|Model - Arabella|
Hi Claire. Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. How was it you came to pick up a camera?
'My Grandfather owned one of the first Photographic shops in Stirling and as such I spent a lot of my childhood around cameras and processing. There was always a camera lying around in our home with a half used roll of film and I had itchy fingers so it didn't stay half used for long. I used to dread my Mum coming back from town with the developed prints I would always get in trouble, there would only be images of birds, flowers, trees and random objects and I would be in the bad books again.'
|Model - Maleficent|
That sounds awesome. I'd have loved, actually I'd still love a camera shop in the family to play in. Is the shop still going (and if so, still in the family?) or has the likes of Amazon ruined it like they ruin so much?
'The shop closed when my Grandfather retired but I have so many happy memories from that time and sure I caught the bug for photography from my Late Grandfather, a wonderful man who like many others of his time served his country in the second world war, he was my hero and still is, I don't think a day goes by I don't think of him. I actually got my apprenticeship because he was so well known in photographic circles in our area. My boss figured if I was Sandy Jamieson's Grandaughter then photography would be in my blood.'
|Model - Belle Eve|
Your business name, Candy Heart Photographer, is quite unique in as much as you haven't followed the majority and just used your name (have you? it's not your real name is it?), or your initials followed by photography/photographer. Why did you choose Candy Heart Photographer?
'I liked the idea of playing on Eye Candy and originally thought of Heart Candy but it didn't flow as well as Candy Heart, which sadly is not my real name but what a cool name it would be. Unfortunately I was named Claire along with a billion other girls in the late 1970's.'
|Model - Kuro, MUA - Jennifer Mills|
I believe you took a break from wedding photography in order to pursue model photography. What led to this decision?
'I have had a successful career at Weddings since 2008. I was blessed to be fully booked for the last 5 years with my maximum of 30 a year and so anyone would think I am fool for giving it up. There are a few reasons that led me to step away from Wedding Photography. 3 years ago I was asked to shoot Student Make-up Artists Graded Units at a local campus and after 3 weeks of Beauty, Fashion & Avant Garde looks I was well and truly hooked. I worked with the college for a further 2 years while my sister studied there also so I was there go to photographer. I won 11 Societies awards in that time and 2 of my Front Page Images are collaborations during this time. I have always been artistic, I'm also a Singer/Songwriter and I make all the headpieces for my shoots and also customise clothing so the arty side of this type of photography really appealed to me and still does. Another reason is you don't have to people organise a crowd of half drunk folk that don't really want their pic taken whereas a model is fully committed to it. Weddings are stressful and very tiring, I've done lots of 12 hour shifts at them where you are not even offered a refreshment or meal when you have been on your feet all day and I often came home exhausted and stressed and it wouldn't matter how many times you told a Bride when she should expect her photos she would still be pestering you every other day. I started to dread them. That factored in with illness, that took the doctors a year and a half to diagnose and the fact that I am fortunate to have a lovely Husband bring home the bacon I decided to stop taking further bookings.'
|Model - Claire's Husband|
Mmm bacon...sorry, I have a problem! Despite no longer shooting them, do you find yourself on the receiving end of friends and family requesting you shoot their weddings? or their friends weddings?
'I don't actually mind shooting Weddings for my family and close friends but that's where it ends. I'm covering one of my Best Friends Weddings next year and I'd have been well miffed if she had gotten someone else. One of the best weddings I ever did was of close friends who got married on a beach, it was my idea of heaven.'
How would you describe your model photography?
'Now this for me is hard. Others will probably look at my port and define my style in seconds but I'm clueless here. I don't think I have a style. This is a hard question for me. If anyone has the answer let me know.'
|Models - Sissa & Bristbro|
Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from for your model shoots?
