So I have known you for a while but tell me how did it all start? Did you study photography?
I studied photography at university, however my love for photography goes back to my childhood. My Dad was forever taking photos of my sisters and growing up I always wanted to be behind the camera, having a go. I got to secondary school and I had a couple of weeks of photography lessons. From then, I knew I wanted to study photography at a higher level. My Dad would take me to the beach to do sunrise photoshoots to learn the technical side of photography which I absolutely loved doing. I’ve learnt so much from him over the years and I will be forever be grateful for that! He comes along to assist at weddings and it’s a great dynamic.
You now have a huge number of clients, majority of them being influencers, what is it like working with this type of clientele?
It’s super fun! I get to meet so many different people and make different contacts/friends, whilst being able to explore new places. I love the thought of helping people too, for example, meeting new clients that aren’t overly confident in front of the camera and by the end of session that’s completely changed, or meeting new clients and your visions fully line up from the get-go and they’re super happy with the final result. Being your own boss can sometimes be scary, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What does your day look like as a photographer?
Every day is slightly different. I aim to shoot four full days a week, but this can of course vary, depending on seasons. Summer is definitely the busiest as that’s peak wedding season, as well as students being off from university and people wanting to shoot more content in the sunshine. I always try and fit one full admin day in a week. Admin days are the best as I head to a yummy brunch spot (if you’re London based – Grind do the best pancakes) with my laptop, put my AirPods in and get stuck in on my to-do list, always so satisfying ticking things off! It’s a one-woman show so I do everything from editing to invoices, emails, location sourcing, passion project planning, etc.
For an influencer who is looking for a photographer, what do they look for and what sort of questions do they ask you before choosing you as a photographer?
How do you deal with somewhat difficult influencers?
It depends on the client – some clients want to get the most out of their money (i.e. booking in for an hour and doing lots of quick outfit changes to get lots of different outfits shot) and then others like to focus on a couple of outfits and get a wide range of different shots and reels now too! Reels have only recently been introduced by Instagram and they’re going down so well. I’ve definitely dealt with a couple of difficult clients – I’ve found the best way to get through this is to remain honest and clear, as well as sticking to your guns.
In the recent news that restrictions are increasing, how will you manage your clients? I can imagine people still want to be photographed for content purposes?
We’ve recently moved to the ‘high’ tier in London and it’s understandably put some people off shooting. As streetstyle shoots are outside, it’s easy to stick to guidelines (masks, social distancing, hand sanitizer, etc). Some clients are shooting extra at the moment, to build up a bank of content in case we go into another lockdown here. Some weddings are still going ahead too, with a maximum of 15 guests. I’ve only done a couple so far this year because of COVID, but it’s been really interesting to see the ‘new normal’ dynamic.
Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
In 3 years’ time, I’d love to be working with more fashion brands. I’ve got a few smaller regulars but would love to keep growing this. Admittedly I never do any outreach – something I am going to change in 2021!
For anyone that wants to be an influencer, what advice would you offer? Can you do it part-time?
Influencing is definitely a job that can be done part time, however if you are starting from scratch, it takes a lot of work to really build a monetized platform, or even gifting. I would also say it’s really important to invest into your imagery. It is a huge industry and it is possible for your content to sometimes get lost in the algorithm. I’ve had clients reach out to me for content right at the beginning when they have just started their Instagram account and we have shot once a month and as a result, they continued to grow because they had a cohesive feed. One of my clients grew to 20,000 followers in a couple of years and worked with huge brands such as Ted Baker, Jack Wills and Topshop. Find your niche, invest your time, get creative and go for it!
How much filter is too much? We live in a world where touch ups and filters are used by many, as a photographer what are your thoughts?
Lots of people are speaking about filters at the moment, specifically the Instagram story filters that distort your face; bigger eyes, bigger lips, jawline etc. My personal opinion is I think it’s important to stay true to yourself. I use a very subtle pre-set on my photos (just slightly desaturates the colours of the photo), however it does nothing to modify people’s bodies, skin and other features. Some clients ask to have their skin softened in photos as my camera picks up a lot of detail, which I do on request, however I never modify people’s bodies.
Who has been the most exciting person to photograph, apart from me obvs? LOL
Haha! I shot one of Hozier’s friends after I shot her gig (band is called Wyvern Lingo and she features on Hozier’s song In A Week if you are a fan!) she was so lovely. I had fun shooting some fashion bits for Binky Felstead from MIC last year too. I had a few things in the pipeline this year but unfortunately COVID has set these things back a while.
Where can we follow you and how can influencers contact you?
You can follow me over at @zoegriffinphoto on Instagram and Twitter – my email is stated in my bio on those accounts. Alternatively, drop me a DM and we can have a chat about what you’re after! Thanks so much!