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!

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

Business cards

I ordered business cards! Ok, that’s quite a boring intro and this is probably a boring post but, all the hard work over the last six months is starting to pay off so I can’t help but shout!

With the help of a freelance designer and my own imagery, my cards look fabulous, it’s so nice to see the images actually printed, as most of my photography is presented digitally currently.

So I used moo.com – after several recommendations from people. Their website is easy to use, you have fun designs to pick from and their prices are very reasonable. You don’t even need to pay extra for glossy paper, which for a photographer is an important way to make your image pop! If like me you find your favourite image hard to pick or you dabble in a few fields of photography then moo offer up to 50 design changes for free, so I chose 4 images for the back to cater for clients!

And as a nice touch when your box arrives you receive two blue cards to pass on or keep. Mine said “you seem really fun” and “you have cool hair” and is it bad that I hope they hopped onto my website and actually thought that?

Also, enjoy my very late Halloween flatlay!

Moo.com photography business cards with pumpkins

Princes of the Universe Exhibition

A BMW garage is probably the last place I would expect a photography exhibition, and yet a Friday in October I found myself scouring a showroom floor full of tour imagery by Denis O’Regan of the band Queen. I have been brought up surrounded by Queen music, thanks to my parent’s obsession with the band, and enjoy a lot of their music so I went into this with an open mind (and mother in tow).

Flay lay of the princes of the universe programme inside

This exhibition, presented by Off Beat Lounge in association with Dick Lovett, displayed tour imagery from Queen’s golden years, the mid 70’s to their last ever tour with the original line-up in 1986. All by Denis O’Regan who was Queen’s favourite live photographer at the peak of their career.

Denis O’Regan is a fine art photographer who I actually got to meet on the day, which if you read my photography show blog post, you know I don’t do well at. Even my mother had to say I was a photographer. A lovely man who took the time to answer everyone’s questions, whether they were long or short.

His favourite image, after he struggled to pick, is of Freddie Mercury in front of a crowd at Wembley. An iconic image which just highlighted Freddie’s and the rest of the band’s ability to captivate an audience.

Queen photograph by denis O'regan

You can see in the exhibition how photography at the time was changing, with the introduction of colour film you see this come through in the imagery as time went on, which in my opinion was made for the Queen Magic Tour.

Selfie with denis o'regan at the princes of the universe photography exhibition

However, in this world of smartphones and selfies its hard to believe that colour photography at the time was seen as a fad, a phase that would never take off and no photographer would be taken seriously using it. But, I love that Denis ignored these opinions because if it was possible colour catches the euphoric atmosphere even more. Saying this to him, he complimented my ‘professional’ opinion – that makes me a happy lady!

If you have the option to visit this exhibition in it’s last few shows I would highly recommend, the music is so loud it makes you fall in love with the songs all over again and the imagery is just fantastic, it’s time to appreciate film again people! All this is associated with the mercury phoenix trust too, so all for a great cause.