Tia Talks

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words: Lauren Gordon

pictures: TiaTalks

Introducing the photographer TiaTalks. Between getting behind the scene shots at radio stations such at Reprezent, Mode and Rinse FM, as well as shooting music videos and her own Youtube channel, we caught up with her to find out about her motivations, and plans for the future.

So, when did you start taking photos and at what point did you know that you wanted to make a career of it?

I started taking photos when I was about 14 when I began GCSE Media and just fell in love with the freedom it gave me. I was then accepted into the BRIT School which was the moment I realized I genuinely had a talent for what I was doing.


Wow, that’s such an amazing opportunity, did you accept the offer?

I didn’t actually accept the offer for various reasons, I went on to study Media Production in one of the best Universities in the UK. I come from a low economic background so going to university allowed me to practice with equipment I could have never dreamed I’d work with and this elevated my skills massively.


Growing up, who or what inspired/influenced you?

One of my biggest places for creative inspiration growing up was Tumblr which I still use to this day. I find a lot of artistic and creative posts from other photographers that get my creative juices flowing.

Are there any established photographers in your scene that have inspired you?

I find photographers in my scene such as Vicky Grout and even videographers like Mornix and Kaylum Dennis really inspiring, particularly because these people come from a similar background to myself.

How would you describe your photography and videography style?

I would describe my current style as experimental. I feel like every shoot I get closer to uncovering a style that is more personal to myself through learning and it’s as simple as that really!


I’ve seen your photography for Reprezent, Mode and Rinse FM, how did you start to get recognized among radio stations and artists?

I started to get recognized by artists and radio purely by networking. I used to attend a lot of women’s and creative empowerment groups and try and get advice from people who were much older than me and who were successful in their field of work. I was and still am literally soaking up advice and information like a sponge. I also used social media to push my brand and I have brought in most of my bookings and connections online!


Speaking of online, you also have a YouTube channel, TiaTalksTv, why did you start YouTube?

I started YouTube because although I loved being behind the camera, I have so many creative visions that I feel only I could do justice. It was a space for me to be able to just be myself. I started out as a makeup blogger then I came onto YouTube doing tutorials, and my bubbly personality is what caught the attention of most people so from there I started doing more ‘comedy’ style content and it really began to take off. It was really refreshing for people to buy into me as a person when I was simply being myself.


What’s your favourite photograph?

My favourite picture changes every time I post some new work, because I genuinely feel like I am getting drastically better with every shoot. Some personal favourites though if I had to pick would be some new footage of Jason Derulo that I shot and the photos I took of Unknown T for Clash Magazine 2018. Those are definitely some highlights for me!


What makes a good photograph to you?

To me a good photograph captures the essence of the moment. That one shot that you could capture in a singular moment at an event or on a set can never be recreated and I think that’s the beauty of photography really.


What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos/videos?

You have to be resilient. When you are first starting out it’s so easy to take knock backs – people cancelling bookings last minute, having no idea how much you’re going to be bringing in at the end of the month and so on. But in an era where there are so many freelance creatives doing all types of jobs, we all have a support network within each other and that means getting advice from people who have worked their way up from the bottom themselves. We all know how hard it can be so most people are willing to help you if you ask for it.


Have you had any difficulties? What has been a hurdle that you’ve overcome since you started?

My biggest hurdle I have overcome since I began is my mental health for sure. I went from a space of being on antidepressants and not being able to get out of bed or do anything before I had even turned 18, to living out everything I ever wanted. Following your dreams is something that requires big sacrifices. I don’t often get to see my long-term friends and even my family because things can pop up last minute all the time. It also means taking time to love and care for yourself becomes last on your list, but eventually I reached a point where the hard work started paying off.


How did you manage to pick yourself up and back out there?

I was going to events and people were introducing themselves to me, people were recommending me when someone was looking for a shooter. All of that told me I had built my foundations and I could slow down and take it all in. The journey and come up will always be the best part, so I'd advise everyone to take it all in and just do things that make you happy in your downtime – a degree of selfishness can be good for your mental just always stay humble.

Have you received any advice that has helped you in any way?

I have received so much advice that has helped me along my journey but I think the best piece has to be to know your worth. It is something that applies to all of us as humans not just as creatives. Offer up your services for free only when you feel it’s something that can elevate you, and that should be your call and nobody else’s. At the end of the day nobody would approach you for work if you didn’t have something to offer them, and standing your ground and setting boundaries can help you reach more serious clients. If you take yourself seriously it will show and people are more likely to continue working with you in the future.