Category Archives: Interviews

Interview with Hana the Shopaholic

Hi everyone, I’m back! After falling off the blogging waggon, I’m back on it thanks to a little inspiration from Hannah Moss fashion blogger (Confessions of a Shopaholic) and Editor of

I feel as though blogging has been a slight gym experience…once you’re in to it you can’t stop and can become obssessed but as soon as you disrupt your routine it’s a nightmare to get back on it!! Sometimes all you need is that little spark and you’re away and I feel like this was Hannah….so thank you for sharing your energy…CLEARLY I NEEDED IT!!

Fashion blogger Hannah Moss grew up in the sunny town of Derby where I was lucky enough to make a connection to her and be ‘mossed’ so to speak! I got chatting to her and whilst we shared our love for make-up it became clear we had lots in common mainly interests in fashion, PR and blogging. To be honest though what girl couldn’t get on with Hannah???

In 2010 Hannah was nominated for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards which was a real surprise and a great accolade since she had only been blogging for short while.  Hannah has shared some of her time with us and below you can find out a little bit more about her. The shopaholic offers a great insight into the blogging world, how she came to be there and what’s propelled her into the very visible blogosphere.

Favourite food: Italian                         

Favourite Restaurant: Darley’s – a lovely place on the banks of the river Derwent in my home town, Derby

Favourite bar: Anywhere with a great cocktail menu

Quote of the moment: ‘Shopping is my cardio’ – some of my favourite words of wisdom from Carrie Bradshaw                                         

Recommended music: We Are Scientists       

Favourite travel destination: New York

Studied at:  University of Sheffield                                Course:  MA English Language & Literature   

Blog: Confessions of a Shopaholic:

Website: Editor of:

 What inspired you to get involved with social media and in particular blogging?

The fact that blogging can give anyone and everyone a voice attracted me. Being a fashion journalist is one of those dream jobs everyone wants to do and blogging provides a great way in.

How did you become involved in with blogging?

After uni when I was looking how to break into the industry I started writing my blog as a portfolio so potential employers could see what I could do.

What inspired you to get involved with the fashion industry?

I’ve always loved fashion. I can’t remember when it started – probably playing dress-up. I used to keep a scrap book of my own designs and would have been tempted to pursue a design career but English was always my strongest subject at school – so fashion writing seems like the perfect mix for me.

Is there anything you wish people would understand about the industry?

That girls who work in fashion aren’t bitches. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been asked if I’ve met any Miranda Priestly types (Devil wears Prada)and I’m sure lots of people I know think I don’t have a ‘proper job’ so to speak, but it is an industry and we all work hard at what we do.

What do you find most challenging about blogging about your topic?

Every day we all see crazy outfits we hate whether out on the streets or on the red carpet – but I’ve always said I wouldn’t post anything negative. I don’t like the whole culture of don’t they look fat/ugly that puts people down.

 Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while working on your blog?

It was through my blog that I got the job as Editor of SalesGossip. Zabetta, the CEO and founder read my blog and got in touch to ask if I’d like to be guest blogger on the site and my role developed from there.
How would someone describe your blogging style?

I got a nice comment a while back from someone who said I have a ‘witty style all of my own’ – which I thought was a really lovely compliment. Wit is something I associate with the likes of Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde, and where I can’t hope to compete with their genius, it’s true I love puns and word play – so maybe it comes from that.
What do you do when you aren’t working on your blog?

More blogging! I’m the Editor for a sales alert site called SalesGossip (, so most of the time I’m tracking down great bargains to blog about. Once away from my laptop I love going to galleries and exhibitions. I recently went to see Princess Diana’s dresses on display at Kensington Palace and the Louboutin retrospective at The Design Museum is next on my list.
What networking do you do that you feel helps the blogging business most?

Something I’ve learned is how incredibly important networking actually is. That old adage ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ is true. You could write the most amazing content, but if the right people don’t see it…

I’m quite a shy person, but I’d say if you’re invited to an event then go. You never know who you might meet. Press shows are great opportunity to meet people and going along shows your interest in the brand/designer – plus you might even get some freebies!

How do you keep coming up with material/content for your blog? Many people struggle with coming up with different articles/posts and they only have one blog.

Fashion never sleeps. There’s always something new and exciting to write about, whether it’s a new label launch or the latest looks on the red carpet, so writers block has never been an issue for me. It’s more a case of picking out the stories which appeal to me and, importantly, fit with the style of whichever blog I happen to be writing for.
What’s your strategy in general? A lot of people are interested in blogging for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from blogging? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?

Being realistic, it’s not an industry where you can just roll up and start earning instantly. It takes a lot of time and energy to make the contacts and build up lasting relationships which result in payment. Personally, my strategy was never to make lots of money through my blog directly – by generating advertising revenue, for example – but to use it as a portfolio so potential employers could see my work.
What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?

The Cosmopolitan blog awards nomination was great publicity. I had only been blogging a couple of months when this came along, so it was a huge surprise. Twitter is great for networking and increasing visibility and I really should push it more. One thing I would say is let brands/designers know if you’ve written about them. It could help kick-start a working relationship.

Everyone has a favourite/least favourite post. Name yours and why?

Favourite? Well, my number of page views went through the roof when I posted about David Beckham’s underwear range for H&M! As for least favourite, any post where I’ve only included images. I’m never happy if I’ve not had time to write a thorough review.

What’s your take on sponsored reviews?

Come on, who doesn’t love a freebie? In my opinion sponsored reviews are a perk of the job, but there is a way of going about it. If you have been given something, say so. If you don’t like a product, don’t go there. I’ve heard a few stories about bloggers asking for free stuff, and I know they say ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’ but personally I think it’s rude.

Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?

The best thing about blogging is that it is so inclusive – anyone can have a go, so everyone who has gone ahead and put their content out there for the world to read deserves to be recognised. The Clothes Whisperer, Susie Bubble and Liberty London Girl are great examples of very successful career bloggers whose content I love.

If you had to pick a celebrity wardrobe whose would it be and why?

