Berlin with Earlybirds

After being asked to do some photographic work for a start-up called Earlybirds, I was put on a monthly retainer (£500pcm) where I was asked to take a minimum of 16 ‘approved’ photographs per month.

The word ‘approved’ immediately made me dubious but I worked that out by adding into the contract that if he had decided to ‘disapprove’ an image, he then had no legal rights to use the photograph on any platform in any form.

The person I was dealing with, the founder of this start-up, is a very frustrating character. He comes across as very rude and blunt over email and, as most people do, believes he is overpaying me and therefore I should do exactly as asked.

He asked me to come along to Berlin with him and his co-founder to film an interview with a customer over there. Approaching the trip, there were many more annoyances. Firstly, he stated that he wanted to pause the contract after the first month. I then insisted he would have to pay my normal rate for this type of shoot (quoted £1200 for the weekend as it took up my time on Friday-Sunday). Eventually, he came around and it was written into the contract that the agreement cannot be paused for a consecutive initial 3 months. This means that I am getting at least £1500 from the agreement and that makes it slightly more worth while considering he just wants lifestyle photos that I can shoot in my spare time.

Berlin was a really good experience for me as it allowed me to gain a lot of experience in working with brands and people, finding the compromise in what they want and what I know is best for the media output.

Below is the video that I managed to come up with after the trip.

Website Changes

I have had a website for about 5 years now and have used all sorts of design providers like Wordpress, Wix and Cargo Collective. I have settled with Squarespace for the clean and professional look it gives and it is so easy to use.

Below is how my site looked at the start of the year. The homepage was pretty basic with an average photo badly edited. I don’t know what I was thinking.


Below is how my website looked a few months ago. There was a slider gallery on the homepage where I paired images together that complemented each other.


Below is how my website currently looks. There is a slider on the homepage with recent projects and commissions. Further down is a small grid gallery with some of my best work. There is then a portfolio page and a page for my personal project titled ‘Travel Diaries’. I have updated my logo to look more professional and clear.

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Working with UK Harvest

UKHarvest is a not-for-profit perishable food rescue operation that collects quality excess food from commercial outlets and delivers it, direct and free of charge, to charities.

They provide much needed assistance to vulnerable people, collecting surplus food from all types of food providers, including fruit and vegetable markets, supermarkets, hotels, wholesalers, farmers, stadiums, corporate events, catering companies, shopping centres, delis, cafes, restaurants, film and TV shoots and boardrooms.

I was asked to shoot a short promotional film for a charity that was named ‘Charity of the Year’ by organisation Vitacress. After reading the above quote, I said yes.

The video they wanted consisted of a few clips showing what they do, along with two separate interviews woven in. They wanted the overall vibe of the video to be happy and to emphasise how welcoming and friendly the volunteers are. I believe that I achieved that.

One difficulty I faced when filming was that the environment wasn’t the nicest looking place. It was a driveway next to an abandoned pub and a security office that had barbed wire all around it. This meant I had to think on my feet and find a way to make this environment look more approachable. I did this by using a 25mm prime lens with a low aperture, allowing the viewer to only see what is intended.

Also, time was of the essence so I didn’t have long to decide what shots I wanted to get and didn’t have long to prepare. I believe I dealt with that well by just ensuring I got the quality I needed instead of just trying to get 100 different angles.

Contract Agreements

To show some evidence of the admin work I have been undertaking to accompany my practice, I have attached the contract that I have developed and used with Earlybirds with regards to the work I have been doing for them.

Feeb's Updated Website Design

As previously mentioned, my girlfriend is a fashion designer in a similar position to me. To get her ahead of the game, I created her a website a few months back to which she has had a lot of interest from. With the increasing number of people viewing and contacting her from her site, I decided that the design and layout needed revisiting.

Below is a storyboard to explore the changes her site has gone through over the last few weeks.

Videography for OCA

OCA, or Ovarian Cancer Action is a charity that I have been doing paid work with for a number of years now, usually in London at their charity fundraising events. This time however, I was asked to both photograph and film their latest event in Oxford.

Since my focus for this shoot was on filming the event, another photographer was hired to ensure all moments were captured. Working with another photographer that I hadn’t met taught me more than I thought it would. It taught me about subtle communication to ensure we both get the shot we need in a short space of time, thus teaching me to work quicker so that I can move on and allow the other photographer to get in there.

The girl photographing had actually moved to London from Australia and is primarily a photographer’s assistant, where she has worked on shoots with brands like Lacoste and with celebrities like Rafael Nadal. This opened my eyes up to the possibility of working as an assistant and made me think about how much I could learn in the industry from doing so.

It was a great, easy experience as always with this group of people and below is the video that I came up with!

Working with Earlybirds

After a simple email to a company running an Indiegogo (crowd funder) campaign, I managed to get my first piece of paid work abroad!

