Voice and Visuals



Get out and make something

If you are a photographer nothing in this world can replace the act of taking pictures. As a creative, you need to start by finding out what makes you want to create. You need to go out and find what attracts you visually. Into flower arranging? Take pictures! Massive BMX and Downhill fan? Get out and shoot it!

Being in the trenches and making images is the start of your creativity. You need to learn to solve creative problems in a manner borne of necessity rather than because it’s the RIGHT thing to do.

Learn based on the challenges you face

If you're out there shooting and working through your creativity, developing your eye and making better and better things, you need to address issues you see by learning how to overcome a problem. Nothing will kill your creativity more than learning how to do something only to find that you have completely smothered your voice.

Love shooting with wide angle lenses but want to make portraits? Most photography blogs will say you can’t do it. It’s a lie. You can do whatever you want and you can make it look amazing. But you need to learn how to overcome the drawbacks.

No one ever made anything new by copying something someone else did verbatim.

Lean into your weirdness

Some of the most innovative approaches to image-making comes from sticking to your guns, learning a tool to a level that no-one else can. To do that you’re going to need to focus on the thing that makes you stand out as different and not just following a template.

Want to shoot events with no flashes and only one lens? I did that for years and I made some of the work I was proudest of at the time. When I started to adopt “best practices” my voice was muddied. You can make more images but the soul is lost.

I made images that were great but they didn’t feel honest, they didn’t feel like they came from my eyes and my mind.


Make things that feel like home and find the people that live there.

Authenticity is a rare commodity. People aren’t accustomed to seeing work that feels like it comes from the heart and it can move people to love (or hate) your work. This is a super power. You have the chance to bypass the soulless and go directly to authentic. Once you have done that, your next job is to find the people that feel the way you do. Forget the people that hate it, you aren't here for them.

Visual identity isn't something people are always aware of, but we all know what kind of images and video we are drawn to. When you're looking for visuals, being able to discern what you like is something instinctive. You need to find the people that instinctively love your work, the ones that will pick up on the details you see and no-one else does, love the emotion in the image or the sense of nostalgia you evoke.

Once you have found your people make them feel at home. Give them a steady stream of images to help them feel more and more like they know you.

We all want to work with people we know and love.

Tom W

Tom Wright
The Easiest Way to Fail is to never begin

The Easiest Way to Fail

Taking Action Has never come easily to me. By nature I would spend my life looking at a problem and try to understand my way through it. In my mind if I research enough, if I understand something well enough, nothing will go wrong.

Given the chance, some of us will sit and plan and try to learn away our fears, waiting for a time when we know everything about what we are planning to do. In our foolishness we think that we can understand something completely and then do the work.

That kind of thinking is poison. If I have learned one thing over the last 7 years it’s that creativity isn’t possible without action. If you don’t go out and do the work you will never grow.

There is a time in everyone’s business, project, art or hobby that you need to put down the book, keep yourself off the internet and go and do the work!

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Get out of your own way

Every time you look at another person’s work and you feel like you’re not enough, every time you check a website and find a new type of paint or a new lens or some new piece of software and you let learning about that distract you from making new art, you’re feeding your own fear of failure.

We all need some direction and every project has a minimum level of inspiration or equipment but once you have that I want you to stop. Stop looking at others, stop learning new techniques. Go and apply what you already know.

Stop trying to learn until you have a problem you need to overcome.

Find unique solutions  

Creativity isn’t always about going into situations and expecting nothing to go wrong. It’s about using the knowledge you have to find new and unique solutions to problems.

The way you overcome the unforeseen roadblocks you find on the way is what builds your creativity. Learning how to make the tools you already have work and adapt to the situation is what develops your visual voice.  The more often you get used to overcoming obstacles on the fly the more your voice will show through in your work.


You don’t develop your voice over night but every time you take action rather than letting fear or indecision get the better of you you’ll be one step closer to success. I want you to go out now and pick up your paints and paint, to head into the kitchen and bake, pick up your scissors and style or pick up your camera and shoot. Create something, experience the obstacles, learn, share, reflect and then make more stuff!

