Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Friday, October 30, 2015

Is Christmas in Newcastle the theme for Fenwick Christmas Window 2015?

Well then.... it's been a while my lovely readers, I can't quite name everything that's been going on of late, suffice to say that I'm so busy that my head is in an actual spin, 3 weeks, 5 days and I'll be on the high seas just leaving Rome, there are worse jobs I have to say!!

So, the most exciting news happened, Fenwick announced that this years Christmas window will be unveiled at 5.30pm on Friday November 6th, that's one week people, one week, there'll be entertainment and music from 3.30 onwards and you can bet your life that Looby and I will be there, last year you may remember that they actually made it snow so I can't wait to find out what they do to top that.  I would say that I think that going by their Christmas gift department on the 2nd floor that this years theme is going to be Christmas in Newcastle and that's another reason to get excited, I love a local theme!

I also of course as you might know adore Fenwick, it's my favourite department store in the whole world so when I accepted an invitation from my fellow blogger Samantha to be her date at the Fenwick food hall party I could barely contain my excitement.

Walking in was like walking into wonderland, no sooner had we made it through the doors before a glass of something sparkling was thrust into our waiting hands and two steps more we were greeted by the most amazing platters of samples from all of the producers who are now occupying the new Fenwick food hall.  It reminds me a lot of Harrods, they've made food buying an experience, and a magical one at that.  I adore artisan local produce and Fenwick will be my go to place, it's not just about the retail magic though, for example you can visit the Champagne and Oyster Bar, you can eat amazing asian food at Kosai, or maybe you could have a glass of wine and a platter at Fuego or even (and I'm delighted about this particularly) a clean treat from the Naked Geordies.  It's almost too exciting to talk about (except it's not).

If you put together the amazing new food hall filled to the brim with small local artisan producers, the amazing gift floor experience on the second floor, the magical Christmas escalator, the brilliant beauty hall and of course the legendary Christmas windows then you have no need to shop anywhere else this Christmas (or ever in fact).


Saturday, October 17, 2015

The day someone stole my image, I sued them and I won!

I'm nestled in my lovely comfy bed knowing that I should probably be up, alert and getting ready to go to a meeting with a lovely lady I'm mentoring so she can have world domination (well besides me anyway) but I'm too snuggly, cosy and warm and I found the perfect excuse not to move for a little while longer....a blog update!!

So, what a week it's been, I've been present by my absence because it's that time of year when the good people of the Northeast all want family photographs, and mostly all on the same perfect autumnal golden lit afternoon, I may only be one woman but I've shot so many sessions you could be forgiven for thinking I'd been cloned, it's just a shame that one of me didn't have time to update my blog!

So, anyway, yes, a couple of months ago, this happened - 

Yes, imagine my surprise as I discovered that Ramside Hall, a Durham hotel and I'm Bored Northeast were both using an image of mine (the bottom one) which had been, shall we say, fairly bastardised? As you can imagine I was extremely angry about it and contacted both parties only to discover that Ramside Hall were the route of the problem, they thought they could just take the image above and use it for whatever they wanted, they claimed they couldn't find the creator but a 0.21 second reverse image search on Google images would have lead them back to the creator, i.e. me.

I sent them an invoice for breach of copyright which they refused to pay, not a massive amount of money, just the same amount as I sell images on my New York  agency, Imagebrief, the truth is I could have asked for a lot more but I am a reasonable sort of person, Ramside were using the image to promote their ticketed event which lead to financial gain, it's bad enough to breach copyright in any situation but to use it for your own financial gain is beyond reproach.

So this is what I did and if it happens to you, here's the procedure which worked exceedingly well -

I sent them the invoice for 2 breaches and gave them 7 days to pay instructing them that if they didn't I would simply take them to court using the small claims court.  7 days later I used the small claims system (costing £60 but you get that back if they lose and pay) and that gave them 30 days to respond from the date I put in my claim.

on October the 6th I won, I asked for the payment by immediate effect and again they ignored that so I sent a quick email with all of the official case numbers informing them that they had 7 days or my next step would be to execute the warrant.  less than 24 hours passed before they settled.

This was never about the money, it was about taking a stand and saying that it's wrong to steal and images are worth the same as diamonds, i'm a photographer, my images are my worth.

I hope that Ramside Hall have learned from this experience and I certainly feel victorious that I stood up for myself and photographers everywhere.

Oh and if you are a blogger (I'm talking to you "I'm bored Northeast) you might want to make sure that those images you are using are yours to use because the truth is that I could have launched a separate claim against you, I didn't because you replied with an impassioned plea and Ramside took responsibility telling me they told IBNE to post it, well the next time someone asks you to post something, particularly if it's intellectual property you might want to make sure 1, twice or even three times that you know where it comes from.

and now I really must get up, I have mentoring to do.


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Breaking News - Mandy Charlton Photography shortlisted for Photographer of the Year

It's always an honour to be recognised by your peers and I have an admission, I never enter photography or indeed photographer competitions, I used to and then I won over 100 separate awards for various photos and came runner up for photographer of the year in 2010 and so I'd done what I sent out to achieve and moved onto the next thing I wanted to achieve so I was a little taken aback when I received a phone call totally out of the blue yesterday afternoon telling me I've been shortlisted for Photographer of the Year in the Northern Wedding Awards.

The truth is that as you probably all know I only shoot a handful of weddings every year now but here's the thing, I love it so much, I choose each one carefully so that I know I can do in and give all of my heart when I work.  It's changed the face of my business entirely, I'm not competing for weddings any longer, I don't have meetings, I simply send over a brochure and direct my future clients to a recent wedding and if they love it they book, it's simplified my process and I've just adored shooting weddings this year. 

