Some People…..

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I saw the above somewhere on the interwebs one idle night and saved it, meaning to return to it as the basis for a blog post. But then I promptly forgot about it, as I am inclined to do with such flashes of inspiration that come to be on idle nights.

Continue reading “Some People…..”

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Some People…..

Brows 101. No Scouse brows plz.

ImageOnce again, I am going to be very surprised if any Men are interested in this blog post. I am very aware that we have suddenly gone all “beauty” on this blog and that was not my intention. I have a couple of Music posts planned out, along with a longer “life” type ramble which I hope to get up later today.

If you are a girl (or that bloke of the Apprentice!) and want to know about how I, er, do my eyebrows.. read on. Continue reading “Brows 101. No Scouse brows plz.”

Brows 101. No Scouse brows plz.

Why there will always be someone better.

Hello You. Welcome, come in and make yourself comfortable. Except, OH GOD, NOT TOO COMFORTABLE, not there! And don’t get too close to me either, because that makes me jumpy. I’m kinda weird about you sitting so close to me, Oh God, Oh God, Oh God….. Maybe you should just leave.

I am a year on from the (I am going to come right out and say it, because there really is no other term for a condition that leaves you bedridden and literally unable to move for any considerable amount of time) crippling heartbreak that caused me, quite literally, to lose my shit. I realised that in the intervening months I have been vacant, inaccessible and unwilling to give anything other than what I am prepared to give… which is next to nothing. TO ANYONE. I think that in typical single girl style, the closest thing I am able to give love to is my cat. And that is pretty much because I have a 100% guarantee that she won’t trade me in for someone better. And even then, I am not so sure.

And there has been interest. Quite a lot of interest, if I am honest. At one stage the interest got a bit out of hand and I found myself saying no to almost everyone that came along because it was all too much. This alone should, by rights give me confidence that I am not a total loser. But the one thing that gets in the way is, yes, I am willing to come right out and say it, is that I am a girl who has been passed over, chosen last, forgotten and yes, replaced more times than I can mention. I have been told, to my face, in no uncertain terms, that “A better option came along” or, in the case of some, not told at all, and left to wonder and piece together a slow drip feed of details, which all contribute to the solitary fact that yes, someone better came along. Oh, and did I mention she is a model who does volunteer work, speaks 12 languages fluently and has a designer vagina? No? WELL HERE ARE ALL THE PHOTOS!

And I am ok with that, to a point. I myself have had my head turned by better options, more interesting prospects, greater opportunities and downright fitter men. But I can’t pretend that it does chip away at ones soul a bit. The first time you get trashed in this way, specifically by a member of the opposite sex who probably has little idea of the damage they are causing when they go cold on you is probably the most damaging. Rejection is a part of life, but we all like to imagine we are worth an honest “Better off as friends, huh?” rather than a harsh severance of contact. The impact to a persons self esteem after they have been relegated to nothing more than “Somebody that I used to know” is seismic. Aside from the shock of a person you rather liked, romantically or otherwise going cold on you, it is the thought that they may have actively SOUGHT OUT someone better than you.

That’s just awful. It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to take to your bed for 2 months, isn’t it?

Of course, people really do just meet other someones. Yes, that someone ISN’T YOU. But remember, that whilst it is physically not you, sometimes is really ISN’T YOU. Humans are selfish beings, who are programmed to consider their own needs above others. Fundamentally, these behaviours are just a reflection of the need to seek out more agreeable breeding stock. It is just a shame that in doing so, some others need to fall along the wayside.

I like to think that I am a nice person, I have a good sense of humour and I can be very kind. Okay, so I am no supermodel, nor will I ever be described as “hot” but I am pretty average in the looks department. My weight fluctuates depending on the grip I have on my eating issues. I am good at listening and laughing is like oxygen to me. But there are people in this world who do not agree. They have called me beautiful, hilarious, amazing, perfect. When really all these things are just opinions, perspectives on a version of me they have caused me to project. Nobody is any one thing all of the time. It is easy to understand how a person can go from these wildly exaggerated perspectives of a person, to suddenly thinking the opposite, so much so that their interest in you wanes to zero.

And when the interest of someone you kind of like wanes to zero.. well, that is pretty damaging. It makes you feel like you are just not good enough, the approval of that person, now gone leaves you feeling sad and confused and wondering what was wrong with you. Or, in my case, what is actually RIGHT with you, if anything.

