Category: Creativity

Business Cards

We’ve been working on updating our business cards. The last batch was created five years ago.

Our last card was slightly thinner than a standard business card and the circles had a raised gloss to it. Each photographer’s card had an outline of their face.

The first card was linked strongly with the website theme. This time around we wanted to keep the branding and information, but also step away from what we already had.

Our logo is a lens flare (hence the name of this blog and the circles strategically placed around our branding) and we wanted to incorporate this and our standard font into the new cards.

Marcus, believe it or not, collects business cards that he likes. We sat down and combined and subtracted features that we liked over the last four weeks.

We wanted a sturdy card that had a nice texture, was minimalistic and modern and could be thrown at people’s heads with force. Cause we make lasting impressions. Just kidding.

We were still in love with embossing and raised textures. Instead of going with thin and skinny like our previous cards, we went with the same width as a normal business card but a little bit shorter.

Most of all, we wanted to simplify things.

We decided on a thick, but not heavy card stock as well as a unique embossed logo.

When I say unique, I mean there was only one printer in Australia that could do it.


Our cards arrived early on this week. Please ask for one. We have been handing them out left, right and centre.

This is what we used to have:

This is our harder, better, faster, stronger cards.

Let us know what you think!


How to buy your first DSLR and other articles

Our seasonal newsletter for Autumn just launched. It’s filled with exclusive photos of our adventures in photography, insights into our studio and useful tips on photography.

This mailer has pointers on how to choose and purchase your first DSLR, Dave’s images of New York City and Adam Liaw, the MasterChef Winner of 2010.

Have a look at the first issue and make sure you join up to get our Winter issue.

Photography + Human Error

I was running late for a yoga class and dashed out of the studio at 5:15pm. Just as I was boarding the bus, I got a call from Jason.

“Have you got the props for our shoot tomorrow?”

I can not count the number of swear words that ran through my mind.

I told him where everything was in the studio and felt like crap for forgetting. Dave and Jason stayed back late and got everything we needed.

But then – it dawned on me – it was pretty brilliant that we had so many photographers in the studio. There’s no room for mistake, no human error.

If I wasn’t part of a big photography studio and was running this project solo, I would have had to stop the bus and run back to the studio, or worse, do the photo shoot without the props.

Where I failed, Jason and Dave picked up the slack.

The shoot the next day went swimmingly.

Jason, the head honcho, writes a once in a while editorial

Myself in 1987.

I joined the Studio in the late 1980s, when Sydney was riding high on bicentennial fever. We had four camera kits for seven photographers. The Studio was a quarter of the size it is now; hidden in a little alleyway in Pitt Street. We had three dark rooms and everyone learnt film processing, we did our own printing. Hand printed, no less.

When the studio opened in 1967, the photographers used to have a Graflex Speed Graphics camera that only loaded sheets of 5×4″ film. At each shoot, they could only take six (really good) images.

Shooting with film was completely different to using a camera today, we used a light meter all the time. We used medium format Bronica film cameras when I came on board.

These days, it’s a lot quicker to take an image and change things around relying on the LCD screen at the back, although we still use light meters at most shoots.

We had to dress more conservatively for our corporate clients but that’s changed with time. We’re not expected to dress corporately, it’s expected that we’re not cut from the same cloth.

The technology for cameras is literally moving in leaps and bounds. Each year, the advancements in camera bodies and Photoshop is pretty amazing. Because of this, photography as a communication is getting more advanced every three months.

Our work in the 80s now seems dated. Even work from the early 2000s ages quickly.

Photography as a field is at a really interesting point right now.

Got Questions?

We’re compiling a FAQ with some of common questions people ask us while on shoots or through email.

Is there anything you always wanted to know about commercial photography, the studio, running a creative business or even just a question about any of our photographers?

Leave a comment and we’ll include it in the page. Alternatively, ask an anonymous question using FormSpring.

Where good ideas come from

Turns out that in order for humans to come up with brilliant, exciting ideas, we need to talk to people about our idea. Get it circulating, ask for help and opinions. Then our ideas can really bloom. That’s Steven Johnson’s theory.

