Lisa-Marie McGinn on Becoming a Photographer and Finding Inspiration

Lisa-Marie McGinn is a Scottish Photographer specialising in fashion, beauty and editorial photography. Having graduated just four years ago, she’s still at the beginning of her career but has already been published in several magazines and achieved a strong body of work, as well as having a monthly column in Practical Photography magazine.

With a portfolio full of bold colours, eclectic makeup looks, and whimsical fashion pieces, it’s clear Lisa-Marie is bursting with creativity. We spoke to her about what inspires her and how it all started.


Image © Lisa-Marie McGinn


Image © Lisa-Marie McGinn

Where did your passion for photography begin?

I don’t recall the exact moment, it was just an instant connection and I felt I had finally found my talent and my calling. I love looking back at some of the very first photographs I took. I cringe slightly but it shows me how much I have grown. Back then I only knew the basics. I didn’t really know what genre I wanted to focus on. I just wanted to shoot, shoot, shoot. It wasn’t until my second year of studying photography at University I realised I wanted to be a fashion photographer. Even though it was only four years ago, I feel my work has grown drastically and I have found my style.

I took a photography course because we needed credits to graduate and I thought it would be easy. Boy was I wrong! It was a lot of work but I was so intrigued and fascinated that I wanted to keep learning and growing. Photography became the one subject I couldn’t wait for every day. I would count down the minutes. Once the semester was over I asked my teacher if I could continue and she set up an afternoon course that only three of us attended. By the first semester of Grade 11 I was done with the advanced course but there was still so much I wanted to learn. My teacher created an Advanced +1 course just for me so I could continue learning and experimenting with photography.


Image © Lisa-Marie McGinn


Image © Lisa-Marie McGinn

“I think as creative people we view the world differently.”

What inspires you?

Everything and anything! I think as creative people we view the world differently. I can gather a concept just by walking down the street and seeing a flower or watching a movie and a particular scene will resonate a concept in my mind. Concerts and movies are my biggest inspiration at the moment, Disney movies especially. I also get inspired by other artists that I admire.


Image © Lisa-Marie McGinn

Most memorable shoot?

There is so many but one of the most memorable shoots would have to be my bathtub editorial. I wanted to do a bathtub shoot for years but I often wondered ‘How do they do that? How do they make it look so good and effortless?’ I have seen a lot of photographers using milk, flowers, rose petals, etc. and I knew I wanted to do something different.

“What about glitter?” I remember suggesting to the amazing team I got to work with for this editorial. We ended up shooting this during the cold Alberta winter so I made sure the water was warm. As the model lay down in the tub, we started sprinkling the glitter all around her. This shoot required me to balance on the edge of the tub above her. I don’t know how many times I almost fell over! We couldn’t stop laughing so I had to ask my fiancé to hold me so I didn’t fall on her or every photographer’s nightmare, drop my camera. We kept shooting until we used up all the glitter, we could have kept shooting all night because it was such a different concept for all of us.


Image © Lisa-Marie McGinn

After we finished, the three of us started looking at the photos on the back of the camera. It turned out even better than we imagined. We were so in love with what we captured. The contrast of the colours between the makeup and the glitter really popped! Clean up on the other hand was not so fun but it was so worth it. That entire shoot stands out because it was a simple idea that came to mind one day that eventually came to life and turned out to be one of my all time favourites.

What do you love most about photography?

Photography is my creative outlet. Ever since I was young, I always felt I saw the world differently. I had (still do) a wild imagination and I didn’t have a way of expressing my ideas and thoughts. When I found photography, it all made sense. I was different, I was creative and now I could express all of those feelings and ideas and bring them to life. When I was in University we were told photography had all of these rules but when I started my own business, I loved breaking those ‘rules’. Photography has no rules in my eyes. I love the work I get to create and I love meeting others who share the same passion as me for this industry. Photography is endless and my imagination is limitless.


Image © Lisa-Marie McGinn


Image © Lisa-Marie McGinn

What’s in store for the future?

I have so much on the go right now! I am the columnist for Practical Photography Magazine until the end of the year. I recently became an Elinchrom Ambassador for Elinchrom LTD. I have something really exciting that I will be announcing at the end of the year so stay tuned! On a personal note I am getting married this spring so I’ve traded my camera for wedding planning for the time being! I still have some wonderful editorials coming up in the mean time and can’t wait to share them!

What advice do you have for other photographers?

Don’t give up. When discouraged, persevere with your work. There may be times when you compare yourself to other artists. You need to realise that you are your own artist. You and your work are unique.

Network. Don’t be afraid to get out there on different social media platforms. One of the best things you can do is start a profile on 500px. Create a Facebook page, start an Instagram, and join a few online photography groups. Meet other artists in your area who share your vision.

Practice and experiment. Try something completely out of your comfort zone. Shoot in natural light if you are a studio photographer or experiment with a different genre of photography. Rent lenses you would like to try (borrow if you can) and experiment with angles and depth of field.

Research. Spend your time researching other artists, watching tutorials and reading books. Photoshop is a full research project on its own. Take the time to discover everything it has to offer.

Always be willing to learn. Photography is always changing. There are always new techniques to discover. Workshops are extremely useful or take a few classes with local photographers. Assist other photographers in your area. Every photographer does things differently. You will learn new skills to bring into your own personal style.

To see more of Lisa-Marie’s work visit


Image © Lisa-Marie McGinn

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