All of you who are interested in getting into the fashion world or your just breaking in the you will want to read this interview with the talented Alice Luker.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Alice Luker, a 21 year old photography graduate from England. My favourite place (and ultimately where I would love to be based) is Paris although I am extremely fortunate to live so close to London, offering me best of both worlds with city and countryside.
What made you get into photography?
I will be totally honest, it didn’t come naturally to me at first. I studied photography AS level then onto a 2 year foundation degree at Farnborough College of Technology. The college isn’t the most recognised institution in the country, yet the one to one tuition and genuine desire to help every step of the way really made it worthwhile.
The second year of my foundation degree was when I started to up my game. Being shortlisted as a finalist for ‘Young Fashion Photographer of the Year’ at the Clothes Show Live 2010 was when I realised that I stood a fighting chance in this industry, allowing my confidence (and therefore ability) to rapidly develop from there.
Studying photography is not just an academic progression, it is a platform and opportunity to build your portfolio and collaborate with other creative’s. This year I am graduating from a Bsc (Hons) in Media Production with a first, although I am fully aware there is more to succeeding in photography than attaining a high grade.
How did you get started?
During AS photography I made a little makeshift studio in my house with a white and black blind from Ikea… Although it was far from an ideal studio environment, everyone has to start somewhere and it was in here where I developed my initial skills.
I had also completed various short courses at LCF including ‘Retro Glamour Makeup’, ‘Styling for the Media’ and ‘Evolution of Style’. Although none directly relate to photography, they each assisted me to understand the importance of team work in addition to basic skills of other creative’s jobs- allowing myself and the team to communicate on the same level. It was during and after these courses when I really started to open my eyes and be proactive with the realisation of endless opportunities available to determined people.
London is full of inspiring exhibitions, with my particular love for art and painting (which strongly influences my work) developed by wandering around the National Gallery with an audio guide.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I’m a fashion photographer. I’m in my element when working on editorial collaborations for magazines, however the bulk of my paid work is from designer ‘lookbooks’ at present.
What gear are you using?
I use a Nikon D700 camera. So far I haven’t been persuaded to look in any other direction as I am more than impressed with the camera’s ability and scope in low light situations with minimal noise. It is far heavier than I would like it to be (being a female photographer does have its obstacles!) but having a camera which you really feel you can work with is so vital.
Lighting is crucial to a fashion photographer and whenever possible my preferred method is Arri (tungsten) lighting. My alter ego as a ‘film extra’ has allowed me to study filmic tungsten lighting in the most professional of environments.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
My 24-70mm Nikon Lens. This lens has wonderful clarity and has been my weapon of choice in some of my most successful shots.
I will be honest, I get more excited talking about the creative side of photography than technical aspects- my trusty kit is the tool in which I am able to express my concepts but visual creativity is what my shoots are initially founded on.
How are you marketing yourself?
There are so many ways to market yourself as a photographer, with the majority of possibilities so easily accessible online. My marketing choices include twitter, blogspot, facebook, tumblr- all in addition to my central website which all are linked to. The more online traffic you can create about yourself, the better.
I have a natural desire to be pro active which certainly helps. Although I’ve been approached on numerous occasions, people don’t always come to you so you really do have to be determined and fearless in approaching others.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
This photograph always brings me a smile, making me feel that all of the blood, sweat and tears from the moment I started photography to now has been worthwhile. To have the opportunity to shoot at the Victoria & Albert museum in London was an achievement in itself but I have also produced some of my best work on this shoot.
Having only one hour to shoot an entire editorial made it an extremely surreal yet amazing experience. As we wrapped the shoot, I turned around and realised how many people must have been watching throughout- it was madness!
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Ok, so the first pointers about ‘going pro’ are to be flexible, driven and focused. Although it is important to shoot as much as possible, your shoots should be about quality not quantity, especially when concept driven. Endless hours of preparation tend to go into my concepts which can easily be overlooked when looking at the final images. When possible, I recommend creating moodboards in advance, with time for them to be developed and perfected for the shoot.
I couldn’t do what I do without a talented and dedicated team. I first started to search for collaborations by creating an account on model mayhem. If you are just starting out in fashion photography I would say this is an absolutely priceless website and definitely something to sign up to right away.
Be approachable and make yourself present to be approached. I’m afraid that sacrifice does tend to come with the job if you really do want to make it, especially in the fashion industry- I can’t even consider a relationship right now as I just haven’t got the time!
Self promotion is the name of the game. Enter competitions, check out whether any magazines have themed submissions- even if your work doesn’t get in the magazine on a given occasion, it will most often increase the quality of your portfolio. Buy photography magazines/ browse websites relevant to your subject matter. Most importantly, find your niche.