Victoria Beckham. Always my favourite Spice Girl, she’s progressed from pop star and wag to become a bone fide designer. Her designs are simple, sophisticated and so flattering of the female form.

If you could go back in time what year would you got and why…or you can go into the future?!!

It would definitely be back in time – I’m a sucker for a good old fashioned costume drama and I’m more than a little bit obsessed with Pride and Prejudice – so it would have to be the turn of the 19th century for me.

Hannah thank you so much for your time, I really enjoyed getting to know you and anyone else who enjoyed getting to know this fabulous fashion blogger please follow Hannah on twitter for the latest news, tips and advice on fashion. Oh and some amazing deals that aren’t to be missed!!!!

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Getting to know Miss B, A Girl A style

I’ve been in communication with Miss B founder of award winning A Girl, A Style blog and  I’m feeling pretty lucky since there is a picture of Miss B under the definition of multi-tasker in the English dictionary, somewhere next to Nick Pickles who won the Prswooz multi-tasking award 2011.

The A Girl, A Style blog is simply fabulous and aspirational. I love the style of writing and all entries are interesting…never a dull moment.There is a really positive and exciting vibe felt in reading the posts here.

Most of the images are taken herself apart from the odd/rare moment where the world of fashion has very much taken over. Earlier this year Miss B caught up with a friend in Paris who introduced her to a great find… Catherine B’s vintage emporium, Les Trois Marches, full of vintage Chanel and Hermes… this was one of those rare moments!! “It may look unassuming from the outside (in true Left Bank style), but I actually gasped when I stepped inside; so good is it that I just had to share it with you all so that you may visit it on your next trip to Paris. Stocking nothing but vintage Chanel and Hermes, this tiny boutique (divided into two neighbouring shopfronts) is almost too good to be true for any Parisian fashion devotee. Within its walls are shelves and shelves of Hermes Kelly bags in every colour imaginable, rows upon rows of Chanel boucle jackets, towering stacks of silk scarves and windows glinting with vintage Chanel jewels (my weakness)” says Miss B.

I shall leave the rest for you to discover on her wonderful blog and now share what else I found out…

Favourite food:  I could quite happily live off summer fruit and macarons alone   

Quote of the moment:  Live the life you dream about                                           

Favourite travel destination: Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, Marrakech, Prague, The Barossa Valley and the Great Barrier Reef (Australia)

Studied at:  Flinders University, Australia                                   

Course:     Bachelor of International Relations, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of International Business (I didn’t feel satisfied after doing a single degree like everyone else, so I did three instead!)

What inspired you to start blogging?

I had just moved to England from Australia, and was bored in my day job. I was itching for a creative outlet and to share all these wonderful new adventures I was having in my new home, so one rainy day I decided to finally start the blog I’d been pondering as a way to share the things that caught my eye with friends and like-minded individuals everywhere.

Is there anything you wish people would understand about the industry?

It’s not all about swanning about at glamorous parties (they’re overrated, anyway) and stroking shoes at Fashion Week. Whether you make a conscious decision to dress a certain way or not, fashion is an expression of who we are and how we want the world to see us. Not to mention this is a serious business; it’s the second largest industry in the UK (after government) and is one of the few forces that can resist a serious recession.

You are running more than a blog, contributing as Editorial Associate to Liberty London Girl as well as working as a political advisor by day…how are you doing this…wonder woman!!??

It’s true, I have a very intense day job as a Senior Political Advisor (where I divide my time between Cambridge and Westminster). In addition to running A Girl, A Style, I’m also Editorial Associate for Liberty London Girl, UK Editor for The Glitter Guide, and freelance fashion and beauty writer for a number of other websites and print publications. I just try and compartmentalise everything; I want to do the best I can in my day job (it is, after all, my career and my salary) so just focus on that during the day. When I come home, for a few hours every night I’ll try and write something, whether it’s for my blog or a paid commission for a publication, and do a bit of general blog admin. I love my ‘second job’ so much that I’m happy for that to take up my spare time.
What do you do when you aren’t working on your blog/website? 

During the day, I’m always at work (if I’m in the London office I’ll also try and cram in a fashion appointment or two or a date with a girlfriend over macarons at Laduree on my lunchbreak or after work). But when I’m not doing those two things, I try and do as many things that make me smile as possible. Life, to me, is one giant quest for loveliness.

What has helped your success most?

To be honest, I don’t have any big secret. Just hours and hours and hours of work every single week (my blog is a labour of love), being nice to everyone I meet (I might have found success faster if I’d been more brazen, but that’s not my style), and being meticulous about only posting good quality content. I might not post every day, but readers know that I only post about that which I genuinely love.

How do you keep coming up with quality content for your blog?

I usually have the reverse problem; not having enough time to write about everything I want to (I always have a giant backlog of posts and ideas waiting to be written about/photographed). There is always something catching my eye and inspiring me, but just in case, I always carry around a notebook to jot down ideas for future posts just in case I hit a dry spot!

A lot of people are interested in blogging for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interested in making money from blogging? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?

Find another career path! I’d like to think that my blog is fairly successful these days in terms of site visitors and reader loyalty. But even now, though I occasionally benefit from a perk or two as a result of my blog (and also do paid writing jobs a few times a month), I definitely invest more time and money into my blog than I get back. Yes, there are ways to make a good living off a blog, but very few people attain that level of success and I think it’s hard to enter into blogging with that ambition as your ultimate goal (readers are a clever bunch, and will always see through such tactics). For me, running A Girl, A Style and writing is my passion; anything I make out of it is a bonus.
What’s your take on sponsored reviews?

Although I’m offered these every day, I’ve never said yes to one yet. In my opinion, it would have to be a very good fit (ie. a collaboration with a brand I already love and blog about now) for it to work without sacrificing the blog’s integrity (something I’m very protective about). My blog readers keep coming back because it’s my voice and opinion they like and trust; if I’m giving that up by doing sponsored posts on something I would’t write about ordinarily, then what’s the point?

Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?

