Today’s spotlight interview is with lifestyle photographer Katie Spicer. Specialising in creative brands, events and artisans, Katie has built a reputation for a style that is heavily inspired by nature. Her images are light, bright and beautifully composed and a look through her portfolio reveals a love and a passion for flowers that regularly feature among the eclectic subjects that she likes to shoot. She has a fine eye for detail, the hallmark of any great photographer, and having worked with her in the past we can confirm that she is every bit as warm and engaging as the images that she produces. We spoke to Katie to find out more what she’s up to at the moment and what’s in store for the future.
Have you always wanted to be a photographer, Katie?
No, I originally trained as a plant scientist! But I have always loved taking photos and capturing memories and have albums and boxes full of prints of all sorts of things, from the every day to the more exciting moments.
I am very tenacious and determined so when I did decide to become a photographer that was it! I kept focused on my vision until it became my reality.
What’s your creative process like?
When I am working with a client I always like to meet beforehand, even if only over Skype. It is so important to get to know each other before a shoot. Things just work a lot better if there is a rapport between us and it is essential for me to understand exactly what my client wants from their shoot. That includes reading between the lines and using my intuition so that I can create images that are even better than they asked for.
Fun also plays a large part in my shoots. I am there to work and get the best result possible for my client but who says we have to be all boring and serious in the process! This is my dream job after all, so I am definitely going to make sure we both have fun!
If I am shooting a workshop or an event I like to keep quiet and blend into the background. I am there to capture the details and the mood of that event, not get in the way and annoy everyone.
I am known for my light, bright and airy style. This is essentially down to my editing style, so a lot of the Spicer Magic is added in at this stage! I want my photography to uplift and inspire people and connect them to the energy of what I am shooting. I achieve this using my intuition during the shoot and during post processing.
Tell us about some of the fabulous brands you’ve worked with…
Last month I shot the brand stylist, Fiona Humberstone’s first international retreat, at the stunning Cal Reiet, a holistic resort in Santanyi, Majorca. I adore working with Fiona, as she is as much about the details as I am. My style of photography is perfect for Fiona’s brand so we work very well together. I shoot all her workshops and am proud to say I have quite a few images in her new book, Brand Brilliance.
Apart from shooting workshops and retreats I also work with brands like Starkeys Lane to shoot their products, and fab people like Georgie St Clair to capture the personality behind their brands.
Gail Jones of Starkeys Lane just launched her new Botanical Alphabet range of A4 prints on Notonthehighstreet. We worked together to style the shoot and have shot the greetings card range of the same series, as well as working shots of Gail in her studio illustrating her beautiful products.
Georgie St Clair is another incredibly talented & botanically inspired illustrator and artist. We worked together to create a collection of headshots to show Georgie’s personality and help her to connect more with her audience. First shooting in Georgie’s studio and then hitting the lanes of Brighton for some fun, energetic shots. In Georgie’s words, ‘There aren’t many people who can have me twirling around a lamppost on the streets of Brighton without a few proseccos first!’
Why brand photography?
I started off business life as a flower photographer but realised there were so many more businesses out there that needed gorgeous photography to help them tell their stories. I LOVE running my business, so to get to work with people as passionate as me really gives me a buzz. I do tend to work with botanically-inspired businesses still, so my plant science degree didn’t go to waste!
Anyone can take pretty pictures. Brand photography is special to me because it is all about getting to the heart of what makes you and your business tick and crafting the perfect shoot to resonate with your ideal client. I am all about the meaning as well as the details.
Beautiful intuitive photography has the power to elevate your brand dramatically, create a mood and have your clients and customers fall completely and utterly in love.
Who inspires you?
Every single one of my clients. Anyone who has worked hard and made sacrifices to bring their vision into reality and create a business to improve other people’s lives as well as their own. That goes for the kitchen table talent to brands like McQueens, that still started with the dreams of one woman, like Kally Ellis!
You may have caught the drift that I love working with botanically-inspired businesses too! That’s where my background in horticulture comes in. I have a particular penchant for ethnobotany, the science of how people use plants. From botanical artists like Gail Jones, Starkeys Lane and Georgie St Clair to people creating from nature, florists, botanical drinks companies, to farm shops and organic skin care companies. I find it all so incredibly exciting!
Do you have a favourite or most memorable shoot?
My very first shoot for McQueens! I had such an awesome time hanging out with Duncan and meeting the team and was super chuffed to be shooting Kally Ellis’ portrait!
What equipment do you use?
I am a Canon girl, I have a 5D III and 5D II and my go-to lenses are my Canon EF 100mm f2.8L Macro Lens, Canon 50mm f2.5 Macro and Canon 50mm f1.4. I also have a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L Lens but I don’t use this so often as I am all about the details and would rather use my feet and a prime lens where possible! I also have Elinchrom lights for when the situation calls for it, this really helps keep colours consistent for product shoots.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on my own branding! Like a gardener who has an overgrown garden I find it hard to dedicate the time to crafting my own brand when I could be making life easier for my clients instead. I am working my way through Fiona Humberstone’s Brand Brilliance book and putting aside official time to work on it, otherwise, it is too easy to put off until you have a big block of free time, because when does that ever happen?!
I have just finished putting together a proposal for a rather fabulous Apothecary who have enquired about a brand shoot. So fingers crossed you will be seeing more about them by the end of this year!
What’s in store for the future?
Apart from a marvellously clear and beautifully designed brand, I would like to shoot more international workshops and retreats because I love to travel. If I could get paid to shoot the Sakura season in Japan that would be the number one thing ticked off my bucket list!
Continuing to work on creating the best offering for my clients and improving my photography skills is also up there. Learning lasts a lifetime; it should never be complete.
Last but not least, do you have a favourite flower and why?
Peonies! Sarah Bernhardt is my most favourite colour, I could swim in it, it’s so lovely! Their frills, the streaks of dark pink they have running through them and the fact that their fragrance can take me straight back to my wedding day, as I had them in my bouquet and in my hair!