Interview: Deborah Fletcher Photography

Those of you who follow the blog regularly will know that I love photography and take as many pictures as I can wherever I go. So, when I discovered that one of my favourite photographers – Deborah Fletcher – was showcasing some of her photographs in a new exhibition at Thoresby Gallery, I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her inspiration, her process and her influences!

Tell us a little bit about yourself – how did you become interested in photography?

I don’t have an artistic background, in fact I was discouraged from an early age to pursue something else due to my lack of skill! My career was mainly in the travel industry which did give me the opportunity to photograph many an exotic beach and well known landmark. I bought my first serious camera around 12 years ago after following a friend around the North Yorkshire Moors watching him produce such beautiful images, I was really hooked after that. Continue reading

How to Create Flat Lay Images Using Basic Props

When I first started using Pinterest one of the things that I had to learn how to do were pinnable images. It took me a while, developing my own style over a period of time using either my own pictures or ones that were available for free on stock image sites. However, one thing that I always had difficulty in finding were what I now know as Flat Lay images – pictures taken from above of beautifully arranged objects within a specific theme.

In particular, Flat Lays are hugely popular on Instagram and are a fantastic way to tell a story. I’ve seen absolutely stunning examples of everything from travel, blogging and stationery, to clothing, make-up and food.

I’ve wanted to create my own for some time. However, I’m not a photographer. I use my iPhone and my Canon compact camera to take pictures, but my knowledge doesn’t extend past point, shoot and edit via Instagram or Canva. So, I set out to spend a minimal amount of money on some props and use basic trial and error to see what the end results would be.

And thankfully, they turned out far better than I ever could have expected! Continue reading

World Photography Day

It’s World Photography day and I have spent some of the morning going through my Instagram pictures. I haven’t been on there for long, but I love taking pictures of everywhere and anywhere, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share some of my favourites.

Want to see more? You can find me on my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks

Meet ‘The Bloke’ – Instagram Meet and Greet!

imageThose of you who follow the blog regularly will know about The Bloke – my partner-in-crime of the last 6 1/2 years. What you probably don’t know is that The Bloke, as well as being my best friend (and now my fiance after he proposed outside a 13th Century Scottish castle earlier in the year – the boy done good!), he is also a fantastic landscape, nature and urban photographer.

Meet Duncan – The Bloke. Duncan has been passionate about photography as long as I’ve known him, and I’m truly gobsmacked at the stunning pictures that he takes. He seems to have an eye for things that I can’t see, and can easily lose himself for hours with his camera whenever we visit somewhere… Continue reading

A Fairy Door in the Woods

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The Bloke is a talented photographer and often travels off with his camera to try and find new and interesting perspectives of our local area. We’re very lucky – we live practically next door to two beautiful parks, teeming with British wildlife, and when he gets back I’m always interested to see what he’s discovered.

One set of pictures from the other day caught my eye – he’d spotted something at the bottom of a tree. It was a little fairy door… I have no idea as to who created them, but the child in me instantly thought of Alice in Wonderland. Beautiful. I wonder who lives at 136?

 

He’s very kindly given his permission for me to use the image…

 

Saturday Night at The Mailbox

It’s The Bloke’s birthday today, and my sister and her boyfriend made an unexpected visit, so we’ve spent the day wandering around the city and window shopping and then went for a nice meal tonight to celebrate. This was a picture I took with my iPhone as we arrived, so I thought I’d share…

The Mailbox - absolutely packed with people but beautiful!

The Mailbox – absolutely packed with people but beautiful!

The Super Blood Moon

The Bloke and I both love photography, so we were really excited about the Super Blood Moon that was expected to appear yesterday night. We had been checking the weather forecast all week, and set our alarms for 2.00am so we could set up in time to get some decent shots.

It was freezing outside, but we went out into the back garden. The sky was absolutely perfect – there wasn’t a single cloud and we could see everything really clearly…

It was a truly spectacular sight – I’d never witnessed anything like that before (being just a year old when it last appeared in 1982), so for a while I just stood and watched. Beautiful. Continue reading

Balloons and Tunes!

Our local park in Birmingham is holding a ‘Balloons and Tunes’ festival this weekend, and The Bloke and I joined about 14,000 other people to witness the hot air balloon display. It’s not something I’ve ever experienced before, and it genuinely surpassed all expectation – as the sun set they were lit up in time to various pieces of music, with spectacular effect!