Sasha Wilkins of Liberty London Girl for showing us that blogs don’t have to conform to a single, narrow topic (‘fashion’, ‘beauty’, etc.), Nicolette Mason for showing you don’t have to be a blond supermodel clone to have the most beautiful blog and personal style, and Alix of the Cherry Blossom Girl to show it’s better to create your blog’s identity through one gorgeous post a week than 7 mediocre posts.

What are your favourite trends at the moment?

I never consciously follow trends, but the dominant themes coming through next Spring/Summer really play to my hyper-girly tastes. I love all the sugary pastels, the florals and lace, the 20s Great Gatsby references, and the whimsical under-the-sea vibe (done best at Chanel and Charlotte Olympia).

It’s been another great pleasure to get to now another great creator, thanks for your time and I hope to be able to follow up later in the year.

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Forever Elly Mac, wedding photography

A recent train journey provided me with an amazing opportunity to meet ‘the’ Elly Mac a world known photographer who travels the world through demand of her exceptional skills. This inspirational lady works hard, she has given up the social events, the weekends and fully committed herself to a career in photography, and that’s why Elly gets nominated for prestigious awards. Getting to where she is today has meant spending much time in transit on trains, planes, buses, tubes, taxis and living out of a very small vintage travel bag. It’s not all glamour, fun and games!!

Elly specialises in wedding photography a career that began shooting at friends and family weddings ‘the turning point for me was when I was asked to do one of my sister’s weddings, she had booked a professional but when we compared albums she preferred mine over his’.

There wasn’t so much an inspiration behind Elly’s choice in career rather it was more of an inherent desire to be a photographer. Elly’s Father died whilst she was a baby and it was photographs that provided her with a chance to get to know who he was, his character, and his mannerisms ‘so for me, although he is no longer with us he is forever alive in these images’. Elly believes photography makes people immortal, not only those in the photographs but those who have created them ‘a photograph says just as much about the person behind the camera as it does about the person in front of it. Because of my father’s death, and how important those few images are to me documenting what I see and the world around me is such an integral part of my life (I am also a prolific diary keeper).  Words and images will last forever’.

Over the years Elly has collected and shared some amazing images, skills and information with the world around her. In particular Elly has grown to love and involve the vintage influences with hints of retro dreamy hues. Elly has been appreciating recent work coming out of the West coast of America ‘photographic work is all about soft colour palettes that evoke the innocence of old world love. The dreamy hues refer to the pastel soft colours of the treatments I sometimes apply to images to make them look like they are retro’.

‘I absolutely adore the simplicity of wedding photographs from the 20s through to the 60s, I have a collection of anonymous wedding photographs from this time period that are not posed traditional shots, just the couples being themselves, not following any of the rules of wedding photography because the rules were not established. These images are timeless and so simple they are striking in their effect.  One is of a Paris bride catching a bus from 1961’.  Wedding photography needs to be timeless and it should always look like it was just taken. When Elly says vintage romance she means stripping everything away from the images and just focusing on the intimacy between the couples ‘even the wedding albums I do are inspired by images from the 20s through to the 60s. Black pages with tissue paper, why? Because this is timeless and classic.

Elly’s first wedding photography experience was when she was 15 gaining work experiences with a leading wedding photographer in her town and after this she was self-taught, there was no slowly does it. Elly jumped straight into the deep end never second shot for anyone else or assisted anyone else and that’s the way she likes it, learning the hard way and making mistakes has played a great role in her success. ‘If you do not make mistakes and learn as you go then you are not really pushing your boundaries. If you do make a mistake, then take everything as a learning curve and move on’.

‘When I first started out I was learning how to be photographer, the next main phase was really learning how to run a photography business and this has now all been combined to this new phase I am in which is all about photographing the way I choose to photograph and building the Elly Mac Photos brand. It’ not just physical work that’s involved you need to be a stong person mentally, be driven, motivated and hold a positive can-do attitude. Self-belief has played a key role in Elly’s success ‘believing that I am a fabulous photographer and people will want to pay for my services and also recognising that wedding photography is not just about photographs is about who you are and this can be used to build your brand’. Elly has learnt to be herself with her camera hence having her own fabulous style ‘photograph the way that comes naturally to you and then find the clients who love your style’.

Elly has worked and is still working very hard on her career and shares some words of wisdom ‘anyone going into wedding photography firstly needs to understand that because the majority of your commissions are on weekends, you tend to miss out on a lot of social events and if you are going to travel for work, be mindful of the fact that you could be in a different place every week and you spend a lot of time on transport but you meet some wonderful people whilst out and about, but to be honest I would not have it another way’. Elly hasn’t had a holiday since Christmas 2007 let’s be honest… it’s not as though she hasn’t done her fair share of travelling, recently Elly was in Lake Camo for 4 days (poor Elly) followed by a trip to Paris to meet clients!!

Elly has taught me that being a professional photographer isn’t as glamorous as some may be led to believe, it has its perks as with any job. Professional photographers work very hard so it hurts slightly when Elly hears ill thought comments such as ‘so you’re a wedding photographer, what do you do for the other 6 days of the week?!!’’ I guess people assume that you only work one day a week and that it’s glamorous, that you’re over paid, it’s easy and anyone could do it. People assume that wedding photography is not an art and therefore without skill, I just received a text message from a client who said “You’re a genius, the photographs are amazing” you do not get that reaction from clients without having a talent’ go Elly!!!

Of course Elly has a soft spot piece of equipment a AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G  for when she is out and about.  ‘I tend to carry a camera in my handbag and this lens is just ideal for my style, especially when I do street photography.  When I am shooting weddings I use a combination of prime lens (fixed focus) and zoom lens. A prime lens gives better aperture settings but the zoom is ideal for not missing a moment.   It’s a personal choice really but I am also  Nikon girl all the way’. (Nikon should be all over that comment!!)

