A Photographer’s Tips for Surviving Multiple Shoots in One Day

One of the locations for my first ever double shoot day; Picturehouse Central Cinema!

One of the locations for my first ever double shoot day; Picturehouse Central Cinema!

Not last weekend, but the weekend before, I had my first ever double shoot day. Whilst I’ve shot multiple times before, I quickly noticed a constant consciousness surrounding timing and knowing I had somewhere else to be, which meant I felt a whole new level of nerves that day. Now I’ve been through the experience once, I feel like I have some wisdom which may be helpful to anyone else approaching their first ever day of multiple shoots!

Film Listing, Picturehouse Central Cinema

Leave Wiggle Room

First things first, when booking multiple shoots in one day, consider the length of the shoot, as well as time to compensate for delays and getting from one shoot to another; i.e. “Wiggle Room”.

When booking the shoots in, I definitely felt a need to cram everything into the morning or afternoon, or at least within the space of a couple of hours, so I could get home and get to editing... Yet, having ample time available to me reduced my need to rush, and consequently removed any stress that would have come along with that. 

Spacing shoots out avoided a negative impact on my wellbeing, and made the process far more enjoyable. It also meant that…

  1. If the shoots ran a little over their slot, it wasn’t the end of the world, as I wasn’t leaving anyone hanging.

  2. I got to spend time with the people I shot with, and get to know them better.

Everyone’s a winner!

Take a lunch break

Before the day had even rolled around, Kaye flagged this tip for me. Being someone who is always thinking about her next meal, often whilst eating her current one, it wasn’t actually something that had crossed my mind... But, as someone who has worked in video production for over three years, six of you count filmmaking at university, I know that, when it comes to food, shoot days can sometimes feel like a grab-something-when-you-get-the-chance, free-for-all. 

Peckham

Working when I’m hangry is, understandably, most definitely not the one, so, blocking out time to sit down and eat is a necessity for me to work at full capacity. I grabbed a Boots Meal Deal (#notspon, but would take a meal deal, deal if you’re offering), and very much enjoyed relaxing and chatting to Charlotte after our shoot.

Something I will be looking into though, is a way to optimise bag space, to bring a packed lunch with me. I am weary that buying refreshments every time I shoot will get costly, and so packing a sandwich, snacks, and a bottle of water does sound more preferable and convenient to me!

Bring along some reading material

This one may seem a bit random, but bringing along a book is the ideal companion for commuting or during breaks. After concentrating for extended periods of time when shooting and bustling around when on the go, staring at the infinite loop of various social media apps didn’t quite provide the relaxation I was hoping for... 

Filling these minutes of calm with literature, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, allows for the brain to switch off and think about something else for a bit. So, grab that book, newspaper or magazine, and get reading!

I have also found that reading stops me from trying to take on more than… 

Peckham

One thing at a time

As soon as a shoot is over, I can feel myself itching to look through the photos, delete any duplicates or outtakes, and get cracking with editing.

From the moment I first feel this urge, to the second the images have been delivered, all I can think about is getting the images finalised and to the client. This means I feel a tremendous level of guilt when I take a break, need to work on something else, or can’t get to editing straight away.

As I currently balance photography with fulfilling a full time job, relationships and caring for my own wellbeing, there isn’t a delivery speed I can implicate for every edit that I work on. And, as every job comes with its own challenges, and is worked in to a varied schedule, I’m not sure there ever will be. Which is understandable - I’m only one human!

But, whilst I can be objective and rationalise the situation - like I have just done here - it can be overwhelming to be in contact with the aforementioned thoughts during every waking moment. Therefore, it’s important that I manage my workload, and don’t give myself more work to do than I need to, at any given time.

It’s also important that I factor in breaks - especially when I feel like I don’t need them - and make slowing down a priority. I want to enjoy the process, so I need to go one step at a time.

Levels

You’ve got this

I’ve been shooting single shoots in a day for around five to six months now, and have quickly found a familiarity in the process. It’s continuously been a learning curve, but, for some reason, my first ever double shoot day threw me a total curveball.

My mind seemed to be in different places at once throughout the day. I was so nervous and worried, specifically about walking away from a shoot without any usable shots. A feeling I have dealt with before, but was heightened that day.

When I took my concerns to Instagram, the lovely Yossy quickly came to the rescue, championing me on and reassuring me that I wasn’t alone in my feelings. To see Yossy say that felt like a weight had been lifted!

