Photography Q&A with Davie Hudson

As part of the Ready Steady Pro Q&A Series we ask photographers from all backgrounds, niches and skill levels to answer 5 questions for the blog. This week, we hear from Davie Hudson of DavieHudsonPhotography.biz

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About Davie:

I’m a 43 year old landscape/outdoors lifestyle photographer from Dundee in Scotland. My weekdays are taken up being a Machine Shop supervisor though i hope to be fully pro in 2015.Having asked so many other guests these 5 questions, here are my own responses:

Question 1: What’s the one single thing that has had the largest positive impact on your photography so far?

A few years ago now i had a rare day off work and a new camera…. A fuji superzoom. As I had a full tank of petrol I decided to drive up the A9 towards Inverness to see what i could shoot. It was heading towards mid morning so a coffee was most definitely in order so i pulled into a layby, which on that road are all numbered, this being 76…. I turned my head to the left and the sight I saw changed my life forever and cemented my resolve to be a landscape photographer.

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Question 2: If you could start over again from scratch, what would be the one thing you would do differently?

At the moment I think everything is going well so no major mistakes have been made yet …. I would possibly have changed to digital sooner as film developing wasn’t my strongpoint.

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Question 3: Who is the most influential photographer to you, and why? (Or, Which photographer do you admire the most, and why?)

I have 2 really Ansel Adams and Peter Lik… Mr Adams because literally he is the boss, there is still to be anyone better at tonal contrast in B&W, coupled with the fact he had a true passion for his environment and that shows in his photographs. Peter Lik is a different kettle of fish all together… he is a bit hit and miss in that when he’s good he is amazing but he also has the ability to be average. What i most admire about him is his marketing acumen, he is a master of getting the most benefit from what he has.

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Question 4: If you able to give just one piece of advice to someone just starting out in their photographic career, what would it be?

Be you own quality control, never let anyone tell you what to like … If you like the picture and it means something to you then thats all you need. Also only ever show your best … we all have a pile of rubbish but no one EVER sees them.

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Question 5: Paint a picture: What is the one thing / place / person you would love to photograph and why? It can be a person or a moment from history. As part of this answer also tell us about what gear you’d use, what lighting, what looks, wardrobes, poses and expressions you’d make use.

I would love to photograph American National parks in Winter to capture the magnificence of Yosemite in the footsteps of Mr Adams. As for gear, you could give me a smart phone in that situation and I’d be happy.

If you want to know more about me, see my work, or get in touch I’m on pretty much everything on the web:

Website: www.daviehudsonphotography.biz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dundeedavie

Don’t forget you can also post in the comments section below, or join the fun over in the Ready Steady Pro Facebook Community

Would you like to take part in photography Q&A? Send us an email with your answers to the 5 questions and it could appear on this blog too! More details can be found on the Q&A Page

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Get Involved with Ready Steady Pro

Ready Steady Pro isn’t just a podcast and a blog. It’s a community of photographers who are all looking to learn and help each other out on the path to photographic success. Whether you’re looking to build a successful business or just improve your photography; Ready Steady Pro aims to be the resource to help you towards those goals.We want to help give back to you – the listeners of the Podcast, the readers of the blog and the contributors to the ever-growing and wonderful Ready Steady pro Group. So, here’s how you get involved with Ready Steady Pro and get yourself some more exposure out there on the World Wide Web:

Photography Q&A

In 2014 we launched the Ready Steady Pro Q&A Series. A simple, weekly feature on the blog where we ask 5 questions and share your answers with the world. The questions are always the same and excessive typing is encouraged!

RSP Q&A

Appear on the Podcast

Anyone can appear on the show, either as part of one of our great round-table discussions or for a one on one interview. If you’re up for a chat for all the world to listen to just fill out this form here: Appear on the Show

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Ready Steady Pro HQ

Write for Ready Steady Pro or Re-blog one of your posts

If you would like to Write for Ready Steady Pro It’s really easy to do – Just head over to the ‘Get Involved’ page and click ‘Write for Ready Steady Pro‘. Complete the form and we’ll send you all the details you’ll need.

Photographer In Focus

Each week we choose a photographer from a list of applicants a shine a light on their website and their work! It’s our way of saying thank you for joining the community and taking part! Apply here to appear as the ‘Photographer in Focus’

Photographer in Focus

Ask a Question

Or, just contact us if you have any questions

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Photography Q&A with Mark Playle

As part of the Ready Steady Pro Q&A Series we ask photographers from all backgrounds, niches and skill levels to answer 5 questions for the blog. This week, we hear from Mark Playle of Playle Photography.

