In my early days of photography I was drawn to capturing fleeting moments, milestones, the memories that we will forever look back on with a full hearted wrench. I then chose to develop Photography as my career, attending college and University as well as extra tuition for the area that I wanted to focus on – Newborn Photography, Portraiture and Weddings. I knew my end goal was to run a successful business providing those services. It has been such an enjoyable journey, having Photography skills and experience as well as editing and everything else that falls under the bracket of running your business has opened so many doors that were never part of the ‘Great Plan’ in the beginning!
One door that it opened for me was in Advertising, a part of the Photography Industry that never interested me until I ended up there and it revealed a whole new direction.
Small Back-Story – In 2015 I was asked to do an Interior Shoot for a quirky little shop that was opening up in the village of Overton in North Wales. It sold beautiful homeware, that was all locally made and often one-of-a-kind pieces.
The shop belonged to two ladies who both had their own full-time professions, a Magazine Editor and Textile Artist but were running it together as a side project. We got on really well and Viv (Editor) had mentioned that she also had something else in the pipeline, wasn’t sure if was a definite but would get in touch if it went ahead. I then didn’t hear from Viv for some time, I think it was early 2017 when she contacted me to ask if I would be interested in doing some test shoots, she wasn’t going to be able to pay me in the beginning but it was for a great new project that she was working on and if it worked then we could discuss payment.
We got together and she briefed me on the project, they were starting up a magazine different to anything else that is available for young girls approaching their teenage years. It was to be a fun, inspiring, creative, completely ad free and have no reference to anything related to image, make-up, Boy Band Heart throbs etc which is the mass content of almost all current girly magazines:
I fell in love with the ethic behind the idea for the magazine, at the time my daughter Sophie was 8 so this was something I felt really drawn to get involved in. I hated the junk that was in the magazines that she occasionally bought.
Viv brought this book to show me:
This was going to be the vein of the Kookie Magazine.
From the article…
“You don’t need to be pretty, perfect or compliant to be loved.”
That is the message photographer Kate T. Parker wanted to use to empower her girls when she started taking their pictures three years ago. You won’t see any dolls or pink tutus in this heartwarming, energetic series that beautifully showcases what it means to be a girl now. Parker, a photographer based in Atlanta, Ga., turned her lens on her daughters as a way to encourage them to escape the stereotypes imposed on young girls and celebrate their strengths and interests. Parker’s message to her daughters, aged 5 and 8, is “be strong, be yourself, be honest and celebrate who you are.”
‘CELEBRATE WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU LOVE’ As a mother I honestly couldn’t think of a better piece of advice for my daughter.
Jumping Forward to 2019 – We have just completed the 5th Issue of the Kookie Magazine, it is a quarterly publication and the brief for the cover has been simple and the same throughout:
- Studio shoot using soft lighting to look as natural as possible against a light backdrop so that illustrations can be added around the model.
- Waist to Head in the frame
- Fun, energetic, smiling, laughing, engaging with the camera
Although simple in the brief, the technicalities are always never so simple. Firstly I had to get the girls to be relaxed in front of the camera (which usually involved me telling them embarrassing stories about my childhood uuurgh) or stupid dances to get a giggle. I also had to capture the girls when they were moving and jumping and larking around. I had to use a fast shutter speed, in order to do this I needed more than just the natural window light and had to use a mixture of lighting – lowest setting on my strobe and placed almost directly in front of the model but slightly off to the left, similar to Butterfly lighting, the placement of the light here means you don’t have any harsh shadows on one side of the face, it is evenly lit with a gentle shadows under the cheekbones and chin and under the nose.
After each shot the images were shot in colour and sent over to the Kookie Team. They on average narrowed it down to 2-4 images which they thought could make the cover and then I would edit those and convert to Black & White for the final submission to them. When we were on the 1st issue I initially thought it a shame to have them in Black & White, personally I preferred the colour but I quickly realised how brilliant it was, the colourful illustrations around them are a perfect frame and your eye is drawn straight to the model. It also connects all the girls who are all wonderfully different in so many ways but united as one.
Without intention, my photography has led me into the world of advertising which might lead to other opportunities that I also hadn’t looked for like shooting for other magazines or more commercial clients etc. Although it would have to be for something that I truly believed in and wanted to promote for example I would only work with companies that matched my ethic, were focused on helping people, eco-friendly, not tested on animals etc.
Advertising is something that surrounds us like air! Unless you are lying in a field with nothing around you but nature you can’t look anywhere without seeing some form of advertising… it’s in what people wear and use, it’s on the radio, television, newspapers, magazines, internet, mobile phones, radio, press, billboards, sponsorships, posters, packaging … the list goes on and on and dates back to ancient times. There has been evidence that shows the Egyptians used to make sales messages, wall posters and political campaigns using Papyrus – thick paper made from the pith of the plant:
So even as far back as then advertising was a necessity for communication. Up until the 16th century before printing was used, advertising was done in every way possible, using signs, symbols, trademarks, posters & town crier
After this period, newspapers and magazines were introduced as printing processes were developed.
In Britain, during the 20th Century Thomas J Barratt was regarded as “the father of modern advertising” He worked for Pears Soap Company creating slogans that targeted the higher class members of society.
From here onwards companies followed with advertisements focused on targeting their perfect clients. We are all consumers, we are drawn to certain things relating to the type of people we are or who we want to be.
What is the psychology of advertising?
Basically, the psychology of advertising is the combination of many different interests and variables that seek to predict the psychological trends of consumerism.
In this article, The Psychology Of Advertising, it discusses the different ways that marketers use the psychology of advertising to persuade customers into buying:
- Mechanistic, repeatedly seeing the same advert, keeping it in front of its competitors
- Persuasive, improving a product that is equivalent to its competitors
- Projective, creating products that are specifically aimed for the lifestyle and culture of a person.
- Suggestive, prays on people’s anxieties to make them think their life would be better off with that product.
And you have the visual aspect, certain fonts and colours trigger feelings and reactions in different people:
There is also the degrading sexual references that have populated advertising since the 19th Century:
Every advertisement has a message to influence you, this is what advertising is, finding a way to tap into a persons desires and anxieties to get your attention. This was the reason that I was never interested in pursuing a career in advertising photography because I felt that there is always a hidden agenda with every advertisement you see. I hate that even today women are still objectified and girls from a young age are being hypersexualised.
Since being involved with Kookie Magazine my opinion has changed, it’s so exciting to be able to be involved with something that advertises something so inspiring that it’s carving a new path for our young generation of girls, empowering and encouraging them, proving that we are all equal and the sky is the limit.