Information and Frequently Asked Questions:
My studio is in Woolwich Arsenal in South-East London and is very easy to get to on the Docklands Light Railway with direct links to Bank and Stratford, as well as Canning Town on the Jubilee Line and direct overground trains from Charing Cross and London Bridge.
My studio location is a beautiful historic naval area (Royal Arsenal) right next to the river Thames, which we can use for one of the looks if you want a few photos outdoors. The address is:
Do you live outside London or on the other side of town? Don't worry - people come to me from all over the country: Scotland, Cornwall, Wales, you name it. People have come for shoots from as far away as Norway, Pakistan, Switzerland, Lebanon and Dubai.
Fundamentally, if you're going to go to the effort and expense of having your photos done, it's worth going to someone whose work really appeals to you, even if you have to travel a bit to get there. Photographers aren't interchangeable like plumbers, where the nearest and cheapest one will do. Don't come to me because I'm near you - come because you love my work and want the best!
What You Get:
Frequently Asked Questions (click to expand):
— Do you provide outfits?
I don't provide outfits, as people come in all shapes and sizes, wanting to do a huge range of styles. So you'll need to bring anything you want to wear. But I'll give you lots of suggestions of what to bring when you book.
— What should I wear?
Your photos can be any combination of styles, whether for social media, LinkedIn, a portfolio, dating, a confidence boost, a website or something else. People often want to try several styles.
Let me know what you have in mind for the photos and then when you book, I'll send lots of suggestions of what clothes and accessories to bring.
— What about a make-up artist?
Some of my packages for women include professional hair and make-up. However, if you're not used to photographic make-up and it's important the images feel 'like you', I highly recommend you book one of the own-make-up packages with retouching included instead, as that way you will look and feel more like yourself in the photos. (It's also much, much cheaper.) Professional retouching is what fixes skin blemishes and the things that people typically hope make-up will improve, but in a much more natural looking way.
As a very broad generalisation, I've found that the people who benefit the most from professional make-up tend to be women in their twenties. I've met dozens of exceptions, of course, but if you're older than that then I encourage you to consider one of the packages where you do your own make-up and hair, as that way you will look and feel much more like yourself. By its very nature a makeover is making you look different to what you're used to, and in my experience younger women enjoy that more.
Men don't need make-up - much better to spend the same money on the retouching option (see below) as that will improve your complexion more naturally.
— What is your availability?
I shoot every day of the week, and I only do one shoot per day so that I can be flexible with timing.
Weekends tend to get booked up the fastest, often 1-2 months in advance. Weekdays and weekday evenings I can usually do within 1-2 weeks. But let me know when you're available and I'll do everything I can to fit you in.
— How do I get the photos and how soon?
You'll get the photos late the same evening of the day of the shoot. I'll email you a download link which will let you view and save all the images from the shoot. You'll be able to download the whole lot to your laptop, PC or Mac, and also view them on a phone or tablet.
They will be conveniently sized for emailing, phones and anywhere you'd use them online. If you also want any in huge resolution (e.g. for printing), just let me know which and I'll transfer them straight over to you, completely free. (The huge resolution files are too big to upload all of them initially.)
If you'd rather I post you both huge and internet sized versions of all the images on a USB stick through the mail, that costs just £10 to cover costs.
Any retouching you want then takes just over a week from when you let me know your selection.
— Do you offer prints?
In this digital age most people don't even want prints, but if you do, ordering them is very easy and cheap to do - just 8p for a normal size print from a company like www.photobox.co.uk.
(If a studio is offering prints with their photoshoot, you can bet you're paying a massively inflated rate for them.)
— How many images will I get?
The number of photos in a shoot varies with how long your chosen package is, and other factors like how long you spend changing, whether you're changing your make-up, etc. We'll take at least 100 variations, though, and you'll get to keep all of them at no extra cost.
Part of the magic of good photography is taking lots of variations of any one pose so that you have lots of options when choosing the best ones you want to use. Most studios only let you have a few of the photos, but I find that people really like having the outtakes too, as there are often lots they like and want to use. So you'll get all the photos we take.
