evolution of a studio in the north…

Studio B new green screen

Well its been on the cards for a while and yes, yes, I know there are probably much more studios around here that offer the same service. However, as is our way, it will be delivered to you, our clients and friends of the studio with a whole new way. This year sees Slaughterhouse Studios Ltd move into offering production facilitation in a bigger way we did last year. With clients in the sportswear fashion brand sector amongst others, it was a decision  inspired by one of our cherished clients and photographer. He had a terrible experience in a green screen studio last year and – as they say – the rest is history.

So without further waffle and flannel, may I present our very own (annexed) Green Screen Studio

80 square meters and fully loaded sound proofed, state of the art, with all the modern conveniences one would expect in 2013

Call now for details

0161 745 4232

There is so much more I want to tell you about the changes here at the studio, but only our clients get to know this..

You know what to do.


call now….


With only a couple of days left until the masterclass, there are now three further places left on the Saturday (2nd – 3rd Feb). This is a unique opportunity to attend this event lead by Liz Hingley.


We are very pleased to offer a unique opportunity: a weekend workshop with leading photographer Liz Hingley, including a portrait of you – or someone you nominate – by Liz, as part of her series in progress, Spiritual Object Portraits. Numbers are strictly limited to eight participants.

Liz Hingley is one of the most celebrated photographers of her generation; her sympathetic approach, curiosity, and insightful visual storytelling has won her numerous prizes and accolades over the last five years.

For more about Liz please see this BJP article.

Please scroll down for ticket information.


The weekend, taking place in partnership with Slaughterhouse Studios, will run as follows:

Saturday morning, 10:00 to 13:00: a presentation by Liz exploring her work and her approach, with advice on making successful documentary and storytelling projects. Liz will discuss her innovative ways of funding personal projects and different methods of exhibiting and presenting work.

Saturday afternoon, 14:00 to 17:30: Liz will look in detail at participants’ projects and offer individual critique and guidance, in a group setting.

Saturday evening: optional meal with Liz and the group.

Sunday: Liz invites you (or someone else you nominate) to participate in her international project Spiritual Object Portraits by being photographed with an object that is felt to have personal spiritual meaning, however you interpret ‘spiritual’. Following the portrait session and exchange with Liz she asks you to write a caption explaining the spiritual meaning of  the object which is added to your portrait. So far Liz has made portraits in Paris, London, Austin Texas and Glasgow. Each portrait takes approx 30 minutes and we will send you a time slot in advance. All participants will receive a 10×8 inch print of their portrait (unsigned), with the option to buy a discounted signed print or prints. See an example below.

Sunday: Linda Woodhead will be present to talk to participants about their object and it’s meaning. Linda is professor of sociology of religion at Lancaster University and director of the Religion and SocietyResearch Programme, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and theEconomic and Social Research Council.

Sunday: informal studio Q&A with Ian Simpson, Director of Slaughterhouse Studios. Before and after your portrait, Ian will be available to give advice and support on any aspect of studio photography.

Sunday sessions run from 10:30 to approx 16:00, but you are free to leave after your portrait.


Who is this workshop aimed at?
The workshop will be particularly beneficial for photographers who are considering, or have started, working on their own projects, whether documentary, editorial or fine art.

What work should I bring to discuss on Saturday afternoon?
Please bring photographic work in the form of a project or series of images around one (or two) themes. Maximum 15 images. They may be as prints, or Jpeg format on a USB memory stick.

What if I don’t want my own portrait made?
You can nominate anyone else to have the portrait in your place. You don’t need to do this immediately; nearer the time we will contact you for the details.

What are meal, travel and parking arrangements?
You can bring packed lunch on both days, or the studio is 5 minutes walk from a shopping centre including Sainsbury’s. There is an optional evening meal on Saturday, not included in the price. There is ample parking on site; and the studio is 15 minutes walk from Salford Central railway station. See http://ssltd54.wordpress.com/contact/where-to-find-us/


Spiritual Object Portrait, by Liz Hingley

Liz Hingley:

Liz was born in Birmingham and graduated from Brighton University, UK with a first class BA Honours in Editorial Photography in 2007; she went on to complete a two-year scholarship with FABRICA research and communications department in Italy. In 2011 she completed an MSc in Social Anthropology (with distinction) at University College London (UCL) and is currently artist in residence at the UCL Migration Research Unit. Her work “Under Gods: Stories from Soho Road” was published by Dewi Lewis Publishing in May 2011.

