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?

 

Laundry Day is highly commended!

My favourite laundry day image has received a highly commended award. This is a shoot that’s meant so much to me, every time I see the photos it reminds me how much fun it was to shoot and edit, it brings a smile to my face every time! Here’s to laundry day – the only thing involving washing to make me smile!

Highly commended award for laundry day portrait of model behind the washing machine window

Laundry Day

Do you ever just get the feeling you want to roam around a launderette, on a Saturday, while customers wash their duvets? I have for the last year as I drive past one on my Friday journey home from work. A launderette, I thought apart from Eastenders, who even uses one now?

I contacted the owner of laundramagic, Helena, which was a big deal for me because this was my first official location pitch. This is where you say “what are you scared of? You do this for a living”, well actually a lot of my work was very studio based at the beginning or locations that are convenient to me. The pitch for the launderette was completely new to me, and I hate to say it, social media helped me combat that, I met with Helena through facebook and arranged a meet-up. Hindsight will tell me to create great art you need to get out of your comfort zone. Give up your preconceptions of people and attitudes because people want to be a part of something awesome, and that’s what this was. If only I was this sane.

editorial portrait in the laundrette
It’s at this point where I highly recommend building a Pinterest board showing your ideas. No one tends to understand them until they see the finished result, in this case it’s a load of washing machines in a photo, how is that aesthetically pleasing?
That’s how!

I approached a friend of mine, Bex Sweeney, a makeup artist in Swindon and got a plan together. Filled with wacky and wonderful ideas that then stemmed to, why don’t we just have fun with washing machines as a theme? Original huh?

Portrait of Beats with leaves in the background

Our model Beats returned to work with us, who I originally shot in the image below, how skills change! And we went cameras in tow to the launderette.

 

 

By far the most exciting photoshoot I’ve experienced, customers trailed in throughout the day with socks and pants from the previous week, I met what felt like the entire family of Helena and was made to feel a part of it and the tumble dryers were too hot so were a shutter away from melting the makeup off! Helena was taking photos of the shoot to tell her daughter what was going on who didn’t believe this was happening in her mum’s launderette. I love telling people my ideas because they look at me like I’m insane and I get to prove to them that I am but I also take great photos!

 

Fashion portrait of model laid on the floor in a laundrette

To use the launderette, as payment, we made a donation to Mind, a mental health charity which I would recommend looking into, they do great work.

Colourful portrait with yellow background in laundrettemodel laundrette portraitModel sat on top of washing machines in fishnets and shorts with a yellow backgroundModel posing with her feet on a table in front of a big windowVintage portrait of model standing in front of the washing machines in a laundretteModel holds onto washing machines in a launderette wearing a fur coatfed up model sat in front of a big window in vintage tones

Body Confidence with Lilly

We all know that body confidence is such a big topic, a topic that I love to see how people combat and express, and for a while, I’ve used it at the subject of a lot of my photography without knowing it.

Taking inspiration from Alexandra Cameron who started offering confidence shoots, first with Meg at Wonderful you, I approached Lilly who had written several blog pieces on her attitude towards her body. Her recent post about this shoot was very eye-opening from me as a photographer, the irony is not lost on me where I hate having my picture taken, and knowing my images made someone feel that great made me feel great.

View some of the images below and don’t forget to read Lilly’s post all about how to gain the confidence to do something like this, the complete collection is here.

Be warned, this post may contain bottoms.

Life of Lilly lying on her bed in her green jumperClose up innocent portrait of life of lillyLife of Lilly holding her body with her back to the cameraOverhead portrait of life of lilly lying on her bedLife of Lilly Blogger lead on her bed with her back to the cameraClose up portrait of Life of Lilly led on her bed

 

Living it up with Lilly

Bicester Village is one of the coolest places to roam around and (if you’re normal unlike me) shop, Lilly and I thought we would explore, resist the urge to shop and do a mini photo-shoot. Lilly is a blogger full of brilliant ideas and definitely loves the camera – which makes my job easier.

Take a look at the images from our venture round Bicester Village.

Contact image with a woman holding a phone in a telephone boxfull body portrait of life of lillyLife of Lilly candid portrait on locationLife of lilly lifestyle blogger portrait with blue backgroungLife of Lilly lifestyle close up portraitLife of lilly blogger portrait in front of a green backgroundPortrait photo of Life of lilly sat on a multi coloured boxLife of Lilly Blogger standing in front of a sign for EatLife of lilly blogger portrait in front of sky backdrop

I live it I blog it

A couple of weeks ago, Lilly nominated me to post for the #ILiveItIBlogIt series where the subject of your blog post is a personal story that means something to you, or shaped you in some way. I spent quite a while racking my brain for something to tell you, thinking nothing has really happened to me that has shaped me, and then something came to me and it’s more of a chain of events really.

So here is my personal post – with Beth Roach Photography, I always try to give a personal experience so you can get to know the woman behind the lens (Wow bit cringey) but this is something I’ve never really written about.

When I left college I was a determined/stubborn girl who was going to follow her dream no matter what. I decided against the idea of uni, which many of my friends and peers had prepared for, sure that if I was to do any degree it would be photography and to me, it was a waste of money and time when I could go out into the real world and develop my skills on my own.

