we were shooting a single shot. When we do this we also imagine we brought only a single roll of film with only one exposure ! So the shot has to count.”

So too does the attention to detail in postproduction. “We continuously invest in technology to craft the most compelling time-lapse results for our clients and to give us a leading edge in the industry,” concludes Chris.

You can see these powerful time-lapse images on our web site here. Talk to Chris or Stephen about the benefits of incorporating time-lapse photography into your next photographic assignment to ensure just the right images are crafted for your business. Call us today on 02 9516 0758.

Communicating Architecture Through an Inspiring Image

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 “Dealing with architecture brings me very close to the state of mind required to make pictures. One also needs an old seeing eye, appropriate reflexes which embrace sensitive observations coupled with appropriate emotional responses.”

 – Max Dupain (1911-1992)

Australian modernist photographer Max Dupain was the photographer of choice for many architects including JØrn Utzon who designed the Sydney Opera House and Harry Seidler. His architectural images show his interest in light and shade, strong lines and unusual angles.

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“Dupain’s images also reveal what every architectural photographer knows is the decisive moment. That split second of time when the substance and the detail of the architectural subject are brought to life,” says Chris Shain, photographer and co principal of Images for Business.

 

“Dupain is certainly a huge influence to the way my partner Stephen (Stephen Antonopoulos, photographer and co principal of Images for Business) and I think about our approach to the photography of an architectural assignment. Like Dupain we also know that the decisive moment doesn’t happen without earnest pre planning of the shot and the particular assignment beforehand. Our clients certainly appreciate the collaborative and detailed approach we take to our work.”

 

Examine the image at the top (created for DEM and The Reserve Bank of Australia) and you’ll see we’ve used an intense sky to create a dramatic tension to the pronounced angulation and crisp muted colour of the building. We’ve acknowledged the symmetrical principles that architecture is built on to capture the same and so craft a particularly strong and compelling image.

Simple ideas to work with a photographer to help get the inspiring images you want.

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“The final quality of an image is generally determined by good collaboration, open communication and planning between the client and the photographer,” says Chris Shain, photographer and co principal of Images for Business. “Good planning really helps us to deliver just the right image – the one that truly inspires.”

Stephen Antonopoulos, a partner with Chris in Images for Business, works with clients to prepare a simple checklist when talking to us about their next job. A big part of the service we offer is to help our clients make all this work, Here’s a few ideas to consider in preparing for the next photo shoot.

 

WHO?

Who are the people to be photographed? Are they in the shot to give it scale and context, or are they to be prominent and the sole reason for the picture? If they are prominent, is there any relevant background information about the person that will help me understand what needs to be conveyed about them? Will you be getting permission from the subject or do I need to obtain usage consent from anyone being photographed? I love to have as much insight to the task as possible.

 

WHY?

How are the images to be used? What is their purpose? Will they be used formally or informally? Do the photographs need to reflect a particular or perhaps an existing style? Small format or large? Simple and Graphic or complex with lots of detail to look at ?Are they for a brochure, a web page, an annual report or newsletter online or in print, perhaps a large billboard or are you giving a print to a treasured employee ?

 

WHERE?

A pre shoot site visit if possible, will often sort many of these issues out prior to the day and its great to know where I’m going ! so I can work out how to get there efficiently and in good time. Do I need to contact any one to get access? Who do I liaise with anyone on site about logistical issues at the time of the shoot? Is it a construction site where I need to show my RISI, Pegasus or White Card? Does the location require proof of insurances or vehicle registration before I arrive? Will I need to be wearing any specific OH&S clothing or perhaps I’m mixing in with executives in a suit and tie ?

 

WHEN?

Its very helpful to know how long I’ve got to make the pictures, and if other activities are being planned around the shoot and the time people are expecting me to be there. It doesn’t help you or me if there are annoying disruptions going on to the normal workflow of the day-to-day business.

 

HOW?