To rewind, I emailed back and forth with the founder of a breakfast drinks start-up company and after sending me some production-model drinks and liking the photos I came up with, I am now on a monthly retainer with the company where I will be sent a box of drinks each month with the task of photographing them in a lifestyle manner.

Next week, the company is taking me to Berlin to film an interview with one of the contributors of the campaign who preordered a lifetime supply of the product for £5000!

Earlybirds Mango.jpg

Research: Career Paths

This week, we were set the task to do an investigation into three different possible career paths, outlining a business plan, case studies, research etc.


The first investigation I am going to do will be into the career path of a photographer. This is my plan A and is what I dream of doing in the future. To be a bit more specific, I am going to do my research into freelance photography - arguably the trickiest career in photography. 

Some of the difficulties in freelance work arise in the cost of equipment/rental, as there is no large company like ASOS supplying the equipment for you, the search for clients, which is famously inconsistent in photography, and getting financial support e.g mortgages as it is harder to prove a steady and reliable income.

Though with the negatives come an equal amount of positives. Being freelance means you are working for yourself - there is no boss to tell you what to do. There are clients who will have certain demands, but wholly, you are in charge of what happens. Also, as a freelancer, you are able to pick and choose which jobs you take on. Admittedly, in most cases to stay financially viable one would have to accept the majority of job offers that they receive, but there is still no commitment to work for anyone who comes to you.

There are many types of freelance photographers, for example wedding/events, travel, commercial or television and film photography. This somewhat makes it harder to get work as there will be photographers who specialise in all of these genres, and whether they are better than you or not, the fact that they specialise in a genre will mean their portfolio is larger and therefore they are more employable.

As a test, 2 days ago I emailed 30 companies based in the UK, large and small, to see what response I would get. As proof of how difficult it is to land clients, I have had zero responses thus far.


For my second investigation, I will look into the career path of a retoucher. I very much enjoy the post-production of photography and therefore feel this would be a good path for me to explore.

As a retoucher, similarly to a photographer, you can either work freelance or for a firm. I would like to look into working for a company such as Boohoo, who already have a lot of fashion photographers on the books. A positive is that since they are such a large company, the flow of work for a retoucher would be consistent. In fashion photography, the work would include the smoothing of skin and clothing with minor colour and light adjustments to make the outfits look as desirable as possible. However, I can imagine that a job like this would soon become tedious as you would be making the same adjustments to hundreds of photographs per day.

After doing a quick job search for retouching, there are many opportunities all over the UK, with most work seeming to come from London and Manchester. There are also lots of Junior Retoucher roles which interests me as it would be an opportunity to learn with less pressure to begin with, finding out exactly how they do things before being dropped in and completing the work on my own.

On average, the salary for a retoucher seems to be around £22,000 or £15 per hour, which though consistent and secure, is not a lot to live off, especially in London and surrounding areas, so this is definitely something to bear in mind.


Finally, I would like to look at the career path of a teacher, specifically a photography teacher at a school or college. This is something I have never looked into or really considered, and that is exactly why In want to take this opportunity to do a bit of research about it.

The good thing about teaching is that there are literally schools everywhere - everyone needs to learn. So, a job as a teacher would be pretty secure as there is always a requirement for teaching staff. To become a teacher, you must have a QTS (qualified teacher status). According to, ‘you must have an undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification to obtain QTS. You also need to have completed a teacher training programme or to have been formally assessed by an approved provider as meeting the required standards’ It is also very helpful to get a PGCE. This is a qualification which ‘combines substantial school placements with studying the theory behind teaching and learning’. As I have already studied photography at degree level, to become a photography/art teacher I would just have to take a course in education with no requirement for teaching specific to photography.

Photography teacher salaries average at around £25,000 a year, which is enough to live enjoyably in most counties in the UK. Though, other than in colleges, the majority of photography teachers specialise in both photography and art, seeing them in one department. This would mean that I would have to train in subjects like fine art and graphic design to ensure that my skills and knowledge of the subjects are adequate to teach at this level.

Guest Lecture: Andy Greenacre

Andy Greenacre, Director of Photography at The Telegraph Magazine

  • Degree in History of Art, not a background of photography

  • Work experience at Magnum Photos

  • Job as Picture Researcher at Magnum

  • Left Magnum in 1998

  • Freelance as picture researcher in 2000, worked at Times, Telegraph, GQ, FHM

  • Joined The Telegraph Magazine in 2005 for 3 months and stayed for 3 years

  • Worked for Ultra Travel, a high-end travel supplement by The Telegraph Magazine

  • Worked for Telegraph’s Luxury supplement

‘The ability to take a portrait is point number one in photography.’

