Shooting Fashion with freelance commercial photographer, Margo R

Whilst two thirds of our students headed off to London for our annual photography symposium in March this year, back here at the college of art, we decided to put on a jam-packed enrichment week to keep those left behind excited and busy! To compliment our 1st years fashion photography module, we decided to ask one of our alumni, Margo R, to help plan and devise a week based around her kind of fashion work. Margo photographs fashion, bridal and branding in both the South West and internationally. Her resume includes South West Wedding Awards Finalist 2018, a featured wedding photographer in many bridal blogs and magazines, a published photographer in Vogue Italia and has exhibited her fine-art photography across Europe. Not to mention winning a competition that saw her assisting internationally renowned photographer, Rankin.

See Margo’s work at:

The week kicked off with Margo talking to our students about her work, her career so far and how achieving a 1st class honours degree with us at PCA helped to define and shape her career. We then dove headfirst into a busy day of shooting, with three live external clients providing our students with briefs and products, and an amazing array of unique fashion clothes produced by our very own PCA BA Fashion students. Throw in five models and a make up artist into the mix and we had a super-charged day, taking over five of our studios to produce some really outstanding work. Everybody worked incredibly hard and really pulled together as teams. 

The next day was taken up with the digital workflow and editing processes, overseen by our wonderful in house technical demonstrator Neil, who is always on hand to help with all things Lightroom and Photoshop. It can be a challenging part of the creative process to narrow down your images to a few select choices, but Margo helped the students with their choices, encouraging them to always keep in mind what the client has asked for.

Then we printed the final selection of work for each group and had a critique session, headed up by Margo, where the students received some valuable feedback and got to celebrate their achievements. Margo was a great visiting lecturer to have on board and was incredibly impressed with the standard of our students’ work. We hope to have her back next year! 

Take a look at some of the some of the final images from the day below:

Showtime: Movie publicity project with top industry photographer

As part of our Special Project week, where students work collaboratively on a range of client led projects, our 3rd year students recently had the opportunity to work with legendary TV and film photographer, Alex Bailey

With a career spanning over 30 years, Alex Bailey is a world-class screen and stage photographer, shooting behind the scenes, unit stills and publicity imagery for major theatre, TV and movie productions. His credits include movies such as Pride & Prejudice, Atonement and Bohemian Rhapsody, and TV productions such as The Crown and the recent BBC series His Dark Materials. 

Utilising Alex’s considerable experience in shooting world-class publicity material, our students were set a straightforward, but challenging task. Taking inspiration from the theme of The Dark Mid-winter, they were asked to conceive a cinematic narrative, and produce a publicity poster for the film.

Spending two full days with us, Alex spent time working with the students, discussing their ideas, helping with planning and supporting their productions. Sourcing models, clothing, and locations, and in some instances designing sets, the students had one week to plan, shoot, and produce their posters, using Adobe Photoshop to composite the imagery and add text. The project was a real test of the all of the creative, visual and technical skills that our students have spent the last 2 years acquiring.

End of the week review with Alex

The project culminated with a group critique at the end of the week, with Alex reviewing all of the work produced and selecting the winning poster. This was a genuinely difficult challenge, as many of our students produced some outstanding publication quality work, but after much discussion the 1st prize went to Jake Lynch for ‘Other Side of the Door’

The other side of the Door by Jake Lynch

2nd and 3rd prizes went to Lewis Barnard (Barney) and Imogen Bradburn, whose work demonstrated some exceptional compositing skills in Photoshop

Midwinter by Lewis Barnard
Lost Voyage by Imogen Bradburn

The movie poster project was great fun for everyone and importantly provided a unique opportunity for our students to work with a leading industry professional. Our thanks to Alex Bailey for his time, energy and enthusiasm. Alex has joined our ever expanding list of top visiting lecturers and we are looking forward to working with him again in 2020.




Masterclass lighting workshop with internationally acclaimed photographer

As part of our enrichment curriculum this year our students were treated to a masterclass lighting workshop with internationally acclaimed photographer Urs Recher.

For over a decade Urs Recher has served as head photographer and consultant at broncolor in Switzerland, playing a pivotal role in the products, content and imagery of the company.

urs public

Urs’ expertise in lighting was clearly evident in the fantastic full day workshop provided for our students. The session included an informative talk about Urs’ experience in the industry and a lively and engaging workshop where he demonstrated his approach to lighting products and people, using a range of different techniques and lighting modifiers. The workshop also provided a great collaborative opportunity, with garments being provided students from our BA Fashion programme, and styling and make-up from our BA Fashion, Media and Marketing programme.

For many of our students, Urs’ workshop was one of the highlights of the year. Commenting on the product lighting section of the workshop where Urs lit a black product on a black background and successfully lifted the broncolor logo, 3rd year Ian Underwood commented, “That lighting set-up was incredible, I never knew you could do that!” Eleanor Balsdon, another of our 3rd year students was similarly impressed – she left the session saying “That man is a wizard, he has completely blown my mind!” 

Our thanks to Urs for delivering such a fantastic session for our students.

Students enjoy Masterclass lighting workshop with top advertising photographer, Ray Massey

During our recent curriculum visit to London, PC students had the opportunity to see a true master at work.

Ray Massey has been a photographer for over 25 year and is known for his skill when photographing liquid and controlling light. As part of the student experience Ray kindly offered to extend their knowledge by sharing his talents for the day. A selection of our students had the opportunity to observe Ray at work, witnessing the construction of a still life shoot from start to finish. Ray kindly demonstrated his workflow, from building up his lighting, the formalities of working with liquids and the precise nature of freezing moving water to achieve a perfect result. Most of Ray’s photography is shot in camera, using post-production to enhance and refine these elements.

Ray worked with two different set ups during our visit, the first he used a large purpose built basin, filled with just right amount of water, then added a water bottle at the exact moment, to achieve the combination of moving liquid, splash and the bottle frozen in time. In the second setup Ray used a water filled tank, with coloured gels to capture bubbles and water movements.

Shooting tethered on a Hasselblad with a P45 back, Ray was able to obtain maximum detail and actuary. Ray worked collaboratively with his digital assistant Jem, who added to the wealth and knowledge that the students gained throughout the day.

Our students had the opportunity to assist with the shoot, view a real life-working studio and watch a digital assistant realise the final result. What a fantastic, informative and enjoyable day. Ray was extremely kind to invite the PCA Commercial Photography students into his studio and share his wealth of knowledge and skill.

See Ray’s work at