Belle Bébés asks… Lucy Pryor

Whether you are a parent wanting beautiful pictures of your children, an amateur photographer looking to learn more about portrait photography or somebody who just likes to read an interesting interview accompanied by pretty pictures, these posts are for you…

The interview

Introduction:
Hi I’m Lucy, owner and photographer at Angelfire Photography; I’ve just turned 29 and live with my boyfriend Steve and our 16 month old son, Max. I’m a bespoke children’s portrait photographer specialising in newborn and maternity photos. I try and offer my clients a photoexperience more than a photo session. I LOVE my job; it makes me so happy, I’m really grateful I get to do it every day.

Location:
Stourbridge, West Midlands

When and how did you fall in love with photography?
I fell in love with photography when I was about 16, my family left England and moved to Detroit, Michigan. Being the stroppy teenager that I was, I didn’t want to leave my life in England, and the photos of my friends and family we’d left behind became my memories. The pictures I had kept me going through the good and the bad times, and it’s when I realised how powerful photography could be. One photograph, whether it’s taken in or out of context can change the way the world views an event or a person. Photography is amazing; it can evoke feelings, emotions, and memories and then be put back in a box and forgotten about. I wanted to be able to make people look at things in another way, and create emotion and atmosphere through my work.

Have you had any formal training?
Yes, I did a foundation diploma in Art & Design where I specialised in photography, and got a 2.1 from the University of Portsmouth in my BA (Hons) Photography. All the training I had from these were in analogue (35mm and medium format film) photography, digital photography didn’t really become available until the last year of my degree, so I taught myself digital photography.
 

Lucy-Pryor

How would you describe your photography style?
My style is hopefully creative. I try to create the unusual rather than the usual. I like it when people are surprised with what I do (in a good way), and it sounds really silly but I always get butterflies in my stomach when I know I’ve set up the right shot.

What inspires your work?
I get inspiration from everywhere! I can be very annoying, in that I can be shopping in ASDA and get an idea and have to write it down that instant before we can carry on buying milk or whatever. I don’t think the photographer part of my brain switches off very easily! I love the work of photographer Duane Michals. He isn’t a children’s photographer, but I studied him in college, and the way he uses light in his photographs has always inspired me.

When did you first start out in portraiture photography?
I’ve always taken portraits, but went full time, professional photographer in July this year after I finished maternity leave at my day job. I started out mainly doing band and gig photography in my spare time which I loved. In a weird way photographing concerts is a lot like photographing children as you have an unpredictable subject and normally awkward lighting! I also did fashion and promo work in my spare time as well as the gig work, but moved onto children’s photography after I had my son. I had a really bad labour and we were both very lucky to come through it, and 12 months ago I was still quite poorly. When I felt better, the thought of going back to a job that I hated full time, whilst a stranger looked after my baby was just not going to be good enough, so I thought ‘now or never’ and went full time self employed. I haven’t looked back since!  

Where in the UK are you based and how far would you travel for a shoot?
I’m based in the Midlands, I have lots of enquiries from all over the country and I will travel further so long as I can fit it around Max.
 

Lucy-Pryor

How many portrait sessions do you shoot per year?
I do between 4 and 8 a month, sometimes more.

Could you please share some details of a shoot you particularly enjoyed capturing?
One of my favourite photo shoots was with a little girl called Imogen. Her Aunty Becky was living in Greece at the time and she wanted to surprise her sister (Imogen’s mom), with a photo session, so she contacted me. Imogen is such an amazing little girl, a total free spirit and a dream to photograph. I had the most wonderful morning with her and her family, we walked down by the river near their house and through the woods, the light was just perfect and I gave Imogen a pair of angel wings to wear (which took some bribery lol!) and I think they are some of my favourite photos of all time. She was such a lovely little girl!

What would be your idea of a dream portraiture shoot?
I think my dream photo shoot would be with newborn triplets! It would be such a challenge, but a fun one! It’s trickier than it looks to pose a newborn but it would be such a unique experience with 3!

What is your favourite age to photograph and why?
I think I have two, 8 days old and 2-3 years old. The 8 day old babies are still very sleepy and foetal and are a bit easier to pose. As long as they are warm and full, they don’t normally wake up, so easier to photograph. 2-3 year olds because they have their own mind and personality but are usually pretty funny and happy, they also forget the camera is there pretty quickly and so easier to get natural photos of!

Lucy-Pryor

What difficulties, if any, have you come across with portrait photography and how do you cope with them?
I think as a photographer I’m constantly learning from each photo session I do. It’s difficult because my sessions are always so different from each other because I do them at people’s homes. I think light is always the biggest challenge with any session and it can make or break a photo, you do pick up a few tricks as you go along but it’s a never-ending learning experience I think.