Perhaps the saddest thing about all of this is that, whist trying to understand what makes people pass me up I have lost some pretty good friends. The most recent of which barely even knows what has happened in my life the last 6 months, and who I doubt would care if I typed him up a synopsis and had it biked round to his house. Blinded by the glare of something shinier, I suppose there is little interest for the roughly hewn pebble in the corner. And so, to spare my feelings, I do what I always do. Begin that slow and agonising trawl through social media, click, click, clicking him out of my life. Because sometimes, you just gotta.

I guess it is all about perspectives. If you truly believe in the way a person has made you feel in the past, good OR bad, then that is going to have some impact on the way future potential partners perceive you. I have no doubt that the people I meet now, 12 months after the wishing-I was-dead-and-covering-all-mirrors episode, will find me vastly changed. And sadly, that change is for the worse, I fear. The whole experience has made me so wary of people rejecting fundamental elements of me that I can’t ever really find peace. I have hope and some evidence that there are people out there who make me feel like the old me, but I guess with that hope comes a fear of an unknown rejection, which brings with it a whole other host of problems. I do try very hard to just push these worries to one side, and for the most part I manage pretty well. It’s just that…………. What if?, What if? What if?

 How about you? Have you ever been replaced by someone “better”/ignored and made to feel like a problem who will just go away? How did you deal with it? Did you deal with it?

Why there will always be someone better.

Time for Print. The Creative Team and Magazine Submission.

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 I thought I would write a little bit about submitting work speculatively to Magazines, mostly because a lot of people ask me about it, and secondly, because I was fortunate to talk to a “person in the know” about it fairly recently. This is not a “How To”, because if there were such a thing then I wouldn’t be writing this. I would be shooting the cover of Italian Man Vogue instead.

I work with other Photographers, Stylists, Models and Makeup artists very often, and I constantly see hours of hard work and imagination go into something that by all accounts and purposes should be published. I am in the position where I now have a small body of published work under my belt, and so here are a few things I wish I had known when I first started getting rejected submitting work for publication.

Show them what they are missing. Nobody, unless they are very lucky gets their work published straight off the bat. The best advice I was ever given was to create opportunities where there previously were none. If you aspire to see your work in a Magazine such as ID then shoot as if you were working for ID! Focus on creating the best possible work you can afford in terms of time and effort. In other words- show them what they are missing. Not only does this give you an opportunity to find your niche, it also gives your portfolio a boost. Shoot for the gig you want as if you already have it.

Do the legwork. There is no magic bullet to this bit, you are going to have to go knocking on some doors and make some contacts to get your work noticed- hopefully if you have been putting a lot of effort into number 1, then you should get some attention. If not, create something that really WILL turn heads and identifying the appropriate person to show it to is a good start. There are loads of books and resources containing the contact details of publications which might be a good fit for your work, go and make a list of 10 potentials right now.

Focus on the right publications and keep at em! It is unwise to submit story ideas speculatively to lots of random publications, it is time consuming and means you inevitably spread yourself too thin. Have a passion for Gritty Urban Fashion? Get down WH Smiths and check out who you are dealing with- I bet you will come back with a whole list of publications that would be a great fit for your work that you had never ever considered. Similarly if beautiful landscapes or wildlife are your thing, you might want to read Country Living or other similar lifestyle title. Wedding Photographer? Brides Magazine might be your bag, baby. Live Music enthusiast? You might want to go down the blog route to gain access to the Music Press. Keeping abreast of your intended targets photographic style will not only influence your work, it will also help you create work that in time will become on par with anything you might see on the shelf.

Accept that you will get rejected and that there are better Photographers, Stylists and Models. This one is a bit controversial, I know. Having been part of a team that has produced, what I consider to be outstanding work, which then gets rejected is disheartening to say the least. Lord knows, it is positively galling to have something that has taken hours of your time cast aside after barely a moment’s consideration. There are, of course lots of reasons why images get skipped over, so you might want to look again and see if you are guilty of any of them. Here are a few:

The work is the wrong fit for the publication– simple as. Goodbye.

It’s a cliché. Model wearing creepy Rabbit mask anyone? Some ideas just get done to death. Simply, someone else did it first. And they did it better.

The processing is bad: I look back on work I have done sometimes and cringe at my heavy handed editing. Of course, every Photographer and his or her process is different but I would say that, having been shown examples of poor editing I can understand why often really great images get passed over. Flat, smooth, masked over skin. Cross processed filters and tacky boarders seem to be the main reasons given. “I don’t know why they do it” said my contact, “It just makes me sad and makes the images unusable”. If you suspect this is what is holding you back, dig out those RAW files and start again.