Commissioning Process Case Studies:

Kellingley Colliery by Jon Tonk

  • Weren’t sure if they could gain access to take photographs so went on Google Street View to scout the area for a backup plan

Usain Bolt by Kalpesh Lathigra

  • Andy tagged all the images he liked from the shoot, went back through to ensure he didn’t miss anything, did a second round of editing before showing the director

Ruqsana Begum by Sebastian Nevols

  • Brief given was 5 different images, wanted to get a sense of who the kick boxer was and what she does

Race Horse by Sam Falkner

  • Chosen to photograph as there was a similar photograph that he had taken in a project for so was asked to basically recreate it with a different horse

Steve McQueen by Nadav Kander

  • Again, had taken similar photographs before as to what was desired. Nadav had moved on with his career since but still agreed to the shoot

Alma Deutscher by Laura Pannack

  • An example of a requirement for a very simple, classic photo. Was given an August Sander image and essentially recreated it

Concept Dating Shoot by Andy Lo Po

  • Wanted to get a set of images with different interactions on a date, was given illustrations to go off

  • Production: required lots of different stylists such as nail designers, hand models

Q&A Answers:

  • Picture editors are always looking for new photographers to work with

  • Hassle people but don’t hassle too much

  • Not everyone will reply to your email as you’re not the only one sending an email

  • Keep emails brief, link website, let the dust settle for a week or so and then follow up, if no response then they’re not interested

Post-lecture thoughts:

It was a very interesting and insightful guest lecture; one that I had been looking forward to. I believe that in recent months, my work seems to be taking an editorial turn and Andy has everything to hear about photographs in the media. It has made me more and more keen to get involved with magazines and to start contacting photography and art directors.

I also want to start reaching to more and more book publishers. This is something I have been doing for over a year now but I want to get together an amazing set of images with a narrative and have an actual idea to pitch as opposed to just some pretty images. A tutorial with Kelly today has also opened my eyes about the importance of meaning and purpose behind photographs when in a series or even alone.

Lots to think about over the next few months!

Snowdonia, 2019

It feels as though every trip I book just gets more and more exciting, as my head fills up with more ideas, giving me so many things to explore and try!

This trip becomes the third year-consecutive trip to the incredible piece of earth that is Mount Snowdon. Travelling this time with my girlfriend Phoebe, who I visited Prague with, Dan, who joined me last year in Wales and Abi, making her debut trip with me!

In similar fashion to the previous two years, this journey started with big ol’ road-trip, packed with snacks and naps. We left at 9am on Saturday morning, wasting no time, and arrived at around 1pm at our AirBnb in Porthmadog, Gwynedd. It was a stunning, timeless little cottage on the seafront, giving us the opportunity to immediately start making photos right on our doorstep!

After we had settled in and finally got around to lugging all of the luggage from the car to the house, we decided to take an aimless drive down the road with intention to stop off at any location that had caught our attention! The first and only stop on this little drive was when we found this ‘massive rock’ (as Dan referred to it as) in the middle of nowhere! We parked up on the side of the road and began to climb. It proved slightly more difficult than expected, but half an hour later, we found ourselves at the top.

Bags down, coats off, photo time!

After a few drinks and some party games in the evening, we got ourselves a relatively early night and prepared for a 6:30am start. Of course, if it were just Dan and I, this would’ve been the case. But at about 8:30, we finally left the house and set out on a 40 minute drive to the base of Mt. Snowdon! In the summer of 2017, I successfully climbed the mountain on the Llanberis path. In January 2018, in the midst of a ferocious storm, Dan and I attempted an unsuccessful 5am trek on the Miners’ track. This year, Dan and I were in agreement that we owed it to ourselves to retry what we had failed the previous year. The conditions were far better and we were confident.

On the way to Snowdon, we stopped off at a little river to break up the journey and explore a bit. It was very cold, very windy and very foggy. With the rain pouring and an echo of doubt in all of our minds, we began. After about an hour and a half, we had already surpassed the point Dan and I had reached last year - it was looking promising. The path ended and all that was left was an incline. Though it was far too steep to walk, we would have to climb it. We climbed in total for around 2 hours and after being passed by at least 30 climbers on their way down, exclaiming that it was too tough to climb, we decided that our safety was more important than our egos, and we turned around. None of us regret not reaching the summit, because it was so foggy that we wouldn’t have seen anything different anyway, it would just have been a personal achievement for us. But we tackled more than we ever thought we were going to that day, and I am thoroughly proud of all of us.

Barcelona, 2019

So… What can I say about Barcelona, 2019?

Firstly, this is the first time I have ever left England on my own. That’s something that took an amount of courage and bravery from me. The trip was booked only 5 days before I got on the plane, after I had seen a ridiculously cheap deal for two nights in the Spanish city. To catch my flight, I was required to wake up at 3am and miss breakfast. Everything went perfectly with the flights and once I landed in Barcelona, I tagged along on the train with some other university students who were going to the city centre.

