A little Rouge....

The Tuesday chin wag is early for a change, OK its actually a week overdue but hey today is a Monday so let me live the dream.   I bring you today a chat to Rouge Media, a lovely agency just down the road from me in Berks.  I had the pleasure of meeting Andy who heads up this creative hub....lets get nosey!

Andy, why the name Rouge?
We wanted a name that we could grow into.. Something that sounded like a big agency but was still very approachable.  The name came out of the idea that we add colour to marketing materials - 'adding a touch of rouge.'
Your not web monkeys as far as I am aware...so what animal is Rouge if it had to be one and why?
I've always felt that we operate well as a team of specialists looking out for each other, so maybe meerkats. I know a wolf pack would sound better but we are just a bit more friendly than that!
Can you tell us something about your latest project that you think illustrates why Rouge are so fabulous darling?
Just now we are doing some work for Mclaren, but i can say no more than that as its top secret!
Our latest launch is for East Youth Dance.  This is a community dance website for the East of England.  It's a relatively small site right now but will grow as the dance network starts to populate it with evens, news, groups and activities.  I guess that what i like about it best, the website will eventually take on a life of its own,
Now I bought you cake when i came to see you...other than sugary treats what other things make you stand up and take notice or would be a good thank you?
We love cake, but pork pies or scotch eggs would be outstanding.
Pick one....Telephone, Good old letter, Email, Twitter or a Post it note.
Email.  I can still remember sending my first email in 95.  It was like a form of magic!  Amazing its now so essential everyday.
What's it really like working in an office full of young creatives - juicy gossip, fashion disasters and mad brainstorming meetings?
Sadly its not like that anymore.  We are all quite nerdy serious about what we do.  I cant even say we work hard, play harder.  Its about being professional and delivering the goods.  That not to say we don't have fun doing it but the playboy days of champagne lunches have long gone.  Its better now.  It certainly means that the industry gets taken more seriously, I'm no longer afraid of those awkward introductions...and what do you do?
I notice your doing free website checks at the moment, can you tell us a little more about it?
Websites are often launched then forgotten, they can rapidly go out of date and fall apart.  As a freebie we will spend a couple of hours with our site on our consultation couch, find if there are any issues then help suggest remedies.  Unashamedly this is a route to new business for us but the things we recommend can be things you can do yourself, we are big fans of people taking control of their own websites.
What other things does Rouge do that we may not know about?
We have great experience of logos, branding and advertising.
An lastly, a quick fire round.....
  • Favourite word - Spoon
  • Favourite book - Magician by Raymond Feist
  • Scariest thing about running your own business - The tax man
  • CD you currently have playing in your car - Falcon by The Courteeners
  • The last thing that made you laugh - My kids drawing all over their own faces
  • Last time you dug, delved and had a good poke around what did you find? - A good friend that i lost touch with nearly 15 years ago.  He wasn't down he back of the sofa or anything, turns out he was only in Richmond.
Thank you to Andy at Rouge!  Check his digits below.

Fashion and Footwear....Designer spotting

Thursday night I was invited to the TVU Ealing graduate fashion show, an event supported by Toni & Guy, The London College of Music and the Creatie Campus Initiative.  Going along was a chance for me to not only see some old faces from my study days but also to see some of the designers that will hopefully be taking part in the 'Be Part of it...' workshop in July.  There were some amazing designs so keep those fingers crossed!

Looking to the sun...

I don't normally write about this but thought, hey why not.  It also fills a space that an interview doesn't...sorry about that, hopefully coming soon.

Anyway, Carli-Art is very proud to be working alongside Solar Plaza to provide full coverage of their UK PV conference, an event discussing the details of the new feed in tariff and exploring market opportunities. Not knowing a huge amount about Solar energy myself I did some digging and was intrigued to learn about the government solar incentive scheme which was introduced in April.  I am looking forward to covering this packed event and of course....getting to use the new D5.  (Which hasn't actually arrived yet after ordering 8 days ago!) 

