I’m pleased to announce I am now one of the Norfolk wedding photographers featured on a great new wedding suppliers site – The Wedding Secret. It’s a great UK-wide resource for wedding supliers and venues, well worth a look to help with planning your wedding.
So, as of today my business is a teenager but don’t expect any stroppy mood swings, it’s all celebrations here!
13 years ago today my business was registered as limited company and came into being. What initially started out as an escape route from working in IT at Virgin One Account has become one of the best decisions I have made in my life. It’s taken me to places and introduced me to people I couldn’t have imagined I’d be meeting and provided me with a lifestyle and creative occupation I absolutely love so with 13 being my lucky number I thought I’d better celebrate this one.
I commissioned the talented Emma Thorburn at Buns of Fun to make this fantastic cake replica of one of the Canon 5D MKIII’s that I use on a daily basis. The tools of my trade.
Thank you to EVERYONE that has supported me throughout the last thirteen years, whether that is through the encouraging words & lovely feedback or hiring me to photograph various fantastic events, properties and people and providing me with some amazing opportunities and fun along the way. Thank you also must go to my amazing children Charlotte and Will for being understanding when I’m not always there for them as I’m out shooting a wedding and of course to my far better half, Leanne, for her ongoing support and sounding board for my various crazy ideas.
Happy Birthday to me, here’s to the next 13 years, onwards and upwards!
Below is a timelapse video I made of Emma creating the masterpiece…
The Pigs at Edgefield has a serious following and it’s clear to see why, a truly unique place offering luxury accommodation in their amazing spa rooms and an innovative menu. I have friends that travel the world and still say that The Pigs is their very favourite place. Such character and friendly service with all sorts of little treats and surprises in store.
Last week I spent a couple of days back at The Pigs to do an image refresh featuring their new Spa Suites, the spa treatments, jacuzzi and some more of their mouthwatering food. The perks of being a commercial photographer in Norfolk eh?!
Chef Ben knocked up some masterpieces for me to photograph. I’m a sucker for slow-roasted pork belly and this is the best I’ve had. With a new way of preparing the pork belly, Ben has found the most succulent and tasty way I’ve yet seen and when it’s served up with black pudding, crackling, homemade apple sauce and their bacon & beans it’s an absolute triumph!
Another great addition to The Pigs is their custom Shuffle Board, we booked a table there for lunch last Sunday for Mother’s Day and the Shuffle Board was a big hit with our gang!
Anyway here’s a selection of the shots from last week…
To view more of my work as a commercial photographer in Norfolk please follow this link to my commercial gallery. You’ll see I am also a food photographer, property and interiors photographer and much more! This year’s clients alone include the BBC, Gresham’s school, Bacton Gas Terminal, Sheringham Golf Club, Blakeney House, Arnolds Keys, Waterside Estate agents, Brown & Co agricultural agents, Price cabinet makers, renowned artist Brian Lewis, and many more.
In a first for Norfolk’s Coast Path today a helicopter was airlifting heavy path building materials on Beeston Bump/Hill at Sheringham on behalf of the Norfolk County Council Trails team. I popped along to get some shots for the local press and was amazed by the speed of the operation. This pilot, for Skyhook Helicopters, certainly knew his craft, it was a very efficient process from collecting the one ton bags to depositing them at various stages along the hill.
Below are a few shots and a short video showing some footage I filmed. Please excuse the soundtrack, I couldn’t help myself!
It’s been a very busy start to the year with various property photography commissions and there have been some really incredible places for me to shoot.
I enjoy property photography, I have a system and a gear set-up that I know will get the results I want time after time, I get to see some amazing houses and inspiring interiors. My work as a property photographer is pretty much split 50:50 between shooting for estate agents and photographing holiday homes. The basic principles are the same in that I need to make the rooms look bright & inviting, cosy or airy, spacious & welcoming but with estate agents it’s all about enticing people to book a viewing. Unless there are specific fixtures and fittings that will be sold with the house it’s mostly about the wide shots of the rooms, a few exteriors and if appropriate some aerial photographs to show the grounds and location.
