We caught up with Charlie to learn more about her process and what goes into her shoots.
Hi Charlie! Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! I’m the photographer and creator of the Tide & Tree stock library, which I created after realizing there isn’t an image resource out there for those creatives and business owners that require a more nature-inspired brand images. I run on flat whites and I love early mornings. My happy place is capturing a winter sunrise with a flask of coffee and my camera. And my joy comes from creating beautiful stock photography that helps beautifully unique businesses and entrepreneurs shine authentically online and attract their dream troupe.
When did you first become interested in photography and how did you get to where you are today?
I first became interested in photography when I was around 17 years old. I’d just gotten a job working for a graphic designer and was handed a very expensive looking camera to play with. I’d always been into the outdoors, stunning landscapes and the natural world, so the two combined just sort of clicked for me! I became hooked quite quickly and soon went on to study for my National Diploma in Photography at college, and then on to University College Falmouth where I received a BA (Hons) in Natural History & Marine Photography. My styles and interest expanded from landscape and nature photography to still life and interiors — realized I loved photographing ‘stories’ not ‘scenes’!
Your photographs are so beautiful, clean and calming with gorgeous color palettes. How did you find your own photography style? What inspires you?
I believe my style is heavily linked to my personality. I love adventure and the outdoors but I also love being a homebody and curling up with a good book and some cake — so I’m basically a hobbit! I think it’s important your style, be it your branding, your art, your photos, your writing — whatever — comes from your personality and is an extension of you.
I like to think the Tide & Tree stock collections represent a slower pace of life, made for creatives and entrepreneurs that work from a place of rest rather than overwhelm. Those types who not only feel the benefits of reconnecting with nature themselves, but want to spread that message out in their branding and marketing to their audiences.
Walk us through your process — how do you create and set up a photo shoot?
It starts with insights and analytics — what’s worked before, what hasn’t, what people are asking for, etc. From there, along with industry insights and upcoming holiday seasons, I brainstorm three months of collections at a time.
To help me really tell a story with the collection, I also note down things like what I want this collection to ‘feel’ like (Eg, for my Quiet Space collection, I noted ‘still’, ‘refreshing’ and ‘calming’); what this collection would ‘smell’ like (Eg for my Nourished Part i set, I noted ‘fresh laundry’, ‘coffee’ and ‘old books’). This helps me get in the mindset of what I’m trying to achieve, and makes styling & shooting much easier.
From there, it’s shopping for props and researching locations. If it’s an interior collection, I love using Airbnbs (with a permission form of course!) as there are some really unique ones out there. If it’s a nature-based collection set outdoors, then it is important to ensure the outdoor space I plan to use is not privately owned and is free to be photographed and used commercially. I also research what the weather is likely to be, what time of day I need to be there for the right light, the route to get there, etc.
Basically, plan, plan, and then plan some more!
A shoot can take anything from a morning to 3 or 4 days depending on the complexity. I use a mix of artificial lighting and natural light depending on the conditions.
My biggest tip is to rough edit as you go. You don’t want to get home after a 3-day shoot and realize half the images were shot with the wrong ISO or were out of focus.
You’ve been involved with the stock photography business for 5+ years. What advice would you give to photographers who are interested in selling their photos on stock sites?
The stock photo industry has boomed and now it’s harder than ever to stand out — but only if you’re trying to appeal to the masses. There are so many niches and unique industries that require stock photos. Find your unique niche, ensure there’s a need, develop your style and you’ll soon find your audience.
Lastly, what happens to those delicious looking pies and baked goods after you’ve finished photographing them?
Haha, I like to use natural products to style food photos — so I’m often munching away whilst shooting. In fact there’s many food-based props that don’t make it into the images at all, as I get there first! If they do however, after the seventh or so dusting of sugar to recreate that ‘fresh out the oven’ look — it often gets beyond edible!