Personal Track Safety or Track Visitors Permit?

Personal Track Safety or Track Visitors Permit?

25 years of Railway Photography

2019 marks 25 years of professional photography for the rail industry for Peter and his team at Alvey & Towers. During this time much about the rail industry has changed, and much about the photography industry has changed alongside it. When Alvey & Towers started out it was with film running through our cameras and transparencies being sent out to our customers. Nowadays we can capture a digital image and send it to a client straight from site!

Over the years photographic commissions have taken us to many different railway locations and continue to do so with shoots including scenic trackside location work, working depots and yards, PR shots of events and personnel, passengers on board trains and studio work for product photography.

What certainly has not changed is the fact that if photography is taking place anywhere within the railway environment there are stringent safety procedures that must be adhered to at all times. For this reason, historically Peter has been PTS certified and always carried a Personal Track Safety Certificate.

 

Personal Track Safety Certificate

In order for a Personal Track Safety Certificate to be valid during a photoshoot it is essential that the commissioning client has facilitated sub-sponsorship of Peter prior to the shoot taking place. For some of our clients this has not posed any problem at all, however increasingly of late it has become apparent that some companies are encountering difficulties with the administration for this.

An alternative option for arranging railway site access for Peter is to issue a Track Visitors Permit, commonly know as a TVP. Several of our clients have tried to exercise this option instead of arranging sub-sponsorship, but unfortunately TVPs cannot be issued to anybody already holding a Personal Track Safety Certificate, so they have been refused.

In order to assist our clients in making arrangements for their railway shoot, Peter has now taken the decision not to renew his Personal Track Safety Certificate. This means that for any photoshoots requiring access near or on a railway line, a client will be able to apply to the Sentinel system for a Track Visitors Permit, which should make the whole process much more simple and swifter than it has been in the past.

Peter continues to carry a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card, which is beneficial for access to areas where site building development is taking place. He also of course carries a full set of PPE at all times, and has completed the Industry Common Induction Qualification.

Working for our railway clients has been enormously enjoyable over the last quarter of a century and we look forward to continuing to do so, whatever changes may come our way.

 

Business Headshot Inspiration

Business Headshot Inspiration

A Professional Business Portrait To Suit Your Style

Business Portraits – Mobile Photography Studio – Head shots on Location

Corporate headshots or business portraits are not simply to put a face to a name. They can serve to tell a story, illuminate an individual or create an image depending on the style of photography and location you choose.

Find out more about our professional business portraits and head shots on our dedicated page HERE

Fashion Photography Ideas

Fashion Photography Ideas

Creative affordable fashion photography

Lifestyle Fashion – Studio Fashion – Product shots – Creative fashion

Fashion photography comes in all shapes, sizes and styles. With or without models, out on location, or on your own premises with our professionally equipped mobile studio. A few select items, or a photoshoot for a full season, whatever your requirements are we can work with you to develop your individual style and branding and achieve your desired results.

Putting together a photography brief

Putting together a photography brief

To get the most from your professional photographer it's essential to give them a concise brief. Here are a few pointers to help you plan your photoshoot:

Where applicable please ensure you have given us the full address (including postcode), contact name and contact number for the venue where your photography is to take place.

If photography is to take place at several different locations please remember to allow not only adequate travelling time but  also set up / take down time for each location

If you have booked a full day, or evening, of photography please be sure to schedule in a couple of short breaks and some time for lunch for the photographer (they work better when fuelled!).

If a site induction is necessary prior to the shoot please bear in mind that they can take up to an hour, you will need to factor this into your schedule for the day.

If model / product releases are required it is your responsibility to ensure that they are supplied and signed on the day unless otherwise arranged with ourselves. Asking the photographer to get forms signed is not a good use of their time and eats into your valuable photography time.

When do you need your images by? We will always endeavour to get your photographs to you as soon as possible, but if you have a set deadline or need them for Press Release the next day please let us know in advance or we may not be able to accommodate your requirements.

Have you supplied us with a Purchase Order number / reference? Images will not be released until full invoicing details and purchase order numbers have been received by Alvey & Towers.