The more I think about it, even though it’s daunting to realise, some shoots will always go better than others. That’s normal. But, I suppose when you rely on your creativity to make a living and succeed, it just adds a whole new level of uncertainty and consequent pressure to do well.

It’s not always possible to go to bed feeling like you had the most awesomest, productive, kick-ass day ever, though. I mean, think about it this way; even robots, made to do specific jobs, don’t even manage them 100% of the time…

I think the most important thing I need to remember, from this entire process, is that the amount of photos I walk away from a shoot with, does not define how good of a photographer I am. If I have a set of photos I can send to the client, I have done what I set out to do. And these sets of photos will only continue to improve with experience, through practice, and by building my confidence.

If I am trying my best, that’s all I can ask of myself! We’ve got this.


Are there any tips that you swear by on multiple shoot days? Send them to me over on Twitter and Instagram, and let’s have a chat!

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Sharing the Process

Portrait by  Ami Ford

Portrait by Ami Ford

When I first come across my new, soon-to-be favourite creators, it’s often when they are blowing up, or have already passed that point, and are thriving. They have been slaving away for years, consistently improving, slowly building traction, and then BOOM. Copious amounts of blood, sweat, and tears presenting itself as an overnight success. It’s well deserved, but SO daunting to see.

When I see someone at the top of their game, it can almost feel as though they’ve just landed there. Like they’ve picked up a camera for the first time, and now they’re a YouTuber with 1M+ Subs, or full-time Instagrammer with 10K followers and the almighty swipe up feature. I know they must have worked hard, but I can’t physically see the hours they put in, nor trials and tribulations they faced to get to a place where they can call their passion, their job. But why is this? I’ve found that it’s often because where they started is hidden. Due to the amount they have produced, the fast paced nature of The Internet, or purposely by the creative.

For example, when I come across a photographer on Instagram, I don’t usually see the first ever images they took or posted. Or the ones after that. Or, sometimes, even the ones after that. This is either because; I’m not going to scroll back years and risk liking a post from when they started account in 2011… Or, if I am willing to take the risk, it’s not unusual for their beginnings to not exist online. They may not have shared where they started in the first place, or any photos they feel no longer best represent their work have been purposely deleted. And it’s the same with anything online - from old blog posts and tweets, to first ever YouTube videos.

Portraits by  Ami Ford

Portraits by Ami Ford

Sian

Now this isn’t unusual or uncommon. Heck, I’ve done it. I did it when I converted my personal account into my portraiture account, and didn’t want tons of personal memories mixed in with my professional work. I also did it when I still used the account as a personal one too. I deleted a lot of my first images a few years down the line, as I didn’t feel as though those filtered so heavily they were reaching the point of distortion, of something like a Coca Cola can, with a chunky frame and a caption that is ZomG sO deEep!1!!1 were really very me anymore.

It’s within our human nature to want to be liked. In the digital age, we project our best selves in order to “perfect” the way others see us, in the hope they will like us, follow us, want to be our friend or work with us. This can often mean that the version of our ‘best’ we projected when we were younger, or when we first started a hobby or in a profession, isn’t our best now. Then, because it feels somewhat invasive and inaccurate for people to see all of our versions together, we hide things. We form our online space around who and what we are right now.

This can mean that our process goes unseen. All of the time that went into getting to where we are now, spent growing, hustling, staying up late, working on our craft, or crying over it… Gone. Tucked away in the recesses of our brain, as a line on our CV, or on old hard drives that sit, collecting dust. We can begin to forget where we started, or why we started altogether. Failing to observe the progress we have made, and the wonderful things we have achieved along the way. It’s okay though, because people like us…

Portraits by  Ami Ford

Portraits by Ami Ford

Sian

In April, over the Easter Bank Holiday, I took a bit of an unplanned hiatus from my socials. I was fatigued from the bombardment of bad news on Twitter, and the overwhelming notion that the progression of my freelance career depended on how engaged I was online. I felt as though the content I shared online needed to be BIG, and GRAND, and ALL OF ME, ALL AT ONCE… I felt as though I didn’t have anything of worth to share, and had well and truly fallen into the highlight reel trap. So, I took a step back. Ate chocolate. Forgot about the world for a bit.

