charlotte hu, london-based photographer

{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs

say hello!

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I made my way into The Orangery to be greeted by a handful of girls for a breakfast meeting. We chatted with out neighbors, but shared glances and the love for food and photography. Listening in on other conversations I noticed a Charlotte was at the table, quickly scrolling through my Instagram-feed, I found a @charlottehuco. I loved her photography, but couldn’t find what she looked like. As conversations progressed, putting pieces together I realized I was at the table with her. The digital fan girl in me was incredibly excited! It turns out she lives just across the bridge, enjoys coffee shops off the beaten track and is a lovely momma to the cutest hedgehog.

Tell us what you do for a living and what you used to do? At what moment did you realize you were capable of transitioning from your corporate to your creative job full-time?
I am a freelance wedding, food and travel photographer but, before that, I was a financial auditor. It was a scary decision to make a career U-turn – putting a decade of further education, professional qualification exams and work experience aside and essentially starting from scratch – but I felt I had to give myself a shot at turning my passion into a living, while I was still young enough to change paths again if I failed. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved so far, and have never had to look back.

Can you tell us about the moment you first picked up a camera? What was it that you wanted to capture?
The first time I picked up a proper camera was to take photos of my friends and classmates on our university graduation day. I knew that I may not see some of them for a long time, so wanted to capture the happiness and excitement in their faces. A few years later, a friend asked me to photograph her wedding – something I hadn’t even considered venturing into. I was so nervous I hardly slept the night before, but I ended up really enjoying shooting the little moments of joy between loved ones, and have been hooked ever since.
 

{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs
{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs {in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs

Introduce us to Bramble!
Bramble is my 3 year old African pygmy hedgehog. She is a little huffy madam most of the time, but I love her. My boyfriend converted our old fireplace into a two-tier cage with a sleeping area, dining area and a play area. She can run up to 5km a night on her wheel! When she’s in a good mood, her muscles are relaxed so her quills are flat, and you can stroke and cuddle her. She loves the warmth of armpits, licking leather things, and having her forehead massaged. PS: follow Bramble on Instagram.

Your food styling is gorgeous! Where do you shop for your props and what is your number one tip for putting together the perfect shot?
I’m obsessed with handmade ceramics (one of my favourite artists is SkandiHus) but also find props in the most random places. I stumbled across a theatre set sale and scooped up lots of cutlery and vintage kitchenalia. Flea markets are also goldmines for rustic props. My ultimate food styling tip is to chase that good light.
 

{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs
{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs
{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs {in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs

Your favorite photo editing app.
At the moment, my smartphone editing process involves Snapseed and Instagram’s native tools. Priime is great for beautiful filters designed by some of my favourite photographers.

Who would you love to cook for and what would you serve?
Where I was born in China, the man of the house is usually as talented in the kitchen as the woman, so growing up I was spoilt with amazing home-cooked meals by both parents. I’d love to master an authentic Chongqing feast to impress my mother and father. Their cooking was a constant expression of love to me, and I want to show them the same.

Favorite restaurant in London and favorite wedding you photographed?
It is too hard to pick a favourite restaurant in London! I’m going to cheat and pick a few – Padella for pasta, Princess Garden of Mayfair for dim sum, Granger & Co or Dishoom for brunch. My favourite local is Italo Deli which makes delicious Italian lunches and sells top quality produce.

{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs
{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs
{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs {in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs

How do you determine growth in your career? What have you done to establish your name as a strong brand?
Over time, I’ve learned that success isn’t simply determined by the number of followers you have on Instagram. I want my career to grow in the right direction so it’s more important to concentrate on targeting the right clients and followers, rather than worrying about quantity. It can be tough to stay true to your own brand, especially when that means turning down potentially lucrative work if it doesn’t align with the future you envision. But it will be worth it!

Where do you seek guidance and inspiration?
It can be both inspirational and intimidating to follow the work of my peers, of photographers in similar fields as mine. Although it’s great to have that supportive community, I also like to look further for inspiration. My own style is constantly evolving and I hope it continues to do so.
 

{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs
{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs {in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs
{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs
{in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs {in the office: charlotte hu} via chevrons & éclairs

wrapped in Boden

Boden Cover

it’s a wrap!

in collaboration with BODEN
locations COLUMBIA ROAD FLOWER MARKET, PIMLICO & GREEN PARK

As I get older and older, I’ve seen my style gravitate towards investment pieces rather than one-off style items that won’t be worn just once. Everything from my undergarments drawer and pajamas are carefully curated to meet my standards and to last almost a lifetime. For this post, however, I thought I would sell you the wrap dress in just 5 simple points. You ready?

this post was first featured on the Boden blog, but all opinions are my own.
 

