How Vicky Grout Took Over the Fashion Scene with her Portrait Photography
Vicky Grout is a young photographer in high demand. Global fashion brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Reebok and Nike have worked with her, as well as online retailer ASOS. Her distinctive old-school portraits have also been published in The New York Times, CLASH and Time Out Magazine. She’s also been sharing her expertise in a portrait tutorial for O2 Sessions.
It was a shot of Grime star Skepta, subsequently used as his album cover, that was her breakthrough moment. Now a photograph from Vicky is almost a must for aspiring MCs.
“It’s exciting to document something which is underground or up and coming” she says. “My pictures got both Skepta and me noticed, so I feel like we’re helping each other out.”
“This was a hobby first” confesses Vicky, who originally wanted to be a graphic designer. “Making this a career was never my intention.”
At only 19, Vicky was marked as one to watch as she was featured in complex.com’s ‘30 under 30’ for music industry creatives. “I love music, I loved that type of music, those were the shows I’d go to. I was just a fan with a camera.”
What makes Vicky’s photos stand out from the crowd?
Vicky takes a very personal approach to her shots, taking the time to get to know her subjects to get the best out of them. “The important thing is to make the person you’re shooting feel comfortable” she says. Whether it’s Stormzy or a café owner, Vicky sticks with her the same candid, natural approach.
She also takes care to consider every element in her picture, including the background. “Sometimes I can spend a long time getting the background right for a portrait. If that isn’t done right, you can ruin the image. You don’t want a background that’s too cluttered or noisy.”
But how has she come this far? Vicky shares some of the career tips that are taking her to the top.
- Find something you love
Without a love for the music she was witnessing, she wouldn’t have taken a single picture. “If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, it will come through in your work and people will see that” she says, “and you’ll get bored of it very, very quickly.”
- Learn from others
It’s great to be inspired by the success of others and understand how this can be applied to your own work. Vicky says: “Look for inspiration from other people’s work. Don’t compare yourself with them, but just look at things you like and would like to try yourself.”
- Trust yourself
Most people are held back by self-doubt. Vicky counsels to ignore the devil on your shoulder: “Make sure you get your work out there. I know so many artists who torture themselves over their work and never put anything out – and nobody sees it. Don’t be overly critical of yourself and your work.”
- Help other people
Vicky literally got her first big shoot because someone decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. Now, as an established voice on the scene, Vicky uses her photography to support emerging talent like London rapper Flohio. She knows that her success has been tied to the growing popularity of Grime: “Because more people were following that genre of music, more people were seeing my work as well.”
- Keep practising
Whatever your passion, perseverance is paramount. Vicky practised taking pictures of her friends before turning her camera on more famous faces. She says: “The more you practise, the more you’ll get to know your personal style. The more you do, the more you’re learning and the more you’re building your craft.”