The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Spring Fling – Studio 50 on the Orange Route

Do I lead with the fact you can buy a £100 photography voucher for only £10?

Or that I will be doing photography demonstrations with a smoke machine?

Or that I'll be open from 10.30am to 5pm on Saturday 25th, Sunday 26th & Monday 27th May to visit as part of the Spring Fling Open Studios weekend?

So many artists seem to start with their opening hours – I guess if you can't make those days and times then everything else is redundant.

In the Spring Fling brochure I my entry was "Smoke machine, lighting, live demonstrations of how to create awesome photos – on the hour, every hour while open across the weekend!" - in the hope it might get people excited about visiting.

But I'm also hoping there might be an uptake in a Spring Fling exclusive offer whereby I'm giving away £100 photography vouchers for only £10. Conditions apply, of course, but if anyone has ever considered the idea of having a photo session with me, then surely this is a must have?

Oh, the headaches of trying to work out how to market myself.


Lights! Camera! Smoke!

It's been 4 years since I last appeared in Spring Fling (see: Spring Fling 2015).

I did it for several years, but the problem was I could never be sure it was actually a worthwhile investment.

It's very easy for artists who sell their creations – artists, potters, jewellers, willow weavers etc – to see a direct connection between how much it costs them to participate, and how much income it generates.

However, what I offer is bespoke experiences – photography created uniquely and exclusively for individuals, groups and businesses – that are discussed and planned in advance. You don't just come along and buy a photo sitting in a print-rack.

As such it was impossible for me to see whether the time, money and effort was worth it.

So after 5 years I decided to take a break and instead visit some of the other studios over the weekend, along with my daughter, Meg. It was so much fun, we did it again the following year. And the next year too.

What got me thinking about it this time, was the “Peaky Blinders” themed shoot I did last year (see Peaky Blinders at Rosefield Mills). If you watch the behind-the-scenes video (at the bottom of that page), what strikes a lot of people is the difference between the ambient light of the warehouse, and the dramatic lighting of the photos.


Peaky Blinders themed shoot at Rosefield Mills in 2018

When using off-camera flashes, with coloured gels, and not forgetting a smoke machine, at the point the camera goes click, light gets captured in a way the human eye doesn't see. So what appears in the back of the camera is very different what you see in real life.

I started to think how much fun it would be to do demonstrations of this. I could tether the camera to a screen and have people take photos on their phones, literally over my shoulder, and what would appear on their screens would be completely different to what would appear on mine.

OK, so that would help prove why just taking photos on your phone isn't always going to be able to match what a professional photographer can do, but what I really needed was a way to see if the kind of people who visit the studios over Spring Fling weekend are actually the kind of people who would part with money for my skills.

So then I read about the idea of making a "compelling offer". Quite simply, if getting £100 off a Kim Ayres photo shoot for only £10 isn't going to make you open your wallet faster than superman getting changed in a phone booth, then I'm not the photographer you're looking for.

However, regardless of whether the offer has any appeal or not, it would be lovely to see you over the weekend if you can make it along.

I'm not operating from home as my place isn't big enough to do the demonstrations, so my good friends Carolyn and Ken are allowing me to use their outbuilding which is the size of a small village hall. It has plenty of room to do the demonstrations and show off photos from shoots I've done before.

As you leave Castle Douglas, head south on the Dalbeattie road for 1.2 miles (SatNav: DG7 1NS), then turn left, turn right and head up the hill, following the signposts. You can't miss it!


2 comments

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

I used to think that I could market my writing with ease. No. Nope.

It's good to see you sitting down, thinking about it.

Your work is so good, it deserves MASSIVE recognition, Kim.

Kim Ayres said...

Neena - aw, thank you! Unfortunately marketing skills are an entirely different thing to photography (or writing) skills - even if marketing employs these things all the time! If you know how to place me in front of people with lots of disposable income, then I'll be very grateful :)

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