Liz recently received the 2012 Prix Virginia and the 2011 Getty Editorial Grant to complete her work, The Jones family. She was finalised for the Eugene Smith Grant in 2010, selected as one of PDN’s 2011 top 30 emerging photographers and highly commended two years running in the Ian Parry Awards. Her work has been exhibited internationally including at the National Portrait Gallery in London, Le Petit Poule Noire Gallery in Paris and Ring Cube Gallery in Tokyo. Her images and writing are regularly published in international magazines as well as academic journals.

See: www.lizhingley.com

Slaughterhouse Studios:

studio1 a

Slaughterhouse Studios: studio 1

Slaughterhouse Studios, the North West’s finest boutique photographic studio hire, offers three ideal studios for all kinds of photography, film and events, and create a bespoke service for any studio requirements and budgets. Unrivalled across the region for its versatility, Slaughterhouse Studios offers an extensive range of imaging services under one roof.

Directors Ian Simpson and Sid Simon have over 30 years’ combined expertise in professional imaging and are always on hand for practical assistance. Whether sourcing equipment or props, advising on lighting techniques or just lending a hand loading gear, Slaughterhouse Studios’ friendly staff are always delighted to help.

See: http://ssltd54.wordpress.com


Advance booking closes on 1 Feb 2013 at 15:00.

Tickets are priced as follows:
£150 standard
£135 student
£120 Redeye members

Prices include VAT @ 20%.

To pay the Redeye member price please remember to log in first as a member.


Buy Tickets

A New Dawn…


With the first painful weeks of the new year under our wing, it’s all going flat out at Slaughterhouse Mansions. With so much learned from last year and with so much to look forward to in 2013, it’s difficult to know where to start. So I will keep a lot of the expansion plans under wraps for the time being, no point in diluting the good news when you all knew about it months before…but be rest assured there will be no room for Ikea furniture and a splash of paint on the floor. That is not how we roll here.

So what has been learned from 2012?

Well I learned how to know what to look out for and when to offer services to people when they needed it rather than thinking I had all the answers all of the time.

That spending £1000’s on hard copy advertising is pretty pointless when all you guys do is Google Search to seek Studio Hire. So don’t expect to see an add in BJP any time soon.

Not even the oldest of American Snack Foods are secure in this changing market.

That a man in a Space Suit can fall to earth and have 16million people all hold their breath at the same time.

That London can put on one of the finest world events and turn the East End back into a vacant lot.

That I can now add car mechanic to my CV, owning a 14 year old car teaches one quickly.

Gaining market presence in many more sectors as well as fashion and magazine editorial has been a great asset to the studio and will increase throughout the new year.

Being less aware of what I want from my business and more aware of what the customer requires, this is often a bitter pill to swallow, especially when the business is so young. However, it has been more of an issue of late, when it comes to working with those who have continuously changing payment agreements and reducing budgets.

I also found that my continuous encouragement of local photographic talent is starting to pay off. Just as much as I have found new designs on how I can help and encourage people outside of this industry sector. Case in point, the young girl we had on work experience in July and August 2012, Natasha arrived a quite and rather shy, unemployed young girl and left a confident, erudite, employed young woman. A job in Manchester, excellent presentation skills – proven at an event at Portcullis House in September, in front of over 80 people, including CEOs and MPs.

Natasha has gone on to pursue her career in Acting, gaining a place at the celebrated Manchester School of Acting. Not bad for a girl from Irwell who back in Summer (and I am sure she will support me in saying this) was quiet and the epitome of a ‘Wall Flower’. So mentoring is proven to help even those who think the world is against them.

This week will see the Slaughterhouse Studios New Year’s Honours List – something I cannot do without you as my opinion counts for nothing in a democracy.

So let me know who you have enjoyed working with this past year, it could be a photographer, an assistant, a studio Director (hint) or even the Make Up artist that works so well with your own visions. All in all I want to see who is moving and shaking the world of photographic image making in the UK, it is often a lonely place running a studio and often one can only fix one’s attention on the client of the day. I get asked often if I have access to Photographers, Assistants, Digi Assistants, MUA’s, Wardrobe Specialists (inc Seamstresses) and on the odd occasion, Art Directors. So let me have your list of favourites and lets keep them all busy throughout 2013.

