Photography Development: Shoot in Manchester

Over the May bank holiday I took a trip to Manchester to shoot some new ideas for personal projects. I focused on two different types of photography, modern architecture and documentary. My partner is fantastic at finding locations for photography and he found a great open urban space that is currently in the process of being redeveloped. What caught my eye was the contrast between the bright green grass and the building far in the background. I shot a series of images that reflected this in a documentary style. 

During my first year at university I produced a project (themed around ‘Place’) that looked at urban space vs green space. I took a series of shots in Maidenhead that reflected the town as an area that is about to go through change. Documenting the urbanisation was important during the project as part of the aim was to show the comparison between the old green space and the new developments and the new manicured green spaces that came with them. The set of shots that I shot for this series deals with the same themes. I wanted to show an area that’s about to go through change and document it in the present day. 

Photos from my Place Project

I also visited Media City which was my favourite place throughout the weekend. I loved photographing all the modern buildings and being right in the centre of ITV studios. It was a great day with blue skies and clouds. This was perfect for shooting buildings with cloud reflections. 

On the second day, I focused on modern architecture. I looked at reflections and how these large buildings sit in the city of Manchester and the different types of buildings. I shot these looking up, so that the buildings appear as giants and give an abstract effect. This is my unique style of shooting and I really love seeing the impact in post-production. I think these angles not only show off the building but also the details and how it sits in the light.

I really enjoy getting out and about with my camera, Manchester was a successful trip and another fantastic city that I can tick off my list. I have new material for my upcoming exhibition in November which is really exciting, as well as a brand new documentary style project in the making. Watch this space! 

Female Graduate Business Owner: #DeterminationAndDisability blog series with Girl Tribe Gang

Hello and welcome back to the blog. I’ve had a really interesting few days as I’ve been busy with Girl Tribe Gang meet up’s this week with my partner in crime, Tracy James from Bright Yellow Coaching. On Tuesday we had our Maidenhead & Windsor meet up at Saints Café. We have the lovely Bethany Joy who is a brand voice crafter and wordsmith extraordinaire (I must say I love the fancy title!) give us a power hour on ‘Is your marketing saying what you think it’s saying?’. I made lots of notes and had a great conversation with a group of women business owners discussing ways in which we can improve our written content. It really made me think about the message I want to convey to my clients and audience. 

It also made me realise how much I do in terms of written content. I have been hard on myself lately as I haven’t been consistent on my blog, however, I do write an e-newsletter (you can sign up here) every month to my network and I write content for various social media platforms as well as running the #DeterminationAndDisability blog series for Girl Tribe Gang. So it made me realise that I do need to give myself a bit more credit. 

On Wednesday, we were at Bel & The Dragon for our Reading meet up, where we had the lovely Claire Winter from Making Words Come Alive who gave us a power hour on ‘How to make effective use of video in your content mix’. This was an interesting one for me as I don’t use a lot of video and I have only ever done one Instagram Live. I don’t feel as confidence because of my speech, and I worry how I would come across. Having said that, it is something I’d like to work on and do more of in the future. I really enjoyed getting to know how Claire works and hearing about her video set up, this really interested me as a photographer. 

I wanted to share with you the blog series I run with Girl Tribe Gang which is called #DeterminationAndDisability. The purpose of the blog is to raise awareness for woman in business with disabilities. I interview other tribe members and members in my network to raise awareness for different disabilities and talk about my own experiences from running a business as a female business owner with Cerebral Palsy. You can view all of these posts through the links below:

First Post

Why disability is important to women in business “International Day of Persons with Disabilities”

Interview with Rebecca Broad

Interview with Sarah from Crafty by Nature

Interview with Viktoria from Your Change Story

Self-Employed with Cerebral Palsy

Interview with Alicia from Crumb’s The Word 

Last month I gave my very first power hour with Girl Tribe Gang on ‘How to make your business more accessible’. I covered various key topics from how we are talking to clients, the hiring process to events. I engaged guests and members with an interactive activity to explore key areas in their business and how they can make them more accessible. They engaged in this by discussion in groups and writing ideas down on post it notes. Finally, I also spoke about my past experiences as a freelance business owner with Cerebral Palsy and the #DeterminationAndDisability blog series. You can read a full blog post on my power hour and my experience of speaking in public with Cerebral Palsy here

I’ve got a few ideas for new blog posts (thank you so much Claire) and an exciting collaboration in the pipeline too! Looking forward to giving you more content soon. Have a great week.

Thank you for reading. Kirsty X

Photography Development: Shoot in Vauxhall, London

When I left university last year I stopped travelling into London as much. I’d been doing it for so long throughout the course of my degree. I suppose my focus had changed, not to mention the tiredness of a whole day shooting in London. I was keen to start up as a freelancer and throw myself into my brand and get networking. For many months I focused on building relationships, developing my services and gaining clients and this was easy to do during the winter season. 2019 came around, spring hit and I kept thinking I needed to get back out there with my camera for my personal development, not just for my business. 

