Osborne & Hollis Ltd


Varsity campaign part II

Posted on March 4, 2019 by Nick Osborne under Commercial photography, Photography, Sports, Studio

Our last blog post talked about the preparation and execution of the Varsity sports photoshoot for the University of Leicester. We’ve had lots of positive feedback for the campaign including this from lead designer, Pritesh:

“Well!!! what can I say but a ‘Massive Thank You’ to both of you for delivering a brilliant photoshoot, taking the time to ensure that each team member was captured perfectly and being on track with the shoot throughout; and also for being helpful and easy to work with too.”

Visual for outdoor poster and banners

We’re really impressed with the creative treatment and the great use of multiple poses in one image. The campaign can be seen extensively online and on posters around the University. Be sure to look out for the competitions between 6-16 March.

University of Leicester Facebook page

Varsity campaign

Posted on March 1, 2019 by Nick Osborne under Commercial photography, Photography, Sports, Studio

The Varsity between the University of Leicester and DMU is the biggest event in the annual local sports calendar and involves 30 sports and 65 matches that take place from 6-16 March.

We were delighted to be asked by the University of Leicester to photograph members of each of their teams as part of the media campaign ahead of the Varsity matches. In addition to advertising the competitions, the campaign also aims to make sports more accessible to all and encourage sports participation across the University.

Behind the scenes of the Varsity photoshoot

Following a number of planning meetings to establish the approach and ‘look’ of the photography, we spent two great days on the photoshoot, photographing a range of sports from American football to archery. We wanted to get as authentic look as possible so they were all dressed in their match day outfits. We also got them practising before the shoot and applied liberal amounts of glycerine to simulate sweat where needed!

We shot on a neutral grey backdrop making it easier for the models to be cut out for the final creative. It’s not often that we don’t know the final look of our images beforehand – so it was interesting to see how they were going to be used… watch this space.

Agency partnerships

Posted on January 25, 2019 by Nick Osborne under Marketing, Photography, Websites

It was a pleasure to work with design and digital agency Cite before Christmas to provide the photography for their sparkly new website www.cite.co.uk

I spent a couple of days with them and my brief was to capture the personality of the agency and their vibrant and professional workspace. It was great to get the following feedback from their Senior Designer:

“These are looking swish! You’ve helped us achieve the look we were going for and more – can’t thank you enough.”

We’ve also regularly partner with agencies (including Cite) on their client commissions, working alongside an Art Director. It’s a more collaborative way of working and one that demands great communication, creativity and flexibility. Think of us as a safe pair of hands who will deliver on the brief every time with the minimum of fuss.

We’d love the opportunity to partner with other design, advertising, marketing and digital agencies in the Midlands and beyond so please contact Nick at nick@osbornehollis.co.uk or 0116 430 0022 to discuss how we can help.

The importance of photographing the things that matter

Posted on January 21, 2019 by Stuart Hollis under Family & friends, Portraiture
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Two years ago today my Mum died. They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone and that’s certainly true for me. Because I’ll admit that I took Mum for granted. She was always there. She was always smiling. She was always loving and kind and generous. And now she’s gone. And now I truly realise how special she was.

Mum and Dad on their wedding day at the “Pork Pie Library” off Saffron Lane, Leicester.

At the funeral I placed a framed photo of my Mum on the coffin and at the wake I put on a slideshow of images from her life and said a few words.

But here’s the thing: despite the fact that I’ve been a professional photographer for over 25 years and that I have lots of snaps of Mum. I only really had one really good one. I only really stopped once to get my ‘proper’ camera out and spend a few concentrated minutes with Mum, to get a ‘good’ portrait of her.

The ‘good’ portrait I took of my Mum.

I also started doing video interviews with her, asking her to talk about her life. I did this after my Dad died as I wanted to capture the amazing era they’d lived through. But we talked so much we barely got past her wedding day.

And then she got her diagnosis. And then a few months later she was gone.

So here’s my suggestion. Get your ‘proper’ camera out. Or better still employ a good photographer. And get the things that really matter to you photographed well. Print the pictures. Save them. Back them up. And back them up again. Then when that fateful day comes, you’ll have a really nice photograph to stare at, over and over, again. And if the photographer has done a good job, it’ll feel like they are right there with you.

Ps. The photo I took above was incorporated into Mum and Dad’s headstone along with a matching photo of my Dad ( I took a good photo of my Dad on the same day). I get a lot of pleasure knowing that 2 of my images will be remain long after I’ve gone.

Learning something new from the people we photograph

Posted on January 18, 2019 by Stuart Hollis under Commercial photography, Portraiture
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2018 was a busy year with us photographing a wide range of people:

Sir David Attenborough at Remembrance Sunday; the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge for the University of Leicester; Fiona Bruce at the BBC Antiques Roadshow; Princess Anne for the National Space Centre; the Quad Nations Wheelchair Rugby Tournament; working with the National Lottery; Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith… 

We photographed welders and website designers, managers and machinists, accountants and architects, astronauts and athletes, school children and scientists…

This is one of the joys of our job: we get to meet such a diverse range of people and get to learn something new on each commission. This week was particularly fascinating as we photographed 32 different sports for the University of Leicester’s Varsity Campaign. We got to chat with each student and learnt about sports we’d never participated in: rowing, Jiu Jitsu, Lacrosse and American Football. We got some incredible shots, watch this space to see how they turned out…

Relatable Royals

Posted on December 5, 2018 by Nick Osborne under Events, Photography, Royals

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in the rain to the University of Leicester and greeted by Lord Lieutenant Mike Kapur (shot through a window)

Looking back at last week, it was a privilege to be asked to photograph the royal visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the University of Leicester. It was a complete whirlwind as they were at the University for less than an hour after their visit to Leicester City FC to pay their respects following the recent tragedy. I was part of the press pack with other photographers and videographers (with some live streaming), all chaperoned by a Palace press liaison team, who handily let us know where to go and when to move on… There was no set up shots and we simply recorded what was happening as they moved from Library to cafe to the outdoor crowds. It’s impossible to hear what’s being said most of the time but my overriding sense was of a very relatable royal couple that took a genuine interest in dignitaries, families, staff and students alike, looking incredibly at ease chatting to the crowds.


Why you shouldn’t use stock photography for your marketing

Posted on November 20, 2018 by Nick Osborne under Commercial photography, Marketing, Photography

I was prompted to write this after going to a marketing seminar recently that promoted the opposite. I had one of those ‘hang on…’ moments so started thinking about why original photography should be the first consideration when you’re looking to market yourself or your company and not stock photography.


Whether you use your stock image in press or online or on an exhibition stand, there is always the potential that someone somewhere (and heaven forbid, even one of your competitors) may be using the exact same image. I will never forget when many moons ago working in advertising, we were looking forward to seeing our double page spread advert appear in the trade press. The excitement soon evaporated when the advert on the page before was using exactly the same stock image we were!


When you are marketing your products and services, authenticity is key. As an example, I’m sure you’ll agree that we all feel much more empathy and connection with ‘real’ looking staff members rather than overly polished stock shot models.

This poster for Autoglass/Belron displayed at an internal event used their actual staff members


The initial cost for stock images is based on usage. But the charges do begin to mount up when you use the images again and again and start to use across other mediums. And there is also the time spent scouring through the stock libraries for the right picture(s) to take into account.

By hiring a professional photographer, there will be a larger initial outlay undoubtedly. But you will be creating a library of images that you can use indefinitely with no additional charges (please do check the contract or T&Cs with your photographer).


When using stock photography, you are entirely dependent on how other people define your values. What does partnership mean to you for example? Is it the classic handshake image? Or is it something deeper and more complex that can be represented with a more effective image? Commissioning photography does require some soul searching about what you stand for and what makes you different as a product or service. Your photographer will be able to translate your thoughts into reality and supply you with a gallery images that are bespoke to you.

What do you think? Do you regularly use stock photography over original?

If you’d like to discuss how we can represent your products or services, contact Nick on 07739 035923 or info@osbornehollis.co.uk  And read more about the commercial photography services we provide and follow the links to the portfolio pages.

