We got in touch with Talia White, e-commerce, fashion and editorial photographer and owner of Talia White Studios, to hear all about her photography journey so far and what advice she would give to budding photographers.
Where does your interest in photography come from?
Photography was something I’d been brought up around, as my grandad was always carrying a camera and my father took a keen interest in it, too. However, it never occurred to me as something I could do as a career. I actually always wanted to be a fashion designer, which probably explains my love for fashion photography.
I went to college at 16 to do a textiles course, however I didn’t have the grades to get onto the course and had to do a BTEC in art. Once I completed this course my friends all went onto the photography course and, being a nervous 16 year old too scared to go and do a course on my own after making too many friends, I decided to follow the crowd.
Unfortunately, after a few weeks in, all my friends left the course and I had to face my fears and carry on the course alone, which turned out to be the best thing to ever happen to me. Having no distraction, I got into the course and found a love for photography.
Can you remember your first camera?
My first camera was a canon 450D.
How did you change from an amateur to a professional photographer?
After my studies, I went on to work in a family portrait studio, where I learnt most of what I know to do with lighting. I worked at the studio full time and spent my Sundays doing test shoots with friends to build up a portfolio. By doing this I slowly started to find my style (which at the time was very soft and whimsical).
Once I felt more confident, I started to build up a portfolio with professional models. I did this for around 4 years, until finally I got noticed by a brand and after working with them, the rest followed. They would tag me in their posts and other companies would then follow me on instagram and book me for a job.
In 2015, after having so many bookings and shoot requests, along with being in a job that made me unhappy, I decided to take the risk and be my own boss. This works amazingly for me as I hate routine and love to be doing something different everyday, which is exactly what I do.
When did it all happen?
I decided to make it my profession around 3 years into my course. During my studies, I worked in makeover studios on my days off and weekends, as I felt it helped me build confidence and build up my technical knowledge.
After I qualified, I refused to work in anything but photography, which unfortunately meant that I was jobless for around 6 months. I would constantly be searching for photography jobs but there didn’t seem to be much in the Birmingham area. When I explained to my consultant at the Jobcentre I only wanted to work in photography, he told me to “get my head out of the clouds and be realistic” to which I explained, “I haven’t spent 5 years studying and paid university fees to not use my qualification”. The next week when I returned I’d found a job in photography and thankfully didn’t have to return.
When did you know it was the right time?
Honestly, I didn’t know when the right time was. I am the world’s biggest worrier and get pretty bad anxiety, but something in my mind always tells me to take the risk. If I never did, I’d never have achieved what I have. I don’t believe there is a right time for anything.
What did you find most difficult?
There were rough patches, when I felt like giving up, when things didn’t go to plan and I felt like I was working so hard and had nothing to show for it. I also had a baby 9 months ago and worked up until 2 days before I had her, then went back to work 2 weeks after. Having no proper maternity leave was hard, but that was the choice I made being self employed.
When I had bad days I’d just sit and think, “one day I’ll look back at this and be glad it happened”. I’m a true believer in everything happens for a reason.
What did you find most rewarding?
The most rewarding thing for me is when I go into my old college and run workshops there. I love inspiring people and feel that being from the college and achieving my dreams, it inspires the other photographers and helps them believe they can achieve what they want, as I once was just like them.
What is your speciality when it comes to photography?
Fashion, Editorial and E commerce. If I’m totally honest nothing else interests me photography wise – this is definitely where my passion lies.
What’s been your favourite project?
This is such a hard question, as there are so many amazing projects I have had the pleasure of working on. It would probably be a book that me and my make up artist friend made, called “Face The Music”. The book was basically images based on songs. It was a really chilled and exciting project because it was purely for ourselves rather than for a client. We could get extra creative and do exactly what we wanted.
Have you ever been involved in any really memorable shoots?
Yes! Last January, I was lucky enough to fly out to Barcelona to shoot for 2 days and it was the most amazing experience of my life. It’s opportunities like that which I’ve worked hard for.
What do you look for when capturing your shots?
Working in fashion, it’s pretty much always about the garment, so making sure it’s falling right, showing the shape, etc. Also making sure the model is posing for the theme, for instance if it is sports shoot you’d want lots of movement.
What’s in your kit?
My kit is very small. I have a Canon 7D and two lenses – 50mm prime lens and an 18-135 lens.
What would make your job a lot easier?
In my field of work I travel a lot. I personally feel very uneasy carrying around a camera bag on public transport. I feel like people know what is in there and I’m at risk of my equipment being stolen. I’d love to find a bag that you can pull along like a suitcase (rather than lugging everything around on my shoulders) and with a more feminine design. I am currently putting all my equipment in my handbag which obviously isn’t ideal and protecting my equipment very well.
If you too are looking for a protective camera case with wheels, take a look at our Dave 500 waterproof and dustproof case.
What would your advice be to budding photographers?
Talent will get you far, but ambition will get you further.