Standard…I always ask photographers In general, during a session, how many pictures would you say you take to find “the right one”? Elly responded with the most unique reply in my encounters so far ‘it’s not about finding the right photograph is more about producing a series of images in the allotted time that tell a narrative, whether that’s 2 hours or 12 hours.  I passionately believe that no one photo is more important than the other but together they must tell a story.   I once worked out that I take 3.3 photos per minute which works out to 198 per hour but I can’t stress enough it’s not about taking lots of images in the hope that one works it, it’s about using your time to capture the event without interrupting that event in anyway.  I am there to witness and document a moment in time not interfere and stage manage it’.

Of course I asked Elly if there were any names to look out for in the world of photography to my disappointment her lips are sealed though I’m enjoying the suspense! All I know is those second shooters and assistants of hers will no doubt be of a great standard and having an opportunity to learn form Elly will empower them with what they need to keep on achieving great things!

Thank you so much for your time Elly, it was a privilege meeting you… even though you had no choice in the matter, there was no escaping me that day hey!

To stay up to date with the Elly Mac brand you can follow the brand on Twitter, join the Facebook group or visit her website where booking information is available.

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Interview with Nick Pickles, Music Photographer

Thanks to Wakey photographer Mick Walker I have been in communication with Nick Pickles a London-based freelance photographer travelling across the country to cover gigs, festivals and events for a wide range of clients. Nick certainly knows how to be efficient and effective he’s like the ultimate multi tasker?!!

This inspiring young man is also Director of civil liberties and privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, he was a candidate in the 2010 General Election standing against Yvette Cooper, achieving a 12.5% swing to the Conservatives. He has remained a commentator on a wide variety of issues including digital privacy and web-blocking, CCTV, civil liberties and digital government. (I feel privileged!)

Mr Pickles has also recently won the prestigious Rock Archive Glastonbury 2011 photography competition for his shot of the Kaiser Chiefs. His work has appeared in publications across the world and finally prswooz!! The image featured at the top is the winning image and you can see why it won, amazing moment captured the lighting, the shadows, the smoke complimented by rays of sunshine and a member of the Kaiser Chiefs caught in absolute action! I loveall the colours.

Since Nick was 21 he has been successfully blossoming into a well respected and in demand music photographer. His career was kick started whilst he was studying Law at Durham University where he joined  a small student website team to write reviews which led to him taking photos and providing images for them. Having googled Nick Pickles and Durham University it seems he had quite a role there, go on have a peek!!

Nick Pickles enjoys photography  and music  so getting into gigs for free and being able to combine the two was a great prospect. He said ‘ Well, that and I loved how certain photographers were able to capture the emotion of a gig – how I felt as a fan in the crowd’.

So Nick Pickles shared some of his time with me and I got to find out a bit more so…

Age:   27 Favourite food: Thai       Favourite Bar: Gordon’s                   Favourite Restaurant: Sasso’s, Harrogate

Recommended read: Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy        Best travel destination:  Iceland   

Favourite instrument: guitar                     Recommended music: Battles, The National, Neu, The Twilight Sad, The Maccabees, Four Tet, Radiohead, Sigur Ros.

Quote of the moment:  ‘see you on the way down’

What do you think is the biggest preconception that people have about the music industry?

It’s well paid and doesn’t involve working very,very hard!

 Describe what you do and who and what has influenced you to make you who you are right now?

Right now I some how manage to combine running a campaign group in Westminster with being a music photographer. I file mainly to WireImage, but have clients including the BBC, Red Bull, EMI and recently won the Rock Archive Glastonbury 2011 photography competition.

I guess other photographers have been the biggest influence – Antoin Corbjin, Roger Sargent, Barney Britton and Leon Neal in particular – they give me the inspiration to try make my next shoot better than the last one and never settle for average work. Those guys and the musicians I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside whose passion and energy will always be a source of my own energy.

What were your first job experiences?

Mainly small gigs, working unpaid for a range of small publications. I had a big break when in 2007 the BBC commissioned me to cover T in the Park, which was the start of my ascent into covering most of the major festivals in the UK.

You’ve snapped away at lots of festivals what has been your favourite and why?

I think the most enjoyable festivals to work are the ones where I’m under less pressure to cover the popular tabloid artists and file shots as soon as possible, and I can do my own thing. Latitude 2010 was pretty special, The National and the Maccabees put in amazing sets and I was fortunate enough to shoot the later from the stage in glorious sunshine.

Leeds Festival will always have a special feeling as my ‘home’ festival, especially now I live in London and it’s the one time of the year I know I’ll see friends I used to shoot gigs with.

Glastonbury is still the most amazing place in the world – I just wish the stages weren’t so far apart!

How does having your own business differ from working for a large corporation?

I’m now in a position where I can consider which jobs I take and which ones I pass on – often in a company it’s not your call, which is very liberating. It also means if I’m starting to feel tired, or think my photography is lacking something, I can take some time out or do something different.

Can you describe the transition from working for the O2 and the BBC to where you are now? What has the process been like? Where have you worked and who have you worked with?

I spent two years as house photographer at the O2 Academy Leeds, working with a really great team and I enjoyed every minute.  Wheras with the BBC I might do 3 or 4 intense days, at the Academy it was sometimes very spread out – one or two shows in a week.

When I was at the academy, I was part of a small photographer team, and we didn’t really work with the other staff regularly. At the bbc you’re alongside all sorts of creative people, be them editors, cameramen or website folk. It’s a great culture but you have to adjust how you work to consider other people’s priorities and pressures.

What has helped you the most?

A good pair of earplugs, and always carry gaffer tape!

What has been most challenging? And are there any do’s and don’ts we should know about?!!

Protect your hearing and value your work. Now more than ever the market is geared towards people feeling they need to start out offering to do things for free and then work up. The problem is they pitch for free to people who do have money – and then will never see the point of paying. Good photography isn’t free, so don’t see your competition as the people who are working for nothing – it’s the people getting paid.

