Well, here it is – as promised, my first blog post of 2020! I thought I’d kick things off with a little introduction to me, my background, and why I love what I do.
So, the basics: I'm 44, and I have four children aged 9,18,20, and 22, and two of them have left home. My husband is a former marine, and is fitness-mad.
I have two dogs, Mickey and Bobbi, who seem to have taken over my Instagram (@lcphotography2001) - so I need to get that back, which is another mission for 2020.
That’s the intro done - now a bit about me, and how I came to be doing what I think is the perfect job for me.
In the beginning, I worked in sales then accounts, including some time spent as a very corporate company secretary. Most of this time was spent working for a bank, and in F1. I took time off to be with the older children while they were little (having three under 5 was a bit crazy), although I did stay on hand for some less demanding roles at work. Then I got fidgety at home, and started thinking again about work - but I needed something more flexible so I could balance it against all the home and school life demands.
So..... I became a professional photographer in 2001. To begin with, I specialised in property: taking images for the glossy brochures, website listings and estate agent windows. Back then it was all shot on transparency film, with meetings around the lightbox, and the jump to digital was huge for me. Then I began to concentrate more on people and portraits. More recently I’ve realised that having a good mix of subjects, and diversity in the scenes and scenarios I photograph in, is what really works best for me, so I do sessions in and out of my studio, for people, animals and products; I do corporate events; and I even do a few select weddings. I also work exclusively for Russell and Butler for the property market now.
Newborn photography is another area I work in, and I have special training in it to meet the high levels of safety standards that newborn photographers should work to. These sessions are very much led by the baby, and I don't put them into gimmicky poses. It’s better for the baby, and promotes the pure and natural beauty of the baby that I love to capture.
Over the years I have had studios in Norwich, Wormleighton, Beachampton, Stony Stratford and Buckingham, but I’ve now settled down and bought a studio in Gawcott – the first one I haven’t rented – and it really feels like home. It’s natural light and flash, it’s all open plan, and it has parking at the front door, so it’s really easy for clients with lots of child paraphernalia, and clients with all of their product gear. I just walk into it and I’m happy.
I use Canon and Elinchrom equipment, and I have a licentiate with both the Master Photographers Associate and British Institute of Professional Photographers. I have gained lots of awards and trophies, which I’m proud of, but it’s not something I chase any more. I have also sat on the panel of experts for a national property photography agency, which was brilliant for passing on hints, tips and expertise for photographers who were brand new to the field.
I really do love what I do. Capturing those moments in time, of life and loved ones that you just want to hold onto forever; or knowing that you’ve created images that have the power to transform a business’s online presence. There’s nothing like it.
Because I do love my craft so much, I am always happy to give advice to fellow photographers and answer questions (if I know the answer)…and so every month I’m going to give you a little photography tip, or tell you something interesting that I’ve encountered in my travels the previous month. Photography is one of those things that is so open to interpretation, and there are many ways of shooting and editing. These are my preferences, but I love to hear other people’s viewpoints and experiences of photography, so going forward, if you have anything to add - please do comment and don't forget to follow me on instagram and facebook if you want to hear more from me.
This time, it’s a top tip about using DEPTH OF FIELD to your advantage. Depth of field is about how far apart your nearest and farthest objects in focus are. Think of mobile phones these days, portrait setting is a major feature on a lot of their cameras: they create a small area that's in focus, and blur the rest out. The features on your phone are great, but if you're a budding enthusiast, use the manual settings on your camera, and play with the 'F STOP'. My lovely Canon 24-70mm mark ii lens goes to F2.8, and I can get a beautiful fade away with that; think a baby’s lashes, and the face softening away. Equally, if I'm shooting property I keep it at F13 for sharp look over the whole shot. You can start with aperture priority mode (AV on canon) and just change the F stop and the camera will do the rest or, if you feel brave, go fully manual. Watch that speed setting isn’t so slow you get camera shake if you’re hand holding it this is where ISO comes in). Set up a shot and work through your available F stops, and see for yourself the difference it makes. Let me know how you get on…