With holiday property photography it is obviously important to still get those wide angle shots of the rooms but I also make a point of getting lots of ‘Detail Shots’, or cameos, of the various features which give the property it’s character. For the Detail Shots I generally use a 50mm lens with a wide aperture (usually around F2.2) to get a nice shallow depth of field (you know, a blurry background!) sorry, I’ll try to avoid getting too technical here.
Below are a few of the properties so far this year (is it really March already?!) which really stood out for me.
The first is Thatched Barn in Mundesley which I photographed for a regular client of mine: Arnolds Keys. Thatched Barn is a beautifully refurbished 4 bedroom barn conversion available for a cool £670K, check it out on RightMove here.
Next up is Liberty House in Suffolk, they don’t have a website built quite yet for the holiday let but as you will see from below it is a huge and stunningly decorated property with extensive grounds and even has it’s own private indoor swimming pool! What an amazing place.
The next property in this post is Tolly House in Wells-Next-The-Sea, a bright & airy holiday property in the town of Wells, maybe not quite as extravagant as some of the other properties featured here but a lovely place to stay for a holiday in North Norfolk nonetheless…
The property below was a real treat to photograph, this time for a new estate agency to me – The Norfolk Agency. Verona House at Ashwicken is a beautiful home, built and lovingly furnished by the current owners. As previously mentioned, since it is a sale property I didn’t do too much in the way of detail shots, so these are just wide room shots but you can see what a lovely place this is…
Keeping on the theme of amazing holiday lets check out this place below. What a stunner! This property is Barn Drift on the North Norfolk coast near Cley. A 7 bedroom 18th century barn conversion decorated and furnished to the very highest standard. Obviously this was taken in winter and I should be heading back in late spring/summer to get some more flattering shots of the exterior, gardens and aerial shots from the drone but the photo below gives a good idea of the unique location of this property right on the coast at Cley.
Wye House, below, is a property I photographed for another regular client, the lovely Susie Hartley. Susie manages (and owns) a number of very high spec properties on the North Norfolk coast and the renovation of this holiday let in Blakeney had literally just been completed when I arrived to do the photography. As with all of Susie’s properties, Wye House has been developed with such care & attention to detail. It’s an absolute pleasure to photograph properties for Susie as I know they will always be beautiful. I have the easy job of going in once all the hard work and thought has been put into making these houses look amazing, I just have to capture all that amazingness as well as I can for the rest of the world to see!
Just look at this bathroom! How cool is that wallpaper?!
Last but not least is a charming little holiday cottage I photographed today in Sheringham for another regular client of mine, Mark Ashby. Kits Beck is in a great location close to the town & beach in Sheringham with off-road parking spaces for two cars (important in the busy summer season!) and again decorated and furnished to a really high standard. I was there today for a refresh of a few of the rooms that have recently had an update but I still thought it was worth including on here as it’s such a charming little holiday cottage.
Mark, the letting manager was kind enough to write me a glowing testimonial recently…
“It’s simple: Great photographs absolutely sell holiday properties. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Chris over the past few years and he has provided me with fantastic photography for four of our holiday homes here in beautiful North Norfolk. I know, from the feedback from guests and the immediate impact on bookings, that our investment in professional photography has paid absolute dividends and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Chris to any holiday home owner”
So there’s a few of the properties I’ve been lucky enough to photograph in & around Norfolk & Suffolk so far in January & February this year. If you are looking for a Norfolk holiday property photographer then please do drop me a line to discuss the options. I use a very simple pricing structure and guarantee a 24 hour turnaround time to provide the finished high resolution image files after photographing the property.
Good quality, professional interior photographs are essential to market properties whether for selling or letting. Many of my clients remark on what a big difference they see in viewings and bookings after uploading my photos to their websites. For the sake of a fully booked cottage or a quicker house sale it’s a small investment to make.
