First off, can you tell us about yourself and how you got started in photography?
I’m Natalie Winter, I’m 21 and I graduated from studying photography last summer so I’ve just been getting into freelancing since then. I always loved taking photos of things so I asked for a little digital camera for christmas when I was like 12, so then when it came to choosing what I wanted to do after school, I decided I’d like to study photography as it was my hobby. Which lead to be getting into the fashion side of it and then studying it further at university.
Do you remember your first photoshoot?
I used to just dress my younger sisters up and take them out around our house and take photos of them for my GCSE media projects and then college projects, they hated it. My first proper shoot for a brand was when I was about 16 with Forreduci. They had a stall in Spitalfields and saw me and my sister and said we looked cool and we should follow them on Instagram, and then they saw some of the photos I had taken of my sisters and thought they’d take a chance on me and let me do a shoot for them.
What makes you unique and different from other fashion photographers? How would you define your style?
I don’t really like to set too much up or make anything I do look false. I like using young models from London in locations around London, like estates and markets and places that wouldn’t typically be seen as a pretty shoot location. I usually source my models from Instagram rather than approaching agencies, and like to use young people who are trying to get into the industry themselves. I love to shoot on film and even when I shoot on digital I still like to achieve that grainy film look with my images which I think goes well with the locations I use.
At what point did you realize that photography is what you wanted to do as a career?
Probably towards the end of college; I always just did the work we had to do and took photos of random things, but towards the end of college I found a real interest in the fashion side of things, and it was around that time that I did the shoot for Forreduci too which gave me a taste of what a proper shoot was like. I wasn’t going to go to university but then I wasn’t sure what I actually wanted to do after college and so I thought it’d be a good idea to carry on studying for another three years to give me more time to think about it. Then when I started uni I began doing more fashion shoots, in my second year I found my own style within fashion photography and worked on that, and in my third year I began getting more and more jobs from it and realised that I could do this as a career if I worked hard enough.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far?
Probably making sure I work with the right people, and making sure I capture what the client wants in the photos I take for them. I always worry that they won’t like them or something, I try to adjust my photography, locations and models I use based on the vibe or the kind of thing the client are about or want.
And the biggest achievement?
The biggest achievement is being giving the opportunity to work with brands like Nike and Urban Outfitters who I have always looked up to and would never have imagined that I would actually have the chance to work with them if you told me that two years ago!
Do you ever attend fashion shows? Who do you consider the most interesting designer in London?
I have only really attended fashion shows if I’m going with a company or working with someone during fashion week. I’m not really into designers too much, but I do quite like looking at the graduate fashion week stuff.
What is your personal recipe for success? How would you define ‘being successful’?
I don’t think I am successful yet, I think I would consider myself successful when I am able to quit my part time job perhaps. Once I am getting jobs almost every day and being able to work with many of the brands I love often I would consider myself successful although I will always want to better myself no matter what stage I am at.
Your projects are a collaborative process. Tell us what is like to always be working with new and established brands?
I love that I work with a mixture of brands. I love working with new brands especially if I can see that they could be something big, as I like trying to help them towards that and helping them to create their vision. I like working with established brands because they’re always brands I like myself and have looked up to or been a customer to throughout my life, I’m lucky enough to always work with brands I genuinely like.
What kind of impact do you hope to make in the fashion world in the next 5 years?
Well I hope to have properly established myself as a fashion photographer in five years time and be doing what I am doing now but a lot more of it.
What does fashion mean to you?
I’m not into designers and that kind of stuff and I’m not really into fashion week much either, but I love street fashion and lots of the smaller brands in the UK and I think this kind of street fashion and the young people of London are actually beginning to determine a lot of what the big designers do now. Fashion and the fashion world on social media has become a lot more about youth culture and what we like.
What projects are you working on now?
I have been thinking about making a magazine or a photo book in collaboration with my little sister who studies art but we’ve only spoke about it so far. Other than that I’ve just been working on a lot of shoots for my blog at the moment.
Many regard you as among the hottest young fashion photographers in the London. What advice do you have for the next generation of photographers coming to London now?
I’d say you shouldn’t let yourself get put off by bad shoots. Every now and then you get a bad shoot and it’s quite often your first ones when you first start working with a team and stuff, you work with someone who takes advantage of you as they know you’re just starting out or something doesn’t go to plan, but you just have to learn from it. You should just keep working hard and shooting lots until you discover what you like and perfect and define your own photographic style.
What photographers from the past or present have influenced you the most?
I was always inspired by Ewen Spencer and Simon Wheatley throughout university, although they shot more cultural work and both photographed the development of the grime scene in the 2000s. They didn’t photograph fashion but I loved their photographic styles and the way they shot their images. I also love Corinne Day’s early work, the photographer who discovered Kate Moss. But then I am also very inspired by other photographers like myself who I have on Instagram and are producing work now.
What makes a great fashion photograph?
To me, a great fashion photograph is a lot about the location. I like locations that represent something real which is why I love shooting in places like markets. You sometimes see someone local to the area walking past in the background of the photo which makes it a real scene, not just a backdrop.
Of all the images you’ve made so far in your career, which is your favourite and why?
Probably my image of three models in a market scene from my shoot in collaboration with THRDS and Kickslove. Like I said before I love shooting in markets at the moment because it represents something real about London, and all of the models lived local to where we were shooting and show our diversity of cultures which I love.
What’s the most important thing you want potential clients to know about you?
That I’m a very hard worker and I do everything in my ability to achieve exactly what the client wants. I also work really hard on my turn around times and get images to my clients the next day if I can, and I give them 100 images rather than like 10! I really do care about what I do and I want my clients to love the photos I take for them!