Photographers' Dining Club

← Older posts

Compendium of Ideas – No. 002

A collection of bits and pieces that caught my attention over the past little while. Hand picked and shared with you so you can share them with others.

Jasper White –  photographer and speaker at earlier Photographers Dining Club events has recently released his new book ‘Man Caves’. Love this promo stop motion film he did with set designer Hannah Wood.

Photo by Travis Hodges

Photo by Travis Hodges

Travis Hodges’s new project ‘The Quantified Self’ is worth a look. This project looks at the stories of the people who self track, the data they collect and their motivations for doing so. The work is being exhibited at PhotoFusion as part of the Select 14 exhibition on from 18 July – 15 August 2014, but you are welcome to attend the launch party on Thursday 17th July from 6.30pm.


This interview by Rachel Segal Hamilton at IdeasTap with The National Portrait Gallery’s Helen Trompeteler is a must read if you ever wondered about how to get your portraits into their NPG’s collection.


OK GO – The Writing’s on the wall Music Video. Just watch, no need to explain. Genius!


I am going to try and make it to this Glug event in Brighton on Friday 18th July. Hope to see you there?


If you like to join at our next Photographers Dining Club event, visit here.

Photo Makeover: Emma Taylor helps Debby Lewis-Harrison to find her marketplace

Written by Emma Taylor

Photography by Debby Lewis-Harrison


The Beginning

“I’m a food photographer struggling to get work” – Debby Lewis-Harrison

This is the first line of Debby Lewis-Harrison’s email to the Photographers’ Dining Club. And, as you know, this was in response to a call for volunteers to bravely put themselves forward for a live crit and portfolio session (as part of a Photographers’ Dining Club evening dedicated to helping photographers solve their problems)

This line was the sole reason I picked Debby, out of all the applicants, to become my victim, sorry I mean mentee.

Although everyone’s emails held a similar sentiment, it was the fact that Debby is a food photographer that really grabbed me; namely because food photography is a very busy industry. In fact I know plenty of food photographers having to turn down work. Seriously! It’s a wonder we don’t all retrain and join them.

But for Debby something just isn’t working and the prospect of being able to help her identify and fix what this is, was too good an opportunity to miss.

On the face of things Debby is doing everything right, her website is beautifully presented and incredibly inviting. It’s easy to navigate through and the blog there is well written, funny and has a lovely slideshow feature.

Debby says herself that when she sees people the response to the portfolio is always positive, and I can see why it’s beautifully presented and the pace of it is well considered. In short her whole shop window is up to scratch.

So where is the disconnect happening?


Having spoken with Debby in part it could be down to her perfectionism. She’s spent so long making sure her whole offering looks just so, that she’s tied herself up in knots a bit. Potentially spending time tweaking things when she should have been out canvassing opinions.

And also I think she has lost her self a bit in the process. What I mean by this is that personality, that lovely voice she has in her blog posts, is missing it’s place in amongst her marketing.


Our immediate next steps together are to review the tone of her email blasts, expand her database of contacts, review all her social media platforms, create a wish list of clients to work with and work on a really special speciality mailer to send to that wish list.

“That lovely voice she has in her blog posts, is missing … in amongst her marketing.”

The After (3 month later)

Debby: Emma has given me so many ideas and techniques about how to get myself in front of people. I now tweet at least once a day, I’ve joined the amazing visual world of Instagram and am linking all of my contacts to create a fuller social media presence.  We’re also working on a limited edition marketing ‘gift’ which will launch either in the autumn this year or early next.

“Debby is a Food Photographer. And Food Photography is about making people hungry.” – Emma Taylor

The first thing Debby and I tackled were her emailers. I sat down with her work again, looking over and over her blog posts; those chatty ones I talked about before.

I knew her personality was the key element we needed to bring in to her emailers, but how to do it? How do we make it more than just a tone of voice change?