No matter what we do this year, lets work together to support all in the industry and allow them to have a busier year, a brighter year and a much more financially successful year. Let us champion those who are not afraid of putting in the hours, bringing in the contracts and keeping the talent in the UK.

Something to keep an eye out over the coming weeks is a Redeye event at Slaughterhouse Studios. For those of you connected to Redeye or those of you wishing to become a member, I am proud to announce a two day masterclass with Celebrated Photographer Liz Hingley on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd February. This is a unique opportunity both for me and for Redeye: a weekend workshop with a leading photographer, including a portrait of you – or someone you nominate – by Liz, as part of her series in progress, Spiritual Object Portraits. Numbers are strictly limited to eight participants.

Liz Hingley is one of the most celebrated photographers of her generation; her sympathetic approach, curiosity, and insightful visual storytelling has won her numerous prizes and accolades over the last five years.

Details can be found here on how to book a place on the weekend event. Please hurry however as places are limited and going fast.

Looking forward to seeing you all back in the studio this year.


Papa Simpson x

Milky, milky, milky

I was happy to see the return of Miss Layla Sailor yesterday to the studio, now regularly working in collaboration with Lisa Stannard (Designer Extraordinaire!), and as has become expected over the past 2 years, she brought some excellent new ideas which included a huge white creature who goes by the name of Milky. Each creation by Layla is copyright to her so no plagiarism you lot. Alas her work does get copied almost on a monthly basis by local and national brands. I suggest it would be cheaper to hire her rather than get some ugly law suit in future.

So keep an eye out for her work on http://www.laylasailor.com/272881/home and if you need a photographer who finds that little extra and delivers more, give her a call.

Name and Shame…

© Ian F Simpson 2012

The government will name and shame big construction companies that screw subcontractors and suppliers by failing to pay their bills on time.

Business minister Michael Fallon has written to all FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies telling them that if they do not sign up to the Prompt Payment Code, a voluntary agreement to promote good payment practices, he will publicise their refusal in the new year.

Companies being told to sign up include: major contractors Interserve, Galliford Try, Carillion and Kier; housebuilders Barratt, Berkeley, Bovis Homes, Persimmon, Redrow and Taylor Wimpey; support service companies Capita, Mitie and WS Atkins; and materials suppliers Wolseley, Howden Joinery, SIG and Travis Perkins.

The only FTSE 250 construction company to have signed up to the code already is Balfour Beatty, which did so in July 2010. Other major construction signatories include Willmott Dixon, Skanska UK, Morgan Lovell and Miller Construction.

Mr Fallon said: “Late payment causes real cash flow problems for entrepreneurs. It stops them from growing their business – we need to change the culture.

“Too many of our biggest companies are ignoring the Prompt Payment Code. My message to them is clear – make prompt payment a priority or face the consequences of being named. I’m confident that driving up support for the common sense principles in the Code will have a very positive effect.”

Currently 1,182 companies are signed up to the Prompt Payment Code. However, only 27 FTSE 100 companies and five FTSE 250 companies are signatories.

Forum of Private Business chief executive Phil Orford welcomed the minister’s invention. He said: “All too often we see a ‘domino effect’ of late payment right down the supply chain. It decimates cash flow and forces many firms into administration – so it is important that we do whatever it takes to reverse this trend and set in motion a culture of prompt payment for small businesses and the economy as a whole.”

A debate on prompt payment issues took place in Parliament on Thursday 8 November 2012.

Businesses can sign up to the Prompt Payment Code now at http://www.promptpaymentcode.org.uk/


My question is, why should this be a challenge to any FTSE 250/100 company? This should be an enforced code of practice, what ever size of business you are.

Far too many SME’s and Micro Businesses are being effected in the media sector, and yes this includes studio hire facilities. Recently after a very long and protracted conversation on this very subject with a studio owner in London, I challenged him to tell me who has not agreed to pay for his services and create a growing culture of late payment this year, moving the goal posts of terms from 14, to 30, to 90 days and even paying for the whole service package he offers (this includes his own lighting hire service, catering, MUAs, Styling team and a driver for the creative team and celebrity being shot that day) to 30 days after the image went public – six months after the shoot date for those interested in when he got paid. To be honest I had heard this one earlier this year that created a wedge between a new client and obviously some one I no longer choose to do business with.

