Friday, 8 April 2016

Are You Right To Be Paranoid?

Three times this week I have seen prop makers turn against each other with accusations of "you've copied me"!

I see it in Facebook groups all the time - one prop making friend even got accused of it on her Business Page by another prop maker which is so unprofessional in my opinion, at least have the decency to contact someone privately if you feel that strongly.

And here's the thing.  We are all making products for the same target market ... photographers who shoot newborns or babies. That's a fairly limited market place when you stop and think about it.
There are only so many concepts you can use in newborn photography - hats for the head, trousers or overalls / rompers on boys and pretty, lacy outfits on girls.  They can either be sewn (fabric), knitted or crocheted.  The sizes are all going to be the same requirement which means the patterns used are also likely to be very similar.  And this is where I get confused as to why so many prop makers seem to be paranoid about being copied? *

As in any industry, there are trend setters whose work people love to follow - most photographers have heard of Kath V for her shots of babies in flower bonnets, Luisa Dunn for her images using flowers, Heidi Hope for her hand painted backdrops, Erin Tole for her wrapping skills, Kelley Ryden and Tracy Raver for their use of props they make themselves ...

... and it's exactly the same in the prop world - Whippoorwill Nest Boutique is known for her incredible "dazzle" bonnets, Mia Joy Studio for her exquisite detail, Andrea Zoll for her rustic outfits, Beautiful Ewe for her gorgeous knits to name just a few.

But breaking it down even more, there are people who write and sell patterns to prop makers - I have made items from patterns I have bought from MMM Designs, Aimee Collins (Beautiful Ewe again), Melody Rogers Designs, Illumikniti Designs, and I know for a fact they're not just selling those patterns to me!

So really, how original are prop items ever going to be?  If photographers are asking for props in neutral, creamy colours, few prop makers are then going to only produce their items in mostly bright, vibrant colours.

If photographers see a new concept (such as when Whippoorwill Nest Boutique's flower bonnets first started appearing) they are going to start looking to see where they can purchase similar items, creating a demand that prop makers would be crazy to not want to try and fill.

I honestly have no idea if any of my props have been copied intentionally as I simply do not have the time (or energy) to research it - I'm too busy concentrating on orders and replacing stock.

I do know however that there are hundreds of other prop makers knitting hats from the same pattern as me, some of them may even be using exactly the same yarn as me.

And I think that's fantastic!  The more photographers see of the same kind of items, the more they are going to demand those items creating a bigger desire, and therefore, marketplace for them.

Can you imagine if Henry Ford had had a tantrum each time a new design of car went into production? Or walking into a supermarket and only being able to buy one variety of any product because Mr Kellog declared that people were only allowed to eat his brand of cereal?  Or only being able to get your haircut in one salon because that salon was the first place to open in your local town and no competition was allowed?

So, if you're currently stressing that someone else has produced a romper that looks vaguely similar to yours, or someone has knitted a hat in the same pattern and colour as you, unless you are prepared to trademark or put a patent out on your props (and really, who wants to do that?!) there will always be people producing props similar to you - and chances are, they've probably never even seen your work before.

For further reading, read my article How To Deal With Competitors and Copycats

* Disclaimer : This article does not apply to the unscrupulous sellers who use other people's images to sell their designs without permission, or steal backdrop designs from seller's websites.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

How To Have A Great Prop Buying Experience

If there’s one thing there’s no shortage of in the photographic community, Prop Vendors come pretty high up on the list of businesses supplying photographers.  There seems to be a new prop maker springing up almost daily.

I am active in a few prop groups on Facebook, and often see the long list of responses to a photographer’s plea for props for a session, which I’m sure must be frustrating when a photographer has tracked down and purchased what they want yet is still receiving endless replies to their post.

Here are a few suggestions on how you can cut down on the task of trawling through all of the props available and find the props, and prop maker, who is a perfect fit for your business.

Be Specific
If you’re posting an “In Search Of” (ISO) comment in a group full of hundreds of prop vendors, give a  detailed description of what you are looking for.  “Looking for rompers” is likely to generate 20, 30 or even more links, replies and images from suppliers hoping to fulfil your requirement.  What age do you need?  Is it for a girl or boy or unisex? Do you have a colour in mind?