Mark Playle

About Mark:

Based in Hertfordshire UK, I shoot Travel, Wildlife, Motorsport and Portrait. At the age of eight I became the proud owner of a Hanimex 110mm film camera. Over the years many makes and models have passed through my hands.

Here’s what Mark had to say when we him asked the 5 questions:

Question 1: What’s the one single thing that has had the largest positive impact on your photography so far?

In 2010 I decided to do a 365 Project. I thought this would be easy. Little did I know. There were days I loved, days I hated and could not think of anything to shoot. I used various cameras from a Nokia N95 to a Canon 1DS mkII and learnt so much from the project that I recommend everyone should try one. If you don’t fancy doing a 365 why not try one image a week for a year or an image a day for a month? There were days when I had to really use the old grey cells to come up with an idea or composition. This forced me to think a little differently for every image. I vividly remember taking every image even down to where I was when I took it. 2010 will be engraved in my memory forever.

Question 2: If you could start over again from scratch, what would be the one thing you would do differently?

I don’t think I would do anything differently. I’m not saying I’ve not made any mistakes, I’ve made plenty. I’d like to think I’ve learnt from them. The one thing I would have changed would have to be my brand. ‘Playle’ is not an easy name to pronounce or spell if you’ve not come across it before. Say Playlephotography.com to someone over the phone and you’ll see what I mean. It’s pronounced Play-all I believe it’s of French origin. I quite often get Player, Play-ley and many other manifestations. Changing brand now is just not an option. So my advice would be, think very carefully about your brand.

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Question 3: Who is the most influential photographer to you, and why? (Or, Which photographer do you admire the most, and why?)

I’d have to say three, Maurice Tabard, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau. These were all pioneers of our craft. True Masters. If you do not know these names just do a Google image search, I guarantee you will have seen some of their work before. The images created by these pioneers are remarkable. Just think for a moment. No Auto Focus, No 12 frames a second, No Histogram etc. Complete and full manual mode. It’s not just the technical side of photography these guys were masters of. The compositions, mood, feelings and emotion captured in some of their images are outstanding.

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Question 4: If you able to give just one piece of advice to someone just starting out in their photographic career, what would it be?

Going back to Q2. Brand is everything, if your customers can not pronounce or spell your brand from memory; word of mouth referrals become non-existent. Pick a brand that rolls off the tongue and you can’t go wrong. Remember your brand name also has to be available as a .com .co.uk .fr etc. Try to avoid a name similar to one that already exists.

Think very carefully about your brand, once you get established and have a following you will not be able to change it.

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Question 5: Paint a picture: What is the one thing / place / person you would love to photograph and why? It can be a person or a moment from history. As part of this answer also tell us about what gear you’d use, what lighting, what looks, wardrobes, poses and expressions you’d make use.

Being a complete geek I would love to take a picture of the crew from the first landing on the Lunar surface. As for the equipment, it’d have to be one of the original Hasselblad cameras. For lighting, I’d wait for the Sun to come up over the earth. I would take the standard group shot followed by asking them to all jump up at the same time whilst waving their hands in the air, sorry that should be in the vacuum.

Well, thanks so much for taking part in the Q&A Mark. For more information about Mark and his work you can find him at all of the following places:

Website: www.playlephotography.com
Website: www.roytrs.com
Blog: http://playlephotography.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/playleimagery
Google +: 
https://www.google.com/+MarkPlayle
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/playle/
Vimeo: 
http://vimeo.com/20675265

Have a question for Mark? Simply post in the comments section below, or join the fun over in the Ready Steady Pro Facebook Community

Would you like to take part in photography Q&A? Send us an email with your answers to the 5 questions and it could appear on this blog too! More details can be found on the Q&A Page

Photography Q&A with Terry Richards

As part of the Ready Steady Pro Q&A Series we ask photographers from all backgrounds, niches and skill levels to answer 5 questions for the blog. This week, we hear from Terry Richards of Terry Richards Photography.

Terry Richards

About Terry:

As already stated above, my name is Terry Richards, I am 33. I live in a tiny little town called Ingersoll, in Ontario Canada. I have always liked photography, whenever I got the chance when I was younger I would nab my dads slr and waste a few frames (didn’t really know what I was doing back then. When I was finishing up school I actually wanted to go to college for photography and graphic design, but due to circumstances that never happened and I forgot about photography for several years. Then almost exactly 3 years ago without really thinking much about it I decided to buy a Nikon D7000. I spent the next two years watching every online video that I could find learning how to use it. Then last year I was asked by a couple friends to photograph their wedding (isn’t that how it always starts?)

