Wednesday, 5 March 2014

It's okay to take a break.


It really is. It is okay to take a break from things.

For the last few months I have been taking a backseat from photography on the whole, besides from some freelance commercial work and a few family portraits. It's been very alien for me, to rarely pick up my camera, or to have a very open diary. I've hardly opened Photoshop or Lightroom in the past few months let alone even organise anything!

So, in all honesty - It has been the best thing I have done for myself in years. I feel like an entirely new person, like I've really had time to grow as a person and more importantly - one I am happy as! 
I think my sub conscious had been telling me to really take some time for a few months. I aimed to leave my fashion work on the side for a month or so just whilst I concentrated on weddings, but in all honesty it kind of rolled into almost 5 months.

I really thought long and hard about putting this up because I think being un-inspired or taking a break is something we tend to shy away from admitting. I wanted to compile this post of reasons to why it's good to take a break, because throughout this stage I felt it was incredibly un-natural to go through a phase like this when actually, it's perfectly healthy!


1) It's okay to have a life outside of work! 

As a Photographer, a fellow creative, it's almost like you have to be on full power 24/7 because when you freelance there is no 9-5, It is your life, everything. E-mails at 11pm, call times at 6am. Sometimes you just need to be able to switch off for more than enough time to just sleep! I work a day job as-well which ranges from part time to full time so doing them both can be hard to balance.


2) It's okay to take time to grow.

That drive that had driven me since I was 18 and first started freelancing started to dwindle. In hindsight, I think I was burnt out. I needed to take some time away from the entire thing - I was pushing myself, taking on too much without even stopping, and more importantly letting myself grow. The last few years were a constant strive to be better and I think everyone must hit a wall at some point! You need to, in order to re-assess what you've achieved and what you need to achieve to get better.

3) It's okay to be un-inspired.

I am always envious of people who are constantly inspired. I go through phases of being inspired more than anything which is not the easiest way to keep ideas fresh. It's normal though - and I think the space in where you live, the job in what you work and how you live all plays a part. Since I've moved into our own flat that we own, I feel so much more inspired now I have a space I can make my own (with it's own actual office!) and I have the means to go out running which for me clears my mind and helps with my inspiration. It's all about a positive mindset too - I've found that since I've changed where I work, and how I work I feel like a better person, which takes me to my next point...

4) Make yourself happy.

The beauty of being self employed is that you are your own boss! This however, is a huge downside too. It's hard to get the work/play balance right because there is no set schedule. I think every freelancer gets into the habit of working too much which again is perfectly natural. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to work doing something I love which is why it is much harder to learn to take a break.
It wasn't until we moved that I realised I wasn't really that happy deep down. It wasn't the photography that was making me unhappy but the business side with experiences of difficult clients etc.
Instead of ignoring the issues I sat down and really looked at how I could avoid those issues that made me unhappy, life is way too short to be unhappy!

It feels so good to get all of this out there! I'm excited to start getting back into Photography more now I feel ready for it and I feel a hundred times better for taking out some 'me' time. I'm also so excited to really get behind my wedding photography which has taken off brilliantly.
I apologise if it's an incredibly boring post - but I felt if I could put out my experience and it helps even just one person then it's worth it.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

A lack of inspiration & why I've started a 52 week challenge (again!)

I'm certain that every creative goes through a phase where they feel completely & utterly un-inspired. I think it comes with the territory, you have these fantastic periods of being inspired which rides with the periods of just... nothing.

I've been trying to force it out - but inspiration isn't something you can force. You just have to let it come to you, the more you force it, the more it drives in the opposite way.
I think it feels almost like a brick wall... you can try various ways of getting over that wall, but it's a hell of a lot easier if you are just patient and wait for the door to open.

I've always been a 'Self Portrait' artist, I started my first 365 waaay back in 2008(ish) whilst I was uninspired in Uni, and kind of continued a photo challenge on and off until around a year ago, when things got too busy that it was some form of task, and not really something I enjoyed.

I flicked through my archives a few weeks back, trying to self motivate myself and see how far I've come in the few years I've been doing Photography... and I realise what I loved most about my Self Portraits was the personal journey I can see back in them. I know what I was doing, how I was feeling and my technical ability when I look back. Especially when I started taking them because I was took scared to approach models, it was my little way of trying to get into Fashion & Editorial work, one baby step at a time.

So, I've decided to take a mini 'hiatus' from Fashion/Editorial photography - not only because I am completely un-inspired but I also want to focus on my Wedding photography which is swiftly picking up. I am so inspired in this field, that it seems silly to try and drive a frustration - I really want to ride this inspiration I have for Weddings and see where it takes me.
As well as this I decided to re-start a 52 week challenge. I'm at a new phase of my life where I want to document it, and re-ignite my drive for creativity!

I always think it's this terribly bad thing to be un-inspired but in reality, I think it's the point in your career where you have to step back, in order to take a bigger leap.

