A day in the Life of Fashion Photographer Holly McGlynn
15 Feb 2016, 11:02 AM
A day in the life of Fashion photographer Holly McGlynn
Written by Lou OíShea
London based Fashion Photographer Holly McGlynn is a regular at TFC London Rental.
We often see her busy collecting rental kit for her fashion and portrait shoots. Originally from Dublin , Holly is now based in London and has an MA in photography from Goldsmith's she was shortlisted for Irish Fashion Photographer of the Year 2014 and 2015. Plus won a gold medal in the Prix de la Photographie Paris 2015. She has a true passion for photography and capture fantasic fashion & portrait work.
We thought it was high time so see where our kit goes when Holly leaves TFC London and to find out what a day in the Life of Photographer Holly McGlynn is really all about!..
So Holly , what is photography all about for you?.
ďFor me, photography is all about telling a story. I like to weave a narrative into the shoot, an imagined life or adventure; a temporary escapism. Iím obsessed with matching colours and textures, finding backgrounds that match the colour of the clothes, surfaces that match their texture, thatís always my starting point. Above all else, I keep a sense of fun in my work, even when shooting something serious, a playfulness will emerge somewhere, perhaps only captured in a fleeting moment of movement. Having fun is part of my process, lots of laughter on set is very important and productive! I always want to collaborate with clients who are as passionate about creating exciting, story-telling imagery as I am. Letís shoot something wild and beautiful and put it on a billboard.Ē
How long have you been a photographer for?.Where did you study?. What made you want to be a photographer?.
I moved to London 7 years ago to study photography at Goldsmithís. I remember the precise moment I wanted to become a photographer. I was living in Berlin and went to see the band Louise Attaque. I was standing near the violinist and the light behind him created an incredible silhouette where you could see the strings of his violin breaking. I was so frustrated I didnít have a camera to record the beauty of that moment so I bought a camera the next day and carried it with me everywhere I went for the next few years. My photography has since evolved beyond recording moments. Iím much more interested in creating moments and telling stories through my photos.
You picked rental kit up from us today, what was the shoot , where & why?
I was shooting a look book for Beyond Retro. Although BR are a vintage retailer they have such a vast amount of stock that they can curate it to reflect the trends each season. I was shooting the key trends for their AW15 look book.
What time did you leave for the shoot?
It was a very sociable call time of 2 p.m. Though we were shooting til 10.30 p.m.
where was it ?
Various locations around East London. We had to stay quite close to the store because there were so many outfit changes. The BR team also built a really cool set to look like a 1970ís living room.
Why had you chosen this location?
The location ideas came from BR and were influenced by the fact that we had to stay close to the store. We also had a huge amount to shoot in 2 days so couldnít spend precious time travelling to and from locations.
What type of brief had you been given by your client.
BR target a a youthful market, so the brief was for fun, happy, lively photos full of energy.
What kit did you use camera & Lighting wise?
I used an Elinchrom ELB 400 super pack. This is my favourite kit to use when shooting on location. Itís so light and portable but gives loads of power. I opted for the super pack because the individual packs are asymmetric so with 2 packs I have the option for symmetric lighting. I shot with large silver umbrellas to create nice contrast. I was shooting on a Canon 7D and using a 28-70 2.8 mm L series lens.
Why do you shoot with the kit you use
As I said, I love the ELBs because theyíre light and portable which is perfect for location. I much prefer shooting on location than in studio. My work is all about telling stories and I think a location lends itself better to that telling than a studio.
Whats so important when choosing kit
It needs to be reliable of course. I once shot with a really dodgy kit that kept failing every 15 minutes or so. Not from TFC of course! If Iím shooting on location I tend to use the same lighting kit but choose different light shapers depending on the brief. The brilliant thing about the Quadra pack is you can attached almost any light shaper once you use the adapter. The mood of the shoot is very much determined by the lighting so you need to make sure that matches the brief while retaining a style thatís true to you - thatís why youíve been hired in the first place.
How do you plan the shoot, what prep work is involved?
It varies shoot to shoot some clients come to you with the full concept, brief, mood board, model, creative team and production sorted. Others come with an idea and they want to collaborate on all other elements of the shoot. Itís really varied.
Do you work with a team or alone
With a team. Thatís one of the main reasons I moved from fine art photography into fashion photography. I found fine-art photography really lonely. I like working with people and collaborating over the shoot and celebrating with people when we wrap. On this shoot I had my assistant, a make up artist, shoot co-orindator, several models, and a stylist. It was great.
Whats the first thing you do once you get to the shoot location
Introduce myself to everyone on set, I think thatís really important.
Then I scout with my assistant to discuss different places we can shoot and try to foresee any obstacles we might encounter. I liaise with the client over our ideas for places and ways to shoot, ensuring everything on the brief is being ticked off.
What pressures do you find when working on a project like this?.
Thereís huge pressure to do a good job and produce imagery the client is happy with. Practical concerns such as weather can be stressful too. It actually rained solidly for a half day during this shoot. Youíre always thinking on your feet, troubleshooting and problem solving.
What is your main work, ie fashion, advertising
I shoot campaigns for brands and editorials for magazines.
Whats a typical day in the life of Holly McGlynn like?
It varies a lot. I could be shooting in the studio or on location, retouching photos in my office, at meetings, putting together a mood board, doing a reccie. I think proportionately photographers spend the least amount of time shooting and a lot of time doing things like retouching, admin, meetings, hustling etc.
What keeps you inspired?
I got to as many exhibitions as I can and I read a lot. I look at other photographersí work on Instagram and in magazines. Wardour News is an amazing place to pick up some publications for inspiration.
Do you have any photo heroes?
Miles Aldridge, Juergen Teller and an Australian photographer called She is Frank. Theyíre all very different photographers but they all shoot edgy, colourful photos that tell a story. Thatís my jam.
Your dream assignment isÖÖÖ
To shoot a billboard ad campaign for Marc Jacobs. I donít think any brand takes as many risks with their photography as Marc Jacobs. Theyíre unafraid to commission really edgy shoots and it pays off. Itís the antithesis of safe. Itís really exhilarating.
In five words tell us what it takes to be a professional photographer