On Location: Shooting Fashion for exclusive fashion label

As part of our Special Project week, where 1st and 2nd year students work collaboratively on a range of client led projects, our students recently had the opportunity to shoot for an exclusive local fashion business

Based in the prestigious Royal William Yard in Plymouth, Identity fashion is an up and coming fashion label working with a group of talented Bulgarian designers to create affordable, exclusive pieces that focus on fluid draping, asymmetrical shapes and relaxed silhouettes. Denitsa Avramova, Identity fashions co-owner and creative director, invited students our students to spend a day shooting a number of their collections.

Students shooting fashion collections in Identity Fashion
On location: Students explore using the historic backdrop of the Royal William Yard for advertising & editorial

Two groups of students were appointed, one to work shooting outfits and accessories inside the shop for e-commerce purposes, the other to work outside on location to capture some stylish shots for advertising and editorial. Tasked with sourcing models and make-up artists and working effectively in creative teams, the brief was a fantastic opportunity for our students to gain experience of shooting fashion for a live brief.

One of the lead photographers, 2nd year student Rosie Hartsorn commented:

‘Working with identity fashion was a great insight into the professional world of fashion photography. I am very grateful for the experience and have gained skills which I will take on with me when working with future clients.

Identity fashion loved the photographs and I was so proud to see my work on their social media. I have kept in contact with the fashion brand and hopefully will work with them in the near future! Overall, I enjoyed the day and gained a lot of positive and helpful feedback.’

Check out a selection of the images produced on the day by our talented students


Our grateful thanks to Denitsa and Identity Fashion for the opportunity to shoot such beautiful collections, and also to our stunning models Petra Blank, Morgan Elder, Selina Hall, Milly Jenkinson and Eden Smith, who all gave their time and energy on the day.

Degree Show 2019: 3rd year students put on a show to remember

The end of June is special time at Plymouth College of Art as our city centre campus is transformed from a vibrant workshop and studio complex into a dynamic, public showcase for new work in art, design and digital media.


This year’s exhibition of work from students studying Commercial Photography was a noted highlight of the show. From character portraits and stylised fashion editorials, to meticulously crafted studio photography, our students have been encouraged to develop their own individual style and approaches to working.

Combining technique, with creativity, visual flair and particular skills in post-production, our students produced an exhibition of outstanding commercial photographic work.

Various guests at our private view industry event on Thursday 13th June commented on both the level of the work on display and also the professionalism of our students. The is a testament to both the quality of the curriculum, and also the incredible talent, passion and determination of our students who represent the next generation of commercial image-makers.



Event images by Dom Moore Photography : https://www.dommoore.co.uk/

You can see a selection of some of 2019 degree show work below.


Professional Perspective: Commercial photography students benefit from portfolio reviews

Following the talks at our recent industry symposium in London, a number of Commercial Photography students benefitted from the unique opportunity of one-2-one portfolio reviews with the industry guests.

Professional portfolio critique is an integral part of our curriculum with students undertaking reviews as part of their Professional Practice modules. In addition to industry and creative advice, the reviews also provide a unique networking opportunity, with many students coming away with valuable contacts, often leading to work placement and assisting opportunities.

For our 3rd year students in particular, the reviews are hugely beneficial. After two and a half years of developing their skills, our 3rd years are about to make the transition from creative study into professional practice. They are just a few months away from completing their final projects which will be exhibited in the summer degree shows, so professional perspectives on their work can provide important insights and guidance.


Year 3 student Sophie Guildford commented; “I had a great portfolio review with Jennifer (Turner)  she gave me plenty of feedback on my work. It was also just a great conversation. I wish that we had longer because we had so much to talk about. It was really inspiring to talk someone in the industry, who isn’t another photographer. She gave me loads of insight into what she looks for, from an agent’s and also a client’s point of view.”

