James A. Grant: Fashion

James A. Grant is a fashion and portrait photographer, and has worked as a freelance photographer’s assistant for Miles Aldridge, Tyrone Lebon, Brett Lloyd, Ben Weller. Among others, he continued to receive a MA in Fashion Photography at London College of Fashion.

Since 2013 he continued to work as a freelance photographer, harmonising his fine art training and fashion experience for a dynamic style of photography. he now shoots for both editorial and commercial clients.

Some background information about guest photographer James:

  • Interested in staging things & shots
  • Competitive, have to fight for it. Have to go seek it.
  • BA spent most time documenting spaces, landscapes.
  • After BA went back to people: commercial
  • Realised enjoyed collaborating with people.
  • Background in analogue camera

James spent 2.5 years in Cambodia.he advised that to establish our place in the photography business, it is better that our first job as an assistant is to get the work experience, but work for free. It is always handy to have extra set of hands for the photographer; free labour.

Other advises include:

  • Be confident, keep pushing yourself
  • Making fine art, but using fashion as medium.
  • try doing guerrilla style shoots by going different locations and shoot

Stressing on the importance of education, James noted that student can explore things which they may not do so outside school there is no point in creating work that is not interested us, or get us marks. Needs to be something important, that we are connect to and to investigate.

Create epic & everyday: 108 girls in 3 hrs
Shout at them : recorded 6 different things he said to them at capture.

  • What is your approach to portrait
  • Force a portrait to have a moment, through provoking questions.
  • A wow factor, but him creating it.

Following Fashion
Directed portrait vs Undirected portrait; Pushing subject with what he could do with camera.

The approach to shooting is to understanding production. and  the best way is to assist someone bigger and better and you. Don’t try take on a project you cant handle. It is okay to start out with smaller budget and lighting equipment. Keep it real simple: Its not about the environment, dress, makeup, but the focus on the subject. Budget always coming out of your pocket for editorial.

The link between Personal work & commercial

  • focus on your own style and aesthetic interest.
  • The way to establish is to do what you do, and allow people to employ you.
  • “I love your work; I think My aesthetic would fit your brand.” Etc.
  • luck and timing.
  • They like the choice of casting.


  • Classic fashion works.
  • Important to focus on personal works, not conform to works that please other people.

Approaches to infiltrate the industry.

  • Old school: wait for the big one go higher up, and you fill in.
  • Studio
  • Assistant | Digital operator | Retoucher

All in all I have learnt a lot in James’ lecture. There were a lot of good advises as to how a professional photographer can start out in the industry.


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