COVID-19 How We Are Helping Our Customers To Cope With “The New Normal”

COVID-19 How We Are Helping Our Customers To Cope With “The New Normal”

The many changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic have been swift and in some cases drastic. Never has it been more important to be able to communicate clearly both with clients and colleagues to ensure that everybody understands policies, guidelines and new working systems.

A short video, a series of photographic stills or a 3D walkthrough are all excellent ways to get your message across, whether it is instructional or simply to reassure.

Examples of work we have completed for our clients to illustrate how they are getting their coronavirus message across to customers since the advent of the pandemic.

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

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 drones for many years now and they have become an invaluable part of our equipment that enable 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 for Commercial Operations (PfCO) 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.

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!

Michael Portillo opens refurbished King’s Lynn railway station

Michael Portillo opens refurbished King’s Lynn railway station

Former minister and current TV presenter Michael Portillo officially opened King’s Lynn railway station which has been refurbished in a heritage style by First Capital Connect and Network Rail.

Official Photographer for event: Peter Alvey

Mr Portillo, who presents BBC’s Great British Railway Journeys, was joined by the Mayor of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, local councillors and project contributors to celebrate the station’s makeover as well as the town’s railway history.

The work, which cost just over £1million and was shared between First Capital Connect and Network Rail, is in keeping with the station’s heritage status and includes new British Railways signs, Great Eastern Railway inspired benches and vintage-style lanterns as well as a new royal blue and cream colour scheme throughout.

The local community was at the heart of the project, providing advice and opinions on the design of the new-look station. The Fen Line Users’ Association was heavily involved in design aspects including the Victorian era colour scheme of navy, cream and red which reflects the livery of Great Eastern’s steam trains, while the gold indicates King’s Lynn’s role as a royal station.

Norfolk-based foundry East Coast Casting Co Ltd supplied 10 new heritage-style royal blue benches and the station signs have been replaced with signs in the style of 1950s British Railway ‘totems’.

The work also included a full rewiring of the whole station, the booking hall roof being completely replaced and the platforms being resurfaced.

First Capital Connect Managing Director David Statham said:

“It was an absolute honour to have Mr Portillo open King’s Lynn station on our behalf today.

“Community groups have been heavily involved in this project and this event was about paying tribute to all they have achieved in delivering this fantastic project.

“It is a station with a rich history and we feel that that this refurbishment is a great way to celebrate and give the King’s Lynn community a station to take pride in.”

Richard Schofield, Network Rail Route Managing Director, said:

“The work carried out at King’s Lynn station is part of our ongoing investment programme to upgrade the rail network.

“The improvements made, including refurbishing the booking hall and providing better lighting, will give passengers a much better environment to travel to and from.”