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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Little Black Dress Charity Event, great success

The Little Black Dress Fashion and Beauty charity Event was an absolute success and from what I gather everyone enjoyed the Temple Spa hosted event. There was a real buzz of excitement as over 150 fashion and beauty lovers filled the Alea Casino, Clarence Dock, Leeds.

Many ladies were secret santa’s bringing along gifts for 96.3 Radio Aires Cash For Kidz Christmas Appeal in association with Asda. Every year thousands of children across the region wake up on Christmas morning with no presents, its heart breaking and sad to know this really is happening. I don’t think people realise quite how much the Leeds Fashion scene does for charity its constant. Christmas Kisses and the Raffle raised almost £300 – thank you to everyone for your kind support.

Proceeds from the raffle will go to Temple Spa West Yorkshire’s chosen charity, Mercy, a national charity helping young women between the ages of 18-28, suffering from life controlling issues, such as eating disorders, self-harm, depression, and the effects of abuse in all its forms, providing support that tackles the root causes of these issues. Mercy seek to break the cycle of destruction, by helping one young woman at a time find freedom and restoration in a beautiful and safe home-like environment.

Well done to everyone involved in planning and organising the event, what successful and enjoyed evening out with the girls!!

To see more photo’s from the night please check out photo’s on the WildChildMedia Facebook Page also TempleSpa Facebook Page.

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Richard Emden, a creative soul

This season will be celebrating the 10th year of Bracher Emden luxury handbags and hasn’t it been an eventful and exciting 10 years for Richard Emden and everyoone who has been involved with developing such a fabulous brand.

Since the birth of this magical entity in Covent Garden 2002 Richard Emden and his team have quickly and successfully developed the brand into an internationally recognised name. Bracher Emden has taken to the catwalks of London Fashion Week, showcased in the windows of Selfridges, taken over the billboards of London, raised money for Breast Cancer, hung off the arms of the famous and collaborated with names that will never be forgotten.

Richard Emden came from a creative background and so he was always going to be a recipe for fabulous creations, his Mother was a hairdresser and his Father was an art printer. Growing up Emden knew he was in for a creative ride, when he left school he literally tried everything from graffiti, dance, hairdressing, to prop and window design. Emden finally found his true forte with womens handbags and yes Emden is straight incase you were wondering! He first started out customizing trainers for Nike to designing props and window displays for Moschino, Harrods and Harvey Nichols.   ‘These experiences in prop design has definitely carried through to my structural, 3-dimensional handbag designs’ says the dynamic designer.

Emden spends a lot of time in Thailand looking for inspiration and sourcing different materials at the many markets. When he has some time to relax which isn’t too often  his favourite bar to visit is Bar 23 in Bangkok, ‘it’s where a lot of photographers, designers and artists hangout and a great place to meet some very interesting, creative people’. It’s not just the bars of Bangkok making an impression, Richard has found some great places where he can enjoy authentic Thai food, a favourite of place to eat is The Face. Whilst he loves Thailand Richard Emden loves England too he reminds us ‘you can’t beat a homemade Sunday Roast’ this is so true…oh and a good old English cup of tea??!! Back in his hometown of London, he has a soft spot for Mishkin on  Catherine Street ‘a ‘kind of Jewish deli with cocktails’ check out their website I love it, what more does one need?!!

Fashion is a fast moving industry and so Emden doesn’t get to holiday very often but when he is done working in Bangkok he likes to escape to Koh Lanta which by the way consists of about 52 islands!! Emden has found the perfect location where he can relax and unwhind from the hustle and the bustle of cities and truly relax ‘in one of the most underdeveloped areas of Thailand’.

In 2004 Emden created the lace-up Parker a bag inspired by Peter Parkers mask in Spiderman an interesing angle on inspiration, I had to ask… have films always been a part of your inspiration? Who and what has influenced your collections most? ‘All my inspiration comes from comic books.  I am a massive fan of DC & Marvel comics.  HR Geiger was a huge inspiration for our iconic Breast bag and several clutches of past seasons.  This masculine element in my design is what gives my women’s handbags individuality’.

Richard Emden has been extremely successful and his creations have become must have items amongst the rich and the famous, I had to nosey on a little bit further…How did it feel when you started seeing your bags hanging off the arms of celebrities? Saw your marvellous creations in the shop windows of prestigious stores such as Oxford Streets Selfridges? Was there ever a moment you had to stop and pinch yourself?!! ‘At the time, it was all a bit of a whirlwind.  One minute, we were quietly making leather bags at our humble Covent Garden store, and the next we were getting orders from prestigious stores all around the world.  Then the whole celebrity thing began when Beyoncé was spotted wearing our Breast bag.  It was great to know that I was not only wanted by the luxury market but also by amazing artists’.