Although we work with digital cameras capturing your images instantly, there is a post-shoot process that all images must go through before they are supplied to you. This is a quality control process ensuring that they are cropped, colour balanced, sharp and generally tidied up so that you can be sure of excellent results which can be used instantly. If images require more substantial digital work (e.g. removal of items, adding of blue skies / backgrounds ) there will be an additional cost as this work can take a substantial amount of time. If you think this is likely to be needed please discuss it with us before the shoot if possible.

Have you told us how and where you would like the finished images delivering to?

One set of high resolution images will be supplied to the person specified. These images are originals and are the responsibility of the nominated recipient. They should be stored and backed up safely. Should copies of the images be required at a future date we may be able to supply copies, however we do not store images indefinitely, where we are able to supply copies a fee will be charged for administration. It is far better for everybody in your organisation if the images are stored safely from the start, and anybody who may need access to them is made aware of their whereabouts.

Professional Aerial Photography – Showcasing Your Business From A Different Perspective

Professional Aerial Photography – Showcasing Your Business From A Different Perspective

Aerial photography (or videography) via the use of drones, also known as sUAVs or small unmanned aerial vehicle systems, has landed, and love it or loathe it, it is most definitely here to stay. Over the last few years there has been some bad press for this extremely useful and innovative technology. Usually, when examined in detail the stories of aircraft near misses, property trespass or even public injury can be traced back to ignorant drone “pilots” with no training, displaying total disregard for the detailed rules, regulations and guidelines that have been issued by the Civil Aviation Authority to avoid incidents like these. At Peter Alvey Photography we have been working with our drone for many years now and it has become an invaluable part of our equipment that enables us to offer our clients literally another dimension to their images.

WHO NEEDS AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY?

Professional elevated or aerial photography is not a new thing, and has been employed by many different industry sectors to showcase their products or services over the years including the construction industry, property developers, domestic and commercial estate agents, telecommunications companies and outdoor leisure and hospitality providers to name just a very few.

Drones can be used for both stills photography and videography to supply images and footage for all sorts of uses including promotion and advertising, progress work, inspections and site analysis, even weddings.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF USING A SUAV?

So what are the benefits of photography and videography shot from a sUAV? Well, traditionally there have been three main options for aerial work, either the use of a fixed mast system, or employment of an aeroplane or helicopter to send your photographer up in.

The benefit of a drone over a fixed mast system is all in it’s versatility. Basically with a drone there are no angle limits, your stills photographs or video footage can be shot from whatever angle you require. Also the fixed mast system for elevated photography is generally limited to a height of around 90 feet, whereas an sUAV can be flown by a qualified operative to the CAA’s specified limit of up to 400 feet. Usually a fixed mast system is operated from a van which has to be driven onto site, this isn’t always practical for some terrains and again a drone wins out here as it can be operated over all terrains (provided they have been approved following an initial online site survey).

The main benefit of a drone over an aeroplane or helicopter is pretty obvious … it’s more economical, it will also be able to fly at lower heights to secure more detailed shots than you would achieve from an aircraft.

LET’S GO – WHEN CAN YOU CARRY OUT MY COMMISSION?

Okay, you’ve decided you need some aerial photography, and you’ve identified where and when you’d like it doing. This is the point at which it is vital that you employ the services of a professional photographer who is a recognised, qualified sUAV operative. There is no cutting corners here, it is a legal requirement in the UK and Europe that your chosen photographer has completed the necessary CAA courses, has a CAA Permission to Complete Commercial Work certificate, carries adequate public liability insurance (and can prove this) and is working under the CAA’s RPQ-S license. If they do not meet any of these criteria, and something goes wrong they will not be insured.

You’ll need to send your chosen photographer a brief outlining the type of photography or video work you would like doing, and (and this is really important), the exact location details of where you would like the flight to take place. Before your aerial commission can be agreed your drone pilot will need to carry out a series of checks to confirm that the area is suitable to be flown over, and whether any additional permissions need seeking before the flight can take place.

Restrictions on a flight can be in force for a whole range of reasons including flying over populated areas, flying near airports, around military zones, or near police or air ambulance helicopter bases. In the East Midlands for example we have East Midlands Airport to consider, and in the West Midlands there is Birmingham Airport. As well as these larger factors that need consideration, there are also smaller more localised ones including trees, power lines, tall buildings etc. Whether it’s in Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Northants or Nottinghamshire there will always be some extensive pre-flight survey work to do before a flight can be agreed.

