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AOP Covid-19 Guidance After 19 July

Hoping that all is well with you and yours.

We're getting in touch in relation to the loosening of remaining coronavirus restrictions that's going to take place across most of the UK on 19 July. As you will know, most of the remaining restrictions are being lifted, however, we know that this is a particularly challenging time and that reported cases continue to rise.

We are recommending that people continue, wherever possible, to stick to the shoot-production guidelines that we, along with the APA, put together previously.
Clearly, different people have differing attitudes to risk and we would not wish anyone to feel unsafe in a working environment, and indeed, depending on the circumstances, there may well be a duty of care to those working for you.

Covid-19 is going to be with us for some time and the more we make safe working practices a part of our everyday workflow, the better prepared we'll be in the advent of a change in circumstances in the future.

We've updated the notes and guidance on our Coronavirus guidance webpage, here.

Thank you for your continuing support of the AOP.

Stay well and best wishes,

Nick Dunmur
AOP Business & Legal team

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The Association of Photographers announce the finalists and winners of the Student Awards 2021.

The Association of Photographers (The AOP) is delighted to announce via special video, the finalists and winners of the AOP Student Awards 2021.


Our judges this year are esteemed photographers, Othello De'Souza-Hartley for PeopleRichard Seymour for Places and Kay Edwards, Senior Producer, At Trayler agency for Things, who have selected our 57 finalists from 600 entrants. There is a Gold and Silver winner for each of their respective categories. Jointly all three have also selected an overall Best in Show winner from the finalists in all three categories.
Students from across the country have entered from a mix of photography courses from colleges and universities the length and breadth of the UK and beyond. All 150 finalist images and winners are showcased via a special video available to see in the above link and on the AOP website;
This inspiring video exhibition showcases the very best emerging talent and the Student Awards are an opportunity to get a first look at the potential stars of tomorrow.
The Student Awards this year showcase a diverse range of styles and topics, across all three categories, with work being made that’s eclectic, contemporary and thought-provoking.
Our Winners are:
Best in Show
Nico Froehlich, BA (Hons) Digital Photography, Ravensbourne University
Gold: Liam Scott, NQ Photography, City of Glasgow College
Silver: Ali Wright, Post Graduate Diploma in Photography, Ravensbourne University
Silver: Andrew Be, BA (Hons) Photography, The Open College of the Arts
Gold: Morris Jones, BA (Hons) Photography, Blackburn College University Centre
Silver: Jody May, Mander BA (Hons) Photography, Southampton Solent University
Gold: Geraldine McClure, BA (Hons) Photography, City of Glasgow College
Silver: Karo Birger, BA (Hons) Photography, University of South Wales

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Association of Photographers announces Seamus McGibbon to step down as Chief Executive Officer this Autumn

Today the Association of Photographers has announced that current Chief Executive Office, Seamus McGibbon will be stepping down as Chief Executive Office in the Autumn.

Seamus has led the organisation since 2014 when he took over as General Manager before becoming Executive Director in 2016 and CEO in 2020. Over his time at the AOP Seamus has steered the AOP through many changes including relaunching the AOP Awards and for the last 18months he has guided the organisation and its members through the Covid 19 emergency with commitment and passion.

“It is with a heavy heart that we say farewell to Seamus who has served the AOP brilliantly over the past seven years.  We were immensely grateful that he agreed to stay on as CEO last year while the photography industry and the AOP faced unprecedented difficulties. His passionate support for our members and exceptional leadership of the AOP team will be sorely missed. While Seamus goes on to his next adventure, he leaves the AOP in great shape as it continues to be the leading voice in the creative imaging sector. The AOP Board and Members wish Seamus the very best for the future.”
Anne Mannion, Chair, AOP

“Like all good things, I have decided that my time here at the AOP must come to an end. I have enjoyed the last seven years’ immensely with all the challenges that it has presented and the amazing people it has offered. AOP members are the most amazing creative people I have met. A huge thanks to AOP Chairs Anne Mannion, James Vellacott and Steve Knight who have been a fantastic support and to the AOP staff team, who do such an amazing job making the seemingly impossible, possible. Now as restrictions are lifted and we return to our new normality it is time for someone else to lead this amazing organisation. The future lies this way”
Seamus McGibbon, current CEO, AOP




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StudioHire com Mosaic 3 on black copyright jpeg

We had a quick catch up with the The StudioHire squad to ask them, in their own words, to tell us a bit more about them and the services they offer.


Back to the beginning…

There wasn’t an online directory for shoot space in the late 90s.

A photographer needed somewhere to shoot at the last minute… he realised there wasn’t a go to site for studios…

…So… it seemed like a really great idea to create one! 


Really, the site was created out of necessity!

It gives studios a platform to showcase their space and make it easy for everyone to source a place to shoot – a win win for studios and anyone looking to hire a studio.

Where are the studios based?

