Introducing the Flip-Side Portrait

Key people are the greatest asset of a successful company and showing them in the best possible light to prospective clients should be a priority. Biographies, qualifications and other details are often provided across a range of media but what about images? If you look around some company websites or literature what you find is pretty variable in quality.

The Flip-Side Portrait works on the same principle that has seen social media being integrated successfully into marketing strategies, I think this breaks down into 3 areas:

  1. If you like someone you are more likely to do business with them.
  2. If you can get to know someone socially it helps build your working relationship.
  3. If a person is interesting they become more three-dimensional in your mind and therefore more memorable.

So the aim of the Flip-Side Portrait is to provide a high quality “at work” picture and an “outside work” image to go with it. These can be used online where the text beside the work picture encourages the viewer to roll their mouse over the image to reveal the other side or in all kinds of printed media where the alternative image adds depth to the person being described. It can also work well in retail photography as well as product and food photography.

This is John McKee, Chief Executive of Linkubator, CEO of Amtec Medical and co-author of “STAR – Leadership Behaviours for Stellar SME Growth” (written with his Father, Will McKee).

And this is John McKee, breeder of saddleback pigs, being watched over by his ever present and always faithful friend, Flash.

Researching this concept has revealed that captains of industry enjoy a diverse range of activities outside work – sailing, motor racing, mountaineering and flying gliders were among the first I encountered when I started to ask around!

It was also interesting to hear how many successful business people spend their own time helping others; the image below is of Mike Mills, former Chairman of Ulster Carpets and Business Angel, speaking to encourage new start-ups and aspiring business people at a “Get Up and Grow Conference” –

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25 Years in the Business!

The 29th of May 1986 was an important milestone for me and the beginning of my career in photography. I started work at Advertising Photography in Belfast, where I served my time working for Tom Russell. These images are scanned from contact prints of the crew on a shoot later that year. It all seems like yesterday (until you look in a mirror) – great memories and great hairstyles…

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Belfast City Hall exhibition featuring the SS Nomadic

After months of work the exhibition is now installed in City Hall and will run throughout May, June and July admission is free.

Many thanks are due to DSD for commissioning the project (and writing the captions) , to Iris Colour for making the panels and to all at City Hall for hosting the exhibition in their magnificent venue.

A preview of the content is available here –

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Belfast’s Maritime Rebirth – limited edition prints

Here is an opportunity to own an interesting piece of Belfast’s continuing maritime story and help support the SS Nomadic restoration project. Proceeds go towards the restoration of the ship, which has positive implications for Belfast as a visitor destination, especially with the important Titanic sinking centenary being next year.

Background – This view of construction work on the Titanic Visitor Centre, seen through the eyes of the SS Nomadic, is the work of Belfast photographer Stephen Potts. Launched just a month before the Titanic, who she was built to serve, the SS Nomadic has come home to Belfast for restoration which secures her place in the city’s maritime heritage. She is also the only surviving ship of the White Star Line.

Edition – a limited edition of 50 framed prints, individually signed and numbered by the artist.

Media – 12″x18″ Giclée prints on Baryta 325g Cellulose.

Price – £500 (proceeds go to the restoration of the Nomadic).

Available from – 25th April 2011 (exactly 100 years after the SS Nomadic was launched).

To purchase – contact the Department for Social Development, Lesley House, 25 Wellington Place, Belfast BT1 6GD (Gerry AcAlinden on 028 90277652 /

Note – This proof is watermarked and subject to copyright.

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Architectural Wrap Prints

I first saw large-scale photography used to produce building wraps when I rode my motorcycle into Berlin in the summer of 2008. I was struck by the use of the media to provide environmental appeal in areas where buildings were in a state of disrepair and to preview the possibility of reinstating historic buildings that were lost during World War 2. The concept being that, in addition to their obvious aesthetic qualities, these representations could serve with a view to gaining support for building projects. Continue reading

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SEO – the good, the bad and the ugly – A small business perspective on search engine optimisation

About 18 months ago I started to look more seriously at my website’s function as a marketing tool. Understandably, I guess like most folk, my first priority was to make sure I had good content that would say the right things to prospective customers when they visited, so once that was accomplished I turned my attention to getting business from the site – in other words generating some traffic. Continue reading

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Never commission a photograph of your product.

 It may shock you to hear these words from a commercial photographer, it certainly took me by surprise as one of the guiding principles handed down when I started to serve my time in Advertising Photography in 1986, but it was great advice and remains just as relevant today.

 So what to do instead? Next time you commission a photograph or video, whether you sell a product or a service, bear these time-honoured principles in mind:

1. Don’t commission a photograph of your product when you could commission a photograph that sells your product. People buy products and the action of purchasing is triggered by collaboration between the head and the heart. The exact proportions of these influences depends as much upon the type of product as it does on which school of advertising you subscribe to, but both organs are involved, that’s for sure.

2. Speak to your audience. This has two important messages. “Speak to” means address directly and this involves engagement with the potential buyer, no engagement means it missed the point. “Your audience” means the target demographic for your product because there’s very little point trying to sell nursing home places to school children, they’re just the wrong group for the proposition. In summary, what sells more cold drinks, a picture of a glass of liquid or a picture of a group of friends (representative of the target demographic) having fun sharing a drink?

3. Give your product a first class ticket for its journey. Way back in the 1950’s, when the idea of brand image was starting to shape advertisements, David Ogilvy (the original Mad Man) was saying, “Every advertisement must contribute to the complex symbol that is the brand image”. The idea that every appearance of your product must add to its image is pivotal and widely accepted The image of the brand, which is the company who produces the product, should also be served by each appearance.

4. Only employ hard working photographs. A hard working photograph sells product by engaging the viewer but way beyond that it makes the product desirable, the company recognisable and the brand memorable.

I have never forgotten being told – it is the advertising photographer’s job to mix science with art in order to give an advertiser access to their clients’ hearts and minds – it was good advice in 1986 and continues to translate well 25 years on.

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