Photography News issue 28

27 Interview

Photography News Issue 28

Pro focus

The force is with you! Leave the Dark Side of your day job and follow the dream as a full-time pro. Jo Rutherford did just that in 2013 and hasn’t looked back – here she tells Professional Photo all about it...

Sometimes, just a push is needed to turn an enthusiast into a full-time working pro. In Jo Rutherford’s case that was the sad loss of her mum, but in less than three years she’s become a multi award-winning photographer with a booming business. In the latest issue of Professional Photo mag you can read all about her journey. PP: What prompted you to make the leap to full-time being a full-time pro? Jo Rutherford: I was working as a university lecturer (I’d previously been a physiotherapist) and the job was very stressful so I took up photography as a hobby – stress relief. It gave me a reason to head outdoors away from computers and marking assignments. Then the usual happened: I was asked to photograph family and friends and the occasional wedding and I also organised a number of photography get togethers, inviting make-up artists, models and photographers to come together for informal workshops. There was an idea that maybe I could be a photographer part-time so I took redundancy from my lecturing and went back as a physiotherapist part-time. Then a combination of events made me make the leap. My mum died very suddenly and I went back to working in a hospital. I also knew my temporary contract was not going to be renewed so I decided to become a full-time photographer. PP: How did you choose your specialism? JR: I always wanted to photograph people, I love getting a connection with the client and soon realised that young people were my favourite subject to photograph. Children come without hangups, fears or preconceived ideas of how they should look in a photograph. PP: What initial set-up costs did you have? JR: They were minimal, I had bought my camera kit while I was still working and so the studio just needed painting and laminate flooring, and obviously rent and bills – I set a budget of £1000 and stayed within it. There was even money left for props. I already had a

website, and lots of the initial work for the business had been done while I was still working – that really helped. Having a regular income while setting up was brilliant, though with hindsight and in different circumstances I would have waited another year before going full-time. PP: Tell us about the Alter Ego idea. We love the results. JR: I have always valued personal projects, they allow me to try new ideas and practice new skills. Last year I was looking for a new project with the aim of working towards my Fellowship – I wanted a theme, and asked on Facebook if there was anyone who used costume and would they like to be photographed. The response was overwhelming; Vikings, first world war soldiers, cosplayers all got in touch and after completing a large number of sessions for the project I nowoffer this as part of the business. Next year I’m going to start attending events to promote it. People love the idea of coming in for a formal portrait in character. PP: What are the mechanics of making the Alter Ego shoots work? JR: I keep the portraits very simple – often one light and always on a dark grey seamless paper. The key part of the session is getting to know the character, the person who has come for the session, I really appreciate the fact that this is not ‘dressing up’, the people bring the characters to life, the attention to detail on their kit is incredible. The film characters do huge amounts of research to ensure their clothing is as realistic as possible and the re-enactors look to history and archeological finds to ensure authenticity. I never thought my skills would include helping a stormtrooper get dressed!

Above FromR2D2 to Darth Vadar and Hermione Granger, Jo Rutherford’s project Alter Ego includes characters from the worlds of film and fiction.

I never thought my skills would include helping a stormtrooper to get dressed!

You can readmore about how Jo became a professional in the latest issue of Professional Photo , on sale now. Use the voucher below and you’ll save £1 fromWHSmith.

You’ll findmore insight in the latest Professional Photo – the UK’s best magazine for full-time and aspiring pro photographers

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