Ironically, the break from having to think about what I wanted to post online, led me to consider what I wanted to post online. I wondered why I worry about if something is “right” to share (in terms of its relevance), if I’m using my platforms in the right way, or why it’s so embarrassing to share my “bad” experiences. Like if I mess up, or if something doesn’t turn out quite the way I hoped it would. Do these things damage how I am perceived? Would showing my flaws and mistakes make me a whole person? Does it really matter? Do I just need to be true to myself? Who is my “true self”? Who am I? What started as a confused line of thinking had taken a handbrake turn into existential crisis mode.

I was processing. It was a process. I was in the middle of a process.

Then I thought about pausing, and going back to the beginning. To the memories I store on hard drives, in zip-lock bags, or in scrapbooks. To where I began, and the first steps I took... I realised that who I am is in my process. It’s in the time where I learn about myself. What I like, and don’t like, what I would do again, or what I would change next time. The mistakes I make when trying to improve are not reasons for ridicule, but vital to my own learning and growth. Things go wrong everyday; to err is human, as they say. And sharing these hiccups normalises them. I find it comforting to know when someone has been where I am. It makes my worries smaller, and into something to overcome rather than endure.

Portraits by  Ami Ford

Portraits by Ami Ford

Sian

I love writing my Progress Journal posts every month. Observing where I have improved, noting where I went wrong, and sharing my findings is constructive. It helps me to stay aware of myself and career, and move forward. In the past I have written about not knowing where I was going, and feeling lost. At the time it felt freeing to get the way I felt out of my head. Now it’s reassuring to look back on; because I was moving towards where I wanted to be without even knowing it… And that’s what our process does. Every choice we make, and every move we take is our process. Our life is our process, and there’s no shame in that. There’s no reason to hide it. In actuality, it’s bloody exciting!

So… Why not use our process as our subject? In the past I have shared the odd silly photo of myself on my socials, because it’s amusing. I chose to litter this post with goofy shoot outtakes, because that’s where you really see me. Also, my butt looks really good in the third photo, and it would be a criminal offence if I didn’t share it, BUT THAT’S BESIDES THE POINT. By sharing these photos, I am allowing myself to ‘find’ me. To show me. To be me.

From this point onwards, I’m going to be making more of an effort to show my process. Whether that is through updates or reflection in my daily posts on Twitter and Instagram, taking the time to look back in a blog post, or documenting where I am right now in my Progress Journal entries. Looking behind the scenes, in any capacity, fuels my imagination. It always has. And seeing someone start somewhere and go on to slay? That’s inspiring. I’m hoping that through being more open and honest about where I am and where I have been, will allow me to become more connected to myself and consequently be more authentically me… Here goes nothing.

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Experiments in Self Portraiture: Filter

SianLandscape.jpg

I spend the majority of my time on Pinterest pinning portraits I find inspiring. Through doing this, I have come across a range of images that feature the use of prisms and filters; which fracture light and cause interesting visual effects. Instantly drawn to their magical quality, like a magpie to something shiny, I quickly purchased a set of my own.

Since studying A Level Photography, I have done bits of experimentation here or there, but this felt like the first time since then that I was working on a set of images where the subject wasn’t the experimental part of them. Instead of concentrating on my poses and expressions, I focused on the way the filter was positioned in relation to the camera and light, as well as my position to them. Making sure the filter was illuminated and I was too.

Sian
Sian
Sian
Sian

Unlike my other experimental portrait sets, this one required me to think a bit more technically. In addition to the aforementioned, I needed to consider how the filters were held. In order to create the desired fractured effects, the filter needed to be tilted, but lined up relatively close to the lens, for the duration of the shoot. So, whilst I placed the camera on the ground, pointed upwards towards me, and utilised the self-timer as I have done with self portraits previously, using the filters meant the distance I could be from the camera was limited.

Taking the time to get this right has left me with a set of images that I am proud of though. They’re all so majestic! I thoroughly enjoyed playing around, and getting to know how the filters work. It also led me to consider their suitability for specific shoots. One filter is a Pacman shape (used for the below, left image) that I think would be great for portrait shoots, and the other is a circular filter (used for the below, right image) which I think that would be perfect for shooting live shows. Can you imagine all of the show lights dancing around a guitarist, as their hair flies around? RAD.