After that I was hooked, I started a website, started advertising, I did 5 weddings this summer, and so far have 6 booked for next. I also do family and portrait shoots as well. My wife is also a very important part of my business, she is a great help on wedding days, she is fantastic at posing the group shots and helping out with second shooting, and she makes the day go a lot smoother for me!

Its been a great but very busy year and quite the learning experience. like most new photographers my pricing at the beginning wasn’t were it should be, however I have been able to quickly raise my pricing and am actually getting ready to raise them again in the new year. Podcasts like this one as well as The Photo Biz Exposed podcast have really been a huge help in guiding me through all this!

Also like a lot of the other listeners and interviewees of this podcast I have a regular day job (sort of) I have my own Janitorial business which is convenient because it leaves me flexible to work on my photography business.

I think thats about it

Here’s what Terry had to say when we him asked the 5 questions:

Question 1: What’s the one single thing that has had the largest positive impact on your photography so far?

Photography and business podcasts, as well as online training sites like Kelby Training….. (sorry that was more than 1!)

Question 2: If you could start over again from scratch, what would be the one thing you would do differently?

Not really sure, I would probably try and be a little more creative with the name of my business. Terry Richards Photography isn’t all that creative for someone in a creative industry is it?

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Question 3: Who is the most influential photographer to you, and why? (Or, Which photographer do you admire the most, and why?)

Only one?? I don’t really have just one in particular, I really like Cliff Mautner, David Ziser, Joe Mcnally… If I did have to pick just one it would probably be Jay Maisel. As for why, kinda self explanatory isn’t it? Lol, they’re the best at what they do!

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Question 4: If you able to give just one piece of advice to someone just starting out in their photographic career, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to raise your prices. Just about everyone is going to do 1 or 2 weddings on the cheap to gain experience and build a portfolio, and that is ok. But don’t get stuck there, its not that hard to raise your prices and still book work! Also make sure not to take on something as important as someones wedding day until you are sure you are ready, and are confident you can shoot the day without messing it up!

Question 5: Paint a picture: What is the one thing / place / person you would love to photograph and why? It can be a person or a moment from history. As part of this answer also tell us about what gear you’d use, what lighting, what looks, wardrobes, poses and expressions you’d make use.

Hummm…. Just about any important time in history, pick one, I think it would be awesome to be able to be there and document it, especially before cameras were invented. It would be amazing to have photos of People like Napoleon, or Alexander The Great. Any of the thousands of historical battles.

TerryRichards

Well, thanks so much for taking part in the Q&A Terry. For more information about Terry and his work you can find him at all of the following places:

Website: http://terryrichards.com/
Blog: http://terryrichards.com/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PhotographybyTerryRichards

Have a question for Terry? Simply post in the comments section below, or join the fun over in the Ready Steady Pro Facebook Community

Would you like to take part in photography Q&A? Send us an email with your answers to the 5 questions and it could appear on this blog too! More details can be found on the Q&A Page

Photography Q&A with Hayley Hay

As part of the Ready Steady Pro Q&A Series we ask photographers from all backgrounds, niches and skill levels to answer 5 questions for the blog. This week, we hear from Hayley Hay of Hayley Hay Photography.

Hayley Hay

About Hayley:

Hayley is a British photographer who recently moved from Brighton to Lausanne, Switzerland. Hayley specialises in children and family portraiture using mostly natural light. Since the move to Switzerland, Hayley has enjoyed discovering the country through photographing families at various beautiful locations, whether is is in the mountains, by the lake or in the vineyards! She works part time as a photographer as she has two small boys who keep her very busy the rest of the time!

Here’s what Hayley had to say when we her asked the 5 questions:

Question 1: What’s the one single thing that has had the largest positive impact on your photography so far?

First and foremost has been the birth of my children, they inspired me to take up photography in the first place as I love capturing them at different stages in their lives and seeing how much they have changed over the years and they are my absolute muses. I get so much enjoyment out of photographing them! The second largest positive impact on my photography, believe it or not, is Facebook! I have found so many photography groups and pages, other photographers to be inspired by and clients etc through Facebook. It was through facebook that I first learnt of the guild of photographers, which for me has been such a huge help to my photography career and of course then through them I learnt of Ready Steady Pro which is such a great resource. I continue to be inspired by so many other photographers and their work that I see through Facebook and I learn so much about various aspects of photography through all the pages that I have joined. It really has opened up so many doors for me. It is by far the most useful marketing media for me. I would say that most of my clients come from facebook in one way or another!

