1. Production Equipment: Please list the production equipment that you use on a regular basis (eg. Cameras, lenses, flash & lighting, photo editing software).
Cameras: Canon 30D. I still have a Sony Cybershot, which I carry with me all the time - just in case Lenses: EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, EF 24-105mm f/4L IS, EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lighting: 1x SolarPro 300, 2x SolarFlash 2500 Software: Adobe Photoshop CS3, Adobe Illustrator CS3 Other: A homemade light box, Gorilla Pod (bendy tripod), Wacom A3 Tablet, Reflectors, Umbrellas
2. What do you think of photography these days?
Photography is a way of capturing moments in time, which can never be repeated. I love the fact that digital cameras allow you to take as many images as possible. I admire the photographers who still process images from film.
3. What did you want to be when you were younger?
4. Tell us about the time when you first got started in photography.
I wanted to be a police officer - but when I was older, I decided that the only thing I liked about it, was the uniform! :-P I never imagined I would end up as a photographer.
I only really started to get interested in photography when I bought my first digital camera at the age of 24! It was a Sony Cybershot 3.2MP, which I bought in Singapore, when I was traveling around the world with my friend. After arriving home, I realised that some of my photos were quite good - well I thought so - I soon discovered micro-stock sites, and it all went from there.
5. In your opinion, what does it take to become successful in this industry?
I think the ability to vary your portfolio helps. Also, the formats that you can give to your customers - vectors, ai and jpeg. Constant learning, shooting more, being critical, processing your images - you need to know about every aspect.
6. What was your biggest challenge coming into this industry?
I think I've learnt the hard way. I came into the industry with the wrong ideas, without the proper skills and knowledge, hoping to have lots of sales, from my small collection of images. A couple of years ago, even though I enjoyed taking photographs, I didn't even know what an f-stop was - I didn't really need to know as I had a point and shoot camera. As for aperture, and exposure - I was pretty clueless about those too. I saw the stock industry as a way of making extra money, and that perhaps if I sold enough, I could give up my day job. That was my "distorted" idea of what stock photography was about. In the beginning, I uploaded EVERY single image I could take - hoping some would be accepted, and some would sell. Completely the wrong thing to do!! I soon realised that to be successful at this, I had been go back to the basics. I had to learn about composition and lighting, exposure and f-stops...everything! Now I am slowly climbing up the stock ladder - learning and experimenting on the way - building up my portfolio, and I have realised that I've actually learnt so much...and given up the day job!
7. What are the best perks as a Photographer?
Perks? There are just so many...being my own boss. Definitely, giving up my old job, and doing something that I love. Getting to see things that other people are too busy to notice.
8. How do you plan for your shooting sessions?
I've only recently started shooting sessions. I've photographed objects, and taken a few model sessions. Basically, I set up the background, organise and position lights, take a few test shots...and when I'm happy, off I go. I always shoot in raw. After 10 or so shots, I check that the images are ok..and I carry on.
9. How would you describe your work to first time viewers?
I guess my portfolio is varied. I enjoy creating composite abstracts combining photography and vector based illustrations. I want to start taking more "people pictures" and business oriented images.
10. Do you shoot to what your heart tells you or do you go through a complex check list in your mind when you produce your work? Describe the feeling/check list.
I used to shoot what I liked - but I soon realised that although I might like it, perhaps that approach won't attract buyers. I have a routine of setting everything up, checking the equipment - but in my mind I also have a list of "must have" images that I want to create.
11. From your experience, what subjects gives you the greatest satisfaction? Any examples?
I actually like combining vector silhouettes with photographs and producing grunge style images. I've started to photograph people, and definitely want to develop this more.
12. From your experience, what subjects are the hardest to work with? Any examples?
Animals. They always move too much! My guinea pig always runs off. We used to have a beautiful stray black cat that used to come and sit in our back garden. We called him Sylvester - he was gorgeous - in the 8 years he used to visit us, I only have a small collection of images of him. He would never look at the camera, always used to move about, or turn around, so I couldn't see his face!
13. What is your philosophy when it comes to your work?
Keep learning...keep going...don't give up! Create something new each day!
14. Describe who/what inspires you, tell us why?
I actually like taking abstract images and using them as backgrounds. I also love my Wacom tablet. I will quite happily sit for hours, drawing with that.
15. What do you do when those creative juices just seems to evade you. How do you "get creative"?
It sounds really silly, but I have my travel journal and an empty champagne bottle. I sit and read my journal because it was written at a time when I really wanted to do something different. Basically, it's full of my initial ideas on how I could be my own boss, and how I would go about changing my life. The empty champagne bottle reminds of celebrating my steps up the stock photography ladder.
16. Tell us about a time when inspiration just hits you, and you felt the insatiable urge to create. What did you do with that energy?
I recently came back from a trip to the USA, and I loved traveling around - taking images. I never really think of taking photos as "work" - it's more "fun", and I just totally enjoyed it.
17. What have you discovered about yourself through photography?
I would say that I'm a bit more adventurous. I don't mind standing in a muddy field to get the shot that I want, or, spending hours waiting around right sort of light.
18. Whose work do you admire the most? Why?
Andres Rodriguez and Sean Nel. Andres has some amazing images. His business shots are superb. Sean seems to have a pretty good lifestyle - traveling and taking photos - and a brilliant portfolio. Above all, those two have been only to willing to answer any of my questions I might have, and I strive to have a portfolio like theirs.
19. Do you have any advice for those who are just getting in to stock photography?
Be prepared to learn all the time. Practice and "shoot more". Never give up. But most importantly, above everything else, a part of you has to love what you do. Otherwise, it doesn't matter how many books you read, or, photos you take - if you don't actually love what you do, you won't be truly happy.