photographer

Megaphone moments

I’ve been out in the virtual work with my virtual megaphone promoting my work and my message for more diversity and inclusion in the fashion industry. One of my favourite podcasts, Girls with Goals, invited me on for a chat to talk all things fashion and photography and it was so exciting to be a guest on the show alongside Millie Mackintosh. I had a great chat with host, Niamh Maher, about how I got into fashion photography, who my role models are, and the changes I would like to see in the industry as well as the steps I’m taking to make those changes. Be the change you want to see and all that! Have a listen here

I’ve also recently been interviewed by YouPic. YouPic is an online for photographers to share and get feedback on their work from other photographers. It’s also a platform for photographers to get exposure for their work and build relationships with new clients. Premium members also have access to all kinds of online photography courses on things from basic composition to lighting, aperture, shutter speed and more. Have a read of my interview here.

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I’ve got some more interviews coming up which I’m excited to share, keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more details!

Interview on Ctrl Alt Delete podcast

Very excited to say I was recently interviewed by my pal Emma Gannon for her brilliant podcast Ctrl Alt Delete! Emma and I have a friendship borne of a professional relationship borne of a rather swanky, if a little tipsy, meeting at an industry 'do'. I ended up shooting Emma's first book cover (read more about that shoot here), the art work for the podcast, and various other projects together so we had lots to talk about in this episode. We also chat about my commitment to inclusion riders, working in the early days of motherhood, and the anxiety I felt during pregnancy about maintaining a career I had worked so hard for alongside being a mother. It's a personal one and worth listen (if I do say so myself). Check it out here

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Fabergé woman

Last year, I shot some imagery for Fabergé's social channels, which was one of the more fabulous experiences of my life! Nothing quite like a table filled with sapphires, rubies, emeralds, diamonds and gold to get you inspired. Of course, I absolutely had to try all the jewellery on in order to get inside the head of the Fabergé woman - all in the name of research! This is what ran through my mind... 

1) Valentine's day is coming up so TREAT YO SELF because you gotta love yourself first riiiigggghht? 

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2) SMILE because, hello? You're dripping in Fabergé and what could be better than that?  

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3) Nothing, nothing is better than that. You're a Fabergé woman. Go forth and conquer the world. 

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It was a real pleasure to work with Fabergé on this shoot with a wonderful creative team: stylist Kristine Kilty, MUA Joanne Reyes Pidlaoan, hair stylist Evan Huang and models Nancy from BMA and Kirsty from MOT. Thanks for having me! 

Favourite photos 2017

Another year gone! I know it’s a cliché to say but this really has been the fastest one yet. I can’t *believe* it’s been a year since I was putting together my favourite photos of 2016. Back then I was just a few weeks pregnant, and now we have a 4 month old baby, we’ve moved house, and I’ve had a year of bigger work projects, new types of collaborations such as a brand ambassadorship for DataColor,  and much bigger challenges, both personal and professional. I’m quite proud of myself for making it to the end of the year actually!

So way back in January I was asked to shoot the promo imagery for the talkRADIO show, the Badass Women’s Hour. What an honour! BAWH is now one of my favourite podcasts I download each week. It was exciting when the imagery was featured on the iTunes home page!

Badass Women's Hour, talkRAdio, Saturday 8 p.m.

Badass Women's Hour, talkRAdio, Saturday 8 p.m.

In February, I shot, in collaboration with my friend Nick Field, the poster imagery for artist, Louise Orwin’s explosive new show ‘Oh yes, oh no’. The imagery from this shoot was featured in so many places, but I was delighted to pick up a copy of TimeOut one day and find the imagery in there!

Louise Orwin in 'Oh yes, oh no'

Louise Orwin in 'Oh yes, oh no'

If you follow me on instagram (and if not, why not?! @hollymcglynnphotographer) you’ll know I said a few weeks ago that this is my favourite photo I’ve taken so far this year. Looking at all these photos now though, I can't decide on a single favourite! This shot is one of the images from the ‘Blade Runner’ editorial I shot for House of Coco magazine back in March.

'Blade Runner' for House of Coco Magazine

'Blade Runner' for House of Coco Magazine

In April, I shot something a little different for the inaugural issue of menswear magazine WattsWhat. It was still a fashion editorial but technically a still life, as the clothes weren’t modelled, but animated to look like they were. I actually wrote a blog post on how I created this imagery, as I had a lot of questions about it. Check it out here if you’re interested.

