Charlie is the founder and owner of Click Connection Corporation Ltd, which incorporates The Click Group as well as one of the world’s most prominent studio accessories brands, Click Props.
Click Props has been awarded ‘Best Studio Accessory at the SWPP Trade Awards in 2014, 2015 & 2016 and a 5 Star Gold Award from Digital Camera magazine. He is also the owner of one of the UK’s largest photographic studios, The Fresh Academy, which photographs over 1500 shoots per year and sponsors the Miss Great Britain competition. With 30 years’ experience behind the lens, 25 years of solid marketing knowledge and being instrumental in setting up numerous studios. Charlie’s marketing group, Click has generated in excess of £300,000,000 for Photographers in the UK. In 2013 Charlie was made an Honorary Fellow of one of the Europe’s largest photographic associations, the SWPP. Later that year CCC won the title of Best Professional Service in the photographic industry at the SWPP annual awards evening. Additionally, it is well worth noting that Charlie is a renowned fashion, portrait and function photographer with work published in The Times, Daily Mail, Glamour, Elle and Cosmopolitan.
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Although I found my love for photography at aged 8, I was roughly 14 years old when I took this portrait of my beloved family fur baby, Dusty. Taken on film and developed by me in my own darkroom in the garage this is still one of my favourite portraits I’ve ever taken. It show’s Dusty in his full majestic glory, proudly standing at the top of the steps to the garden he guarded his whole wonderful life. I still have a 20” x 16” framed portrait of this image hanging in my home, some 22 years since he crossed the rainbow bridge.
While visiting the US for WPPI a few years ago, we decided to drop in to one of our fantastic Click Props customers and Signature Collection Creators, Kat Armendariz in her Las Vegas studio for a fun collaboration shoot using our backdrops. Kat’s studio is awesome and features our backdrops on almost every wall, what was also great was the characters you can get to photograph in such a bonkers such as Las Vegas. The dancer in this image is Katie Matthews a dancer and artist that features in a variety of Las Vegas shows. For this image we used one of Kat’s own backdrop designs Abandoned Staircase paired with Factory Floor and a fab vintage wireless as a prop. Another reason I love this image is that I am still amazed I pulled it off using a camera I had never even held before as well as lights and modifiers that were completely different to my own.
Occasionally, when photographing makeovers in the studio we come across someone who we honestly feel could be a model, and this beauty was one of those people. Mum of 3 and in her fabulous forties, Shareen came in to my studio for a gift experience bought for her by her daughters to give her a little pick me up and boost in confidence. Lucky, for me and Shareen I was shooting that day and we instantly connected and created a great set of casual portraits. I convinced her to send some off to some agencies and online modelling magazines, to which she literally laughed, but did. Guess what, she’s now done over 20 shoots, been paid by Sony to model for them at a camera launch and even been on the live stage for us at The Photography Show. This once very nervous subject is now a superb model and I had the pleasure of capturing this awesome and striking portrait of her in traditional attire using both TriFlection and Peony Passion ProFabric backdrop from the Sarah Wilks Signature Collection.
As an owner of a busy studio, I rarely get a chance to pick up a camera and shoot something for me. For this shoot I got in touch with a fantastically odd guy called Benjamin ‘Bendini’ French who is not only a world record holding sword swallower but also a contortionist and quite frankly very bendy and stretchy. For my personal projects, I always try and showcase some of our backdrops, so for this portrait I was using Gary Hill’s Charcoal Tones ProFabric and of course TriFlection.
To showcase my own backdrop design, Moonlight Master I called in to the studio my 91 year old bruiser of a cousin, Harry ‘Boy’ Kaufman. I wanted a subject which oozed character and stature to compliment the texture and mood of the backdrop and you don’t get much more character than Harry. On writing this Harry is our families oldest living Kaufman and has had a past filled full of heroism and action as one of the last remaining members of the 43 Group, the English anti-fascist group formed shortly after WWII by Jewish ex-serviceman.
I always love photographing aspiring models, especially when they don’t even believe they can be a model. This striking portrait is of one of my son’s friends Lola, who at the time had only been in front of the camera once before (also with me) but is now signed to various agencies. This shoot was to test and create samples for my own Signature Collection, ‘Scenic Indulgence’ and uses my favourite backdrop from it, Giant Cogs. Lit with just one gridded soft box high and off to camera left and a reflector front right this image captures the drama of the backdrop, props and styling perfectly.
Michelle has got to be one of our most popular models for backdrop test shoots and training days in our Fresh Academy Studios. I shot this portrait on a test day with Gary Hill using his Brown Punch ProFabric backdrop and TriFlection. Her huge eyes are just perfect to show off the dazzling highlights that the TriFlection reflector adds and I simply feel that this image captures such a delicate and soft side of her personality, hence being one of my all-time favourite images. I edited the image in Lightroom and Photoshop using both PLP and LSP Actions together with a couple of other little editing tricks I’ve picked up over the years.
Although, I have never been a fan of paper backdrops during any point of my 30+ year career and I certainly didn’t start Click Props Backdrops to compete with them we had no choice but to launch a range of solid colour reusable backdrops to take-on environmentally harmful and wasteful paper option. As luck would have it as we were planning our new range of solids one of the big paper retailers discontinued a colour called Seamist which had photographers around the UK up in arms as I was their go to colour, so we accelerated our product development and this show was from our very first test shoot featuring Seamist and one of Click’s favourite Models, Katie Willy.