10 Minutes with children's photographer Gemma Mount
Gemma Mount is one of our favourite photographers and is exceptional at capturing the natural spontaneity of children, which is perfect for our Dotty shoots.
Working with us on our new adult dungarees collection, Gemma effortlessly captured the autumnal fun we had photographing our founders and their children in our latest collection of dungarees. You can see how much fun we had on this shoot from Gemma’s pictures!
We catch up with Gemma on balancing her photography business with being a mum of two.
It’s so great to chat to you Gemma, thanks so much for taking the time to sit down with us!
Thanks so much for inviting me!
Firstly, when did you first get into photography, was it something you were interested in as a child?
I became interested in photography as a teenager. My dad used to make TV commercials and lent me an old Pentax camera and some studio lights. I remember spending hours taking truly terrible photographs of fruit and other things around the house!
After studying art and photography at school and then University, I worked with fashion students at University photographing their final collections, which I loved. But actually first started my career working as a photographer on commercial and film sets, theatre productions, as well as portrait projects for magazines.
When I had my own kids, I discovered the amazing creative world of kids fashion and really restarted my career in a new direction.
A lot of your photography is centred around children and kids fashion, what is it about children that you enjoy photographing so much?
I love the unexpected, natural aspect of working with kids. You can plan a shot in your head but kids often add something of their own which makes it fun and spontaneous. There are so many super-talented people making kids clothes. I work with lots of independent brands and really enjoy planning shoots with designers like Alice and Georgie, who have an idea in their mind that can be brought to life with great models and locations.
You have been working with us for a long time, what has been your favourite shoot so far? Or most memorable!
I really enjoyed the last shoot for AW23, which hasn’t come out yet as we speak. My daughter modelled with two of Georgie’s daughters and some other brilliant kids. They all had so much fun! It is lovely to see kids bonding and enjoying the shoot day, you can see from the pictures as they are very natural together.
The most memorable shoot is probably when we shot on a beautiful hilltop with shepherd's huts a few years ago. The heavens opened halfway through the shoot and we all got completely soaked!
How do you balance being a mother with your photography business? Do you have any tips for mums trying to balance their careers with motherhood?
It is always a juggle, when my kids were very small I really struggled to find any headspace. I am a big fan of lists, I use reminders on my phone all the time. As soon as I have an idea I write it down for later when it is quiet and I can actually work.
My children are just under two years apart so the first few years were a bit of a blur. I took lots of photographs of my kids when they were tiny so felt some creative satisfaction from that but struggled to feel like me again til they were both in nursery and I had a few hours to think straight!
It is easier now as my children are 9 and 11. They are a bit more independent but there are certainly moments still where I have to call in favours from friends or family for last-minute childcare. Sometimes I have to let them have screens more than I would choose so I can edit, particularly during the Summer holidays. I am trying to be really conscious of switching off from work and being present as it is so easy to get sucked into looking at messages at all times of the day. They are now at the age where they copy our behaviour with technology.
Not having a 9-5 job has always made childcare tricky as there are no predictable hours. It is hard to plan ahead but also means I can work from home most of the time and do the school run. Sometimes in a frantic fashion as I dash to a meeting or shoot while dealing with a lost shoe or whatever morning emergency has occurred!
What are your top tips for photographing children? How do you best capture their energy and spontaneity on film?
I think staying very calm and not getting stressed if they do not do as you imagined, particularly with under 4’s. Shoot from their height, so crouch down a bit, and be ready for the moment before it happens if possible, try to predict what they will do so you are ready. I try to make it a game with smaller kids so they have fun, nobody wants a forced smile!
We believe we can learn a lot from our children, what have you learnt about photography through working with children?
I have learned to shoot fast, you may not get a second chance! I have learnt that all kids have their own pace and you have to bond with them before they will really relax on a shoot, and let them have their input, which can make things more authentic.
Any tips for people who want to take better photos of their children on a family outing? In particular, if their children are camera shy?
If children are nervous I like to show them the pictures on the back of the camera so they can see how they look. Sometimes I have to work hard to make kids laugh so they relax. Earlier this year we had 3 chilly kids on a Spring shoot in February and I spent quite a long time making ridiculous fart noises to make them giggle. Sometimes photographing a child with their parent or a friend is a good way to start so they feel less self-conscious.
What’s next for your business? Do you have any exciting photography projects coming up?
I am shooting for Dotty this weekend actually, so currently obsessively watching the weather forecast and hoping for some clouds rather than the predicted heatwave as we have more Autumn/Winter styles to shoot. I am excited about the location we have, so fingers crossed all goes to plan! I also have a womenswear shoot coming up, which is exciting and Christmas shoots which are always funny in the middle of summer.
And lastly, our quick fire questions!
Tea or Coffee? I am a tea person
Movie or Boxset? Movie
YouTube or Netflix? Netflix
Cosy night in, or Evening with friends? I need a good balance of both
Beach BBQ or Sunday Roast? Definitely a beach person, I am one of the crazy all year round sea swimming people
Starter or Dessert? Always dessert
Summer holidays or Christmas? Sunny summer holidays ideally
Trainers or Heels? These days mainly trainers
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