52 Week Project – April

We are now into the swing of May, and what I can hopefully say is the start of summer! This month has been a hard one to keep up with photographing once a week, but we’ve got there. Have you taken on any projects this year? If so what helps you stay motivated. Take a look below at all the images submitted for my 52-week project in April.

Week 12 – Horrify Me

 

Image of a fake owl in a tree
Week 12 – Horrify Me

 

Let me just start this off with the worst week possible. In our female photography group, we have a mixture of skills, some are in portraiture and some are in landscapes. However, for this week our theme was horror. I hate horror films, I hate horror and I certainly cannot shoot it. It just doesn’t inspire me at all!

So for this week is a picture of a fake owl. Now you might think why is this scary? Well, owls are lovely creatures, very majestic I’m not denying that at all, but when I was a teenager, myself and a group of friends decided to watch the Fourth Kind, and ever since I’ve never been able to trust the things!

Week 13 – Free week

Ginger model portrait in sheer floral dress
Week 13 – Free Week

We all lose a bit of mojo now and then so for this week we had free reign on what we could submit. This week’s photo is of Gemma Huh, a model from London I had the pleasure of photographing at Pozers Studio, Cricklade.

Week 14 – Friendship

photoshoot_in_record_shop
Week 14 – Friendship

Now, this girl I have known for almost 8 years. We recently got back in touch and I got the pleasure of photographing her in a record shop in Wiltshire. If that’s not friendship, I don’t know what is.

Week 15 – Abstract

 

Abstract portrait of woman through a glass
Week 15 – Abstract

 

We all know I’m a portrait photographer and abstract really isn’t my thing, but I gave it a go with a glass and some sunshine!

Week 16 – Spring

 

Landscape of the rapeseed flower
Week 16 – Spring

 

What tells me spring is on the way is Yellow fields and Bluebells. On my commute to work, I am surrounded by golden landscapes for miles. The smell is god awful but I do think they look gorgeous.

Week 17 – Frame 

 

Portrait of model framing her eye with her finger
Week 17 – Frame

Getting back to what I know and love with portraits with Eli. My biggest aim for 2018 was to get out of my comfort zone and this girl just does it. Surround yourself with creative individuals so your life will never be boring.

 

 

Photoshop – the Good, Bad and Ugly

Summer is just around the corner which makes Instagram lovers rejoice! However, in this visually obsessed world, it’s important to remember what’s real and what isn’t, the same can be said about the photography industry as a whole.

I swear every week you hear about a celeb ‘photoshopping’ their Instagram and the world is shocked, but, are we that naive to act surprised? I mean you haven’t been able to look through a magazine in the two decades for an image of someone that’s not been manipulated in some way, even in the days of film, photographs were dodged and burned to create that illusion of perfection. Mascara adverts even contain ‘* this model is wearing lash inserts’. We all strive for perfection when the truth is perfection isn’t real!

Now I know what you’re thinking – ‘wow what a hypocrite, she photoshops her images so what is she even talking about?’, and that’s true, but here is why photoshop isn’t all bad…

The Good

As a photographer, you see mad and marvellous creations on an hourly basis, photographs that create a different world; a form of escapism – even therapy. Photoshop allows your imagination to come alive in limitless possibilities.

I personally believe the idea of photoshop is to create beauty, whether that’s from scratch or enhancing what is already there. We can all be guilty of striving for beauty, whether that’s your makeup routine, a new outfit, or even just an envious glance at something/someone.

The Bad

So the bad bits! We live in this world surrounded by ‘Filters’ so I don’t think you can even say Photoshop is the problem here. We’re all guilty of using the Deer filter for the days where makeup was just too much, but why is that necessary? Why do we feel the need to hide what’s there?

That leads me to my next point where people’s perception of what’s real and what isn’t has been altered. Companies like Missguided have embraced the body positivity movement with no longer photoshopping stretchmarks which makes you think, why has it taken until now? When you see images of celebs on the beach body shamed, not applauded, it shows this need for perfection is everywhere. But can you just blame the media?

