From vintage minis to colourful Portmeirion via some lovely seals in Norfolk – Calvendo calendar publisher Lucy Antony, aka Lucy Antony/Loose Images in her photographer guise, has a wonderfully eclectic portfolio and a love for detail, as she tells us in our interview. She also lets us in on how she honed her photography skills through a 365 project and has some excellent advice for first time Calvendo users.
Lucy, can you talk a bit about your background as a photographer and how and when you took up photography?
I’ve always loved photography. My dad was rarely seen without a camera, and I suppose I took my lead from him. I have all his slides and cine films in my attic! So, I took for photos for years, but it wasn’t until I did a 365 project – taking a photo every day for a year – a few years ago that my skills improved to the point where I thought ‘yes, these are worth showing to the world’, and started my Facebook page Loose Images. Since then I have sold works to the local city council, a restaurant used some shots for an award they won, and of course, via Calvendo. I have made calendars for friends and family as presents for a number of years (my mum always asks for one for Christmas!), so that’s why I thought I would try some online with Calvendo.
I highly recommend the 365 project for improving photography skills, though – I tried macro work, long exposures, ‘trick’ photography and self-portraits, the latter something I thought I would never do. Although in my case I combined trick photography with self-portraiture, producing a number of levitation shots, including my ‘Mary Poppins’ shot which was great fun!
How would you describe your style and approach as a photographer?
My approach? Haphazard! My 365 project really taught me discipline and it improved my composition and editing skills so I do plan projects, but I also carry a camera everywhere with me so I can capture shots as they unfold. My ‘style’ is still developing, I think. I always shoot in RAW now so I have more control over the exposure and final edit.
Let’s talk tools: What type of camera are you using and why?
I use a Canon 450D DSLR with a range of lenses. I have a ‘nifty fifty’ which produces astoundingly sharp shots, as well as kit lenses and a 90mm macro. I also have a compact Nikon Coolpix C770 – it is compact, but shoots in RAW and in full manual mode and is useful for street shots where I don’t want to be too conspicuous, and for when I just don’t want to lug the DLSR around. I had spinal surgery five years ago, so the smaller camera is useful for when my back is having an ‘off’ day.
What makes a good photo for you?
I love all types of photography, so something that grabs my attention. Be that composition, editing style or a beautiful scene. I look at other photographers’ work all the time. I think a good photographer should always be informed and inspired by other photographers’ ideas and work.
Do you have favourite photographers that inspire you?
No favourites as such. I have a great deal of photography books, and I follow a number of contemporary photographers online either on social media (Instagram and Facebook), or on sites such as ViewBug and 500PX, etc.
Can you tell us a bit about your portfolio: Which type of photography and motifs to you like most?
I love landscape photography, trees in particular, and macro photography as I have always loved detail and small things. But I also love to go to events such as car and vehicle meets – the National Motor Museum is very close to my home – as well as Steampunk, Zombie and Cosplay (costume play) type events which are great for people photography. A couple of photos I took at the World Zombie Day walk in London have been used extensively online. I was also lucky enough to get tickets to Banksy’s Dismaland last year and the photos were very well received on social media. I guess my portfolio is quite eclectic. I don’t think I could do the same type of photography all the time!
You’ve so far published seven wall calendars with Calvendo. Why did you decide to give our publishing platform a go and how do you set about the process of choosing themes and pictures?
I saw an article about Calvendo in Amateur Photographer. As I had produced my calendars for presents in the past, I was looking for a calendar company online, and Calvendo was exactly the right sort of platform for me. I try to stock to themes, e.g., cars, trees, a particular place. I will go through my archives on a regular basis and pull out suitable ‘calendar photographs’. These are put into a new folder and when I have enough for a theme I publish.
Do you have any specific tips for first timers using Calvendo?
Read the guidelines Calvendo publishes on the site! I didn’t and my first project got rejected several times. The template system is very easy to use. Also, make your title bold! Its great fun, and once you are used to the templates, it’s very easy and quick to use.
Last but not least, what are your general comments on Calvendo as a self-publishing platform: Anything you particularly like? Or things that need improving?
The site is easy to use, and the comments made are constructive, meaning better results. It would be handy to be notified when one has sold something. I didn’t realise I had sold five calendars in the last quarter until I logged in for a look. So an email would be great.
Thanks, Lucy, for talking to us and we look forward to seeing more of your work in our product gallery!
See Lucy’s calendars in the Calvendo product gallery
Lucy’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/LooseImages
Lucy on Instagram: www.instagram.com/looseimages_lucyantony