Why creative personal projects are important…

Every now and again you will find a photographer sending out “Model calls” so what exactly are these and why do photographers do TFP? what is that all about?

Okay so TFP stands for “Time for Print” which means no money is exchanged through hands, instead a photographer will give the person they are photographing images on a disk/USB or digital download instead, the number of images this is depends on the photographer and in turn both parties are responsible for equal effort in travel, studio fees, styling ect This should be properly discussed prior to the photo shoot as both parties will then benefit from the photoshoot.

Why do photographers do TFP? Most new photographers will do this when they are just starting out and learning how to photograph. So the likelihood the photos you will receive won’t be highly professional but an artist must learn their craft first, before they can have a business and have a standard of skill before they can charge for what they do and then a photographer will start their costs off low and raise them as their business grows.

Another reason for an established photographer to photograph TFP is to update their portfolio when they have developed their skills or to try out a new method they want to learn (or have learned) or even model new props and set design that they can then use for advertising.

Thirdly, a photographer who is a true artist must have a “Creative down time” which is when a photographer plans a detailed styled shoot to release their creativity, where they may not be able to in everyday life and this will keep their creativity flowing as lack of creativity and artistic outlet can cause an artist to become stagnant and dislike what they do.

Recently I have had one of these photo shoots, I try and have at least four fully planned artistic photo shoots throughout the year for myself. This one I worked in collaboration with Pauline Loven, a woman I have worked with a few times before. Pauline hand makes authentic period costumes for films. Her work can be seen on “Tell them of Us” which has been aired on TV many times. I also worked with a model Bryony, who I have been working with since 2010 when she was only 15 years old. Since the beginning of my journey bryony has been there and we have made some great work together. Here we have an 18th Century dress photographed in Sudbrook.

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I hope you like the photos as much as I do!

You can find Pauline here: http://www.periodcostume.co.uk

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Love and light, Victoria.

My top 4 smartest business decisions

So what are the best decisions I have done regarding my photography business in the last 5 years?

1- Invest in training. 

This has to be my biggest achievement, because I knew so little and really was “Winging it” when I first started my business, investing in the specialized training allowed me to not only improve my skills but also my business management and allow me to overall grow.

2- Give everything a go.

This sounds a little strange, but when I first started photography I dabbled in pretty much everything that came my way. This gave me experience in the subject and also allowed me to realize what I like and what I don’t. I then was able to invest in what I did like and work on that so I could truly do what I love as there is no point in doing a job you dislike right!

3- Start from the bottom and create my own path. 

I had no help whatsoever with my business and I literally started with nothing, not even a DSLR! But this allowed me to grow into myself as a person that I ever imagined! I have had many lessons, failures even and some moments of achievements and building up my business of trial and error and buying equipment when I had saved the money kept me out of debt. Creating my own path as my own boss I am able to reach of my own dreams even if there is blood, sweat and tears involved.

4- Taking a break. 

I took a break in March 2015 when I had a huge life changing event, I was exhausted and I wasn’t at my best physically and mentally and this would have effected my work. Although it was a tough decision to make, it was the best one as It allowed me to recover and come back stronger and with more clarity when I returned 7 months later.

So yes, there are my best decisions I have made with my business, what do you think?

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Love and Light Victoria.

My favorite past photshoots- Gainsborough Portrait photographer

So since the years of being in business, what are my favorite all time shoots? I’m going to choose one from every year.

2011: Katrina’s Maternity shoot. 

This has to be my very first family photography shoot, this is when I was in fact pregnant  with my first child at 27 weeks and I was photographing my friend who was in her 3rd trimester and about to drop. Katrina wanted to record this milestone in her life and she liked my photos so I went over to her house with my little Kodak bridge camera which unfortunately actually malfunctioned half way through the shoot! Luckily I had a back up camera with me which was my little digital camera I always carried around with me.

This is my favorite photo from the session, she was facing her front door, the shoot was so very simple and friendly and it was the very start of my business.

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2012: The Gilbert family

This photoshoot I had with the Gilbert family, mum, dad and two boys and we went to Lea park and it was a autumn day and the colors were so rich and beautiful, it was such a lovely relaxed shoot and I got so many amazing photographs.

This photograph I still use in my portfolio today, 5 years later!

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2013: Madison and Ruben.

