As a keen photographer looking to turn his hobby into his profession, Will Ainsworth made a last minute decision to study the BA (Hons) Photography at LSBU that has turned his life around. "I actually came to the university through Clearing," he says. "I decided to just go for it, and chose LSBU because the opportunity to study in central London would help me to build contacts within the industry while I worked towards my degree."
Placement with Rankin
A fashion photographer with huge potential, Will coupled the opportunities on offer to him at LSBU with his considerable talent, and enjoyed some spectacular success. "During my studies, I managed to secure a placement with the well-known photographer Rankin," says Will. "I actually received a full-time job offer but I turned it down as I wanted to finish my degree. I also worked on an internship with retouching firm Loupe Imaging, and got some freelance work once the internship was over."
Perhaps Will's most successful placement while at LSBU was for world-renowned fashion designer Julien MacDonald. "I started out assisting his in-house photographer on my placement, but since then I have taken over the role myself," explains Will. "For the last four years I have worked freelance for Julien as his photographer/retoucher/graphic design consultant."
Fashion photography portfolio
Will credits his placements as a key part of his education, helping him to build his fashion photography portfolio with the aim of being represented by an agency. "My aim is to slowly work my way up the ladder, and hopefully to become an established photographer working in the haute couture fashion and commercial photography industry. My time at LSBU really helped me improve my overall skillset."
After graduating with a First Class Honours degree, Will has been able to build his industry experience yet further with LSBU, securing a paid internship to help build a university photographic agency. The experience is enabling him to build on the business skills he picked up during his studies, which Will believes were an important part of his career development. He believes that LSBU has been a major factor in the success he has enjoyed as a photographer early in his career.
The course at LSBU has not only increased my technical ability and confidence within the visual medium but has also developed my skill set and business mind preparing me for the start of my photographic career.
However, Will was unable to finish his internship – albeit for very good reasons. "I actually started to get so much private work that it became impossible to juggle the internship and my own work, so I had to make the decision to focus on the freelance work I was bringing in myself," says Will.
It has proven to be another good decision by Will, and the experience he gained working under his own steam has helped him prepare for his latest adventure. "I'm setting up a new venture, strobe.london, with my business partner," he says. "We'll be offering our services as fashion and commercial photographers, and we plan to slowly move into other sectors of the media industry so that we can offer video, audio, web and app services too. Collaboration is key to success in the digital age and by working under a single brand that acts as a creative hub, our aim is to offer commercial clients a one-stop service for all their media needs."
As for the last minute decision to apply to LSBU, Will is delighted with how his career has developed since. Looking back, it was a huge moment for me, and has opened lots of doors.
The chance to move to London and open my mind is something that I will always be thankful to LSBU for, and graduating with a First Class Honours degree is something I am very proud of achieving.