Have you ever been “stung” by the experience of working with a creative? You thought you understood what was going on, you thought THEY understood your instructions clearly but still, despite your best intentions, something went awry. In my nearly 20years experience working as a photographer, designer and advertising exec, I’ve seen a few projects fall over for all kinds of reasons. But when they come off, it’s a sight to behold and the success of each project hinges on these three elements:

RELATIONSHIP – Who the “client” is sometimes can be a blurry line. However, after many years of working with international corporate clients who have accounts departments who don’t recognise my client delineations, I’ve quickly established a very complicated client hierarchy which is; who pays my bill, is my client. Sounds so fundamentally simple, right? Money in = Services out. Hmmmm…so what happens when my “client” (the person paying the bill) is NOT the person I’m shooting? It happens all the time – my client is the marketing/graphic design/advertising/web design agency who is creating a print/branding/advertising/social media/web campaign for their client the small or large business owner/corporate CEO/marketing manager of a large corporate/franchise manager. This is where REALLY good relationships are key and speak louder than any financial contract.

You don’t have to sit by the fire and braid each other’s hair, but there is a certain level of personal connection that is required for a project to to reach a level of success that you never thought possible. But tread lightly… Sometimes you have such a well worn and trusted relationship with your creative, that you know that they know what the expectations are before they’re spoken. When you can relax into a business relationship with a creative that “just gets it”, it’s like nirvana! But these kinds of relationships rarely happen spontaneously. Like any relationship, they take understanding, patience nurturing and work. If you’re not quite at the “nirvana” level with your relationship, don’t feel awkward to spell out the bleeding obvious. What is a gimme to you, may not be so much to your creative. It’s better to risk a few slightly long-winded and “captain obvious” emails and make your request crystal clear than make assumptions for fear of hurting someone’s feelings and end up with a result that is quite unexpected, and not in a good way.

COMMUNICATION – “For my creative to effectively communicate my brand message to my customers, I must first communicate my intent to my creative.”

Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Understanding your intent for your project is key. Who am I communicating to? What do I want to say? What channels will I use to communicate them? You can’t expect to get a good ROI if you leave your creative team to stab around in the dark, looking for your message for you. Communication also means to do exactly that, communicate. Meet with your creative face to face. If you’re distance affected, pick up the phone and be available for conversations – ie, if your creative is trying to get you on the phone three times in a day, there’s a good chance they have some information that you need to hear.

Don’t communicate ANY details/questions/conversations about the job at hand via txt. Txt’ing is ideal for minor notifications; “did you see the email from the client?”, but any detail that requires it to be written down and responded to intelligently deserves the time for an email. A phone call is my chosen method of communication as it is much more efficient and there is much less risk of misunderstanding. The nuance and intent of human language is completely missing from a txt or email which leaves yourself wide open to misinterpretations by others which at best are hilarious, at worst can be disastrous.

CLIENT BRIEF – Ahhh, the golden egg, the Mickey to my Minnie. Good ones are like a Capiroska at the end of a hot summers day, bad one’s are not dissimilar to the toilet in Trainspotting (Google it, I dare you). As a community service to all my fellow creatives, I’ve attached my JettyBlue_Photography brief for all you business owners to download. PLEASE! I implore you – download it, read it and fill it out BEFORE you engage your creative.

If you don’t know what a brief is, never had to do one before or thought it was something only the big corporates do for projects with a dollar value of in the hundreds of thousands…think again. Your brief is the lynch pin in the success of your project. I have devised this brief after many years of working in advertising with huge multi nationals such as Volvo Trucks, Oroton and Novartis. Even when their marketing managers from time to time thought a brief was a bit of over-kill, I at the very least sat down with them and verbally asked them the relevant question from my brief template, taking notes the whole time. I got a brief from them in the end, they just didn’t know it. An experienced creative will at the very least, ask for your brief before they can even quote your project.

