Girl in vintage clothes on a red background
Girl in vintage clothes crouching down

Running alongside and inspired by the hugely popular exhibition of Martin Parr’s street photography at the end of last year, Firstsite’s ‘Essence of Essex’ competition was open to photographers of all levels and received more than 1,000 entries.

Some great prizes were offered up by local businesses for the winners, one of them the chance to spend a few hours working alongside CliQQ Photography’s founder Ant Jones on a fashion shoot. The session included one-to-one tuition on how to use studio lighting, compose shots creatively and work with props and backgrounds, communicate with and pose a professional model, try out different lenses and generally have a blast with studio, cameras, lighting, model, hair and makeup, and wardrobe all laid on.

The photo of bicycles on a street in iconic Essex town Jaywick was taken by Lee Smith-Evans and was a very deserving judges’ choice to earn him the shooting session with Ant.

The shoot took place recently at our studio in Colchester, and you can see some of the images from the day here. The model was Abbie Dimblebee, hair and makeup was by Sarah Larvin and the wardrobe was provided by Best Days Vintage in Colchester.

We caught up with Lee after the shoot and asked him how he’d got on:

“My studio morning with CliQQ was such a brilliant experience. I learnt so much about a side of photography I knew very little about. Ant and his team were so generous with their knowledge and time. It was an amazing and very generous prize.”

Ant commented: “I’m such a fan of Firstsite and I’ve always loved Martin Parr’s original and bold shooting style, so I was super excited when they offered me the chance to get involved. At CliQQ we’re usually working to a client’s brief, so it was liberating to shoot without constraints for a bit. Lee is a great photographer in his own right, but it was a huge pleasure to be able to pass on a few more tricks to him. Massive thanks to Abbie Dimblebee, Sarah Larvin and the team at Best Days Vintage for generously lending me their talents and dungarees.”

Take a look at some of the images taken on the day. All images were shot on a Nikon D810 with Sigma Art lenses – mostly 50mm prime – and lit with Profoto B1 strobes (we know a few of you will find that information interesting…).

To discover more about the team involved in the shoot day, please visit the websites below:

You can find more about Martin Parr’s work here: