Q&A

How did you first get interested in photography? I never wanted to pigeon hole myself into one area of creativity and enrolled on a BA hons Degree in graphic design, marketing and photography. This enabled me to cover a wide range of genres from photography, typograpaphy. textiles, fine art, print making, multi media and many others. Through hard work and determination I created the opportunity to work at some great design agencies. However the Mac Operator role grew bigger, the teams grew smaller and I missed the interaction with people. I became more involved in the art direction of photography shoots and my passion for shooting needed to be satisfied. My foundation in photography started within the portrait market which was a great learning curve for dealing a wide range of people. In my last year shooting social photography in 2005, my portrait sales delivered £878,000 of revenue into the studio. As I became more advanced with my lighting and the concepts behind my photographs I started to shoot more fashion and beauty.  Today photography is still an obsession for me and I still love to shoot all three genres.


How would you best describe your style of photography? My style of photography is extremely varied, which goes against what seems to be the typical drive to creating a specific style. I have a real passion to learn, a natural curiosity to experiment and the willingness to make mistakes (always in my own time and never on a job!). I will always play with lighting, have fun with new techniques and try different finishes. However I always build a frame work around my shots, to ensure that I can recreate the style of any of my work when necessary.


What is it that makes a great portrait for you? A great portrait for me is all about telling a story. I believe that this can be achieved in one of three ways:


1) Firstly by incorporating a theme that is related to the subject;


2) Secondly by showing a relationship between the subject and the environment or other people;


3) Thirdly I can strip all of this away and bring out the character of the sitter.


How do you describe the difference between your portrait, beauty and fashion work to a client? What separates them? It is not about being able to differentiate between the different genres for me; it is about being able to create a photograph that satisfies a brief. I have a strong ability to pre-visualise what is needed in a final piece and then use my skills to ensure that I deliver. (Which seems to work for me and my clients!)


 


What is your post-production workflow like? I do all my own post production and over the years my techniques have changed, along with my style. I learned by making a lot of mistakes in the early days, especially by over using digital techniques. I now process all of my shots through Lightroom to colour grade them and then take them into Photoshop to finish. I use non-destructive retouching techniques to ensure that I keep all the texture in the skin.


What is your dream project? I have traveled to many amazing countries and would love to revisit a number of them to shoot portrait projects and to use them as backdrops for fashion stories.


How does your way of working differ from the studio to location? My way of working is very similar for both situations. I will agree a clear vision for the brief, visualise my ideas, select the right team for the job, choose the most appropriate type of lighting, decide on a set or location and then decide on the energy for the shoot.


Where do you find the inspiration for your photographs? Inspiration always come from what I am shooting. Whether that it is an amazing piece of clothing, the character of the subject or a certain lighting technique. My shoots are always very well planned and briefed to the team, but nothing can beat that spark of inspiration while shooting. It is always very satisfying when you know that you have just created a great shot!


What is your biggest resource in relation to technical knowledge? Creating an opportunity for sharing and collaboration has always been very important to me. I spend time with other great photographers and we are all very open to sharing, which I have found is a great way to develop. I was once told that the two things that help you to develop are 'the people you meet and the books that you read' which I think is so true.


What was the best career advice you were ever given? David Carson's approach to work always inspired me and I got to spend time with him on a couple of occasions early in my career. A quote from his book 'The end of print' has always stayed with me...


Sing like you don't need the money


Love like to you will never get hurt


Dance as if nobody is watching


It has to come from the heart if you want it to work


www.richardmayfield.co.uk