FLIGHT DATE AND TIME AGREED – WHAT NEXT?

On the run up to your aerial photography date your photographer will be keeping a very close eye on the weather. If the chosen date proves windy or rainy you should expect your shoot to be postponed, professional photographers will not fly if the weather conditions are not suitable. At best the photographic results will not be as good as they would be on a calmer, dry day, and at worst there may be safety implications.

And so you see, when you commission some professional aerial photography or videography, there is a great deal of pre-flight ground work that is necessary before your shoot can take place. All of that work though will ensure that your aerial photoshoot achieves the very best results for you and your business, and will allow your potential customers to view your services or products from a whole new angle.

Professional Night Photography In London, Derbyshire And Northamptonshire

Professional Night Photography In London, Derbyshire And Northamptonshire

Photography is often assumed to be a seasonal industry, and depending on what your product or service is you may well assume that professional photographers go into some kind of hibernation state once winter is upon us, emerging only as spring starts to creep over the horizon. However for some of our clients winter is the very best time of the year to get as much photography done as possible. Dusk and night photoshoots are much in demand at this time of year, sometimes because of their aesthetic nature, and sometimes simply because that’s the only time that the activity being photographed actually happens.

If any of you have tried to take photographs at night time you will know how difficult it can be, low light levels and slow shutter speeds are not for the faint hearted! Professional photographers bring not only the necessary equipment to a shoot, but also the benefit of detailed knowledge and years of experience in how to tackle photography at night and achieve the very best results.

In the last few months we have been kept very busy covering night photoshoots. Early February found us on location airside at Gatwick Airport. The shoot started in the late afternoon, and then continued through dusk and into the night. Our brief was to show the lighting in the area in it’s best … well … light if you’ll  excuse the pun. This assignment took a great deal of time and effort to organise, but when everything came to fruition on the night the resulting images were stunning.

A little closer to home, in Ilkeston Derbyshire, we were asked to photograph the newly refurbished railway station. On the run up to the shoot the weather forecast was dubious and rain looked like a possibility, so a dusk shoot was suggested. Rain obviously isn’t generally the photographer’s friend, but combined with nightfall and effective lighting it can be used to really enhance a photograph and provide dramatic effect.

Another benefit of a winter timed night shoot is that night falls a whole lot earlier than in the summer. Whilst many of us are bemoaning the short days and long winter nights the professional photographer is welcoming the chance to get started at 5pm, instead of 11.30pm later in the year.

Sometimes though, there  is no choice. Many industries carry out their activities overnight to ensure minimal disruption during the day, e.g. road and rail repairs are frequently undertaken in the early hours of the morning. Because Peter is well known for his transport photography, and carries a Personal Track Safety Certificate for his rail industry work he is often commissioned to photograph these projects as they are happening overnight. It’s a real privilege and absolutely fascinating to be asked to document this world of busy industry which many of us are totally unaware even exists.

Of course the clocks will be changing soon, and the days will start to draw out again. Hopefully spring and summer will bring us some sunshine and bright blue skies for our daytime location shoots, but we’ll still be carrying out our night assignments, just starting them a little later than at the moment!

Why Should You Invest In A Professional Business Portrait?

Why Should You Invest In A Professional Business Portrait?

Did you hear the one about the builder who’s own home was never finished because he was always too busy working on everybody elses, or the plumber with the ever leaking tap in the bathroom? Well … meet the partner of a professional photography business who to her horror realised she hadn’t updated her business portrait recently … and is putting that right straight away!

It’s a standing joke amongst photographers that they don’t like to have their photograph taken and so they chose a career behind the camera, but in the corporate world a professional business portrait (sometimes known as an executive portrait) is an essential component, contributing to your business’s success and elevating your professional profile in the business environment.

It used to be that we only ever had our portraits taken for passports, visas or Curriculum Vitaes. But in today’s highly visual, multi-media world , professional photographs are used in so many more ways, business cards, social media, websites, press…..the list is endless.

It may be a cliche, but is true nonetheless that you only get one chance to make a first impression. Whether you are starting out as a new company, or have been trading as an established business for many years, it’s a fairly safe bet you’d like to convey a professional, positive impression to everybody of both yourself and your company. So why would you use a grainy, badly lit photograph that somebody took of you on your last holiday, or at the Christmas party? If you were checking out somebody’s website ask yourself what kind of impression that would leave you with. Sounds unlikely? I thought so too but a quick check of profile photographs on linked in, Facebook and Twitter proves it does actually happen.
So why should you commission a professional photographer for your corporate portrait?