This photoshoot I did for Sarah who wanted two special little people photographed as she is their god mother. I went over to Stalligborough to their farm and we had a photoshoot in a wheat field, it was so lovely to do something different to my everyday sessions. The shoot went really well and I had loads of fun and got to take my daughter to the beach afterwards!

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2014: Baby Asher 

This was one of my shoots done after my specialized Newborn safety and posing training and although the first attempt didn’t go smoothly, I re scheduled and photographed him a few days later where I was able to get some amazing posed photos of him and this really started my journey into the professional level of Newborn posed imagery.

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2015: Baby Millie

I was so pleased to be able to photograph baby Millie, Millie’s mum Hayligh was pregnant at the same time as me with my second child Leo, I was ahead of her only by one week. Unfortunately Millie was born early at a mere 28 weeks gestation due to complications in the womb where the placenta failed at 23 weeks. Millie was born at 1 lb 2 oz and went down to a tiny 500gms! She spent almost 6 months in hospital and was tube fed through a NG tube and had an oxygen tank. Millie was turning one years old near the time of our shoot and couldn’t quite sit up yet but was making leaps and bounds with her recovery with several medical problems. Today Millie is off her oxygen but has a PEG tube.

This is the precious little warrior Millie!

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2016: Isaac

I got to photograph another amazing little boy last year, Issac was born with a Congenital heart defect with a lot of complex issues with his heart. He has multiple massive holes in the bottom chambers, holes in the top chambers, his aortic arch is borderline too narrow, his left ventricle doesn’t pump properly and the muscle never compacted when he was in the womb so it’s very soft and spongy when it should be firm and smooth. Because he wasn’t diagnosed at birth, he was in end stage heart failure when his problems were discovered. He’s made a good recovery and has had one open heart surgery so far, with more to come in the future and most likely, a transplant. He’s on 13 doses of medication a day and sees his consultant regularly for scans and ECGs. Issac has a PEG tube also and he is such a little fighter it just makes me swell up!!

This is the mighty Isaac:

Issac

So I wonder what this year will bring!!

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Love and Light, Victoria.

Auto to Manual, becoming pro!

So when did I start using manual mode on my camera and break into professional photography?

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When I first started my photography business back in January 2010 by photographing models on a time for print basis to practice and build my portfolio. I actually didn’t own my own DSLR camera, I simply couldn’t afford one. I was photographing on my trusted and well loved Kodak easy share bridge camera which didn’t have inter changeable lenses but it did have different modes that I did play with at time to time. The quality of my photography wasn’t brilliant, but many of my friends and family commented on how they liked my photos.

This is one of my earlier photos shot whist at University in 2007 on Auto, I later edited it a few years ago. This is Julie, one of my model friends I met at University. That Year I also photographed Emma. The photos I used the on camera flash and draped a blanket over the floor!

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In 2009 I borrowed my then boyfriends Cannon 550D camera to take photos with, which I loved, but I had no idea what the buttons were for at all.

Here is a self timed self portrait I took with his camera in 2009. The problem I have with this photo is that I used the wrong lens so my chin looks larger than it is. This was shot on Auto, although I do love it, it represents my life with depression back then with my greasy hair hiding in the bath tub.

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In January 2010 I borrowed one of my closest friends aunties Pentax SLR for a photo shoot, I basically did what we call “wing it” pressing buttons and hoping for the best. My friend is a model and we often modeled together, her name is Dom Di but her modeling name is “Evie Louise” she was very helpful allowing me to practice with her.

We draped a white bed sheet on the floor and used the corner of my lounge which was pretty spacious and I had white walls.

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Later that month I photographed Chloe, another fried and used my Kodak on Auto with its on camera flash using my white bed sheet home studio! I really loved this photo, although I didn’t know anything about clour casting (Her leg is Yellow from the indoor lighting)

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In February 2010 I had a 1-2-1 tutoring lesson with one of the photographers who had a couple of photoshoots with when I was modeling between 2009 and 2010. His name is Paul Wisher and he is a brilliant guy that I get on well with, he lent me his Cannon 5D camera and I had a photoshoot with Evie again, I loved the quality of these photos and my desire to have a “real camera” grew stronger. There was of course no hope in me buying one I was broke as not having a job as such and in and out of education and fighting mental health issues.

