Glasgow Life

Merchant City Festival

Editorial & PR Photography

The Background

The Merchant City festival, which takes place annually at the end of July, sees Glasgow transformed into a vibrant, carnival of colour and art, as more than 600 performers grace the city centre streets.

We were tasked with capturing the excitement and madness of the festivities for our client Glasgow Life. They were keen to showcase the event for use in the press and also to share internally for marketing purposes as well as with the performers themselves.

It is an event that SNS Group have become familiar with and covered on a number of occasions since first shooting it in 2011. We have a good feel for the festival and for what the client is looking for.

For some of the time, we are given guidance on shows that Glasgow Life need images of, and for others we are given creative scope to capture different performers and sights that stand out.

The Approach

At the 2019 festival, we faced a familiar foe in the Glasgow weather. There was the worry that the images could look a bit flat in the rain, but we embraced it and found the weather created an effective contrast of the bright colours of the performers against the grey backdrop on account of the wet conditions.

The variety of locations presented some obstacles, with some cramped or packed areas requiring the use of wide angled and fisheye lenses, while some of the indoor venues presented a challenge with lighting. With our extensive experience in Editorial and PR photography, we carry out significant research before the job begins to ensure we are prepared for such challenges and can adapt.

Glasgow Life also wanted a flavour of the personal side of the festival, with families and people of all ages and backgrounds enjoying the entertainment. This would require a more personable approach our photographer, asking punters if they would be willing to pose for photos, as well as the candid shots.

The Results

We are keen to turn around the pictures in a matter of hours during the festival. Glasgow Life can then use the images in a live capacity on social media and are not left waiting until the following day for the images to be ready. It also means the images can be distributed to the national press to show the success of the festival in the media.

We worked with Glasgow Life on a photocall event in the lead up to the 2019 festival. We were pleased to see our images used in the press, including a large showing in The Times, to help promote and drum up interest for the festival.

Merchant City Festival logo

“Great images of the Merchant City Festival is an absolute must for us because we rely on beautiful shots of performers on the streets of Glasgow to promote the huge variety of performances on offer. The images taken for Merchant City Festival 2019 were a perfect reflection of the fun, the excitement and the great entertainment on offer and captured the vibrant atmosphere of the festival”

Gordon Boag, Media Officer – Glasgow Life

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