Question 2: If you could start over again from scratch, what would be the one thing you would do differently?

I think I would be better prepared all round. I would ensure that I knew my market before diving in at the deep end and I would have done a bit more research into my pricing structure from the outset rather than having to adjust it along the way! It would have been a great help to me to have been a member of some photography groups before I set up as any questions that I have had could have been easily answered through them rather than trying to work things out for myself. That would be very important to me if I was starting up again…I would say it would be one of the most important things to begin with by asking other photographers questions about how they operate their business and learning from them rather than having to learn from making mistakes!

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Question 3: Who is the most influential photographer to you, and why? (Or, Which photographer do you admire the most, and why?)

Now this is a hard one to answer, I admire so many photographers out there and find it hard to choose just one….so I’m going to list a few that I love instead and these photographers really inspire me!

First up and not in any particular order is Cris Stephens, her work is beautifully artful and her images are so dramatic, she adores black and white (which I’m a bit of a sucker for too!) and every image she captures tells such a story.
http://www.crisstephensphotography.com.

The second is Carrie Ann Grippo-Pike from Captured by Carrie photography. Her images are just stunning, both portrait and wildlife. I particularly love the simplicity of her nature and wildlife shots, she is wonderfully creative! http://www.facebook.com/capturedbycarriephotography.

Then there is the AMAZING Adriana Varela from http://adrianavarelaphotography.com. I absolutely adore her work. She has all sons like me and the way she captures them is truly magical. There is so much soul in each photo! Having two boys, I know how how hard it can be sometimes to get a good photo of them together…they just don’t stop running around for a minute….I guess this is why she has developed such an authentic, candid style, which is just beautiful!

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Question 4: If you able to give just one piece of advice to someone just starting out in their photographic career, what would it be?

One of the biggest struggles I have had is the amount of time I spend on my work and finding the right work/life balance. I have two small children so photography is only part time for me at the moment. I think it’s really important to determine from the outset how much time you plan to spend per customer, on each photo session. This, in turn will help you determine your pricing structure based on the amount of time you put in! Also I highly recommend setting up a spreadsheet from the beginning for your accounting, that has saved me so much time. Oh and one more thing (this is a bit more than one piece of advice..I know!)….get out there and photograph for fun too….it’s important to continue enjoying your passion as a hobby as well as a job!

Question 5: Paint a picture: What is the one thing / place / person you would love to photograph and why? It can be a person or a moment from history. As part of this answer also tell us about what gear you’d use, what lighting, what looks, wardrobes, poses and expressions you’d make use.

I love photographing people, particularly children as they are so unaffected by the camera (usually!), that you can really capture their true essence. I specialise in children and family photography and more recently I’ve been doing more maternity sessions. I’ve enjoyed these shoots a lot, as it gives me the opportunity and time to be a bit more creative. It’s hard to think of a particular place or subject that I would like to photograph but I would love to venture in to fashion photography and to do more styled shoots. I’ve only photographed two weddings in the past and I had so much fun so I’d love to capture more weddings as it’s such a happy event to photograph! Oh and one more thing….I talked about steel wool photography recently with some photographer friends and we’re really keen to give that a go…something completely different but fun and with a fabulous effect….just hope we don’t set ourselves on fire!!! So for this I have researched what we would need, here goes: steel wool, a whisk, steel cable or chain, tripod for camera for a very long exposure, lighter or matches and then protective clothing for skin, hair and eyes…sounds a bit risky but I would love to try it and the best time of night to do it is around 30 minutes after sunset!

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Well, thanks so much for taking part in the Q&A Hayley. For more information about Hayley and her work you can find her at all of the following places:

Website: http://www.hayleyhayphotography.com/
Blog: http://www.hayleyhayphotography.com/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HayleyHayPhotography

Have a question for Hayley? Simply post in the comments section below, or join the fun over in the Ready Steady Pro Facebook Community

Would you like to take part in photography Q&A? Send us an email with your answers to the 5 questions and it could appear on this blog too! More details can be found on the Q&A Page

Photography Q&A with Michael Rammell

As part of the Ready Steady Pro Q&A Series we ask photographers from all backgrounds, niches and skill levels to answer 5 questions for the blog. This week, we hear from, well…erm..me! Michael Rammell of Rammell Photography & Rammell Studios.

