Being a Fashion Photographer

As National Geographic photographer William Albert Allard once said, to be a photographer, you have to, ‘Push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper.’ Add to that the ability to juggle a hundred tasks, listen to a million demands, and keep a ready smile on the face and you have freelance fashion photographer Julia Kennedy’s work life in a nutshell.

Like any fashion photographer worth their salt, Kennedy has a portfolio that’s a good mixture of the arty, the commercial and the editorial. A woman with a 60s hairdo and blue bellbottoms plays a ukelele as she stares into the camera. A woman’s chest is framed in a moon-shape, showing off the fingernails splayed on her pubescent breasts. Other photos are more traditional – like the cover of Harper’s, where the model shows off trendy beach wear. Kennedy loves Juergen Teller’s work and, like his fashion images, hers have a raw, overexposed edge.

After studying at Manchester Metropolitan University, Kennedy moved to London to follow a dream, and since then there’s been no looking back. Her client list includes Charlotte Olympia, Harrods, Myla, Harper’s Bazaar, Liberty and Elle, and she has a shiny new studio in east London.

So, what is an average day like for a freelance fashion photographer?

‘Pretty crazy,’ Kennedy says. ‘I’m normally juggling an iPhone, a baby, a toddler, a dog, a camera, a sandwich on my way somewhere, while trying to find my keys, answer emails and organise shoots! If I could clone myself and be in three places at once, that would be great!’ And I thought freelance writers had it bad…

Kennedy would love to do a shoot in a ‘wow’ location like, ‘The Grand Canyon with Daphne G or Lara Stone modelling, with lots of model extras – maybe cute boys?’ She loves the props, the ideas, the sun and the fun. Her inspiration comes equally from nostalgia and irony, films and photographers such as Ellen Von Unwerth, David LaChapelle and Miles Aldridge.

Kennedy was once photographed with Gisele for the cover of British Vogue, holding up Gisele’s skirt. Part of the job of a fashion photographer, I guess! ‘Fortunately for Gisele, they retouched me out!’ Kennedy says, adding that she captured one of her all-time favourite shots in six minutes – that was the amount of time they could afford to pay for a helicopter to fly in for the shoot!

Check out Kennedy’s photos on www.juliakennedy.com

Image by rayand courtesy of Flickr

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