1. It puts you in control.

It’s your commission. Your can decide exactly how, where and when your photograph is taken. Do you want a formal portrait with a plain background, or something more casual posed within your work environment, or even taken outdoors? You can discuss exactly how you want your photograph to be taken with the photographer well in advance of the photoshoot so that you can tailor the style of the shoot to reflect the impression you want to give.

2. You can be as two-faced as you like….

….or three … or four ..or more. Just because you are having your photograph taken in one sitting doesn’t mean you have to look exactly the same for the entire shoot. By bringing several outfits, changing your hair style, and even changing the background you can achieve several different looks from the same session. This means you can build up a portfolio of different photographs from just one sitting. Some professional photographers will also offer make-up and hair services, so don’t forget to check with them when you book.

3. We’re all in this together.

If you have a team of people, whether large or small, you can arrange for everybody to have their photograph taken on the same day, with the same background, under the same lighting. This creates a consistent corporate identity for your company and means photographs of different people can be reproduced within the same literature or online in a clean, tidy and professional manner. In effect, everything matches.

4. Anything for an easy life.

We’re all busy right? And you know that just as you are dashing out of the door for that really important meeting an email arrives asking for head shots of you, and your sales team which simply has to go to press within the next 30 minutes. The business portrait shoot that you arranged for everybody several months ago now really comes into it’s own. You know instantly where to find the images, and can be confident that they are all appropriate, professional and sized correctly, you can just hit the send button. Sorted.

5. Get in the right gear.

Any job is made easier provided you can bring experience and the correct tools to the table. A professional photographer will supply everything that is needed to ensure the very best results on the day. Not just a high end digital camera, but also studio lights and stands, backgrounds, a full and up to date version of the industry’s latest software to process the images following the shoot, and of course a wealth of knowledge, experience and advice to guide you through the shoot.

So with all of that in mind I am off to put a comb through my hair and rifle through my wardrobe … now then, dressing for your portrait …. that’s a whole new blog!

Jane Roebuck Carers Awards 2017

Jane Roebuck Carers Awards 2017

On Wednesday 25th January 2017 The Jane Roebuck Carers Awards were held at Barton Hall, Kettering, Northamptonshire, with over 100 people in attendance. This was the fifth year that I was asked to be the official event photographer, and it’s an event I enjoy enormously, and also find incredibly humbling.

Staggeringly there are over 70,000 known carers just in the county of Northants alone, each providing a vital role in supporting vulnerable people to live in the community. It has been estimated that carers throughout the UK save the state an estimated £132 billion a year.

The awards not only recognise the commitment and selfless hard work of carers across Northamptonshire, but also offer an opportunity for the award winners to enjoy a special afternoon, dedicated solely to them, in the beautiful location of Barton Hall.

Event photography always calls for a variety of different styles on the day, and as well as photographing the official presentations and a large group shot for the next morning’s press release, I also spent some time capturing more natural, candid shots of people enjoying themselves. A few days after the event I supplied the organisers mounted prints for each award winner, which they will pass on to them so that they have a lasting memory of their special day.

Order images from the event Here

Should I Use Professional Models For My Photo Shoot?

Should I Use Professional Models For My Photo Shoot?

So, you’ve decided you need some professional commercial photography to showcase your business. You’ve gone to the trouble of sourcing a leading photographer, arranged a suitably impressive location, ensured that the products you are promoting are all brand new and clean and intact … and then … oh yes you need a model . Not to worry, we’ll ask one of the employees if they’ll do it … Dave from accounts looked good in his wedding photos, he’ll do. WRONG!

There is a common misconception that professional models are astronomically expensive, are diva like, and won’t work anywhere other than London or Paris. Now whilst we are sure, as with all things in life, this may be true for a few, it is certainly not reflected in our experience, and it may be a costly mistake not to consider commissioning a model for your photoshoot.

Models are professionals, they have worked hard to achieve a career in a very competitive business and they want to do a good job for you. They have invested time and money ensuring they look their very best, and building a collection of outfits that most of us would envy. So how will they save you money on your commercial photoshoot?