— Are the photos really all included?
Yes! Makeover studio companies usually charge £80+ per photo, after advertising a meaningless price for the shoot itself. Their entire business model depends on misleading you about how many hundreds of pounds it will actually cost you. They have salesmen whose job it is to pressure you during a "free private viewing" into spending a minimum of £700, and often more.
Not so here! Within 24 hours of the shoot, and usually the same evening, you'll get ALL the images from the shoot, at no extra cost.
— How do I pay?
In order to book you just pay a small £30 deposit. The rest you either just pay on the day or in small installments up to the day of the shoot if you'd prefer. For deposits I can either take cards over the phone, or send you PayPal request (which can also be paid by card), or give you my bank details for a transfer. It's all very quick and easy; just click 'Book Now' below to get in touch.
— Do you do shoots for children / families?
I don't do any kind of group photography or work with children under 10. (Couples or 2-3 adults or teenagers is fine.) I can recommend someone who is very good at child and family photography, though - please ask.
— What happens on the day?
On the day of the shoot you bring a variety of outfits and accessories. I'll give you lots of suggestions of what to bring when you book.
When you arrive, we'll have a quick chat about what photo styles and ideas would best suit you and your needs. Then we'll do some warm-up shots to get you comfortable in front of the camera, and then proceed with the shoot. The photos always get better and better as we go along as you relax and discover the whole process is fun!
With each outfit/idea there'll be a different lighting setup, and you'll get a chance to review the pics we've just taken to make sure you're happy before moving on to the next look.
It's my job to tell you what to do and make you look great. You just have to show up!
— Do you have different backgrounds / sets?
I mostly use 'seamless paper' backgrounds as they look the most professional and magazine-like. My studio also has wooden flooring, exposed brickwork, oak beams, etc., that we can use. I also sometimes use a sofa, chairs, stools and various fabrics and rugs which are great for lying on.
Most makeover studios use clichéd and gimmicky sets as a substitute for good photography. Yet if you look at studio shots in magazines they are generally classic and plain with obviously good photography, not using cheesy sets like a circular hole in the wall.
If you browse my image gallery, you'll get a good idea of what we can do and how good you can look in a glamorous yet natural way.
It's also easy to do one or more of the looks in the historic area outside my studio for added variety if you like (as long as it's dry and there's daylight) - it's right next to the River Thames.
— Can we do some photos outside?
Yes! Most of my work is done in the studio as the lighting is nicer, it's private and the weather isn't a factor. However, I often do one or more of the looks in the historic area just outside the studio, which is great for a natural look. It's right next to the River Thames. So yes, we can do that as long as there's daylight and it isn't raining.
If you want to go further afield, I have a specific Outdoors package for that. Please ask.
— Which package should I choose?
Most people go for the Standard package, but if you can afford it, the Deluxe is even better because it is a longer session, and people always get better as the session goes on, so that extra time is often when you are on a roll and looking your most fabulous.
There's also a Basic package just for people on a budget, which doesn't include any retouching, but if you're going to the effort of doing a shoot in the first place, it's worth making the photos as great as possible by having your favourite ones retouched (the Standard or Deluxe package).
Professional retouching (also often called airbrushing) is what gives photos a polished, magazine feel while still looking natural. It removes skin blemishes and lines, much more seamlessly than make-up can, plus can even slim any body parts that you feel need it, depending on the shot. If you want to look subtly younger or slimmer, or have that celebrity wow factor, retouching is what does that. It's very different from blasting a photo with a crappy phone filter! Professional retouching should make you look amazing without looking edited at all.
Almost all the images on my website have been retouched to some extent, and as you can see, most have been done in a very natural looking way.
The Standard and Deluxe packages already include some professional retouching. You can also pay for it separately. Retouching for one photo is £20, but if you pay on the day of the shoot, you can get 5 retouched for just £50 (worth £100) and then any additional ones are just £10 each.
— What if I'm not photogenic?
