I love creative collaborations, and working with students to showcase their work or skills can give me a real buzz - when it works.
This page is really aimed at Fashion and Makeup students.
I'm happy to arrange one-off shoots, but most of this page is about my committing to a multi-shoot or complex project - such as a Final Major Project.
I know you'll have a lot to pull together for this as well as just the shoots (and there will be stress and adrenaline) so my approach is to take as much of the load as possible, while still leaving you with ownership of your project.
So if you'd like to work with me, then I'm afraid I've got a few ground rules.
These are to try and make sure the project is a success for all of us - and means your images will look more professional.
Using a single photographer for all of your project will give it a consistency of production values (e.g. in colour density, toning and editing approach) that you may not get if you use a number of photographers.
First of all ... This is your project
I'll probably want to have input, and I'll make suggestions, but all of the substantive decisions will be yours to make.
Also .. please bear in mind that if I commit to your project, then I'll be turning down other opportunities - I won't take on more than one student project at a time, so I don't get time conflicts.
It can take a week (sometimes even longer) to properly edit a shoot, and that's quite a large chunk of my time when I could be doing something else.
Anyway, whether you choose to work with me or not, here are some things to bear in mind for your project.
If you'd like more details, or to talk through your project, then get in touch through my contact page
Don't choose me if ...
I may not be the right person for you under some circumstances (of course, if you don't like my style of photography, then that's an easy call for you ;-) ).
If you've a photography student who wants to work with you, then by all means work with them - you can help each other out on your degrees.
But it's best to involve them early, so the collaboration is part of their degree project as well as yours, or you may find they don't have time at the end.
Remember, your hand-in deadlines are likely to be their deadlines as well, so you may not get many volunteers if you're looking around at the last minute.
And I'm not a wedding photographer - if you want to showcase your bridal collection, then you're really better off approaching someone who is.
They should be able to put an experienced team together, and will probably have contacts with venues, models, and HMUAs - and with accessory providers. They may even write up the shoot for a wedding blog - and their social media coverage may be useful for your career.
My Commitment ...
I'll help wherever possible to help you meet your hand-in dates and deliverables.
I have even edited shoot images into an animation video for Naz's hand-in :
Simourgh from Drew Kirkland on Vimeo.
What do I get out of it ?
I know your project is completely original, but what's in it for Drew ?
(Here's a clue - 'exposure' isn't the right answer ;) )
'Money' is a good answer, but it's not the best one (and, as a student, you probably don't have lots !) - so if the project is interesting, then I'll commit to it. Especially if I think I can do a good job, and that I'll end up with some portfolio images.
I will expect out-of-pocket expenses to be covered (and ideally a contribution towards the studio rent).
The same applies to the rest of the creative team, when you're putting it together. Why should they want to work with you ?
Have you got a budget to pay them, if necessary ?
Anyway ... let's get a bit more into the detail ...
Don't leave things until the last minute - the earlier you start planning, the easier it'll be to get the things you need when you need them.
If you want to try me out on a low-risk 'warm up' shoot - before you start shooting for your project, then that's ideal - we can find out if we work well together before we both commit.
If you try to find a studio, models, MUA and photographer with only a couple of days notice, then you probably won't get your first choices.
If you're planning multiple shoots, then try and spread them out, rather than leaving them all until the last couple of weeks. That lets me get on with editing, and also gives us time to iron out any wrinkles.
Not all shoots go to plan - sometimes, model's just don't turn up. So try and leave plenty of 'slack' time to organise a backup shoot if necessary.
Sell me the concept
Tell me the story behind your project. If it's intriguing, then I'm more likely to get involved. If there are characters, then tell me about them.
Give me photos of your work - if it's gorgeous and I can create some different, wonderful images for my portfolio, then I'm more likely to take the brief.
Put together a mood board (Pinterest is great for these), showing me the style of images you'd like to deliver. I'll be able to tell you if I can deliver what you're after - and if not, maybe negotiate an alternative.
If you're just looking for catalogue-style images, then I'm afraid I'll charge. It won't be a full day-rate, and will be good value for the work involved, but I'm afraid it won't be free.
As well as myself, you may need a makeup artist, hair stylist, models and a studio.
If I know what the shoot involves, then I may be able help out in finding someone suitable.
If you've already booked a studio, I'll want to know something about it.
- How big is it ? Height, width and depth can all make a massive difference to what we can achieve - especially if you're looking for full-length shots or (even more so) group images.
- What lighting does it have (I can usually find these things out) ? Will I need to bring my own lights etc ?
If not, then I have a studio share which may be suitable (and won't be expensive) - if not I can probably recommend one that will.
I've written a separate post about the studio. It will get a bit crowded with more than 6 people, though.