The majority of member shoot spaces are located in London…

…However, there are several studios dotted across the country

+ a few international spaces.

The plan is to take on more spaces from a range of counties.


Can you tell us more about the range of spaces you have on offer?

Mainly photographic + film studies

From small independent portrait to full production studios + everything inbetween.

Any kind of shoot…

Headshots – Fashion – Beauty – Ecommerce – Products – Packshots – Food

Video – Green Screen – LED Screen – Virtual Production – YouTube Content – TV Advertising Campaigns – TV Docs – Feature Films

The list is endless!

More recently, due the pandemiv, an uptick in live streaming

Studios have invested in powerful tech to improve the quality of live streams, so there’s lots more state–of–the–art EQ on–site!

There are now a number of location spaces too. 

Great for lifestyle or fashion, TVC, TV shows 

Many venues also host events…

Examples include...

Corporate + Celebratory Events such as Conferences – Weddings – Music Gigs – DJ Nights etc

+ Launches – Fashion Shows – Music Vids etc etc


What advice can you give to photographers, agencies, anyone else, looking for space to hire? 

Top Tips…

When you’re looking for space to hire, provide as much information as possible including a ballpark budget.

This gives the guys a good heads up on what’ll be required on the day.

Studios + location spaces do their best to be flexible to meet budgets where possible. 

Note – They might have had a last–minute cancellation or would like to fill a ‘floating day’ in an otherwise booked week, they’ll often offer discounts in these circumstances – there are deals to be made!

STUDIOHIRE.COM is very happy to stage an intervention!

Email the brief to HQ + we’ll get on it.

It’s also easy to DIY by using our SEARCH facility

When you land on a page, you’ll find you can Access All Areas

– No Restriction regarding contacting spaces direct.

The listings are kept up to date.

STUDIOHIRE is very familiar with our members’ spaces so we’re very well equipped to point enquirers in the right direction, we’ll often send enquirers links to spaces that would work well for a particular shoot or event. 

Other times, if required, STUDIOHIRE will put out an all-points bulletin to selected studios and locations to respond directly to an enquiry should they be able to accommodate.

Some clients prefer to recce the studio or location in advance of the shoot or event.

StudioHire3 jpg

Tell us about the SuperSearch on your website?


SuperSearch is a useful tool… and it’s one of kind, there’s nothing else like this available on the net!

It allows clients and site users to enter specific requirements, for example, drive–in + green cyc and touch base with a number of studios fulfilling these criteria IN ONE HIT!

For best results, a decent brief should be included so the studio or location is aware of all client requirements, they’ll also be better placed to provide an accurate quote.


Why are you an AOP Affiliated Company member? 

The Association of Photographers represents top photographers, production companies and agencies in the industry – great resources at your fingertips! 

We pass on useful info, and this has been particularly valuable during Covid because we’ve been able to keep our members up to date with regard to production guidelines during the various lockdowns… these included confirming the safety measures required to comply with gov guidelines thanks to the AOP legal team.

The AOP has a great reputation and being affiliated, it gives hirers extra confidence knowing our members are trustworthy and professional.

Note AOP members receive preferential rates from selected studios / locations.

Mention on booking! 

 StudioHire Mash Up 2020 jpeg

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Park Village Exterior Etienne Bol jpg

Park Village

We sat down for a coffee with our new AOP Affiliated Company member Park Village to find out more about them and the amazing services they offer.


Peter Webb in Park Village Garden 1967 jpeg 

Peter Webb (circa 1967) © Park Village

As a recently joined affiliate can you tell us how Park Village came about?

In the mid 1960s, a flat tyre and a thunderstorm led my father Peter Webb, then an Advertising photographer, to discover a derelict Victorian Riding School on the edge of Regent’s Park. The 10,000 sq ft building which had sheltered elephants and a brown bear named Spitfire when London Zoo was bombed during World War 2, became his photography studios which he lovingly restored and converted over several years. In 1971, Peter picked up a coveted D&AD Black Pencil award for a Hovis Stills campaign and shot the iconic Sticky Fingers Album images for the Rolling Stones. The negatives from the shoot were lost for 40 years until discovered recently in his brother in law’s attic but that’s another story!

Whilst transitioning from photography to film, Peter worked on a Bafta-awarded short film earning him a call from Ridley Scott and an invitation to join RSA. It was here that he met legendary Commercials Director Roger Woodburn and Producer Mike Stones. Together they formed Park Village in 1973, operating from the studios where we remain to this day.

The company has since developed into one of the industry’s most established commercial production companies, recently recognised by D&AD in the top five most awarded of all time. We’ve been honoured to roster some of the industry's great talents and enjoyed making iconic ads that are still talked about today. In fact last month Sir John Hegarty selected Carling’s The Dambusters as one of his top 5 ads of all time. The next step in Park Village’s journey has started with new divisions in stills, experiential and events that work alongside our established film and studio divisions and give our clients a progressive and streamlined 360 production offering. 