Sian
Sian
Sian
Sian

On initial review of these images, I favoured the images I took using the Pacman shaped filter. I think this may have been due to them feeling more familiar and simplistic, as the fractured part of the image is somewhat subtle - especially at a distance. Whereas, the more I look at them, the more I am drawn to the images taken using the circular filter. There is so much to explore visually that I am continuously finding something else I like about them.

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Progress Journal | Reflection Required

Portrait by  Ami Ford

Portrait by Ami Ford

As I opened up the Calendar app on my phone, and spied today’s date, I wondered where the heck the month had gone. I soon got to penning and posting this Progress Journal entry, and quickly realised that I hadn’t gone back to my previous post since the day I scheduled it to publish. It’s helpful to review them, or use them as a marker to move forward from, but I felt so far removed from it. In fact, the feeling of disconnect has been a common theme this April.

From the posts I’ve seen online, the friends I have spoken to, and despite my intention to create a positive thirty days, this month has been a dry one. I turned twenty-five, had a mini existential life crisis about where I am in life, and then proceeded to float my way through on a cloud that introduced itself by saying “Hello, I’m Absolutely Drained”.

It almost felt as though the driving force I felt in January, February and March had popped off on its Easter half term holiday. Leaving me with all the tools, but the energy of a gnat; only permitting me to engage in work related to my full-time job, watching YouTube videos, and relaxing with Gregg. Of course none of this is bad, and although I have said that I need to go at my own pace multiple times, my GOODNESS did I feel bad for resting...

Portraits by  Ami Ford

Portraits by Ami Ford

Sian

I’ve known for a while that I struggle to switch off completely. I’m always writing tweets whilst watching Netflix, or searching for Instagram hashtags on my phone, whilst flicking between various internet tabs on my laptop. Whilst I don’t think multitasking is necessarily a bad skill to have, it’s one that requires the awareness of knowing when to use it… And during downtime is not it.

Shoehorning myself into constantly doubling up on activities has led to all work and no play. For the longest time I underestimated just how vital play is in being my most creative, effective and fulfilled self. Not throwing myself into reading books, watching films or TV, getting out and about to exhibitions and museums, or just taking some time to watch the world go by wholeheartedly, has ultimately led to this detachment from myself.

So, slowing down this month was exactly what I needed. Acknowledging that I’m yet to actually establish a balance and find a routine that works for me, something that will give me a good mix of rest and time to be productive, has made me see that this needs to be a priority for May - and beyond. If I’m going to get anywhere in this career, and life in general, I need to look after myself whilst keeping on.

Portraits by  Ami Ford

Portraits by Ami Ford

Sian

All was not lost in April though! It did see me work on one shoot, with the wonderful Holly, who kindly bestowed some of her life coaching wisdom upon me. I left our post-shoot chat feeling heard, validated and accepted as I was. I didn’t feel like I was in the wrong place, that I wasn’t doing enough, or that I needed to work on projects I didn’t want to. From this I have been far more on top of my emails, have reached out to clients for testimonials, and am reconsidering my current rates to be more reflective of the service I provide.

With all of the above in mind, my plans for May are…

  • To plan my days to include three tasks and a relaxing activity for an hour or so.

  • To be intentional and thoughtful when sharing on social media, by engaging with others through comments on Instagram posts and tweeting in Twitter chats.

  • To take the time to reflect on the highs and lows of the week, and create a plan to face the next seven days.

I’m hoping that through breaking bigger projects down into daily tasks, making my time online more enjoyable, and scheduling specific slots to check in with myself, will not only allow for me to make progress, but in turn make me feel like a more content human.

Here’s to April and here’s to May… Yeet.

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Progress Journal | Impatience and Improvement

Portraits by  Ami Ford

Portraits by Ami Ford

It feels like only yesterday that I was sitting down to write February’s progression journal. In some ways it feels like not a lot has changed in a month, but on the flip side I think I’ve made a lot of helpful observations. Especially in these last few days. 

Progress in terms of booking in clients and building a steady body of work has been slow. I’ve found that a lot of jobs will come in all at once, or last minute, and sometimes they’ll be cancelled or rescheduled just as quickly as they initially landed in my inbox.

Now, I know this is normal. I have only been doing this for a few months and I fully appreciate that the process of becoming full-time freelance human does not (and will not) ever happen overnight, or even in the space of a year (or many more) in most cases… But, I would guess that, due to the hyperdrive-paced world we live in, if something doesn’t happen immediately it can almost start to feel like it’s not working altogether.