Forget the fear and do it! Because in the end the easiest way to fail is to never begin in the first place.

Tom W

Tom Wright
Nothing Comes Easily... Until it Does

Nothing Comes Easily

Growing up I was never the best at anything. Don't get me wrong, I was capable, but nothing ever came easily. I spent weeks trying to learn how to draw, to find that others would easily best me without trying too hard. It even took me years longer than most to learn to tie my shoes! I was verbally bright but couldn't get my thoughts down onto paper. I remember one of my school teachers telling me I think too fast for my hands to keep up with what I want to say.

This has been something that's followed me most of my life. It takes me longer to learn how to do something than most people. I remember picking up the guitar as a teenager and spending over a year to get to even a basic level of skill. I remember sitting in my music classes at college wondering why I was so much further behind my peers - I practised more than anyone in my class but I still couldn't keep up.

Not long after that I was diagnosed as Dyspraxic (Developmental co-ordination disorder). This is a disorder that affects the way that I can perform fine motor skills and affects my balance and co-ordination. It felt like a relief. I finally understood why I found physical things harder. It didn't change my circumstances but it helped me to realise that I was working to overcome a weakness. My effort wasn't wasted. I wasn't less intelligent. I just had an obstacle to overcome.

After that moment this was fuel. I felt that if I could learn how to do these things even with a limitation, ANYONE could learn. I started to teach people the guitar, not because I was the best guitar player, but because I knew every potential pitfall and frustration first-hand.

Nothing had ever come naturally so I got really good at learning, and learning to teach others. That is, until I picked up my first camera.

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...Until it Does

I remember walking into a little gift shop in Manchester one day after losing a number of my guitar students. I had just moved to a new town and hadn't realised the amount of competition in the area. I lived around the corner from a small, family-run guitar shop that had been offering lessons for 20 years and as a result I was struggling to get more work.

I was browsing the shelves and I noticed they had a wall full of old polaroid cameras. I got talking to the owner of the shop and it turns out this gift and card shop was the UK distributor for the Impossible Project (the company that saved Polaroid film when they went out of business in the early 2000s).

I picked up 24 packs of the film and walked out of the shop. From that moment I was obsessed with photography. When I took pictures my co-ordination wasn't a factor. All of a sudden my knowledge and eye were the things that gave me an advantage.

One week later I had plundered the ebay listings for vintage polaroid cameras and arranged a photo scavenger-hunt workshop. We had 16 people attend that workshop and the person with the most interesting photo took home a camera and 8 packs of film as a prize.

As it turns out, those early runs of film didn't work all that well. For those that don't know, a polaroid is an amazing feat of chemical engineering and not something that's easy to replicate. The new film was temperature sensitive, had crazy colour shifts and, in some cases, actually rusted.

I started teaching a regular workshop at the store and when they saw the upward trend in sales as I taught people how to get the best out of this awkward yet wonderful film, I was asked to do more. Before long I was making regular trips around the country to deliver more workshops and teach more people how to shoot on polaroid.

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Learning your voice

Working with the Impossible Project opened so many doors for me. It gave me my first chance to take pictures for money and opportunities to work with my first brand, Kopparberg. (I set up a pop-up polaroid studio at their launch event for their Naked Apple range).

That said, after a while I realised I wanted to make a more permanent body of work and moved on to shooting on 35mm film and then digital cameras. During this time I learned more and more about the craft of photography. Over time I started to see themes in my work. The way I used focus, the light I preferred, the people I chose to work with, and more and more I moved forward, getting closer to the work I felt like I was meant to make.

In the last 7 years I have had some amazing opportunities. I have worked, and continue to work for, amazing private clients on their weddings and portraits and followed people's lives as they grew. I have regularly had my commercial work used by companies like Tesco, Home Depot and Proctor & Gamble. 

In all this time I have been learning more about what I want to do with my skills and I think I have the answer.

I want to show the world what you make. Not just the stuff you do because you have to or because it's sensible. I want to show the world the work that keeps you up at night and excited to wake up for the next morning. 

I want to give your art a voice.