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Special Feature

Interview photographer Gemma Betts

Gemma Betts


  • Rowald: How are you today?
  • Gemma: I'm very good thank you - just retouching some photos that are looking very great - beautiful but horrible at the same time. So watch out for the update on the site.
  • Rowald: How long have you been into photography?
  • Gemma: I have always been into photography but started to follow it seriously when I was 16 years old.
  • Rowald: How did you start?
  • Gemma: I actually wanted to be an architect when I was at school, I loved designing floor plans and buying modern architecture books - I even took physics and maths mechanics as 2 of my 4 A' Levels, however before that started I started to have doubts, I'm not someone to stick to rules and regulations - I'm a bit of a free spirit... and the idea of building laws made me feel like I was trapping myself in a room (even if it was a funky designed room - it was still suffocating my creative side). It was my mother who started to push me in the right direction - I was an artist but was finding my passion was no longer painting but taking photos - and she made me see that it didn't just have to be my hobby - it could be my job. How many people actually get to do exactly what they love all day every day.... so I swiftly started college and realized that this was the job for me!!!
  • Rowald: What type of photos are your preference?
  • Gemma: I like to make things look sexy - but with an unusual edge - so that would be my preference. Bold, heavily stylized and interesting shots.
    People - and any kind of people, but with this unusual creative edge - having diversity of individual characters in my book really makes me smile - it means I have a story about each person, each shot. I love meeting new people and making them feel good about themselves - so when they see the finished photos and I see how happy they are - it makes me think that in some ways I am more than "just a photographer"... I make people feel good!
  • Rowald: Are your photos more your taste or demand from others?
  • Gemma: I'm very lucky in the sense that people love my style so are booking me in for that - so most of my work is what love to do... although I occasionally get jobs that are more standard as well.
  • Rowald: Do you develop scenery ideas with the models or more yourself?
  • Gemma: It's all about being a team - although I generally come up with the ideas we get inspiration off of each other - and that really gets me excited. Sometimes people come to me with an idea but then I put my edge to it - and everyone is happy.
  • Rowald: Do you try to create, display or express something special with your photos?
  • Gemma: Visually powerful images - that really grab the audience's attention - that's what I always try to aim for
  • Rowald: Would you like to do other types?
  • Gemma: I actually get to produce all aspects of photography - so it's never boring.... anything from weddings to product shots, but always with my twist on things.
  • Rowald: Are you a tech freak or an artist?
  • Gemma: Completely both... is that possible?!?! Hahaha - I see the tech side of it as an art form.
  • Rowald: Do you use a lot of equipment or try to stay light-weight?
  • Gemma: Totally depends on the job - but I suppose I do carry a lot... I recently broke a rib from carrying about 14 stone of equipment up 4 floors - although I have learned my lesson not to do that again.
  • Rowald: Do you do analog photography also?
  • Gemma: I haven't touched analog for about 2 years now - the industry doesn't need it anymore... unless its 5x4 format that is.
  • Rowald: What cameras do you use?
  • Gemma: I currently use a Canon Eos 5d - I love having the full frame and its resolution is always more than needed.
  • Rowald: What are your hobbies?
  • Gemma: Travel is the main one. I also really enjoy going to music gigs and the Theatre - something extra special when compared with just listening to a cd or watching a film.
  • Rowald: What are your plans or visions for your future?
  • Gemma: To take over the world - hahaha... ok maybe not, but I would love to look at magazine racks every month and see an image of mine on at least one front cover.
  • Rowald: How do you get along with models?
  • Gemma: I feel that due to my personality a lot of my models see me as a friend rather than just a photographer - we go out for dinner and to events and always get called for advice... which is really nice to know that I am more than just a photographer to them
  • Rowald: I think you travelled a lot. Where did you go to?
  • Gemma: I travel as much as I possibly can - Christmas I was in East Africa, but in the last 2 years I have been to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Estonia, Norway, Sweden, and France.... I think that's everything - hahahaha..... But travel means so much to me - exploring new countries and cultures really makes me feel alive. I like to mix in with the locals, eat where they eat, drink where they drink etc. Some people like to go back to the same places all the time, but the way I see it is there is too much of the world to see, so I want to keep exploring different bits of it all the time. My dream trip would be pole to pole.... but I might need to win the lottery to be able to do that ;)