Portraits by  Ami Ford

Portraits by Ami Ford

Sian

Building a start-up and going freelance aren’t set in stone, nor do they come with a tell-all step-by-step guide. It’s something that I need to work out along the way, and tailor to suit me. Like many others, to figure out where I fit in, I have chosen to surround myself, via feeds and timelines, with people I admire and aspire to be like. Yet, I am starting to see their success as *the* benchmark, and am comparing myself to them as a consequence. No matter how many times I tell myself that successful photographers have been working specifically to get to where they are now for years and years, even decades upon decades in some cases, it seems as though this isn’t a good enough answer to reassure my overactive brain.

One particular self-criticism I have picked up on is regarding how fast I edit. I seem to punish myself for not being able to deliver images within a couple of hours, a day, or as fast as other photographers. I work 9am - 6pm (if not longer) every Monday to Thursday as an Editor, I’m delivering 100+ images in most cases, and am trying to uphold a work/life balance, but this all feels more of an excuse than a justification. And I think this all comes back to the fast-paced nature of the world, and the impatience that comes along with that.

I know I can meet goals and deadlines for a fact - I did it at school, at university, and do it every day in my job - and, yes, whilst I would like to be faster, I’m fairly speedy in my photo delivery given everything else I have to juggle. Because this has taken over my thoughts in March, it’s really clouded my mind, stalled my work, and stumped me when it comes to deciding how to move forward. 

I am grateful I have come to this realisation though. It has made me see that I need to return to the values I set out for myself when I started on this journey; to go at my own pace and put my wellbeing first. When discussing all of the above with my therapist, we came to the conclusion that it would benefit me to work on the business side of things - as this is not where my skills currently lie. With this in mind, I think April will be a great time to refocus, reconsider, and rework the plans and ideas I have. I want to stay, and slay, in my lane.

Portraits by  Ami Ford

Portraits by Ami Ford

Sian

To kick off a positive month, I want to give myself a pat on the back and appreciate my successes so far. In just a couple of months I have become far more experimental and inquisitive, which has led to me using angles and heights I wouldn’t have thought to try out previously; all of which have added a level of interest to my images. I have also tweaked aspects of my editing style, to help me move closer to a style that defines my work. Overall, I’ve seen a huge improvement in the quality of images I create, and I’m really proud of that.

Oh, and before I go, I have to give A BIG shoutout to the endlessly talented Ami Ford for making me look like a total badass babe in these shots, despite us being in the most sweltering building in the UK at the time. Thank you, Ami!

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Experiments in Self Portraiture: Jump

Experimental Self Portraiture
Experimental Self Portraiture
Experimental Self Portraiture

After loving the outcome of flinging myself around our back garden to create my first set of experimental self portraits, I knew I wanted my next set to have the same sort of theme, but be a little bit more dramatic by way of movement.

When another clear day arrived, I followed the first three steps as I did previously; set up a ten second timer, popped my camera on the ground (with a small object to prop it up, rather than it lay flat) and focused the camera as best as I could from a distance. This time I clambered up on one of our metal chairs, that usually sits huddled around a table with five others just like it, and promptly threw myself off of it.

My main concern was that I wasn’t going to be in frame and that the images would be out of focus. As the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV doesn’t have a flip out screen, and there was no one around I could ask to check, all I could do was line myself up with the camera as best as I could. Man, oh man, I wish you could have seen my delight when I saw these images in their RAW, un-edited state; I wanted to cheer when I saw that I was actually in every shot!

I think something that really helped to achieve these shots was repeatedly repositioning and refocusing throughout the process. Making sure to stop every so often to review, rather than shoot continuously until I was ready to stop, made the shoot far more calculated. That being said, from having this experience I have learnt that the subject doesn’t need to be central in frame or sharp.

If an image is aesthetically pleasing, or conjures a mood or idea, then that’s all that matters. Framing and focus are merely tools for creativity.

As a side note, despite the main purpose of these shots being to sharpen my skills, I was drawn to how I didn’t focus on or scrutinise the way I looked when reviewing them. I wasn’t thinking about the areas of myself I am conscious of, or if an angle was unflattering, but the shapes I could contort myself into, as well as the freedom and passion I was able to project through my body. It was pretty neat to see myself as a piece of art.