 

I remember countless parent’s when I was younger moaning about their appearance, so much so their children started seeing the same imperfections! Which leads me to Photoshop in everyday life. A photographer cannot change the way you look, that is the job for a seriously skilled retoucher, a photographer shouldn’t want to change how you look, that isn’t photography. Saying ‘Can you just photoshop this?’ or ‘It’s ok you can get rid of that, right?’ is frustrating, why would you want images of yourself that aren’t real, it’s the Photographer’s job to capture memories, themes or a moment.

Another bugbear, when photoshop is used to mask a lack of skill, photography is an amazing art to study, develop and experiment with. If you struggle with something, don’t allow photoshop to hide it, one day you will be found out.

The Ugly

Finally, we all know Photoshop has it’s ugly side, this warped ideal has lead to crippling self-esteem issues in both Men and Women. I think it’s easy to know when an image isn’t ‘real’ when you see it in print, but to see it on social media I think is harder for people to understand. This constant comparison does need to stop.

On a lighter side, photoshop and this obsession with vanity has allowed for great entertainment and positivity from photoshop trolls who take photoshop requests quite literally!

What do you think of photoshop?

52 Week Project – March

Can you believe that March has been and gone? I mean seriously, yesterday felt like I was counting in the new year, not four months ago! Now this month has been very strange, I’ve been snowed in for three days and then met some lovely new people, it snowed again and then I ate my weight in Mini Eggs. It’s not been a bad one and here are my March photo’s to prove it. March has been a quiet month for me while I prioritise other aspects of my website other than blogging but the 52-week project has continued!

I have to say 52-week photography projects are hard, but the rewards are worth it! All topics chosen are set by our photography group leader Alley, a studio owner who’s imagination is as vast as her creative skills. It knows no bounds.

Week 9 – Cold

Snow landscape photo
Week 9 – Cold

What it says on the tin. In March 2018 the world watched as the UK lost it over the freezing temperatures it was facing, now I am a complete wuss, I stayed indoors for most of it, managed to scare myself driving and spent most of it in my PJ’s. However, I managed to go out and brave the chill for the 9th week of the project. Pretty much what it says on the tin here. It was cold.

Week 10 – Bonkers

Red and blue fashion editorial portrait with blue tracksuit and red back drop
Week 10 – Bonkers

POPPERS ARE BACK PEOPLE! Have you seen them? The 90’s trend is back with vengeance in my shoot with Elica. Who can say that this outfit is not bonkers? Plus, you know, it’s blue so what could be better?

For week 10 we brought a touch of glamour to Swindon! No one has ever said those words together. Ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 11 – Once Upon a Time

Storyteller_photo
Week 11 – Once upon a time

This one kind of says it all really, sometimes don’t you just feel like climbing a mountain of books? It does remind me that I do not read enough!

52 Week Project – February

As February ends I sum up the month with my images for my 52-week project. As some of you may know one of my new year’s resolutions was to produce an image once a week every week for the year, and this was a goal I could actually stick to, with the help of my photography group – a motivated and inspiring group of women you can’t help but be excited to work with.

Week 5 – In a Previous Life

silhouette self portrait of myself as a queen
Week 5 – in a previous life

In a previous life… a difficult subject to base your image on. I went with a queen. Whether this means I was a queen before I definitely am now – well try to be anyway.

50 shades of white entry for 52 week project using a white artichoke
Week 6 – 50 shades of white

Week 6 – Fifty Shades of White

Week 6 was a tricky one. I pride myself in low light photography and textures so creating an image all with white tones was tough. But that is what this whole journey is about, trying new ideas and techniques, this is one I definitely won’t be revisiting for a while though.

 

 

 

 

Week 7 – Wild thing, what makes you angry?

 

Multiple exposure self portrait with landscape
Week 7 – Double exposure for what makes you angry?

Week 7 was a time where people were getting to me. Sometimes it feels as though everyone has an opinion on your choices and ideas and yet they don’t have to live with them. Sometimes I wonder if living in the middle of nowhere away from everyone would make me happy… I know it won’t but this lead to my double exposure image. Double exposure is a way of merging two images together, back in the day of film this would have been created by two negatives, however, my double exposure was created in Photoshop. This hard work actually won week 7’s submission and I couldn’t have been more proud, even if I was being very negative in creating it. What makes you angry?

