Ronan Mckenzie's Inspirational Talk

Participant Demi Trott shares top tips from the Develop talk with London-based photographer Ronan Mckenzie. 
 
In October, I attended a talk as part of the Develop Programme at The Photographers’ Gallery, which was given by London-based fashion photographer Ronan McKenzie. During this talk, Ronan spoke about how she got into photography. Ronan first started assisting for a stylist which is where she learned that styling is a big part of fashion photography, it was a good experience for her because it made her realise that she preferred the photography side of things. Ronan then went on to say that she did a lot of different work, trying new things and figuring out what she enjoyed doing. She took her time to develop her style and what she didn’t like doing by taking more jobs and getting more experience with photography.
 
I learnt a lot of different things from this talk. Ronan reassured us that it's normal to not be perfect at all aspects of photography, it is so easy to learn certain things such as lighting on the job and there are people that will do your retouching for you. Another thing was that you don’t always need to have a complicated concept for everything you do, she mainly gets inspired by people’s faces and she will work around them, she mentioned that she has enjoyed working with the colour brown and its some of her best work even though it’s so simple, and this really inspired me. 
 
The main thing I learnt at this talk was about agencies. I have never really thought about working for an agency before, but Ronan is glad she’s with one because she gets better jobs because bigger clients trust her agency. Having an agency is also good because you get a lot of feedback on your work which is always helpful. I was surprised when Ronan said that she dropped out of university after three days, I am currently in my last year of university and have always been told that if you don’t have a degree you have a lesser chance of getting a job, however, Ronan said that not having a degree has never made it difficult for her to get any job and it's never jeopardised her career.

Ronan gave us some key advice during this talk, which was to just take your time and be really open with trying everything until you figure out what you enjoy doing. Believe in your own vision and let yourself develop, and always try to work on your own projects as well as commissioned ones. Make people feel comfortable when taking portraits, move around them instead of asking them to move, this makes them feel comfortable and you are also in control. Lastly, Ronan gave us some advice on getting your work noticed which is to create work that you love and share it. Instagram is an easy way to get your work noticed because it is the most accessible.

Overall, I am so glad that I went to this talk, and it is helpful for students like me to be able to sign up to the Develop scheme and get to learn new things about photography.


- Demi Trott