Here are the last 6 weeks of Self Portraits;







www.charlottestonephoto.com
www.facebook.com/charlottestonephoto
www.twitter.com/charloustone

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Hair Collection for Jodie Austen

 One of my favourite shoots to date for this year - I shot this collection for Hair Stylist Jodie Austen of Alan Bendrey & Co
Beth, Tierney & Emma @ Gingersnap 
Make up by Sophie Moore





www.charlottestonephoto.com
www.facebook.com/charlottestonephoto

Monday, 10 June 2013

Turning Pro Publication

I was published in the Winter Edition of The Photographer's guide to Turning Pro with a double page spread on my journey from University to where I am now... very thrilled and excited to be able to release the PDF for those who couldn't grab a copy!


Sunday, 7 April 2013

SS'13 Key Trends for the Mall Cribbs Causeway


The other week I was asked by the Mall at Cribbs Causeway to help with a new venture they were starting as part of the Fashion Week they host... Key Trends!
Key trends is a capsule look at the trends featured in the catwalk shows at Fashion Week, showing where to buy, and how to style.
It's always a pleasure working with the team at The Mall - everyone is so friendly, lovely and it was incredibly enjoyable to work with all the lovely models.
BFW 8             BFW 10
BFW

 BFW 6  BFW 4

Below is a Film Edit of behind the scenes at Fashion Week - if you look closely, you can spot me!


Friday, 8 March 2013

Decode

Decode

Victoria Lindsay Coutts @ Gingersnap
Make up by Rebecca Butterworth

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Vic 8

Vic 20

Vic 18

Vic 22

Vic 24

Sunday, 27 January 2013

What's in my Camera Bag - Jan 2013

Any Photographers Camera bag is their Holy Grail. It's the bag that has some of the most expensive items I own in it, as well as holding pretty much everything that I need to obviously shoot, which of course is my profession. I think it's something I'd love to keep track of, and see how my kit may grow, or downsize as I go on in Photography.

My Bag(s)
It's only recently that I've started to pay more attention to my bag. I think an incident with a cracked UV filter with a lens jammed very tightly into my previous bag made me think about just HOW important a decent bag is. Especially when you spend so much on glass, and a body that to put it into a too small bag just seems really kinda stupid.

So, I got the Lowepro Nova 200 AW, pictured below. By far is it the prettiest bag, it's much too big for me as a person (I'm 5ft 3!) BUT it protects my kit pretty damn well. I can hold all of my lenses, without them banging together and that's what I need.

L1

Previous to that, I had the Lowepro Nova 180 AW, pictured below next to the Nova 200 for size comparison. I much prefer the Nova 180 because the size is pretty perfect for me. However, my kit has grown recently which lead to me cramming as much as I could be in some form of denial that it would all still fit (It didn't. Hence the UV filter incident!)
I just wish, as a female photographer there was a little bit more of a wider, affordable and size friendly option of bags.

L2

5D Mark II
My baby. Excuse the awful photo, my iPhone was the only available tool! The only thing I've done to this is put a screen protector (like on a phone or tablet) to stop the LCD from scratching.

Lenses
I love glass. I think it's so important to get good glass that people just over-look it as some unnecessary cost.

50mm 1.4 
The nifty fifty. I love this lens. For the price, it's fantastic and optically pretty damn awesome. I tend to use this more for Commercial or Personal work as it's a little too wide for my style of Portraits but the f1.4 has been fantastic in low light.

L6
85mm 1.8
Up until recently, this was my favourite focal length. I'd sell a kidney for the 85mm 1.2L (next on my list!) but this is a lovely length for Portraits. I think I've shot nearly all of my Fashion Editorial books on this lens. 
L4
24-70 2.8L
The heaviest lens I own - I can't use this lens for more than an hour without getting arm ache. I really love it optically, but I just don't like using it. I want to, I really do for the money it cost me, but I just don't.
I'm really not a Zoom kinda girl, Prime lenses have my heart so using a Zoom is just boring... I always feel less inclined to move around when I use this lens, so I see it as my 'safety blanket'
L3
135mm f2L
The 135mm is the newest addition to my kit. It's taken me around 5 months to pluck up the courage to bite the bullet... all I can say is I wish I did it sooner!
I am smitten with it. It's just brilliant and SO under-rated. It's the longest focal length lens I own which has completely made me re-evaluate the way I shoot Portraits.
L5

Flashgun.
If I can, I will always use Studio lights. I just don't like using flashguns as main lights, so I have this Jessops 360 Flashgun which is pretty cheap and cheerful, but it does the job should I need it. I also grabbed this diffuser off of Amazon for a few quid to just lessen the harshness of the light.

L7
Triggers.
These Calumet triggers have done me perfectly for the past 2 years. I know I could get some super fancy ones but right now, they do the job just fine.

L8

The 'Rest'
Other things I keep in my bag; spare body cap, a micro fibre cloth, USB leads, 4 mini clamps, as many CF cards as I can shove in and a spare battery. This is only a Hanhel one I picked up on Amazon so not AS good as my Canon one, however a spare battery is a spare battery and I cannot stress enough how important I have one!

L9

So, my kit as it stands in Jan 2013. I also keep my lens caps (for both L series lenses) on the camera and the lenses inside the grey lens bags they come with now, the main point of buying a big enough bag was to be able to take these lens caps out with me - never much use sat at home, when you're on location in the bright sun..
I apologise for the lengthy post, I forget how much kit I have! I may possibly do one of my studio kit in the future...