When Emden started the company in 2001 it wasn’t to show the world who he was, it was to enjoy life and do what made him happy and this hasn’t changed. Emden really values his team and seems very grateful to have such wonderful people in his life ‘as the company rapidly grew, I had to surround myself with a team of special people.  Without these people, that have remained loyal to this day, there would be no brand!  We all still work as one, developing Bracher Emden each season’.

I wondered what it was that made his brand and ranges different this is how he responded ‘ my style is certainly different, and sets me apart in many ways. It’s an explosion of ergonomic shapes that mostly derive from female curves, with layers of different exotic skins fused to make an item of beauty.  My favourite bag would have to be the Geo clutch. A sleek weapon like shape that elegantly moulds to a woman’s hand as soon as it is picked up’ perfect…words to my little ears!

Emden only knows too well that the industry isn’t as glamourous as preconceptions may have us all fooled into believing ‘the lows are the deadlines and  fashion is certainly not as glamorous as it portrays’. ‘It can be shallow and extremely cut-throat.  It’s also about who you know and not what you know most of the time’. On a more positive note the highs seem to make up for those more stressful lows ‘the highs have to be seeing and hearing people’s excitement when they receive their bags.  We also offer a bespoke service on our website, where I personally make and design the bags; each bag takes several days to finish, and receiving thank you emails when they finally reach the customer is great’.

I’m looking forward to what 2012 holds for us I asked Richard Emden what’s next for Bracher Emden? ‘Collaborations.  We will be working with several other designers to expand the brand, appearing on several catwalk shows as well as designing bags for cosmetic , sunglasses and clotheswear brands.

And what trends can we expect to see dominating the 2012/2013 catwalks? ‘I have always had a passion for anything futuristic, and SS12 has been the best time to let this lead my designs. Futuristic trends and geometric shapes are huge right now. This is certainly apparent throughout the whole collection.  Bracher Emden featured on the SS12 catwalk with Jean-Pierre Braganza, and will be collaborating for London Fashion Week again for AW12, with prestigious designer, Bora Aksu’.

Words of wisdom from Richard Emden are ‘know yourself, believe in yourself and grow a thick skin.  Believe in your design.  Take everything on board but don’t take everything to heart’.

His quote of the moment:  “Amalgamation” – (more of a ‘word of the season’) and he recommends Progressive Breakbeat

What a wonderful brand and what a wonderful creator, thank you Richard Emden it’s been a pleasure getting to know more about you!!

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Little Black Dress Fashion & Beauty Charity Event

Tomorrow night 6th December see’s yet another fabulous event taking place in Leeds at Alea Casino, Clarence Dock ( from 7pm). Luxury lifestyle brand Temple Spa will be hosting the evening in partnership with 96.3 Radio Aire’s Cash for Kidz Christmas Appeal in association with Asda.

Every year thousands of children across the region wake up on Christmas morning with no presents, the event is not only providing an opportunity for ladies to celebrate their fabulousness also a chance to be a ‘Secret Santa’ by buying an extra present to help make a real difference to a local child this Christmas. Ladies can drop their new and un-wrapped gift under the Radio Aire Christmas tree which will be in the market place alongside the mistletoe stop!

Alea Casino will be transformed into a Fashion and Beauty market place bringing together local designers, boutiques, make up artists, stylists, models, hair dressers and many other creatives. On the night you can expect to receive first class treatment from the moment you arrive to moment you have to prize yourself away from this fabulous event, on arrival expect a drink and some delicious canapes!!

The Fashion and Beauty Market Place will be your space to receive styling tips, beauty advice and the opportunity to shop ‘til you drop, picking up Christmas treats for yourself and others from; Phenomenon Couture, clutch bags, W’mann Boutique, Bird Shell/ Bird Yard Boutique, Rachel Roberts of Audere, Couture Hats, Mandy Vowles, Carl Stuart, Tony McLaughlin from Mac Hair Essentials, Hearts for U Candles, Bling, InFACT Anything, Julie Fisher of Jools Clothing, Fiona Cooper Bespoke Gowns, Marmalade Jewelry… there will be a Temple Spa nail bar and also a lash bar by BoHoo Beauty, Space Wakefield.

At 8:15pm the Fashion Show will commence featuring a selection of little black dresses and seasons latest fashions from exceptional local designers from across West Yorkshire; Lucy-Jo Coombes of Phenomenon Couture, Lisa Jayne Dann (described as the as “Queen of Leeds independent Fashion”), W’mann Boutique Ossett, Rachel Roberts of Audere, Bird Shell Boutique/Birds Yard Boutique, Mandy Vowles and Couture Hats by Beth Hirst.  Our runway make-up artists are Cassie Hudson from Sublime Spa, Louise Matthews from Amber Beauty and Maria Oyedele. Dishy male models will be in Carl Stuart bespoke Tailor for dinner suits.

