Fashion photographer, Jade Berry, from Newquay adjusted her focus after leaving Further Education and decided to study the FdA Photography and Digital Imaging course at Truro College.
Jade was always interested in art at school and used photography helped to represent her creative side. After studying A Levels in Photography, Media, Textiles and Film at Truro College, she was still unsure of her career path, but she knew what she enjoyed taking pictures.
Originally not planning to apply for degree level study, Jade was encouraged by her lecturers to trust in her abilities, meaning that she applied late for her Foundation Degree but she was glad that she did. She said: “As soon as I walked into the Fal building I felt welcomed. The idea of university seemed quite daunting at first but I felt like I was still comfortable at College, without any scary changes.”
Keen to learn more about the industry, Jade was thrilled that there was a course on offer so close to home. She said: “The course really appealed to me because there was a little bit of everything – you learn to build a website, produce a book, work in the studio, shoot outside – it gave you everything you needed to set yourself up within the photography industry. I actually loved the course and two and a half days a week isn’t exactly a chore is it? Having the freedom to shoot for the rest of the week was so useful to explore new ideas.”
Although entering Higher Education straight from College, Jade found herself surrounded by a mixture people with various experiences. She said: “I loved the diversity of ages and people were from so many different backgrounds. You end up helping out each other with unique skills and you become almost like a little family. It’s just invaluable having other students help you out. We all got stronger as we progressed. You get so close to these people and you really want to know what they think of your work.”
Surprising herself by achieving a first for the course, Jade decided to complete her degree with the BA (Hons) Applied Media top-up year to expand her skill-set further and to start her career: “You get to go out and meet clients and put realistic things into practice. Everything I was taught, I was able to action straight away meaning that I didn’t have to wait to finish the courses to start my career.”
Grateful for all of the help and support from the staff while studying, Jade was pleased that the 1-1 support was available at the College: “The technicians were amazing, if you had any problems or needed to borrow any equipment, they were always there to help you. The equipment here was absolutely amazing and it has only got better since I left.”
Not only did Jade gain a lot of knowledge throughout the course, she actually applies this in her everyday working life now: “Being able to have all of that equipment and learn how to use it properly was amazing. The College has such a diverse range of cameras and lenses and with the smaller class sizes, you get to learn a lot more about it. It’s so important to have this knowledge because now someone can ask me to shoot on a particular camera for work and I’ll already know how to use it.”
After graduating, Jade started taking small photography jobs for free and collaborating with as many people as possible to get some good experience. She advises: “You have to go out of your way to contact the people you want to work with. If you love it and you want it then you can get it.”
Keeping her evenings and weekends strictly for photography related emails, photo editing and shoot planning, Jade also works part-time at a restaurant in Newquay to support her income: “The job keeps me grounded and just makes me even more excited to get back to my photography work.”
Making valuable connections in the industry, Jade has been able to continue her photography work, getting closer and closer towards her preferred subject of fashion: “If you build a client base, they’ll come back to you and ask you for more work. People will take you places without you even knowing it, you have to realise that you can’t do it all by yourself. It’s been a long, long ride to get into just photographing fashion but now I’m doing the jobs that I really want to be doing.”
Pleased that she decided to study a degree at Truro College, Jade’s career is now taking off – something that she never thought would happen: “I don’t think that I knew my own potential, the degree looks at you as an individual and moulds you into what you never thought you could become. If you’re unsure about what to do, just carry on learning and stick to your guns.”