'Catch me if you can' for WattsWhat Magazine

'Catch me if you can' for WattsWhat Magazine

I’ve wanted to work with 55 Pages magazine since I met the editor Chris at LFW a few seasons back. In May, I got my chance with this editorial ‘Red Revolution’. Fortuitously, this fashion and  politics magazine came out on the same day as the results of the snap general election which showed Labour had far more of a stronghold than the Tories gave them credit for. It may not technically have been a win, but it sure felt like one.

'Red Revolution' for 55 Pages Magazine

'Red Revolution' for 55 Pages Magazine

In June, I once again had the incredible opportunity to shoot with one of my all time favourite clients, Levi’s. The Levi’s Tailor Shop was popping up in Selfridge’s and I shot some assets to promote it.

Levi's x Selfridges

Levi's x Selfridges

Fellow Irish woman Lauren Arthurs contacted me in July, literally 4 days before my due date to tell me she was in London for a few days and to ask if I was up for a shoot. Well of course I was! 

Lauren Arthurs, lovelauren.eu

Lauren Arthurs, lovelauren.eu

Ok, so I’ve just realised I didn’t actually shoot anything in August! I *suppose* having a 2 week old baby was the main reason, but we all know fashion takes August off anyway so the baby knew what he was doing. What I did do in August however was go to a meeting with Fabergé to discuss our upcoming shoot in September…and this is my favourite image from that shoot. So smiley!

Faberge

Faberge

In October, reunited with my dear friend Ella who I haven’t shot with for ages, we collaborated on this shoot as part of a larger AmEx campaign called #EverydayPerks

AmEx #EverydayPerks

AmEx #EverydayPerks

In November I was delighted to be once more commissioned by 55 Pages magazine for a fresh new editorial. It’s really hard to pick one favourite image from this shoot but I’m going to say this one, but I reserve the right to change my mind!

'Autumn's Spring' 55 Pages Magazine

'Autumn's Spring' 55 Pages Magazine

My friend Pádraic Delaney is one of the stars of the new show ‘Knightfall’ and we got together in December to shoot some really cool promo images. They’re dark and sultry and quite different from what I normally do but I’m thrilled with them!

Pádraic Delaney

Pádraic Delaney

So that’s it! 2017 condensed into 11 photos. Of course, this is only a small section of work from the year but these are my favourites. I’m happy to say that there are about 4 shoots this year that I would consider some of my favourite and best work to date. It's good to see progress at all stages of your career, which is why I like doing these posts so much. I’m excited to see what 2018 brings!

New YouTube video - working with modelling agencies

My latest YouTube video gives my top 5 tips for photographers who want to start testing with new faces from modelling agencies. This is a new series I'm developing where I give 5 tips on various elements involved in being a photographer. I've already made a video on 5 marketing tips for photographers which you can view here. If there's any particular videos you'd like to see from me, let me know in the comments below!

New work for 55 Pages magazine

My latest editorial for issue 12 of 55 pages magazine is out now! I met the editor, Chris, at London Fashion Week in September last year and was struck by the political spirit that pervaded the magazine. I knew I wanted to shoot an editorial for this unique magazine.

Although my editorial would be trend lead, in the wake of the snap general election I wanted the shoot to make a political statement as well, or at least nail my colours to the wall in some way. 55 pages is a Labour supporting title, red is a huge trend for AW17, and so 'Red Revolution' was born!  

You can view the full editorial here. As is always the way, the magazine chose different photos to those I would have chosen; they're looking for different things. The stylist and make up artist will choose different photos to me as well. They'll will be looking for photos that showcase the clothes or make up best. Everyone on set has a different priority. 

My blog is a place where I can share my favourite photos, not those chosen by someone else, so here are my favourite photos from this shoot     

We shot at Sunset Studio in Peckham with an amazing team and some fantastic brands such as Teatum Jones, Scoth & Soda, Preen Line plus exciting new labels Helen Lawrence, Havva and RDLux at Young British Designers. Looking forward to my next editorial for 55 Pages already! 

Organising your photography equipment with TrekPak!

I’ve mentioned before that some advice I got as a young photographer starting out was not to get preoccupied with the latest model of equipment and feel pressure to keep up with the constantly changing advances in technology. Far better, I was told, to focus on improving your skills with the equipment you have. This advice has always stuck with me and I haven’t ever felt obliged to keep up with the latest model. I've only upgraded when I felt I’ve gone as far as I can go with my current equipment. This has allowed me to stay focused and, as the phrase goes, ‘never blame my tools’.

