Studio team: Q&A with Mugdha and Annabel

Earlier this year I started working with an assistant for the first time, Annabel Lam. Similar to taking on my own studio a year ago, this has been transformative. Annabel was more recently joined by Mugdha. Between them they are adding so much to the shoots in terms of preparation and styling skills - not to mention keeping me sane! 

Here's a short Q&A to introduce them both.

What's your background and what led you to our studio?

I have a degree in Design, a diploma in Display Design and have worked with interior and homeware based shops. More recently I was part of a team to set up an independent home/lifestyle shop and sourced products for the same where I became particularly keen on supporting Craftsmanship and Makers. So I was very excited when my friend Annabel put me in touch with Yeshen. 

Annabel Lam

Annabel Lam

Mugdha Sapte

Mugdha Sapte

I studied Multi-disciplinary Design and have always had a variety of interests in the creative world, but have been especially drawn to illustration and concepts in set design and styling. I got into introduced to the studio after working with HAM on the styling and art direction of their shoot.

What do enjoy most about working on the shoots?

Working with some really well-made and clever products and meeting the makers/shop owners. These guys are so passionate about what they are doing and that its unique. There is so much talent out there. Also, Yeshen is pretty chilled out in the studio, it's really enjoyable to work with him.
That there is always something different to work on each time and so coming up with new ideas is very exciting and keeps your mind fresh

What's your favourite product from the shoots we've worked on?

The recent shoot with Georganics products is my favourite so far. And I am particularly biased to the Tallow Candles from Future and Found.
One We Made Earlier necklaces (view shoot here).

Georganics (click to view larger)

Favourite shops in London for finding cool props/accessories?

I think Tiger is a good place to buy interesting objects. But I like to find and collect things from markets like Portobello and Spitalfields and vintage shops and other random, unexpected places.
Art shops for raw materials if I need to make anything. But it really depends on what the concept it. It can be from going to florists to foam manufacturers or vintage shops.

Here's a gallery showcasing some of fantastic styling work from Annabel and Mugdha. Don't forget to follow them on Instagram and look out for more of our work with #100makers.
Annabel: @iwidot
Mugdha: @mugdhasapte

Cactus Kickstarter!

Our latest film is a Kickstarter pitch video for Geo Fleur. They make all manner of cool stuff for the cactus and succulent obsessed. If you've been through our studio you will have seen I have a slight house plant addiction. The collection includes a few mini cacti in cast concrete pots.

For this shoot we spent a day up in E17 shooting at their home office and their cute shop in Wood St Market. Watch the film below and support via their Kickstarter page:

3 Years in the studio

This weekend marked 3 years since I went freelance and started my photography business. This may be a small part of my career thus far, but it's the part I'm most proud of.

Here's some highlights.

The #coadg Bursary is back!

Three years ago I was starting up my freelance business. Early on I met with Katie Treggiden, founder of the blog Confessions of a Design Geek and she introduced me to so many talented designers and professionals in the design world. One of the best things to come from this connection was my involvement with her annual Bursary.

coadg logo

For the forth consecutive year I'm proud to support alongside partners HOME London, Jo Ham, The Design Trust, West Elm, Seen PR, The Barbican, Mini Moderns, October Communications, Decorum, Press Loft and MOO. Check out what the winner receives here - it's really something!

I'll be offering the winner a full day's shoot in my London studio covering product and lifestyle photography. As an added bonus, I'll arrange for a stylist to help prepare and assist with the shoot so we can create some really special images.

Above: Some of the shots I took for previous winners Alicja Patanowska, Fanny Shorter and Jessica Hogarth.

To be eligible, you must…

  • be within your first three years of business
  • not have had a stand of your own at a Clarion show before
  • be available 15 – 19th January 2016

and your products must be…

  • design-led interiors or kitchenware products
  • designed and made in the United Kingdom
  • commercially viable and ready to wholesale

If that is you - Apply now!

A few highlights...

Out and about the summer, here's a sample from my location shoots near and far.

Presentations - free downloads

June has been a month of talks! I was invited to speak at several events include #Manmade with ETSY and Crafty Fox Market, Creative Hub (Fashion and Textile Museum) and New Designers Start Up Day with The Design Trust.

My presentations were slightly reworked for each, but the idea was to share examples of product photos and how to use them online - from your website to selling platforms and social media. You can download the pdfs at the following links:

Manmade Product Photos that Sell

Creative Hub: Visual Styling

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Sales. New Designers/Design Trust Start up Day

Many of my previous presentations with The Design Trust and New Creative Markets are available at Almost 25,000 views!

All images used in the above presentations are my own, unless otherwise credited. Designer/Makers and shops featured include Jessica Hogarth, Alfred and Wilde, Akin and Suri, Two Beans Cards, Hole in my Pocket, Jules Hogan. Folklore, In with The Old, Baines and Fricker, Alice Tams. Melody Rose, Ali Miller, One Must Dash, Jo Ham, Sue Pryke, Wild and Wood.

Manmade Talks

The Truman Brewery will be filled with talented chaps on 12/13 June this year! Manmade will be a special show for 'men who make'.

Mr Wingate. Photo: Yeshen Venema

I'll be taking photos on both days, but also speaking as part of the talks series. It's an excellent line up, which I'm proud to be a part of. I'll be putting together a presentation full of images from my work with designer/makers in the last two years.

Product Photos that Sell, Friday 12th June, 17.15 - 18.00

Yeshen Venema, 'The Designer/Maker's favourite photographer', will show you examples of great product photography, explain how they were created and show you how to use them to enhance your brand. Book Now - £5

What Makes Your Brand Different , Friday 12th June, 18.15 - 19.00

Keith and Mark from homeware label Mini-Moderns will discuss how an authentic brand story can be the key to success as an indepdent designer.  Launched in 2006, the design duo specialise in using applied pattern across a range of products. Their initial collection was snapped up by Heals and their brand continues to go from strength to strength, selling online and via stockists around the world. Book Now - £5

Crafted Masculinities: Unravelling the Self Made Man, Sat 13th June, 13.15 - 14.00

What is "masculinity"? Why is there more of it in a hammer than there is in a sewing machine? And, more importantly, why did so many people spend the early 2010s knitting artificial moustaches? In this talk Benjamin Gordon Wilson will explore the last 200 years of the handmade, the manmade, and men whilst also exploring the secret sexual language of fixie-bikes, model trains, and the ubiquitous "willy warmer". Book Now - £5

The World of Manbroidery, Saturday 13th June, 14.15 - 15.00

Join the Mr X Stitch, the Kingpin of Contemporary Embroidery, as he takes you on a journey through the world of men who stitch. From cross stitch to quilts to needle felting to machine embroidery, men are making their mark with a needle and thread in some pretty cool ways. This presentation will showcase amazing embroidered art from around the world with a focus on manbroiderers. If you thought needlecraft was just for old ladies – think again! Book Now - £5

Creative Journeys: Wilfrid Wood, Saturday 13th June, 15.15 - 16.00

Sculptor Wilfrid Wood will be talking about his time at tv programme Spitting Image, making heads out of paper mache, bodies out of polymer clay and his one and only sculpture made from wood. Book Now - £5