But it does have advantages. It's accessible 24/7, so we can work late if necessary, and it won't cost anything (renting a commercial studio for a long shoot can get very expensive).
Notes on local university studios :
- UCB is only accessible during the working day, and - while it's great for makeup shots - may not be large enough for full-length shoots.
- The big BCU studios (on the first floor) are tremendous, but tend to be reserved for Visual Communications students when demand is high - they'll be finishing their Major Projects at exactly the same time as you are. The ground floor studios may not be large enough to get the best quality images.
- Whichever you use, remember that any of the team who aren't students will need to be booked in in advance - 24 hours notice may be required.
One note on models - take the time to do a casting call, and get experienced models.
You may have some attractive friends, but if they aren't experienced in posing to camera (selfies - and even catwalk - don't count, I'm afraid) then the shoot won't go smoothly.
Once you've got all of those, you'll need to make sure they'll all be available at the same time, and make sure they can all get to the right place. This can be the trickiest part of it, and some compromises may be necessary.
If you want a successful shoot, then this makes a big difference, and the sooner the better.
We may need more than one meeting, but they should be face-to-face, with the first at least three weeks before your shoot, which (in turn) should a minimum of two weeks (and preferably three) before your hand-in.
This means I can make sure I can clear my calendar, that I've time to edit, and that we can book the studio and the team.
I need to know deliverables (see below) before I can commit to your project.
Bring a mood board, to give me an idea of the sort of images you're looking for. You can put together different boards for tones, editing, lighting, poses, makeup etc. if you want - they all help.
If you've got products to shoot, but you've not made them yet, bring the designs.
I'll bring my print portfolio, so you can check the quality of editing (just because something looks good on screen doesn't mean it'll print well).
All of this gives me a chance to break down the "visual language" - the (often subliminal) cues that'll help show your work at its best.
We'll both get a chance to ask questions, and to try other ideas.
It also gives me a chance to identify any kit I'll need to buy, borrow or hire.
Really important. Set up a WhatsApp group for all those involved and encourage them to ask questions.
This makes sure nobody gets left out of the loop, and everyone feels part of a team.
I may ask you to make decisions about certain aspects - this is your project. This may include choice of images, for example, or on editing style, or props and styling.
Please give me prompt responses, so I'm able to get on with my side of things and will have time to meet your deadlines.
Identify Shoot Timings
Again, this is something I can help out with.
How many outfits have you got ? How many makeup looks are you planning on ?
How many models will you be using ? Remember, each of them will need separate makeup, so have you got enough MUAs ?
If you're planning a full bodypaint, then do a test to see how long it'll take.
Will there be a video shoot on shoot day ? I'll need to liaise with the videographer.
As well as timings for the shoot itself, we'll need to make sure there's enough time afterwards to produce the deliverables - for example, you may need to allow a couple of days for printing.
Sets & Props
If you're looking for a complex set, then do you have time to build / paint it?
How will it to get to the studio ?
If you're trying to get a specific mood, or period feel, how can we help evoke that ?
If you want a specific coloured backdrop, then you may need to buy a paper roll (these cost about £50).
This is really important.
How many images are you going to want, and how quickly are you going to want them ?
When are your hand-in dates, and what are you going to have to deliver ?
Some degrees expect a magazine submission (sometimes dated before the before the hand-in), or a video to be shot and loaded, or a website created. Make sure we've time (and people) to do all these.
If you want one of the images sized for a business card, let me know.
Will you want prints of the images ? If so, what size (A4 / A3 etc.) ?
I'll advise you on how to get the best quality prints - they may be expensive but I won't rip you off.
I recommend prints from a professional photo lab for your portfolio (my portfolio is "C-Type" prints). As a rough guide, you'll probably need to budget about £30 for a dozen A4 prints.
Let the team know when they'll be able to share the images. You may want to embargo sharing until your hand-in (or maybe your grad show), but let us know.
It's a good idea to put together backup plans (it's also useful for your submission to show that you've thought about this).
What happens if a key person isn't available for the shoot ?
If your model isn't booked through a professional agency, then allow for the possibility that they may have other calls on their time. This may be their own University schedules (if they're students), or work cancelling holidays at the last minute, or just illness.
You may want to book two models for the day, in case one is unavailable (this may or may not be appropriate).
The same applies to videographers and HMUAs, particularly if it's not a paid shoot. You should allow a contingency to pay for a replacement.
What if the shoot doesn't go as planned, or we over-run ? We may need to book a backup day, when everyone's available.
During the Shoot
A happy shoot is (usually) a productive shoot. You can help out with snacks and making sure everyone is comfortable.
I'll need you to be involved, to make sure you're happy with the images - and to make sure they show everything you need - if you've got intricate details that you want capturing, then I'll need to know.
Respect and Trust your team
If you've got professionals working for you, then let them do their jobs - don't micro-manage.