  • Rowald: Do you do female models only or people in common and what about other types?
  • Gemma: I shoot anyone who I feel is interesting. Obviously more women want photos so that is the bulk of my work, and my vibrant style lends itself to Trannie's... so a lot of my models people think are women... but they actually are not!! ;o)
  • Rowald: How does one make such good photos? Can you give some tips to the readers?
  • Gemma: Just keep shooting and shooting as much as possible - the more you shoot the more you'll learn. Get creative - don't use things like paper rolls... find interesting backdrops.
  • Rowald: People envy you doing these shootings with models. What do you say to this?
  • Gemma: It's not all glitz and glam... I work about 90hrs a week and most of that is sat in front of a PC... I love this job and wouldn't change it for the world but I tell them there's a lot more to it than taking photos of beautiful people.
  • Rowald: Wanna give some tips for up coming photographers?
  • Gemma: Assist a Photographer that you like the work of.... that's the best way to pick up little tips! There are so many styles out there that my way of working would not help certain photographers - but if they found someone's work that they liked and assisted them it is the best way to learn!!!
  • Rowald: What you think about photos taken by others?
  • Gemma: Such a broad question.... hahaha - I would say if the work was good I give it more praise than my own - as I'm my own worst critic. If the work is ok... I'd say "I can do better than that" (too myself secretly...hahaha). However if someone honestly wanted a critical view on their work I am 100% honest - I am not someone to make out something is good for the sake of their feelings - I am someone that likes truth to be told to me... so I give that same respect to others.
  • Rowald: What is your best photo?
  • Gemma: Oh god - it changes daily!!!! Depending on my mood - I suppose my pink box shot is a bit of a signature shot of mine... and even though I don't think it's as good as some newer ones - it still always gets uploaded to new profiles.
  • Rowald: How do you create a good atmosphere for shootings?
  • Gemma: Music. Food. Fun. Conversations and having a laugh..... Why should it be serious????
  • Rowald: Do you have ethnic preferences?
  • Gemma: None at all... it just so happens more white people contact me than any other origin... I really want to do a shoot with every skin tone in... Having it very sensual, bodies wrapped together with the different tones.
  • Rowald: When meeting a girl, where do you look first at?
  • Gemma: Eyes - always the eyes - I find them so interesting so I think that's why I spend so much time enhancing them.
  • Rowald: What attracts or inspires you?
  • Gemma: Everything inspires me - the colour of a car, the clouds in the sky, TV programmes... literally everything around me I gain inspiration from.
  • Rowald: Do you let them pose or do you direct more?
  • Gemma: If the model knows how they look best - always better to let them pose, with minor direction... but if they are not that comfortable I can give full direction to them.
  • Rowald: Where are you from?
  • Gemma: I am based in Walthamstow, London - moved here in June from a small town called Reading.... so loving being in London - the diversity, the city buzz - the fact that I still haven't seen so much of it - and I live here - everything....it's great, you all must come and visit it when u can!!
  • Rowald: Do you or did you have idols?
  • Gemma: David Lachapelle - he is incredible
  • Rowald: Are you single?
  • Gemma: No I am not - I have been with my partner for 4 years now, we bought this flat in June, but have lived together for around 3 years. Very happy in work and in normal life too.
  • Rowald: Happiest Accomplishment?
  • Gemma: Winning Photographer of the Month
  • Rowald: Do you have or pursue other talents?
  • Gemma: I was very much into my sport - got into England for my Netball, played for the South of England, County and Club. Also was county champ at javelin and shot put, also played Basketball for my town, along with Roller Hockey. Sadly due to an injury I had to quit all that... also I wouldn't have the time now anyway... but sport will always hold a place in my heart.
  • Rowald: Favourite Movie or Television Show?
  • Gemma: The Matrix and The Butterfly Effect... amazing films. TV Programmes I would say the twisted humour of the programme 'Nighty Night' tickles me until I'm crying with laughter.
  • Rowald: How would you describe your personality?
  • Gemma: I'll list words that other people use to describe me..... Funny. Loyal. Caring. Supportive. Creative. Inspirational. Hard Working. Driven. Entertaining. Good Cook. Fun. Opinionated. Strong Morals.
    I think that will do....hahaha.

Gemma Betts


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