The British have always been at the forefront of invention, this ingenuity, fascination and curiosity that drives so many designers, engineers and craftsmen to take the challenge of trying to provide an answer to a problem by producing an invention is unique.
One such inventor is Rob Chicken of Combe Products in Hungerford,West Berkshire.
A keen yachtsman, Rob noticed a need that single handed or night-time sailors had, to enable them to control the boat when they couldn’t man the helm constantly.
Although there are already systems available they rely on electronics, which need battery power and the greater the needed for the device the more power it uses. Consequently, in bad weather the importance of navigation lights and other essential electrical resources can be compromised by using this automatic steering system.
As a trained engineer, Rob devised a mechanical answer to the problem, which not only addressed the need but produced a far more responsive solution.
After working on the initial designs he produced full working plans and began the tortuous route required to protect his intellectual
property rights and ensure the design was covered by the necessary patents, registrations and trademarks. Eventually a working prototype was created and after much testing and development, Rob started putting together a group of fabricators who would produce the final product.
With a finished demonstration unit and having registered the name “The Steersman”, Rob started to consider how to market this invention and at this point I became involved in his enterprise.
As a commercial photographer from Newbury, just up the road from Rob’s base in Hungerford he asked me to go and spend a day photographing “The Steersman” being assembled on his 30 foot yacht “Justine” and to take some pictures to be used in a yachting magazine advert, timed to appear at the Southampton Boat Show in September, where he will be manning a stand.
Fortunately, the weather on the river Hamble was kind and we managed to get some great pictures including some useful stock shots for my own personal library.
For any inventor producing something novel, one of the greatest problems is communicating how it works and what it looks like, this can be a massive challenge and the skill of a photographer will often be essential in doing this.
The importance of getting good clear photographs of a product should never be underestimated and using a specialist in this type of commercial photography is a worthwhile investment.
While we were shooting, I also convinced Rob of the importance of having a good corporate portrait or headshot, to accompany any press releases he may send out and with any editorial space he may be given. This would also be invaluable for the increasingly essential social media networking that businesses are becoming involved with and of course the ever important website.
If you are an inventor building a good relationship with a commercial photographer can be invaluable in getting your idea promoted.