I love photographing people.
Engaging and genuinely great photographs are important to all of us. Making those photographs should be a fun and uplifting experience. After a portrait session everyone must have a portrait or portraits that they are proud of and that they will want to use for years afterwards.
A typical portrait session with me would begin with spending a little time getting to know each other and finding out what you you hope for from your portraits. We might plan the settings or mood that will suit you, although quite often the best pictures will end up being something we hadn’t planned in advance, which arose spontaneously from the setting we were photographing in.
I always want my subjects to feel happy about their pictures. I remember being photographed by a professional photographer when I was a teenager, along with two dear friends. He said of one of my friends and I, “a good photographer can find the best in his subject and make something of that quality; but you lads, you really don’t have anything”. Although it was not cruel, and we all got through the session with a laugh, my friend and I never quite forgot that. I am not that photographer. I have adopted the advice of teacher-writer-photographer Rick Sammon, who said the best advice that he could give a portrait photographer, was to fall in love with your subject”. You want to be photographed by someone who sees the wonderful in you. I believe that people need good pictures of themselves for so many purposes, from celebrating the big moments in their lives, to enjoying a good profile-picture on social media. I love nothing more than being the photographer who can make those images.
I believe that digital photography has been a wonderful thing for photography; many of us have been learning at a faster rate, due to the instant feedback that we can get from our camera screens. If you can see the image you have taken instantly, and you have honesty about your composition, you can try again and make the images better there and then…..and again….and again!
Of course, my passion is photographing people; digital cameras are wonderful here too. The photographer and the subject can get instant feedback on what is working well and what isn’t; you can then quickly home in on what feels right for your subject.
When I am not enjoying the magic of photography, I am an occasional acoustic guitarist, mandolin player and banjo player. (That last is a secret). I am also very passionate about education and my belief that everyone is a learner and that schooling needs to support everyone in more individualised ways. I also believe that with just a tiny bit of learning everyone can be a better photographer, whether with a digital SLR or with a phone-camera.
I know this is deep into anorak wearing territory, but lets face it, photographers love to know what other photographers are using. If I had unlimited funds of course, I would replace much of it with much better stuff, but I suppose every photographer feels like that. I have spent a lot of time identifying my favourite kit and I really am content with it. (I am always happy to answer other photographers’ questions about my opinions of any gear I have).
Canon EOS 5D Mk2 DSLR
Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR
Olympus OMD EM10 Mk II
Canon S95 Compact
Canon 17-85 F4 IS
Canon 70-300 IS
Canon 85mm f1.8 prime
Canon 60mm Macro
Canon 50mm f1.4 prime
Sigma 24-70 f2.8 constant (for wedding work)
Sigma 70-200 f2.8 constant (for wedding work)
Sigma 28 mm f 1.8 prime
Sigma 10-20 f4 – f5.6 zoom
Olympus 17 mm f1.8
Olympus 25mm f1.8
Olympus 45mm f1.8
Olympus 40-150 telephoto zoom f4-5.6
Olympus 60mm macro f2.8
Manfrotto 055 XB pro tripod with basic ball-head.
Giotto’s MT 8240B carbon fibre tripod for travelling light. (with basic Manfrotto 494 RC2 ballhead)
Canon speedlite 580 ex flash
Canon Speedlite 430 EX flash (x2)
Nissin i40 Olympus compatible flash
Canon ST-E2 wireless flash transmitter
2 flash stands (portaflash) with 2 diffusing umbrellas. (I don’t always have an assistant to hold the remote flash.)
1 reflector arm for my flash stand.
Godox LED 500C light panel
Small, 160 LED panel
Lastolite trigrip reflector
A portable background holder with a black, white and grey cloth backgrounds.
A Cokin Grad and ND filter kit with various adapters
Just in case anyone is interested, here is a link to my old music page.