5 Minutes With… / Seamus McGibbon / The Association of Photographers

October 30, 2015

This month we spent 5 minutes catching up with Seamus McGibbon, General Manager of the AOP. The AOP is a not-for-profit trade association aiming to promote and protect the worth and standing of its members, by defending, educating and lobbying for the interests and rights of all photographers. Thanks to Seamus for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to us!

29_07_14_Aop_S_Macgibbon_0009[1]© David Partner

Tell us a bit about yourself Seamus?

I was an art student in the 80s, attending Jacob Kramer College in Leeds and then St Albans College of Art where I studied Model Making. I moved to London in 1989, working as a model maker on various projects including TV and film, architectural and product design work. From the mid 90s I’ve had what is now called a ‘portfolio’ career, working in an art shop, and doing every job imaginable at the BFI Southbank including front of house, festivals coordinator and sponsorship manager. I have worked for many charities including Stonewall, NFTS and Bliss. For a short time I was a film publicist and organised film premiers. I was Business Development Manager for 6 years for the trade association UK Theatre and for 2 years at Luton Culture.

I am the proud property of one small, scruffy and bossy Jack Russell called Basil.

How did you get into the photography industry?

I was looking for a new challenge and saw an ad in The Guardian from the AOP who were looking for a new General Manager. Photography and model making are similar in many ways so I met with the then AOP Chair and a photographer Board member. That was June 2014, and here I am.

Can you explain your role at the AOP? What does a typical day involve?

It’s a very busy job and a rewarding one; we are a small team at the AOP so it can vary from day to day depending what we have on. For example the AOP Photography Awards was a huge event which took months of planning, and we have just launched the Student Awards which are open until February so we’ve also been planning for that.

I spend a lot of my time having lots of meetings, talking to businesses, photographers and others in the industry. I sit on committees and groups including DACS, British Copyright Council and British Photographic Council. I also do a lot of admin, writing reports and planning.

aop© Shaun Bayliss / AOP Awards

What’s your favourite part of the job?

I work with a great team and get to meet some amazing people. Our members are some of the world’s most brilliant photographers; I am always impressed by the variety and quality of their work. I get to meet and work with agents, art buyers and other inspiring people in our industry. I like being able to get things done, listening to the issues affecting our industry and working together with others to develop solutions.

What’s the most challenging part?

Getting it right, as it’s a very complex role with lots of different aspects. Making sure I listen and hear what members are asking us to do, and trying to make that become reality. To ensure we keep moving and developing. There are a lot of challenges out there, and ensuring we are working together with others to reach our goals is a challenge.

The AOP plays an essential role in campaigning for photographers’ rights and interests. What are some of the main issues you come up against?

Copyright is always an issue, as we live in a world where the internet has given people access to anything and everything, and they all think it’s all theirs. Another issue is photographers valuing themselves and their work, as well as others valuing them. Underselling yourself is a real problem for photographers, who are not as confident in themselves as they should be.

For those thinking of joining, what are the benefits of being an AOP member?

We promote and protect the best of professional photographers. We do this through lobbying, and through marketing our members’ work to buyers and commissioners. We provide special discounts from businesses in the industry. AOP members are able to enter the Photographer categories of the AOP Photography Awards, which means your work gets the chance to be in front of some very important people. This year we had almost 1,000 guests at the event, including press, artbuyers, agents and of course photographers. We also provide lots of networking opportunities, and host talks and workshops on issues affecting you including copyright and marketing. We are currently working on a training programme for Assisting Photographers, working with studios, equipment hire companies and photographers.

We thought the level of work at this year’s AOP Awards was outstanding! How do you think it compared to that of previous years? Did you have any favourites?

I think each year the work is outstanding, but I do think this year’s competition was amazing and brilliantly highlighted the breadth and quality of our members’ work and of photographers in general. Having curators brings a different dimension to each of the categories and has been a brilliant move for us.

The AOP Awards can really change things, and it was great to see one of this year’s AOP Student Awards finalists win best in category single in the Open Award. You really do have to be in it to win it.

The Assistant Award entries were amazing, the work this year really stood out.

What do the next few years have in store for the AOP?

Building on the success of this year’s awards, taking the awards on tour across the UK, building them up as a major bookmark in the photography calendar.

Developing the Junior Assistant and Assisting Photographer programme; we want to help young photographers get the skills they need to make it and sustain their careers in the industry.

Reiterate the rights of photographers, work closer with artbuyers, get them involved in what we do. Get out there more, work with more people and groups, listen and do.

Promote our members and their amazing work, and protect their interests and those of other professional photographers.

If you didn’t work at the AOP what would be your fantasy job?

I’d be a detective, cross between Paul Temple, JB Fletcher, Poirot and Miss Marple. With access to lots of gin.

Thanks Seamus!


Ask an Agent / ‘Real’ Models

October 29, 2015

Ask an Agent is a regular monthly column answering your questions about the business of photography– the photography industry’s first Agony Aunt!

If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to askanagent@lisapritchard.com. Questions can be on anything to do with the photography business, such as photoshoots, marketing, professional practice, pricing, contracts, legal stuff – anything!

This month we have a question on what the term ‘real’ looking models actually means!


Dear Ask an Agent,

I know you do a lot of production as well as just being an agent, so I wondered if you could help me with something.

I’m doing a casting online for ‘real’ looking models for a shoot, but the client keeps rejecting all the models I send over. I’ve briefed the model agencies to only send ‘real’ looking people, so I don’t know why the client doesn’t like any of them.

– Lucy Bones

Hi Lucy,

Ah yes, this sounds familiar, many of the shoots we organise require ‘real’ looking models.

