Rachael Emily is a professional photographer from Brighton in the UK and is our latest Starnow feature photographer competition winner. Despite Rachael’s hectic schedule we were delighted when she agreed to complete a spotlight interview for Urbanity Chic to discuss her experiences and interests in photography. Read the full interview below to find out about what Rachael enjoys photographing most, what she’s been doing over the last 12 months and what music she enjoys listening to.
Q: How did you get into professional photography?
I started taking photos of bands. I used to review gigs for magazines and websites, so it was a natural progression to start photographing live events. I ended up doing some bands’ promotional shots, which then led me into doing model portfolios.
Q: What do you enjoy most photographing?
People. I love working with models and musicians, devising creative concepts. I’ve started doing family and baby portraits which has been fascinating. I love seeing the interaction between people, and photography allows you to learn a lot about your subject. I’m shooting my first wedding in a couple of weeks – I’m expecting it to be stressful but I’m really looking forward to it!
Q: How has the last 12 months been for you?
It’s been mad..! I got married in June, so leading up to that my focus was the wedding. We also moved house, to a new city. It was only a year ago that I got my first dSLR, and had never used an SLR or any photo editing software before, so it’s been a steep learning curve. I took a chance and emailed a local photographer whose work I admired. She let me take behind the scenes photos on a shoot she set up, which then gave me the confidence to start setting up my own shoots.
Q: Who inspires you?
Anyone who takes risks, believes in themselves and works hard for what they want. I’m lucky to have people in my life who inspire me daily.
Q: Which modern day fashion designers or fashion icons do you look up to?
Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood are thoroughly creative – I love their work.
Q: What makes a good photographer in your opinion?
Someone who takes good photos. And a good photo is one that captures your attention and keeps you looking at it. The better the photo, the longer you want to look at it!
Q: Do you prefer using film cameras or digital?
Digital. I love the possibilities allowed by editing software too. I had a film camera when I was a kid, and it was always exciting getting the photos developed at the chemists. Patience isn’t my best skill though, and I think I’d struggle to wait so long before seeing my photos now!
Q: Do you prefer to shoot on location or in the studio?
It depends. I used to prefer shooting on location – it can feed your inspiration and you can end up going in a completely different direction to what you originally planned. But I’m getting more experience working in a studio too -- I like the parameters it gives, and experimenting more with controlled lighting.
Q: Do you have any interesting stories about a particular photo shoot you’d like to share?
Something unexpected always seems to happen on a shoot. I’ve crawled under cars and waded into the sea with my camera round my neck. I’ve begged a priest and a travelling community to let me use their locations; and I’ve jumped over fences and climbed up trees to try to get a shot. There have been a few close calls, but if you run fast or smile nice, you can usually get out of most situations!
Q: Do you have a favourite photograph?
That I’ve taken? Umm, one favourite is from my graffiti shoot. The model, Jasmine, and I collected up dozens of spray paint cans which were all over the ground, and we also found an old shopping trolley and baseball bat which ended up being used as props. There’s one photo where she’s pushing the trolley full of cans, and her expression is brilliant.
Q: Where are you based?
I live in Brighton, on the south coast of the UK.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Brighton has a great atmosphere. I grew up in a quiet town in Kent, and then lived in central London for a while. Brighton’s great for taking photos: you’re spoilt for choice with bars, restaurants and shops. Then there’s the beach and the Pier. Travel a bit outside the centre, and there are quaint villages, rolling countryside and white cliffs.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
Booking my first wedding was amazing! And a restaurant has recently asked for my photos to go on all their merchandise, which is exciting. I also photographed The Darkness last week -- that was pretty cool, although in the photo pit at a gig, you nearly always get covered in beer!
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I’d love to go forward with the band promo photography and I’d be thrilled to do more fashion work. But I also like the challenge of wedding photography!
Q: What do you do to relax?
Something involving good company, good food and good music.
Q: Where would your favourite holiday (vacation) be and why?
Ahh, I love to travel! For our honeymoon, my husband and I went to Peru and Mexico. Probably one of my favourite trips was a 6-week roadtrip across the States, east coast to west and back again -- it was fantastic. I really like Indonesia too; I’ve been twice, but next time I go I want to visit Kalimantan.
Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?
‘Oh Lord’ by Foxy Shazam, ‘Sail’ by Awolnation and ‘No One Sleeps’ by Wired Desire. I did a degree in music, worked as a freelance music journalist for several years, and when I’m not taking photos, I teach piano. My all time favourite band? Maybe Guns ‘n’ Roses…
Q: Do you have interesting hobbies?
I love to travel as much as possible, and if I’m somewhere warm, I try to surf. I’m not very good though! I also like to ride motorbikes and go horse-riding.
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for aspiring photographers what would it be?
Go for it. Take photos as often as you can, meet with other photographers, look at photos you like and work out what you like about them. Watch other photographers work. Look out for opportunities. And don’t be afraid to ask!
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
I just enjoy it. There’s nothing crazy or deep about it; I just like taking photos.
Editor’s Note: Rachael Emily is a dynamic and diverse photographer equally at home in the genres fashion or music. Rachael’s appreciation of composition ensures that each one of her photos tells an intriguing and enticing story.
If you’d like to contact Rachael Emily or check out more of her work, just follow the links below:
twitter link: http://twitter.com/#!/Rachae1Emily
facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/rachaelemilyphotography
web page link: http://www.rachael-emily.com/
Any other links: http://www.modelmayhem.com/2301874