Yes, check from time-to-time that they're on schedule (and make decisions if they're needed), but don't watch over their shoulders.
Always credit the team when sharing images.
This'll take much longer than the shoot !
To start off with, I'll produce a page (on this site) of 'proof' images for you to choose from. This'll be all of the images that are worth choosing from (the ones that don't me look rubbish !)
When you've chosen, I'll do the base retouching on a couple of the selected images.
I may ask for your input (or that of the subjects) as I'm working.
The edited images will be loaded to another page, and if you give me your input then I'll have an idea of what you're after.
I'll then process the remaining images, and load them to the second page for you to download. These are prepared for social media / web consumption, and won't be suitable for print (we'll talk through print options at the pre-shoot meeting).
You may have seen underwater images in my portfolio - and I'm hoping to extend this to moving image work in 2019. As an aside - this was actually the subject of the FMP for my BA.
I love these shoots, but they do need lots of planning, and putting resources together can be tricky - it's further complicated as access to suitable pools is often limited to short time slots at inconvenient times, so preparation is critical, and we need to stick to the plan - everyone needs to deliver on time.
I would need you to cover the pool rental - to give you an idea, this is typically £30/hour.
Also ... everything takes longer in the water.
So do feel free to have a chat about this. but please don't underestimate the complexity.
Testimonials / References
Drew did the photos for my Final Major Project for my last year in University.
We shot 5 characters for a murder mystery themed shoot.
We met up before the shoot days to speak about my vision. Drew gave me some ideas to think about (Location, Props, Settings). His advice helped me to refine everything.
Drew was on time every day of the shoots and delivered amazing images from the shoots that were also edited on time before my deadline.
He was so helpful and kind and did everything I wanted for my vision and offered advice when I was not sure about things.
He was a star to work with a would highly recommend him and would happily work with him again.
BA (Hons) Specialist Hair and Makeup, UCB
Drew’s passion towards collaborating is what caught my attention and immediately made me want to collaborate with him for my Final Major Project at university.
Drew was extremely helpful in helping me decide on what set ups to create for the shoot with several pre-shoot meetings being arranged to make sure that everything was prepared for the day. He had a positive attitude towards the shoot, ensuring that everything ran as smoothly as possible throughout the day.
I found it really easy to work alongside Drew, and his professionalism was wonderful. Not only are his photography skills excellent, but his editing skills truly amazed me.
I would highly recommend working with Drew, as the final outcome of the photo shoot was more than what I had expected.
BA (Hons) Fashion Design (Performance), BCU
I have worked with Drew on two shoots now and for both shoots he has been extremely creative and has gone out of his way to get the best look, lighting and overall atmosphere for the shoot, to benefit all members of the crew, these being the makeup artist, model and himself the photography.
The shoots we have worked together on have been very different, with one being very glamorous and historic, to the other being very gloomy, mysterious and full of special effects makeup, which shows that Drew's versatility as a photographer.
I would recommend Drew as a photographer as he is easy to communicate with and has some great creative ideas, and knowledge about photography.
I look forward to working with him again very soon.
BA (Hons) Specialist Hair and Makeup, UCB
I had the pleasure of working with Drew for the first time for an outdoor fashion shoot.
I really enjoyed working alongside him, he is very professional and passionate about what he does and certainly puts everything he can into a shoot.
I would 100% recommend anyone to work with him and will 100% be wanting to work with him again.
BA (Hons) Specialist Hair and Makeup, UCB
I have been worked many projects and created amazing shoot with Drew, he is so professional photographer and good communication during the shots. highly recommend he to anyone who want to create a professional fashion outcomes !
I would love to work with him next time with no doubt!
MA Fashion, BCU
Drew was brilliant! Great communication before hand, came well and truly prepared, and was super quick returning images! Would definitely recommend! 🙂
BA (Hons) Fashion Communication, BCU
Image Credits :
Cherry x Lingerie
Designer, MUA : Emily Hancocks, Model : Emily Davies
Hair : Beauty by Jodie, Videographer : Holly Androlia
Designer : Nazira Muslem, Models : Dayana Oleganova, Argine, Hair : Sydnee-Beth, MUA : CalleyMUA
Designer : Niamh Daniels, Model : Borislava Marangozova, HMUA : Shannon Maguire
Stylist : Ranen Liao, Model : Argine, Designer : Vicky Wei
Designer : Ranen Liao, Models : Angela, Nala
Stylist / HMUA : Olivia Tataryn, Model : Juliana Radcliffe
Stylist / HMUA : Olivia Tataryn, Model : Sweeney DeVille
HMUA / Stylist : Courtney Bland, Model : Skyla Round
Designer : Shannon Robotham, Model : Ellie
Stylist : Danielle Boden, Model : Celina, HMUA : Leanne Brown