I don’t often post up family shots here in my business blog but we had a great day today and got some lovely shots so I thought I’d share a few.
Between myself and my partner Leanne we have 5 children so we get to be big kids ourselves as often as we like but we haven’t had a decent snowfall here in North Norfolk for a good few years. Five maybe? Possibly more.
So when we woke up this morning to see a good 3-4inches of snow had fallen and the schools were closed we grabbed all the warm gear and headed out to make the most of it. We spent the morning making snowmen, an igloo, a snow cat and hurling snowballs at each other. After an hour thawing out, drinking hot chocolate & having some lunch we got kitted up again (warm from the tumble drier!) and headed up to the golf course/cliffs at Sheringham for some sledging.
The conditions in the wind were pretty much Siberian, with bitter blizzards blowing across in the 45mph winds but we found some good runs in the shelter of Skelding Hill and spent the next few hours hurling ourselves down on various contraptions. It was so much fun! Here’s a few photos of our twice in a decade afternoon….
In October last year we headed over to Ireland to photograph the wedding of Katie & Tom – Katie is a Norfolk lass and Tom a Cork lad so the Norfolk contingent got to sample the Emerald Isle’s hospitality and plenty of the black stuff!
The resort at Castlemartyr was beautiful, surrounded by woodland and horses put out to pasture. Unfortunately, it being October in Ireland it was pretty wet & windy for most of the time, thanks to ‘Storm Brian’ so we didn’t get to take many photos outside but we made the most of it and an amazing day was had by all.
The day’s coverage started in the presidential suite, no less, previous occupants include actual presidents of the United States, films stars, musical legends and Kim Kardashian & Kanye West! On this day the occupants were far more important though – our bride Katie, mother of the bride Sue and Katie’s bridesmaids Leila, Ellie, Jess & Carina.
I’ve got a bit of a crazy day today (nothing new there) so will let the photos do the talking but I’d like to say a huge thank you to Katy & Tom and their families for their wonderful hospitality and for inviting me to be their photographer at this amazing event. As much as I really love the beautiful and varied wedding venues in Norfolk and Suffolk it is always great to get away & shoot somewhere totally new.
If you are planning a destination wedding and would like this Norfolk boy to do your wedding photography please do drop me a line, apart from accommodation & travel it doesn’t cost much more than I would charge to shoot a wedding in Norfolk and I know how much people prefer to have a photographer that they can trust!
Last weekend saw the annual Scira Viking Festival held in Sheringham. The festival is the brainchild of amazing Sheringham-based artist and all round lovely chap Colin Seal. If you’ve been to Sheringham in the last 5 years (at least) you’ll have seen Colin’s beautiful murals adorning the town & seafront. The viking festival has gone from strength to strength with 2018 being it’s 4th year and hailed by many as it’s best year yet.
In a change from recent years the vikings vs anglo saxons battles were held on the beach and it was an amazing spectacle to behold, the sun shone, the crowds filled the promenade for a front row view and the re-enactment chaps beat the living squit out of each other! Centrepiece for the festival each year is a handmade replica viking ship which Colin and his merry band lovingly build and paint over the preceding months only to then burn it to the ground at the end of the festival! Seems a shame but what an amazing sight.
This year Colin had asked me to capture some shots and video using the drone and since I had recently gained my CAA Night Flying permissions it was a great opportunity to see what the drone could do at night. Actually it wasn’t quite night, more twilight. Owing to the early evening high tide the burning had to be brought forward by an hour or so which actually helped the filming as it meant we had a bit more ambient light to work with.
Below is a short film I put together for the Viking Festival organisers…
Last August I had the pleasure of photographing the wedding of Pip & Wil at the wonderful Cley Mill.
It was a real pleasure to work with Pip & Wil and to meet their families, the sun shone and they had an amazing and unforgettable day. Pip & Wil were kind enough to email me shortly after the wedding to say how much they loved their wedding photos and left me a glowing Google Review so it was a lovely surprise to receive another card from them today, six months later, to say how much they still loved their wedding photos and custom-designed album.
