ADD359 Video, Photographic & Lighting Equipment

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
04 November 2015
Decision by: 
Emma Strain, Assistant Director, External Relations and Monitoring Officer

Executive summary

The External Relations team require video, photographic and lighting equipment for the GLA Photographer/Photo Editor, who is responsible for populating the GLA’s digital channels –, official social media accounts, Instagram and email marketing templates - with high quality imagery and video content showcasing the work of City Hall with the aim of generating engagement in the GLA’s programmes, policies and opportunities. 


That the Assistant Director approves expenditure of up to £11,000 to purchase photographic, video and lighting equipment.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The GLA’s Digital Strategy set out in MD1326 – (which covers the website, social media and email marketing) aims to make the GLA’s digital channels:

-    The first place to go for information about London government
-    Modern, open and engaging 
-    Resourceful hubs
-    A place to showcase the work of the organisation in a way that drives meaningful engagement. 

1.2    In August 2014, the GLA employed a Photographer/Photo Editor to manage the existing image assets and to create new imagery and video to be used across our digital channels, which effectively showcases the work of the organisation, as part of the Digital Strategy. The imagery, which is currently held across the organisation, varies in quality and is not, for the most part, suitable for the digital channels.

1.3    The Photographer/Photo Editor requires specialist video, photographic and lighting equipment to undertake his role. The procurement will be by way of three quotes and TfL procurement will be consulted. Any procurement shall be undertaken in accordance with the Contracts and Funding code. 

1.4    ADD221 approved the procurement of the minimum amount of equipment needed to be able to undertake basic professional photography; however, the equipment was reviewed after a six-month period, and more equipment is required to ensure that the photographer is equipped for the variety of subjects needed. For example, additional lighting is required for photographing large groups of people but the photographer has only two lights; an additional two are needed to prevent shadows. In addition, different lenses are needed as photography is being commissioned at a variety of indoor and outdoor locations - a more detailed explanation and use of the additional equipment sought is provided in the table below. 

Table 1 





Profoto s x B1 500 Air TTL Head Location Kit

The kit contains two B1 off-camera flashes, two batteries, a Fast Charger that recharges the battery in one hour.


Needed to illuminate subjects or products


Nikon 14.24mm 2.8 lens


Extreme wide angle, fast aperture lens with a revolutionary optical design. Features a Nano Crystal coating to reduce the effects of ghost and flare

Needed to take photographs in tight spaces


Nikon 24mm PC-E Tilt/shift lens


Perspective Control (PC-E) wide angle NIKKOR for architecture and landscape photography that delivers class-leading levels of tilt and shift movement.

Needed to take photographs of buildings, eg for Regen and Housing and Land


Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens


Standard lens with high-quality optics and Nikon’s exclusive Silent Wave Motor for whisper-quiet operation.

Needed to blur backgrounds for portraits


X2 Light stands


Light stand offers maximum support with minimum
bulk. It is made of attractive black aluminium, making it lightweight and easy to take on location.

Needed to hold the Profoto B1 500 lights


X2 Profoto Softbox


Softboxes diffuse light and these are a good choice for portrait, and product photography in-studio or on location.

Vital for professional-style lighting


1 x Lastolite 1.8mx1.2m silver/white reflector


For full length portrait or large product shots

To help control light, and as a basic and lightweight lighting tool for when it’s not possible to carry heavy lighting equipment


Background support


Hanging supports for rolls of flat plain or patterned paper or cloth

Needed to hang paper backgrounds for product and portrait photography – eg Know Your Rights and Trafalgar Square events poster campaigns


Profoto Softlight Kit


Gives a soft, yet directional light. Meant to provide character lighting in portrait photography, the Softlight is superb for a wide variety of uses from product photography to architectural or environmental studies

A lighting tool for more technical portraits and product photography


1.3x11m white background paper



A smaller plain white background for portrait (headshots only) and smaller product photography


2.72m x 11m white background paper



A larger plain white background to photograph large products and portraits from the waist up


Shoulder mount kit



A video tool, needed to keep the camera steady when moving around, as well as making it easy to focus


Manfrotto 546BK video tripod with head and bag


Needed for perfectly still videos


Variable ND Filter


Primarily used as a photographic tool for controlling depth of field and exposure

Allows video to be filmed in all light conditions


Rode Video MicPro


A microphone that fits onto the camera

Necessary to record sound for video


Lowepro Pro roller x200


Travel case on wheels

Necessary to carry heavy lighting and video equipment around the city and on public transport


X2 64gb Memory Cards


£53.33 per card

Large memory cards needed to record video files


X4 UV Filters


£15.84 per filter

minimise flare and ghost imaging in situations where unwanted light falls on the filters surface.



Bag for Lightstands


Carry case for light stands

To carry light stands to external locations and storage


Sennheiser HD-201



Needed for video recording to hear audio, and to edit audio files in the office


Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display - Core i5 2.9 GHz 8 GB RAM - 512 GB flash storage


Necessary to edit and send images immediately after taking them


Adobe Photoshop 0 MLP SW - 3 years subscription


Necessary software to edit photographs


Lightroom- 3 years subscription


Necessary software to edit photographs

£300 approx






Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The objective of procuring video and photographic equipment is to:

-    Ensure the Photographer/Photo Editor can undertake his role and take photos which showcase the programmes, policies and work of the GLA
-    Effectively fill the GLA’s digital channels – social media, email and with high quality photography and video, which drives engagement in our work. 
-    Deliver value for money by undertaking, where possible, photographic and video assignments in-house which external suppliers would previously have delivered. 

Equality comments

3.1     The procurement process for this activity shall be undertaken in accordance with the Authority’s Contracts and Funding code.  

3. 2     No adverse impacts are identified for this proposed decision, but the undertaking of new photography and video is expected to bring a positive contribution to equality measures through promoting the work of the GLA and the diversity of London.

Other considerations

4.1    The risks to the organisation of not having the all of the necessary equipment for the GLA Photographer/Photo Editor to use are:

-    Poor quality photography on digital channels, which is a reputational risk.
-    The Photographer/Photo Editor is unable to complete his roles and responsibilities to the best of his ability.
-    GLA staff continue to procure all photography from external suppliers, where some of these tasks can be delivered in-house demonstrating value for money. 

Financial comments

5.1     Approval is being sought for expenditure of up to £11,000 to procure photography, video and lighting equipment and will be met from the Brand element of the existing External Relations budget

Planned delivery approach and next steps

6.1    The equipment will be procured upon approval in September/October 2015. 

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