And then it struck me! Debby is a Food Photographer. And Food Photography is about making people hungry, about inviting people in to an image to make them want to try cooking what you’re shooting. So why not make Debby’s emailer more like a lifestyle article than just a “look at what I shot last month”


“Since starting the competition I have been commissioned by Waitrose …. and I also now have representation”

So in a whirl of giddy excitement I call Debby straight away. And thankfully she loved the idea. We brainstormed some features for the piece, making sure to include regular features so that subscribers knew to look forward to certain areas. And off Debby went to her designers.

Debby: My favourite part of this journey so far was receiving a late Friday night phone call from a very excited Emma who’d had a brainwave about my marketing material. Emma had been very complimentary about how I write on my blog and wanted to translate this more casual approach to my emailer. 

I think the universal thing we struck on here was to change the audiences perception of emailers. To take away the spam feeling, the unsolicited contact and instead present them with a treat to look forward to every month.



“…change the audiences perception of emailers – take away the spam feeling and instead present them with a treat to look forward to every month.” – Emma Taylor


Debby: My new style ‘foodie’ emailer launched in May with a ‘Surf & Turf’ theme. I had a fantastic response from the email with lots of complimentary emails returned… Emma put me in touch with an amazing creative co-ordinator, Janet Llorente, to contact agencies and clients on my behalf. The response was really strong. Janet was able to get my name to those on my contact list as well as arrange a large number of portfolio meetings for me.

Since starting the competition I have been commissioned by Waitrose for their summer cocktails advertorial as well as a featured post in the Food& blog ( I also now have representation with a really great photography agent. I really feel the experience has been a positive one and  the future is a very exciting prospect.



Watch Emma’s talk from Photographers Dining Club 004 here. and check her out on twitter.

See more of Debby Lewis-Harrison’s work here and find her on twitter.




Compendium of Little Ideas – No. 001

A collection of bits and pieces that caught my attention over the past little while. Hand picked and shared for you so you can share them with others.

In the run up to our next Photographers Dining Club evening, I am sharing stuff  that may have directly (or indirectly) inspired the theme.

The ‘Art Photography Special’ with Metro Imaging on May 22nd is nearly sold out, but a small number of tickets available here.

Colors Magazine / Simon Roberts

ColorsIssue 88 of Colors Magazine, themed ‘Protest’ features a series of work by Simon Roberts from his series Let This Be A Sign. He will be talking about this project and 2 other at the next Photographers Dining Club event.

Mark Neville / ‘Deeds Not Words’ Project

Mark’s project, ‘Deeds Not Words’, was exhibited at the London’s Photographers’ Gallery in 2013. However, the photo book he produced as part of the project was not sold for public consumption, instead he distributed it to over 400 local authorities in the UK as a way of raising awareness of the key issues explored in the project. This Channel 4 video and blog post explain more.

Mark will be talking at the next event along side Simon Roberts about his photographic practice and artistic intentions.

5 minutes with Steve Macleod


Image Copyright Steve Macleod

Steve is a Creative Director at Metro Imaging, and a great supporter of the photographic community. He is co-hosting the next Photographers Dining Club event and is giving a talk along side Mark and Simon.

Get to know him a little in this interview found on Lisa Pritchard’s blog.

Kerby Ferguson / ‘Everything Is A Remix’ video

This video by New York-based filmmaker Kerby Ferguson examines the notion that all creative work is either copy (or remix) of previous work. Well researched and worth a watch. All 4 parts and more can be found here.

Austin Kleon / ‘Steal Like An Artist’ book

6784163064_342a086f06_bAuthor of the bestselling Newspaper Blackout, Austin Kleon, shares his thoughts on art and creativity using his unique ‘writer who draws’ style in his book ‘Steal Like An Artist’.

There’s definitely a bit of remixing going on in the book which help to cement some of the thoughts put forward by Kerby in his Everything is a Remix films. Especially like this illustration which clears a few things up about ‘good theft vs bad theft’.

His latest book ‘Show Your Work!’ is equally amusing and focuses on sharing creativity and building audiences – coincidentally it’s one of the topics we will be discussing at the next event.

Debby Lewis Harrison / Garlic & Rosemary Butter Langoustine Recipe


Debby was one of the brave photographer / volunteer who took part in a ‘Photo Makeover’ at the last Photographers Dining Club event. She received a live coaching session with creative consultant Emma Taylor to help her improve various aspects of her practice.