And a few more tips raken from NickPickles blog …

  1. The darker the lighting is for the first three, the brighter it will be for the fourth song (Unless it’s Echo and the Bunneymen in which case just don’t bother)
  2. Shooting on burst and taking 400 frames per song doesnt mean when you get one good frame you’re a genius
  3. You can watch the crowd as long as you like – the pint that hits you on the head won’t be thrown until you turn around
  4. The gig you forget your earplugs – and security run out – will not be an acoustic folk singer
  5. However ‘crazy’ the fourteen year old girls on the barrier look, it is *not* OK to take photos of them for ‘atmosphere’ when you’re over 19
  6. If you insist on standing in the same spot infront of the singer for two and a half songs, don’t expect everyone else to move for you instantly
  7. Be nice to security guards – you’ll never know how close crowdsurfers are to your head until you offend the guy who is catching them
  8. Always carry a flashgun – the gig you don’t, the singer will go into the crowd
  9. Don’t wear your rucksack / shoulder bag in the pit. Its 2 feet wide for fecks sake
  10. If you start with a 70-200 on, the singer will sing ontop of you
  11. If you start with a 17-55, the singer will sit at the back of the stage on the drum riser
  12. Trying to get a shot of the singer spraying beer onto the crowd from directly infront of them will not result in better photos and will result in getting you and your kit covered in beer
  13. If you’re using a compact, don’t stand with it at arms length over the monitors, you ruin great photos. (see here)
  14. If you’ve agreed to cover the gig for 20p and a credit, don’t expect any sympathy when you complain you can’t afford a 2.8 lens

What are your favourite styles and looks? Should I say angles and lighting?!!!

With music photography you have to work with what you’re given, but I’ve come to love shots with lots of empty space in them – the way you can use a subject to break up a block of colour or draw the eye away from what would normally be the focus of the shot. I prefer shooting with a bit of space around the subject, but if I can get really tight in on the eyes of the performer it’s a great way of capturing the emotion of the moment.

Do You Have A Favourite Walk Around Lens…If So What Is It?

50mm f.14 – every photographer should have a 50mm! Although recently I’ve been using an 85mm f1.8 too.

Which one item of equipment would you say is the most important to you?

My D3 – it’s the closest I have to a child! Closely followed by my Macbook and my blackberry!

In general, during a session, how many pictures would you say you take to find “the right one”?

I try to keep my shoots fairly tight – the more you take, the longer it takes to find the right frames (a big problem if you’re filing to an agency where speed is crucial)

In a typical gig, over 3 songs I’ll take around 90/110 frames.

Are there any up and coming photographers that have caught your eye recently?

Jordan Green from Wakefield is doing some great work – plus he’s a fellow wakey boy. Other than that, I’m pretty bad at scouring flickr like I used to, something else that falls by the wayside as I get busy!

Have you got any advice can you offer to anyone interested in the music industry and photography?

Be prepared to work your socks off and make sure you have lots of variety in your work. I’m amazed how many times I see people with porfolios made up of just one or two performers, or with several similarly composed shots next to each other. And make sure they’re technically good – nearly in focus is not in focus!

And remember – the bigger the band, the less access you usually have and the more likely it is other photographers have shots identical to yours. I’d rather shoot a band in a pub where I can get into the performance and engage than shoot a bland arena show of whoever wins the X Factor or some American stadium band.

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Interview with photographer Charles Davis, the opportunist!

Favourite food: ITALIAN & FRENCH   Favourite travel destination: ITALY & ISRAEL

Favourite Restaurant: A difficult one as there are so many fabulous restaurants now, but it would have to be Italian I guess!

Reading recommendation: The Source by James A Michener


Thanks to Twitter I have recently been in communication with Charles Davis founder and director of Professional Photography. I have been blown away by his work and his general ethos, he is keen and as they say ‘dutch’ in the sense that he gives as well as takes opportunities. The prolific networker recommends that we should ‘network, network, network’  Charles Davis is clearly a big fan of social media  and face-to-face networking groups. He’s right when he says ‘it’s essential to get you and your business out there’ who else will?

Meeting new people on a regular basis and participating in state-of-the-art joined-up social networks is certainly key in succeeding in a 21st century and is very much behind some of the successes of Professional Photography. Additionally try to give something back, it doesn’t have immediate benefits but long term you will be surprised at the opportunities that arise. Another top tip from the man who describes fashion as an industry that takes no prisoners  is ‘do it because you love it, invest in the best equipment you can afford and learn as much as you can. Of course practice practice practice we all have to start somewhere’.

Charles you’ve got an extremely interesting and successful career history which has taken you from being part of the Special Escort Group looking after Royals and VIP’s to advising and leading in firearms operations to successfully filling the role of Fundraising & Communications Director for a large charity. Today I know you for your fabulous photography skills, so what was it that inspired you to become a photographer?

I was always very close to my late Father as a boy, he was an accomplished life-long Photographer  who indeed encouraged me to have a go at Photography. He essentially encouraged me to do whatever I wanted in life, grasping opportunities that came my way with both hands.  This together with my love of beautiful images is what attracted me to finally have a go as a full-time Photographer. Being in the right place at the right time has presented many opportunities and I can’t say no! (it wouldbe very rude to say no)

Your portfolio covers a broad range of skills and services suited to various settings ranging from images of products to beautiful wedding albums, in particular I picked up you’re steady involvement within the fashion industry how have you become involved in this?

I’ve always had an interest and followed fashion from a distance although in recent times more and more people have asked me if I’d be available for their shoot and it’s just developed from there.  Clients seem to be happy with the results and excitingly I’ve just been asked to become the Official Photographer to a new very talented and very interesting Designer. So we will see, I just love what I do and am quite happy doing whatever shoot I’m asked to do as long as the results exceed the client’s expectations.

What do you think is the biggest preconception that people have about the fashion industry?

Do you know what?  I’ve done some tough roles in my career but always been lucky to be able to develop what I’ve wanted to do, yes it may seem from the outside a little more glamorous but I can assure you they have taken a 100% commitment together with wonderful support from my family.

Describe what you do and who and what has influenced you to make you who you are right now?

