Features

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Spotlight - Henry Stuart - Photographer

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I have never received even one hour of training in photography, web design or programming and I make my living out of putting the three together.

 

Creativepool caught up with Henry at Tower Bridge to talk about a lack of training, dodgy ankles and, errr, the weather...

 

Describe your work in one sentence.
I capture images of a location and display it online in such a way that the viewer is transported there – true 'Virtual Reality' photography.

 

How do you create your virtual tours? Can you take us through the process?
Once I turn up on site I discuss with the customer the best areas to include in the tour. Each area is then captured by setting up a sturdy tripod with a revolving custom made tripod head which houses a Digital SLR camera. Basically I take photos from one point in EVERY direction, even of the floor and ceiling! These photos are then painstakingly stitched together in to a sphere (hence Spherical Images) to be incorporated in the Flash based Virtual Tour.

 

What's the most important thing you've learned in your work?
Treat each and every customer like they are the best contract you have ever earned – they will turn in to your best salesmen.

 

What attracted you to your chosen field?
A keen interest in photography coupled with knowledge of web design and programming made Virtual Tour production viable. Plus the knowledge that I could provide full screen HD quality images at a fraction of the file size and price of the video currently on offer.

 

Tell us about your best project to date.
The Royal Albert Hall, commissioned us to produce their Virtual Tour after we beat off five other companies in a tender. The tour has a custom built interface including an interactive floor plan, sliding, hiding menus and is fully branded to match their new website. To see the tour and their testimonial, click on the below image.


What do you think sets you apart from your competitors?
Having HD quality images and full screen capability sets us apart from most of our competitors. However we really start to move ahead from the rest with our expertise in Flash, allowing us to fully customise the tours. This means we can add sound, interactive areas that can be clicked on for more information - we can even embed video on a TV screen in a hotel bedroom!

 

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I have never received even one hour of training in photography, web design or programming and I make my living out of putting the three together.

 

If you could work on any project for any company/organisation, what would it be and who would it be for?
I would love to be able to provide Virtual Tours of all of the events at the 2012 Olympics and the stadiums and locations for staging them. The tour would be such a useful tool for showing fans travelling for the games the different areas and places they will be visiting. Images taken during the event itself would be an excellent record of the games.

 

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing you in the current financial climate?
Explaining the good sense in getting a Virtual Tour to a company that's tightening its belt. Customers need to have the benefits of having a VT spelled out much more clearly in this climate, particularly if marketing managers are going to get the budget from their accounts department.

 

Who inspires you and why?
David Nightingale of Chromasia. I think he is one of the best modern photographers in the world you only need look at this link to see what I mean.

 

What's your favourite bit of kit/program?
This has to be PTGui – the program I use to stitch the images together in to a sphere, it's well priced, and incredibly powerful. Can be easily used by amateurs wanting to have a go at panoramic photography too.

 

What frustrates you the most about your job?
My dependence on the weather – countless jobs have been postponed due to miserable weather, nearly everyone wants their images done in the summer too, meaning my income closely mirrors that of the ice cream trade!

 

What pearl of wisdom can you offer to someone starting out in your industry?
Make sure you can not only photograph well but program flash and write HTML. If you can't, then partner up with someone who can provide those skills for you.

 

If you could have ONE super power, what would it be?
Being indestructible sounds appealing right now – nursing an ankle I went over on the weekend.

 

What do you like about Creativepool?
I love the new website, works just as well as it looks and that's brilliant!

 

What's your favourite song of all time?
This must be the place (naive melody) by the Talking Heads

 

And finally, what can a prospective customer expect from you?
Maybe testimonial will be a most appropriate answer here:

"Henry is hugely talented at every step of the photographic process - from having the eye to find the great shots, through dealing with unexpected situations in the field, to skilled digital manipulation of the images such as applying HDR, or seamlessly editing out elements we don't want. We feel comfortable entrusting him with photo shoots at sensitive locations (cathedrals, museums, palaces), internationally. We know he will work well with everyone and solve problems on the fly. At the same time, he is highly professional and a great pleasure to work with. The client is always his focus.

Aly Gardner-Shelby, Producer, Big Fish Studios

 

Click here to see Henry's work

If you want to be in the spotlight, email us with examples of your work or a link to your Creativepool profile.

Words: Ross Nichols - Marketing Manager, Creativepool

 

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