What advice would you give to parents that want you to photograph their little ones?
Children get bored! Don’t expect your kids to sit there for hours until you figure out what you want the shot to look like! Plan ahead, suss out the best available light and pre-empt where you think they will move to. For older children have plenty of bribes handy! :)

What camera(s) do you use for your portraiture work?
I use a Canon 50D.

And your favourite lenses?
 Definitely my 50mm 1.8 prime, I would use all prime lenses if I could afford too!

Do you use any lighting equipment?
I prefer natural light but I do have studio lighting, soft boxes and external flash guns and diffusers in case I need to use them.

Lucy-Pryor

What advice would you give to wannabe portrait photographers?
If you’re looking to set yourself up as a full time photographer be prepared for a competitive market. As photography equipment is more readily affordable, more and more people are ‘becoming’ photographers. My advice is to find your niche and develop it. Invest in good equipment, do your research and most of all practice, practice, practice. Don’t copy other peoples work, create your own style that sets you apart from the rest. Learn how light affects your photos rather than learn your camera manual, and enjoy it!

What has been your proudest moment as a photographer?
One of my proudest moments was being asked to be official photographer for the Cultural Champion Awards next year; I’m really excited about that!

Out of all the photographs you have ever taken, which is your favourite and why?
Well it’s not the best photo Ive ever taken but it means the most to me! It’s a picture of my little boy that I took when he was around 6 months old. He is surrounded by his toys and you can see his eyes peeking out from amongst them. I was just starting to feel back to my old self again after a long recovery after a traumatic labour. I hadn’t really tried to take any proper photos for a while and was at a crossroads with how to progress when my maternity leave finished. His gorgeous eyes were what pushed me into starting up full time with my photography!

Lucy-Pryor

If you could capture anybody or anything on camera what would it be?
 I would LOVE to photograph my favourite band of all time, Rancid. I’ve never been accepted for a photo pass and they are playing at a punk festival in Blackpool next year, so hopefully I might get one this time round!?

Just so we can find out a bit more about the person behind the lens, could you tell me 5 things about you that are completely unrelated to photography?

  • I have bright red hair.
  • I love punk music.
  • I think I’m addicted to coffee.
  • I cry at the Google advert EVERY time it’s on.
  • I’m scared of David Bowie.

And 5 things you dislike?

  • People touching their eyes (ewww!)
  • People that think being able to take a photo with Instagram is the same as being a photographer.
  • People that steal ideas.
  • The dentist (even though he’s a really nice guy).
  • Snobby people.

Lucy-Pryor

What are your aspirations for the future, in photography or otherwise?
I would love to build my business up and maybe get a studio over the next few years. I would love to have some of my children’s photography published in a magazine too :)

 Heart Debs

Vendor Details:
Angelfire Photography website
Angelfire Photography blog
Contact Lucy
Phone: 07917 152021

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5 Responses to “Belle Bébés asks… Lucy Pryor”

  1. Lucy says:

    Thanks so much the feature looks brilliant!! So honoured to be interviewed for your blog!
    Love
    Lucy
    Xxx

  2. Lin Pryor says:

    Hi,
    I’m Lucy’s mom. Just had to say how proud I am of our daughter. She works incredibly hard and is so talented. She has had a difficult year, but Max was worth it. She has now ‘come into her own’ with her business and her wonderful images. Well done Lu. All our love and best wishes for your future.

  3. Kim Hutchins says:

    Hi

    I’m one of Lucy’s uni friends and I have to say she inspires me all the time. She is a real genuine person and loves life! I’m so inspired by her that I’m thinking of starting my own business too (not photography because I couldn’t compete with her pics).

    She is an amazing Mum and has a georgeous son and despite living so far from each other we still make the journey to see each other regularly. I’m very thankful to know her.

    Keep doing what you are doing Luce – this is what you are born to do!

    All My Love

    Kxx

  4. Samantha shuttleworth says:

    I am proud to have had my daughters photos taken by Lucy! The warmth of her personality shown to the whole family made the photoshoot go brilliantly! I am utterly shocked the was ever a question over her career choice I have never met someone so perfectly matched to their career! With such a lovely lady taking the photos it’s no wander they came out so beautifully, thank you once again Lucy for your passion and amazing artistic outlook on what could be just a simple photo you make it so much more. X

  5. You’re most welcome Lucy! Thank you for submitting your gorgeous images! :)

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