CASE STUDY: CQR Cables Factory Photoshoot – Wirral

CQR Factory Photoshoot Case Study 

This project was commissioned to make new marketing images for CQR, a company making certified security, alarm and network cables, on the Wirral peninsula.

Here is the blog as a video, if you prefer watching to reading

August 2021 – Blue skies!

On a beautiful summers day, I met up with the head of marketing, Dan Casey, and we had a guided tour around the factory to learn about all the processes. There are far more than you’d expect – as you’ll see in the photos. 

Unleashed on the Factory!

Then we were unleashed on the factory with lights and cameras, shooting each stage of the process and getting to know the team as we went along. Most were camera shy, as usual, but we won a few around!

The story of a humble cable

The images tell the story of a single length of wire as it gets its new coat, gets to meet other wired then gets an overcoat, before finally getting wound onto spools ready to be sold to the public. 

Bare wire being tested

Multicoloured cables

We start with wire cables, getting coated in coloured plastic, and then going on to huge spools. 

Getting a blue coat

Capturing quality control

At all stages, the wires are all tested for faults by automatic detectors.

And eventually, they get wound into larger cables and coated with a white plastic finish.

Many wires become a cable

What the photos will be used for

The purpose of the shoot is to make images that illustrate to the processes and people involved in creating these cables. These can then be used for brochures, websites, exhibition stands and social media – and anywhere else they can think of.

I’ve never really put too much thought into how those wires get their coatings, there’s a lot more goes into it than you may have guessed!

We also did the “raiders of the lost arc” corridor of high shelves of storage photographs, which always look great. 

Where’s the Lost Arc?

Switch Assembly Line

There was a second side to the business where they were assembling switches.

This was a more hands-on process, so we had lots of smiley faces to capture.

For the shy, we did close-ups of their hands instead – because, in factories, hand photos always show, expertise, skill and nimbleness – whilst protecting the anonymity of those who prefer not to be photographed.

 

And the final product

It’s great to see the product go from its raw cable form to the packaged product stacks on pallets. 

Cables ready for sale!

A drone photo to show the site

At the end of the shoot, as it was a beautiful day, we also took the drone out and got a few photos from way up above, showing the end of the Wirral 

CASE STUDY: Clearsite Solutions New Brand Photography

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I don’t know how marketing people do it, but they do come up with Amazing straplines than just sum up a business instantly. 

Fliss Lee, from “Honest Folk” in Morley, describes Marc’s business, Clearsite Solutions, perfectly in one sentence

Providing the blank canvas you need to create your unique standout spaces. 

Marc’s business goes into offices, buildings, shopping centres, units or anywhere that business happens, and removes all trace of the old business, ready for the new one to move in and make their own mark. 

Fliss was creating a new brand and website for Marc and needed photos of what they do to illustrate the website and fuel their future marketing. A suitable project arose in Bristol in one of the largest shopping, centres in the city back and these teams had been stripping out this shopping unit.

Our challenge was to create some engaging photos, which showed professionalism, health and safety, the team in action and the tools involved in such a project, from what was essentially a site of carnage and destruction! LOVE a challenge 🙂

So the first thing was to meet the team, who were busy grinding things from the ceiling. Anything that involves sparks will look great in photographs, so this was the first setup. 

I set up the tripod and a couple of lights and put the camera on long exposure to capture the sparks flying across the room – this would create little orange lines of light – a bit like a firework. 

We then had the team demonstrate a lot of the different tools and processes they use to pull things down. Big boys toys if you like – but all tools for specific tasks to make things quick and safe.

Another part of the brief was to get some relaxed photographs of Marc for his personal brand. So we organised a quick meeting downstairs where he could chat to the team and relax a little.

A bit like most business owners, Marc isn’t keen of being photographed. So shooting these candidly, like a “fly on the wall”, worked really well and we got some great shots. 

Also, we needed a couple of solo shots, an industrial setting and used one of the tunnels underneath the shopping centre. He just walked up and down the tunnel twice and we got lots of options for him. 