It’s a fact of life with modern technology that many Photographers joke that they spend far to much time in front of a computer and not enough doing what they love, photography! It’s true, although an essential element to producing the best possible results for a client is in the selection and editing.  Being personable too, it’s so so important  if you can be friendly and build a rapport then your subject/Models have a fun experience and the shots are so much better. Influence has to be from, of course my late Father and in recent times Mario Testino, his work is just the best.

What were your first job experiences as a photographer?

Now that’s a difficult one for me as I’ve been a Photographer since I was a little boy.  The excitement I guess when the developed film came back from processing and seeing the images for the first time.  Gone are those days now, you don’t even have to take a Polaroid, the technology is fabulous, I love it. Being able to instantly have your images transmitted to your iPad2 so that the client can confirm whether your close to the look required or not.  We’re very lucky to be living in such a era of wonderful technology complementing our creative desires.

How does having your own business differ from working for a large corporation?

It’s amazing, together with scary!  I say that as I clearly do not miss having to play the political game that is so often an essential part of your life when working for a large organisation at a senior level, as everyone has their own agenda. However on the other side the freedom of expression comes at a price, and that is ensuring there is enough regular sustainable business coming in.  I’m an advocate of a joined-up approach to Social Media and although sometimes a little time consuming, I’ve built and developed some of my best clients via Twitter, Facebook, & Blogging. (DIY…love it!)

Can you describe the transition from the start of your business to where you are now? What has the process been like? Where have you worked and who have you worked with?

My roots over the last decade have been in the Automotive Sector and it therefore follows that my Photography work started there with Corporate Shoots, Press & PR material.  Soon though I seemed to get booked for more and more Events, which again led to other opportunities, some of which were Fashion related. It’s not all Photo-shoots though I’m a prolific networker and not just Social Networking the vital  face-2-face networking, early morning breakfast sessions, events, travelling just like any other business, building ‘Power-Groups’ of key contacts is really important to success.

Believe it or not, I know both those men in the picture, the man to the left used to race with my father and the one to the right worked for my father as a mechanic for years, what a strange and small world it is. sppppoookkky!!!

What has helped you the most?

Being personable, listening to your client to understand exactly what they want and delivering what they want, on budget and on time!If I had one thing I would ask people to remember, it’s that you don’t always have all the ideas & answers.  Listening to your client, your models and the people around you on many occasions others have brought in a key element or idea that has just made the shoot spectacular.

What has been most challenging? And are there any do’s and don’ts we should know about?!!

In the world of Do’s & Don’t I try to keep an open mind, and secretly I’m a bit of rebel when someone says you can’t do that.  I’d say why not! The current economic climate has been the biggest challenge but at least it’s the same for us all.

What are your favourite styles and looks?

Now that’s a difficult one for me, as I like so much.  I think ‘retro’ styling has been an interesting one, where the old has been revamped and in many cases is so much better than the nostalgic memories we all have of any particular decade.

Do You Have A Favourite Walk Around Lens…If So What Is It?

I’m a BIG BIG Nikon fan!  All my equipment is Nikon Professional Equipment, using the D3 & D3s Pro DSLR with numerous Nikkor lenses depending on the assignment.  If I had to pick just one, it would be my Nikon D3s fitted with 24-70mm F2.8G AF-S E Nikon Lens & Nikon SB-900 Speedlight Flash.

Thank you so much for your time, I love your work and have enjoyed getting to know you a bit better.

Please visit his website:  and keep up to date with Charles Davis on Twitter: ProPhotography Flickr: LinkedIn: Facebook: and his
BLOG: (It’s all bout the networking!!).
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Interview with Bo Carter Fashion Designer

I recently got to find out about fashion designer Bo Carter another inspiring talent whose collection was showcased at the Leeds Fashion Show this year. I also learnt how a £12 sewing machine kick started a very successful career in the world of fashion. Bo is 32, married and surrounded by positive and supportive people who have been very much a part of her success.

Bo attended Leeds Metropolitan University and studied Accountancy and Finance. Founder of Leeds Fashion Show Anjula Davidson has been an inspiration and provides realistic motivation for Bo and others.  So here’s what I found out about Bo Carter…

Bozena the accountant?!! Well there have been a few changes and I’m dying to hear all about this fashion adventure you’re on, what was it that inspired you to become a fashion designer?

You know, it may be sad but I do still love my numbers and spreadsheets…I always was creative and I always loved clothes, but I thought everyone loved clothes as much as I do.  I put my clothes in certain order in my wardrobe, on certain hangers and if I don’t wear something for a long time I feel sorry for that outfit and have to wear it even if I don’t like it (now that’s unconditional love!).  My hubby was always telling me I should do something about it and he is the one who found out in summer 2010 about Leeds Fashion Show, he told me to enter as a volunteer but me being me decided to see if I could actually be part of competition…and it worked. I got the sewing machine from charity shop for £12, learned how to use it and off I went to runway. Then  there was more and more shows and more and more love to what I was doing and I love every second of it.

 Since your first fashion show (Leeds Fashion Show 2010), first sewing machine, first runway and first everything you’ve been achieving more and more locally and globally can you share your adventures with us? Where have you been and are there any experiences that stand out more so than others?

It has been the most amazing year ever.  After LFS last year I went to Virginia Fashion Week where apart from showing my collection I met some fantastic designers, models and I was judging upcoming young designers.  After that I was invited to go to Bangalore but my visa didn’t get in time and my passport got lost, that was such a sad experience as I made the whole collection for that show.

I then had a few shows in the UK and worked with Tree of Hope Charity and Models of Diversity. In May I had the most amazing show in Malta, oh I did love this one to bits. In August I went to Baltimore to showcase my clothes; September Iceland Fashion Week and appearing on Romanian Next top Model, that was fun.

In October I won the Best Local Designer title on Leeds Retail Awards, worked on the amazing collection: nothing but nets, which was showcased at Fashion Bites Back event to generate awareness of net beds helping in thebattle against malaria. And then it was LFS again. Loved it every day!

You’ve expressed that you have felt very angry at the fashion world at times please share with us why?