Posting “Looking for newborn rompers in neutral tones for a girl, preferably upcycled rather than knitted or crochet” or “I’m shooting a cake smash for a 12m old boy using lots of blue colours” will probably cut those responses in half and provide you with a relevant list of props to choose from.

Plan Ahead
I regularly see a post on a Thursday afternoon asking for props urgently for a session on Saturday.  That’s really going to cut down your chances on a prop supplier being able to help unless they have just the thing you need and haven’t already been to the post office that day.

If you do manage to get something organised, be prepared to pay extra shipping costs to guarantee next day delivery.

Don’t Be Cheap
You know how awkward you can feel when one of your photography clients asks “if I buy all the images / prints, can we get a discount?” and how you have to explain that the price is the price is the price?  It’s exactly the same for prop makers!  We take as much pride, and put as much love into our products as photographers put into their artwork.  The price is the price is the price!

Work the cost of props into your sessions to recoup your costs.  If you want to purchase a particularly expensive item, can you re-sell it on aftwerwards?  Can you hire it out to local photographers to share the cost?

RTS or Made to Order?
When choosing a prop supplier, research whether their items are ready to ship (RTS) or made to order (MTO) - what are their advertised timescales for delivery?  Will the item arrive in time for your session?

Give Us Feedback
As an ex-photographer, when I see a prop, or plan an outfit, I usually picture how I would pose a baby in it, how it is likely to look on a flokati or with a wrap, so I can genuinely, hand on heart, say I love it when I get sent / tagged in images of my props being used!  Not only because I love looking at images of squidgy babies and gummy toddlers, but it also gives me visual feedback on how my clothes look when being worn, how the colour photographs, whether I need to adjust the fit in any way etc.
Remember, photographers get to work with actual real life babies on an almost daily basis - the majority of prop vendors will be working from patterns only.

Don't Post Cheaper Alternatives
Imagine you see a post in a local selling group where a member of the public has asked for a newborn photographer, and you've answered with your details, or even better, someone has recommended you.  How would it make you feel if someone then commented "my mate can do this for £30, don't waste your money on professionals"?

Now imagine you're a prop maker who finds a comment like "you can buy this from China really cheap" under their image?

It's exactly the same.

Yes, there are plenty of people selling cheaper items on China websites, just the same as there are hobbyists with cameras offering shoot and burn sessions.  Buying cheap does not always mean you are getting a good deal.

Don’t Base Your Decision On In-Use Items Only. 
Yes, I know it’s great to see a prop on an actual baby lit and posed beautifully, but a lot of the time, prop makers will be making one-of-a-kind (OOAK) items so it’s not always practical to get a shot of it on a baby. 

Not only that, the photographer who has taken the image of the prop in use may have an entirely different style to you, may light differently, will probably edit differently - all of which does not give a true reflection of how you might make the prop look in your own work.   

I've also spoken to a few vendors who are now wary of sending their props to photographers in exchange for images because they've sent the props off and then never received any images in return.

One thing a photographer should have plenty of is imagination - most prop vendors will take enough images of their items for you to get a good sense of what the props look like.   They will also have images of their other props in use to give you an idea of their sizing.

We Follow Copyright Rules Too
I am often asked if I can make a prop / print a backdrop and get sent a link to someone else’s work, and whilst I absolutely don’t mind seeing what look a photographer is trying to achieve, I never ever want to be in the position of copying someone else’s work.  I deliberately only follow a few other prop vendor’s pages on Facebook to avoid being influenced too heavily by anyone else’s style.

It’s a slightly different situation when it comes to printed backdrops, as a lot of the designs are readily available to purchase from stock image websites, but I would still try to avoid directly copying someone’s range of designs.

Another copyright issue is Disney themed props.

Many vendors will avoid making Mickey Mouse or Minnie Mouse, Toy Story, Frozen etc themed props because you need to purchase a license from Disney to sell anything Disney related. Yes, really.

Next time you want to advertise a “Frozen mini session”, or if you’re a prop maker thinking about advertising a Minnie Mouse outfit, you might want to read what happened to people selling any Disney related items on etsy a while back here

Every single prop you buy will vary in size from vendor to vendor. 

Some will be making items to their own patterns, different yarns produce a different tension making knitted / crochet items slightly different even if they are made from the same pattern.

Just like no two babies are the same size, there is never going to be a one-size-fits-all solution to photography props.

Be prepared to tuck extra fabric behind the baby when posed, or even use hair grips around the back of a hat that might be too big a fit - nothing distracts more from a sweet newborn face than a badly fitting hat.

