Aug 2 2014
The first of an occasional series of interviews by Helen Appleton.
When Jannine Timms signed up for the newsletter in January, she was hoping to win the £600 worth of training. She thought it was a bit odd that she hadn’t received an email back. It meant she couldn’t confirm. “I wonder if it’s gone into my junk mail?” she thought. What a good job she checked!
Are you a professional or an amateur photographer?
I’ve been a professional photographer for two and a half years now. Before that, I classed myself as a “Happy Snapper” but nice comments about pictures of my little boy gave me the confidence to do some of my friends’ children too. They were very happy with them but I felt by then that I wanted to improve. I progressed from a compact to a 450D and began doing some of my own research too. I was determined to teach myself. That was the start of it really.
Which courses have you done with Andrew Appleton this year?
I have actually done four workshops and a portfolio builder day. I realised that I was getting a lot out of the sessions so I didn’t mind topping up the original prize value. Andrew trains us personally in small groups, the models are experienced and the venues are all great. I did the four full-day courses over a five month period in total, February to June.
Which workshop did you do first?
The Portrait Workshop in February. I didn’t have a problem with soft skills but then Zara Watson made connecting and directing so easy anyway. She’s amazing! Andrew explained that the other major aim of the day was to gain a greater understanding of how to shape a face with light and to choose the right angle for the subject. I was really proud of the images I took that day. I had been on workshops with other trainers where some of the things went over my head and I was a bit disappointed that I hadn’t learnt more about the technical aspect of what we were doing. Andrew’s workshops are different and I came away with a real understanding of the process that day. I like to think that the portraits and headshots I have taken since then are proof of this.
How did you feel about the Portfolio Builder Day?
It was at Pipewell Hall and everything about the day was perfect – the grounds, the lighting, the models – everything. We got to shoot the four models (Zara Watson, Fiona York, Amber Tutton and Artemis) in very different locations inside and out and I got some lovely images for my port. It also gave me a chance to put into practice some of the things I had learnt on the Portrait Workshop. I really enjoyed the day and got a lot out of it.
So, what did you try next?
I booked on the Mastering Speedlights Workshop in April. We were taught how to use them with ambient light, exposing the model correctly. What I like about Andrew’s training is that you never walk away thinking “What?” He explains a concept well and seems to know when you don’t quite get something so he goes back over it. Really valuable. I booked on the Creative Speedlights Workshop as a result.
Where did you go from there?
I did the Boudoir Workshop at Saracen House. It reinforced all the technical skills I learnt on previous sessions with Andrew but aspects of posing, expression and styling were taught, as well as the soft skills. I think being female, friendly and approachable helps. In my business, I shoot ladies who are size 8-18 and can empathise with how women feel about their bodies and how they want to look. They can’t look fabulous unless you get everything right. Boudoir is definitely part of what I do so the session was very useful.
Which of the sessions did you enjoy the most?
Difficult. The Portfolio Day was amazing and I got loads of really varied images… But no, it’s got to be the Boudoir Workshop at Saracen. Gemma Bortolozzo is a superb model and such a lovely person – plus I just loved working with the Arri lighting set-up.
Which workshop was the most beneficial for you as a professional photographer?
It has to be Speedlights. My technical understanding is so much better now, thanks to the variety of things I learnt in the sessions with Andrew. Yes, from both professional and a creative perspectives, the Speedlights courses have definitely helped me to grow the most.