I understand that as quotes and budgets get progressively strangled, we still offer the best service in all the finer studio hire centres up and down the UK, however, if these agencies are allowed to carry on creating a delay on all payments for services rendered then what are we to do?

Personally, I would love it if there were a standard industry code of practice that anyone hiring any services in the photographic industry – all payments should be treated like a retail payment. There are 1000’s of articles that express the anger of many and use the same analogy that one would not enter a department store, pick up a pair of shoes, try them on, enjoy the view in those small angled mirrors for a while, wonder if they will go with those new jeans you bought the other week and then walk out of the store with a short conversation with the staff saying, “I will come back next month and pay for these, OK?”

The cold arm of the law and probably a night in a cell is the end of this story, so why do proportionately more and more companies out there see the service sector of studio hire a much softer side of the hard faced industry?

I have written to M. Fallon MP to forward any information on those 1182 businesses that have signed up to this code of practice, particularly ones that are outside of the construction game. I will publish this list to assist in those of you who wish to secure at least one client who has no problem paying on time and appreciates the fact that all studios are in a supply chain of paying their own 3rd party debts.

I am lucky that this has happened less and less this year in comparison to last, this is all down to the contract I have with my cherished clientele – however I know that this has alienated me and my studio from many cash opportunities, due to the arrogance of those who wished to extend the payment of a very expensive shoot.

Simple question to ask at the very top – do you have the budget in place to pay for this? In accepting this cost of my services, are you aware that you are legally obliged to pay on my terms, not yours?

For those interested, this is the construction sector list of those who agree to pay on time to their suppliers and contractors, these are the kind of people who should be encouraged as trend setters.

Organisation Region
3D Scaffolding Limited North West
A-Tech Installations West Midlands
Advanced Roofing Limited East Midlands
Archive Repair Specialist Yorkshire & The Humber
Ardent Services Ltd
Arkoni Ltd Yorkshire & The Humber
Asbestos Business Contractors Ltd North West
Aspect Building Solutions Ltd Yorkshire & The Humber
Association of Concrete Industrial Flooring Contractors (ACIFC) London
Association of Interior Specialists West Midlands
Astbury North West
Atlas Washroom Systems Ltd North East
B Mc Namee & Co Ltd Northern Ireland
Badham & Sons West Midlands
Balfour Beatty plc
Barrow & Brooks Ltd South East
Bermar Building Company Ltd Yorkshire & The Humber
Besure Building & Maintenance Services ltd South East
BHE Services (Bolton) Ltd North West
Birmingham Glass Services Ltd West Midlands
Black & Veatch South East
Boilerman Ltd South West
Bristan Group Limited West Midlands
C D Potter and Sons Limited Yorkshire & The Humber
Cirrus Trading Ltd East Midlands
Clarkes Environmental Ltd Yorkshire & The Humber
D H Crofts Limited South East
DCT Civil Engineering Ltd North West
Dufell Roofing Co. Ltd. North East
Dutton’s Electrical East Midlands
Effective Builders Company North West
EMCOR Facilities Services Limited North West
ERH Communications Ltd Wales
ERW Joinery Ltd North East
Gary Gabriel Associates South East
George Cox & Sons Ltd North West
Goody Demolition Ltd South East
Governor Electrical & Mechanical Ltd Yorkshire & The Humber
Greendealhull.com Yorkshire & The Humber
H Clarke and Sons Ltd Yorkshire & The Humber
H&J Martin Ltd Northern Ireland
Hannafin Contractors Limited West Midlands
Harry Fairclough Construction Ltd North West
HCS (Yorkshire) Ltd Yorkshire & The Humber
Headway Contracting Services Ltd North East
Huggins Limited South East
Install Electrical Contractors Ltd East Midlands
J Hughes Construction Limited North East
K & M Mcloughlin Decorating Ltd London
Keith Walton Brickwork Limited
Leesafe Ltd
Lewis and Lewis Ltd Wales
Lincs Joinery Services Ltd East Midlands
LJPM Ltd South East
MacConvilles South West
MacLay Civil Engineering Ltd Scotland
Main Building Maintenance Ltd South East
McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd Northern Ireland
MCP Environmental LLP Yorkshire & The Humber
Miller Construction Scotland
Minshull Windows Ltd Wales
Morgan Lovell London
Moss Construction (NI) Ltd Northern Ireland
Mott MacDonald Limited London
Mulcair Limited Wales
Multispace Systems Ltd Yorkshire & The Humber
Mwt Civil Engineering Ltd Wales
Oddy Builders Ltd Yorkshire & The Humber
Olivison Ltd South West
One Stop Maintenance OSM Ltd West Midlands
Overbury Plc London
PAW Structures Ltd North West
Paynters Flooring Yorkshire & The Humber
PGR Innovations Limited Yorkshire & The Humber
Professional Electrical Solutions Limited South West
Providence Maintenance & Electrical Services Ltd Yorkshire & The Humber
Pyramid Builders Limited London
RDA Limited North East
Reddish Vale Insulations Ltd North West
RI Construction North East
Rok Plc South East
roofclad profiles ltd Northern Ireland
Roy Hankinson Limited North West
Rule & Parker Ltd East of England
S. Peake & Son Ltd West Midlands
sanmet Yorkshire & The Humber
sedgemoor heating South West
Skanska Construction UK South West
Specpro Ltd Scotland
T&B (Contractors) Limited South East
Thompsons Fencing Ltd North East
Universal Carpentry & Joinery Ltd East of England
V&T(Plumbing Central Heating & Bathrooms) Ltd t/a Aqua Interiors Yorkshire & The Humber
Vivid Interiors London
Wayman Fabrications Ltd North West
Wellington UK Ltd South East
Wharton Construction North East
William Doherty Northern Ireland
Willmott Dixon Holdings Limited
Woodhouse-Barry (Construction)Limited North East