If you wish to learn more about this fab event or check out the unique and historic venue.....click here.

Wild hair, book clubs & the CS3 patch tool...

I am not doing well at this new schedule i realize, there I go setting myself goals & fail at the first hurdle!  It has been a busy week with only Friday afternoon actually in the office and believe it or not rather long electricity failures over 2 days. Almost two days without electricity, well it was interesting much like my hair.  (The perils of not being able to dry it or straighten it!)

I have been trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible this week (and as part of that actually attended my first book club meeting last night....in did involve G&T and a 2am bedtime mind) in terms of marketing and have unfortunately not picked up my camera once!  Royal Windsor horse show pics will follow next week alongside hopefully an interview with a couple of clients, Balmlane Events and Rouge Media.  

For now some tips that I failed to post yesterday......Foto Tip Friday reborn.....

- Using adjustment layers in PS is invaluable.  Concentrate on only the area you are adjusting then select the layer and depending on how large the area is your changing brush back in the original, or invert and brush in the amendments.  Want more?
- The patch tool: I know many of you will know how to use this but essentially this is for correcting areas that you may otherwise correct with the clone stamp or the healing brush.  This does so by using a defined area selected by you.  Find the area you need to cover and select it using the patch tool.  Make sure that it is in 'Source' mode and then move the selection to a new point to select pixels that will cover up the original.  So your dragging the bad selection to a good selection, or the source.  Just remember that PS will blend the areas itself so be careful using sources with too much contrast. Get further guidance thanks to Livedocs.
- Now i have actually heard less about CS5 than I expected...is there anyone out there using it?  I still use CS3 and am happy with it for now but knowing the advantages CS4 offers (I like the adjustment layers new menu layout option) I wondered what other developments had been made bar the apparently amazing selection tool.  Check out Adobe to cast your own view and let me know if you use it yet and how your getting on.

RWHS and an alternative view of Reading....

This weekend saw Royal Windsor Tattoo on Friday night and then a second shooter on a wonderful wedding Saturday.  Sunday my official day off was fruitfully enjoyed in bed until midday with a crash and burn of happiness when I looked at the amount of cleaning & washing that needed doing!  

On a non domestic note things are moving (ok slowly but there moving ok!) on the portfolio front and I have started really looking at images that sum up my photography, one image for the possibilities a good events PR image can offer...surely not...yes, be sure.  I have tomorrow afternoon dedicated to writing copy and have the lovely Resonate helping with marketing therefore am thankfully being forced to get back on the marketing plan bandwagon.  Why is marketing so mind boggling, its like a vast sea with ever changing currents and each slippery rock you hold onto just promises more possibility of drowning!?

Anyway enough babble, the community project I have coming up in July is keeping me focussed on at least one thing (official PR to follow) and the fact that tomorrow evening the D5 mark 2 is being purchased, yes that 'buy' button is being pressed.  Get ready for an excitement overload as I start posting those annoying look at the difference photographs!

Another idea is brewing and I would love your help actually.....if you are a small business undergoing a rebrand or a start up company what is the one area photography wise you would like covered? Websites, portraits, twitter, your blog, a newsletter? Tell all....I have something exclusively for you guys but just want to put that cherry on the top!

Oh...above...some alternative views of Reading for your PR perusal

Thrifty Thursday....writing copy

The blog sees its first Thrifty Thursday, an accumulation of various handy tips, news and bits of interesting chit chat that I stumble across on the web be it useful or useless!  Today it will be useful as my brain is all geared up preparing these portfolio's and strengthening my brand by having a consistent few paragraphs of copy that I use in printed media and online that clearly and effectively let you guys know what I do.  Far more complicated than I first thought I went on the web for inspiration & came up with the following.....

