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Photography for Florists {new course}

Over the years, I have been asked by many florists how they can learn to photograph their work and capture their artistic vision for themselves. I have designed a course, specifically for florists, to learn both the technical and the artistic tools needed to make brilliant images of their work for their portfolios in print and online.

We have two one day courses run in Hampshire and Bristol and a fabulous two day course at the stunning Barnsley House in the Cotswolds. Learn more about the new course on the product pages

‘When I started the Flower School, I knew instantly I wanted Ria Mishaal to partner with us on our new venture. This beautiful, gentle soul – the lady I call ‘gaviscon’ (due to her healing, calming qualities) – is crazy talented and she effortlessly slipped into becoming our resident photographer’ – Jay Archer

 

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    The art of conversation {listening is an act of love}

    Every month I read a book to expand my understanding, to help me develop. The pages I have leafed through in these last weeks have been concerned with the nature of interactions, conversations and personal preconceptions, namely Fierce Conversations and Leadership and Self Deception. These texts are well worth a read and a ponder….

    One message rose above the rest, because of its simplicity and great consequence. Conversation and relationship are synonymous.

    I had always acknowledged that my great relationships yield wonderful conversations. I had not consciously acknowledged though that, in reality, the relationship is the conversation and the conversation is the relationship, not a cause and consequence, but one in the same. Every single conversation has the potential to instigate significant connection and the capability of creating change, but that doesn’t mean every conversation will – the nature and potential of the conversation is, of course, dependent on you and me.

    Reflecting on this idea, I was struck how words can be used without choice, carelessly, almost outside of ‘conversation’, and how there really is a great art in speaking and listening, which is taken for granted. There is value in the way we converse and how we are receptive we are to those we speak with. I realized that paying greater attention to each and every conversation I have, from the girl next to me on the train to my husband, could really change my outlook and life in profound ways.

    I strive to be authentic and generous in my character. I believe strongly in the power of being honest in who you are. I could see, as I read these texts, the great value and gift we each have in actively and honestly listening to others, without agenda or preconception. As I paid more attention to my inner dialogue, I realised that often I hear a filtered internal translation of what was being said, distorted by my own thoughts. So I have begun to learn to listen more openly, to give of my heart and spirit in the act of listening and speaking honestly…developing my own art of conversation.

    Listening is an act of love
    The power of open and honest conversation is beautifully demonstrated in the archives of the American independent nonprofit organization StoryCorps. Their mission is to “provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives”. To this end they have collected nearly 40,000 – nearly 80,000 people in conversation. Their old tag line ‘Listening is an act of love’ is so vividly poignant. BBC radio and the British Library have now embarked upon a UK counterpart called The Listening Project “capturing the nation in conversation to build a unique picture of our lives today and preserve it for future generations”. It is a beautifully powerful endeavour. If you are interested, you can catch some of the conversations this Sunday 24th June on Radio 4.

    Don’t hang up…or log off
    A quirkier but equally fascinating study of conversation is Don’t Log Off. Alan Dein makes conversations with different people all over the world, talking about their lives and thoughts late at night via facebook and skype. Whatever medium we converse in, the conversation matters.

    So I challenge myself to make every conversation I have more genuine. I challenge myself to ask questions I have not asked before and to listen with love and really hear the words and meaning, unfiltered, and share my own thoughts with honesty.

    Will you join me?

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      Double Take {exploring multiple exposures}

      To me there is an ethereal nature to the quality of these images.  Something that really speaks to me. A little while ago, I discovered these double exposure images, done for the most part in camera. Two different artists using a similar technique, producing images with a different feel.

      Christoffer Relander, the first of the two, describes his method: ‘All images are done “in-camera” while shooting with a Nikon D700. After processing, the contrast and tones were adjusted’.

      The second artist, Dan Mountford, uses medium format to create his stunning portraits. All Dan’s images are created in camera, with post production work consisting of ‘a change in tone, the removal of odd blemishes’.

      When I first discovered this technique, I decided to have a go myself using the in camera multiple exposure settings on the Nikon D700. You can see some of my efforts below too!

      Christoffer Relander

      Dan Mountford

      I originally discovered these two artists via Colossal (an incredible Art & Design blog….go look!)

      Here are the multiple exposure portraits I created in camera with the D700.

      Ria Mishaal

      Have you tried this method of multiple exposure portraits? We would love to see the results if you have, and could feature your work on here. Drop us a note in the comments below.