There has been much activity since the event, including the launch of her newsletter. I liked the look of the Langoustine recipe found inside.


Want to know more about Photographers Dining Club (Formerly known as ‘Start Up Photo Talks’)? See this video here.

Emma Taylor on ‘Finding your marketplace’


“A wish list is key,  it informs your work and where you want to go… and if you’ve got a wish list, and they’re the people you really want to work with, you need to tell them that.”

- Emma Taylor

Emma Taylor  gives practical advice to photographers (and creative folk in general) on finding a marketplace for your work.

Now that you found your vision or voice, the next stage is to establish where your marketplace is. Usually your marketplace is a website where a lot of people is going to see your work, that site should have the best SEO to increase traffic on it. Emma shares that a good starting point is a simple wish list of people you want to work with. This could be ad agencies, brands, design agencies that are in one way or another aligned with your way of seeing and communicating.

She goes on to share a few practical (and very clever) examples of how to approach your wish list and build relationships that may ultimately lead to future commissions.


About Emma

In her 7yrs at Vue photographers agents, Emma repped portrait, landscape, still life, car & location photographers globally across the Advertising, Healthcare, Design, Publishing & Music sectors.

In 2011 she left to set up her own business and is a founder of the Creative Advice Network. She mentors and works with photographers, companies & organisations to improve their creative output and market themselves more effectively. She was also portfolio reviewer at The World Photo Awards 2012 and a judge at the 2010 AOP Awards.


Her talk was filmed live at Photographers Dining Club 004 at the Proud Archivist in East London, UK. March, 2014.

Want to join the party? Sign up to our mailing list and be the next Photographers Dining Club event.

Zoe Whishaw on ‘Defining Your Vision’


I often ask photographers to tell me what they do, because I want to find out if the answer they give me will attract or keep an art buyer’s or photo editor’s attention… wether or not they would want to explore them and their work further. – Zoe Whishaw

Zoe Whishaw delivers a short talk on a rather big topic of ‘defining your vision’.

She shares that defining vision is ultimately about differentiation, the thing that makes you unique. This seems to involve 2 key factors. The first, is about photographers being able to define a visual language that is in line with who you are and the type of work you want to be commissioned to do and secondly, be able to articulate your vision and talk about ‘you and your work’ to potential art buyers and photo editors.

During her talk she references real life examples on how photographers can achieve that and shares how other successful photographers have done it.

Featured Photographers: Jo Metson Scott (who gave a talk at the 2nd Dining Club event) and Jason Hindley

Zoe Whishaw has been working with photographers for over 22 year. She is a commercial photography consultant and mentor, has previously worked for Getty as European Director of Photography, Creative Director at Image Source and Creative and Content Director at Gallery Stock. She devises workshops and seminars and speaks widely at conferences.

Her talk was filmed live at Photographers Dining Club 004 at the Proud Archivist in East London, UK. March, 2014.

Want to join the party? Sign up to our mailing list and be the next Photographers Dining Club event.

Harry Borden: Getting Commissioned

I try to do things for their intrinsic pleasure and let everything else take care of itself… then at least if no one commissions you… then at least you had a good life.


Harry Borden is an editorial photographer who’s seen his work commissioned by almost every major publication across the past two decades. With over 100 of his portraits now held at the National Portrait Gallery, Harry is clearly at the forefront of contemporary portrait photography.

He gave a talk at Photographers Dining Club 003, taking us through his evolving strategies on the theme ‘Getting Commissioned’.

Want to join the party? Sign up to our mailing list and be the first to hear about future events.

Photographer’s ‘Makeover’

Photographers Dining Club - CallA Call for Photographers

To receive a ‘Photography Makeover’ @ Photographers Dining Club 004

Emma and Zoe want to help you…

How can I improve my portfolio? Is my vision / style clear enough? Am I branding myself in the right way? Does my work have a market? Do I need extra help? to find the answer view site…

Its hard trying to figure things out on your own and we all need a little bit of help sometimes. This is where the role of a ‘mentor’ can help, not only can they give you honest feedback of your work, but also guide you in the right direction to make you and your work stand out.