The problem is, there are a few different interpretations of ‘real’ in the commercial world, you’ll need to pin down what your client has in mind so expectations are met.

Basically there are two ends of the ‘real’ scale, when we are talking about castings for commercial shoots. At one end is your average looking person, perhaps even with some ‘quirks’. (I’m not going to attempt to give examples!) Then the other end of the scale is your very attractive type, but in no way pouty, posy, or unapproachable. A lot of shoots do require this latter end of the scale, as if you think about it, the images and the people in them need to look appealing so they will engage the consumer and sell stuff.

© Nick David – an example of what I’d class as ‘real’ models from an advertising point of view – attractive but attainable.

Best thing to do if your client hasn’t made it clear, is to send them over some examples of models from the agencies who run the gamut of ‘real’. Then hopefully they can identify some that would fit the bill and why they like them. Do point out these are just examples for reference though, and that you haven’t checked their availability or fees, else they might lock on to someone if they like them.

Thanks for writing in to Ask an Agent and I hope your client finds what they are looking for!

Please Note:

We reserve the right not to enter into ongoing correspondence.

We reserve the right not to answer all questions sent to Ask an Agent.

Please state whether you would like to remain anonymous.

This advice should be taken as a guide only.

Lisa Pritchard, LPA and guest bloggers take no responsibility for any omissions or errors.

Please seek professional legal advice should you require it.


LPA Photographers / John Garon / Smith & Milton / Silverstone

October 28, 2015

LPA Photographer John Garon was commissioned back in the summer by Smith & Milton to shoot for Silverstone at the F1 British Grand Prix.

As iconic as Twickenham, Lords and Wimbledon, the race track plays host to major sporting events. John was lucky enough to go there on one of the biggest days of the year to capture a series of great candid images. He even took to the skies in a helicopter for some aerial photography – rather him than us!

© John Garon

© John Garon

© John Garon

© John Garon

© John Garon

LPA Futures / Exhibition / WCRS

October 26, 2015

After a month at CHI & Partners, our fantastic LPA Futures exhibition is now up for the lovely people at WCRS.

Installed for today’s move into the newly renovated offices, the plush new pad has been brightened up by some fantastic photography from our roster. Big thanks to Sarah Ritchie for inviting us to exhibit.


LPA Photographers / Iain Crockart / Landor / Barclaycard

October 22, 2015

LPA Photographer Iain Crockart was commissioned earlier in the year by Landor to shoot a new campaign for Barclaycard out in Cape Town, South Africa. 

3 days, 12 locations, 36 models, 54 scenarios – Iain worked across the city to create an image bank of spontaneous, bright and contemporary images for the banking giant. The concept of the shoot was to capture everyday moments, as if shot on an iPhone for Instagram. Iain says ‘the ambitious shoot was possible because of a great team working together from the art director (Hsu-Ying Fullick), art buyer (Claire Arroyo), producers (Jonathon Nixon in the UK, Gavin Schneider in South Africa) to stylists, hair and make-up, drivers and assistants’.

© Iain Crockart

© Iain Crockart

© Iain Crockart

© Iain Crockart

© Iain Crockart

© Iain Crockart

LPA In Focus / Drinks Photography

October 21, 2015


LPA Style / Alice Timms / Feral Children

October 19, 2015

LPA Style Alice Timms has been continuing her stellar work with the fabulous Julia Fullerton-Batten (represented by Wyatt Clarke & Jones) on a recent project, ‘Feral Children’.

The concept behind the shoot was the intriguing, and in some cases horrific, stories of feral children who had spent their formative years isolated from humans. From Russia to the USA, Mexico to Cambodia, the stories span both the globe and also centuries. Alice says ‘the stories of the children were based at lots of different times in history, so I sourced a mixture of vintage clothes, hired period pieces and new children’s clothes which I then distressed and broke down’.

© Julia Fullerton-Batten

Ivan Mishukov, Russia
© Julia Fullerton-Batten

Marina Chapman Columbia
© Julia Fullerton-Batten


LPA Futures / James Byrne / Smith & Milton / Parson’s Nose

October 14, 2015

Vegetarians, you might want to look away now! Smith & Milton recently commissioned LPA Futures James Byrne to work on the brand refresh of artisan butchers, Parson’s Nose.

Shooting on location in the West London stores, James shot an image library of raw ingredients, portraits and interiors – the perfect commission for James! We love the way James has approached the shoot and the new site design from Smith & Milton looks great.

© James Byrne

© James Byrne

© James Byrne

© James Byrne

© James Byrne

LPA Futures / Emma Boyns / Village

October 12, 2015

LPA Futures Emma Boyns has been working on a new series which showcases seasonal ingredients all from her village.

Whether grown in her own garden, from the neighbours or foraged in the wild, Emma has shot some beautifully clean images of the raw ingredients and the dishes made from them. Shot with sensitive and minimal props along with a great eye for composition, Emma’s images are both graphic and tempting.

© Emma Boyns

© Emma Boyns

© Emma Boyns

© Emma Boyns

© Emma Boyns

LPA Photographers / AOP Awards

October 9, 2015

Yesterday evening the LPA team headed to the 32nd annual AOP awards ceremony and exhibition at Brick Lane’s Old Truman Brewery.

We were celebrating three of our photographers making it into the exhibition – well done to Marc Ambros, Rowan Fee and Ray Massey! Our lovely stylist Alice Timms was featured for her work with Julian Fullerton-Batten (represented by Wyatt-Clarke + Jones,) and Lisa also judged the assistants awards so congratulations to all of the winners. We had a great night and the quality of photography exhibiting this year is exceptional. The exhibition is up all weekend and entry is free so be sure to stop by!


Rowan Fee


Ray Massey


Marc Ambros


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