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I founded Anna Clare Photography as a startup at the beginning of 2018, a few weeks before my nineteenth birthday. I had left a stable academic programme at a well-respected university and plunged myself in at the deep end to an industry I was still finding my feet in. Looking back, I wouldn't change that decision for the world. I founded Anna Clare Photography with a goal of creating new opportunities for young talent, a handful of young performers in mind who I knew had struggled to balance the rising costs of arts training against the lofty and sometimes laudable rising costs of headshot and portfolio photography. It was only a few weeks in that I realised how widespread this problem was. Cultural industries, such as the arts, are historically and systematically elitist. In an industry notorious for such exclusivity, I'm committed to making professional photographic services affordable and accessible to a wider range of performers and businesses. I'm passionate about breaking down barriers regularly faced by performers, artists, startups etc. and opening up opportunities for all the talent I work with. I regularly offer scholarships, giveaways, discounted shoots and do everything in my power to keep my prices competitive.
Anna, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as Photographer?
I've always been incredibly passionate about the creative arts. As a young child, I loved creative writing, and would spend hours holed up in my room working on my 'novel'. When I got to high school, I found my passion for acting and began regular training in musical theatre. I didn't even think about picking up a camera until I was sixteen. It doesn't seem surprising to me at all, though. Looking back, I've always been interested in telling stories through creative mediums, and photography is just an extension of that. In the future, I'd love to expand into talent management - I currently work closely with South Coast Kidz as an in-house photographer, and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a deserving client going from strength to strength.
Who is your inspiration in life, Anna? How do you stay inspired as a Photographer?
The people I work with. Not just the models, but the business owners, the stylists, the parents, the teachers, the agencies and casting directors etc. - the list is endless. So many great and dedicated individuals have to be involved, and it's a pleasure to work with everyone.
We all make mistakes, Anna; we wish we could take back. What was the mistake you made in the past that you wish you can take back?
I try to make mistakes as learning curves - if I think too much about what I could've/should've/would've changed or done differently in the past, I lose sight of what's in front of me right now! But probably would have been pushing myself into a university degree that I didn't 100% have my heart into because I thought it was the 'correct' thing to do. I do believe you've got to follow your passion, and my passion is in the arts. But at the same time, had I not gone to university and had that experience, I might not have then been so certain of my decision to jump straight into my startup. So why regret!
Anna, How do you describe yourself in terms of working with clients?
I work to keep sessions as relaxed and informal as possible. I think it just makes the whole process feel a lot more comfortable, particularly for those who are nervous sitters in front of the camera. Shoots vary so much day to day: one day I might be paddling in the river trying to capture a clean punch’©, the next I'm doing high fashion portfolio shoots in the middle of the city! But I think in both and all scenarios, it pays to remain cool-headed, with a good sense of humour and a willingness to change tack and try new things. If you stay calm and relaxed, I find your clients soon will be, too!
Please tell us, Anna, how do you prioritise work, social life, friends, and family?
Learning how to juggle my time between work and spending time with family and friends has been a challenge. My schedule is very unpredictable and changes with the seasons, especially as I predominantly shoot outdoors. It can be hard in peak months, particularly in summer holidays when young performers are concerned, not to get too carried away with the sudden influx of work. I'm always very conscious of giving myself regular breaks to spend with family. I'm very lucky, though, to love what I do as much as I do. I do get to work in collaboration with some of my closest friends, with the opportunity to meet new and incredibly talented creatives daily.
Anna, please give us an example of a time when you were able to persuade someone to see things your way at work successfully.
N/A. I'm lucky enough to be a sole trader, so I don't often have to worry about convincing others to see things my way.
Anna, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Photographer.
My proudest professional accomplishment as a photographer would have to be having my work featured by Capezio. It was only a month or so into the job when I was first trying to break into and make connections in a very crowded industry. I was so conscious of my age, combined with a total lack of training or professional experience. So to then have this photo, which I had cautiously sent out into the world, not only recognised but picked up by this global and well-established brand was just ridiculously exciting. It wasn't my biggest professional achievement to date, but it is certainly the one I still feel most proud of.
Anna, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
I'm lucky enough that I get to be creative almost daily in my line of work, but the highlight for me has to be my shoot in the Thames with thirteen-year-old dancer Hannah Hague. She's just this incredible talent, gorgeous technique but also so fierce and willing to give anything a go. We were both in up to our thighs, getting knocked back by waves, trying to get the best shot. The feeling of satisfaction post processing those photos, knowing the conditions braved to capture it, was just priceless.
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Photographer?
This applies to anybody considering a career in the arts, but don't be put off by a lack of formal training or experience. Everyone has to start from somewhere and just because your approach isn't a 'traditional' one, doesn't make it wrong or less than. I would also encourage people not to be afraid of making mistakes. I find this particularly relevant in an age of digital photography when the modern photographer has thousands of shots at their disposal. You have wiggle room to follow your hunches, try new things and - yes - make mistakes! Yes, we grow from our successes, but also our failures.
Anna Clare @annaclarephotography