Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone with Band Photography

Having chatted to other professional photographers, I don’t think I’m alone in suffering from Imposter Syndrome. In fact it seems fairly common when you’ve turned your hobby into your job, that you often worry about being uncovered as an imposter, an amateur working in a professional world.

Despite that feeling I do seem to have found my niche after shooting professionally for eight years. Most of the time I trundle along quite comfortably shooting marketing images and portraits without feeling like a fraud. I know my strengths and my limitations and, for now, I seem to be getting away with it!

However, occasionally a commission comes along that disrupts that equilibrium and brings the dreaded Imposter Syndrome bubbling to the surface. Like when I was recently asked to shoot my brother-in-law’s new two-piece band Shiivers.

As plans for the shoot developed I realized that expectations were high. There was talk of gels, barn doors, gobos, grids and snoots. There was a Creative Director, a stylist and a make up artist. This shoot was shaping up to be more like a high-end fashion shoot rather than my usual simple one- or two-light set up. Plenty of time and money were being invested in this shoot and there were a lot of people to let down if I made a hash of the photos.

I had a choice: I could either surrender to Imposter Syndrome and run away with my tail between my legs. Or I could be brave, take control of my insecurities and see this as a great opportunity to expand my portfolio.

My brother-in-law was adamant that he had faith in me to shoot the photos the band needed. So, with that boost in confidence, I took a deep breath and threw myself into the challenge.

In the end it transpired that I was not out of my depth. With careful planning, patience and a fair amount of experimentation, the shoot was a success. I wasn’t shown up to be a fraud and my insecurities were misplaced. In fact, by pushing my boundaries I have increased my confidence and expanded my skillset. I have learned and improved and raised myself to a new level. Thankfully, Imposter Syndrome has been banished to the back of my mind…for now.


Tips for approaching difficult shoots

·      Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses

·      Plan, plan and plan some more

·      Be open to advice


Band @shiivers ⠀
Creative & Art Direction @inkvalley
Photography @tomsoperphotography in collaboration with @_karlandrew_ ⠀
Special effects @_karlandrew_ ⠀
Styling @michaelcapaccio ⠀
Hair & MUA @queenbeemua_official

Bury St Edmunds RFC

I am lucky enough to be off to Twickenham this weekend to watch Premiership Rugby's opening weekend Double Header. With the new season starting I thought I'd post some photos of my local club Bury St Edmunds RFC. These were taken at the last game of the season. Bury were losing heavily. They then had a man sent off. Bad news. However, Bury staged a remarkable comeback to pull ahead, only for the opposition to score a last-minute try and draw the game. What a great end to the season. Good luck for this season Bury Wolfpack.


Quite often, as an editorial portrait photographer I can't pick and choose my location or the weather conditions. One of the fun challenges is making the most of the conditions in front of me.

Yesterday I had a shoot booked in with the lovely Katie Bedford who represents England at over 50s hockey. Fortunately, the all-day rain stopped for the 30 minutes when we had the shoot booked. But conditions were very dark due to the heavy cloud and overcast sky. Therefore, I decided to go for a more dramatic portrait look.

Most of the time when I use lighting, I want it to be subtle and almost unnoticeable as in the three examples below.

However, when I'm looking for a dramatic feel to the portrait I aim for the lighting to be obvious. It makes the subject stand out from the background, as with these photos...

The photos of Katie, who heads off to Holland tomorrow for the Masters European Championships, certainly fit into the latter category.

Ipswich Business Portraits

If truth be told I've struggled to find the value of LinkedIn. Until a couple of weeks ago that is. I connected to few local people through another contact on LinkedIn. One of them, a local businessman here in Suffolk, contacted me and asked me to shoot some business portraits of him as he had just started a new job. So, a good outcome all round.Thanks LinkedIn

To be honest I find it difficult to keep on top of all the social media platforms I am supposed to be using. Most people seem to have a favourite one they use so I guess there's an element of pot luck whether you connect with them or not. Anyway, I'll be using LinkedIn a little more from now on and hoping that it drives more business my way.

Inspiring Event Shoot for Virgin Unite

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a really inspiring event organised Virgin Unite, part of the Virgin Group. I was there to take photos but it was sometimes difficult to keep my mind on the job as the speakers were covering some fascinating topics.

Having shot for Virgin Unite a few times I knew that Jean Oelwang, President of Virgin Unite, would help to get the day off to a positive start. She was joined by speakers from Unilever, EY Beacon Institute, Starbucks, Cook, Ella's Kitchen, Airbnb, Big Change, Virgin, and Next Jump UK. The discussed topics from 'Designing the Future of Leadership', 'Reimagining Education', 'Bringing Your Whole Self to Work', 'Little Wins in the Workplace' and ' Refugees & the Business Community'.

This last topic was presented by Cameron Sinclair, Humanitarian Lead at Airbnb. It was fascinating to hear how Airbnb has made a significant effort to reach out and house refugees. And how the general public and Airbnb hosts have given so much of their time and space in their homes for this cause. In these days of rather dark and depressing news it was a real beacon of light.

Golden Hour Engagement Shoot

The weather so far this summer in the UK has been fantastic. We've been blessed with bright, clear evenings and rich sunsets. It was on one of these beautiful evenings that I went out with Rachel and Sam for their engagement shoot. The weather was perfect and the location provided lovely fields of golden crops and areas with long wild grass.

The shoot was a great chance to get to know Rachel and Sam before I shoot their wedding next year. We spent about 90 minutes wondering around chatting and stopping here and there for some photos.

The golden hour is such a great time to shoot. When we arrived at the location the sun was still a little high. But as it started to set the countryside came alive with colour and the air around us softened.

I remember when I was young I was told never to photograph into the sun. However, with modern cameras and a little bit of work in Adobe Lightroom I think you can achieve some lovely results shooting directly into the lovely soft setting sun.

Profile Photos


A strong profile photo can make a huge difference to your online presence.

People notice good quality photography and they're more likely to look at your profile if you have a decent photo. Out of focus holiday snaps are for Facebook!

Unfortunately it's pretty common to visit a company website and find a terrible mixture of inconsistent staff photos. This can really detract from a company's overall profile.

If you find the right photographer, profile portraits can be shot quickly and easily at your office. And they are generally not too expensive.

So, if you need a good quality profile photo, or the staff photos on your company website need updating, then why not contact a local photographer today. A photoshoot is quick, simple and can be quite fun!

Great Saxham Landscape Photos.

Last weekend my parents were away and we went to look after their house. It gave me a great opportunity to get out and shoot some landscapes for the first time in ages. It was a beautiful afternoon but bitterly cold.

I set off across the muddy fields, walked round the end of a wood and came across a dip in the fields. The sun was setting behind a line of trees on the far side of this mini valley and it looked fantastic. I was in the middle of nowhere, it was peaceful and beautiful. A landscape photographer's dream!


Once the sun had set I walked back across the fields, boots covered in mud and fingers so cold that they couldn't grip my tripod to carry it home.

But the cold didn't worry me. After all, I'd seen a beautiful sunset and taken some (I hoped) nice photos. 

More than anything I was just really pleased to have been out shooting landscapes again.