You know, this can be nasty world.  In Oxford my clothes didn’t make it to runway due to a rail mix up, but things got sorted later on and an apology was sent and accepted of course.  During the year I have been involved I met so many lovely people and I love working with them all.  There is always gonna be one time, but as everywhere else and I just concentrate on the good ones and keep going.


May 2011 was a significant marker in your career history, you showcased your work at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Malta and shared a runway with Julien Macdonald what was it like?

Oh my gosh, seriously, that was the most amazing show! 5000 people I don’t think I could ask for anything else.  My collection was shown during Malta Fashion Awards, which is most fabulous event ever.  I was so privileged to be part of it, met some truly amazing artists and the show was the best I’ve ever been to.  And sharing the runway with Julien, what can I say! Amazing, and what an after party that was! I’m so in love with Malta, it’s a such a beautiful place, can’t wait to be back.

The 2011 LFS celebrated the 1st anniversary of Bo Carter fashion designs what was the inspiration behind your collection?

I wanted to do something new, hence the men collection.  The prints for it were designed by two talented ladies: Laura Rimmington and Charlotte Smith. They did a great job, we went for strong prints and strong colours and I made shirts in Victorian style which with modern prints added this extra twist.

 How would you describe your clothing range?

I would like to think it’s for everyone, I do love colours and prints, which appeal to a younger audience but at the same time I love unusual fabrics to create some more extravaganza dresses.

This year has seen the opening of your own shop located in the popular and respected Birds Yard, Leeds. What has helped your business most?

My friends and supporters, without them I wouldn’t be where I am.  I do network a lot and try to get my brand everywhere I go.

Is there anything you wish people would understand about fashion?

It can be really hard and sometimes people will try to ‘kill’ you and what you’re doing and all you have to do it is keep your chin up and enjoy it.  I love what I’m doing and that’s why I am doing it.

 What is next for you?

Another busy year, even busier. More shows, it will be hard to choose where to go as there are so many opportunities.  I’ll be Ccontinuing on with the mens range, opening the new shop, trying to sell my brand overseas and having lots of fun and even more energy drinks.

What advice can you offer to anyone wanting to start a career in fashion?

If you love it and believe it in it go for it.  Remember what Anjula Davidosn says: everyone got a chance.  But be prepare for hard work and be realistic.

So now we know a little bit more about Bo Carter and I think Bo will be one to keep an eye on as this lady is climbing higher and higher and at an mpressive rate.

Thank you for your time Bo and I look forward to more of your wonderful creations.

Photography services are provided  for by Michael Walker , join him on Facebook for the latest news and images. Also Underground Studios please do check out their website and keep up todate with their Facebook Page.

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Interview with Katie Newsam Fashion Designer

There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to this years LFS in particular Katie Newsam one of my favourite designers, you can spot her designs a mile off. Her designs are so unique and inspiring. This year I covered one of Lara Ostertag’s events held in conjunction with LFS, it was here that I was lucky enough to get a sneaky preview of what could be expected at the 2011 ‘Dress Me Beautiful’ event and of course I really coudn’t wait to see what she would be showcasing(you maybe expecting more to say but literally had to wait like everyone else!!).

I managed to share some of Katie Newsam’s time and got to find out a little bit more about this fabulous designer…

Have you got a favourite leeds bar?

I’ve not really been to many bars in leeds I love Epernay though (classy, nice choice in bar lot’s of bubbles!!)
Have you got a quote of the moment?

Yes…“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” Coco Chanel

What inspired you to become a fashion designer?

I was always interested in art at school and then started to look more into fashion illustration and that’s what I based my final collection around, then when I started looking into courses at college I came across fashion studies and knew straight away that what I wanted to do.
What is the inspiration behind your collection?

The collection takes inspiration from the English equestrian dating back to the edwardian period. I exagerate basic shapes and lines and add a new depth and sophistication with a hint of androgyny ( yes and that means… Androgyny is a term derived from the Greek words ανήρ, stem ανδρ- (anér, andr-, meaning man) and γυνή (gyné, meaning woman), referring to the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. This may be as in fashion, sexual identity, or sexual lifestyle, or it may refer to biologically inter-sexed physicality, especially with regards to plant and human sexuality)!!!!

What were your first job experiences?

My first job experiences was my short work experience at Pollyanna in Barnsley whilst I was sudying at Lincoln University, even though it was more about fashion buying and retail it was a great experience to get to work along side Rita Britton who is hugely influencial in not just Barnsley but wordwide.

How did you transition to being a designer? What was the process?

When I completed my degree I wanted to expand on my collection more and then decided to look into design jobs,that’s when I started working at moo part time, the boutique is really unique offering a bespoke service on clothing, bags and accessories .

Its’ been a really good opportunity working at moo because I get to see when a customer comes to me for a bespoke order and then they get the designers there to finish off the look with all the matching leather bags and accesories so the whole look can be truly unique.

You have started your own clothing range, how does designing your own label differ from working for a large corporation?

I’ve never worked for a large corporation I’ve worked on my collection ever since leaving uni. I knew I’d find it hard to get a job in the fashion industry where Iwould be able to work to my full potential so I decided to work on my portfolio, promote my self doing some shows, photoshoots and start selling clothes.

How would you describe your clothing range?

My clothing range is quite diverse I think my strong point is my creativity I love to design collections that have no boundaries but I also love to make ready to wear clothing. Also my clothes aren’t mass porduced  so I design and make every garment myself because most of my clothes are one offs which I think makes my clothes that bit more special.

So a short, sweet and informative interview with Katie Newsam for more information about Katie and to see more of her fabulous designs visit her website, Facebook page- Katie Newsam  and follow her on Twitter.

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Leeds Fashion Show, Meeting Michael Walker Fashion Photographer

(Featuring Katie Newsam Designs)

The Leeds Fashion Show kick started the weekend fabulously, I had my first press pass experience and I must say it was great though very intense. I took the opportunity to introduce myself to people holding professional looking cameras…they knew what they were doing!! I met Michael Walker who you will find lots out about shortly and Mike Distras a Photographer based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire – Covering anything and everything from Weddings, Portraits, Fashion, Events and much, much more! check out his site and keep an eye on him by following him on Twitter.