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During the year I continued to shoot with my Kodack easy share bridge camera on Auto, occasionally playing with a button and bringing my photos up in Photoshop. I discovered photoshop in 2007 while studding Art and design level 2 with Mike Scrimshaw, he was brilliant at it and it made me frustrated because I couldn’t do what he could do. There were so many buttons and it was so complicated! But Over my University days I played around with it and got a bit better. But of course there was many of errors.

September 2010 I started Collage studding a diploma in Creative media with Pete Calvert and Ralph Keaton as my tutors. During my photography  lessons Ralph gave us an assignment to study our cameras and write what each button and function did, he later gave us an assignment on copyright which both have been extremely helpful.

So I started to play more with the functions of my camera and learning about ISO, Aperture, Shutter speed, ect.

I was 6 months pregnant when I had a photoshoot with Spike, he had a cannon 450D camera which he lent me on the photoshoot, so I used both my Kodak and his camera, I really liked using his camera.

This was the first photoshoot I used Manual on with the confidence from studding the camera modes in collage.

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I had traveled to Derby to do an assignment task with Julie, when I had a photoshoot with a model I found from my Model mayhem page where I had found Genevieve and Natalie.

This was Claire, I used my friends Nikon camera for this photoshoot, I couldn’t get on well with the camera. Angela was a friend of mine from University and she was studding a Degree in commercial photography.

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2011.

In January I took a break from collage being 35 weeks pregnant and in the March I gave birth to my daughter Sophia.

In May, I was photographing my friend having a “Mother and Baby photoshoot” when my Kodak camera died on me, luckily I had a back up camera but I was completely and utterly heartbroken.

So my partner Matthew took me to the Media exchange shop in Lincoln and bought me a second hand Cannon 450D camera for £300. I of course was like OVER THE MOON!!!

That July I had my first “Children’s portraits” session with Katie and Ryan, It was the hottest day of the year and little Ryan was a shy child. Although I researched, I didn’t have that many skills yet but they are still up on the walls of Becky’s home today!

That summer I rented out a photography studio in my town and teamed up with a couple of my photography friends and had a photoshoot with some of my model friends for a dress company, I knew nothing about lights so Vincent set them up for me and I relied on Jason to help me as I had been using natural light.

This is Emma Alicia, Chelsea and Angela.

The summer was spent playing around with my camera on manual mode and just exploring it and reading up on blogs on the internet and writing down notes in a note pad.

Late that summer I I had another 1-2-1 tutorial with Calvin, a very creative photographer who I had chosen to be my wedding photographer. He was very kind and drove over and taught me a few things with my model Nicole.

Calvin is a multi award wining, published photographer with a very successful business and has also photographed detestation weddings. I started going to his camera club on a weekly basis where I learnt quite a bit.

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In October I had my First Newborn session, I researched for a good couple of weeks prior to the shoot, however the shoot didn’t go to plan even though I tried my hardest on manual mode: My photos looked nothing like they did on the internet!

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I was going to collage for half a day a week from that September to finish my studies and now Charging £10 a shoot since I was shooting on manual and understanding more about photography and building my portfolio up.

2012

In January I started going to collage for a day and a half as I was falling slightly behind with my studies, my daughter was now 10 months old.

I photographed my very first wedding for £150 and did four hours work. I asked a friend Darren to help me out as I wasn’t confident doing this by myself. He was a hobbyist photographer and an artist so I thought he would be a great fit to help me with my very first wedding. I only had a couple of weeks to prepare so I took to the internet again and online forums to try and learn as much as I could as possible. I felt I did an awful job on the wedding because it took me weeks to edit the photos and I felt very ill for weeks afterwards, it was very stressful for me and I didn’t receive much support on line. I really wanted to give the couple the best photographs I could as there is no rewind button for live weddings!!

That March I rented out the collage studio and photographed “miss Cobweb” with Mark another student who I relied heavily on to set up all the lighting for me, because I still had no clue how to use flash and was not confident in it at all.

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I completed my collage course with a merit, merit that Summer of 2012 and set up “Sparkle and Dreams photography” which I concentrated on Wedding and family portraits and I kept my Nocternal Artist photography for my model portraits and personal work. This is where my business really took off.

So that’s my transition from Auto to manual mode and the change in my business as I build it up slowly pretty much from bare bones and scratch. I have come a long way in the last few years and I have yet so much more to achieve and do! ❤

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Love and light, Victoria ❤

My then and now

Amber Bump

My “Then”

rhys

My most recent photoshoot, my “Now”

Amelia's 1st cake smash
Celebrating Amelia’s 1st birthday

WHEN DID YOU START WITH PHOTOGRAPHY?

