Guest Lecture – Carol Sharp

carol sharp

Carol Sharp is a flower photographer and has had a lot of commercial success within her niche that has expanded across 25 years. Her images involve a lot of repetition which is mainly because of the flowers and plants she photographs however she’s takes advantage of these lines and repetitive shapes and brings a unique, aesthetically pleasing commercial side to the plants she takes. Her images look effortless and simplistic yet skillful.

Sharp has produced some editorial work including Royal Mail where she did graphic still life images but before working for herself, she got a job as a studio assistant where she gained knowledge on studio lighting.

Carol started to shoot images for many companies where she’d be given a brief with a blueprint of the packaging design showing her their idea of what they wanted it to look like. The brief would have details where the companies logo and text would be so that Carol could envision this in her work when shooting the flowers and plants. She noted that you as a photographer have to take the crop, size and text into consideration when finding a composition for your subject (its our job to take all these variables into account). She advised that you should take note on the lighting, composition and camera settings to keep a flow across the images you take for a shoot/brief (so that they are all similar and feel the same).

Companies Carol got commission work from: Sainsbury’s, Twining’s, Miracle Grow, Waitrose, M+S.

She quickly realised that her flower photographs didn’t seem to date and started up a stock imaging website called ‘Flowerphotos’. This allows her to sell prints of her work and gives her another stream of income. With her distributing her work online, the first thing i thought was copyright issues and what happens in that situation including when working for clients. She explained three licensing types you can put on your work to protect your images, and terms with your clients. An exclusive licence is where only that client/company can only use the image and typically the company will pay more to have this licence. Co-exclusive is where a company can use the image for one purpose and another company can use it for another purpose. A Non-exclusive licence is where anyone and any company who purchases the images can use them. This was extremely helpful and interesting when i think about my future, I maybe in a situation to use these licences.

She also noted it’s important when moving or renaming image files to keep the photo number on the end of the file name so that if you need to go back to the raw file of a particular image, having the file number at the end will make it easier when you’ve gotten a large collection of work. This is something i need to do if and when i shoot for a client, friend or family.

The flowers and plant photographs she produces aren’t of my interest personally but the commercial experience and notes she had to offer were invaluable to me as I think packaging photography or working for big clients is a strong potential career path i can see myself in the future.

Picture from the lecture.


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