Week 8 – Fear of the Unknown

Abandoned Chair in front of a landscape background
Week 8 – Fear of the Unknown

Week 8 of my 52-week photography project concludes with the fear of the unknown. I mostly have a fear of loneliness and the more and more people I get to know the more common this seems. During my commute to work, I saw the chair above and kept telling myself I must stop to take a photo. Every day I drove passed for 4 days and it was raining or I had no way of stopping but finally, I did and must have looked insane to the oncoming traffic. The next day I drove past and saw that the chair had gone which did give me a seize the opportunity type epiphany.

What were your new year’s resolutions and have you stuck to them?

Urban Portrait Photoshoot

Adventures around Swindon, words you never hear together, in the rain hardly sounds like a scenic location for a photo shoot. Collaborations called again with Bex and Hannah making for a colourful photoshoot, even in grey Swindon. Mermaid inspired make-up and dilapidated old trolley make for such great shoot subjects, with the help of gorgeous Hannah of course.

rustic grey urban background and portrait of a model with dreadlocksmodel with dreadlocks portrait with railingsmodel with dreadlocks portrait in skateparkPortrait of model knelt in a skate parkabandoned building portraitmodel with dreadlocks portrait with graffiti background

Andrew and Hannah

Stormy winds and free reign around a farm was the setting of my latest shoot with Andrew and Hannah. It was hard to not get too excited about all the pretty spots and cows to assist a Country living style meets stereotypical British weather

Country couple portrait with farmer and wife cuddling and hay to the rightCouple cuddling in a barnOn the farm couple portrait with husband and wife leaning on the barn wallClose up couple portrait on the farm in wiltshireFarmers wife and husband cuddling on the farmCouple photoshoot in the rain with them splashing in a puddle

 

52 week project – January

As we say goodbye to gloomy January and get excited about Spring, I thought I would round up the first month with my 52-week project for the first four weeks. As I mentioned in my new year post, within my photography group we decided to attempt the lengthy 52-week project, with themes created by our photography group leader, you would need to be committed and inspired – that’s why I am thankful we have each other!

Week 1 – New Year

Self portrait with fairy lights
Week 1 – New Year

An image I have already featured in my new year post. My first self-portrait in over 3 years and I felt amazing. Channelling my inner Brandon Woelfel I let myself loose with the fairy lights and a timer.

Week 2 – School of Hard knocks

Old lady in hoodie out side thrift shop in shoreditch
Week 2 – School of hard knocks

I spoke a lot in 2017 about by jump back to photography and how you need to brush yourself off so I kept myself out of this one. I met this woman in my photography course back last year. She runs an emporium at a lock up in Shoreditch, it’s been passed down through three generations, it even survived through the blitz! Her grandfather, portrayed in local street art, watches on as his emporium still goes strong.

Week 3 – Yummy Yummy, in my tummy

pop art self portrait with wispa wrapper off mouth
Week 3 – Yummy yummy, in my tummy

Don’t Wispa, Shout! It’s January, some of us have given up on our diet and others are in denial, myself included given my recent Mini Egg Binge, so it’s only right to base week 3 on a little indulgence. I had a shot in mind and I asked my stepdad to bring home one Wispa bar, 2 multi-packs and a massive food baby later and my week 3 submission was born.

Week 4 – The doorway to your soul

abandoned building portrait
Week 4 – The doorway to your soul

This was a tricky one for me and my entry may seem a little surface level, but photography is a doorway to my soul. This shot was taken this weekend with Bex and Hannah, it’s amazing what you can do on a drizzly day.

What were your new year’s resolutions and have you stuck to them?

Should you work for free?

Should you work for free diagramEvery time I go to my partner’s parent’s there’s a piece of paper on their fridge that says ‘should I work for free’? They are both Musicians in their own right, they make money from their talent and this always gets me thinking about this stigma in the creative industry.