Another thing we needed to illustrate was Marc managing the project. So we got him working on the laptop, using a seat by the window overlooking the mall to hint at locations they work in. Actually, we captured a couple of team shots out in the shopping mall so you can see brands like New Look and KFC and the background. 

Marc had seen some “creative” team photos I’d created using coloured lighting, each holding different tools. So we got the guys involved and used some coloured flush to create a few  🙂

The final idea was to capture a few images of the new marketing materials with the brand on – so the phone case, business cards and helmets. These images can be cropped to any size for any marketing or advertising use where you need a hint of the logo to add a splash of colour.

We’re looking forward to updating Marc’s imagery periodically over the next few years as his business goes from strength to strength.

CASE STUDY – Fundamentals First

Fundamentals First

Fundamentals First an IT company based in Leeds,  formed by software experts Phil, Hamish, Chris and another Phil. 

The purpose of this photoshoot was to create images for the personal Brand, marketing, PR and new website. 

CLICK TO SEE THEIR WEBSITE

For this project we follow our usual process of:-

Discover

This included few phone calls with Phil to discover who their target audience is and how they would want to be perceived. Also, we had previously run a Photoshoot at Nexus, at Leeds University campus, where Fundamentals First are based. So we could show them example images from that to help visualise the venue’s potential. 

Define

We decided to create a formal look, with suits, and a more relaxed look you’d expect of a tech-company.

The team would wear suits to start, then change into their usual t-shirts more casual clothes halfway. We also chose to use one of the meeting rooms and re-create a brainstorming session and board meeting, then use the building’s impressive atrium for headshot backgrounds. 

A second set of headshots would have the Nexus logo in the background, and finally we’d  create a few group photos. 

This formed our shot list and a plan for the session. We were going to deliver 2-hours on site and 25 edited photos for them to use in their marketing and promotion and quoted on that basis. 

Shoot

The shoot was from 10 till 12,  starting with the suits on in the meeting room.  Hamish had provided a few more example images he really liked so we recreated those. We tried a brain-storming shot with suits, but it looks a little bit unrealistic to be that formal!  With a bit of clever camera work and seating, we managed to make them all look close together yet be safely distanced – just briefly coming a little closer together for a couple of the group photos.

Next, we did the formal headshots and formal seated shots. After this, the guys got changed into their casual gear. 

After that we went back into the meeting room to get the brainstorming shots, downstairs to get the Casual headshots, a few casual group photos indoors – finally as it wasn’t raining, one outside to finish off. 

It was a fantastic shoot,  all the team were great sports, took direction and ideas really well,  including many silly things I asked them to do to get them relaxed and smiling for the camera – and it shows on the photos. 

Choose

After I returned to base, I created the 400+ previews straight away and put them on Dropbox for them to view that very afternoon. 

I don’t always do this because I like to take time I’m to sift out the best shots, but the team was very keen to see the results whilst they were together that afternoon. 

They went on to choose 25 great shots, plus a few extras.

Style and Deliver

As part of the previews phase, I often supply a few different colour toning options. 

So a :-

  • Straight edit – no tone
  • warm version,  
  • cool version,  
  • very colourful version 
  • low colour version
  • and black and white version 

They went for the straight edit without toning

We got the images edited at the first opportunity and delivered them on Dropbox straight away,  giving them the following formats

  • High res –  perfect for print  
  • Web-sized –  smaller versions which can be directly uploaded to most social media sites

They’re ready to be used for the new website, linked in and everywhere else in their marketing. 

Outside shot to finish off!

Feedback

Having spoken with Phil Jeffries,  he said that the guys really enjoyed the whole experience.  Especially the photoshoot itself, where we managed to make everybody relaxed and laughing for most of it, which is totally different to photo shoots they have had in the past. They were spoiled for choice with the previews and love the final results. 

Lumilow Lighting

Enlightened LED Lighting Specialists

Lumilow are lighting consultants – MD Andy Chell was up front, the product itself was not going to be an exciting thing to photography!