Also understand that props made for newborn babies are made for babies under 14 days old.  They will generally be smaller than shop-bought newborn size clothes, and not likely to fit a 5 week old baby.

Clothing is also designed to look great in photographs and in some cases may present a choking or strangulation hazard (long ties on a bonnet that look great curled on a baby’s back for example).  They are not intended for every day wear and babies should never be left unsupervised wearing props. (I’m really aiming these remarks at non-photographers here.  I know a few prop vendors who have had their items purchased by parents as going-home in outfits.)  With this in mind, any outfits or furniture designed to be used by photographers as a prop will not necessarily comply to normal regulatory quality standards.

I hope you find this article useful - I spoke to lots of other prop vendors to help write it, and generally, we're a pretty helpful bunch who love making pretty things to enhance your images.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Why Photographers Charge What They Do

Today I almost got into an online argument with a friend's friend on Facebook.

It went something like this:

Friend of a friend : I want to get some professional photos done but can't find anyone with decent prices - any recommendations?

And the photographer in me answered "don't pay decent prices = don't get decent photos!"

Which prompted the response : Not true.  I've had some amazing ones from a friend and she did them for free for me, but even so, she usually only charges £45 for all photos on disc.  1 hour taking the photos, plus 1 hour sorting photos for £45 = not bad at all.  I'm sure many people wished they got paid £20 an hour"

Which is when I had to sit on my hands, bite my virtual tongue and step away from the keyboard!

But really, I have to thank that lady because it got me to thinking about how photography clients may not be aware of just what it takes in financial terms after the initial investment in a camera body and a few lenses, for a photographer to run a successful and profitable business. As opposed to just running a very expensive hobby.

Clients might not realise that running a photography business is not just owning a decent camera and taking some photos and can include the following 

1) Business Insurance

As soon as a photographer begins to charge members of the public money for their services, they will need to have public liability insurance in place.

Why do they need public liability?

Public liability insurance covers the cost of claims made by members of the public for incidents that occur in connection with business activities.  Public liability insurance also covers the cost of compensation for personal injuries, loss of or damage to property.

They will also need to insure their camera, lenses, studio lighting, props, premises etc against theft, damage or breaking down.

Inurance costs can start from £20 upwards per month, dependent on policy requirements.

2) Website Costs

Any photographer who wants an online presence needs a website to showcase their portfolio, which means registering and buying a domain name and paying for web hosting, either monthly or as an annual cost.

As a photographer's business grows, free or low cost websites become too limiting and restrictive and don't offer the services a photographer needs on their website, such as password protected galleries, a responsive design to look good on all devices, ecommerce for product orders etc.

Monthly costs for a decent website can start at £20 per month upwards for a generic off-the-shelf design, or can run into hundreds of pounds for a custom website.

3) Travel Expenses

Does the photographer travel to their client's homes to take their photos?  If so, they will have additional car insurance in place for using their car for business purposes, as well as having to take into consideration wear and tear to their vehicle travelling to sessions, all of which affects the resale value of the car.  

They also have to factor in petrol expenses.

4) Studio Costs

If they're not mobile, are they shooting in their own home?  If so, this means they will have to pay for separate insurance to their personal house insurance and notify their local authority that they are using part of their home for business purposes.

The alternative is to work out of a proper photography studio which incurs a variety of expenses such as rent, business rates, insurance, heating and water costs.

5) Marketing Costs

There is only so much qualified business that can be generated from free marketing such as Facebook and word of mouth.  To sustain a successful business, a photographer needs to rely on regularly filling their diary with bookings and may need to invest financially in advertising, PR, printing costs, and display products to showcase what products they offer to their clients.

6) Admin and Time

For every booking received, a photographer can expect to need to spend time from start to finish
  • emailing / speaking with their client booking the session in the diary
  • emailing / speaking with their client giving guidance and managing expectations about what to expect from the photoshoot
  • preparing the shooting space for the photoshoot
  • the photoshoot itself
  • tidying up after the photoshoot
  • washing any soiled props
  • reviewing and editing all images taken
  • showing the client the images / delivering the images via disk or USB
  • processing client product orders
  • delivering client product orders

To generate new bookings, a photography studio can expect to spend admin time :
  • updating website / blog / social media
  • networking with other local businesses to establish a referral programme
  • answering email / telephone enquiries that may not convert to bookings

Not to mention general day-to-day admin and expenses that any business has to undertake :
  • paying suppliers
  • invoicing clients
  • reconciling accounts
  • SEO maintenance
  • Internet costs 
  • Electricity to heat and operate their work environment
  • Telephone costs

These are the very basic ongoing costs a photography business can expect to have.  