A brief is essentially a set of instructions for your creative team to follow. Think of it like building a house – you would never expect a builder to construct your dream house based on “four bedrooms and an ensuite please” scribbled onto a post-it. How would he even quote such a request? In this instance, the “brief” comes in the form of the architect’s plans. The client and their creative team have collaborated to create an agreed upon set of instructions for the builder to follow. Only then can the builder accurately quote the project and begin construction.

So, if you engage a creative without a 100% concrete idea of what you want, that’s not the end of the world either. Nothing is ever black and white and a good creative will help guide you through the maze of indecision. We understand that sometimes, you don’t know what you don’t know so you don’t know what to ask! If when you’re sitting down at a meeting with your creative and you don’t have a brief and in turn she/he asks what seems like an inane amount of questions at a level of tediousness that borders on certifiably psychotic – they’re the creatives you engage. The ones who nod a lot and tell you what you want to hear just to get the job won’t give you the return you’re after. They’ll give you a reflection of what you’ve given them – not very much.

It’s the creatives who aren’t afraid to say “no” to your face that are the most valuable. Because chances are, those are the creatives that have been around the block more than a few times and they DO know all the things you don’t know you don’t know. All the tedious questions are their way of extracting the brief out of you. You never know, you might just learn something about your business in the process. That’s the power of a really good creative mind. Use it wisely.

Want to see the success stories that are the direct result of a killer brief and a co-operative relationship between all stakeholders? Here they are:

Kookaburra Air Conditioning

Edcon Steel

Barra Building

 St George Montessori

DJW Property

Isuzu Trucks Drives Winx

Sports Medicine Institute

By Samantha Halpern
B. Visual Communications (Photography & Digital Imaging)
Dip. Fine Arts (Photography)
Fully Accredited Member of the AIPP since 2008

Owner and Principle Photographer at JettyBlue Photography

Email me to connect and book a personal consult to discuss your online business branding and how JettyBlue Photography can give you the tools to compliment your content marketing strategy.

sam@jettyblue.com.au 0414 412 069.

Did anyone see Four Corners last night? Holy moly, how scary! Last night Peter Greste brought a stunning piece on Facebook and how we are used as data mining pawns and have absolutely no control over it. The most interesting part of this conversation for me, was how this is affecting each and every one of us and how we are being manipulated by the online space and how that in turn, is affecting our online personal brand. Having control over our online personal brand has never been more critical than now. We are at a tipping point with online technology and how our private data is being mined by not only big business such as Facebook, but our Governments.

Did you know that if you have EVER looked at Facebook, not necessarily even logged in, that facebook algorithms know its you based on the computer you’re using, and will market to you based on your browsing history, inside and outside of Faceboo? Creepy isn’t it?!?!? Even if you’ve never been a member of Facebook, or cancel your account, Facebook still builds a profile on you, collect your data (albeit not as detailed) and you have no option to “opt out”. You have NO CONTROL over what information Facebook collects about you, how they use that information or what they do with it.

Mark Zuckerberg infront of a Facebook sign

“History is the story of how we’ve learned to come together in ever greater numbers — from tribes to cities to nations,” Mr Zuckerberg wrote.

“At each step, we built social infrastructure like communities, media and governments to empower us to achieve things we couldn’t on our own … Facebook stands for bringing us closer together and building a global community.”

One of the interviewees, Rebecca MacKinnon from the Internet Privacy Advocate, New America Foundation, said this: “They don’t even tell us what they’re doing…if someone was to build a dossier on me, based on what Facebook knows about me, what would it look like? I should be able to know that so that I can make informed decisions about how I’m going to use the platform.”

Rebecca MacKinnon from the Internet Privacy Advocate New America Foundation talking to Four Corners.