It’s just not print worthy…. In the digital age, we rarely consider how our images will look in print because it is a dream for so many. The truth is, it will continue to be a dream for so many because they have not considered how the dodgy filters will make skin look when it is printed. Get the pages printed up, just to see what you are aiming for. Better still, if you know a graphic designer, why not collaborate with them to lay your work out as if it was a spread? I did this very early on with some interior design work I did and landed a shoot for a boutique hotel off the back of it.

The selection is poor or the story you are telling is either confusing or weak: This one has always intrigued me. Even as I am reviewing my shots from the day, I already know which ones will be in line for Lightroom, whilst I am shooting I am mentally piecing together the order in which the story will be put together and I like to think I can second guess which submissions will make it to print.

I am nearly ALWAYS wrong. A Photographer’s job is to submit a consistent selection of images to a publication. The publication then has to see if they have enough to create the visual story they are trying to tell, or images appropriate to support the article. If you have ever seen The September Issue where Anna Wintour shows her barely concealed displeasure at Testino’s descision to shoot a concept she requested you will know that no matter what the Photographer envisages, sometimes the Magazine will have its own story to tell. Beware of pushing your agenda too much with your speculative submissions, just because of the lack of brief. A common mistake I have made in the past was to submit every_single_good_one. It is so easy to forget that a visual story is not a portfolio or showcase. If you look at an actual Fashion editorial, there are a lot of what I call “filler” or “secondary” images, which support the really knockout shots. Do not overlook these. What is killer to you, might not be to somebody else, always seek a second opinion and provide a well selected contact sheet if need be. There is a whole other post here about “people pleasing” in Photography but I have learnt that it is as much about the images working collectively than it is them competing with each other. Remember, a portfolio competes, a submission harmonises!

What to do if you get rejected. You have to remember that, unless you are called Rankin, Tim Walker or on an Art Departments speed dial, it is unlikely that anyone is going to call you and offer you the opportunity to shoot in Milan just like that. Assuming you have knocked on enough doors, produced enough good examples of your work and gained enough attention with your images then you should be in the position to submit and pitch ideas. And yes, those ideas will, at some stage be rejected. They might be rejected in favour of a job the magazine or paper wants you to shoot, so it’s not all bad.. but what then, to do with the images?

Overshare: It is REALLY tempting to post every single photo ever, all at once, in order on your Website/Blog/Facebook. I often do this, especially when I am really pleased with something I have done. Not anymore. My friend says “I had a niggling feeling we had missed a trick with some fashion images we were sent, and so went to the Photographers website to contact them, only to see that they had posted the shoot in it’s entirety. An oversight on our part perhaps, but a pity because we were reluctant to use images that had already been published online”. I think that whilst sneak peeks, previews and teasers are a really useful tool to gain interest in your work, I do think that too much is a bit off-putting and like saying “Oh well, this was for nothing” Treat ALL work as work, paid or unpaid and disclose it accordingly. Apply a judicious hand when selecting the key images for portfolio and perhaps share those. If a client wants to see more, they will ask.

Moan: A Model I worked with once made a fatal error in complaining about a lesser known Magazine on Twitter. Annoyed that a (really very good) Photographers shoot featuring her was not considered she, quite understandably posted the images she felt should have been included, along with detailed reasons why. I would recommend that you keep your disappointment offline wherever possible. A negative attitude towards the industry you want to impress is not a good way to start out. Be graceful and never, ever gripe about what a publication has decided to do (or not do) with your work.

“If all else fails we will have some brilliant photos for our portfolio!” Of course, in the case where you have submitted a speculative TFP shoot to a Magazine, then the images serve a dual purpose of boosting your portfolio. This means that the Model, MUA, Stylist and Hairdresser will all have access to the images. As a Photographer you also have to manage the expectations of your team, all of whom might have some ideas about how they want the shots to look. Bluntly, it is your Photography and you ultimately have creative control over the outcome. It is not okay for someone else to “have a go” on Photoshop and try to improve the images, no matter what their involvement. Remember, that if you mess with an image that is not strictly yours to mess with then you are diluting the vision and undermining the Photographer. It is good courtesy to ask before attempting anything with images a Photographer has provided you.

Get your releases and permissions sorted. A whole other blog post which is for another time. Until then, get out there, get shooting and get rejected. Then go away, do it again, do it better and get it published!

If nobody will publish you and you have an idea for a glossy coffee table book containing your fashion shots then blurb will do it for you, you can even sell your book through the site. It is amazing how much more seriously people take you when things are on paper.

Time for Print. The Creative Team and Magazine Submission.