On the night  Temple Spa have planned for a raffle to take place and the prizes are looking rather attractive!! Local businesses have donated amazing raffle prizes, including; The Village, Mac Hair Essentials, The Box Ossett, Passion Flowers Florist, Gala Bingo, Oulton Hall,, Amaryllis, bag, Eternity Bridal Ltd… All proceeds from the raffle will go to Temple Spa West Yorkshire’s chosen charity, Mercy Ministries UK, a national charity helping young women between the ages of 18-28, suffering from life controlling issues, such as eating disorders, self-harm, depression, and the effects of abuse in all its forms, providing support that tackles the root causes of these issues. Mercy seek to break the cycle of destruction, by helping one young woman at a time find freedom and restoration in a beautiful and safe home-like environment.

Now I don’t want you missing out  on this event so this is where you can purchase a ticket.


Lara Ostertag, recent work

Creative Director Lara Ostertag is a favourite of mine and I plan to closely follow this one. This outstandingly talented young lady not only offers innovative skills and ideas she has an amazing spirit that rubs off.

When I look back on my first encounter with Lara Ostertag she was creating flyers for night clubs and using other photographers work. I recall several conversations where I could sense her bursting at the seams to do more, she enjoyed the work but it was just a stepping stone for her. ‘ Using other photographers work isn’t enough for me, I want more control over images, I’ve got concepts and I have photographers interested in working with me. I want to create my own art inspired fashion photography’.

Lara Ostertag has been very busy and a recent shoot that really caught my eye was her Twisted Heritage project. An interesting fact for you…. When you need some fog grab the talcon powder as Lara proves there’s nought better for creating that mysterious foggy theme.

When Lara and designer Laura Baker collaborated this was always a recipe for something special. Yorkshires Falconry Centre made a perfect location for setting the theme and being able to have a bird of prey star in the shoot made it even more spectacular.

Did you know it’s (Tweed) name came about by a simple communication error, back in 1830 a London merchant received a letter from a Hawick firm about some Tweels he misinterpreted the handwriting, understanding it to be a trade-name taken from the river Tweed that flows through the Scottish Borders textile area, easy mistake but a mistake that made its mark in history.

Lara has recently collborated with a team who are involved with creatng a series of new  Oxfam fashion adverts, this is a perfect opportunity for her as she shares their strong values and beliefs. ‘By coming up with a series of subtle but clever fashion advertising campaigns, I’m able to create awareness for global issues to promote the vintage fashion brand that Oxfam provides. I’m personally very excited about this project so keep an eye out over the next 6 months’.

Another shoot that caught my attention was her United Blingdon T-shirt  shoot this was my favourite image…

This is all for the moment on this great artist, people watch the Ostertag space there’s much more to come. I look forward to updating you soon with more on Lara Ostertag. In the mean time yu can stay up to date by following her on Twitter.

Photographer Simon Paterson works with Lara and all pictures are copyrighted, if anyone would like to use images please contact Lara or Simon and I’m sure they would be happy to help out.

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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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Rewinding back to Leeds Fashion Show

So Leeds Fashion Show may well be over but it’s still very much the talking point in Leeds and other places across the country. The ‘Dress Me Beautiful’ event returned for its sixth successful year.

The charity event which took place at the Leeds City Museum raised over £400 pounds for Radio Aire and Magic 828’s cash for kids from a raffle and auction held on the night.

Now for a little recap on this years awards Ewa Domanska won Designer of the Year sponsored by Accent Clothing. Ewa Domanska is a Polish fashion designer who was sewing by the age of 8. Ewa comes from a creative background and grew up with a family in the tailor business which only encouraged and prompted her natural talent and flare for design. To start with it was just a hobby,  designing clothes for friends and family and then from being a teenager she has been working as a freelance seamstress and fashion designer mixing simple and eccentric forms.

Shi-Yuen Li collected her award for Emerging Talent, sponsored by Republic. Shi-Yeun Li is a successful fashion designer who graduated from Leeds University in 2010 after studying Fashion Design. All her graments are hand made and collections are inspired by the latest and forth coming trends which serve both males and females. Recently I heard a male recently say Leeds was pants for shopping…urgh do your research boy!!!

Photography: Mike Distras, to keep up todate with Mike please follow him on Twitter.

Crystal Padmore picked up her Ethical/Renewable award, sponsored by Magic Number Three. Crystal has created some amazing pieces mixing chunky and hand crafted knits with delicate bamboo jerseys to create soft flowing silhouettes with hand knitted features. Crystals strong ethical beliefs are refelcted through her amazing  bespoke pieces created with her own hands that are strictly green and sewing mean!!See below for picture.

LFS Top Model Male and Female Awards went to the stunning Parisse Williams and Mansa Brown pictured below in order of reference:

Another successful year and big thanks to the team that organised this event in particular co founders and co-ordinators of the Leeds Fashion Show Sherelle Davidson and Rhonda Richards who have been planning and organising this event for a long time, they’ve devoted so much time and effort to this as was reflected on the night.Great memories and I’m looking forward to the next one… no pressure!!

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