This advice has also extended to how I carry my equipment around. I once read an interview with a famous photographer (whose name, frustratingly, escapes me at present!) who said they used to carry their equipment around in a plastic bag. This reinforced the lesson I learned starting out, so I always thought, ‘if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me’. But I definitely found maintaining my 'earthy' methods of transporting my equipment more of a struggle than resisting the peer pressure to upgrade my kit. I’ve always wanted to look stylish going on shoots so for years I carried my equipment around in various different hand bags, usually carrying two or three at a time because one wouldn’t fit everything. The upshot of this was my back and shoulders were always sore, I arrived on set a sweaty mess (thus completely undermining my goal of looking chic) and most importantly, my camera equipment wasn’t properly protected.

About a year ago, my selfless mum lent me her very stylish carry-on case when I was taking a flight from Dublin to London and didn’t have enough room for everything. This case (which I still haven’t returned #terribledaughter) quickly became my camera equipment case. Undoubtedly a vast improvement on my situation but still not ideal. The equipment was easy to carry around and I arrived on set less sweaty. BUT the equipment still wasn’t protected - the case simply wasn’t designed for that purpose - and I could never find anything because the gear was thrown together, pell-mell, in one large compartment.

Imagine my DELIGHT when a company called Peli Products reached out and said they wanted to collaborate on the TrekPak divider system they stock. TrekPak have developed a customisable divider system for the Peli case range which protects and organises your photography equipment. I make no exaggeration when I say, it’s changed my life! Now the proud owner of a Peli 1510 Protector Case, I finally have appropriate and robust protection for my equipment. The case is virtually indestructible (plus all cases come with a lifetime guarantee) and the dimensions mean it can be taken as carry-on luggage with most airlines. SO handy.

Trekpak make inserts to fit a whole host of different Peli case sizes - here’s the one to fit the 1510 case. They all come with protective top foam and bottom foam (designed to fit around the wheels and handle of the case) as well as perimeter pieces of foam - also designed to fit the case perfectly. The really clever part though is the dividers, cutting tool and pins provided which allow the user to create as many compartments as they need to feel organised. I’ve made this short YouTube video to show you how I’ve organised my TrekPak and how quick n' easy the whole process is.

As you can see, I’ve created three compartments: one for my nano stand, one for my camera and flash unit, and one for sundries such as radio triggers, spare batteries, memory cards etc. This is perfect for organising and transporting shoot essentials and the beauty of the foam dividers provided is that if I want to reorganise my gear in a different way, I just need to cut a new piece and pin it in.

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Before

After

After

Organised bliss!

Organised bliss!

Before I started using TrekPak I hadn’t realised how much time I wasted on a shoot looking for smaller items like memory cards or batteries. Now that everything is organised, I can find it immediately. I can’t recommend the Peli case and TrekPak highly enough, the only downside is that I now have no excuse not to return my mum’s suitcase…

Shooting for Noctis Magazine

Back in March I shot this SS17 menswear editorial for Noctis Magazine. It was my first time shooting with Sinclair from First and let me tell you, it won't be my last! Sinclair is such a great model, full of ideas and absolutely fearless - I've never seen anyone so readily pole vault fences or scale drain pipes.  

Our stylist, Dani, had pulled some amazing brands such as House of Holland x Umbro and KTZ

As ever, I shot with flash, my trusty Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT never lets me down! The one photo in this editorial where I haven't used flash (can you guess which one?) happened purely because I was shooting faster than the recycling speed of the flash and I quite liked the result. 

We used my apartment as a base for grooming and outfit changes and then walked 15 minutes to the location. This eventually became too tedious and time-consuming to do each time so some changes may have taken place behind walls and wheelie bins. Never let anyone tell you fashion is glamorous!  All in all, it was a fab day with a great team - thanks for having me Noctis!

Shooting for House of Coco Magazine

I'm delighted to share this exclusive editorial I shot for House of Coco Magazine - Blade Runner. I used gels for the first time in my career and loved it, I'll definitely be using them again. They can be tricky to get right but with a bit of trial and error we found the balance. I'm excited to say I'll be shooting again for House of Coco later in the year so watch this space! 

Such a pleasure to shoot with Sarah Obende from First Model Management, her look was absolutely perfect for this editorial. Huge thanks to Smashbox Studio for letting us use their amazing space and their very talented MUA Joanne Reyes for the stunning make up. Art direction by the wonderful Charlotte Lea and awesome, futuristic styling by Karine Jones.  

New video - 5 marketing tips for photographers

My latest YouTube video is all about my top 5 marketing tips for photographers. The video expands a bit on a blog post I wrote on this subject previously but I've included a couple of new items including some really cool business card drives from USB memory direct - watch the video below or click here to view. 

