One on One with Ted's Masters - Tilly Clifford

15 January 2015 10:28:17 AM AEDT

Hi Tilly, please introduce yourself

I'm Tilly, I'm a visual storyteller based out of Sydney Australia. Shortly after graduating University with a Master of Arts Practice I shot my first wedding, since then I haven’t looked back. It was during my studies that I discovered my passion for story telling through the image, I've always been incredibly fascinated with the way people connect with my camera. As my knowledge of the photographic medium grew, so did my love for it. I currently work primarily as a wedding and portrait photographer; I love nothing more than to document people in the most honest way possible.

What defines your photography style?

I'm definitely a minimalist and I think that comes across in my work. I love to capture moments as they happen…I shoot with a documentary approach giving my images a natural and authentic feel. My work represents simplicity but taps into the emotion and complexity of my subjects at the same time.

Do you have any formal training?

Yes, I studied at Charles Sturt University where I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Photography) and in 2013 I went on to graduate with a Master of Arts Practice. Much of what I understand about the photographic medium was taught to me throughout these years. I know many self-taught photographers who would argue that photography is something you can’t necessarily learn from formal training. I disagree, I'm very thankful for having studied the medium in detail, it was here that I learned both the technical and theoretical aspects of photo making that I practice in my work today.

What inspires you?

I'm inspired by anything and everything. Mostly I try to source inspiration outside my immediate creative field. I read a lot and travel as much as possible; this is where I draw most of my ideas and concepts from.

What type of lighting do you use most within your photography?

I'm all for natural light, in fact I avoid using artificial light where possible. Although good lighting is critical to every image I shoot, natural light allows me to create a raw aesthetic that compliments my style. Shooting weddings has helped me greatly in my understanding of light, it’s often a challenging part of the job having to adapt to multiple lighting conditions, changing frequently throughout the day. Even still natural light is without a doubt my favourite light form to work with; the possibilities are endless.

How has social media helped with the success of your photography?

Social media has played a huge role in my career to date. I try to maintain an active profile across all social networks, but Instagram would have to be my favourite. I love Instagram not just as a creative platform, but more so for the opportunity it has given me to connect with people globally. Instagram has given me the chance to network extensively with other creatives; this has led to many an opportunity and a lot more exposure.

What’s your favourite photo that you've ever taken?

In 2013 I shot a portrait of a young male refugee who had relocated to Australia. This portrait formed one of the images amongst a large body of work completed in my Masters year of study. There is much to this young man's story but not my place to share, none the less it still remains one of my favourite images.

How important is post-processing to your works?

Very, very important! However, in saying that I often try to do as little to my images as possible, for me it really depends on the photograph. The critical aspect to the processing of my work is to maintain a cohesive series of images. It’s so important that images flow and maintain a similar colour and tone. Majority of my editing is done in both Lightroom and Photoshop, Lightroom is great for working through a large volume of images but I often export to Photoshop to ensure I give each individual image the time it needs.

What’s on your gear list?

What tips would you give a photographer on best way to get your work published/ or/ to get noticed?

Aside from having a good quality of work and a passion for your craft, I think its super important to have an online presence. In my experience having a strong online portfolio helps immensely when starting out as a freelance photographer. Platforms like Instagram and VSCO Grid are great ways for photographers to network and showcase their imagery amongst a global field of creatives.

Any big plans for the future?

The immediate future is looking like weddings, weddings and more weddings, which is great as I'm incredibly passionate about what I do. However this year I plan to focus heavily on the completion of some personal work, which often gets pushed to the end of my to-do list during wedding season. I have many projects in the making and also lots of travel, back to New York first I think…

Any advice for the novice photographer?

Learn as much as you can from as many people as you can. Everyone has different methods and ways of doing things when it comes to both shooting and running a successful photography business. Always remember there are NO creative limitations in this industry, shoot how you want to shoot and that’s when people will connect with you and your art.


If you like Tilly's work, check out her portfolio and galleries here...



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