{it's a wrap with Boden} via chevrons & éclairs
{it's a wrap with Boden} via chevrons & éclairs
{it's a wrap with Boden} via chevrons & éclairs {it's a wrap with Boden} via chevrons & éclairs

classic style

The wrap dress is a classic silhouette from the 1970s most notably designed by Diane Von Frustenburg and her style has reigned to own runways and collections since. I try to dress timeless and effortlessly chic and a wrap dress definitely falls into that category.

iconic

DVF initially designed the wrap dress was designed for working women and soon became a symbol of power and confidence. Even a Newsweek magazine in 1974 was supposed to feature a cover of Gerald Ford, but changed last minute to feature DVF as the most marketable woman after Coco Chanel. And as a woman in business operating on the international arena, I can not be more happy to feature the wrap dress. #FashionWithAStatement

what I wore

dress c/o BODEN flats c/o BODEN sunglasses c/o BODEN purse c/o BODEN
 

{it's a wrap with Boden} via chevrons & éclairs
{it's a wrap with Boden} via chevrons & éclairs {it's a wrap with Boden} via chevrons & éclairs

flattering

Since the wrap dress highlights and gives anyone a waist, it makes all body types an hourglass figure. If you know me, and from my snapchat monologues/gym session, you’ll find that an hourglass figure is something I’m constantly working towards. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman with natural curves.

styling

Since wrap dress are the simplest silhouettes, it means styling options are endless. You can wear them for any occasion taking one dress from the beach to a picnic and then a dinner date. Just need to go from flip-flops to sandals to strapped heels!

what I wore

dress c/o BODEN cardigan c/o BODEN clutch c/o BODEN
heels c/o BODEN sunnies c/o BODEN
 

{it's a wrap with Boden} via chevrons & éclairs
{it's a wrap with Boden} via chevrons & éclairs

 
 
{it's a wrap with Boden} via chevrons & éclairs
 
 

{it's a wrap with Boden} via chevrons & éclairs
{it's a wrap with Boden} via chevrons & éclairs
{it's a wrap with Boden} via chevrons & éclairs

for anyone

My mom and I tend to trade pieces quite a bit. On my recently visit home, I took a few purses and a blouse with me that I had worn a few times and traded them for one of her really nice purses #wink. What I love about the wrap dress is that it’s a style that I know I can give to her without her feeling a bit uncomfortable and the better quality wrap dresses are something I can hold onto and share with my daughter one day.

what I wore

dress c/o BODEN purse c/o BODEN sandals c/o BODEN sunglasses c/o BODEN
 

a love note

{with love from london} via chevrons & éclairs

how I fell for you

in collaboration with SOHO HOUSE special thanks to MOUNICA PADAM
location CAFÉ MONICO, LONDON

* * *

You opened the door and glanced at me the moment as I glided through the frame of the door and you caught a whiff of my perfume. A perfume that was subtly spiced with black pepper and sweeter notes of vanilla. And as we were greeted by the host it’s at that moment that I noticed you were in your best smoking jacket. The one you wore on our first date to impress me, the one that enhances your broad shoulders and gives me that sense of security.

We walked through the restaurant and you noticed that everyone watched us being seated. I giggled and said it was simply because of the necklace you gave me, “it doesn’t miss an eye.” But of course you said “no, it’s you.” As I briskly looked away and smiled, my cheeks flushed with the most royal red hue. You took that moment to promise yourself that you would make me blush every day for the rest of our lives together.
 

{with love from london} via chevrons & éclairs {with love from london} via chevrons & éclairs

as the candles flickered…

The conversation was endless and its flow had no single ripple that night. We talked passionately and at the moment I wanted to make my point, I grabbed your left hand that rested on the table holding the stem of your glass of wine that you trusted me to choose. Intermittently we complimented each other, but neither one of us had the courage to say ‘thank you’ under our silly chuckles.

The table candles flicked and constantly set little twinkles in your eyes and the more dim it got outside, those twinkles lit up the very little corner of the restaurant that was exclusively ours. I had no desire to leave and was wishing that time would just slow down ever so slightly.
 

{with love from london} via chevrons & éclairs
{with love from london} via chevrons & éclairs
{with love from london} via chevrons & éclairs
{with love from london} via chevrons & éclairs {with love from london} via chevrons & éclairs

revisiting

Walking into Café Monico for breakfast immediately took me back to the moment we walked out. You helped me with my coat and didn’t let go. We decided it was warm enough to walk home and cool enough to be in each other’s arms. I hope this romance never dies, continues to flourish, and can only be truly possessed by you and I.

