A few weeks ago over a beer in Rotterdam a delegate on the workshop exclaimed that the Lovegrove websites were rubbish. Not the content but the themes and coding. I sort of had to agree with him because there was nothing to show in my defence. We had bumbled through with a bit of coding here and a bit of coding there and none of our web presence delivered to our increasing number of mobile users. Google was aware of that too and our rankings were on the slide.
We did a patch up job on the blog, got our Google and Google plus strategy in order and set about replacing all our websites.
Three weeks later and we have the first stage of the Lovegrove web redevelopment in place. Prophotonut was our first target. I was happy for it to be a ginny pig for our theme of choice because It does not directly affect our income stream. Prophotonut is a large site with just 3 pages but over 400 blog posts. There are more than 8000 comments too including the Facebook ones and in the past 7 years it has had well over 6 million visitors. We started Google analytics in 2011 and since then we have clocked over 4 million visitors and more than double that in page views. With stats like that I was happy to just let it tick over and carry on. However we were on the slippery slope and I needed to get ProPhotoNut back on track and bang up to date.
I decided to drop the annoying advertising too because although it provides a revenue stream it is also a platform for our competitors to gain access to our readership. I’ve decided to have a few news style adverts for our own products and services instead.I will continue to write pillar articles to bring in new readers and through the features that I write I can expose those new readers to our specialist lighting kit, training videos and holidays/ workshops. This strategy will keep Prophotonut a joy to read and I can continue to justify it’s existence within the Lovegrove website community. It takes a lot of my time to generate the website content and there has to be a return on that investment.
Next up is a top secret website ;) We are building a new site from scratch with just 10 items for sale this small site is being super optimised for a new audience, that are not currently aware of Prophotonut or Lovegrove Shop. In order to stay ahead as a company, Lovegrove Shop will need to seek out new organic leads and deliver a wonderful online experience to them. The website experience will have to convert the leads generated by SEO into new customers. In the past we have been happy to make our goods available to purchase online but these days a much more active role is needed to expand a customer base. The new website is scheduled to be online by the 30th of September.
If My team are all still with me we by then ;) we will tackle Lovegrove Shop. This site, originally called Lovegrove consulting was an ASPX site up until about 6 months ago and now it is a Wordpress site of sorts. It needs a new theme that will take care of responsiveness and it will need a lot of custom coding to get the multiple page styles sorted before launch. Unlike Prophotonut we won’t be working on the live site. We will run a new site alongside the old and then make the switch when we are satisfied all the functionality is working. We have over 500 products, 3 currencies, 3 languages and multiple ways to pay to contend with.
Then it will be Julie’s website and my lovegrovephotography site that will get remade and SEO’d followed by the Passion Photography Experience site however we have sold out all our workshop places at the moment so the pressure is off on that one for now.
They say that a website is never completed and I agree with that statement. We still have a few bugs to tweak on ProPhotoNut like the load speed on the home page and the formatting of the comment entry form. Once these are done I’ll be nipping of to Spain for three workshops and a 1:1 training session and then when I get back I can start writing content again. I’ll have 7 shoots to blog, a write up on the settings for the X-T10, and a review of the XF90mm lens to complete.
Thank you for your patience while we get our websites in order. You can see the shine new Prophotonut here and even kick back to read a pillar article on Hollywood Glamour. www.prophotonut.com
- Lovegrove ShopDirector, 2012 - present
- Lovegrove Photography LtdPhotographer, 1992 - present
- Lovegrove ConsultingPhotographer, 2005 - 2012
+44 (0)1275 853204
Nailsea nr Bristol UK
+44 (0)1275 853204
I grew up with my parents among the orchard and hop farms of rural Kent. My mother is an art teacher and my father was an architect. I’ve always been a visual person having been taught about composition, texture and form in art from an early age. I was 12 when I first experienced the magic of making photographs with a Patterson enlarger in the bathroom. I’ll never forget the pungent aroma of the stop bath chemicals. Two magical moments I am glad to have experienced at an early age are peering at the processed film for the first time as it is removed from the processing tank and watching the image form on the photographic paper in the developer tray.
I’m inspired by beauty and as I have matured as a photographer I’ve learned to see beauty in just about everyone and everywhere. It’s not what I look at that matters to me it is what I see. I am always converting the three dimensional scene in front of me into a two dimensional image in my mind. The exhilarating visual experience I have every moment of the day drives my passion for photography. I love studying the work of other photographers to relive the excitement of their captured moment.
I’m a self motivated guy with quite an entrepreneurial streak in me. It’s been quite a journey from my days at the BBC where I trained and worked as a cameraman and lighting director. 14 years of BBC life taught me nothing about making money but everything about image making that I could ever have dreamed of. The entrepreneurial skills came later in life when I embarked on a lucrative career and teamed up with my wife Julie as wedding photographers. Having a distinct style kept our work at a premium level and we charged high fees accordingly. After 10 years and 400 weddings it was time to move on.
Cutting loose from weddings allowed me to follow my heart and become a portrait and beauty photographer. I suppose I’m quite similar in mind to Helmut Newton, obsessed with detail and excited by beautiful people and places. I love to direct my subjects and take control. To part fund the transition into portraiture I published my first book on wedding photography in 2007 and it went on to sell some 35,000 copies making it an instant best seller in it’s field. Next came my first art book called Chloe Jasmine Whichello. This has gone on to receive wonderful critical acclaim. More information about the book and signed copies at ‘cheaper than Amazon prices’ can be purchased here. It took me until my early 30s to develop a maturity that enabled me to direct my clients and models. Effective communication and the ability to forge instant rapport are skills I learned quite late in life. Helping other photographers achieve their goals has been a big highlight in my recent years. My role in life has become to inspire and educate other photographers through a sharing of knowledge, wisdom and passion.
A few other random facts about me…
I love people and I suppose women in particular. I love their mannerisms, fashion, style and beauty. I love photographing women. I also get a buzz from teaching. My favourite colour is green. It is the signal colour for the start of spring and it reminds me of lying on the ground in apple orchards as a child. I’m an evening person. I come alive as the sun goes down, It’s when I like to party. I feel I have some Latin spirit in me that just wants to party until dawn. I have my roots firmly in the UK yet the climate is not how I like it. I’d like to live 1500km south of here in the Mediterranean region. Travel, photography and adventure are my main motivators right now. I like to have at least three international trips in the diary ahead of me.
Six things that I like…
- Youth – Vibrant, beautiful, effervescent, alive and broad-minded people excite me.
- Music – Rhythmic, mood enhancing and well structured music provides the sound track to my life.
- Sunlight – Sunlight uplifts me, it creates visual contrast and generates fabulous patterns of light.
- Food – Slow roasted lamb shanks with Dauphinoise potatoes and I suppose chocolate are my favourite foods.
- Drinks – Fine old world wines, beer and cappuccino are three of my life excesses.
- Connectivity – smart phones, and devices keep me connected via Twitter, my blog Prophotonut and Facebook.
- BBCTrained as a cameraman, 1984 - 1987Evesham A113 and Q course. Television Centre in London and BBC Bristol
- BBCTrained as a lighting director, 1992 - 1994Evesham Lighting Course. Television Centre TC5 and TC7
- BBCFilm conversion course, 1994 - 1994Studied film qualities and handling practices.