I’ve been asking photographers questions for a while now over on Belle Amour and decided it would be a nice feature to add to Belle Bébés too. I think these interviews are great not only for parents thinking of having their little ones photographed but also for those interested in photography as a profession. I have no children but, with a love of photography, I enjoy learning of professional photographers’ advice. Plus, these particular interviews are going to be accompanied by photos of cute kids and that always makes me smile (and become somewhat broody but I must stop that!)
So for the first interview we actually have two fab photographers that form one company: Coterie Photos. I hope you enjoy the feature as much as I did :)
We ♥ photography that makes you happy. Coterie Photos specialises in portrait and wedding photography handmade with love from down-to-earth friends.
Bex: I’m in Leeds while Jordanna is in Northamptonshire – which means we have a huge catchment area!
When and how did you fall in love with photography?
Jordanna: Too long ago to remember, I believe I was 5 when my mum bought me my first camera.
Bex: I would love to say we fell in love when I was 3 and I always knew it was ‘the one’ but sadly I think it was more like when I was at secondary school. I finished my GCSE’s and got fairly average grades and didn’t know what to do next, so I did an NVQ in photography, design and theatre studies. THAT’S when I couldn’t put the camera down (and finally got some good grades!)
Have you had any formal training?
Both: Yes, we’ve both studied it at uni.
Bex: When I finished my BA Photography, I went off to live in the big smoke and lived as a struggling artist assisting photographers of all sorts doing all kinds of jobs, things that you would struggle to get the chance to do in any other kind of job, I loved it! Until my husband was transferred in his job and we moved ooop norf.
How would you describe your photography style?
Bex: Lucky, spontaneous, joyful.
Jordanna: Dreamy, genuine and a little bit different.
What inspires your work?
Both: Anything and everything!
Bex: Mainly people and their personalities, I am a TOTAL people person, my husband always takes the Mickey out of me saying I can’t be on my own and that I get on my own nerves, but I just like to have people around me all the time.
When did you first start out in portraiture photography?
Bex: Once we were transferred to Leeds I decided to change my whole style and started getting asked to shoot family groups and children, so it sort of just evolved, that’s when I really found my style and love of portraiture.
Jordanna: I too, have been shooting portraits for about 18months now.
Where in the UK are you based and how far would you travel for a shoot?
Both: In Leeds and Northants – travel is one of our favourite aspects of the job so we are willing to travel all over the country and world! Yes please! :)
How many portrait sessions do you shoot per year?
Both: Not nearly enough…more please!
Could you please share some details of a shoot you particularly enjoyed capturing?
Jordanna: Well we’ve had a long chat about this one and…sheesh…we can’t answer that one – they’re all fab!
What would be your idea of a dream portraiture shoot?
Bex: A 12 page spread for Vogue, Christmas edition. With an open door for a camera / lighting hire company to use anything and every piece of equipment I wanted. Top stylist, amazing models, fab location, grand props…
Jordanna: Erm…a shoot on the set of a Tim Burton film would be pretty amazing with access to his costume department and make up artists. If only!
What is your favourite age to photograph and why?
Jordanna: Any age – if they’re fun at heart!
Bex: I love shooting children around age 1, they’re personality is just starting to show through and they’re starting to become little people and not just babies.
What difficulties, if any, have you come across with portrait photography and how do you cope with them?
Bex: I used to struggle with getting emotional; I can safely say if there are tears shed at a wedding they’re usually mine. I get so caught up in the moment. Also I had to photograph my niece, she was born at 29 weeks and was very poorly, she weighed 2lbs and was hooked up to a lot of machines. I was asked to take some shots of her, after that I’ve certainly learnt to put my feelings aside and get on with the job in hand. It’s not till afterwards when im home and dry and with a glass of something strong in my hand, that I can look back at the job and let the flood gates open.
What advice would you give to parents that want you to photograph their little ones?
Both: Don’t try to bribe them with chocolate! We’ve been on soooo many shoots where it’s thought to be a good idea to get them to sit still or do what you want but it never works, they end up getting the chocolate with their whiley ways and then turn into hyper-child.
Plus don’t worry about it – we’ve seen it all, all sorts of behaviour, moods, etc. We’ve heard so many times ‘they’re not always like this’. It doesn’t matter, we’ll get the shots and have a lovely time doing it!
Ooo and if it’s a newborn shoot get your house warm and cosy for birthday suit shots!
What camera(s) do you use for your portraiture work?
Canon all the way! We <3 Canon!
And your favourite lenses?
(Sung in unison…) 50mm without a shadow of a doubt
Do you use any lighting equipment?
Jordanna: I prefer not to, natural light is my best friend!
Bex: If needed. Sometimes I’ll use full studio Elinchrom or just a reflector.
What advice would you give to wannabe portrait photographers?
Bex: Don’t go spending a shed load on equipment; if you’re good at it then you can get the shots with the simplest of cameras. Also just enjoy it – it’s a dream job!
Jordanna: Relax and have fun with your subjects – then you are on your way to capture the REAL them.
What has been your proudest moment as a photographer?
Bex: Making a living out of something I love doing, not an amazing answer but hard to pin it down.
Jordanna: Making people cry – good tears! :)
Bex: Now that’s a better answer!
Out of all the photographs you have ever taken, which is your favourite and why?
Bex: My favourite changes all the time depending on my mood, today my favourite is one of my oldest boy, Ozzy, when he was about 1 year old and having a bath. It’s only a snappy one but it really makes me smile each time I see it – it really does capture his cheeky nature, he loves a giggle…
If you could capture anybody or anything on camera what would it be?
Bex: Marilyn Monroe would have been uh-mazin’! Or the Northen Lights (Aurora Borealis), my goodness I’d like to shoot anything and everything and have folio worthy pics of it all.
Just so we can find out a bit more about the person behind the lens, could you tell me 5 things you like that are completely unrelated to photography?
Jordanna: Chatting, eating with my family, travelling, art and making lists :)
Bex: My wonderful family, I’m so blessed, sunshine, interesting people telling their memories, a busy diary and a Gin And Tonic.
And 5 things you dislike?
Bex: Aubergines, negativity, grey weather days… boo, being late and my husband’s work taking him away from us too much.
Jordanna: mushy peas, bad hair days, loony drivers, drama and excuses.
What are your aspirations for the future, in photography or otherwise?
Both: Travel, laugh, stay in love, use our crazy lomo cameras on jobs, to get busier and busier, build the Coterie brand, have lots of fun and make lots of new friends along the way.