This does not include additional expenses photographers have, such as
  • Training to develop skills
  • Studio equipment such as lighting, display products
  • editing programmes such as Photoshop and Lightroom
  • Computer to edit with, usually with several external drives to store images
  • Online cloud backup of client files
  • Props and backdrops for session setups
  • Animoto, album design software
  • Maintaining and updating camera and lenses (which is not cheap!)

Now I'm not saying that £40 for all images on disk as a business model is bad, or equates to an unsucessful photography business, as everyone has their price point and what someone wants to earn as a salary differs from person to person.

I also appreciate that all photographers, no matter how long they have been in business, need to start somewhere and their low price may reflect their need to build and develop their portfolio.

However, using the "all images for £40 on disk" argument means a photographer has to take a lot of bookings to cover all of the costs outlined above before they can expect to receive a wage.

When writing this article, I asked in my private facebook group for thoughts from established photographers and received some interesting responses :

"I outlay approx £400 a month in insurances, as well as things like photoshop subscriptions and my rent etc, That's before I buy the ever important props that clients expect"  

Using this as an example, a photographer would have to take 10 x £40 bookings a month before receiving any kind of profit. 

Other photographers told me

"I spend £300 a month on marketing alone"

"I outsource my book-keeping and SEO, and just those 2 things cost me £460 a month .... which equates to one session / sale based on the prices I charge just to cover those costs"

"When I first started, not that long ago, I was £40 for everything. I produced decent images, had them queuing round the block, and was booked up 6 months in advance. All my business came by word of mouth, and I had no advertising, no marketing, no outgoing costs apart from Photoshop, electricity, props & discs. Thing that I failed at was time, I literally didn't have time to shower! BIG failure, having lots of bookings did not make me successful but did get my name out there & built the foundation of a business."

"I spend roughly £850 a month before I start to make any profit"

"I spend money on an accountant, PR, mentor, insurance, website etc - the list is massive. So no, I would go out of business fast at £50 a shoot because I don't want to work like a dog to get that £50. That's before I've added in equipment, heating, lighting, rent etc"

"My expenses are £365 a month before I factor in props, goods, wear and tear on equipment. In prints and p&p alone I spend an average of £20, then there's marketing, business cards, packaging for products..."

"My outgoings are roughly £700 a month"

"I need to clear 1.5k a month before I make a profit"

So next time you see someone claiming that professional photographers are greedy, charge too much, are too expensive, all to "just take nice photos", or that their friend can do it for free, perhaps link them to this article!

Suggested further reading : The True Cost of Running a Newborn Photography Business, BANPAS

The Customer Is Not Always Right, Beyond The Camera

I would love to know your thoughts ... please comment below

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Woodland Crown and Leaf Skirt Props for Fine Art Photography Workshop

I honestly can't remember how it came about that I ended up making a woodland crown for Gary Hill and Cass Davies of JustPose for one of their Fine Art Photography teaching workshops.

I do however remember the looks my husband gave me when I told him I was going to make a prop from the pile of hedges he was currently hacking down in the garden.

Sometimes when you have something in your mind's eye, you just have to go with the flow, and although it didn't really come out as I had envisaged, I think you'll agree, as a photography prop, the Woodland Crown I made is pretty dramatic!

Behind the scenes

Gary even took it one step further and edited it in PS to look like a fire!

(The head-dress is nothing to do with me, but I'm told it came from that good old online auction site!)

After that workshop, Gary and Cass got in touch to see if I had any more creative suggestions for their next date.

After bouncing around a few ideas (which I won't reveal in case they ever come to fruition in the future!) I had a strong vision of a girl appearing to grow out of a pile of leaves.

Using some fabric from my stash, I machine sewed on almost 400 fabric leaves on to a wraparound skirt.

I think it's fair to say, I was pleased to get it finally finished!

I also made a leafy tieback.

During the day of the workshop I was sent some behind the scenes phone pics and knew I couldn't wait to see the edited images.