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I planned a shoot in Vauxhall, an area I’d been to before so I was confident with finding my way around on foot. It was a lovely spring day, the sun was out and the skies were blue and these are always my perfect days to shoot architectural photography. At the forefront of my mind I was thinking “It’s time for a new project”. The ‘Monumental City’ project was the big one for 2018. It was for my final major project for university, was exhibited in my university degree show and exhibited a second time at my local co-working space, where I gave a talk on the project back in October 2018. I’m proud of that project, it took the best part of a year to develop and it gained me a lot of exposure and still does now. However, for me it was time to shoot some fresh material, I felt I needed to look at new imagery, create something even better and progress to the next level.

I started shooting various different angles of each building, I wanted to celebrate the modern architecture of London. It fascinates me and gets me excited and even though I’d not photographed a full-on architecture shoot for a while (besides the odd photo here and there), it felt good to be doing what I love and what I’m talented at. I captured long shots, details and abstract shoots. I took my time and reviewed each image, checking I’d snapped exactly what I intended to. 

I looked at different shapes, textures and reflections of each of these buildings. In my mind, I was thinking “how can I develop a new set of work even better than ‘Monumental City’?” This was my starting point and I’m pleased with the images I took, I love the vibrancy and bright blues. At this moment in time I’m in the very early stages of developing a new project and I’m definitely going to be planning a few more shoots in London to explore and develop.

In November of this year, I’m having an exhibition at the Gallery at The Curve, Slough (more information coming soon). Following a successful 2018 I plan to produce a couple of new bodies of work to exhibit for this, focusing on various architectural subjects. Most of the time the problem is scheduling time in to focus on producing new work and developing my practise in a genre that I love. Finding the headspace to do this also isn’t easy, as I have to be in a creative mindset and feel motivated to produce new work. With the summer rapidly approaching and those blue sky days becoming more regular, I do feel motivated and excited to get out and find the latest modern architecture which is waiting for me! I’m looking forward to continuing building my brand, showing people what I have achieved and how I am developing. Another exciting six months ahead at Kirsty Meredith Photography. Watch this space!

Berkshire Business: Photographing a Luxury Home with EAB Homes

I was recently granted an opportunity to photograph a luxury home in Beaconsfield with EAB Homes after meeting Tonia, a lovely member of the Girl Tribe Gang. Tracy from Bright Yellow Coaching met Tonia at a Girl Tribe Gang meet up and told her about my love for all things architecture and how I was keen to develop an interior portfolio. 

I met Tonia for the first time at the EAB Homes offices and I shared my exterior portfolio with her, she talked me through their wonderful luxury brochures and I remember saying how much I would aspire to take interior shots exactly like the ones in the brochures. She granted me with an amazing opportunity, allowing me into one of the luxury homes for a day to take photos for my portfolio. 

Mulberry house has six bedrooms and bathrooms, a large open plan Kitchen/Dining/Garden area and a Study, Drawing room and additional reception room. It has three floors in total with the third floor having a cinema room, a kitchenette and two bedrooms. 

Preparing for the Shoot 

After myself and Tonia set a date for the shoot, I thought “I really must make the most of this incredible opportunity!” I decided to hire a Canon Tilt-Shift lens from Lens for Hire in Maidenhead who’ve always provided me with a great service. I also developed a Pinterest board of interior inspiration for shots and angles that I was confident that I could recreate.

Once I had got my inspiration, I then thought about equipment, I packed up my three Canon lens (24-105mm, 70mm-300mm and a TS-E 17mm), camera body (Canon 6D), Canon flash gun, a tripod and my laptop. I also took spare memory cards and you never know what’s going to happen on a shoot! 

When I arrived at the property, I was greeted by Tonia and remember feeling excited and a little nervous, but I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. I started downstairs in the open plan kitchen and dining area which was all dressed. I set up my tripod, tilt-shift lens and positioned myself in front of the main dining area.

Developing my Craft  

I really wanted to take my time with each shot, the tilt-shift lens I was using only focuses manually and I am used to autofocus, so this meant that I really had to take my time. My eyesight isn’t the best even with glasses! After each shot I had to check the focus and readjust when needed.  

My plan was to take a wide angle shot of each room from a couple of different positions. In the back of my mind I had set shots prepared to recreate from my inspiration from my Pinterest board and the brochures that Tonia had showed me. 

I made my way upstairs to discover the Master bedroom which was dressed with beautiful luxury décor. The bedroom led onto a dressing room followed by a Master ensuite bathroom which I like to call the ‘Bathroom of Dreams’. The bath was smack bang in the middle, sitting beautifully surrounded by spot lights. I captured each of these three rooms with the tilt-shift lens focusing on the angles and positions.  

Getting out of my Comfort Zone

I have only used a tilt-shift lens a handful of times and due to my Cerebral Palsy I do find it a bit fiddley. When setting up my camera and changing lens I have to take extra time and care. In the reception area of the property was a large circular sofa, this was perfect for me to lay my equipment down carefully and change my lens over with ease.

Due to my disability, I’m naturally a shaky person and this can get worse if I’m under pressure (most of what I put on myself!). So when it came to photographing the smaller details of the décor and interiors, I found this tricky at times. I really had to take my time and make sure the key elements were in focus.  