Whether you’re a blogger, photographer or musician you would have been met with a request to work for free like “you can bring your camera along”, “It’s great experience”, “We don’t have the money but…” or “I can credit you”, the list is endless. Remarks like this are why it’s becoming increasingly difficult to create an art that people value. It begins to doubt your worth. For a creative, there is so much time and work that goes into the final product, that not many people realise, the practising, the research, the editing.

I’m not saying you should never work for free. There is so much tension around not being paid, many believe it belittles your skill, puts others out of business and creates excuses for sub-standard work. Others believe that it is the only way to get exposure and experience in the industry.

For me this is a grey area, I have worked for free a very long time ago, I learned a lot and gained a lot of experience, it also brought me repeat work and a loyalty. However, as a photographer you are constantly met with “that doesn’t fit our budget” or “it’s just clicking a camera” and this is just degrading, it questions their value.

With a photoshoot, you are paying for the photographers time, their skills and their product. You don’t question a Vintage Wine’s price, you appreciate the time it has matured and then the final product.

It’s important to establish the benefits to you. Be respectful of the request, but respect yourself too. How would this affect you? Would it bring you more business in the long run or allow you to progress further in an area? Also, respect someones choice to work for free, it’s their time, their skill.

Have respect for creatives, they don’t work 9-5, they’re brand/skill is their life. If you’re friends with a creative, don’t expect their services for free, treat it as a surprise if they were to offer. At the end of the day, you are providing the services, you have to weigh up the options that work for you.

 

 

How do you feel about working for free?

 

Macro Photography Workshop

Whether you’re a macro photographer or Instagram addict, the words macro photography are everywhere. I have to start this post by saying macro photography is more than pretty pictures of flowers. Being guilty of thinking this, macro photography never appealed to me, the idea of having to stage my shot and having nothing to bounce off is my idea of hell, it’s why portraiture is my forte. However, at our all-female photographer club, we decided to give it a go!

I want to continue with an apology for this late post, I have had flu so posting on Tuesday wasn’t possible. Teresa hosted our workshop – a fine art photographer based in Wiltshire, who specialises in extreme macro photography. Using old extension tubes and my nifty fifty (50mm lens) we got to work.

With close up photography, the composition is key which Teresa helped us with using a mixture of beads, feathers and plants as well as a reflective background and an old kitchen tile. With that our set up was made. Manual focus was essential and scary, I mean you never use manual focus when photographing people. But, the experience was exciting, I felt it made you appreciate the art further.

Getting up close and personally allowed me to see this created world from a new perspective. A giant bokeh mixed with reflective and distracting backgrounds also allowed you to play with your subject even more.

What new thing do you want to try in 2018?

Close up image of feather

 

2018 has Arrived

In the spirit of the new year, new me and all that, I wanted to compile my goals and aspirations for 2018. 2017 was such a great year for me with my photography. I fell in love with my camera again, joined my first female photography group, organised my first editorial shoot at a launderette and helped Life of Lilly gain body confidence with my photos. What a year!

My Photography goals for 2018:

  • 52-week challenge – what it says on the tin, 52 photos for 52 weeks. I have always admired people that have the discipline to keep the 52 week or 365 projects going, you not only need to have the ideas and imagination to keep your photos fresh, you have to find the time to create and edit the images. However, the good thing I have now which I never had before is my photography group who are all taking part, we’re in this together.
  • Build my portfolio
  • Blog consistently – Blog posts will be posted on a Tuesday weekly going forward.
  • Create more editorial pieces
  • Build a reliable model network – networking is something you always need, a great model, like a great photographer, is hard to find so once you’ve found one cherish them.
  • Be proud of what I create – confidence is key, I love what I do and this year it can only get better.
  • Love every second

My Personal goals for 2018:

  • Travel more
  • Laugh more
  • Keep pushing with my career
  • Get a tattoo 
  • Find more time for me, friends and family.

What are your goals for 2018 and beyond?

The featured image is my first photo of 2018 and self-portrait in three years. Happy New Year!