I’m not sure that I had a chance to actually blog any of their photos at the time so thought now would be a good time to share some of their wedding images, some excepts from their thank you card are included below too…
So there it is, a little splash of sunshine on a drizzly February Tuesday, thank you again to Pip & Wil for your lovely gesture, it really is appreciated.
For more information about how you can book me to photograph your perfect wedding day at Cley Windmill please see my Norfolk wedding photography info page here.
SO WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
This is a bit of a break from my usual photography-based blog posts but after my last post about accepting Bitcoin/Ethereum for wedding photography & commercial commissions I have been asked by a number of people what bitcoin actually is and how they can buy it.
Below is a very simplistic explanation of cryptocurrencies. I believe, along with millions of others, that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology will play a very strong part in the future and alongside this it offers great investment opportunities if you are prepared to take a risk.
Trading in cryptocurrencies is essentially gambling although blockchain technology is set to become ingrained in the way technology and the internet operates so the potential opportunities for growth are huge. In this last week Bitcoin (and many altcoins) have started heading back up in value at a pretty serious rate, now is a great time to get involved in cryptocurrency trading and it’s really not as complicated as many people fear it to be.
The following is not financial advice or specifically a recommendation to invest in cryptocurrency, it is provided as an educational article. The cryptocurrency market is highly volatile so to get involved is entirely at your own risk. Only invest what you can afford to lose. There are opportunities to make a lot of money, often in a short amount of time, it is also possible that the value could drop leaving you with less money than you started with.
• WHAT IS BITCOIN?
Bitcoin (or BTC as it is abbreviated to) is the biggest of all of the cryptocurrencies – a virtual currency which doesn’t exist in a physical form. Cryptocurrencies are designed to work as a medium of exchange allowing money to be transferred all over the world extremely quickly and without the involvement of banks or governments. I won’t go into the whole blockchain explanation and the detail of how bitcoin/crypto is created (mostly because it confuses the hell out of me!) but they are ‘mined’ by computers and made available to buy through Crypto Exchange websites such as Coinbase, more on that later.
You can buy fractions of BTC with real money (known as fiat money) and then exchange it back to £££ at any time, ideally once it has gone up in value, so that you can make a tidy profit. In that respect it’s similar to buying stocks & shares. For this reason people that buy & sell bitcoins are known as cryptotraders.
Bitcoin is not owned by one central entity such as a government or a central bank, in other words it’s decentralized and unregulated. Control is in the hands of the people that buy it. Power to the people!
The value of BTC goes up & down, driven by the demand for it. The more people that want to buy it the higher it’s worth (usually defined by BTC/USD), if lots of people decide to sell then the value of it drops. What makes people decide to buy or sell can be influenced by many factors, notably bad press can cause ‘FUD’ (Fear, Uncertainy & Doubt) which can cause many people to sell, sell, sell in turn leading to a price drop or in extreme cases – a crash.
At the time of writing if you wanted to buy a whole bitcoin then it would cost you $9,972 but if you just wanted to buy £10 worth then you can, you don’t have to buy a whole bitcoin! Back in December 2017 one bitcoin was worth $20,000 so if you had bought $100 worth of BTC in 2010 when they were just $0.04 each your 100 BTC in Dec 2017 would have been worth $50,000,000! It’s unlikely that we’ll see such an amazing opportunity as that now although John McAfee (the multi-millionaire anti-virus software pioneer) is convinced that one BTC by 2020 will be worth $1,000,000 so if you bought £100 worth today (and his prediction came true) your £100 would be worth over £10,000.00 in just two years time. Now that would be nice! In fact, Mr McAfee is so sure of his prediction that he has publicly proclaimed he will eat a certain part of his own body if it doesn’t come true!
