Thursday, March 10, 2016

Corporate Portraits with Sham Moodliar

So Sham came over to the studio a couple of weeks ago to get some corporate portraits done. Portraits have always been something I really enjoy, especially if the brief is slightly more open. Well, this brief was open in that I could do whatever, as long as it spoke to Sham's view on corporate governance, business views and his general maverick outlook on all things business.

He is a business consultant, but also owns a skate-wear line, and has been working in corporate positions all over the world for many years. He has now turned his attention to helping corporates unlock their potential by being more open-minded, personal and for lack of a better word, more relationship-focused entities. It's probably best if you google his articles. I won't do it justice. All I can say is, I had fun!

Here Sham and I even did a mirror selfie for Instagram. This should give you an idea of the tone of the whole affair!

Sham is a guy who waxes lyrically about his passion, view and lust for life. I felt completely energised after the shoot to go out and be the difference in my industry I want to see.

What is important about shooting "off-kilter" corporate portraits is that the balance with usability, relevence and presentability to media needs to be retained, no matter how off the wall your client's image might be. Not that Sham is any way a clown,  but the temptation is there to go so far out on these type of shoots, to make a point about "image" or "brand" that you end up completely alienating the media or audience you're targeting.

No matter how wild you are, some publications simply will not publish images of people clowning around, and will need you to supply images that fit their requirements, yet still speak to your own brand.

It is very dangerous to insist on having only unusual corporate portraits and images. As the photographer, I have to be able to use the portrait to still capture the person's unique character and message in a way that is still palatable to the more conservative media.

On the other side of the coin, it is important to make sure that your imagery that are slightly off the wall are not cliched versions of well-known images that does not even relate well to you. Being unusual for the sake of being unusual is a recipe for disaster. Make sure your message is well-defined and contained within the image.

A pic of a guy in a suit jumping might look cool, but be completely pointless if it does not speak to the business or individual in the image. Imagine finding out that the person jumping for joy in his suit is your local undertaker and is planning on using that image for local media and marketing. Hmm.

Ultimately, the best defense is to have a good collection of images that can speak to different publications, people and topics.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Wellness in the City #ActiveChallenge Video

So, Marisa from Wellness in the City contacted me last year and proposed a little project. (I know her as a PR Boss at Butterknife PR). One of her projects away from the PR business is a wellness blog/website she runs with her friend and co-fitness-fanatic, Nicole Upton. They've taken to doing different kinds of fitness regimes for a month or two, with some sort of final goal in mind. Training and finishing a triathlon, for instance.

So back to the proposal. This time around the ladies decided that boxing training was where it's at. Or possibly could be at. I was asked to come and join them (with my video gear) at one of their Virgin Active training sessions with coach Enver Pockpass, a mean boxer himself. The idea was to record the initial session, where they would be learning the ropes of the training, and then, to arrive again a month later to capture the completion of their goal: taking on Siv Ngesi, actor and amateur boxer, for a full-on, hour's worth of boxing training. Note, not sparring. Siv won't hit girls, and they would have no problem hitting him, so that would just not work.

I was impressed from the get-go. The ladies, already being fit going into this, had body awareness and co-ordination that made it easier for them to get the basic ideas behind boxing training. However, what they were not ready for, I think, was what it feels like to get hit during conditioning training. The coach would "condition" them by quickly hitting them with pads on the arms and shoulders. Now, guys are used to this, as we horse around as youngsters, and basically condition our bodies to taking beatings. Girls, not so much. Their expressions at being hit was quite funny, actually. Almost like "that is way uncomfortable". And me standing there, thinking "nah, really, you think?"

Also, the intensity of boxing training was also something new to them, I think. Hitting, bobbing and weaving, floating like butterflies and stinging like bees actually take a huge amount of energy. Core strength, leg strength, stamina and perseverance are part and parcel of boxing training.

So how did they fare? Well, I think pretty darn good. Siv is one intense training partner. With screams, trash-talking and more testosterone you can wave a stick at, it made for an interesting bout. Needles to say, the ladies had no problem keeping up with the fitness side of things. Siv just hit the pads and bags way harder! Well, you can see in the video, so no use talking about that too much!

Anyways, in terms of technical, video-geek stuff, there is not much to share. Basically 2 5D's, GoPro and sliders, etc.

To me, the best part was actually how inspiring this all was. In my younger years I was a very keen martial artists (Chinese Kung Fu), but have since become unfit, and actually a bit lazy. Fighting arts, and training, just conjures up such emotions of bad-assery, and speaks directly to that lizard-brain, hunter deep inside me. So: I've been looking around at some training facilities to get myself into shape again.

So ladies, job well done. 1 Person motivated to get fit and healthy again.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Howzit. Like seriously, howzit. I have been so so bad at posting anything on my blog these last 2 years. And I realise it might be that people don't want to read any more, but would rather gather formation in "kewl www spk" and not actual reading. Which is fine, I post on Instagram for those who don't read, and Tweet, for those who don't read much, and even Facebook a little, for those who read little, yet care to comment much.

Anyways, it's time I start doing more of this. It is like a bit of a debrief from my daily workings and life. "Vlogging" is probably an option, but I'm too pedantic, and will want to make videos that are of broadcast quality and miss the point by adding unnecessary work onto my plate. The reason I'm blogging so little is that I simply don't have that much time.


I've run out of time and need to go.