 The Arena Studio 1 Nick Guttridge jpg

© Nick Guttridge

What services do you offer to professional photographers?

We have increasingly welcomed professional photographers to Park Village over the last decade, getting great feedback about the working atmosphere within the 3 studios of our uniquely characterful building. With our background in photography, we understand how to curate the best experience for photographers with top facilities including in-house equipment hire and catering, set building capabilities, ultra-fast WiFi and a brilliant, knowledgeable studio team for whom nothing is too much trouble. 

Adding to the studios and all they offer is our new Stills division. We have selected some of today’s best talent to work with us in creating commercial, editorial and commissioned work.

The building is also popular with the Events industry. We’ve recently hosted major brand events for the likes of Dom Perignon, Dior and PlayStation, and our involvement with the nearby Frieze Art Fair enables us to open up the studios as an exhibition space and gallery benefiting our photographers. Recent exhibitions have included Chris Levine’s ‘Inner (Deep) Space’ and Karsten Schubert Gallery’s ‘Dialectical Materialism’: British Sculpture since the 1960s.



Yolanda Y Liou jpg

© Yolanda Y. Liou

What do you offer the others in the creative industries?

Primarily we’re a production house, but we also offer an artistic hub and creative community which can pull on many elements to solve creative problems for our clients. Whilst film and stills are the mainstay of our work, the studio affords us numerous opportunities to adapt our model to benefit not only the creatives we work with, but the wider artistic community. We’ve developed a community page on our website to better highlight the many talents we engage with on a whole range of projects. Solutions to client needs are increasingly centred around assembling the right group of creative talents to work together on a brief. Collaboration is the key to making memorable work.   

How has COVID affected Park Village? What measures have you got in place to ensure safety for your clients?

We closed our doors to physical shoots at the end of March 2020, taking the decision with a fashion client to stop a 2-day shoot midway. We spent much of lockdown adapting the studios to offer the safest possible environment for our own productions as well as client shoots. We hosted photographer Phil Fisk, Louise Turner of Flock and producer Liam Bergin for their ‘Separation’ shoot allowing us to put new protocols into place. A few days later we hosted a larger shoot using Live Stream specialists, Raw Capture, allowing the client to remotely access the set from Europe. Styling and wardrobe in the Stalls, catering in the Stables and the main shoot in the Arena allowed for social distancing. We continue to work closely with our H&S partners First Option to ensure we comply with the latest advice.  


Why was it important for you to become affiliated with the AOP?

We've increasingly developed our links to the photography world over the past decade and have been lucky enough to host some of the most renowned and exciting upcoming photographers (Miles Aldridge, Alasdair McLellan, David Sims, Chris Floyd, Mel Bles, Mert and Marcus, Bibi Borthwick, Mario Testino, Tom Munro, Steve Harries, Campbell Addy, Colin Dodgson, Johnny Dufort, Tyler Mitchell, Danny Kasirye, Phil Fisk, Angelo Panetta, Nick Thompson, Marius Hansen among many others). Now with the addition of our own stills roster it felt more important than ever to be part of the AOP with whom we share corresponding values and principles.



9 Ntando Brown jpg 

© Ntando Brown

What’s next for Park Village?

We will soon be announcing some exciting new photographers and are focusing on building the stills roster under the guidance of our Head of Photography, Katy MacGregor (formerly of Blink & Kintzing). We are developing the production setup to support our photographers’ directorial ambitions and offer clients a multifaceted approach, adapting to the changing needs of stills and motion content. It’s very much a collaborative and community vibe here. Alongside our work we are committed to opening up the studios to underrepresented communities and important causes. 

Sustainability has been a big focus for Park Village over the last few years both in the studios and on location. We were recently appointed to the steering committee for Ad Net Zero which allows us to play a part in working with the Advertising community to achieve the goal of reaching net zero carbon. Our most recent project for Greenpeace has just gone live, achieving 7 million views in a week and provoking policy change regarding the exportation of plastic waste.

Thank you!




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AOP Launches new AOP Awards website

The AOP Awards now has a new home! Our new site is where you'll find our Awards, Events, Editorial content and inspiration around all things photographic.

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Gabrielle Motola: Patreon So Far

Board member Gabrielle Motola on a deep dive into her experiences with using Patreon to teach and share her work.

In 2015, I was deliberating about launching a Kickstarter campaign to finance the printing of my book, An Equal Difference. At the time, Kickstarter struck me as something akin to begging for money to make something you could not afford to make. And Patreon? Well, Patreon seemed like its much weirder, more esoteric sister. But that was then.

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AOP Member Focus: Frederic Aranda

We speak to AOP Accredited Photographer Member Frederic Aranda about his Portraiture work. An AOP Awards finalist in 2019 and 2017, Frederic specialises in both Individual and Group Portraiture.


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