I guess lights are a bit like petrol – fuel is not that interesting in itself, but put some in a Ferrari and it gets interesting.

Lighting is like that – it’s how it makes “stuff” look, and cost efficiencies, which, they are selling.

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The Shoot

We needed something completely different to any other “lighting” company.

They have a vibrant showroom, with table football, drills, high heels and a living room set! We used every corner to capture the fun, friendly vibe Lumilow are keen to promote. It’s all about a professional, personal, yet fun experience for every customer

Here are few shots from the 200+ we delivered! They have a fantastic library for years to come now

Commercial Photography Should Be Fun

God, I hate having my photo taken….

That’s the most common thing photographs hear, pretty much everyone, on every job, says it – you’d think it was root canal treatment we were administering.

Photography should be fun – especially commercial work

That’s definitely the case with our friends over at ABL Business, we’ve updated their photo stock a few times and each time, it’s always a fun session with Alex, Andy and the team – getting them to pretend to work, whilst making them laugh. It’s also a great chance to catch up and share ideas.

Portraits can be daunting for people, so I see it as my job to put them at ease, from the second I meet them to the very last shot.

It’s the most important thing – the lighting, the location and the lens choices are all important, but if you wait silently expecting them to smile, the images will be – well, unflattering, dull, forced, un-natural…. the list could go on and on.

So in this blog I thought I’d share some of the final results – and some of the “behind the scenes” shots of the ABL team.

I hope it shows that it’s not a dry, corporate experience – its quickly dispelling nerves and coaxing laughs, smiles to create “genuine” images of people – people being themselves.

Here are some of the out takes…

Totally Unposed

You’ll also notice that they are not “posed” – I just set up some lights around a table, and a desk for the individual ones, and let them get comfortable in their own way. On this shoot, the rest of the team were watching and helping by making the subject laugh – it’s then just a case of shooting till you’re happy you’ve got a decent selection for them to chose from.

I found if I started to “pose” people, they’d feel really self conscious and you’d loose the vital rapport you’ve built, leaving you with a slightly concerned sitter and the natural, friendly expressions gone.

A Few Final Shots

Here are some of the final shots I picked out – all looking professional yet warm and friendly, which is exactly what ABL is all about.

It’s all about creating a fun experience, drinking lots of coffee and taking people’s mind off their “cameraphobia” (which is a real thing!).

Read More… 

 

Bookings “go though the roof” with McFade Photos

A New Look Pays Off!

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Having recently opened an events space in Leeds, our client needed some fresh shots to promote it.

So we created some of our “special HDR images” of Lambert’s Yard – using a mix of angles and styles to show the features, and sell the place as a modern, warm, fun, city centre venue to hold your events.

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Since releasing the photos their hit-rate on google has “gone through the roof”, they have taken on an unprecedented 25 new bookings in a week.

We’re obviously delighted to have such a great impact on a new venture’s fortunes, and are looking forward to giving many other venues the same treatment next week!

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What difference could new images have on your business?

You may not have cool city centre venues for hire, but most of us do have images on our websites and social media – ask yourself…

  • What are my current images saying about my business?
  • Do they have the right “message” to my clients?
  • Are they just filling the site, or are the enhancing the site ?

The Main Event!

Photography can be so much more than a “website filler” – it can totally transform how people view your business and attract a whole new demographic; they are the main event on most websites!

 

If photos of you, your team or your business in general are looking dated – don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0776655 83 75 or drop us a line at smile@mcfade.co.uk – if we can help, we will!

Team Shoot for Ardent – York City Centre

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York based financial advisers, Ardent Financial Planning, are having a new website site and brand built by digital agency “Plump Digital” – Rob Colley invited McFade over to capture some great new shots of directors.

Being a York based company, I was keen to create some images with York in the background – it’s a stunning city; including the river and bridges would show to anyone viewing the website.
Before we hit the city, we needed some head-shots of each staff member and the office “in action”, which we did over an hour at Arden HQ – then headed into town.

