First Professional Talk
So as exciting as it is, I am nervous about what I have let myself in for.
When opening my new studio in Sutton Coldfield Town centre earlier this year, I was approached to give a talk at a local photography club (Trinity Photography Group) I decided to go for it as it is an exciting new opportunity for me to do something a little bit different.
My talk is about my journey into Photography,
So as I am putting my talk together I thought I would also share my experience with you all along the way. (this blog will be part written before and part after my talk)
So let's start with about me, I am LottieLea of LottieLea Photography based in Sutton Coldfield.
A Maternity and Newborn Specialist Photographer.
I have been a photographer for 8years, and specialised in Maternity, Newborn and Family Photography for almost 5years now.
I am a huge believer in constantly learning, and that you can learn from every experience in life, in one way or another, so I have always tried to learn from many different areas and experiences in my life to make myself the best I can be.
So let's go back to the start...
When I decided to leave sixth-form, I went to college for fashion design at Walsall College, I didn't realise when I started the course that before I could specialise in Fashion I would have to first cover all art and design (Fashion, interior design, 3d, Visual studies, fine art, graphic design, and photography)
It was from doing this course that I was first pulled into my love for Photography, I loved getting people to model for me, and been in the dark room, watching my images develop. I actually enjoy doing photography so much that I asked if I could specialise in Photography, which I was told at the time the only way to do Photography was to continue with art and design , which I knew I wasn't a drawer and wouldn't do very well specialising in this. So I continued as planned and specialised in Fashion Design.
I completed my diploma in fashion and finished with merits, but I realised at this time that I didn't have the passion to make a career out of fashion, as much as I loved it it was my dream.
But I still didn't know what it was that I want to do, I went on to do my Higher National Certificate (HNC) in fashion design (equivalent to first year of university) when doing my HNC I found myself focusing and pushing on other areas of fashion, fashion journalism and photography more then the design part. which is why I decided to step back and have a year out, to figure out what it was that I wanted to do.
While I worked with the following year, I found myself still been pulled back into fashion photography. It was at this time that I found out I could now specialise in just Photography for my HNC, so I enrolled, back to Walsall college.
I was shocked that due to me not having the passion they wanted from me when I was doing my fashion HNC, I was not recommended to come back.
But luckily for me Ian (head of photography), decide to call me in for an interview, I had to do a summer project before even getting an interview, and he asked about my previous study there, which I was completely honest, I didn't want to be there my last year, so I didn't put my effort in, but this time I was determined, I knew this was what I wanted to do, and I told him I would be the best student he had, and I would get the best possible grades.
Ian took the risk and offered me a space. and I like to think I did him proud. I stayed and completed my HNC, HND, and then topped up to get my full degree (which again I told him I was aiming for the First)
I proved to everyone that deserved my space.
While doing my degree, I focused more on Fashion Photography, I started working with Local designers, to create images of their designs, even people all over the UK, started sending me garments to photograph for them, I photographed a number of runway shows, even 1 for local celebrity Lillie-Gregg.
I also started modelling for other photographers and groups, so I could understand photography from bot sides of the camera. when modelling I would be paying attention to how some people would pose me, would use things around them to create different effects in their images.
I also started studio sharing with a photographer, who I had modelled for, which allowed me the space to practice, and improve my work, and create what I need to from my degree.
When doing my final year, Ian would help me to look at other Arts away from photography (He wasn't actually a photographer, but a fine artist)
So I started looking at how photography was influenced by artist and art, from a number of different genres. I looked at Rembrandt paintings, greek and roman statues, and seeing how I could bring all these different elements into my own work.
I finished my degree with everything I had promise my tutor and mentor Ian, I graduated with a first class honours.
I also applied do do my masters at UAL for fashion photography (there were only 3 unis in the world that offered specific fashion photography - London, New York, and Paris)
UAL only accepted 11-20students a year, and even with me missing a deadline for extra work they wanted (due to me travelling) they called me for an interview as soon as I got back from my travels.
So I went down for my interview, and worked my a** off to try and get accepted. which the following day I received and email informing me that I had been offered a place.
In the following months to been offered a place, I found out I was pregnant with my first son. this did change my plans a little, as I ended up having a really hard pregnancy, and decided that moving to London was no longer the right decision.
The Uni was great and actually offered to hold me a place for the following year.
When I was pregnant I found myself looking into newborn photography more and more, and decided to give it a go, and I signed up to do some newborn specific training (it is a completely different ball game to other types of photography.)
I found myself enjoying it, and doing more training, paying attention to all the safety elements and how it was different. I decided this was it, this is what I wanted to do, so I did. I took the leap, and started my own business while still pregnant, and it has only gotten better and better.
Since I still do love my fashion side of photography, after a couple of years doing newborns, this is when I started looking at also doing maternity, so I could still bring my fashion side into some creative shoot.
And I knew the challenges, having not enjoyed been pregnant myself, I wanted to be able to make mums still look and feel amazing during their pregnancy. no they may not always feel great, but when they look back at the photos after, especially when you are no longer pregnant, you can really appreciate just what your amazing body has done.
I absolutely love doing both, and for me getting to watch a family grow and expand is a gift that just keeps on giving.
At the end of last year, I knew it was time i found my own studio space, since I was getting more work, and struggling to fit clients in, with only having access to my shared studio due to others using it.
So I took the leap, and started looking for my own space, which I found my current space in Sutton Coldfield town centre. I had to renovate everything, but I am now able to have my own working space, that allows me to offer what I need to for my clients.
As I grow even more in my business, I am looking into the different ways in printing even more than before, the elements that make your art stand out even more. styles which will make images really pop, and just show the image more.
Ive always loved seeing my work when its completed, but when you print it, it just brings a whole new element to your work.
AFTER MY TALK
So, I have now given my first professional talk to other photographers (professional/semi/hobbyist) and it wasn't as scary as I was expecting.
everyone was very friendly, and was happy to hear from a local photographer who does something different to what most of them did themselves.
It allowed them to look at things differently, and from a different way of working, especially with the time and work that goes into newborn shoots.