I was really excited to be Photographer of the Month for The Tog Bag. I was photographed and interviewed by their founder Alishia Love. Check out my interview below
What kind of photography do you do?
Fashion, Celebrity, Advertising, Lingerie, Lifestyle, Beauty and Kids.
How long have you been doing photography and what do you enjoy about it?
I loved photography growing up and did photography for A Level but then went to university and did English and Philosophy. When I graduated I picked up photography again and bought my first DSLR at 21. I am now 29… So around 8 years. I love the balance of being a photographer; one day you are on an exciting set full of energy and excitement and then the next you are sat processing/editing your creations at your mac in comfy clothes with a cup of tea!
Best experience shoot photography?
I recently shot a PETA campaign which was televised on an episode of ‘Britain’s Next Top Model’. I used to watch the show with my mum years before I ever dreamed that I would make a career in fashion photography. I was so inspired by the different shoots and insight into the industry so it was such an exciting career moment to shoot for the show. Additionally, I felt completely honoured to be shooting for PETA, an animal charity, and part of a platform that raised awareness for animal welfare causes that I feel so strongly about.
One of the campaigns that we shot was raising awareness for the fur industry and the models had to hold skinned, dead animals. Although hard to watch, the reaction from the girls when they learnt more about the fur industry and seeing their emotion when posing with the skinned animals hopefully highlighted just how barbaric it is that an animal would go through so much cruelty to create something as insignificant as a pompom or a fur trim on a coat. Holding a skinned animal is obviously a shocking approach to a campaign but sadly it is no more gruesome than the reality of fur farms. There is no kind way to tear an animal’s skin off and so that the pelt doesn’t get bloody, the animals are often alive when this happens.
It was a 12 hour shoot with 11 models and extremely nerve wracking talking on camera whilst trying to create powerful images but one of my best experiences on a fashion shoot.
What’s your favourite lens and why?I would say for most fashion shoots I use a 50mm or 85mm. I love the depth with the 85mm, it is really flattering. For street shots or when I want more space around the model I would use a 50mm. Then if I want to do a creative, wide angle I use a 24-70mm.
Which cameras do you have?
I have had 2 x 5D MK2’s for the majority of my career but I just bought a MK 4. I love it already and can see myself selling the MK 2’s. Sometimes for beauty shoots I rent a 5DR to get that huge image which can be copped into to isolate facial features.
Do you prefer working with natural light or studio?
A bit of both. I love the flexibility of shooting in natural light where you can move around without worrying about lights. I also love a natural light studio which you can mix with a bit of flash. I think that the natural light adds such a freshness to the lighting. Relying on natural light can be unpredictable though. In contrast, I like using a hard flash and blocking out any natural light for a really modern, punchy light.
Looking back, What advice would you give yourself or someone else starting out in photography?
1 – Be Confident in yourself
Every shoot is different and with its own new challenge and that can make it feel daunting at times. Every new client is like the first day of a new job and you are expected to manage a team and create something amazing with a lot at stake. But people book you because they like what you do and so you need to trust that and have confidence that you have the skills for the job at hand. Having said that, I do think though a bit of doubt stops you becoming complacent and striving to learn more and be better which is also important for you to progress.
I would advise photographers to try to embrace the unpredictability of the job. Speaking to other creatives in the industry I know that it is hard not to feel stressed by a quieter period and trust that the work will continue to come. When you are busy, you are really busy, and you should obviously give everything that you can to the shoots.
Shoots can be long days, lots of travel and often mentally and physically exhausting. So when you have quiet days try to use these as a counterbalance to the busy times and not just feel stressed that you will never work again. Try to enjoy a bit of time to reflect, plan some test shoots, think up new creative concepts and investigate new clients and techniques. Also take some time for yourself, get to the gym or even watch a box set – use the time positively for yourself. Make sure you save money from the busy times to take the financial stress out of a quieter period and just accept it as part of the job.I recently saw this quote which I loved.
“Destroy the idea that you have to be constantly working or grinding in order to be successful. Embrace the concept of rest, recovery and reflection as essential parts of the progress towards a successful and ultimately happy life.”
What’s your favourite feature of the Tog Bag and why?
I love anything that I discover that gives me freedom as a photographer. I always have so much equipment that I need to drive or get taxis and that means you can never hop on the tube to beat the traffic or pop and meet friends after a shoot. I also find a lot of different bags and boxes to get into a studio or location quite stressful – especially if I am early and arrive before my assistant, or don’t have one. It could be on a main road with no where to pull up etc.
For some shoots with a big lighting set up, that is always going to be the case. But for certain shoots the Tog bag means that I can pack down my cameras, lenses and laptop neatly and take it on public transport while having my hands free. Everything feels secure and I don’t feel like the backpack looks like a camera bag.
The Togbag also allowed me to do an editorial shoot while in Ibiza with my friends. I find flying with equipment difficult due to different weight and size restrictions. I took my Togbag as my hand luggage with my camera equipment in which made taking equipment abroad stress free.
Check out the amazing products at The Tog Bag