Q&A

-How did you first become interested in photography?

I became interested in photography after the birth of my second child. I had left my job working for a video game company and was searching for a way to document my growing family as well as find artistic fulfilment. I had never been very interested in pursuing photography before, preferring the more free and tactile nature of painting and collage, but with the advent of digital photography it became an enjoyable way for me to express my creativity in my free time.


-How would you best describe your style of photography?

Fine art portraiture.


-What is your typical camera setup on a shoot?

I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark iii and primarily use my 85 mm 1.2, 70-200mm 2.8, and 16-35mm 2.8 lenses.


-You specialise in fine-art photography, why did you decide to focus on this area of photography?

My love for painting pushed me in this direction. Photography wasn’t terribly exciting for me until it became digital, and could be so easily manipulated. Once I discovered that I could have the same sort of freedom working on digital images that I had when working on a painting, I was hooked.


-What is your post-production workflow like?

I edit in Photoshop and use my own actions, textures and overlays to help me craft images. I generally do a clean edit first, deleting anything that is distracting or not balanced.


Then I will begin experimenting by adding elements, adjusting contrast, tones, adding textures, etc. until I am satisfied with the final image. When I do my fine art work, I have a vision in my mind and then I use my tools and imagination to make that vision come to life.


-What is your dream project?

I think I’m about to embark upon one of my dream projects, which is shooting in the same location where “Wuthering Heights” was written in Yorkshire, England. I am very excited to be traveling abroad, to an amazing location and to be inspired by the history and narrative of that place.


-What inspires you to create new work?

 I am inspired by many things: My children, books, a person’s ‘look’, a garment, a prop, light, patterning, emotion, someone’s life story... I do not struggle to find inspiration, only with finding the right elements at one time that will allow me to fulfil my inspiration and successfully bring my visions to life.


-How has educating other photographers influenced your own way of working?

I think it has forced me to think more about my own processes and try to be more mindful and efficient in what I am doing. I like to just meander and dabble and experiment, but being responsible for teaching requires greater discipline and planning and strategy. I’m right-brained to a fault, but it’s good for me to be pushed to be more organised and systematic in my approach. It’s made me more conscious about what works and what doesn’t which has helped me grow.


-What is your top tip for someone starting out with fine-art photography?

Work hard to discover your own true voice. Produce constantly and allow yourself ‘duds’ along the way. Don’t live in the critique/sharing groups in places such as Facebook. I really find these sorts of groups most often to be detrimental to true, independent growth and having a unique vision. People post work and get ripped to shreds because they are actually doing something DIFFERENT, and not the same old, same old.


-What was the best career advice you were ever given?

Early in my career, I was trying to build up my portfolio and clients and I was offering portfolio-building prices. My session fee (not including prints) was $75. A photographer I’d never heard from wrote me to offer unsolicited advice, basically saying, “You are too cheap, with your prices, you aren’t building a client-base, you’re just attracting bargain hunters that will move on to the next inexpensive photographer when you raise your rates. Up your prices and find clients who want YOU.”


The other best piece of advice was from a fellow photographer I admire who warned me to be really careful about what I allow in my head via Social Media. It’s easy to get distracted, upset and jaded if you’re following too much social media feed. It’s important to be selective in who you let into your feed/head so that you can be in a positive, constructive mental state to create your art.