Remembrance Sunday

Posted on November 15, 2018 by Nick Osborne under Education, Events, Speakers

I’m just reflecting on the hectic, exhilarating and thought-provoking day that was Remembrance Sunday. We were asked to cover the full day’s activities that included the annual remembrance service at Victoria Park in Leicester, the unveiling of the Centenary Square at the University, the wreath laying pilgrimage at 11 locations around Leicester and finally the service at Leicester Cathedral. Our images have already been used widely on social media, the University website and distributed to parties involved.

Remembrance Service, Victoria Park Leicester

At the University, it was an honour to listen to all of the speakers marking the occasion including Sir David Attenborough as he retold the incredible story of Dr Astley Clarke who returned from the First World War to form what became the University, with the added poignancy of Clarke’s great great great niece having recently graduated from the University. The University of Leicester marked the occasion with the opening and dedication of the Centenary Square.

Opening and dedication of Centenary Square, University of Leicester including Sir David Attenborough with Dr Astley Clarke’s great great great niece

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Education photography for school website

Posted on November 5, 2018 by Nick Osborne under Education, Photography, School, Websites

I don’t think I will every tire of seeing our images out in the public domain, whether it be for press and PR, printed media or for websites. One stunning website currently using our images is for Croydon High School designed and created by Me&Him (who incidentally also produced the Osborne Hollis logo!) Their concept of ‘Every girl, every day’ showed the remarkable achievements of girls of all ages across disciplines from drama to chemistry and from music to sport; and tells the stories behind the headlines.

I photographed nearly 20 concepts with variations over a two day period, delivering nearly 400 edited images to the client to choose from. As you can imagine, colour correcting and cropping each and every one of the images is time consuming and, as a rule, we allocate the same time for editing that we do for shooting.

As well as for the website, the images were also used for 6-sheet and 48-sheet posters displayed in the Croydon area to promote their Open Days last month. We’ve worked with other GDST (Girls’ Day Schools Trust) schools, as well as other primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities so please visit our education folio page to see more examples.

Photographing the Olympic hero Tommie Smith

Posted on October 25, 2018 by Stuart Hollis under Events, Photography, Speakers, Sports

Stuart Hollis with Tommie Smith, Olympic Gold medal winner and activist

I’ve been a professional photographer since 1991, although I sold my first photograph when I was 17, in 1985. My first income from photography happened when I lingered around the Stage Door at De Montfort Hall awaiting the emergence of the comedian Rowan Atkinson who had just had me in stitches with his comic antics. I waited with a father and son and when Rowan exited I chatted with him then took a photo of him with the son. The father paid me £30 for a large print and I was hooked!  I’d found a way to meet wonderful people and get paid for it!

That night I realised that not only could I make money from my camera but also that photography allowed me to get up close to interesting people. Indeed I discovered that having a camera allowed me all kinds of access to venues and situations which were off limits to everyone else.

Over the years I’ve photographed a huge variety of people in some special places: I’ve spent the day with HRH Prince Charles, enjoyed Sir David Attenborough’s company, been in the Treasury with Gordon Brown, shared a full English with Terry Wogan. I’ve also photographed in Parliament, on Californian beaches, hotels in Singapore and in maggot farms! It truly is an extraordinary job!

Recently I thanked my lucky stars that I’m a photographer again. I was commissioned to photograph the athlete Tommie Smith, who won 200m Gold medal at the 1968 Mexico Olympics. He famously and controversially raised his fist (along with John Carlos) in what came to be known as a ‘black panther black power’ salute. In fact, during the course of the speech Tommie gave (part of Leicester’s Black History Month run by Serendipity) he explained that he wasn’t a political person but the issue of black civil rights in America had become so important to him in 1968 he felt he had to make a stand. Tommie paid a heavy price for his iconic gesture. He was subsequently banned from future Olympic events and his athletic career was effectively ruined due to the bigotry of the time.  To read more go to: http://www.tommiesmith.com

It was a fascinating evening and I came away with a new understanding of civil rights history and Tommie’s part in it. I’m so pleased I met such a warm, kind-hearted man who stood up for what he believed in.

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