Soon after the summer was over and people went away, I fell into my “dream” job. A studio where I was actually getting paid to do what I always wanted. I met lovely people, used a camera every day and began to grow as an adult – everything I ever wanted.

As time went by, the job began to be a chore, I wasn’t getting paid on time/in full, I was getting stale in my work and it just started to feel like a sales pitch each day. For someone so young it became a massive burden on me and I just believed that I had to do it because it was my dream.

A year of these feelings took a hold on me, I hated getting up for work, people would think I was taking things for granted – how “easy” it was to get into this industry. For a while I believed them, thinking I was ungrateful and this was just the “real world”.

On a day off, I had gone to the beach with a friend and was due to see an old work friend that evening. I got talking with my friend’s parents about how much I didn’t want to go to work the next day, how my love for photography had gone and how I had failed at my dream. I was a wreck, I had never shown myself so vulnerable to almost strangers before and it was like I’d finally admitted something I’d hidden from myself and others for so long.

Over the next few days, I went back to work, nothing got better and I quit and went back to the job I had at college. Feeling like a complete failure. I was completely taken advantage of for my age, talent and enthusiasm and I was never going to touch my camera again.

It took me a year to fall back into photography, friends and family would nag me and say it’s such a waste that I don’t do it anymore and I always promised I would one day just give me time. And here I am.

As I look back on it now all I can think of is that you are not prepared for this at school or college, you are prepared to get grades and go to uni, but what do you do when you completely lose your way.

Don’t let anyone take your passion, dreams, confidence or enthusiasm away.

Award winning studio portrait

I’ve never entered a photography competition before, mostly out of fear and lack of confidence in hearing what others think of my work. Jess from busy bees photography suggested that I submit an image I created from our photography group last month, an image that I loved the moment I created it, to the monthly national photographic society.

Sceptical at first I submitted it anyway, telling myself that it didn’t matter what anyone thought as long as I loved it!

I received a highly commended award and I couldn’t be happier. It’s given me such a buzz and I would encourage everyone to just push yourself out there, it can do you the world of good and it’s so motivating to create something new! If I can do it, you can!

Red head portrait in low key studio portrait and edge lighting

We run the world

Today I’m talking about us girls – no sexism intended! In my previous post, I briefly mentioned joining an all female photography group, a place where female photographers can feel safe and inspired while offering photography workshops to develop skills, or even just for a chat.

Street portrait of brunette model

Every month we will be participating in a competition based on a topic or phrase and our first was “Women only” – very fitting to start us off. Mind maps and lists later I had an idea, something a bit out there(“You’re a bit weird, darling. A good weird though!” – the boyfriend said.) but I wanted to stand out, there’s no point in hiding it all away, plus as a push to my confidence I had forced myself to do it. The shoot did not go to plan, I had one specific idea that was not going right, until my last shot where something had finally fallen into place!

Blogger lifestlye portrait of model in highwaisted jeans, leaning against a wall wearing sunglasses

Now you might be looking through this post and seeing images I took of Chloe and Maddy and be thinking “This doesn’t look very Women Only to me”, and that’s because I won’t be sharing my image on here. The reason being is it took a lot for me to share it with a group of women I don’t even know, and the people that know me know how hard that would have been. It’s an image that will prompt a lot of debate, and a debate I’m not ready for, maybe one day though!

I did receive a runner-up prize for having confidence in my work, which seems pretty ironic now. The criticism is always something I will struggle with, but hopefully, as I progress I get used to it and don’t take everything to heart. We’ll be going for the win this month!

Oh! So these images of the girls and the reason for them (if you need one) is I was given a new lens for my 22nd birthday. It’s a very exciting bit of kit that has me reaching for my camera bag every day – she says even though she left it at her boyfriends for 4 days, seriously, who manages to leave a camera bag behind? All the images above were taken with it, big thanks to the girls who just wanted a quiet drink but, it was the golden hour and I just needed to practise!!

Lifestyle full length portrait of hipster woman walking through a model

Bluebell Photoshoot with Evie

“Why aren’t they pink?” – Evie

April 2017

To mark the beginning of Spring, I had the pleasure to shoot a gorgeous little girl and her mother. Evie and Danielle were a pleasure to have a session with, a time full of laughter and love, which makes me smile just by being able to share the images. Not only did I want to show Evie’s character, the love between mother and daughter was more such an important thing that I had to do justice.

Mother giving a daughter a piggy back and the daughter laughingMother hugging daughter in a field of blue bellsToddler sat on tree stump surrounded by blue bells

To start the session off with “Why are the Bluebells not pink?”, was telling to how much fun we were going to have. Evie played, jumped, ran and laughed, so quickly it was almost a challenge to keep up with her. And her beautiful ginger locks were a perfect contrast with the backdrop of bluebells.

black and white mother daughter portrait with daughter kissing

Evie was full of laugh’s until the last ten minutes when she told me it was time to go home, however, not before capturing this gorgeous moment between the two of them. All I can say is it was a pleasure to spend time with these ladies, get to know Evie, and start looking for other locations with Pink flowers instead of Blue!

Mother and daughter sitting in the bluebells