Rebecca MacKinnon from the Internet Privacy Advocate New America Foundation. Image from Four Corners vision

It is then recognised that Facebook has moved much further past a commercial platform in which to sell us stuff it thinks we like, Facebook is now potentially influencing world events. Peter Greste knows better than most the influence Facebook can have. He himself used it as a tool to garner support for his cause which in the end, was instrumental in his release from an Egyptian prison. Read Peter’s story here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Greste

Peter’s article went on to describe how Facebook is manipulated during political campaigns and the data it collects is “weaponised”. Peter says “One of the most important parts of any democracy is news…the last US election saw the explosion of fake news, turbocharged by sharing on Facebook.” Fake news masquerades as legitimate journalism and was once monitored by a panel of human “moderators” who would filter out fake news from the “whats trending” news feed. Facebook sacked their team of journalist “moderators” and replaced them with an algorithm after accusations of bias. Since then, the proliferation of fake news has gone unabated on Facebook due mainly to the fact that an algorithm cannot reason, it cannot determine what is fake news and what is actual journalism written in the public interest. With half of all American’s getting their news from Facebook, that is a scary scary thought. I don’t think I trust the general public (myself included) to be able to determine the difference between real and fake news. The implications are pretty self explanatory.

Image result for fake news on facebook examplesImage result for fake news on facebook examplesImage result for fake news on facebook examplesImage result for fake news on facebook examples

Nik Cubrilovic (who is a convicted hacker turned IT security consultant) made the most telling point of the piece when asked about potential harm. “…one of the problems with the privacy realm is that we only have one identity and we can’t take back what we’ve already handed over. There’s no ‘take back’ on private data, the implications that are going to occur in 5 or 10 years time we need to protect against that now…we know that there’s a danger but we don’t know the extent of it and we don’t know the potential implications of it.” OK, now I’m crapping myself.

So with a population of people being fed fake news in such a way that it is almost impossible to distinguish it from real news by accredited journalist sources, coupled with either a perceived or real inability of that population to make informed choices about where they get their news from and whether or not it is fake or real, the question of what is happening to our data without our consent is of real concern. Whether you like it or not, our lives are now measured in “0’s and 1’s”. Everything we look at online, share, talk to, who our friends are, what they do, how we interact, what we like, are all recorded digitally.

We only have one identity. That identity online is slowly but surely permeating our offline identity too. But what does that mean for me in my business or my corporate career? Well, the implications of a potential employer Googling a candidate are well documented and with less “checks and balances” applied to the content we consume online than what is applied to legitimate print journalism, it is becoming more and more difficult for our clients, colleagues, employers, influencers to get to know the REAL us, to trust what they see online about us so that they can make an informed choice as to whether they want to engage with us and our businesses.

You can’t control how your identity is being “data mined” by Facebook and you can’t control what they do with the information they already have about you, but you can choose to cultivate your personal brand, rather than have it be defined on your behalf which is what is already happening. Your personal brand is the manifestation and outward projection of all that’s going on inside you. How you look, your values, how you make people feel, how you are perceived online. So how do you connect with your audience above all this fake news and stolen data??? Through your authentic self. Your online personal brand is not just what you THINK people want to see from you online. It is who you are offline, communicated through the online paradigm.

Your Personal Brand is co-created. It rests upon the platform of YOUR stories and the value it adds to the people that care. Take control of your personal brand now. Your data and your online identity are already being exploited, so take this opportunity to manipulate your personal brand to your favour. In 5 or 10 years time, what will your “online dossier” look like? If you can’t take back now what you have already handed over to the internet, what hope do you think you’ll have of wrestling control over your personal brand then?

By Samantha Halpern
B. Visual Communications (Photography & Digital Imaging)
Dip. Fine Arts (Photography)
Fully Accredited Member of the AIPP since 2008

Owner and Principle Photographer at JettyBlue Photography

Email me for a personal consult to discuss your online personal brand and how JettyBlue Photography can give you the tools to craft the personal brand you want. Not the one FaceBook already has in store for you.

sam@jettyblue.com.au 0414 412 069.

