Datacolor is inviting women who work in photography to take part in PhotograpHER, a campaign which celebrates women in photography.
How did you get your start in photography?
It feels like photography has always been a part of my life. I got my first camera when I was 11 years old and I was pretty much hooked from then on. I started doing photography professionally at the end of the 90’s in the form of graduation portraits and the odd wedding, but after that I had a decade long career as a magazine designer while keeping photography as a precious hobby. In 2008 I set up my current business, and the rest is history.
What type of photography are you shooting and what motivated you to focus on that genre?
Until last year I was mostly concentrating on weddings and ‘together’ photography. I was (and still am) fascinated with how people relate to each other, and I felt really passionate about telling those human stories through my photography. At some point I ran into some health problems and weddings became a bit of a difficult full time undertaking. So I tried to figure out how to diversify my photography business in a way that wouldn’t mean quite so much traveling and mostly working from home, and so I landed on product and lifestyle photography, which I do from my own little home studio in Cornwall. It has been a journey of trying different things, but I now feel like I’ve completely found my groove and I’m finding this new business so creative and invigorating. It’s early days still but things have started moving at quite a fast pace, which is exciting.
Did you experience any challenges as a woman entering into the photography market?
When I started shooting weddings there certainly weren’t many women around, it seemed that traditionally most wedding photographers were men. I think having that female point of view definitely helped me build a strong brand and differentiate myself in the early days. There have been a few occasions where I have come across some strange attitudes from people who don’t seem to respect women in ‘technical’ occupation. One incident that comes to mind is when a male videographer working on the same wedding was asked if ‘this little lady’ comes and helps him out at all his jobs. Most of the time it can be taken with a pinch of salt, but it does always surprise you when you come across these sort of attitudes.
What has been your biggest achievement or obstacle along the way?
The biggest obstacle has definitely been my health issues. When you’re self-employed there are no sick days and no-one else is going to do the work for you, so you just have to find a way to do your job in any way you can in order to put food on the table. That can be a scary feeling for sure. Outwardly my biggest achievement might look like winning the national title of best wedding photographer at the wedding industry awards, but I don’t really feel like that myself. Apart from happy clients, I currently feel that my biggest achievement is not giving up and insisting on finding a new direction for my photography and business that is paying off.
Who and/or what inspires you most?
I draw a lot of inspiration from movies and music. I’ll never tire of getting excited about new colour combinations or the way someone in film or photography might use the light in a way I haven’t seen before. Music opens up new imagery that comes from inside in a way that only dreams can, only you’re able to guide the thought process.
What is your approach? Is there anything in particular you try to achieve during a shoot (for example triggering certain feelings, etc.) or are there any specific techniques you use?
With weddings or couples it’s always about revealing something real. I love movement, whether it’s physical or emotional movement, just something that you can feel inside. With my product photography it’s all about colour and composition. I feel it’s like getting to play in a sweet shop without never getting that sickly feeling of too much sugar.
Why is accurate colour important within your workflow?
Accurate colour is important in order to achieve a consistent style and also in order to cut down the post processing time. With products it’s also important that the colours of the products as true to reality as possible, even when the whole scene is alight with bright colours.
Any tips or advice for photographers just beginning their career?
Be aware that a majority of the skills you’ll need have nothing to do with photography. You’ll be a business owner with many hats and you’ll have to become as competent as you can in many areas from marketing to sales and managing your cashflow.