A day in the life: Graham Reid, Boohoo Head of Studio and Photography

Graham Reid oversees all things photography at Boohoo.com. Once Manchester’s best kept fashion secret, Boohoo is now one of the fastest growing international etailers. With hundreds of outfits shot every day, as well as campaigns and a team of 40 to manage, busy is an understatement to describe Graham’s average day. We found five minutes to see what he gets up to.

Instagram: @grahamareid

What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Get in early, check my Insta feed to see what’s happening. Next I check headlines in apple news, then onto check PetaPixel for tech stories in photography. I’ll then make my way around the studios (we have up to 12 sets operating daily), say ‘Hi,’ see who’s in and check my senior team in the studio are good. Then I breathe, open my calendar and grab a coffee before I make my hit list of projects, shoots, any meetings, imagery review and anything I need to sign off for the day.

What does an average day look like for you?
I have a great job! No two days are generally the same. It’s more of a vocation than a job most of the time. I spend my time critiquing imagery, working on shoots, coaching and selecting models for both e-commerce and campaign. I also figure out what we need in the studio to meet the demands of Boohoo’s buying and merch departments. We’re still growing, so shooting 350-450 garments in a day is normal!  That makes up 70% of my time, the other 30% I’m shooting. I’m away a lot for TVC and campaign shoots. And yes, I’m including Southport in this (where we delivered many of our shoots over the years). I don’t attend a lot of meetings – the most important are direction from our CEOs and informal creative discussions. We work at pace as there is always more content coming up!

How did you get to where you are in your career?
A beautiful mix of hard work, stubbornness, looking out for and taking each and every opportunity and never forgetting to self-critique and improve. Tbh, some of my early work was awful! You won’t see that on Instagram! I was very aware, educated myself and made each and every shoot better. My education was in product design, but I’ve always developed film (in my part time job) and have been into photography from as early as I can remember – my family were all about taking snaps. So photography was my chosen media to showcase my ideas whilst studying. Following on from university I did a lot of commercial photography and learned my skills on cruise ships and working out of social studios in both Dublin and Manchester! That’s where I discovered the gem of a business, Boohoo. I became part of this family when the operation was young and 8 years on I’m heading up a team of 40 who produce some amazing work. We’ve developed every area of our production and constantly looking to improve. We now produce for TV, out of home advertising, web, social etc. There’s ever-growing demand for more content. The way we work is constantly evolving.

What do you love most about your job?
Making images of course! I love the process, the challenge. I don’t follow a typical route with my gear choices, it’s got to be practical and fit for purpose.

What challenges do you face in your job?
A team of 40 brings its own challenges. Time with my team is never as long as I want it to be: It would always be great to have more time. All shoots seem to fly by with a lot of deliverables, but the key is getting the shot and moving on. More time when shooting on location in LA or on a dormant volcano in the Canaries would be awesome!

What do you do when you get home from work?
Ha – it depends! I guess it’s a mix of Netflix, running or playing squash (occasionally) or I can be seen out and about in the Northern Quarter with the Boohoo team.

How do you spend your downtime?
I recently got back into winter sports! Skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking – I love being outdoors – especially back home in Scotland when time allows! Travel is really important. I dream about living in the wild one day, with just my wife, dogs and cats.

What advice would you give to someone who aspired to follow a similar career path to you?
The ecoms industry has exploded in the last decade, creating the need for quality digital photography and video, turned around quickly and affordably. When recruiting I look for technical skills, but more importantly, an understanding of what we do. Ecom studios are a balance between creativity, technical consistency and hitting daily targets. Overall I’m a fan of keeping your eyes open, and not relying on anyone else to make things happen. Go out and make it happen, f**k being wrong! I’d rather be wrong and learn than right all of the time!

What’s inspiring you at the moment?
I’m a total geek, I see inspiration in everything: Cinema, album artwork or movie posters. I follow an amazing visual Instagram artist called Rebecca Coltorti  (@rebeccacoltori_art) and also Lachlan bailey (a photographer) who does beautiful work that is really inspiring me right now.

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