Behind the scenes

I would love to create something for their next workshop, but will maybe think twice about offering to make a leaf skirt again!

For details of future Just Pose courses, please visit their website

Monday, 12 October 2015

How To Make Paper Pinwheels

Paper pinwheels are so easy to make and add a touch of simple elegance if used as a backdrop during photoshoots.

You will need

Sheets of coloured paper - doesn't have to be card, photocopying weight paper is fine.
Glue gun or strong paper glue

Step 1

For large pin wheels, fold your paper landscape, for small size, fold it portrait.

Fold your paper into a concertina - you do not have to be too accurate.
I had folds roughly 1 inch in size.

Step 2

Fold your concertina in half, and glue in the middle

Step 3

For a fuller pinwheel, make 5 "quarters".
I used 5 for the large size and only need 4 for the small size

Step 4

Glue your "quarters" together

Hang them by cotton from the ceiling, or stick to your backdrop.  Or if you really don't have the time, you could always order my backdrop where I've done all the hard work for you!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Interview With Sally Slack Photography

If you are in the UK and photograph newborn babies, there's a 99% chance you know Sally Slack for selling her range of newborn wraps.

Not only does  Sally create beautiful photographs, she is also an Ambassador for BANPAS (Baby and Newborn Photography Association), which is a membership association for newborn and baby photographers that I co-own.

I asked her to lift the lid on how she chooses and uses props in her photography sessions...

Do you have a favourite colour you look for when choosing props?
I do love natural more earthy colours, I'm not someone who gravitates to bright colours anyway. Creams and heathers are some of my favourite colours for girls, and for boys I love greys and blues.

Are there any colours you tend to avoid in your sessions?
Anything bright. Unless a client asks, in which case I’d used a natural colour backdrop and a brightly coloured wrap for a pop of colour. Mainly though, clients book me for what they see on my website.

Do you prefer one kind of prop over another? I love them all, some of my favourites are the props that I have knitted. But mainly I love a wrap, you can’t beat it for an unsettled baby!

How many times would you use the same prop before consigning it to the back of your prop stash?
I would use a prop until I got bored. I sell a lot of my old props through my store.

How important is the price of a prop to you? 
I don’t care about price, if I love it and it’s good quality I will buy it. My clients pay a session fee so if I want to re-invest that money in new props I will do. In my opinion it’s worth paying for good quality. I wouldn’t want to ruin a lovely image with a cheap looking prop.

How important is it to you that a prop is one of a kind and unique to you? It’s not important to get one of a kind at all. It’s the way you use a prop and style for an image that’s more important. You could give the same prop to half a dozen photographers and they would all come up with a completely different image.

What do you look for when sourcing props? 
Good quality.

What has been your best bargain? A flokati rug in TKMaxx.

And what has been your most extravagent purchase? I knitted a snuggle sack and hat out of hand spun wool I imported from Canada, I’m too embarrassed to tell you how much it cost…. But it was worth it! 

Do you have a favourite age to use props on?
I love props on any age. I’m gradually building up a collection of props and knitted pieces for older Children and I have some lovely props I use for cake smash shoots.

Can we see some photos of your prop storage area and studio?

Do you have any tips on using props in photography?
The image should always be about the baby not about the prop. Sizing is crucial, sometimes when I have a splurge and buy props I’m often disappointed to see that hats are often too big for newborns. This is why my stash of older children props is gradually increasing.

How do you decide what props you are going to use in each session? My clients fill in a form and I ask them to tell me anything they are particularly looking for from their shoot, I also discuss colours and prop options when they arrive. Mainly though I just get on with it.

Do you have setups already in place or do you chat with your clients beforehand? I normally do four set ups. My beanbag is put on a backdrop and floor so once I have finished beanbag poses the floor and backdrop are already set up. Parent shots are against the backdrop and then Flokati shots are set up while parents are there.

What is your absolute most favourite image in your portfolio and why?
That’s hard and changes on a weekly basis. Some of my most favourite images are awake shots. Which does make me laugh as we spend all that time getting the babies asleep. But I love shoots when babies have an awake time and are alert. Other favourite images include Newborns that I have photographed through out their first year. Other times I like an image simply because I struggled to get a pose right and I’m happy because I’ve finally nailed it! I love that feeling!