What's in my camera bag?

I've made a video all about what's in my camera bag. I have blogged on the subject before but this video goes into a lot more detail - perhaps too much! Check it out, I'd love to know what you think. If you have an idea for a video you'd really like to see from me, let me know in the comments below. 

'Damn cool bridesmaids' - new YouTube video with Rewritten

Late last year I shot with bridesmaid dress label Rewritten who make affordable, luxury dresses for 'damn cool bridesmaids'. You might remember in my first YouTube video - I promised interviews with designers, models, make-up artists and various fashion industry folk. Well, it's taken a while but I've finally delivered on this promise with an interview with Frances Hudson and Katie Arnott - co-founders of ReWritten. 

These ladies have a really inspiring story about how they started their brand so it's well worth a watch if you're thinking about starting your own business, are interested in fashion or are in the market for some beautiful bridesmaid dresses! 

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I love the images from our shoot last year and I especially love the fact that the red 'chianti' dress is red wine proof! If you like this video, do subscribe to my channel for my behind the scenes on fashion shoots and interviews coming soon! 

Dreamingless Magazine cover shoot

I have mentioned before that I started working with model and DJ, Zara Martin last year. Zara and I had said for months that we would like to shoot something more creative together so at the start of December, having put together a damn fine creative team, we arrived at Smashbox Studios for a day of shooting. We had decided to submit an editorial to Dreamingless Magazine, a favourite I've shot with before, which would be coming out towards the end of the month - near NYE. The working title was ‘Last night a DJ saved my life’ (geddit?!) so the outfits were sparkling and we had glitter canons at the ready. The glitter canons actually caused something of a stir in the studio, we had no idea how loud they were going to be. Despite almost bursting everyone’s eardrums/risking cardiac arrest, the canons created a beautiful effect which snagged us the front cover! Totally worth it.

Inevitably, some of my favourite shots didn’t make the cut. I’ve spoken before about the photographer and client having different priorities. So here are some of my favourites, because if I can’t sneak them into my own blog, where can I?! 

Shoot credits

Art Direction by Charlotte Lea

Styling by Daniela Suarez

Stylist assistant Rojan Said

Make up by Joanne Reyes using Smashbox

Hair by James Wilson 

 

Shooting: challenges and rewards

 

On a Saturday night towards the end of last year, I received a call from an unknown number while I was cooking dinner. I almost didn’t answer because we had guests over at the time, but I decided to abandon my hostessing duties for a moment. As it turns out, the call was from Debut Magazine, asking me if I was available to shoot the main fashion editorial for their December issue that coming Monday morning. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I said yes. I suppose someone dropped out, but I was only too happy to pick up the slack.

The theme of the issue was ‘Celebration’ and the editors wanted the editorial to depict a raucous Christmas party. Well, maybe I added raucous to the brief actually. We were shooting at Bodo’s Schloss in Kensington, which for those of you who don’t know, is an Alpine ski lodge themed bar. Kitsch doesn’t begin to cover it and I’d say they’ve seen a raucous party or two in their time. When myself and my assistant, Charlotte, arrived the first thing we saw was a life size plastic reindeer on wheels. I immediately thought of the iconic picture of Jade Jagger riding a horse in Studio 54 so we made reinterpreting that photo our top priority.

Shooting for clients is a privilege, of course, but I think most photographers would agree that there is often a chasm between what you want to get out of a shoot versus what your client wants to get out of the shoot. You have different priorities and it’s important for both sides to remain respectful of that. You need to appreciate that a client is paying you to shoot what they want but equally the client needs to appreciate that they have booked you for your particular style so there is little point in asking you to make a departure from that. If so, they may as well have booked a different photographer. 

This shoot was no different, there were frames we agreed on and frames we didn’t. Set-ups I loved and set-ups the client didn’t. You figure out a compromise as you go along. Sometimes a challenge can be that a client will want to see an entire look from head to toe. But I feel that an 8-10 page editorial of full looks, using the same focal length, has no cadence and no story. And I'm all about telling a story. 

This red dress was the last look we were shooting and I was finding it quite tricky. Especially as we had shot in every possible nook and cranny of the location already. Below is a shot I thought was really fun, but Debut didn’t like. The shot below that is the one we finally worked out and agreed on. And I love it! 