  • Make your audiences pay attention; make them respond in some way. Our content uses the language and messages that we identify as being appropriate for the people you want to engage. Thanks to Resonate as this is one of their five C's!
  • Your copy also needs to be found by search engines and someone said to be the other day (thank you Andrew from Direct-to-Market) that people using two words in Google are looking to educate themselves, those using 3 or more are looking to buy.  Therefore I was thinking maybe brainstorm what those keywords are, being more specific than you may have first thought, then try and fit one of them into your copy.  More SEO copy stuff - try this link.  You even get a free downloadable booklet. Thank you Brian from Copyblogger
  • Focus on the reader – make an important promise early on (with your headline and opening paragraphs) that tells the reader what’s in it for her. Never allow readers to question why they are bothering to pay attention.  Again, thank you Brian from Copyblogger.
  • Diagram your words.  Diagramming keywords that you want people to know about your business or which represent your brand will help organise your thoughts before you put your fingers to the keyboard.  Think about how much information you need and how to present it.  Thank you to All business for this snippet! 
  • Add a strong call to action at least twice. Like bookmarks, a strong and concise call to buy should be placed early in your promotional piece, as well as near the end. Be clear in how customers should contact you and always give your website address if you have one.  Thank you to Entrepeneur.com for this beauty.
  • People buy the sizzle, not the steak. Features are only a means to an end. What do the features of your product mean to the lives of your consumers?
  • Keep your voice personal, professional but personal.....be you!  Read more courtesy of Excess Voice.
Right....now to write some copy that works!! I will be back with the results.....hopefully something worth smiling about!

Where do you come from cotton eye Joe....

The decision has been made to purchase the Canon D5 Mark2, yes all i need now is the money! I am excited, possibly a little too excited but this camera is possibly the most awesome bit of kit & I honestly believe will improve the quality of the files I am able to supply my clients.  My old camera I love but I have outgrown it and in a bid to continually improve my services and my images I want to step up and be counted as a Mark2 owner!

Somewhere it would have come in handy (with its crazzzzy high ISO settings) is the Barn dance i photographed this weekend.  Supporting my local residents association and Help The Heroes this dance and Mayfayre the following day turned out some great crowds, feel free to check out the pictures below.

Need your own events photography tips?  http://eepurl.com/pDjH

Here it goes....Dear Diary....

So I have been a little slack on the blog posting of recent...i apologize!! No I really do.  In my aim to get more savvy with social media and use it to the extent I understand it can be used I am introducing a new regime to the mix....this is more for my benefit than yours but will give you a structure as to what kind of things I post and when!  These posts are all written for you so if there is something you would  love to know or think would be a great addition, please just shout. 
Here it goes:

Tuesday - "I chat to..." The day of interviews with other photographers, artists, models, make up artists and also my clients!  Get to hear first hand what they have to say.
Thursday - Thrifty Thursday is the day where I grab other web content and essentially compress it in to a neat post and then let you guys know the best of the best.  This will be other advise, tips, ramblings or creative work from other people out there doing there thing and which I have found useful or insightful (or just darn funny!) and therefore think you might just too!
Friday - It returns, Foto Tip Friday.  Camera, photoshop, flash, post, various tips that you may like to know about the many elements of photography.  Suggestions...come on down ladies and gents and get them in while their hot!
The rest - Other days are left open for random ramblings, words from other creatives or local business's, a review of what is going on out there, Image sneak previews, up to date news on my diary, special offers and of course each month, The Bright Ideas post accompanied by the newsletter on a quarterly basis.  Yay!


I have been very busy this week predominantly working on marketing material and am very excited about getting a portfolio designed and printed....the old school returns and I cant wait to give some of my clients something tangible to wrap their fingers around.  I attended RSVP on Thursday (I saw Alistair Guy if you know who that is, I have to admit I was slightly star struck!!) and have posted some images below so you can get a feeling for this Events event, the general feel was really positive and I was proud to bump into friends on a few of the stands including Group Seven Events and Ten by Fifteen structures.

I will follow later this week with some more images from the Bagatelles shoot, a good round up for that one and also some new additions to the stock library!