On the whole, I adore these images. From how the natural gradient of the sky looks as a backdrop, to the final colour palette. They feel like such a bright and hopeful set of photos; making my imagination run wild with shoot ideas.

I definitely feel like there is so much more I can do in this style, and will be on the hunt for a subject to experiment with, but for my next set of self portraits I’m thinking light prism filters…

Experimental Self Portraiture
Experimental Self Portraiture

Three Ways to Immediately Improve Your Photography

If you are looking for some simple ways to improve the photos you take - and fast! - look no further. Below are three quick wins to help you reap big results, and totally up your photography game…

This shot was lit entirely by natural light through a skylight.

This shot was lit entirely by natural light through a skylight.

Look for Light

Etymology of the word “Photography” always points to the word “Light”, and sometimes even “Drawing with light”, which both ultimately signify light’s importance in photography. We constantly adjust the settings on our camera to brighten or darken a shot, to avoid under or overexposure, but how often do we actually go in search of light itself?

Light creates depth and patterns, impacts how vibrant colours are, highlights various shapes and textures, and can even conjure up an overall mood or tone as well.

I often see creatives complain about the light, or lack thereof, when trying to shoot during the darker winter months. If your blog is your hobby or side hustle, that you can only get to in the evenings or at weekends, it can be frustrating when the days are short and you can’t manage your shooting schedule around when the sun is out. My solution to this would be taking the time to notice when and where the sunlight is strongest, in and around your house, at different times throughout the days you shoot on - and then utilising that.

From doing this myself, I have noticed that the best light for shooting appears early (sunrise, 6am - 8am), at midday (12pm-2pm) and in the evening (golden hour and sunset, 4pm-6pm in Autumn/Winter, and 7pm-9pm in Spring/Summer).

Morning sun casts pink and orange light, which makes my room feel almost dream-like, and the gorgeous shadows created by my Venetian blinds are reminiscent of a sexy noir… As the sun is at its highest point in the middle of the day, the skylights cause our living room to be flooded with gloriously bright midday light. Then in the evening, just before sunset, golden hour creates ethereal light outside as well as orange-tinged hard lighting, with dark shadows, inside.

So, when you are next shooting, look for light, study it’s intensity as well as how and where it falls and do your best to incorporate it in every shot.

BONUS TIP: If you are shooting people, try your best to shoot them with light reflecting in their eyes. This will bring so much life into the shot, and your subject, to transform your images.


Before: Unedited RAW shot.

Before: Unedited RAW shot.

After: Edited and exported as a .jpeg.

After: Edited and exported as a .jpeg.

Shoot in RAW

Whilst you can take brilliant photos on a smartphone nowadays, if you take all of your photos on a camera, you will likely have the capability to shoot in RAW. 

Cameras are usually configured to capture images in a .jpeg format. Now, .jpeg files are great - they are a widely recognised format, are perfect for sending to others, or uploading online - but they aren’t the most editable, nor are they of the highest quality. 

When you take a photo in a .jpeg format, it takes all of the image data captured and compresses it into a file that is small, manageable and instantly ready to share. Whereas a RAW file saves all of the image data, which consequently creates a far bigger file, but provides complete control over the final photo, and endless editing possibilities as a result.

As you can access all of the different aspects and details of a RAW file, you can tweak the smallest aspects of a photo; such as shadow brightness, how vibrant a specific colour is, or enable profile corrections. This can even mean that an image, that would usually be left on the cutting room floor if shot in a .jpeg format, can be revived. Check out the pictures above to see what I mean!

I’ve set up my camera to capture images in both RAW and .jpeg formats, so I have both options, but mostly stick to editing the RAW files in Adobe Lightroom - although they can be tweaked in Adobe Photoshop too. Once I’m happy, I’ll export the final images as .jpeg files for sharing.

So, if you constantly find yourself heart-eyed over someone’s editing style but don’t have a clue how they implement it, want to brighten images so that whites really pop, or are just looking to create content with a real punch, consult your camera’s manual, change your settings, and get shooting in RAW!


Watch Your Edges  

When in the midst of shooting, it can become very easy to focus wholly on the subject; whether it be a person, object or location, and how they look in shot. Yet, sometimes, it isn’t until you return home and start scrolling through your photos to edit, that you are met with some unwanted surprises...