I started playing around with photography and taking photos really early on in 2002 but I didn’t own my own camera so I used to buy disposable cameras. I really enjoyed taking photos and I remember getting my friends and family to stand by a “plain wall” to photograph them and dressing up “Modeling” with my friends and taking photos, Photography was a hobby but I didn’t realize it.

It wasn’t until 2006 whilst on a art course that I really discovered that I was pretty passionate about photography, by this point I had been given a digital camera by one of my friends, it was a little 5 meg camera!

In late 2009 is when I discovered that I wanted to be a photographer and went to peruse my passion by making a model mayhem to photograph models on a Time for print basis (TFP) and apply to go to collage early in 2010.

I started my business officially in 2011.

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WHAT TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHY DO YOU SPECIALIZE IN?

I specialize in Newborn and child portraits.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?

My work is contemporary, stylish and simple. I love shooting in natural light although I do use flash on occasion.

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HOW DID YOU COME ACROSS FINDING YOUR STYLE?

When I first started photography I didn’t specialize at all and I was trying everything out and seeing what I liked the most and was finding my feet as a photographer, after a few years I found my love and passion was Newborns and child portraits.

Back when I started photography I had no sense of style at all or ability to co-ordinate color, now I have found I am drawn to the colour pallet of tonal colours, blues and pastels such as light pink and peach.

It wasn’t until 2016 that I really discovered that I had a style, it developed slowly after my intensive training in 2014. I only noticed it as I was looking through my work and I noticed a pattern with my colour choices and I was using less props and this is why I clanged my name to “Within this moment photography” as I felt I had found myself as an artist.

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WAS IT A STRUGGLE TO DEVELOP YOUR OWN UNIQUE STYLE AS AN ARTIST?

Yes, there was many mistakes and non technically proficient photographs in my early years and I believe investing in my intensive training really did help open my eyes and set me on the right path. As a Dyslexic I often find myself doing things the hard way and take longer than those around me whist doing tasks, this although frustrating I am learning to live with as it makes me unique in my own little way.

Baby Amelia
10 days young

WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU USED TO STRUGGLE WITH?

In all honestly pretty much everything because now I realize I had no clue what I was doing even though I thought that I did! Lighting, posing, styling absolutely none of it came naturally to me looking back, but now I love to style my sessions and I am much more confident in my lighting techniques, posing and workflow. I am also much more proficient in my business management and I see a huge growth within my business and I am proud of my work.

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WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS MOST IMPORTANT WHEN DEVELOPING YOUR OWN STYLE?

To follow your own heart, I see many photographers loose their uniqueness as they follow trends and try to keep up with “The right way to photograph” or “Technically perfect” and “Competition ready” when they should be finding the artist inside them.

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR ‘THEN’ PHOTO

This was my very first newborn photoshoot, I remember researching online for a good couple of weeks “How to photograph a newborn” I was so nervous and I wanted everything to go perfectly. Rhys was 5 weeks old and it was winter 2011 and I was shooting in natural light with my first DLSR not knowing how to use Manual quite yet. He was a tiny baby only weighing over 5 lbs and his clothes drowned him and he was a fussy baby making posing him difficult. After the shoot I remember wanting to cry because I couldn’t seam to handle my shoot well and my photos looked nothing like they did on the internet!!

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL SOMEONE THAT IS CURRENTLY STILL FINDING THEMSELVES AS A PHOTOGRAPHER?

Try not to compare yourself to other photographers, it’s easy to get wrapped up in being inspired by others and emulating their style because you are drawn to it and don;t quite know yourself yet or comparing your work because you are not as “good” as them. Your style and ability will come naturally in time, know that you will try all sorts and you will make mistakes and you will look at your older photos and think what the hell was I thinking!! Try breaking down personal barriers to find the artist within, every artists path is unique to them so if people flourish around you don’t let it get you down, you will bloom in time.

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This weeks blog post is inspired by The modern market blog post. 

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Love and Light, Victoria ❤

The big “C” word….

With Christmas coming now is the time all the small businesses start promoting their Christmas activities. Now then I used to be one of the people who used to hate to see Christmas things in September, I would have a rant about it even I’d be like “Why, why god damned it!” However as I have evolved my business I have realized the importance of being organized and doing the pre Christmas promotions are important. So here we are some self promotions for my Christmas mini sessions.

