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Published, Jul 07, 2020

Behind the Lens: Rhona McDade

Rhona is a photographer based in Falmouth, Cornwall. She creates content for a large array of clients including luxury spirits, vegan food, crafts, hotels, galleries and of course, speciality coffee roasters.

We caught up with Rhona during her latest shoot for Origin to discuss her work, lifestyle and what inspired a career in photography from such a young age.

1. Hi Rhona, tell us a bit more about yourself and how you first got into photography?

I am a brand photographer working with food, lifestyle, wellness and drink businesses from my studio in Falmouth, Cornwall. I suppose my addiction to viewing the world through a lens first started when my parents got me a microscope age 6. The ability to view something in so much detail when it was invisible to everyone else felt like magic. I get that same sensation every time I pull a shot into focus now.

2. Do you remember the first photo you took? What was it?

My first photograph was really a continuation of my love of science and microscopy. I would spend hours in the garden photographing bees, bugs and dandelion clocks.

3. Where did you study photography?

University of Westminster, London. I studied Contemporary Media Practice which was an interdisciplinary degree rooted in creative exploration and out-of-the-box thinking. The course favoured ambitious and challenging concepts that told a story as opposed to polished ‘style-over-substance’ work. I got a huge amount from the course and learnt a lot from the diverse group of creatives around me.

4. How would you describe your style?

Overall I would say my style is warm, minimal, and refined. To zoom in further I would say that each project has a bespoke aesthetic that is driven by the purpose of the work and the intended audience. With each project I like to know what the purpose of the work is, what message are you trying to communicate, who is the content for and how will the audience experience the content. This gives me the structure in which to apply my creative direction most effectively.

5. What kind of equipment do you use and why?

I use a Canon 5D MIV and a small but versatile selection of lenses. I often work with flash in the studio, especially when working on packaging and branding focused projects. When I’m working on location and creating more dynamic lifestyle content I can be a bit more opportunistic with my lighting and set design.

6. Alongside your previous projects with us, you’ve worked alongside some amazing brands and individuals in the South West, including Watergate Bay Hotel, Nina Brooke and S M Ceramics. Is there a particular project that stands out the most?

I’ve had the opportunity to work with some really cool brands in the couple of years. Fortunately for me a lot of the brands I work with are very ambitious with their visual identity, which gives me scope to get super creative with location scouting and set design. The project that changed the way I work the most was a personal project I did right at the start of my career. I spent a week on board a deep sea crabbing boat in Holland, shooting the crew with an old medium format camera. The project still pushes me to apply the same ambition and determination with every project I undertake now.

7. What are you working on at the moment?

I am starting to create more multidisciplinary work at the moment, stop-motion video and photographs mixed with graphic design/illustration. This is what I studied at University, so it’s been great to return to something I studied. I am working on location a lot more which is something I am pushing for as well. Currently I’m working with skin care, luxury spirits, beer, non alcoholic drinks, coffee, vegan food, jewellery, hotels, artists and galleries. Basically, all of my clients are producing products where I am the target consumer which is amazing.

8. How has the current environment with COVID-19 affected your work?

Shooting on location, shooting with models and shooting with a team completely stopped up until recently. I feel like there has been a transition in the last month where businesses are now thinking ahead and visualising what their brand will look like post COVID-19. It has been great to work alongside brands who have been able to quickly pivot and innovate their brand to accommodate the new normal we are all experiencing.

9. What are the plans for the rest of the year?

Much like everyone else I am just taking each day as it comes and doing everything I can to help support those who need it right now. I will continue to help brands communicate their story through considered and thoughtful content, whilst continuing my on-going research into branding, photography and marketing.

10. Where can people find your work and get in touch?

You can find me on Instagram @goodrest_studios, my website is and the best way to get in touch is via my email