Year 3 student Georgia Williams commented: “I thoroughly enjoyed my chat with Jon (Enoch). He made me feel better about my job prospects and encouraged me to never give up because that would be a waste”

Our thanks to our fantastic portfolio reviewers this year

Oliva Beasley @oliviabeasley 

Jon Enoch @JonEnochPhoto

Alice Hawkins @AliceHawkins_

Victoria Ling @victoria_ling

David Stewart @davidstewwwart

Jennifer Turner @jennymayturner


2019 Industry Symposium – our best yet!

Our Annual Symposium in London is a key initiative in our commercial photographic curriculum, providing a unique opportunity for students to expand their understanding of the business of photography. With presentations a from a range of practitioners, agents and other industry professionals, our students gain invaluable insight into various areas of the industry, gaining an understanding of the career possibilities available to them and the knowledge, skills and attributes required to succeed.

This academic year our symposium was held at the Seven Dials Club in Covent Garden, and we were delighted to be joined by an incredible line-up of award-winning photographers and photographic professionals, who spoke about the work and their experiences in the industry. Many of students, who have been to our symposium every year since joining us, unanimously agreed that 2019 was our best symposium yet. The range of speakers, the breadth of their practices, and their obvious energy and enthusiasm to support photographic education was clearly apparent and greatly appreciated by all. Our thanks go to all of our contributors this year:

Olivia Beasley

Olivia’s work spans fashion, advertising and editorial, and clients include: American Express, Bacardi, British Airways, BT, Clarks, Ernest Jones, Heals, Levi’s, Mastercard, Qatar Airways, Remy Martin, Sony, The Times, The Telegraph, and the Tate Modern. Olivia was recently selected to show at the 20th International Hyeres Festival of Fashion and Photography, in France.


Victoria Ling

Victoria comes from a Fine Art background, which can be seen in her clean and minimalist asesthetic, with keen attention to detail, texture and colour. Selected advertising clients include: British Airways, Papier, Mondial, Ciroc, Marie Claire, M&S, Vogue, Stella, John Lewis, G F Smith, and Saatchi & Saatchi


Alice Hawkins

Best known for her portrait and fashion photography and filmmaking, Alice creates jubilant, playful, touching and unashamedly glitzy images. She contributes to titles such as POP, Love and PonyStep and has collaborated on many campaigns including Diesel, Agent Provocateur and Topman. With a unique flair for storytelling and being naturally attracted to the outrageous, unconventional or exuberant, her work continually celebrates individuality across the globe. A compilation of her images entitled “Alice’s Adventures” was published in 2017 by Thames & Hudson.



Jon Enoch

Jon Enoch is a London-based photographer with a bold, uncomplicated approach to his work, earning him widespread recognition, from multiple nominations for Celebrity Photographer of the Year to the Professional Publishers Association’s Best Magazine Cover. His work won the Non-Commissioned Portraits Series in the highly prestigious AOP Awards 2015. He was nominated again in both 2016 and 2017.

Equally at home on location or in the studio, clients include: Norwegian Airlines, Sport Magazine, Skoda, The Times, Forever Sports, The RNLI, Philips, EA Sports, Addison Lee, ES Magazine and The Royal British Legion



David Stewart

David Stewart is a genuine legend in the world of photography, beginning his career by photographing punk bands including The Clash and The Ramones in the 1970s.  Stewart won The Taylor Wessing portrait prize in 2015. In 2016 he was presented with The Royal Photographic Society award for outstanding achievement and excellence in the fields of Editorial, Advertising and Fashion Photography.



Jennifer Turner

Jennifer graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 2008 and quickly established a successful career in London as a photographic producer and then an Agent. Within a short time she was being approached to be a judge for prestigious competitions such as the AoP Assistant Awards. In 2015 Jennifer founded Wren Artists Ltd, a London based visual artists agency managing photographers and productions in both stills and moving imagery.



Exclusive live-brief opportunity with Mercedes-Benz

We often tell our students that advertising photography is a broad area of practice and that anything that is made to be sold has to be photographed. Something that was proved recently when we launched an exciting partnership and internship opportunity with Mercedes-Benz South West.

The college has worked with Mercedes-Benz South West before. In 2016 students from our printed textile and surface pattern degree had the opportunity to design a promotional body decal for a Mercedes Smart car. Knowing some of our students’ passion for automotive photography we were keen to continue our collaboration and following meetings with their marketing team, Mercedes came up with a fantastic project idea.

With the final prize of a 2-week internship at Mercedes-Benz South West’s head office in Exeter, our students were offered unique access to a brand-new Mercedes vehicle, with a brief to produce a series of high-quality photographic images. The brief was designed to fit in with the company’s existing marketing communications strategy, and with the new vehicle being launched in 2018, our students were handed a golden opportunity.

