LPA Futures / Catching Up With Holly Pickering

With the deadline for LPA Futures 2015 fast approaching (February 13th), we wanted to catch up with Holly Pickering on her time as part of the Futures programme. Here is what she had to say... CooperWolf-13 ©‎ Holly Pickering

- Hi Holly! Firstly what made you want to enter LPA Futures back in 2013? I was at the point of thinking seriously about leaving my previous career in fashion to make the leap into becoming a full time photographer, and LPA Futures looked like a great platform to gain exposure within a really competitive industry, and also a great opportunity to benefit from LPA's experience and hopefully develop my work as much as possible.

- How did you feel when you were selected as one of the winners? Surprised as I never expected to make it to the final five, but really delighted as I knew it was going to be a huge opportunity!

- Have the two years lived up to what you were expecting? Definitely, I think the first six months were a big learning curve as it's a struggle getting your name out there initially, but I've been really lucky to have built up a great client list with LPA's help and have been really busy shooting  - and it's been great to see how much my work has developed looking back over the two years of the programme.

- How do you think LPA as an agency have been able you move forward in the photography world? LPA have been a huge help in speeding up my development and helping me move forward within photography, it's invaluable to have a sounding board when you're putting together your portfolio, especially from a commercial viewpoint. Also to have a team who are really experienced in producing larger scale shoots and estimates has been super useful as that's something I would have really struggled with independently. LPA have also brought my work to the attention of agencies and brands who I wouldn't have met otherwise, which has helped in getting commissioned regularly during the two years.

- How do you think you have grown as a photographer over the course of the programme? I've definitely grown in terms of my technical skills, I started out working entirely with natural light, and over the two years that's changed massively so I'm now equally comfortable working with both natural or artificial lighting set ups, which has meant my work has evolved in a slightly different direction. I've also spent a lot of time shooting on location, which I absolutely love, which has allowed me to broaden out my work from initially perhaps seeing myself as a studio based food photographer, whereas I'm now often commissioned to shoot more varied projects on location mixing food alongside people and interiors.

maeveskitchen29 ©‎ Holly Pickering

- What has been your favourite shoot to work on? I've just finished working on a series of really creative shoots for Wagamama restaurants, commissioned by Another Production and 101. It was a really exciting project to work on, especially with such a well known brand and with the brief allowing me a lot of freedom and flexibility to shoot a mix of food, people and still life details - I'm looking forward to being able to share the final shots over the next few months when they're released.

- And who would be your dream client to work with? That's a really tricky one - I think something combining food and travel - so maybe a restaurant shoot somewhere sunny or exotic or ideally both!

- You began your working life as a fashion designer – what advice would you give to someone who wanted to make a career change and become a photographer? I'd advise anyone moving from another career into photography to try and make a gradual transition if possible, I carried on taking a few freelance projects in fashion for a while to allow me time to build up contacts in photography and start investing in kit etc, which definitely helped when I was starting out - rather than plunging straight in to a new industry. Also try and network as much as possible, it sounds like a bit of a cliche, but it's really helpful chatting to other people and learning as much as possible about how the industry works when you're moving into a totally new career.

ANTOINETTE-19 ©‎ Holly Pickering

- What advice would you give to the next batch of Futures? I think it's really important to continue to market and push yourself whilst you're part of Futures, to make the most of the two years- whether it's shooting personal/test shoots to build a stronger folio or getting out on appointments with your book - it's great to just keep yourself on potential client's radar, especially when initially people might not be that familiar with your work.

- And finally, are you glad you entered and secured a place in the final five? Definitely, I'm really lucky to be able to do a job which I absolutely love, and the last couple of years have brought some amazing opportunities which would never have come along if I wasn't part of Futures - also the team at LPA are great fun to work with!