At the next event we are getting ‘hands on’ and have asked Emma and Zoe (our expert photography consultants) to take on one photographer each to mentor and help them with their ‘next step’. So we are looking for 2 volunteer photographers to step up and put them selves forward for the chance to receive a ‘Photographers Makeover’.

This will be done in 3 parts:

1. Consultation chat before the event
2. Live feedback session of your work, brand and a discussion of market opportunities at the event
3. Homework and a follow up mentoring session after the event

Plus, if you get selected, your dinner ticket is on us (and if you already bought your ticket, we will give you your money back!)


How to Apply:

All those willing, simply email ( and include the following:

1. A brief outline why you would like to take part
2. A link to your website / portfolio
3. Contact details (i.e. mobile)

Deadline to apply: 

Now! (or if you need to mull things over, please email no later than Friday 7th March 2014)

Selection will be made on Monday 10th March and we will aim to get in touch with all successful candidates shortly after.

Not brave enough to volunteer, but would love to spectate? Some tickets may be still available. Click Here


Photographers Dining Club 004 – Early Bird Tickets

PDC004 early birdEvent Info and Tickets available from 24th February 8.00AM

Click here.



3 films about creative folks (and their projects) worth watching

Sometimes, we miss the human touch… (so) we meet our online loves offline. Through the documentary form, we gain deeper insight into the artist and satisfy our own curiosity. – Marije and Bas, founders of ‘Like Knows Like’

‘Like Knows Like’ is a series of web documentaries showcasing the stories of photographers, filmmakers, painters, architects, musicians and other creatives doing worthwhile projects. The films are beautifully crafted by the creative duo, Marije Kuiper, a documentary photographer and Bas Berkhout, a documentary and commercial filmmaker.

‘Like Knows Like’ in my opinion, showcases what modern day image making should be all about, seamlessly combining stills, moving image, and good design sense without loosing focus on key purpose of it all… telling stories. I’ve been a fan from day one, here are 3 of my favourite films:

1. Tina Roth Eisenberg  – otherwise known as Swiss Miss, she is the founder of Creative Mornings lecture series (which partly inspired the Photographers Dining Club) and  Tattly, temporary tattoos. I read her blog religiously, its full of great shareable tidbits.


2. Jessica Walsh -  ’40 days of dating’ - Two good friends with opposite relationship problems found themselves single at the same time. As an experiment, they dated for 40 days. Jessica Walsh is also partner of the Sagmeister & Walsh design studio.


3. Brandon Doman The Strangers Project  is a collection of anonymous stories written as “journal entries” on the spot by passing strangers.



Photographers Dining Club is a regular and intimate event in London, UK which brings together just 30 photographers each time to learn, share, and connect over diner. More info here.

‘Photographers for Lunch’ Podcast 004 – Rebecca Litchfield

Photographers For Lunch Banner 


Rebecca Litchfield is an award winning photographer living in London. She regularly shoots editorial fashion and carries a number of commercial clients, however last year she put a lot of her commercial work on hold to pursue a personal project which combines her passion for photography and urban exploration (or urbex as it’s sometimes called), an activity where groups of like minded people explore abandoned man-made structures.

Rebecca Litchfield

I was interested to hear Rebecca’s stories (like getting arrested on a secret Russian military base) and learn how she managed to build such an amazing following on facebook and flickr. With over 116,000 facebook likes, a million views on flickr (and counting), Rebecca has managed to build the key element which every photographer needs, an audience.

Rebecca Litchfield

Rebecca Litchfield

She has spent much of 2013 traveling and documenting many abandoned locations within 14 countries, which were either part of the Soviet Union or occupied, such as forgotten towns, factories, prisons, schools, monuments, hospitals, theatres, military complexes, asylums & death camps and has now built enough work to release a book titled ‘The Soviet Union Abandoned, A Communist Empire in Decay’, to be published by Carpet Bombing Culture in June 2014.

Learn more about this project on Rebecca’s site.

← Older posts

privacy policy.

Your email will never be shared with a third party. You'll have the opportunity to unsubscribe at any time, immediately, once you receive your first email.