Fed by Photos – Niall and Charlotte Benvie

VAT and e-books. Are you breaking the law?

Posted by in professional practice

If you sell e-books directly online to anyone in the EU, whether you’re based in the EU or outside it, you’re breaking the law if you don’t declare and pay tax on them. Never mind that you’re not VAT registered; the rules still apply. And that level of tax is the one in the buyer’s country pertaining  to electronically delivered products. So, in France, for example, that would be 5.5% while in Portugal it’s 23%. The new laws require us to have two pieces of evidence to show where a buyer is…read more

Objectograph Grid Maker

Posted by in technical

Followers of my photography will be aware that I am fond of “objectographs” where numerous elements are brought together in a single piece of work. Often these are leaves or stones shot in the field studio against a pure white, backlit background, sometimes they are extracts of larger objects, such as featured on the granite panel, here. When I started to make objectographs 8 years ago, I did it the hard way with Photoshop, carefully measuring out margins and gaps, making use of the grid feature. Latterly, the job has…read more

Realistic pricing

Posted by in professional practice

It’s a shame that so many of the blogs and advice sites about professional photography are American. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading what Chase Jarvis,  Ramit Sethi, Zack Arias and David DuChemin (who’s actually Canadian, lest there be any confusion) have to offer. It’s inspiring and makes you feel anything is possible but ultimately, their advice has little to do with the reality of getting photographic work outside large metropolitan areas, particularly those in the US. Zack, for example, is openly puzzled that anyone can get a living…read more

Camranger and portraits

Posted by in technical

I had little use for an iPad until I discovered how useful it was for gathering model releases with the ReleaseMe app. Now I would never go back to paper release. But it has really come into its own when paired the CamRanger to create a local wifi network. If you’ve not had a look at this (albeit slightly pricey) device you’re in for a pleasant surprise. I recently photographed about 60 students and 18 member of staff at my children’s school for the Senior Years’ Yearbook. Eliot, as head boy, took full advantage…read more

Gloves off

Posted by in ideas

With the 10th anniversary of the International League of Conservation Photographers falling this October, I think its time for “conservation photography” to get a whole more angry. Yes, there are examples of successful outcomes resulting from the efforts of photographers and conservationists working together, but these are very much against the run of play. Biodiversity – as good a benchmark as any of the state of the Earth – continues to diminish at a rate far in excess of the normal attrition of evolution (if you don’t buy into evolutionary…read more

Making time for ideas

Posted by in ideas

I hold to the belief (as I’m not sure how I would prove it) that all “new ideas” originate not in our heads but are ever-present in the ether. They are accessible to anyone in the right state of receptiveness who then acts as a conduit to introduce them to the world. I believe this in part because of the number of times “new ideas” or understanding or enlightenment comes at the same time to unconnected people in different parts of the world as they enquire and probe, wonder and…read more

How people make decisions.

Posted by in ideas, professional practice

It’s not safe to make the statement I’m about to without putting a lot of thought into it first. And observation. In fact a lifetime’s (or, in my case, 50 year’s) of each. And while I don’t like what I’ve found to be true, accepting it is the first stage in making your way in this business (and in others too, for all I know.) Tell me, can you spot the odd one out? • Expedience • Economy • Experience • Emotion • Reason Did I make it too easy…? When it comes to…read more

Why promotions fail -and why to persist.

Posted by in professional practice

You’ve just had a really great idea for a new story or service or product. It’s novel, there is such a clear niche for it, and it’s obvious who the potential buyers are. So you go after them, with email shots, a beautiful pdf presentation, some endorsements: the works. And nothing comes of it. Not a glimmer of interest. If you’ve been in this business for more than five minutes and have ever had a good idea, you’ll recognise this scenario. There are lots of reasons this happens and understanding why might prevent…read more


Easy lighting for iPhone close ups

Posted by in Carlotta's Chocolates, technical

When Charlotte is at work in the chocolate kitchen she, understandably, doesn’t appreciate softboxes, tripods, reflectors and stands when all she needs is an image for Facebook. But I’m picky when it comes to lighting photos, though, and won’t let an iPhone snap lit by built-in flash pass muster. We’ve found a good compromise by shining a 500 Lumens LED Lenser X7R torch through a piece of Flyweight envelope stiffener, my choice of diffusion material for the last two decades. The light is daylight balanced and the Flyweight creates a large bright source with highly feathered…read more


ReleaseMe app.: the easiest way to collect releases.

Posted by in professional practice, technical

During a number of commissions for the Forestry Commission and Woodland Trust here in Scotland I have been required to photograph lots of complete strangers. This is a nice challenge that requires the photographer to strike up an almost instant rapport with “the talent” who, when they put a lead on their dog that morning, probably didn’t expect to be photographed for publication later that day. But there is nothing guaranteed to turn the mood more at the end of the short session that a photographer producing a pile of dog-earned model release…read more