Ffion Laver is a final year student at Surrey studying Media Studies with Film Studies. Ffion is also a creative, a budding photographer with a seriously gorgeous instagram feed (you can find her at @flaverphotos on Instagram!). We sat down with her to ask her a few questions about her creative process, what inspires her and what advice she has for any of you, who might be interested in picking up a camera.
Hey! So let’s start easy, how long have you been taking photographs? And when did you first realise you were interested in photography?
There is this one particular photo I remember taking about ten years ago, of a conker tree on a bright blue Sony point-and-shoot camera. I remember really liking the colours and composition and I guess that gave me the spark to pursue photography. I’v always been a creative person, and art class was always my favourite as a child, so I guess I dabbled around with different tools, whether it be paint brushes, pencils or a camera as a creative outlet!
What sort of camera and lens do you typically use when you’re out taking pictures?
I’m currently shooting with Nikon because I was taught on their models in photographic studies, so naturally I felt familiar enough to stick with the brand. My favourite lens is 50mm f/1.8 because it’s not too expensive as lenses go and it can make your photos look more professional with a shallower depth of field. I also occasionally shoot with Olympus OM-30 and 35mm film.
In your opinion, what makes a great photo?
I think careful consideration of composition and exposure is important when taking a great photo. I particularly like being limited to a certain amount of shots on a film camera because you are forced to think about the kind of shot you want to achieve before taking it rather than taking an excessive amount of shots.
What is your favourite kind of photography to look at it? Is it the same as the kind you like to shoot yourself?
The type of photography I like looking at is dependant on what genre I am expecting to play around with in my own photography. If I want to experiment with portraiture then I often use the Instagram explore page or YouTube to find photographers who have a similar style to the vision I have!
Is there a type of photography or camera you’d like to experiment more with?
I would love to experiment with moving image and videography. I think it would be fun to use my photography experience in other forms of media production.
Are there any photographers that you’d consider to be big influences on your work?
I think it’s definitely important to get inspired by people around you. I often get a lot of creative influence from my brother (@ewanlaver on Instagram) because he is so passionate and dedicated to each shot he takes. And wiith the likes of YouTube, I watch a lot of photographers and videographers to gain creative inspiration. I particularly like Jessica Kobeissi and Peter McKinnon when I am lacking in inspiration.
How do you decide what you want to shoot? Where does your inspiration come from in the moment?
If I’m ever going out for the day, I always bring my camera with me and I gain inspiration from the location I am in, and people I am with. Instagram is also a great tool for discovering local areas to go and shoot in! Sometimes it is also dependant on the tools I have and want to experiment with. I often play around with different objects within my photographs, such as smoke bombs and crystals. Additionally, if I am shooting with film, I think it gives a certain feel to the photographs; therefore it influences what I choose to shoot.
What is your post production process? Do you use an editing software like Photoshop?
I tend to either use Photoshop or Lightroom in the post-production process to perfect the exposure and bring out the details in the highlights and shadows. I also like using in-phone apps to edit my photographs before putting them on Instagram such as Snapseed or the edit tools on Instagram itself.
What made you decide to set up an instagram dedicated to your photography?
Originally I set up my photography Instagram as a private place for friends and family to see my work separate from my personal instagram. However, I have recently made it public so that I can use the profile as a portfolio when looking for jobs in the media field.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in teaching yourself about photography?
I think one of the biggest challenges I have faced is viewing photography as a learning process. Not every photograph I take is going to be the best one I have ever taken, sometimes it is about reflecting on your shoots and learning from them as you go!
What’s your favourite picture that you have taken?
I would say one of my favourite pictures I have taken is of the sunrise in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Where do you see the future of your photography going? Is it something you’d like to pursue as a career or keep as a hobby?
Originally I was set on keeping photography as a hobby because I didn’t want employment to put pressure on my creative outlet. However, having recently graduated, I realised it might be worth pursuing something I love, whilst getting paid for it!
And finally, what advice do you have for someone who might be interested in picking up a camera and trying out photography for the first time?
I would say make sure you familiarise yourself with the basics, try as often as you can to shoot in manual to learn how different exposure settings can affect your photographs. And have patience in developing your skills and your own style! Experiment with what you enjoy taking photos of and practice often. Most importantly, have fun with it!
You can find Ffion on Instagram at @flaverphotos, don’t forget to show this Surrey creative some love and double tap!
Text by Holly Butteriss
Photos provided by Ffion Laver.
Special thanks to Ffion Laver for her participation