'The ideas for shoots usually come from Films,books, people or things I love. i.e Mermaids are fascinating to me, real or not, I had to do a mermaid inspired shoot. I customised clothing over 5 weeks and made the Crown for it and the Beautiful Artemis Fauna brought it all to life. I love Emily Brontes Wuthering Heights so that was another mission accomplished, so to speak. I am also a big horror and Halloween fan and Autumn is my fav time of year so with October coming up I have lots of ideas and cant wait to shoot them all. I also do take on board the ideas of my models. I had a lovely model Natasha approach me with her idea of Feathers on her face and to date that set of images has 4 Front Page Images so always be open to others concepts.'
Halloween and horror fan...you're one of my people! Is there any films in particular you want to do shoots based on?
'I don't want to go all guts and gore more spooky and gothic I would say. I'd love to do Bram Stokers Dracula, Interview with The Vampire, I'd like to try turning a model into Annabelle doll and I've already done a Carrie shoot. There are actually too may to mention.'
I hear you have a knack for putting the people you shoot at ease. What advice would you give to photographers who've recently stated, or want to start shooting people, so they too can put people at ease?
'Just be yourself that's all you can do. I never go straight into shooting with a model, we will have a cuppa and a chat first, I will show them around and discuss costumes etc with them and by the time we go to shoot the ice has been broken. I can appreciate that many photographers do not have this luxury as they are paying for time and may not want to use the first half hour for chit chat but I find it works for me. All my shoots are relaxed and i'm not expecting to get every minute out of the model, I'm not a clock watcher. Also in pre-comms there have been a few messages between us which helps, I wouldn't just book someone then not speak to them again until just before a shoot, I'm usually bouncing ideas back and forth. I always have snacks too and plenty of Teas, Coffee and juice on offer. People appreciate that you have thought of the little things and their comfort.'
|Model - Bibi Beauchelle|
No matter how much you can put people at ease, or well prepared we are for shoots, mishaps can and do happen. Have you found yourself on the receiving end of any mishaps?
'Far too many too mention. Accident Annie here. Its actually a running joke...."Whats she going to break this time/or trip over"
I broke a light the first day I used it straight out the packaging hadn't even took a photo yet!'
I can relate to that. The one and only time I used studio lighting (thankfully cheap eBay stuff because I didn't know if artificial lighting was for me), I knocked one over busting a bulb and bending the stand. Have all your mishaps resulted in only your gear getting hurt or have you ended up hurt as a result?
'Thankfully no one has been seriously hurt. I did have a light explode from overheating once and that was very scary. The client ended up with burn holes in the bottom of her dress but she was thankfully unharmed, I did however burn my hand. Luckily the offer of free photos saved me from what could have turned into a very tricky situation. And guess what, it was those cheap eBay stuff you mentioned. Lesson learned I only use professional grade lights now with fans and I'm always switching them off between sets. I have had a torn shoulder which I got when I switched from a D700 to D800, I'm not blaming the hefty weight of the 800 but all the same it happened the same week I got it.'
|Model - Luna Nothing|
Obligatory off topic question time... As I write this I am coming the the end of The IT Crowd on Netflix, so I'll be looking for something to watch. What show(s) are you a fan of?
'I'm a massive Twin Peaks Fan and have just finished the much awaited Series 3, only took 25 years! If you are into both wonderful and strange then it's for you. Besides that I loved Sons Of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Stranger Things, The Returned, The OA, Prison Break, Ozark, Designated Survivor.'
|Model - Natasha|
If people want to see more of your work, where will they be able to find you?
'I've recently relaunched my Instagram which I had neglected and I have a website which is still a work in progress.
|Model - VIxen Bite|
And finally, what's your favourite joke?
'Its a dad Joke, old and naff but it makes me laff....... Star trek star William Shatner has decided to drop his new ladies underwear business after deciding that SHATNER KNICKERS was not a great name for it.'
|Model - Artemis Fauna|
I'd like to thank Claire again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, be sure to check out all the links above for more of her work, as well as the links attached to the images for the other creatives involved in creating them.