Now for Michael Walker  (mutantrock photography)one of those people who without perhaps realising it inflicts positivity in a similar way to Lara Ostertag who is always doing something constantly striving for more and ousing with motivation, and these are the type of people I love to be in communication with they really help to keep your goals in sight. Most importantly you don’t have to go to University to necessarily succeed in what you’re doing as we will find out.

Michael Walker shared some of his time to answer a few questions and here’s what I found out about him and photography…

Age:   47         Favourite food:  Shepherds pie, I cant get enough of it, bring me shepherds pie and I’ll give you anything you want.  (ladies you know what you have to do!!)

Favourite Leeds Bar:   I don’t really have a  favourite as I’m not a big drinker, if I’m in Leeds shooting I like to call in at The Bourbon Bar for a pint of bitter, it’s cheap and the sofa’s are massive…..I like big sofa’s !

Favourite Leeds Restaurant: I wish I had time to eat ! I’m often working till the early hours of the morning so its a quick snack is all I seem to manage these days.

Studied at:    I’ve never studied or had any training to be a photographer, self taught, trial and error.

What inspired you to become a photographer ?

All my life pictures have interested me, the more unusal the better. About 5 years ago a friend loaned me his film camera for the weekend so I thought I would take some macro shots of the flowers in my garden, these were not the normal flower shots like you see in your local diy store, I managed to get so deep in to the flower, the shots became almost abstract and with my limited Photoshop skills I created some really stunning artistic shots, that was it….I was hooked.

How did you become involved in the fashion industry?

After shooting macro images for about a year with a Nikon D200, a good friend of mine pushed….sorry asked me, to take some shots of her daughter, friends of friends started asking me and I found I was actually enjoying myself. Another photographer advised me to join a site called Purestorm, I did and the same night I was asked to shoot a local girl from Wakefield. This is when I realised I’ve never done fashion shoots so after a few days of searching through Flickr for inspiration I was ready to go. It’s now all I can think about, I’ve even subscribed to Vogue Magazine.

Describe what you do and who and what has influenced you to make you who you are right now?

As I’m a self taught photographer and still learning after 5 years, I take on board advise from many photographers, my images have been laughed at in the past and this I welcomed. Ive researched, watched videos and learned from my mistakes. My music/gig photography is something I never thought about doing until I came across a photogrpaher called Nick Pickles(Some amazing pics on his site find him on Twitter), Nick kindly gave me some tips and contacts and I now create some blinding shots that im very proud of.

As for fashion photography, so many people inspire me, recently it’s been a professional photographer from Leeds called Jay Mawson(I like this site!!), his work is just so creative and elegant.

How does having your own business differ from working for a large corporation?

I actually have a full time job too.

What has been most challenging?

Juggling work and photography has been a real battle, I’ve found myself working 15 hours a day, 7 days a week for months to get where I am today.

What are your favourite styles and looks?

I don’t have a particular style, having said that, I do still like the punk look.  I do enjoy going to Leeds and buying myself a sandwich from Greggs and just sit and look at what people are wearing. I do like to see people who have created their own unique look using high street clothing, a little imagination is all you need.

Do You Have A Favourite Walk round Lens…If So What Is It?

Haha that’s a good one, I cant leave home without my gear, I take 2 walk round lenses, a 24 x 70mm F2.8 & 70 x 200mm F2.8, the zoom lens is heavy and not really a walk round lens but you never know what you will come across.

Which one item of equipment would you say is the most important to you?

My Nikon D3x, it’s my baby !

In general, during a session, how many pictures would you say you take to find “the right one”?

A portrait sitting I can take about 300+ shots but fashion shows around a 1000, I get a little trigger happy sometimes.

Have you got any advice can you offer to anyone interested in fashion photography?

My advice is do it !  you meet some amazing people and gain a good insight in to the world of fashion.

Over the last year I’ve been lucky enough to shoot Katie Price, Big Brother contestant Stuart Pilkington, Calvin Klein model Neil Lumberg, several bands like Saxon, Buzzcocks, Stiff Little Fingers & The Levellers.

For more photo’s check out his fan page. Now to share some of the night for those of you who were unable to make it…

OMG the items showcased were to die for, everyone had clearly been working so hard in the run up to this event and what a great evening it was.

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Fashion Design, the interview some do’s and don’ts

I found this information whilst reading Fashion Design by Sue Jenkyn Jones and felt it would be rude not to share what I found in her book…

‘Do some homework on the company so that you have a reasonable idea of its history, product line and market.

Make sure you know exactly where to go, and arrive in plenty of time so that you are not hot and flustered. You are likely to be nervous, so collect your thoughts quietly and run over the key things you would like to say or ask your interviewer about the company or the job.

How you dress will make an impression, but don’t over do it. Wearing one of your own creations is appropriate, providing it is not out-of-place. Do not smoke or chew gum or make jokes. Try not to fiddle with your hair or fidget. Good posture and good body language will demonstrate confidence.

Be honest about your skills and back up your strengths with examples from your portfolio. Some companies will be prepared to give you training in specialist areas, so do not pretend you can do things you cannot.

A friendly, flexible and persevering demeanour can work wonders. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Look on any job as an opportunity to learn and develop new skills and talents. Smile and make eye contact.

Ask about aspects of the job that you do not understand or which have not been mentioned, such as working hours and number of people to whom you would report. Ask about how the job could develop in the future. It is not wise to appear to eager to discuss wages, pick your moment.  Don’t however accept the job without knowing the financial package .

Don’t appear either too cool or too desperate. Even if you have other job offers do not talk about these at length. The company will want to hear that you are primarily interested in it.

Do not leave your portfolio behind to be looked at by someone who is absent. Always make another appointment. Not all companies are honest.

If you are not successful on this occasion don’t be disheartened. An ability to bounce back and believe in yourself and the skills you have worked hard to achieve will be recognised sooner or later’.

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