Crossing The Barrier: with Frances Milburn

There are many different disciplines within photography, whether you’re a sports photographer, a macro photographer, a wedding photographer… the list goes on. But which discipline is the hardest? I guess it all depends on the individual shooting. Instead of finding out which one is the hardest we wanted to see how a photographer from one area would cope in a new and challenging environment.


Frances Milburn rose to the challenge as she joined me, Shout About It’s very own, Andy Tatt. Setting the scene, it’s a blistering hot summers day at Sandown Park Racecourse for a day of horse racing followed by an evening of live music from London’s very own, Plan B.
Frances Milburn is an East Midlands based Wedding and portrait photographer who accepted the challenge. A photographer who’s been shooting for 9 years, with a degree in photography from Sheffield Hallam University. Frances fell in love with Wedding photography after shooting a wedding for her friend’s wedding, and since then has never looked back!

On our way down, I asked Frances a few questions, to see her insights into how she thought it was going to go, but first things first, what kit was she going to shoot with?

“I’ve got a Nikon D750 and mainly use a 18-70mm or a 70mm-200mm.”

A lover of off-camera flash, it was going to be very interesting to see how the she could cope without using the Godox flash setup.

First time in the pit, how was she feeling?

“I am excited! I’m trying to compare it to photography experiences I’ve had before, and its very similar to what I’m already used too, capturing natural moments at a wedding, that’s very much my style which is very similar to shooting a gig, capturing the ambiance of the gig. 

Whats going to be tricky, is getting the camera settings correct. Once I’ve got that I’m confident in getting the shots.”

Time to throw in the first curve ball, we asked her this… it’s the end of the first song, you’ve nailed your settings, then out come completely different lights, how do you think you will cope?… She knocked us out of the park, proving she knew her kit inside out!

“Once you’ve got your aperture and shutter speed, I can just adjust the ISO. I know capabilities of my camera and can fluctuate the ISO depending on whats in front of me…I know the capabilities of the low light on my camera in churches to first dances, with light coming from all angles. “

The inevitable came, I had to ask it, how did she feel about not being able to use flash.

“Its going to kill me… that’s going to be weird, thats always my go too and im very comfortable using flash. Even when the Bride and Groom are walking down the aisle, id still put the flash on over upping my ISO, knowing I am going to get that shot in focus and the lighting is accurate”

To be honest, as long as Frances got the settings correct, we felt like she was going to nail it! But its hash and fast paced environment in the pit, so would she be able to get it right in just 3 songs!

Final last words…. “BRING IT ON!”

Lets see some shots! (If you want to find out how Frances found the experience keep on scrolling down below the images).


Now you’ve seen the images, you can see that Frances only went and smashed it! Putting her knowledge and experience to great use!

So Frances… how’d you find it?

“It was SICK!! Intense!! It was tough not using flash to start with but once I got my settings straight to ISO 2500 then knocked it down to 2000 shutter at 1/250 and aperture f4.5 it was fine. Once I was comfortable with that, it was a case of just watching the movement, I took so many photos”


“There was a time I thought he was looking directly at the camera, which felt like a lot of pressure, but buzzing. And I hopefully nailed the shot!”

Time for the big one, how did it compare to Wedding Photography?

Do you know what, there was nothing that prepares you for that! It was so much more intense, so much more pressure than a wedding. And do you know what, I never thought I would say that, when photographing someones special day”

“You are so much more involved you’ve got all these people being you either rooting for you, or telling you get out the way (Frances is 6 ft 1)”

So she survived the Plan B pit, and closing comments were…

“I would love to photograph a gig again, I thought it was insane. Compared to a wedding, they are so different it is so much more intense, like a very very intense first dance.”

If you’d like to see Frances Milburns work, or book her for your big day you can follow her on the following links,

Facebook: @FrancesMilburnPhotography
Instagram: @francesmilburnphoto




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