See last night’s Four corners episode: http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2017/04/10/4649443.htm



Have you ever watched Grand Designs? I looooove that show! The architecture is genius, the camera work is divine and the commitment of the owners compelling. One thing I am very grateful to my Fine Arts education for, is a comprehensive understanding and appreciation for architecture. So when I was approached a few years back by a local builder to shoot some before, during and after shots for their website, I was thrilled! Since then I’ve gained more and more builders and construction companies as clients and I absolutely LOVE photographing buildings! How a pile of innate materials can be crafted, willed into an existence much more than the sum of its parts is like magic to me.

Many tradies think they’re immune from having to market on their website (if they have one) or on social media. But don’t forget that whether your clients’ project is a new garage or a multi-million $$ re-build, this investment is probably one of the largest they’ll make in their lives after the initial property purchase. Not many clients would trust a builder these days based solely on a verbal recommendation. BEFORE they engage you, probably even before the quote stage, they want to know who you are, what are your values – are they the same as mine? Will you as my builder understand me? Will I understand you? What work have you done thats similar to mine? what problems during that build did you overcome? how will you apply that experience to my build? Sometimes it can come down to a simple perception by the client – the quotes are the same, the recommendations are the same, the testimonials are equally as glowing, but builder A has a website that looks like his teenage son built it and builder B has a website that features clear, professional photography of work he’s completed recently and a facebook page that has posts in a language I understand and not in condescending “builder blabble” and accompanying images to illustrate his point. So, from the clients perspective, who would you choose? The builder who perhaps is too busy to need a good website (then perhaps he doesn’t need my custom either) or the builder who clearly is invested in his work, proud enough of his skill to tell the world about it and hence will be just as invested in my project as I am. It’s a no-brainer.

Give me a call 0414 412 069 or an email sam@jettyblue.com.au to chat about photographing your latest project. Here’s some pics from two amazing projects by my client Barra Building. Their brand new website is coming soon: www.barrabuilding.com.au

Every once in a blue moon an opportunity comes along to be a part of a movement that has the potential to make a difference in thousands of women’s lives. Wouldn’t you do what you could to help? I have been very fortunate to have been gifted the opportunity to use my skills as an artist to raise awareness for an amazing charity called Reclaim Your Curves. They are a very brave and driven group of women who have decided that through their own painful experience of not just breast cancer, but breast reconstruction, that they would band together to try and make the journey for other women through the maze of reconstruction a little easier.

I wasn’t aware until I met these amazing women that Australia has one of the lowest take up rates of post breast cancer reconstruction in the OECD. Why? There is a real disconnect between patients, GP’s and surgeons and many patients a left feeling they should be just happy they survived, let alone dream of recovering the shape that they loved because their cancer care professionals aren’t having that conversation with them. I mean, if you had your leg amputated because of cancer, one of the first conversations had is about how the cancer can be removed in the best way to facilitate a prosthetic limb. This does not seem to be the case with breast cancer patients. Reclaim Your Curves hopes to educate and communicate to not just patients, but the medical fraternity as well. But, like all charities, they need funds. So please, share this post. We’re hoping to get loads of interest, donations and even some attention from the mainstream media.

This awareness campaign project I’m shooting for them is a visual diary of sorts where I am shooting willing Brest cancer survivors post-cancer but just before they go in for their reconstructions. I’m again photographing them after their reconstruction surgery to illustrate that once you leave the machinations of “cancer treatment” the journey doesn’t end there for many ladies. I’d like to introduce the very courageous Annmaree who is going under the knife yet again tomorrow for her final breast reconstruction surgery. A journey she may not have knew was available had it not been for the Reclaim Your Curves organisation. Annmaree wants to communicate to other patients that its OK to want your curves back, to not be satisfied with just “surviving”. That for many women to “survive” means not just to live, but it also means getting their breasts back to how they were before, or close to.