The 4MATIC is Mercedes-Benz’s answer to intelligent all-wheel-drive: each wheel independently adapts to the road for optimum control and driving dynamism. In any condition, on all terrain. The new vehicle was launched in November when Mercedes held a four-day showroom event that took place across Mercedes-Benz South West’s four dealerships (Exeter, Plymouth, Taunton and Truro). The campaign to promote the 4MATIC range is ongoing, and this is where our students came in.

As part of this exclusive live brief, Mercedes-Benz South West provided us with a GLC 4MATIC for the day, inviting a small group of our students to create a series of exterior and interior images to promote the 4MATIC on social media.

In collaboration with the Royal William Yard, who kindly provided us with the space to work, our students spent the day photographing the vehicle in a range of different locations, using their lighting skills and high-end digital cameras to produce a range of imagery to showcase the vehicle.

Following the successful photo-shoot, we met with the marketing team from Mercedes to review the work, who were delighted with the imagery. From the initial 8 students who participated in the shoot, three winners were selected, their work being featured on social media as part of the 4Matic marketing campaign. Take a look at some of the selected images below:

Lewis Barnard
Charlie Shattock 9
Charlie Shattock
Josh Huxham
Josh Huxham
Josh Huxham
Josh Huxham

Congratulations to:

Year 1 student Josh Huxham (@huxhamjphoto)

Year 2 student Lewis Barnard (@lewis_barnard_photography)

Year 2 student Charlie Shattock (@streetcultureuk_)

Particular congratulations went to Josh Huxham. Mercedes-Benz South West were so impressed with one of his shots that the image found its way into print, being used for the reception boards in all 4 of the company’s dealerships in Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth and Truro.

Reception Desk

We are now planning the 2nd phase of the brief where Josh, Charlie and Lewis will get to compete in another photo opportunity later in the spring, where the winning image will earn the photographer a 2-week internship at Mercedes-Benz South West. Watch this space.

Huge thanks to Mercedes-Benz South West for providing us with such a fantastic opportunity.



Our thanks also to the Royal William Yard who kindly provided us with free access to their Factory area to photograph the vehicle.




Sustainable fashion photography takes pride of place in city centre shop

To help promote sustainable fashion choices, our location fashion shoot at Mount Edgcumbe recently involved a collaborative project with St Luke’s Hospice charity shop in Plymouth.

Charity shops can be a fashion treasure trove and St Luke’s kindly gave a team of our students free access to their city centre store, inviting them to style and shoot a collection of elegant party wear sourced entirely from their store.  St Luke’s Head of marketing provided our students with a clear brief, asking them to deliver:

  • A short film showing the team selecting the garments
  • behind the scenes stills and footage from the actual shoot.
  • A series of web ready images for feature on their social media platforms.
  • A printed poster that could be displayed in their shop window.

This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to work on a live brief, with a real client, with the potential of having the work published as part of St Luke’s marketing campaign.

Our talented students didn’t disappoint. After selecting a range of clothing from the store and working with the models on location, they produced a collection of stylish and eye-catching images that very successfully met the brief.

St Luke’s were so delighted with the results, that a selection of the images were turned into large banners which made up the window display of the store during the Christmas period.

Drake Night

Shop Manager Julie Bickford said “It’s great that while the images look like high-end fashion, the outfits sourced from our store were absolute bargains. Just shows you can be stylish in a sustainable way while supporting a fantastic local cause”

The success of the initiative caught the attention of the local media too, being featured in the Evening Herald. A great achievement for our students and great publicity for the charity and their cause.

Congratulations to all of the Commercial Photography students who participated in the project. We spoke with Catherine Hyde, who took the role of stylist, Mi Kelly who was one of the photographers, and Alice Conway who filled the role of producer, to find out more.

Tell us about the brief that you received and your first thoughts about it

Mi: With the theme being Christmas and New Year evening party outfits, St Luke’s wanted the photos to look sophisticated and elegant, matching the style of the house at Mount Edgcumbe where we were shooting. My initial thoughts were excitement due to the fact we had free range of the clothes, shoes and accessories and we were able to piece together a whole look from scratch!