• OTHER CRYPTOCURRENCIES
The second largest cryptocurrency is called Ethereum (aka ETH), you can buy & sell shares in Ethereum coins on the Coinbase exchange site similar to Bitcoin. Ethereum has different potential to BTC and is tipped by some to one day be bigger than bitcoin due to it’s versatility.
There are hundreds of other smaller cryptocurrencies available, each offering to serve different purposes in the future, using the blockchain technology, these are called altcoins and shares in these can also be bought although this is a more complex procedure involving crypto-exchanges which allow you to trade BTC or ETH for them and vice versa.
• HOW TO BUY YOUR OWN BITCOIN/ETHEREUM CRYPTOCURRENCY
There are various exchanges which allow you to pay in fiat currency (GBP/EUR/USD, etc) and then exchange it for fractions of a bitcoin. One of the largest, and the one I personally use is called Coinbase, a company based in San Franscisco with over 10 million customers worldwide. Coinbase allows you to buy & store Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC), to open an account just follow this link and you’ll receive a free $10 worth of BTC when you spend your first $100 (£71) on a cryptocurrency with them (in the interests of transparency, I would also receive $10 from Coinbase when my referral code is used).
Setting up a Coinbase account is pretty straightforward (I managed it so it must be!), rather than try to reinvent the wheel this English lady – Louise Elizabeth explains it very clearly here on YouTube (she has lots of great, helpful videos on various aspects of cryptocurrency trading) – be sure to come back here after watching it to use my link to get your free $10 when you open your account!
It’s a simple as setting up a Coinbase account, transferring some money from your bank to your Coinbase Euros wallet and then hitting the BUY button to purchase your Bitcoin. Hey presto – you own some bitcoin! Wasn’t that difficult was it?! You can leave it in for as little or as long as you want and when you decide you’d like to sell your Bitcoin and convert back into Euros just hit the SELL button and then just transfer the Euros back to your bank account.
It’s not a dark art!
• HOW TO BUY ALTCOINS
There are around 1500+ other smaller coins called altcoins (I have added some of the altcoins I have to the footnote of this post). The companies behind them all aim to provide different services utilising the blockchain in different ways from offering security, privacy, faster payments, decentralising various industries and my current favourite – online content protection by a company called Po.et and their coin POE.
To buy altcoins you firstly need to buy some Ethereum on Coinbase and then send those ETH funds to a trading site, I use Binance – one of the biggest trading sites (again, that link uses my referral code so if you’ve found this article useful I’d really appreciate if you use that code when going to Binance as I’ll get a little bonus back!). Once you have opened a Binance account you can use your ETH to trade for the altcoins.
Once again it seems pointless for me to go into all the detail when there is already such great resources available online, here’s one video on how to use Binance.
• DAY TRADING vs LONG-TERM INVESTING
Personally I’m more in favour of long-term trading (aka Holding or HODLing) – buying the currencies and leaving them to grow (hopefully) over months or years. If you want more short-term gains you can try day trading which involves learning how the trading charts work & reading them for signs of when a coin is due to rise or fall. The idea is to buy cheap & then sell when they go up a bit but it’s a much riskier game to play and involves a thorough understanding of the charts & patterns/signals.
• TAKING IT FURTHER – ADVANCED CRYPTOTRADING
AVOIDING FEES – There are slightly convoluted methods to avoid Coinbase & bank transfer fees which involve getting a Revolut account, loading it with GBP, converting to EUR free of charge & then setting up a bank transfer to Coinbase (again free of charge). Once the EUR are in Coinbase you can transfer them to GDAX (owned by Coinbase) and exchange them for BTC/ETH/LTC/BCH again for low/zero fees. This is a fairly fiddly way of going about things when you first start out so I’d probably suggest just setting up a Coinbase account, linking a debit card and transferring some money to get started. If you are feeling adventurous a few weeks down the line, once you’ve got your head round it all, have a look at this method. It could have saved me hundreds if I’d known about it a few weeks back!
