Behind the lens with celebrity photographer Rachel Joseph

The Real Housewives of Cheshire - Rachel Joseph

The Real Housewives of Cheshire - Rachel Joseph - Credit: Archant

From Dame Helen Mirren to the Real Housewives of Cheshire every picture tells the story for the region’s go-to celebrity photographer Rachel Joseph, writes Janet Reeder

Emma Willis - Rachel Joseph

Emma Willis - Rachel Joseph - Credit: Archant

Those of us who have been glued to the first series of the Real Housewives of Cheshire on the television may be forgiven for thinking the ladies could be quite a handful - especially when they get in front of a camera.

But not for the photographer Rachel Joseph who took the iconic shots of the ‘Housewives’ for their publicity campaign.

Rachel who has carved out a career for herself as the region’s ‘go-to’ celebrity snapper not only used her skills to produce uber-glamorous images, she’s actually good friends with WAG ‘Housewife’ Leanne Brown, wife of footballer Wes Brown, and in 2010 was their official wedding photographer.

Georgia May Foote - Rachel Joseph

Georgia May Foote - Rachel Joseph - Credit: Archant

But it isn’t unusual for Rachel to be taking pictures of famous faces who she can also consider friends or close associates.

Over the 15 years she has been behind the lens she has built up an enviable portfolio of film and TV stars and it isn’t unknown for stars to phone up directly and request her services.

It’s been a thrilling roller coaster ride for Rachel since November 1999 when after finishing college she landed a job in the exciting world of Granada TV’s publicity department taking pictures of some of the biggest stars around.

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‘Whether I was lucky, or you make your own luck I don’t know, but I started working with a guy called Neil Marland and we just got on so well from the very beginning,’ explains the 35-year-old from Manchester.

Helen Mirren - Rachel Joseph

Helen Mirren - Rachel Joseph - Credit: Archant

‘Soon I was working on major TV shows such as Coronation Street, A& E, Blue Murder with Caroline Quentin and Cold Feet. I was working for Granada in Manchester and London which I still do.

‘Then I began shooting for magazines, newspapers, brands, fashion and lifestyle campaigns, which gave me the chance to start being really creative.’

Being based in the north west has never been a disadvantage, she says, as London is only a couple of hours away and her profession can take her all over the world.

‘It really hasn’t stopped me from working on some amazing campaigns and I have made some incredible contacts.

Jodie Kidd - Rachel Joseph

Jodie Kidd - Rachel Joseph - Credit: Archant

‘I worked on the Genes for Jeans campaign with Jodie Kidd and last year took pictures of Catherine Tyldesley for the charity and my latest beauty shoot features model Danielle Peazer for Leighton Denny.

‘Even after all these years I still get a buzz from doing what I do.

‘And I get to travel all over the world with my work which is amazing. For example I was flown to Buenos Aeries when I was working on Britain’s Top Model TV show. That was an amazing experience. We jetted off to these salt planes that are at a really high altitude so we had to arrive there the day before so we could acclimatise although it ended up being a phenomenal shoot.’

Back home and when she’s not photographing the rich and famous she loves heading into Manchester city centre for dinner at a favourite restaurant such as the Gaucho Grill or Australasia but there’s one thing that beats everything and that is being a mother to Theo, aged four.

‘I love my job and get total life satisfaction out of my work,’ she says.

‘But being a mum is the best thing in the world.’

Rachel Joseph celebrity photographer

The Real Housewives of Cheshire

I did the main press campaign for the show but I knew both Leanne and Dawn (Ward) before. I photographed Leanne and Wesley’s wedding in 2010 and I knew her socially so it was easy to do. All the women were great to photograph. We did it at Mottram Hall and it was really glam as we were shooting all these beautiful outfits. They all looked great.


Helen Mirren

This photograph was really early on in my career when Helen Mirren was in Prime Suspect. I was hanging around all day and it really looked like it was not going to happen. I had resigned myself that I’d be coming away without the shots when I heard my name being called. I turned and she was shouting at me to come over, saying “the light’s brilliant let’s do those portraits now” ‘


Georgia May Foote

I first shot Georgia years ago, when she appeared on the BBC’s Grange Hill aged about 12 and I remember saying that she’d be just incredible to photograph when she got older. She went on to appear in Coronation Street and she recently got in touch for me to do a personal shoot for her.