Graduate Feature on Sports Photographer Morgan Harlow.
19th February 2020
Morgan is a young photographer specialising in sports photography. After spending nine years training and competing in the pool, Morgan decided to combine her interest in photography with her passion for swimming and sports. Her work involves use of stills and moving image. In this graduate feature Morgan discusses her time on the Editorial and Advertising Photography Degree and her work with. Getty Images and a new six month sports photography internship with photo agency, Press Association.
When did you graduate?
November 22nd 2019
Why did you decide to come onto the Editorial and Advertising Photography course?
I was initially going to apply for the Photography BA course when I decided on Gloucester University, however when I went along to the open day talks I was completely sold by the Editorial and Advertising course given by Trudie. There was no doubt that I then wanted to come onto this course because of the opportunities that the course provided as well as the trips on offer. Photography was a big passion of mine, and having seen the outline of the Ed and Ad course I knew that was exactly what I wanted to be a part of. My decision really did come down to the way the course was presented on the open day, which gives you a great idea of what to expect for the coming three years.
Were you able to draw on the transferable skills learnt on the course after you left and started working?
From the three years spent at university and especially on this course I can certainly say that it gave me the knowledge and preparation that I needed for when I finished university. All of the lectures and workshops are designed to help you in the creative industries once finishing without you even realising. Simple things like learning interview techniques really comes in handy for when you actually have an interview for a dream job or are looking at portfolio standards leading up to an interview.
There are also so many more examples that I can draw upon such as learning how to do tax returns, having the correct metadata loaded into your images and also learning how to use multiple cameras as you never know what you’ll have to face in the photography industry. There has been so many skills that I’ve ended up using now that I’ve graduated from this course and I’m so glad that I’m still in touch with a lot of other graduates from this course who are able to lend a hand or a bit of advice outside of the course. The Ed and Ad course is tailored to give you as much experience you need so that you’re prepared for work outside of university.
Has the course prepared you for working within the creative industries?
The Ed and Ad course certainly prepares you for the creative industries once leaving university. I feel that every module that was taught gave certain skills and insights on what to expect when having to work for a commission or big company. One main thing that i benefited from on this course was the degree show held at the end of third year as its an experience that most wont be able to achieve again.
Working as a group to create a space to showcase your work and network with creatives in the photography industry is a massive help to get yourself and your work out there. The main aspect that helped me, and I think would be helpful to others, was the data base creating and networking with other creative industries to make our work know of. Having the confidence to speak and network with others is an important skill to have. I feel as though this this course has definitely boosted my confidence to be able to talk to a lot more people and not be nervous about it. Obviously this comes with time but all the Petchacutchas we ended up doing at uni certainly gives you a bit more confidence each time!
Another thing I’d also say I’ve taken from this course would be to always be prepared with a question wherever you go or whoever you meet. I know that I found this annoying during lectures of feedback sessions at university, but I have to say that it is something that I have found makes you stand out to others in whatever situation that you’re in. There are so many things I could pick out from the Ed and Ad course that have helped me outside of university, but overall this course could not prepare you any better for the creative industries when leaving.
What have you been working on since you left University?
Since finishing university in June I have had the opportunity to work as a freelance photographer for Getty Images. By having such a close relationship with Getty during my time at university it then enabled me to go straight into paid work with them as soon as I left university. I have had a lot of amazing opportunities with the company so far from covering the Nature Valley Tennis in Edgbaston to the Muller British Athletics Championships in Birmingham. By going into work so soon after finishing university it has really opened my eyes to how quickly everything can move if you have the right contacts in the places you dream of working in.
Although Getty have given me many events to cover over the last 8 months, I will shortly be starting a new job with another photo agency, Press Association. This new job will be a six month sports photography internship, working with some of the leading sports photographers in the country. I’m very excited to be starting this internship as it is something that I had originally applied for last year but couldn’t proceed with as I was still finishing my university education. Although, looking back I am much happier to be starting my internship now as I have really learnt a lot since the last time I applied. The extra work that I put in during my time at university really improved my work and allowed me to stand out from the rest of the applicants for the internship. I have already been informed that I’ll be covering the Six Nations which has now started, as well as the British Swimming Championships/Olympics selections in April. It’s certainly going to be a very busy six months ahead and I cannot wait to officially start.
Would you recommend the Editorial and Advertising Photography course and if so why?
I can honestly say that the Ed and Ad course has taught me so much in such a short space of time and that is all because of the talented lecturers that they have. The course really cares about each individual student and wants to make sure that everyone succeeds in whatever chosen area they are shooting in. Each module that you do teaches you something different without you realising it which is what makes the course so beneficial to you as an aspiring photographer. It also opens up to so many opportunities outside of photography that you would never have considered if it wasn’t for the networking and lecturers though in this course. It prepares you for the future and for your life outside of university and into the big world.
Is there any piece of advice that you would give to students on the course now?
I do have three pieces of advice that I’d give to any student no matter which course they’re on. The first would be to always start curating your database as soon as possible and update it as often as you can! It may not seem like such a big deal when initially thinking about it, but trust me it will certainly help you during the end of the course and when leaving university. This was a big help to me as if it wasn’t for my contact that I made during university I wouldn’t be woking in the industry that I’m in now.
My second piece of advice id give is to use every piece of equipment that the stores has to offer now as when you leave you wont have that anymore. It’s not often that you get to experiment with so many different lenses or camera bodys so you may as well make the most of it now while you can. I’d also say that make the most of the studio space available or the location kit as it always handy to have to knowledge on how to use certain equipment as you never know what you’ll be expected to do in creative industry jobs.
My final bit of advice would have to be making sure you get involved in the curating of your end of year degree show. Its an amazing opportunity and experience to be a part of, and as I’ve mentioned earlier its not likely that you will be involved in a production like that again. It’s also a great learning experience and a good aspect to be able to include in your CV and talk about in job interviews.