WALLETS – While Coinbase & Binance are said to be very secure there is always the threat of hackers getting through their security & stealing the cryptocurrency. If you do find you get into crypto and end up investing more than a few hundred quid then it may be wise to look into storing your coin in more secure means such as MyEtherWallet or even in a hardwallet (a super-secure USB which can hold the private keys for your cryptocoins offline, totally out of the reach of those nasty hackers).
• USEFUL CRYPTO APPS
– Coinbase – the phone version of the main site – handy to keep an eye on how your coins are doing and buying some more while you are out & about if you are that way inclined.
– HODL – named after a term often used in cryptotrading to mean Holding on to your currency over the long-term through dips & troughs, this app is a great one if you have a portfolio of altcoins. You can enter how many of each coin you have and using the real time values it clearly displays how much they are going up or down in value. WARNING: It can get a bit addictive checking the value of your portfolio!
– Google Authenticator – A two step verification app used for an extra level of security when using Coinbase or Binance, etc.
I hope this has been of some use to those of you that wanted to know more about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading, like I said it’s very basic but as a starting point hopefully it will educate a few people as to what all the fuss is about. I’m totally hooked on it and have really enjoyed learning all about this new world. I still have lots to learn so don’t expect to see me hanging out on Facebook much in the evenings.
It’s been suggested that I add here which cryptocurrencies I am currently invested in and why, so below I’ll list the ones I’ve selected. I won’t say how many or how much, that’s for me to know but I’ve done a fair bit of reading & research over the last few weeks and made my choices based on Fundamental Analysis (as opposed to Technical Analysis which involves studying the charts to try to predict short-term outcomes). I’ve also taken on-board the postings of some very knowledgeable & experienced cryptotraders and put together a little portfolio of some of my favourites.
I have about half of my invested total split between BTC & ETH as I feel they are the safest bets for a steady growth and in the unlikely event that all the others should fail at least I should be covered for any losses by holding the two big daddies of the crypto world.
The coins I hold are listed below with a brief description of what they are…
BTC – Bitcoin – the #1 biggest cryptocurrency, the daddy of them all. Where BTC goes the others tend to follow.
ETH – Ethereum – the 2nd biggest coin by market cap, an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform featuring smart contract (scripting) functionality. Tipped to possibly become bigger than BTC one day.
TRX – Tronix – the company behind this coin (Tron) plan to shake up the entertainment industry using the blockchain for decentralised content in the entertainment industry – allowing entertainment providers, ie. Musicians/Film studios, etc to distribute their content direct to the consumer thereby cutting out the middle-man eg.itunes/Google Play, etc. There’s been a lot of hype around TRX over the last few months. They seem to have a great team behind them so could be one to watch in 2018.
LTC – Litecoin – faster & more abundant than BTC, aims to be used as a form of cash for smaller purchases, eg buying a coffee at Costa!
XRP – Ripple – Specialised for money transfer & real time global payments, aimed, I believe at the online banking industry, currently the third biggest coin by market cap.
XVG – Verge – A currency aimed at secure & anonymous payments, Verge soared 800% in value in just one week in Dec 2017
ADA – Cardano – a technological platform that will be capable of running financial applications currently used every day by individuals, organisations and governments all around the world. A separate computing layer will be built to handle smart contracts, the digital legal agreements that will underpin future commerce and business.
POE – Po.et – This one I’m really excited about – Po.et is a shared universal ledger designed to track the world’s creative works using the blockchain to register, timestamp and verify any creative works put online. I think this one could be huge and has been touted on some blogs to potentially hit 1000x it’s currently value in the next 12-18 months.
KMD – Komodo – Allows developers to build customised, decentralised blockchain technologies – could be the building block of blockchains of the future. Currently a bit of a sleeping dragon but wait till she wakes up & starts blowing fire. One to watch for sure!
For more information on the other altcoins and what purposes their parent companies plan to provide the website Cryptominded provides clear & concise descriptions on a good number of the more popular ones.