(source – the construction index Nov. 2012)

Lead by example…..

I am getting an alarming number of people in the studio this year that have no time, understanding of the importance of, or interest in the writing of a basic call sheet. Well allow me to – without any note of patronising anyone – expand on why it is just as important that everyone gets on board and understands the need for a call sheet with any size of shoot.

Different people like different levels of information, I require lots of information prior too, during and after any shoot here at the studio. A royal pain in the arse, maybe. Important to secure and preserve all aspects of safety on the studio floor, absolutely. In short, a Call Sheet should be no less than 2 pages long for every day you are shooting, ignoring this simple request raises real issues in your ability to understand that a call sheet and risk assessment is just as important as an equipment list and making sure all the relevant kit and/or wardrobe gets delivered to the correct address.

So rather than rant on and on (as I do from time to time) about the importance of entering into any shoot into any studio with a call sheet, I offer you all a pro-forma to copy and paste onto any number of A4 sheets or email.

“What’s the point?” “I know who is here and that’s all I have to say on the matter”, “I am far too busy”. “I have been working in this business for 14 years and never been asked by a studio for a call sheet”…

All quotes from recent “anonymous” clients.

Thankfully I managed to get my point across to some, but not all.  I also hear with great disappointment that all graduate students leaving the nation’s Universities this year will yet again be left without the basic tools to enter any studio environment, so I implore, please copy this – free – document and have a copy of it on your Phone/laptop ready for printing and emailing out to any studio or location shoot you may be employed to work on in future and when your boss asks you where you got that from, just say you heard it from me.

Remember, you must have this in the building and copy of it must go to the studio owner prior to arrival. Worst case scenario, you have not told them that you have 22 people in today who are having their photograph taken with your celebrity asset for a Rotary Fund Raiser this Christmas, the place goes up in smoke and fearsome flame and the owner of the studio has only the people he/she saw on arrival that morning. Who would be to blame and who would have to go up in front of a Judge for Manslaughter?

Certainly not I.

Call Sheets are an invaluable method of reference for keeping tabs on who you worked with this time last year and on what jobs.

You have no excuses.

Take a look at the pro-forma I have drafted for the studio website, its a pdf, so I expect to see many more detailed shoot schedules and call sheets in the future. It is your responsibility as the principle on any shoot to have this sent to all relevant people linked to your shoot, it speeds up progress of the shoot and slows down the chances of any horrible surprises on the chosen dates.