Seeing the Results 

I love photography and believe I have always had the correct eye for detail and a passion to create bright vibrant images. It’s good for me to get out of my comfort zone and I am proud of my first interior shoot of a luxury home. When I reviewed and edited my images, I could see room for improvement and thought about how I could do things differently next time. I learnt a lot about my skillset and the types of images I enjoyed taking as a photographer. 

I want to finally thank Tonia for this opportunity, I learnt a lot and it feels amazing to now say that I have made a start to developing an interior portfolio. There will be a body of work up on my website soon of the finished set of images. I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience on a shoot as a photographer with Cerebral Palsy. 

Connect with Tonia

www.eabhomes.co.uk

Instagram: @eabhomes

Female Graduate Business Owner: Entering the big wide world of freelancing.

Like most graduates I didn’t really have a concrete plan of exactly what I wanted to do after university. I knew that I had a keen interest in architecture and that most of my website was architectural focused. The first challenge I had was to create a whole new network. Whilst I was at university in Ealing, which I commuted to from Maidenhead, I kept my head down most of the time as the final year was so intense. As a result my network in Maidenhead was almost none-existent.

It’s all about Co-Working! 

One evening in July my partner came home after work and handed me a flyer for a local co-working space in the centre of Maidenhead called MyWorkSpot He said “You should book a tour here!” He’d been there for a networking event and instantly thought it would be a great place for me to kick-start my freelance career.

People that know me well know that I’m not one to spend a great deal of time on my own, I get a real buzz from being around others and love meeting new people. I took the plunge and booked myself a tour. 

Will Ballantyne from MyWorkSpot showed me around and I quickly realised this place would be a great fit for me! I joined up the same day. The first few times I went to MyWorkSpot I remember feeling so nervous because I didn’t know anyone or have a concrete plan but slowly Will kindly introduced me to other members and I not only made contacts but also friends. I started attending MyWorkSpot a couple of times a week and focused on building my network and offering photography as a service. 

Big Opportunities 

I met some wonderful people through co-working and by the end of August I’d managed to partner up with the lovely Tracy James from Bright Yellow Coaching and I became the official photographer for the Maidenhead & Windsor Tribe for woman’s collective Girl Tribe Gang.

The tribe launched in September at Hurley House Hotel and nervous as I was, I actually really enjoyed myself. I got a real buzz from photographing the relaxed atmosphere and meeting like-minded women. As each monthly event passed I gained confidence with the photography and networking. I enjoyed being part of a tribe of powerful woman who all have the same end goal which was to start a business and make a success of it. 

September was a really busy month for me after gaining this fantastic opportunity with Girl Tribe Gang, I also attended the Maidenhead & Windsor Business Awards with MyWorkSpot. They were nominated and won Business Start-up Award. We had a fantastic evening and I met other businesses in the local area.

Another fantastic opportunity came my way and after a meeting with Will, I managed to persuade him and the team to put my degree show work up on the wall at MyWorkSpot. Following this we had another meeting and decided to put on an exhibition reveal / networking event. This took place in October and I gave a talk on the project “Monumental City”. This was a real highlight for me, having Cerebral Palsy didn’t stop me from undertaking public speaking. I felt really confident because people were engaged and interested in what I had to say and I shared how the project had developed. 

The last few months of the year I spent networking and creating a strong community around me. I believe this is so important when you are a freelancer. In November I attended the Girl Tribe Gang Live event up in Maidenhead, myself and Tracy travelled up together. This was the furthest I had travelled for work but I loved it. The whole day was full of inspiring panels and workshops delivered by inspiring people and successful women business owners. I met the founder of Girl Tribe Gang Catherine Asta Labbett and got talking to her about my passion for raising awareness for all things disability. I was really surprised and thrilled when she said “Let’s get you on the blog!”  The following week we were emailing back and forth and the #DeterminationAndDisability blog series was born! Go read the first post here.

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2019 Goals 

I have quite a few goals for my business for 2019 and a few of them I’ve already achieved, for example starting this blog! I’m going to share with you a few more below:

Succeed in talking at a #powerhour with the Girl Tribe Gang Windsor & Maidenhead Tribe.

Continue to grow my fantastic relationship with Girl Tribe Gang.

Create two new photography series in preparation for my exhibition in November.

Gain a creative collaboration.

Continue to build my community and network.

Look after my health and wellbeing.

The Rollercoaster 

So far I’ve faced a fair share of struggles in the freelance world and there are times when I’ve questioned myself, struggling to find my next move. I struggle to believe in myself a lot of the time, however, I have a wonderful partner who believes in me and a strong community behind me. Having clear goals and a focus for the year ahead really helps me stay strong and believe in myself. Freelancing is hard, freelancing with a disability is even harder. I may have Cerebral Palsy but I’m a strong women with creative ideas and so much to give. It’s been a rollercoaster so far but I definitely won’t be stepping off anytime soon! 

Thank you for reading. Kirsty X

Photo Credits: Jade Thomas Photography and Jodie Humphries