It could be a tree branch poking in frame to ruin an otherwise clear sky, a passerby captured half in and out of your shot, or just something odd that once you have noticed it you just can’t un-see. 

With digital cameras providing us with the capability to shoot and shoot and shoot, it’s easy to become a little trigger happy. Whilst we can focus on our subject, and click away in the hope that one of the photos is usable, I learnt a long time ago not to leave “fixing” an image until post production. Taking the time on my shots when shooting has made me a better photographer, and leaves me with a lot less work to do when editing!

Therefore, rather than spend time meticulously trying to crop the photo in a way where you don’t lose a chunk of it, or going ham with the clone tool to no avail after shooting, once you have lined up your shot, pause and survey your edges. If there is something sticking in where it shouldn’t be (ooer), reframe until you are happy to shoot.

In this initial photo, there are trees sticking into the left and bottom of the frame.

In this initial photo, there are trees sticking into the left and bottom of the frame.

After reframing, I still have the layering effect I wanted, but in a way that appears much cleaner.

After reframing, I still have the layering effect I wanted, but in a way that appears much cleaner.


If you give these tips a go, please be sure to tag me in your photos on Twitter or Instagram, so I can see your magic and share!

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Progress Journal | The First Bump in the Road

Ella

I ended my last progress journal on a total high. I had just shot Ella, who was a total star to shoot with - we chatted our way around Portobello Road and Notting Hill, having a laugh as we went, and she even kindly treated me to a spot of lunch too - which I’m super grateful for! And I came away with 50+ images I was totally stoked with. 

Entering that shoot, I felt pretty nervous. It was the first I had done with someone I hadn’t met before, and, as I lived with crippling social anxiety not so long ago, wasn’t sure how things were going to pan out. Thankfully my fears quickly shifted to make room for a bigger desire; to get the most out of the experience and create images that we were both thrilled with.

From having such a positive experience, understandably I was already itching to get out and shoot more! Aaaand that’s when it all went a bit tits up.

A couple of fun self portraits from one of three sets I took this month.

A couple of fun self portraits from one of three sets I took this month.

I am LOVING playing with movement!

I am LOVING playing with movement!

Starting February, I roughly had around one shoot a week booked in. As I am currently still in a full time job, and trying to live a balanced lifestyle (as explained in my previous progress journal), this felt like a good place to start... But then the heavy snow appeared, and the first shoot was rebooked. Then a client’s work schedule changed unexpectedly, and the second shoot was postponed. And then sadly personal things happened, so the third client had to reschedule too.

Cancellations were something that I had always anticipated, and knew were going to be a part of this career. Situations change, shit happens, and life can just be completely out of our hands. I get it. I totally get it. And, to be honest with you, I’m seriously grateful they all rescheduled, when they could have just cancelled altogether... but, it still sucked and left me feeling a little blue.

When I am so early in the game, wanting to get as much practice in as I can, to sharpen my skills and build my portfolio, knocks like these hit a little harder than I would like them to. That being said, I have learnt a couple of lessons to take forward - which is the most important thing! 

The first being that, whilst I know I’ll never be able to stop myself from getting my hopes up, I do need to find ways to soften the blow when cancellations happen. Two resolutions I’ve found so far are: rescheduling with the client as quickly as possible, so there is another date to work towards, and then, in the meantime, making the most of dry, bright weather to experiment with self portraiture. I currently have so many ideas for what to shoot next bubbling around in my head - even if I am terrified about the Summer-like weather in Winter.

Lucy

And the second solution is to start implementing a non-refundable deposit fee. I know a bunch of full-time photographers who use this as a contingency for cancellations, and if I’m going to pursue photography as a full time career, I’m going to need a bit of protection against financial losses. I’m also hoping this will dissuade people from contacting me to arrange a shoot, and then flaking after I begin to discuss pricing - which ultimately costs me time, and slots for clients who definitely want to work with me.

Thankfully I do have a happy note to end on though! My final shoot of the month was a complete success, and it was my first ever paid portraiture shoot too - woohoo! Lucy and I shot four outfits in a couple of hours, and utilised different areas of a single location to give each look a unique backdrop. Being creative, thinking on my feet, and joking around throughout was a total joy, and I’m thankful to Lucy for booking in with me... And being up for trying some silly poses! 

The shoot was exactly what I needed, and put me back on the right track. Fingers crossed March will be a better month for me…!

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