Call Sheet [Pro-forma]



Filling the gaps…

October already???!! where has this year gone? Far too much fun and shenanigans this summer, certainly most of it should have come with a health warning – may cause insomnia – but we survived and with that the studio is looking forward to a very busy month. That said, its been a while since anyone creative and daring enough to test out some ideas here. I for one love the change in pace and delivery during test days, its always beneficial to expand one’s techniques and equally expand one’s mind. Rather than calling and suggesting a test be a commercial shoot wrapped up in sheep’s clothing, you know who you are…..

So this ‘all points bulletin’ goes out to all you freelancing snappers who need to rid themselves of the shackles of day-to-day work and have carte blanch in either one of the studios here for either a half or full day. I have some openings on the calendar so booking would be wise. Monday to Friday only I am afraid and you will have to supply your own lights and catering, everything else in the studios are yours to use. £100 full day (08:30 – 17:00) or £50 half day (start and wrap within the times above) – cash only.

So make a call and expand your mind/portfolio/technique/knowledge etc.

The studio is wonderfully toasty warm this morning all down to the new heating system. Yes, it’s true, so much has been done to this building since 22nd March 2010, many, many 100’s of gallons of paint, rewiring, ridding the smell of a dozen years of cigarette smoke, terrible colour schemes and generally making it a cozy and welcoming place to work. However, winter was never a good time to work here due to the ‘vintage’ heating system, so after visiting a contemporary studio recently and feeling just how cold it was even in summer, the essential and over due work had to be done. So much more efficient and very effective appliances now create a warm and improved temperature even in studio 2, so no more shivering models, no more crowding around the wall heaters in down jackets each morning until the Arri’s do their job, and thankfully creating a sub tropical paradise in the badlands of Salford & Manchester. I promise that Sid nor I will be seen wandering the halls of the building in wife beater vests and knotted hankies. Now there’s a vision…

Well it has been a while since I had time to write, what with expansive plans and a very busy studio diary, I feel that I have neglected my responsibilities to exposing the highlights at Slaughterhouse Studios. After opening new client contracts, a summer of assisting in changing people’s lives and generally having a great time driving fast cars, playing with vintage Leica cameras and witnessing some of the finest photographers to come out of Manchester, it’s been a rewarding and humbling season and one that will stay with me for a very long time.

Improvements are being made in the Freelance Photographic sector on the North West, Miss Layla Sailor is now fully freelance and I for one could not be happier for her decision to immerse herself in creating some groundbreaking and cutting edge masterpieces, if only some snappers employed by certain well known fashion mags would stop plagiarising her most current of works – just give her the job people!!! Jesus H Macy, it doesn’t take much…you just pick up the phone and press those numbers on top of it in the same corresponding order as her mobile number and if she doesn’t pick up, leave a message after the beep. Simple, no?

Mr Dan Walmsley has recently become a regular face about the place, this has brought me joy and relief that after following his skilful and professional delivery of photography for some time, we finally managed to join our forces to create a fabulous campaign for a very interesting client. Since then I have had the pleasure in seeing this Gent produce some most excellent images. Anyone requiring an efficient, hard working and skilful master of the lens, then please take a look at his website and book him today.

Equally, there is Mr Rob Evans, a master of the celebrity shoot, excellent at lighting and deeply inspired by Noir, Rob’s work has transformed the more recognised faces of popular culture into sirens and heartthrobs. Now freelance, his work is taking a new direction into fashion and documentary editorial, thankfully I have had the pleasure in seeing these shoots come together with excellent results. So again, anyone in the South requiring a Photographer in the North, one who can work anywhere, then call Rob, anytime.

So here is to the progressive growth of Slaughterhouse Studios Ltd and with increasing links to the finest in the UK and wider overseas markets, major campaigns such as the new Joe Hart Head & Shoulders ambassadorship, luxury fashion goods, scientific breakthrough interventions for Palsy sufferers, fine knitwear and the odd Aston Martin convertible – 2012 is looking like a bloody good year.

Keep tabs on up and coming events throughout the year on the facebook or twitter sites (@ssltd). Film night is on the 27th this month and will prove to be a night of fright.

We look forward to hearing from all the new clients out there, and with all the regular faces in the studio already booked in this month its going to another fun time at the Slaughterhouse.