Sally won first place in the September BANPAS showcase 
as voted for by other BANPAS photographers

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the area of newborn photography
The best investment I made was to invest in quality. The one thing that I use every shoot without fail is a wrap. It helps the baby drift into a deeper sleep once they are swaddled. The other thing is to invest in decent machine washable backdrops if you are doing bean bag poses.

Which photographers influence you? Whose work do you love?
The main photographers that influence me are some of my close friends. I like to have people around me who will be honest with feed back and tell it to me straight. I think I’ve learnt most from those friendships. I’ve have also been fortunate enough to train with a couple of amazingly talented US photographers. To be honest I try not to follow anyone, I’m jut trying to do my own thing and work on my own images. I like to take what I can from training and put my own stamp on my images. I think following people can be hard, because what you forget is they only post their best work and it can in some ways affect your confidence if you don’t remember this. They are all human - even the “greats” have bad days too!

Any advice you can share about using wraps?
I learnt to wrap mainly from you tube, I watched 100’s of video on wraping and just gradually became more confident. All the information is out there, you just need to look for it. The trick is to have a baby that’s relaxed and use a double layer. My first layer wrap is generally a mess, the second wrap will then cover everything and make it look pretty!

Visit Sally's website to see more of her images, and to order wraps

Monday, 5 October 2015

Interview With Russ Jackson Photography

Russ from Russ Jackson Photography is a huge influence to a lot of newborn photographers here in the UK, and as well as running his very busy portrait studio, he also offers training to photographers of all levels (see here for more information)

I interrupted his holiday recently to ask him to give us an insight into how he uses props in his work

Do you have a favourite colour you look for when choosing props? 
Anything natural, I am a real sucker for organic textures and natural colours so tend to stay away from the brighter bolder colours. I am a big fan of using darker backgrounds just lately.

Are there any colours you tend to avoid in your sessions? 
I try to avoid reds, oranges, bright pinks, purples and bright blues anything that is not a nice pastel organic colour really….

Do you prefer one kind of prop over another?
I find tiebacks much easier to use than headbands. I have some rompers and trouser sets but don’t tend to use them as much as I should. I really believe that we should focus on baby so try to not accessorise too much!

How important to you is it that your props are one of a kind?
I think it is nice to have something unique but if it isn't I am still happily buy it if it fits my style and is well made.

How many times would you use the same prop before consigning it to the back of your prop stash? 
I have some props that are years old. My customers choose the props during the session so as long as it keeps getting picked it will stay in the studio.

How important is the price of a prop to you?  
Well it depends on how awesome it is! The most important thing for me is that it is very well made, fits our style and looks amazing!

What do you look for when buying props?
Quality, and a fast turn around and delivery.

What has been your best bargain?
My old kitchen scales! A car boot bargain at £2.50! (wow! That IS a bargain!!)

And what prop have you spent the most money on?
A newborn nest from the U.S. I think that cost well over £100 with delivery.

Can we see some photos of your prop storage area and studio?

Do you have any tips on using props in photography?
Keep it simple…we are photographing babies so the baby should dominate the image….. Always try to compliment your colours and textures.

How do you decide what props you are going to use in each session? Do you have setups already in place or do you chat with your clients beforehand? 
I always let my clients choose the background colours, props and accessories. We love everything in our studio so they can never really choose a prop or accessory that we don’t like. We obviously ‘steer’ them in the right direction as far as matching the colours and textures. Many of our clients will just let us choose what we feel is best, we love that!

What is your absolute most favourite image in your portfolio and why? 
I have so many but I love this one.
It is quite an elaborate setup but even so the baby is still the absolute focus of the image. I love using dark colours these days.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the area of newborn photography?
I don’t think you have to go mad when you first start off. We have sooooo many props we bought and now look back on and say “what were we thinking!?’ Start off with a small selection of props that you love and then slowly build up your collection.
Buy quality items. You always get what you pay for. If it is cheap it will look cheap in your images. To save a few pennies when looking for props to pose babies in (baskets, boxes etc..), go to antique fairs and not to high street antique shops. Car boot sales are amazing places to pick up the odd treasure.

Which photographers influence you? Whose work do you love?

Kelly Brown is perhaps my biggest inspiration but I also love Kelley Ryden, the girls at Baby As Art, Jade Gao (Newborn Photography by Jadeand Elisa Stambouli at Littlepose.

Thank you Russ for your time - and thanks for introducing me to some new photographers whose work I hadn't found before