After changing direction from a career in Law, Xanthe Hutchinson has built a successful photography career, despite having to juggle her work with the demands of her young family.
I work predominantly for smaller fashion brands, emerging businesses and designers. I’m normally called upon to shoot look books and marketing images, which is great; lots of scope for creativity and a chance to meet incredibly talented young professionals.
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I initially read Philosophy at Durham and then made a foray into Law. It was whilst working for a law firm that I realised I desperately needed a creative outlet, so I took an OCN in photography. I fell in love with the medium and decided to do a B-Tech, and once I’d finished my tutor convinced me to do a degree! It was a difficult decision to make financially but my husband supported me throughout.
My greatest motivation is my love for photography, I feel so lucky to be in a job I adore; the creative process, the people and the experiences constantly inspire me! I also take a lot of inspiration from artists, authors and cinematographers.. I think if you surround yourself with art and artists it’s inevitable that you will be infused with a little creative Magic!
Once I’m struck with an idea or concept, I’ll start off with a moodboard, then I’ll begin to build my creative team; I often work with the same people because I know they are of a similar mindset and we are on the same page creatively. From there I’ll begin casting which is often quite onerous but is undoubtedly one of the most important elements to a story. I’m frequently given a rough brief by clients which is an excellent starting place- I find the aesthetic then evolves with the input of other team members and of course the model. Considering a shoot will often begin with various structures and prerequisites, it’s definitely quite an organic process that brings it together!
I use digital cameras more often than not, as it’s faster and cheaper to use in commercial jobs but I have a couple of analogues cameras and a polaroid and instax too. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing the image develop before your eyes!
Ordinarily I tend to use my Canon 5D Mark III though, I prefer to use available light as I find that coupled with my prime lenses makes for a dreamy, softer image. When shooting with studio lighting, I use my little Elinchrom Portalites or my Bowens Geminis. In post production I use Bridge and Photoshop; I’ve learnt to get things right in camera but it’s still fun to tinker a little in post.
I work on location a great deal, and in studios.. I had my own studio when I lived up north but it just wasn’t cost effective to continue with my own studio once I moved down south. I travel quite a lot for the job so it was an unnecessary expense really. I have two kids so working from home is tough! I normally have to my editing whilst the youngest is asleep.
During the actual photoshoots I’ll always work with a team but the prep and post production is a lengthy process I do alone, which is for the best as I’m a bit of a chatterbox and I need to be ensconced in my office to get my work done.
I just love every aspect of my day-to-day work: the excitement of planning a shoot; the pleasure of shooting and then the anticipation of editing the images. Seeing the finished product is so rewarding, taking something from inception to realisation is amazing- I don’t think it will ever get old!
Long term, I’d like to carry on with lookbooks and campaigns, along with my editorial work, but it would be a dream to work with bigger publications and clients of course. Conde Nast beckons!
Learn more about Xanthe on her website.