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      This article was written by Ria Mishaal ARPS – website | facebook | twitter | instagram

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        Developing your marketing strategy {Part 2}: Sharing your work

        This post is part of a series on branding and marketing.  It is preceded by Developing your brand – Part 1: your values and messages; Part 2: your brand’s identity and strategy and Developing your marketing strategy – Part 1: Your website

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        An effective way of getting people to hear about your business and see your work is through sharing your images, and creating opportunities for others to share them via blogging and social media (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram etc).

        a) Blogging

        A blog allows you to publish individual pieces (‘posts’) on events or projects regularly, and to showcase your most recent work. This gives you the opportunity to connect with your potential ideal clients through the story you tell, and allows your current clients to share your work. If you emphasise your brand messages clearly in your posts, it can be a powerful way of connecting with the people you want to work with. Remember, while blogs give you the opportunity to share more of your work than you might present in your website portfolio, it’s best to show only your best work and the work you would want to shoot again.

        To attract and keep regular readers, you’ll need useful and interesting content. Decide on a clear focus for your blog, whether is it sharing the work you produce, sharing stories to connect with your ideal clients, or sharing insight into your industry. Remember, simplicity and clarity in association with your brand messages will put you in the best position.

        Creating outward links to venues, locations and collaborators within a post will encourage others to link back to your blog, and this network of outgoing and incoming links will help you rise higher in search results.

        A successful blog requires regular, consistent posting so it’s best to have a clear strategy: plan for how often you will post and the content you will share. You can create posts in advance and schedule them to go up on a particular day of the week at a specified time.

        b)  Social Media

        Word of mouth is one of the best forms of marketing, and social media is a free way of getting your brand message out in to the global marketplace. Key social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, with Instagram and Pinterest becoming increasingly important for photographers. Create accounts and business pages on these key platforms, and enable share buttons for these platforms on your website and blog. The aim is to get the conversation going with your ideal clients and industry peers on many different platforms. This will ensure you reach as wide an audience as possible.

        Do simplify your approach to social media. Be clear on who you want to talk to and the best way to reach your ideal clients. Who you are and what your brand is will inform what type of images you share and how you interact on social media. This extends from to the captions you give your images and the tone of what you say.

        How you interact and what you share on social media will reflect directly on your business. While it can be good to share some personal images and stories on social media to allow your ideal clients to connect with you, make sure that the quality and message of your images align with your brand identity, and always step away when you are feeling negative.

        Do think about using different platforms for connecting with different groups: Facebook is a good way of connecting with your existing clients and creating word of mouth referrals through tagging your clients in your images; Twitter is useful for connecting with others in your industry.

        Remember there are lots of timesaving applications to help you pre-schedule social media sharing on multiple platforms or post from one social media platform to another, but do tailor what you post where to the audience you are trying to engage with on each platform.

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        This article was written by Ria Mishaal ARPS – website | facebook | twitter | instagram

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          Developing your marketing strategy {Part 1}

          This post is part of a series on branding and marketing. It is preceded by Developing your brand – Part 1: your values and messages and Part 2: your brand’s identity and strategy and will soon be followed by Developing your marketing strategy Part 2: Sharing your work. underline

          Why is marketing important? Social photographers, such as those in the wedding industry, must secure new clients every year. Commercial photographers, such as wildlife or product photographers, must stay in the forefront of the minds of art directors, magazine editors and other commercial businesses that might use their images or services.

          While being technically competent and artistically creative is essential to thrive as a professional photographer, those who are good at marketing and self-promotion will always do better in business. Make it easy for your potential clients to find you by executing a strategic marketing plan.

          In today’s marketplace, the focus of your marketing strategy will involve a strong online presence. At the centre of your online presence is your website, but your full online presence incorporates other key components of sharing your work – blogging, social media streams and publication on other people’s sites/blogs. The more your business is positively referenced in different locations online, the more clients will build trust in your brand.

          Developing your website

          Your website represents the virtual shop-front of your business. It must communicate your brand messages clearly. Work to display the most salient information simply and make your site easy to navigate. Above all, it must communicate four things: who you are; what you do; how to contact you; your portfolio.

          Create a professional and personal ‘About’ page. It is a good idea to include a recent picture of yourself, and essential to make it easy for clients to contact you. Consider addressing the following: Who are you?
 What is your background?
What are you offering your clients? Why should they trust you? What do you have in common with your ideal clients?

          Display your best portfolio, and update it as often as you can. It is a good idea to show only your very best work, remembering less is more, and also to show only what you would like to shoot again. This will help target your ideal client and drive your business in the right direction.

          It is crucial that your website is accessible on mobile devices as well as different web browsers, so do use HTML rather than Flash, and consider using a WordPress based platform.

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          This article was written by Ria Mishaal ARPS – website | facebook | twitter | instagram

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            If you have any questions about our courses or products we would love to hear from you! Please allow 24 hours for a response.

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