While it’s ridiculously easy to point fingers and say that social media is killing more traditional ways of communicating, I thought this put an interesting spin on the connectivity of humanity and how the web ties in.

The video starts right at the beginning, when the concept of an idea first enters the mind and then it all comes together in a “Aha” moment at the end.

Watch it. It’ll be four minutes well spent.

Six reasons to feel good about photography right now

Photographers worldwide have had a lean couple of years but now that we’re a quarter of the way through 2011, there are some things that we should celebrate about the state of photography in this day and age.

  1. Photography is more easily accessible: The entry level has been lowered as the price of high quality cameras go down.

  3. More people interested in photography means more people can appreciate good images when they see it.

  5. You can fix up pimples, bumps and lumps in Photoshop, more often than not in under 30 seconds.

  7. Interested in obscure photography? Want to go old school? You can form a community around your images through flickr, strobist and other sites. The photography community is increasingly moving online, which means you can always find support for your images.

  9. Instant gratification: You take a photo and you can look at it straight away so you know if you got it right or failed miserably. This also has it’s downsides (see: facebook pose)

  11. Cameras are getting smaller and smarter. And if people give you shit for say, using your iPhone, remember, Henri Cartier Bresson used to be criticized by the more traditional medium format photographers of his era for using a 35mm camera.

What can you add to the list?

Five things you didn’t know about Studio Commercial


  1. There is a door that leads to nowhere in the Studio: It used to be old  fire stairs once upon a time but the stairs were replaced and now the door leads nowhere. There’s a safety glass barrier, it’s all kosher, nobody has been killed.
  2. Jason was over the moon when during a press shoot, Hugh Jackman asked him “Hey Jas, where do you want us?”
  3. Our darkroom has been converted into a storage room since 2001, when the first Canon D30 came out. It was three megapixels. That’s less than your old mobile phone.
  4. Dave recently came back from two months in Chile and a month in the States. Feel free to practice your Spanish on him.
  5. We did all of the renovations in the studio ourselves over the last ten years. It was a long work in progress.


We’ve tried and tested all of the photography iPhone apps and found that these ones have staying power, whether it’s the novelty or the sense of surprise, we’re always using these.

Hisptamatic: You can pick your lens, film and flash but the beauty of this is leaving it to chance. It’s like getting your first film role developed and has about the same wait time for the processing too. Marcus recently went on a trip where all of the photos he took was on this app. $2.49 AUD

Pros: The user interface makes you feel like you’re holding a real camera and looking through a blurry view finder. The anticipation of waiting for your image to develop is quite exciting and it rarely disappoints. Can upload to the usual suspects of social media.

Cons: This isn’t RAW, there’s no way to strip the effect from the original shot. The cost is quite high in comparison to other photography apps and there’s additional costs for extra effects.

Fat Booth: An app that works wonders on your face. Feeling low on self-esteem? Fire this baby up and suddenly your hair doesn’t look as bad as you thought. This adds a double chin and a little plump to your rosy cheeks. Simple but effective. $1.19 AUD

Freaks all your skinny friends out. May induce laughter. You can upload pictures of unsuspecting victims to Facebook.

Cons: You can upload to Facebook.

Instagram: It can upload to numerous sites, has tonnes of filters which come close to emulating the hisptamatic feel – except, importantly,  you control the effects. Your original image gets preserved and it’s free. $0.00 AUD

Pros: You plug into an Instagram community and can keep track of friends’ photos. Original images stay in tact.

Cons: You have to create an Instagram account.


Hello World

We’re starting this blog to share what we know about commercial photography in Sydney. We also want to have a crazy amount of fun and interaction.

Have a look at our brand spanking new Freebies page for wallpapers for your iPhone, iPad and desktop.

Stroll through our about pages to find out our areas of expertise and what each of us would do on our last day on earth.

Be curious, ask questions and let us know what you would like to see more (or less) of by emailing blog[at]studiocommercial[dot]com.


Jason Doyle, Cameron Ramsay, Vanessa Etherington, Dave Silva, Andrew Ratter and Marcus Enno.

Side note: Want to know the history of Hello World?


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