NORTHUMBERLAND CAMERA CLUB: In the business of portraits and products

I first met Rachel McClumpha on a business course a few months ago.

Sunday, 1st April 2018, 2:58 pm
Updated Friday, 13th April 2018, 4:46 pm
Professional photographer Rachel McClumpha

A successful portrait and product photographer, I really rate her work and jumped at a chance to talk photography with her.

“I have a great studio space in Bedlington. It’s ideal for portraiture and product photography,” she said.

“I have two sides to RJM Photography, family and business. With businesses it’s all about me helping them create great imagery so they can showcase their brand, products and themselves.”

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Photography is a notoriously difficult business to become established in. Lots fall by the wayside because they don’t offer good enough quality. Rachel deserves her good name and I know her success took talent, investment and a lot of hard work.

She said: “People can get away with lower quality smart phone shots on social media. Expectations are higher for websites, marketing and advertising. It’s about showing that the brand is professional and trustworthy.

“Professional lighting, accurate colour representation and capturing fine details are important in product photography. It makes the difference whether clients buy or not.”

I asked Rachel if she shoots any other genre just for fun.

“I love photographing people and capturing their personality, and it’s good to try other things. It’s a fabulous experience, after you drag yourself out of bed in the darkness on a chilly morning, getting up at dawn to capture the sunrise,” she said.

“I also like to play about with textures, shapes and colours to make very abstract photographs.”

I asked how she got into photography.

“In the 1980s I was fascinated with my Grandad’s old Kodak Instamatic. I was delighted when he said I could have it. I took it on a school trip to Germany. I loved capturing all my memories and the lovely sites,” she said.

Rachel later travelled to Kenya and took a Zenit SLR. Coincidentally, my first SLR too.

She pursued an art and design career. Although photography didn’t seem like an obvious professional choice at the time, she kept it up as a hobby.

“I joined a City and Guilds evening class to practice dark room techniques. I realised it was something I wanted to do professionally. Once the digital SLR’s became available it made that process a lot easier,” she said.

See Rachel’s photography at

This week’s challenge words are Religion and Oval, with the monthly theme of unusual views and angles.

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For more tips from Ivor, check out his website: