Graduate Feature on Charlotte Stevens

Charlotte Stevens is a high-end photographic retoucher, working as a freelancer on many varied commissions. Here, Charlotte talks about her practice, the different creative collaborations with photographers and her experience on the Editorial and Advertising Photography Course.

When did you graduate?


Why did you decide to come onto the Editorial and Advertising Photography course?

I’d heard about the course from a friend who I’d gone to college with and he was in his first year when I was applying for university. He seemed to be really enjoying it and the more we spoke about the course I knew it would be my first choice. 

Were you able to draw on the transferable skills learnt on the course after you left and started working?

I definitely have. I work primarily on Photoshop and found the workshops we had were a brilliant introduction to that software, though to be honest the most beneficial skill was the opportunity to spend time in the studio developing a in depth knowledge of lighting throughout the three years. This has been of great value to me when I am working on projects where I have to build sets and compositions from scratch and recreate all the shadows.

Has the course prepared you for working within the creative industries?

The biggest way in which the course helped me prepare for working in the creative industry was the way that it brought me out of my shell. When I think back to how I was at the very start of the course I am embarrassed – I was so shy I could barely raise my voice to answer a question! On our first year trip to Shanghai I picked up a small illustration commission through course connections and I was given the space to work on it while we were over there – it was a lesson in working to an actual real life deadline and presenting my work with certainty to working professionals. On reflection the success of pulling off that project helped me reach out to others I wanted to work with throughout my remaining time on the course and onwards in my working life.

What have you been working on since you left University?

When we were planning our degree show I knew I wanted to be a retoucher so understood the importance reaching out to and inviting professionals from retouching houses I could see myself working for. This paid off and with the combination of a little luck too I had an internship offered to me on our opening night. I stayed on working there for three years, and when I felt I had learned all I could I knew it was time to take the leap and start freelancing. It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made and can honestly say I love the work that I do.  

Would you recommend the Editorial and Advertising Photography course and if so why?

When I was interviewed for the course questions were asked not only about photography but of books, films and music which made so much sense to me at the time – I didn’t want to be on a course with one medium and a one size fits all career at the end of it. This is the course which allows you to come and experiment and explore avenues that present themselves through your own interests, guided by lecturers who take time to get to know you as an individual which is rare and special. 

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