The biggest thing now is that it's not about the money, I choose the weddings based on many things but I go with my heart and it's worked so well.  When the focus of my business was weddings it was so stressful but now it's amazing.  I love smaller weddings, I shot a perfect 3 hour wedding on Friday and an 8 hour and a 4 hour during September, coming up I have another 4 hour wedding on Friday and then a Dr Who themed wedding at the end of October, my last planned wedding of the year is just a short 2 hour booking for clients I've photographed before.  I give my heart and I shoot with love, I tell the love stories of couples I feel close to some of them without even meeting them until their wedding day.  I adore what I do now and I think it shows.

I don't at all expect to win these awards so I'll say a couple of thank you's now, one to my lovely longstanding assistant Stacey who I really couldn't shoot most weddings without, she gets me there, she keeps me calm, she helps me organised the masses and she picks up stuff when flaky old me puts it down in places and then I forget!  Also a quick thank you to Jamie  who comes along to some weddings and second shoots for me or assists me just like Stacey in her absence, it's great to be able to work with people you also call your friends and I'll never stop appreciating their skills and friendship.

There's no final voting process and this isn't a popularity contest so you dear readers don't need to do anything, what will be, will absolutely be, I can't attend the awards sadly as I'll be away on a travel assignment but I'd like to wish everyone else who's been shortlisted the best of luck, there are many amazing photographers out there who truly deserve the accolade and I definitely don't expect to come anywhere near being the eventual winner but to get this far is an honour all the same and so if you nominated me then you are amazing because without you I would just be a mad animal lady with a camera!


Monday, October 05, 2015

Me, Myself and I...

Thanks to Honestly Helen for tagging me in her blog post challenge which aims to let you all out there dear readers know a little more about what goes on in the chasms of my mind (scary!!) by answering 5 simple questions, so here goes nothing....

1.  Would you rather win the lottery or find the perfect job?  

 Well now, I think I actually have the perfect job, I adore what I do and each and every day throws up more exciting challenges and offers I'd never imagined were possible, today I'm thrilled to announce that I've been asked to write some travel articles for Beagle Welfare magazine In Full Cry, it's always a thrill to have your work published in magazines because you get to hold them in your hands!!

2.  What is the one thing that you will never do again?

This is a truly hard question to answer because whilst I'll never regret anything I've done because it's made me the person that I am today there are some things I hope won't happen again, I'd rather not be hurt in love again although it doesn't mean I am going to switch myself off to it, I'd rather never be flat broke again but sometimes some things happen which are totally outside your control.

3. What "Mostly Likely To?" Would you be nominated for?

Hmm, I'm pretty flaky and a bit of a klutz so probably "Most likely to fall down" or also it could be "Most likely to stop and take photos every five seconds" I can't even help myself, even when I'm just out with my iPhone I take a ridiculous amount of photos.

4.  What's the weirdest thing you find attractive in a person?

Heehee, this is a funny old question, I'm only just asking myself what I find attractive in the opposite sex again after all of these years, I do like a geeky bespectacled man who's tall and wears suits, think David Tennant or Ewan Mcgregor and you're somewhere near my type, I would say that I'm very visual and have incredibly high standards now so if someone does come along it's probably going to take a very long while as it's all well and good out there window shopping but they have to also like you too!  (no one would choose to be single again after 40)

5.  What do you think Victorias Secret is?

Well I've been around long enough to know it's an American brand of lingerie store but I don't think I'm ever going to be it's target customer sadly, I'm more of an M&S or Debenhams type of girl!

Well that was a whole lot of fun and I hope that you all enjoyed it too, I'm going to nominate - 

Samantha at Life As Mrs R to carry on the baton...

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Welcome October!

Sunshine through my bedroom window this morning, although there was a distinct chill in the air first thing it's definitely warming up and it's quite easy to mistake the middle of the day for July rather than October for sure.

For me October has so many meanings, it's the month of leaf kicking, glove buying (we covered that yesterday didn't we?), boot wearing, blanket snuggling, hot chocolate drinking and in just a few weeks it'll be Christmas movie unboxing, yes October is one of my favourite months and if it didn't lead into winter I think I could quite easily christen it my favourite month.

I noticed yesterday when I was out for a walk with Holly that all of a sudden the trees seemed to be starting to switch to their bright scarlet clothing, those autumnal outfits they wear for just a few weeks before undressing to cold dark spines whilst they settle into their winter slumber.

It's no surprise that October is one of the busiest months of the year for family and kids portraits all over the north east, if you are going to have bright happy photographs on your wall there's no better month to do it than October, it's not just about the Christmas gifts though, it's about the colours, the cute hats and jumpers, if you get good weather it's about the golden hues of warm autumnal sunshine. Take a moment to consider an after school/work session during the week, if you look at the light at around 5.30 today you'll know why I'm suggesting that, to book a session with  me, a Newcastle photographer right now!

Usually around this time of year I start to hoard Yankee Candles and consider starting my Christmas shopping, well dear reader I've not ventured out shopping for candles just yet but I did purchase my fist Christmas gift yesterday, I'm going to say this out loud and if you see me over the next couple of months can you repeat it to me "Wrap up the Christmas presents as they arrive!"

55 days until I go to Europe on my Norwegian Epic cruise, I have a feeling it's why I haven't yet purchased a single Yankee candle, I still feel like I'm waiting for that build up to my holidays and of course holidays aren't in Autumn they're in summer aren't they?

Looby has already informed me of this years Halloween costume of course, I shan't spoil the surprise but speaking of Halloween and Yankee candles, there's loads of goodies I think I might need to hoard over the coming weeks including this cute Halloween Yankee candle holder, it's cute, halloween themed and not too tacky!!

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