Well first and foremost they have years of experience in posing. Sounds silly? No not really. A professional model is comfortable in front of the camera, they will be used to following direction from the photographer, any photographer because they will have worked on literally hundreds of professional shoots with many different photographers. Whether it’s under the lights in a studio, or out on location a professional model will be able to pose instantly and accurately. This means the shot you are looking for can be achieved quickly (saving time), and you will have a whole variety of images to choose from all taken within a few minutes of each other, equalling more photographs for your budget.

I remember working with a male model at Kings Cross railway station in London, his brief was to be photographed in various areas of the station posing as a serious business man on his daily commute. The model was, as we have found all to be, a nice guy who patiently waited while all the red tape that was involved was completed, laughing, joking, enjoying a coffee, and tolerating the less than glamorous broom cupboard style changing room BUT the second the camera was pointed in his direction his whole demeanour became exactly what we had asked him for. Serious business man…on station platform … passing through ticket barriers … using escalators … in the first class lounge. We shot quite literally hundreds of images that day, because working with a model made it easy to do so, and the client was extremely pleased to have a fantastic selection of stunning photographs to choose from.

Another reason to commission a professional model is for business clarity. Dave from accounts may well have looked good in his wedding photos, and might be very eager to pose for company publicity at the moment but what if … he leaves the company or … horror of horrors he’s asked to leave the company! None of us can predict the future, and bad blood down the line could render all of your photographs unusable if your amateur model is no longer amenable, suddenly asking Dave to model isn’t looking so cost-effective.

When you commission a model all of the paperwork is agreed in advance. Both you and they will know exactly how much modelling fee is to be paid, what the images are to be used for and (and this is the key part), the model will sign a Model Release allowing you to use the images as agreed. There is no grey area, no room for misunderstandings and you will have the paperwork to prove it.

So how do you go about finding your model? We appreciate this can be a bit of a minefield, especially if you’ve never worked with models before, but the very best person to start with is the professional photographer you have commissioned for the shoot. He will have worked with many models in his lifetime and he will know which ones are the most suitable for your photoshoot. Here at Alvey & Towers we have models who we work with from all over the country. Sometimes we will source a model in the area that the photoshoot is taking place, and sometimes we will source them from our local area in the East Midlands and they travel with us, or make their own way to the shoot.

In the last twelve months we have carried out commercial photoshoots with models in various locations including London, Leicester, Nottingham, Derbyshire, York, Leeds and even up to Scotland. As well as some amazing fashion photoshoots there were some fairly unusual modelling assignments too including posing as scientists in a quarantined laboratory, a heating engineer laying down lagging in a roof space, and a nurse administering an injection.

So when you are considering your next commercial photoshoot, and you think a model might be needed, give some serious consideration to commissioning a professional .. and if you’re not sure, give us a call for a chat.

Jericho Summer Rock Band PR Photography and Video

Jericho Summer Rock Band PR Photography and Video

I’ve been lucky enough to be working with Jericho Summer this year. It’s been a busy few months shooting publicity stills and two music videos for their new Night Train album.

Jericho Summer is a Southern rock band, formed by Jay Zeffin and Vanessa Joy, who are based on the island of Mallorca in Spain. Gathering together a group of studio musicians to record their debut album Night Train, the album went into the UK New Releases Chart at number 6 when it was released by Devil’s Blade Records in August 2016.

Zeffin and Joy had already been working in the music industry since meeting in 1995, and the Night Train album project resulted through a meeting of Zeffin and ex-Guns N Roses rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin in 2012. It was at this time Zeffin also met Marco Mendoza from Thin Lizzy and Richard Fortus from Guns n Roses.

To join the lineup were Albert Lee and Stuart Duncan, plus other musicians such as John Marcangelo, notable for his work with Violinski (“Clog Dance”), the album was recorded digitally between studios in Mallorca, Cumbria, London, Nashville and Los Angeles.

Night Train was released on 12 August 2016 with one video, “Bitchin’ with a Woman”, and a second, “Running Free”, dedicated to Harley Davidson in November 2016. Jericho Summer were featured in the winter edition of the Harley Davidson Owners Group Magazine winter edition 2016.

Find out more about Jericho Summer at www.jerichosummer.com