The Hottest Shoot Ever….

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Did I mention how hot it was?

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It was one of those days when 30 degrees was seen and humidity stifling. It was also incredibly bright – so the challenge for any outside photos was was keeping the directors from squinting and over heating.

First off we captured each director looking over the river – a friendly “chilled out” look to the shots. Unfortunately, it was a little busy so they felt a little awkward at first, but a little coaxing and direction got their minds off the 30 Japanese tourists watching!

Moving inside… not the easiest location

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We went into City Screen and found the only table available – the one below the stair case. We got them all drinks to cool off and staged a few meeting type shots, using iPads and phones… we had one director missing – so we had to wait for him to arrive to get the complete team shots. The main issue with the location was access for me – I could only really shoot from 1 angle and the stairs above their heads prevented any creative lighting… such are the challenges of “location shooting”.

That said, a pint or 2 each made for some far more jovial and natural shots.

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Client Meeting Shots

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Rob and I were keen to have some shots for the guys meeting with clients – these show “potential clients” the directors in action. Rob is a real client of theirs, and another client popped in to talk with them – so we got some great shots – this time on a separate table with loads of room around, making life a LOT easier.

Final Headshots

Once we’d finished in the City Screen – I spotted an ancient wall which just looked like York’s famous city walls, so I quickly set up some lights and quickly got some “studio style” shots of all 4 of them – at this point they were totally comfortable with the camera and light – and it shows. Great shots – with that York city wall feel in the background.

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Manchester Uni Union

We captured the student exec a few weeks ago, it was now the turn of the entire staff of the union!

It’s always nostalgic going to the Union – I first walked into this building in October 1991, a fresher looking around for beer (which was 85p back then) and glasses… those lecture theatres were huge and I couldn’t read anything on the blackboard. So my first “round john lennon style” glasses came from this exact building

Anyway – when shooting the exec, we liked the colourful Union logo as a backdrop, so we set up 3 lights, put on “X” on the floor and shipped the staff through – all 47 of them!

I thought shooting in the main entrance may be daunting for the staff – but I think it had the opposite effect… the busy, bustling atmosphere, pockets of staff waiting for their turn to be “shot” and the lack of “waiting around” made for a pretty painless experience.

Anyway – here’s a load of preview shots from the day – enjoy!

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PR Shoot – Phil Allum

Telecoms expert, Phil Allum, helps people & business talk through his company TGE Solutions.

An urgent need for some new PR profile shots arose, so we got together to shoot at his offices in West Yorkshire.

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We created a wide variety of looks for all kinds of uses – the obvious shots of Phil using the phones he supplies, and some more generic out door shots along with a few “working at the PC” type images.

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The opening to the shoot was “I hate having my photo taken!”

It’s always a challenge to take this attitude and “flip” it – to make the experience fun, relaxed, informal and to leave them feeling that they’ve not had the usual “photographer experience” – but one they’d enjoyed.

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Once outside and we were chatting about the world and it’s problems; Phil had got into it. Occasionally I’d ask him to look at a tree or something – but other than that, it was simply 2 guys having a laugh.

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After we’d finished shooting, I returned to base and put the previews on DropBox straight away so Phil could choose the shots he needed – which again were delivered on DropBox as soon as he’d chosen.

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And all this done in the midst of a nasty bout of “man flu”!

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PR Shoot – Louise Lapish

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Louise Lapish runs Gatewood Consulting, training UK-wide in all aspects business from CV writing to sales.

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We’d met through Yorkshire’s most exciting new business support network, BiY. She needed some great new shots for her personal PR, so we went to meet at Regus near Elland Road and used the building around there to capture some new shots.

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Using small flashes means you can quickly and easily move around the building to get a large variety of looks with minimum of fuss. Louise needed some colour and black and white, so we used flowers in the background for a few “warm”, and the metal architecture to vary the look with a “cool” background.

After a fun hour or so, we’d got about 150 shots from all over the building – these were all delivered on Dropbox later that day for Louise to choose from over the Easter weekend.

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