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Ooh, pretty…

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Pretty…

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Enjoying the rides…

In fact, the whole event was superb – it was full of people just enjoying themselves on the various rides with friends and loved ones, and it was a great atmosphere…

Even a little pug joined in the fun, although it must have been a bit too much for him after a while as it ended up  falling asleep on top of one of the prizes on a stall… Bless.

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Sleepy pug…

 

It’s the little moments…

How Not To Do a Photography Shoot

imageIt was a long day yesterday.

My friend and I participated in a photo shoot – we had been stopped in the centre of Birmingham last month and offered a promotion (at a huge discount) for a new photography studio that had recently opened. As part of the package, there was champagne, a hand massage, manicure, professional make-up and hair and an hour long photography session, with a free photograph at the end and the opportunity to purchase further prints if we liked them.

We were excited, but a little apprehensive – neither of us had experienced anything similar before and didn’t know what to expect. However, we did as we were asked and arrived with some of our favourite outfits, no make-up and natural hair.

I’m not one for complaining when I go out – after years of working in various jobs within the service industry I know how awkward, demanding and rude the general public can be – so I always try and be as polite as possible. However, if I had paid the price that they are usually charging for the package that we had I would be demanding my money back, and then some. While I’m not going to go into too much detail, I want you to imagine that a couple of students woke up one day, hired out a couple of tiny rooms in one of the roughest areas of the city and employed their mate with an SLR camera to take pictures. The studio wasn’t a new one – the company ‘opening’ this new place had in fact arranged some sort of deal with an already existing, run down business.

My make-up artist was very inexperienced, and despite asking lots of questions about the sort of style and colours I liked she completely ignored everything I had said and proceeded to make me look like Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Batman, sticking bright red lipstick on me and putting one of my false eyelashes much higher than the other, which I then discreetly adjusted and improved in the toilet afterwards. Don’t believe me? This was the before and after…

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It’s amazing what your own make-up, toilet lighting and Instagram can do isn’t it!

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The saving grace of the day was my friend. I’ve known her for a long time, and she’s one of my favourite people. Neither of us were happy with the service we received, but she put a brave face on it and kept me feeling positive throughout the day. She’s a much stronger character then I am, which I was grateful for as she politely put the photographer firmly in his place when he was inexplicably aggressive with us when we first walked in. To be fair, by the end of the shoot he was laughing and joking with us, and we were making each other laugh by pulling silly faces at each other and after a while I was able to relax and enjoy myself. She’s a glamorous woman and was a natural, taking things in her stride and striking different poses in the beautiful outfits she had brought with her.

After waiting for quite a while after the shoot, we were given the opportunity to look through our photographs. I have huge body confidence and anxiety issues and I while I wasn’t expecting the camera to remove 60lbs from my frame, I was hoping for images that would make me feel a little more confident about myself. It had the opposite effect – the angles in most of the pictures actually made me look bigger than I am, and I was completely deflated. I did purchase a few of them (after lots of bartering as they initially attempted charge an extortionate amount of money for them), mainly because my friend looks great, but there was only one of me that I thought was ok. Here’s one of us together that I liked – we look like we are auditioning for the new series of The Apprentice…

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I’m not going to include many of the pics, but this was the one that I originally liked. Unfortunately, when I got home and put it on my tv screen (which was much bigger), it looked totally different than during the viewing process. There’s a few issues that bug me… My left eye (which looks totally black) and The Hand. The poor lighting looks like a random person has shoved their arm in front of my face. The more I look at it, the more I hate it. It’s a dead hand.

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I tried to experiment and cut it down, even adding an idea for a potential logo, asked for advice in Instagram and from my bloggy friend Steve, who is good at graphics and design, and The Bloke went to work on Photoshop, but it still annoys me.

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Stupid dead hand.

However, it was an experience. I enjoyed spending time with a good friend and we had a laugh.

And the next time someone asks me to go and try out a new photography business, I’ll save my money and take more pictures in the toilet instead!

What about you? Have you ever received any poor services or had your expectations dashed?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks and my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks

Im now on Instagram too – check out my page http://www.intagram.com/suzie81speaks