Talk us through the process of sourcing the clothes and organising the photoshoot

Catherine: The process of sourcing the clothes was fun and surprising. The quality of the clothing within the store was really good and there were lots of other outfit options we could have used for the photoshoot had we wanted more. I took on the role of stylist within the group, and after looking at our location for the shoot I felt that a classy, elegant look to the outfits would suit best. I chose the black dress with the gold detailing as I thought it was elegant with a fun twist by having the open back detailing. Similarly to the blue silk dress, the cross detail on the back of the dress sold it to us immediately.

Sounds like you had lots of fun! What was the highlight of the project?

Alice: There wasn’t just one section of the week that really stood out for me as it was all interesting and something a little bit different. The location, Mount Edgcumbe House, was lovely and it was great to shoot in such a grand setting. After a week of hard work it is always fulfilling to see everything you have produced, so when everyone finally got to see the photos printed and the video edited that was probably my highlight.

Take a look at the video produced the students in collaboration with St Luke’s


You can also take a look at some of the work from our talented students, check out their imagery on Instagram

Alice Conway          @aliceconwayphotography

Mi Kelly                     @mikellyphotography

Catherine Hyde       @catherinehydephotography



On Location: Shooting Fashion in stately surroundings

Coinciding with our Introduction to Fashion Photography module our students recently enjoyed the experience of carrying out a fashion shoot in a beautiful Tudor mansion and country park. Part of our ‘Fashion and Trends Week’ the activity provides students with the opportunity to work in creative teams, developing their skills and knowledge of professional fashion photography.

We often make full use of our enviable location in the South West and Mount Edgcumbe, a short drive or boat ride from our Plymouth campus, is a particular gem. Built nearly 100 years before the Mayflower set sail in 1620, and surrounded by 865 acres of formal gardens and beautiful landscapes, the grand Tudor mansion provides a fantastic backdrop.

With the evocative atmosphere of Mount Edgcumbe in mind, our students were given the opportunity to work with a number of clients who provided a series of garments to be photographed.

The Dark Angel label has an international reputation for ethically producing high quality, unique clothing, designing costumes for a range of high profile clients which include Disney, Blenheim Palace, and TV and theatre companies worldwide. For our shoot at Mount Edgcumbe, The Dark Angel provided a collection of period & fantasy inspired garments.

Alongside the theatrical garments provided by The Dark Angel, and continuing our theme of promoting sustainable fashion choices, we also collaborated with St Luke’s Hospice charity shop in Plymouth. Charity shops can be a fashion treasure trove and St Luke’s gave our students free access to their city centre store, with a brief to style and shoot a collection of elegant party wear sourced entirely from their store.

In addition to these two fabulous briefs, we also collaborated with our own BA Hons Fashion programme, providing an opportunity for 2 groups to work with clothing collections produced by recent graduates, Amy Bray and Lan Chen. Reconciling or juxtaposing the highly contemporary style of these two collections with the traditional setting of Mount Edgcumbe was one the first challenges for these groups.

As the students soon discovered, shooting fashion on location is a busy enterprise. Working with professional models and enlisting the services of the students on the Hair and Make-Up course at City College, our students had to work in teams to source locations, set up their lighting, and plan and style their shoots. Each of the 6 groups, some assisted by more experienced 2nd year students, worked in a range of locations both inside and outside the house, allocating roles and working collectively to meet the demands of the client briefs.

Despite the various challenges, including needing to take particular care when photographing around priceless furniture and antiques and keeping models warm on a freezing cold day, our students produced an exceptional body of work that showcased their creative and technical skills. Take a look at some of the final imagery produced below.

Thanks to all of the contributors who helped to make the shoot such a huge success.

Mount Edgcumbe House & Country Park           http://www.mountedgcumbe.gov.uk/

Dark Angel Designs                                                 https://www.thedarkangel.com/

St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth                                 https://www.stlukes-hospice.org

City College Plymouth                                            https://www.cityplym.ac.uk/courses/hair-and-media-make-up/

Particular thanks to PCA Fashion Graduate Amy Bray, who kindly loaned her collection to us. Amy’s collection debuted at Graduate Fashion Week last year, to find out more about Amy and her work see:



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.