Arriving in the centre, we went our separate ways. This is where I struggled on the trip. Nothing went wrong, I visited everything that I had planned to, some things twice as I had excess time and wanted to ensure I had taken the best photographs possible.

The struggle for me was inspiration. I was motivated enough to spend 7am-7pm every day out and about, walking over 30 miles in the two and a half days that I had spent there. But, I believe that the fact that I was just on my own hindered my creativity. I listened to over 30 hours of music, but didn’t have one conversation. I get a lot of inspiration from discussion of ideas, and this was something that I didn’t have available to me.

All-in-all, the trip was a success as I came back in one piece, took some photos that I am overly happy with and had an experience that I will never have again - travelling alone for the very first time. I know for a fact that it will happen again in the future, and this was good practice for me. Below are a limited number of photographs that I captured from the trip. I am holding back the majority of them incase I do decide to use them in a project and if that were to happen, I would prefer for them to be unseen.

The trip was actually planned to capture one specific photo. My best attempt at this is the last photo in the gallery!

Wedding: Claire and Andrew

In about October last year, I was approached to photograph a wedding for Claire and Andrew. At the time, I wasn’t massively confident with wedding photography, so agreed to bring in fellow course mate Kristen, split the money with her and agreed that my fee wouldn’t change.

Over a year on and we finally got round to shooting the wedding. It was a beautiful day and I was far more confident at this point than I thought, having a few weddings under my belt already, and generally having grown as a photographer.

I felt so confident with Kristen there too, that I decided to, along with my photographs, create them a short video.

Below are some of the photos I was most pleased with, as well as the video at the bottom.


Christmas at the American Museum and Gardens

I have been working with the American Museum and Gardens in Bath for some while now after managing to convert the role from a voluntary position to a paid job. The marketing manager asked me to come along to photograph their Christmas event which involved three different period rooms having live performers in.

The rooms were all very dark and flash wasn’t allowed so this made it tricky, but I used an aperture of 1.7 and an ISO between 1600 and 3200 and am overall happy with how the images came out.

Below are some examples of the photographs I took on commission.


Wedding: Georgia and Kenny

Today I shot a wedding for a girl I used to work with and her now-to-be-named husband. I was not completely happy with the images as the location wasn’t massively malleable and looking back I am also unhappy with the way in which I edited the images.

Nonetheless, this was a good experience for me to learn not to be shy pointing cameras in stranger’s faces as I am still not totally used to that idea!

Below are some images without faces for privacy reasons.


Prague, 2018

What. A. Trip.

I have said this in every description I have wrote about this trip, but I’ll say it again. This was the best few days of my life. From start to finish, I was kept smiling and was constantly busy.

For some context, I decided to book a random 2 night trip to Prague, Czech Republic for me and my girlfriend Phoebe. She informed me that she would be in charge of this trip, demanding that I do absolutely no research on the city allowing everything to be a surprise for me.

We arrived at 9pm in the country’s capital and from then it was non-stop fun.

As soon as we arrived, we spent 2 hours or so wondering around at night, exploring the streets and snapping a few pics. The next morning, we woke up bright and early and the trip really began.

I am excited to announce that I will be publishing my second book, this time about this city. I am therefore not going to share too much here, nor am I going to display all of the images I took. Stay informed on updates through my instagram (@dopov).

Below are some of my favourite, though not all of the images from my trip, along with a video.


Autumn in Norwich

When visiting my girlfriend who studies in Norwich, I decided to go on a short walk and capture some autumnal moments. I looked at working with the harsh natural light and keeping the images colour-filled.

Below are a few photos from the shoot:


Plastic on Weston-Super-Mare

For a second shoot for my project, I decided to visit another beach nearby, being Weston-Super-Mare. On this shoot I brought my little sister along with me to help me collect plastics and document my findings with my camera.

Below are some of the images from this shoot:


Family Shoot

The majority of my work come from corporate events or product photography, but today I was given the opportunity to take some paid family portraits. This was a very stressful experience in there being three young children with only two adults, but after taking a little while longer than planned, we managed to get some nice shots.

I think this was good experience for me as working with children can be very difficult and it is good to get practice, especially with children you don’t know.

Below are the images:


Plastic on Burnham-on-Sea

For my third year project, I am looking at ocean pollution, specifically plastics that are destroying our environments. For my first shoot, I scoured the beaches in Burnham-on-Sea, reportedly one of the most polluted areas in the UK.

Below are some of the images I captured, along with a video I made to back up my shoot:


Ovarian Cancer Action - Royal Parks Half

After having worked with Ovarian Cancer Action over 10 times now on various events and on a paid basis, I was asked to shoot their latest fundraising event being a Royal Parks Half Marathon.

It was a very miserable, rainy day which left me very paranoid about my camera equipment getting damaged. Nonetheless, below are the images I managed to capture on the day.