So far I’ve photographed two ladies, Tracey and Annmaree and both had i guess a sense of duty to their bodies not to deny this point in its journey. Once they go in for reconstruction, it will never look the same again. For the better hopefully, but nevertheless, a moment in time worth documenting for themselves, their families and other cancer patients who perhaps cant see the light at the end of the tunnel. Instead of the wonderful breast cancer photographic campaigns of recent years which feature survivors in a stark and almost confrontational pose, I chose to portray these women in this moment as the beautiful artworks they are. To convey that even though something very ugly has happened to them, they own it. It is theirs, no one can deny them that and they are beautiful despite their scars and even perhaps because of them.

After Annemaree’s reconstruction tomorrow, I’ll be following her story to shoot her again with a “curves reclaimed” photoshoot. With this series of images, Annmaree wanted other cancer patients to see that through the perseverance of yet another surgery, the result is a regaining of her pre-cancer figure. So stay tuned for the next installment of her journey where I’ll be shooting a more “glamour” styled portrait with some tight-fitting clothes to show off her new curves. I can’t wait!

I have to give a HUGE thank you and shout out to the local businesses who generously donated their time and/or services to make this shoot possible. I love it when businesswomen get together to lift up another – there’s way too much tearing down of others going on in this world so it was heart warming to work together with these warm and generous ladies. You restored my faith in humanity. Thank You.

So, for all the information you need about post-breast cancer reconstruction and to leave a donation, please head over the Reclaim your Curves website: www.reclaimyourcurves.org.au

JettyBlue Photography
Samantha Halpern
0414 412 069

Allison Emmanuel Stylist
0449 556 849

Girl Meraki Floral Artistry
0451 199 905

The Bridal Bar

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I walked around the pub listening to the stories she had to tell me. As I listened, I heard the whispers of history and the hope of a new beginning. Last week I had the privilege of photographing the newly renovated Buckley’s Crossing Hotel at Dalgety. Its new owners, sisters Deb and Sharon had their work cut out for them, (remember that carpet!) and they have done a wonderful job restoring the old girl back to life. Who knew there was a grand dining room in there! Next time you visit and you’re enjoying your country breakfast, look up. “Whats that enormous curtain rod doing in the middle of the dining room?” you’ll ask yourself. Sharon is the keeper of pub secrets from history past. She’ll tell you a tale or two…_MG_0335 _MG_0348 _MG_0349 _MG_0373 _MG_0378 _MG_0401 _MG_0432 _MG_0440 _MG_0452 _MG_0453 _MG_0463 _MG_0478 _MG_0484 _MG_0514

0113_MansBUB_200716 0110_MansBUB_200716 0104_MansBUB_200716 0103_MansBUB_200716 0098_MansBUB_200716 0092_MansBUB_200716 0088_MansBUB_200716 0085_MansBUB_200716 0078_MansBUB_200716 0077_MansBUB_200716 0072_MansBUB_200716 0067_MansBUB_200716 0064_MansBUB_200716 0059_MansBUB_200716 0057_MansBUB_200716 0056_MansBUB_200716 0054_MansBUB_200716 0053_MansBUB_200716 0042_MansBUB_200716One thing I truly love about my job is when I have the privilege to craft a legacy for my clients over many life changing moments in their lives. Tanya and Rob were one of my favourite weddings of 2011 and the birth of their first daughter in 2014 was a joy for me to capture for them. So, imagine my delight when Tanya again contacted me to photograph the arrival of their brand new 2nd daughter! To witness their growing family is an honour and I am truly blessed to have such amazing clients.

What a glorious afternoon we had for the Ryder family portrait! Jo approached me to do her (long awaited) family photos not just because they needed an update, but because her beloved mother and father-in-law were visiting from the UK and would soon be flying home. Jo loves Como and we worked together to include all her (and my) favourited bits of Como before we lost the light. I loved your chosen wardrobe for the shoot – you cant go wrong with combinations of classic white & blue. Stunning! Thanks for sharing this special moment for your family with me, it was an amazing shoot and you have some killer shots too!