* * *
dress OH MY LOVE belt BHLDN shoes RALPH LAUREN lips YSL 206
blazer ELIE TAHARI earrings J. LAUREN
 

{with love from london} via chevrons & éclairs
{with love from london} via chevrons & éclairs {with love from london} via chevrons & éclairs

café monico

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39-45 Shaftesbury Ave
London, W1D 6LA
 

{with love from london} via chevrons & éclairs

mango lassi granita and ginger chantilly cream with rose-pistachio dukka

{mango lassi granita} via chevrons & éclairs

taste of childhood

It was a bit strange at first being home after so long. A year and a half went by and so much has happened in those 18 months or so. Coming back home though was like walking back into time and falling back into the same old routine. {My parents, however, acted as if I was a celebrity and even allowed me to eat dessert before dinner. The perks of visiting home after so long and living so far, far away!}

Naturally, I gravitated towards my daily rituals of helping my mom set the table and subsequently clean it after every meal. My dad always fixed an afternoon treat and a Sunday brunch. Little brother was growing up and developing an eclectic palate and always opened up a bottle of wine. And if you haven’t noticed, our roles are centered around food and libations.
 

{mango lassi granita} via chevrons & éclairs

so, we shared a glass of lassi…

The first 2 weeks went by incredibly quickly as my brother was home with his kitten. I had some work that needed to get done before mid-May and there were lots of errands to run and people to see too. It left very little time for me to be in the house really. Until week three hit. I was itching to get back to London, my routine, my other people. I was missing friends and the energy that comes with them and the city in the summer. Watching snapchat updates were burdensome, but I went through with it until near the end of that week my mom finally let me into the kitchen.

Since I was visiting after so long she felt compelled to do everything on her own and didn’t let me raise a finger. I found it a bit irritating honestly, but let her do her thing because it’s what kept her happy. But it was one afternoon that I was looking to re-schedule my ticket that she asked if I wanted a mango lassi. Mangoes were coming into season and she picked up a few for me. So we shared a glass and gossiped about the neighboring aunties. It was like I was back in the car after my tennis lessons just snacking and chatting.
 

{mango lassi granita} via chevrons & éclairs

* * *

NOTE: You can make this vegan by using coconut yoghurt for the lassi and use a natural sweetener instead of honey. Also, coconut cream instead of heavy cream. This variation has been tested and it worked out great!
 

mango lassi granita recipe
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chasing sunrises

{chasing sunrises} via chevrons & éclairs

beating intermittently grey London

photo assistance SHY DESAI in collaboration with FAIRFAX & FAVOR
location DOWNTOWN KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA

Hello from Florida! If you’ve been following along on any of the social feeds, you probably found little glimpses of my childhood. A place considered the “happiest place on earth” can easily be dubbed into the “most boring place on earth.” Since I was going to be spending a good amount of time here before heading back to properly enjoy summer in London and throw myself in some travel (read: project deadlines), I thought why not make the most of it. The continual sunshine is something that I don’t really get to enjoy in intermittently grey London.

I headed out one morning to Downtown Kissimmee, where I used to trek in my youth for weekly piano lessons and subsequent scolding from my very Italian teacher for having fingernails that grew too fast. The intense humidity was something I easily looked past unfortunately. Surprisingly I found myself ensconced under the pungent sunlight.
 

{chasing sunrises} via chevrons & éclairs
{chasing sunrises} via chevrons & éclairs {chasing sunrises} via chevrons & éclairs

#highmaintenance

If I’m honest, it’s difficult to remember the last time I wore a floral-linenesque summer dress with boots. Didn’t seem practical for the Florida summer, but I wanted to go the festival route. Not that you would ever really find me at one #highmaintenance. My site archives and a few dodgy search terms on the internet might land you some understanding that I err on the side of simple. Though with the height of music festivals (I did watch We Are Your Friends to do a bit of research), combining winter, spring and summer staples seemed appropriate. Cue my Fairfax & Favor boots.

Little did I know that London has a huge influence on my wardrobe choice until I arrived. Easily reaching for my black Topshop trousers and a white tee, I wanted to forgo the choices from the cute dresses I had hanging in my childhood room’s wardrobe. So I decided to grab this dress from the back of that wardrobe, stick on my pair of Athena boots that I conveniently had in my suitcase, roll around on the bed battling jet lag/“styling” my hair and call that my festival look.
 

{chasing sunrises} via chevrons & éclairs
{chasing sunrises} via chevrons & éclairs
{chasing sunrises} via chevrons & éclairs
{chasing sunrises} via chevrons & éclairs
{chasing sunrises} via chevrons & éclairs

what I wore

When you’re trying to apply your London style to this summer weather whilst playing with re-adaptations of your former wardrobe, the solution is coming up with a festival look. See how I strung together every single styling thought going through my head?

Makeup, styled hair and accessories is entirely impermissible, really-it’s just too damn humid yet fits that festival flair we’re aiming for.

dress MONSOON boots C/O FAIRFAX & FAVOR sunnies C/O BODEN jewelry C/O J. LAUREN
nails BRYNN c/o ZOYA lips AMAZING GRACE c/o CHARLOTTE TILBURY
 

{chasing sunrises} via chevrons & éclairs
{chasing sunrises} via chevrons & éclairs
{chasing sunrises} via chevrons & éclairs
{chasing sunrises} via chevrons & éclairs