The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Photographing Amanda Simmons - Glass Artist

When I tentatively decided to set myself up as a portrait photographer back in 2009, glass artist, Amanda Simmons, was one of my first real clients. She needed a few publicity photos of her at work in her studio, with an emphasis on processes.

We got on well.
She was pleased with the photos.
I was pleased with the photos.
And it helped with my confidence to move forward with the idea of presenting myself as a professional photographer.

So I was delighted when she got in contact last year to say she was after some more photography from me.

This time, however, while she would be wanting some action shots, she wanted it to be less about processes, and more about creating some images that reflected a mood and sense of who she feels she is at this point in her life.

There are many artists who may appear bright and cheerful on the outside, but are projecting a well honed personality that isn't always feel in keeping with their more introverted nature. So she was after some photos to create a sense of space, even isolation and aloneness in her workshop.

So for most of the shots I decided to use just a single off-camera flash to light her up, but not the whole of the studio space. 

Although in some it looks like she is lit by window light, she isn't – it's just photographic lighting tricks – if you follow the shadows you'll see they don't quite match up.

Here are a few from the set

Amanda also wanted a shot of her tattoo, which she got in the year before Lockdown. I used my favourite large softbox with a grid, which gives such beautiful almost creamy shadows, but also isolated her from a fairly busy background of shelves full of tools and materials.

You can find out more about Amanda's amazing work on her website at

If you're interested in listening to me talk about this shoot in my weekly live video podcast, Understanding Photography with Kim Ayres, then click on the video below. The general welcome, greetings and comments conclude at around 5 minutes in, and then I start talking about the photography.


Viji said...

The tattoo and the one holding the glass are my favourite shots. In the head shot one her eyes are smiles.. lovely Kim

Kim Ayres said...

Thanks for the feedback, Viji - it's always lovely to know which images appeal to others :)

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

That first photo grabs me for a personal reason. When I'm writing, I'm intensely private. I want zero people around me.

Kim Ayres said...

Neena - I think that's part of what Amanda was after too.
Probably for a lot of creatives that space from others is needed. Certainly I know Maggie is like that with her art.
For me, my creativity comes when interacting with others - be it the photography or even the podcast. Left on my own and I'll start playing solitaire on the computer...

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