Are there any specific requirements that need consideration eg time lapse, night works, potential weather or lighting issues ? Will we need to be careful about record keeping (maybe exact GPS position) for a later unknown use. What file format and size do you need delivered?  and pretty importantly, when do you need or expect the images to be delivered ?

Images for Business has some combined 40 years experience in collaborating with its clients and helping them get the best images possible in any given situation. Talk to Chris or Stephen about the importance of the brief in planning your next photographic assignment to ensure just the right images are crafted for your business. Call 02 9810 5000

The Secrets to Selecting Images for a Stand Out Website

IfB Home Page AltWe’ve just completed what has been quite a cathartic experience for Images for Business – the selection of images for our new website. The fundamentals of website build, ie; content management, sitemap, graphic design, functionality, user relevance and ease and SEO all seem to have been easy compared to the task of determining the right images. And so Stephen and I got to thinking are we necessarily alone here? We looked at the websites for those businesses we have been customers for in the past week and came to the conclusion that we were not.

Our shared problem was relevance. With over 40 years as professional photographers between us there is no shortage of quality images to select from – just which ones to choose. The problem with those websites we reviewed last week was the lack of quality images.

What we observed was; old images that contradicted a new context, images taken by amateurs or the photography hobbyist in the organisation, poor image resolution, poor or simply no lighting, the absence of any editing to crop or highlight and the unsatisfactory use of stock images.

Whilst we might acknowledge their recognition of the need for having images of their products unfortunately the execution fails them, their brand and consequently their intending customers.

One of the first things a potential customer does when looking at a service provider is to examine that provider’s website. It is within a few very quick moments that an impression of trust is formed and a decision made as to whether to buy or engage.

As partners and photographers in Images for Business, we follow a few simple guidelines when collaborating with a client about a photography shoot for a website. We’d recommend:

  • Showing positive imagery. Happy, smiling principals and employees will appeal to and generate positive emotions in site visitors;
  • Photos of people. They’re good, as people relate to seeing other people. However avoid the clichéd and meaningless images;
  • Less is best. Fewer bolder images are better than lots of small ones. Each photograph should be significant.

In selecting images for our new website we were also keen to:

  • Ensure the relevance of the images to the galleries and client case studies on the site;
  • Keep contrasts high as contrast brings out colours which make images appear both vivid and stunning;
  • Use and show images of appropriate resolution;
  • Show the breadth of our work but to narrowly illustrate it;
  • Make it easy for the images to be viewed and for the studio to be contacted.

Have we achieved what we set out to do? We encourage you to view our new site and welcome your feedback and enquiry at studio@imagesforbusiness.com.au

Images for Business has extensive experience in building image libraries for client websites. Talk to us about the importance in crafting just the right images for your website. Call 02 9516 0758

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The Importance of Crafted Images in Annual Reports

The annual report is an obligatory communication to an organisation’s immediate and interested stakeholders. Whether a public company or not for profit and/or non-government organisation the most recent history of the organisation’s performance is recorded in accord with specified regulatory reporting requirements.

Originally the carrier of rudimentary sets of financial accounts financial reports now give organisations the ability to communicate rather than merely record their activities. In so doing they have the very real ability to reinforce and add to the value and power of their brands.

The Utility of an Image in an Annual Report

Crafted images are a particularly accessible element of an annual report. Whilst complex financial data requires a specialised knowledge to be understood, photographs do not and the reader will easily determine a reference from images seen.

Photographs can be rhetorical. Unlike the financial data contained in an annual report photographs are not subject to regulation nor audit or other review. They therefore represent a freedom in how an organisation may represent itself and its brand. Photographs in annual reports can even be viewed as symbols and metaphors shared between the organisation and the reader.

Across a period of time photographs in an annual report will also enable themes and trends to be identified within the organisation’s changing political and economic setting.

Images for Business has some 40 years experience in creating perfectly crafted images for the annual reports of a diverse range of organisations. Ask them about the importance of shooting the right images to enhance a brand when your picture needs to say a thousand words.