This shoot was unusual as I slotted in last minute. I normally have more time to prepare for my shoots, get to grips with the mood board and styling and help choose the models. I wasn’t involved in any of the preparation for the shoot and I felt the effects of that. I didn’t quite have the same ownership of and vision for this shoot as I would for others. But you’ve got to challenge yourself, put yourself into new situations, make some mistakes, and think on your feet if you want to improve. I’m delighted I did this shoot and it’s always such a thrill to see your work in print. Thanks for having me Debut!

If you'd like more chat about common challenges photographers face - let me know in the comments below! 

 

Interview for Adorama TV

A few months ago I was approached by a Cutting Edge Productions who work on behalf of Adorama TV to produce the 'Out of the Darkroom' show with Ruth Medjber. In this show Ruth, a music and portrait photographer herself, interviews a selection of her favourite professional photographers in Ireland, the UK and the rest of Europe about the photographers’ practice methods, their equipment, their style and so on. 

Adorama is a behemoth, one of America’s biggest photography retailers with a huge following on YouTube. The interview sounded really fun and coincided with a work trip back to Dublin (for my fashion photography workshop at the Gallery of Photography) so of course I was game!

In part I of the interview we chat about my career, how I got started in photography, developed my style, what I think makes a successful photo, the realities of being a fashion photographer and give one or two tips along the way. 

In part II, we focus a bit more on the technical side of my practise, what equipment I use, and the retouching I undertake. 

I had a blast chatting with Ruth, she’s so warm and friendly, and I intend on making her my friend post-haste! Let me know what you think of the interviews in the comments below and if you have any burning questions that I didn’t chat to Ruth about here, let me know!

Shooting for Dreamingless Magazine

 

Last month, my editorial for Dreamingless Magazine came out. As is fashon’s fickle nature, spring/summer stories tend to be shot in the winter and autumn/winter stories in the summer. With the collections shown a few months previously, this is so the stories are ready to publish in the relevant season. However, catwalk-to-shop retail models are slowly emerging, with big players such as Burberry, Toyshop, and Ralph Lauren at the helm. What the implications of this will be for shooting timelines and the fashion industry as a whole, remains to be seen. We are in the midst of a frenetic change so we’ve got to ride the tide and see how it all pans out. But I digress. My point is, I shot this dark AW16 editorial at the height of summer, on a sweltering hot day in July. My challenge was to control the light in such a way that it looked nocturnal or wintry…or at the very least, not the heatwave we were experiencing. Using flash and shooting on a small aperture always helps…as does Photoshop. 

I was so excited to book Lexi from M+P for this shoot. Lexi got down to the final five in the most recent series of Britain’s Next Top Model and has a girl-next-door-gorge look. Lexi was energetic, versatile, full of creative ideas and possessed a steely determination to do anything to get the shot. Ideal! I'll definitely work with her again in the future.

Natasha Freeman styled up some amazing looks for this shoot and make-up artist Erica Schlegel created some smokey eyed deliciousness for us. Both Natasha and Erica have seriously impressive client lists so I was thrilled to have such a brilliant creative team on board. Here are some of the tear sheets plus a selection of some of my favourite shots that weren’t published. Hope you like them!

 

It Takes Two - shooting with Radley

 

A couple of months ago I was approached by luxury leather brand, Radley, about a collaboration. Being a huge fan of the company, I was delighted. I get a lot of emails about shooting for brands but I became a little confused about half way through the email when I realised that Radley didn’t want me to take the photos, they wanted me to be in the photos. Bit of a role reversal pour moi!

Radley were running a feature called ‘It Takes Two’ about how women seem to carry a crossbody bag for valuables and a tote for shopping and laptops to go about their day. They wanted to shoot some inspirational women (their words!) with a matching Radley tote and cross body and they wanted me to be one of those women! Being on the other side of the lens is not my comfort zone but it was such an honour to be asked by a brand I love so I jumped at the chance.

Radley wanted to build a story around the shoot (which I delighted about, I think is really important to have a narrative in a shoot) so we shot a story about a day in my life as a photographer. I’m often running from meetings to location reccies with my laptop and camera in my tote bag and a lens cloth and batteries in my cross body (for quick access).

I was keen to know who would be shooting and a bit nervous about being shot by another photographer.  I was also conscious that I wouldn’t be in control of how things would be shot because I was on another photographer’s 'set'. I don't relinquish control easily! But I needn’t have worried because Kylie Eyra is wonderful. She made me feel really relaxed and confident before we started shooting, was encouraging throughout, gave great direction, and took beautiful photos. I’m thrilled with the results and to be in the excellent company of author Laura-Jane Williams and founder of Quill, Lucy Edmonds. Thank you so much to Lauren and Sara from Radley for having me! 

All images by Kylie Eyra