Almost everyone I work with starts off nervous, and plenty are convinced they're not photogenic. They're also worried they will somehow end up feeling silly on the day. This anxiety is completely normal! A bit of nervous energy actually helps.
All the time people tell me they aren't photogenic or normally hate having their photo taken. They've looked uncomfortable in photos in the past and mistakenly concluded there's something wrong with them, that they just weren't blessed in the genetic lottery. But this is a tragic misunderstanding. Everyone looks uncomfortable in photos until they learn how to look comfortable, which I'll show you how to do. I've been doing this a long time and all the insecurities you think are uniquely yours, everyone has.
Looking photogenic is 10% what people think it is - bone structure, symmetry, etc. - and 90% just feeling comfortable. As soon as you feel comfortable, you look good.
Learning to be yourself and feel comfortable whilst someone is taking photos is a skill, and just like other skills, it takes practice and familiarity with the process before you master it. You wouldn't expect to be able to learn to drive a car or play the piano without a lot of practice. But for some reason people feel they should be instantly good in front of the camera. Smiling in particular is exceptionally hard to do naturally, yet we feel we should be able to do it on demand.
My job is to take nervous people and make them so comfortable while taking photos that they stop trying to look good, and instead relax and let go, to the point where they actually do look good. And the secret to doing that is just a matter of desensitising you to the process. People sometimes arrive for a shoot physically shaking with nerves and doing tequila shots, yet sooner or later during the shoot they get a bit hungry, a bit tired, a bit bored, and that's when the photos get good, because they've reverted to their natural state of just being themselves.
It's physically impossible to stay nervous for an entire 2 hour shoot, so sooner or later people always get there. You'll see that progression in the pictures, and as well as getting great photos, this sets you up to be that little bit more comfortable whenever anyone takes your photo in the future because you'll know that actually, in some photos, yes, you can look good.
— Can I bring a friend?
You're very welcome to bring a friend or partner or parent to watch. Just make sure it's someone you'd feel comfortable with watching you and not someone who will put you off, as I don't have a separate waiting area. They can even be in a few of the photos too, at no extra charge.
If you're a dancer, it's useful to bring another dancer, as they can give you feedback on your technique ("point your toes", etc.)
— What if I want to do more outfits?
Although the packages suggest a limit on the number of outfits you can bring, that's actually just a guide. If you've done a photoshoot before or you take to it naturally then you may have time for more. The exact number of looks you can do depends on the length of time of your chosen package, and also whether you plan to change your make-up or hair mid-shoot.
The confirmation info I'll send when you book has lots of suggestions appropriate for the package you book.
With all packages it's usually possible to extend by an hour for just £50 - please ask.
— Can I do artistic nude or semi-nude photos?
Many people want one or more tasteful photos with some degree of nudity as part of the photoshoot, although of course you don't have to!
If that's something you think you might like to try (and you're over 18), I have lots of reference images you can look at when you're here to find styles and poses that you're comfortable doing.
There are lots of things we can do that give the impression of nudity without actually showing anything, such as a bare back or beautiful silhouette lighting where your body is in shadow, and you can check all the way along to make sure you like the way the photos are looking. When people do feel brave enough to show a bit of skin, they almost always like those photos the best.
— Will the photos be used anywhere?
Any photos we do are completely private, just for your use, and will not be used anywhere (including my website) without your permission. I completely respect you wanting to keep them private.
Normally I keep a copy for 3 months, in case people want any retouched or lose them, and then after 3 months I delete them. If you'd rather I delete them as soon as you've received them, or keep them longer, that's absolutely fine, just let me know.
— Do I have what it takes to become a model?
Modelling is an extremely competitive industry and also a minefield, with a lot of dodgy agencies and other companies trying to take advantage of you. I can't tell you whether you are modelling material but I can warn you what to watch out for and how best to approach agencies.
Please read my article on How to Become a Model to learn more.
— Do you do shoots abroad?
Yes! Click here for more information.
More questions? Please contact me and ask.