Newsletter Febuary 2013

Living North Magazine

I was rather pleased to have number of my photographs published in the December edition of Living North magazine. This was as part of a feature the magazine did on a holiday cottage in Low Newton by the Sea being promoted by Cottages in Northumberland.

Early dates for tourism fairs

These events are organised with owners of accommodation or tourism businesses in mind. They allow you to see what other tourism businesses and attractions are out there. In my experience, they are an excellent way of finding out what attractions may appeal to your guests and for discovering support services for the tourism industry. I will have a stand at both the Alnwick and Kelso fairs so please come and say hello if you are visiting.

March 12 North Tourism Fair at Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre, Alnwick, Northumberland Organised by Local Living (NE) Ltd . For more information visit

March 13th North Tourism Fair at Wentworth Leisure Centre Hexham, Northumberland
Organised by Local Living (NE) Ltd . For more information visit

March 13th Kelso Tourism Fair at Springwood Park, Kelso, Scottish Borders
Organised by Border Events Ltd. For more information visit

Funny reviews, complaints & comments

Review sites such as Trip Advisor and Revo are something that any accommodation providers will be very familiar with and love them or hate them, they seem to be throwing up some fantastically funny/stupid comments. Here are some of my favourites:

A highlight, from a property owner responding to a bad review

I make no apologies for the lilac colour in the room....after all the room is called "The Lilac Room" so what colour do you expect ...? I have checked the paint tin and it definitely says Lilac not 'Terrible lilac'. To avoid further disappointments, please note that "The Red Room" is red and "The Coral Room" is coral. If you want luminous we suggest you book the 'Mark Rothko room' which is painted in bright orange.

"The beach was too sandy”

“We bought 'Ray-Ban' sunglasses for five euros from a street trader, only to find out they were fake."

“No-one told us there would be fish in the sea. The children were startled."

"It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England it only took the Americans three hours to get home."

"I compared the size of our one-bedroom apartment to our friends' three-bedroom apartment and ours was significantly smaller."

"The brochure stated: 'No hairdressers at the accommodation'. We're trainee hairdressers - will we be OK staying here?"

Some of the questions that visitors asked were equally daft:

"Are there any lakes in the Lake District?"

"Why on earth did they build Windsor Castle on the flight path of Heathrow?"

"Why did they build so many ruined castles and abbeys in England?"

"Is Edinburgh in Glasgow?"

"How much of the caves is underground?"

"Do you know of any undiscovered ruins?"

10 things you won’t find in my images

Apart from reading strange review site comments, I also keep a close eye on the photography used on accommodation provider’s websites and much of it is lacking in attention to detail. Part of the problem is that photographing houses - and especially interiors - calls for quite a special set of skills and techniques and this often catches out many people. So here’s my own list of 10 things that you WON’T find in my images.

1. Blown out windows. The vastly differing light sources in a typical room mean that windows often appear completely white with no detail to be seen. I work hard to make sure that the beautiful views are captured within the interior image.

2. Bins. Especially kitchen bins, bathroom bins and dustbins. There are necessary for everyday use but we don’t really need to see them in our photographs.

3. Distorted verticals. This is caused by using wider angle lenses and not having the camera parallel to the walls. This can give the viewer a very strange and un-nerving feeling about an image.

4. Toilet seats left up. Never ever looks good.

5. Unlit fires/log burners. An open fire or log burner can be a big selling point and can be a big reason as to why someone books your accommodation. A blazing fire certainly adds atmosphere and helps make a room feel cosy, so why not include this in the photograph?

6. General clutter. Usually seen on kitchen benches or in bathrooms for example. It rarely adds anything to a photograph.

7. Featureless skies. White skies are, very simply, boring to look at. While I can’t change the laws of nature, various techniques allow me to at least ensure your exterior photographs will have interesting and attractive skies.

8. Blank TV screens. Again, post production techniques allow me to discreetly add an image to an otherwise blank TV screen, perhaps of a local scenic view.

9. Poor composition. Sometimes a photograph just looks wrong. It could be that the eye just isn’t drawn into the photograph in a pleasing way or perhaps a piece of furniture is simply in the wrong place. It’s a tricky one to get right as it comes down to having an artistic eye for a good photograph along with having the experience of producing successful images day in, day out.

10. Distracting wires. Wires from the TV, kettle or bedside lamp can distract the viewer from the overall image and simply look untidy. If I can’t hide a distracting wire on the day I will always remove it in post production.