A Day in the Life of Celeb Photographer Rachel Joseph

July 25, 2014

STYLEetc recently had time to catch up with Manchester based celebrity photographer Rachel Joseph at Mal Maison as she shot the images for Jeans for Genes 2014 campaign, with Hollyoaks star Gemma Merna and Corrie actress Catherine Tyldesley! 

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Jeans for Genes day will be held on Friday 19th September and this year the charity campaign has teamed up with the prestigious Edinburgh College of Art for the design of their official charity T-shirt.

The T-Shirt will be available to buy online and features a one off design by young designer Rachel Hill.  The design was one of hundreds submitted via a competition open to Edinburgh College of Art students and features a double helix, which depicts the structure of a DNA molecule, combined with on trend SS14 pastel colours.


Rachel’s design was selected as the winning design by an expert panel comprising of fashion experts and popular style icons including: Coleen Rooney, Jaime Winstone, Stylist Magazine Fashion Director, Alexandra Fullerton, and founder of the Scottish Fashion Awards, Tessa Hartmann.

At the shoot, we were lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the design and then got to speak to the photographer to discuss all things celeb and what a typical day on shoot is like! 

How did you get into photography? 

Whilst at University I sent a small portfolio of work into Granada Television and the staff photographer at the time, Neil Marland, called me in straight away. I was invited to assist him on set and it was here I started my career and made many of my celebrity contacts. After a short while Neil started booking me for shoots and I got to work on some of the best dramas such as Cold Feet, A & E, Blue Murder, Cold Blood and of course the amazing Coronation Street. I spent many years working on TV sets and gradually as I gained experience my work moved into studio and location photography.

I began shooting for magazines, newspapers, brands, fashion and lifestyle campaigns, which gave me the chance to start being really creative.

Who inspires you? 

I am inspired by the work of Mario Testino, Graham Montgomery, Annie Leibovitz, David Lachapelle, music videos, music, colours, locations and most of all light.

Talk us through a typical day on shoot! Is it as glamorous as it seems?!

Everyday is different, I feel very lucky I get to experience amazing things.

I recently flew out to Mallorca with 2 make-up artists, a hairdresser and my assistant to shoot 15 women for a calendar. We shot in the most amazing Villa with a cave underneath that used be a club and had a private chef for the day.

The most glamorous shoot location so far has to be Argentina where I was working for ‘Britain’s Next Top Model’. We flew to the salt planes and shot a campaign shoot for ‘Skinbliss’, which was very glamorous! 

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Do you have a favourite camera? What is it and why?

I always use Canon and have a few different camera bodies.

My favourite at the moment is my Eos 1Ds mark 3 with my 85ml lens. This is a camera I have had for years, I always achieve amazing results with it and it never lets me down.

You’ve photographed lots of celebs, who is the best (and worse!) to work with?

I love all my shoots and have been lucky enough to have shot some great names.

Dame Helen Mirren, Damien Lewis, Caprice, Abbey Clancey, Johnny Vegas, Emma Willis to name a few.

One of my favourite celebrity shoot so far has to be Sir Ian McKellen. It was great and I ended up spending the whole day with him. I got some fantastic portraits and strong creative images. He was lovely to work with and very giving in a photography sense.

I haven’t really had many bad people to shoot and I definitely wouldn’t divulge any secrets!!

Is there/who is the one celebrity you would love to photograph and why?

I would probably say Angelina Jolie. She is beautiful, elegant and her bone structure is amazing. She would be incredible to shoot.

How did you get involved in the Jeans for Genes shoot?

A friend of miimage001ne, Leighton Denny, had done a shoot for them a few years ago and they were looking for a new photographer. Leighton recommended me and I have been shooting for them ever since. I have shot some great campaigns with Jodie Kidd, Parade, Michelle Keegan, Jamie Lomas, Cath Tyldesley and Gemma Merna.

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?

I have never done anything else as a career but I always fancied being a professional dancer, going on tour with different artists.

Where is the best place you’ve done a shoot? And if you could pick anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

The Salt Planes of Argentina is the best place I have shot. I have recently been to Venice and would love to do a shoot there, it’s a beautiful place, full or character and interesting locations.

Whats next for you? 

Who knows what’s round the corner? I always have lots of exciting shoots planned. Maybe a few more shoots abroad and that shoot with Angelina Jolie!

photo 5What are your top tips for anyone wanting to get started in photography?

Always be passionate about your work. If you have a dream always follow it and you can make your own luck by putting yourself in the right places. Be determined and always work hard.

The tshirt that is worn in Rachel’s images is just £20 and all the proceeds will go to the 2014 Jeans for Genes campaign. 

By Emily Parker


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