5 Minutes with.../ Holly Pickering / LPA Futures Photographer

We recently spent 5 minutes catching up with Holly Pickering, LPA Futures photographer. Here is what Holly had to say… hollypickering1

- Can you tell us a little about yourself Holly? I'm a freelance photographer, mainly specialising in food and interiors. I'm also one of the current crop of LPA futures! I grew up between County Durham, Lincolnshire and Scotland, but I'm now based in North London.

- How would you describe your work to a potential client? I'd describe my work as natural and atmospheric, I try to create sensitive and engaging imagery, with a focus on colour and detail.

HPICKERING102 © Holly Pickering

- You’re one of our new LPA Futures, can you tell us a little about the process? What was it that made you want to enter? The process started several months ago, with an initial call for entries on the LPA website - I'd just bought a copy of Lisa's book and was browsing the work on the LPA website when I spotted the competition. I spent a week or so procrastinating about my image selection for the competition and managed to get my entry in about half hour before the deadline, phew!

A panel of industry judges whittled the entries down over the next few months, to a final five winners. We were then lucky enough to be part of a fantastic launch night and exhibition at the Great Eastern Bear Gallery, so the whole process has been really exciting!

My main reason for entering LPA Futures was that it felt like an amazing opportunity to benefit from the experience and contacts of a really established agency, and to gain a fantastic start in the extremely competitive commercial photography industry.

- How did you get into photography? My father was working as a photography teacher whilst I was growing up, so although I never studied photography (it would have been far too weird having my dad as my teacher!) I grew up surrounded by cameras and was able to pick up lots of useful advice along the way!

I ended up studying fashion at degree level and went on to work as a womenswear designer in London and Paris, but always used photography as inspiration within my fashion work.

After over a decade working in fashion I realised that photography was what I was really passionate about pursuing, so I then spent a few years combining freelance fashion work with developing my portfolio, to enable me to make the transition to working as a freelance photographer.

- Who are your favourite photographers? I really admire Andrew Montgomery's editorial work, Martyn Thompson's inspiring interiors, and the late Corinne Day's fashion shoots are probably some of my all time favourite images.

- What was the best shoot you’ve ever worked? A personal project created for my food portfolio is my current favourite shoot, I'd bought a beautiful battered Wedgwood blue cake tin and had an idea for a rustic shoot with little french sponge cakes rattling around for ages. It was one of those rare occasions where the final images turned out exactly as the story that I'd envisioned in my head, and the final shots are probably some of my favourite pages in my folio!

HPICKERING78 © Holly Pickering

- Where do you go in London to seek inspiration for your work? My favourite place for inspiration is just outside London, the incredible Sunbury Antiques market. The market is huge, with hundreds of outside stalls, and I always come back with a car loaded with props and bits of random furniture. It's a proper dealers market so you need to be there at dawn for the best finds - I've been there in Winter looking at vintage cutlery with a torch and with all the stalls covered in frost! It's also great for people watching and weird and wonderful finds, you can see anything from neon circus signs to Victorian taxidermy squirrels!

- What can’t you leave the house without?

A camera, even it's just the one on my phone, and I always have a little gold bumble bee necklace on that I feel weird if I'm not wearing!

- What do you hope to get out of your time at LPA as one of the Futures? I hope to be able to continue to develop my work throughout the next two years as one of the Futures, it's fantastic to bounce ideas off the team at LPA and invaluable to be able to benefit from an experienced second opinion on portfolio editing and marketing. I'm also hoping to be able to take on some really interesting commissions and new clients with the help of LPA, and really build my profile during my time as a Future.

- What would be your dream project to work on? That's a tricky question, I spend as much holiday time as possible at the British coast, so probably a food or interiors commission that necessitated spending a lot of time photographing seafood/faded seaside interiors or a campaign to promote coastal businesses or tourism!

HPICKERING158 © Holly Pickering

- What would you say are the best and worst things about being a photographer? The best things for me are being able to make a living from doing something you love that's really creative, doing something different every week and meeting some really interesting people along the way. The worst thing is probably lots of hours spent sitting at a laptop editing images, but I still think the pros definitely outweigh the cons!