In 2012 was my first year of doing Christmas photoshoots.

Here is my very basic poster!

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This was the year I was working from different areas of my home, I miss that home and the lovely spaces I had. I took photos around my real Christmas tree and I think they looked lovely.

Here is some of my Christmas photos in 2012!

 

Yes they are under my original name when I first started out as a photographer in 2010, the name was created while I was in Derby University during 2007-2008.

So the next year (2013) that’s when I had made a “Studio” in my garage, I did the whole white backdrop look. I lost my mojo that year using such a bland base for my work and it was incredibly difficult at the time to create a complete white backdrop which left a lot of editing for myself.

Here is my promo for my Christmas mini shoots, I used the same layout as the year before and changed the package a little.

This is after I split my business into two and separated my personal work and my model portraits with my wedding and family photography and created “Sparkle & dreams Photography”

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I bought a Christmas backdrop and some props for the studio. So here’s my 2013 photos.

They were quite bland, flat lit and a little color casted.

 

So 2014 is the year I invested in training, I had moved house and had a much bigger space which I loved for my studio. I was a lot more organized and creative and I was so happy with the results. It was very popular and my most successful Christmas mini sessions.

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The only thing I did wrong was price myself too low for the amount of work that I did and I worked myself to the bone to not even break even. So I took this as a learning curve, even though I wanted to provide affordable photography I had a business to run.

Here are some photos from my 2014:

 

 

Last year I had a 7 month break from photography due to health reasons, I moved twice and my current home is small but I have a space I can call my studio. I started back into photography in the November when I had moved into a bigger home with 2 reception rooms after a month doing mobile newborn shoots. I was working with another photographer Andy who I had worked with previously.

Here is my promo for 2015.

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So here are the results of 2015

 

 

So this year I have split my business again, I know hard to keep up with all my names! I have chosen not to do family photography and do Newborn and Child portraits. So I have kept Sparkle and Dreams photography for my wedding and event photography and my Baby and child portraits for “Within this moment photography”

However I can’t quite reveal Christmas mini promotions quite yet but I have a brand new set 🙂

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Do you want to get involved this year in my Christmas mini photoshoot?

Make sure you are following me 🙂

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Love and light Victoria ❤

 

 

How I got the shot

PLANNING:

I booked a child model from down south (Portsmouth) and arranged a photoshoot with her, we discussed outfits prior to the shoot and mum was bringing this stunning bespoke dress made by Angela’s boutique. I had a fine art style in mind with images I had collected on my pintrest board for the photoshoot and prepared accordingly by charging my battery, emptying my SD card and planning what looks I was going to get as I usually do three changes.

Here is my final edit:

Gerogia- 6 years old.

This image was shot at the end of our photoshoot using a plain Grey backdrop roll of paper and using my Octobox flash light at a 45 degree angle, after the photo shoot I downloaded the images and chose the best ones to edit.

This is the strait out of camera photo:

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Durning my editing process, once I have chosen the images I would like to edit, I upload my RAW files into Lightroom.

Here is my Lightroom edit: I have tweaked only the lens calibration and the lighting for this image. I need to upload my files into LR to read the RAW files or I cannot read them so sometimes I don’t make a lot of tweaks to a photo in Lightroom.

Gerogia- 6 years old.
Styled studio shoot.

After I tweak my images in Lightroom I bring them over to Photoshop and here is my photoshop edit.

I have done a crop, fixed the issues in the backdrop and tweaked the light a little.

Gerogia- 6 years old.
Styled studio shoot.

Georgia loved the sailors wheel which I thought would work well with her mermaid dress, she was playing with it and I had a wind machine on her. I felt that this image didn’t wasn’t complete so I downloaded a backdrop from the internet and added this to the image.

I added a muted tone to the photo so the backdrop coloring matched the model and felt that I had a strong photograph once I had finished.

Gear I used: Sony A99 & Lens: 35 mm

Camera settings: f2.8 iso 100 1/125 seconds.

Shot in my home studio.

so that’s how I photographed this image!

Gerogia- 6 years old.

I hope you enjoyed this insite into how I do my work and love what you see, visit my website to see more of my work and book me: www.withinthismoment.co.uk 

Love and light Victoria.