Michael Rammell
Michael Rammell

About Michael:

Compared to many I’ve not been a photographer long at all. I picked up my first ‘proper’ DSLR back in 2009 and was quickly bitten by the bug, as so many people are. I’m a married man with two children and live in Berkshire in the South East of England. In terms of my photography I’m probably most known for my wedding work. Like so many that make their way into photography I too found my way into weddings some time ago and again became a little obsessed. I have / am however intentionally moving into the head shot / portrait space at the moment. I’m keen to get back to working with studio lighting and making use of what I consider to be my best skill (aside from using the camera): interacting with people. With head shots and portraits it’s more about the relationship between the photographer and the subject – being able to ‘extract’ that expression from the person you’re photographing. It’s that process more than anything that I enjoy the most, so when you mix that with making photographs it’s heaven for me. In addition to making photographs I am of course the host of this very show – The Ready Steady Pro Photography Podcast. I started it all back in September 2013 with a few things in mind; firstly – to actually be a podcast ‘made in the UK’. So many of the big podcasts out there at the moment are US or Canadian-based and I’m keen to get some representation for the UK photography community on the iTunes and Podcasting stage. Secondly though, and the actual primary focus / intention of this podcast is to help emerging photographers making their way into the industry. Not only helping them make a success of their photography business, but also to help them do things the right way: not underpricing and damaging the industry for example. With my background in business and having fallen down a few holes myself over the past few years I felt I had a lot to share and I knew that there were a lot of people just like me with lots to share as well. So, that’s how the Podcast and the Community on Facebook began! So that’s me: Photographer, Father, Podcaster. Oh, I shoot Nature, Wildlife & Landscapes too, but that’s for me 😉

Having asked so many other guests these 5 questions, here are my own responses:

Question 1: What’s the one single thing that has had the largest positive impact on your photography so far?

I knew when I was coming up with these questions that I wanted to make them the sort of questions that would challenge the photographer to think. I didn’t however consider that I’d be answering my own questions at some point…this is a tough one. There are so many things and combinations of things that have contributed in massively positive ways towards my photography and towards my business. If you were asking me what has improved my actual photography though, as in, making photographs, I’d have to say that the one single thing to have improved me the most has been to just give up the gear obsession. It really is that simple.

By not obsessing with gear you free up your mind to focus on the craft. Rather than searching the internet for new lenses and figuring out what I was going to buy next and watching YouTube Reviews of the latest equipment, I instead found myself reading articles on vision, on business, on light, on technique and so much more. I learnt more about photography the moment I gave up this silly obsession with shiny lenses and the latest camera’s. Furthermore it saved me money too!

So many ‘photographers’ have all the gear, but in truth (and we all know this) the thing that separates us from Uncle Bob or the photographer-next-door is our vision and eye for light. WE are the difference. Not the gear. Sure, gear is important. The right lens for the right job and all that, but really, I think I’d be pretty confident to say that I could shoot a wedding or a portrait with less than full professional gear. The reason I say this is because camera’s and lenses are all of such a high quality now that you’d be amazed at what you can do with some of the lesser equipment. For example: remember that photograph of the great Muhammed Ali, knocking down Sonny Liston from back in 1965…what gear do you suppose Neil Leifer (the photographer who made the photograph) used for that photograph? He sure didn’t have auto focus, or an LCD screen to check out if it was all in the frame. The gear matters very little, you matter more than anything. That has been the biggest revelation to my photography. If you can give up an obsession with gear you will become a photographer unchained.

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Question 2: If you could start over again from scratch, what would be the one thing you would do differently?

Despite saying that giving up an obsession with gear was the one biggest thing that has improved my photography, I wouldn’t change that, or try to give up the obsession sooner. Sounds ludicrous I know but if I didn’t experience that obsession when I did, then perhaps it may have come round when I make more money and eat into my success then. That is a hurdle I had to jump in my own time. But, if I were starting out and were to do something differently, I’d definitely have joined a community, group or society sooner. I’m not talking any old Facebook group with other photographers – I’m talking about a buddy group of sorts with a good combination of social chatter and business-minded talking.

The reason I say this is because I believe that you cannot learn everything through your own experiences. Meaning that just because you’ve done something or read something does not mean you’ve learnt something, or learnt it the right or best way. In short – a community of great photographers, business people and friends is a powerful thing.

You can go into these groups, be confident to ask any question you like without fear of ridicule and have plenty of options put on the table for you. This is something I do regularly even today in both the Guild of Photographers community and the Ready Steady Pro Facebook community. Both of these groups are filled with a variety of people at all different stages of their photographic careers. Some have been around for 20+ years, others for a matter of months. The beauty here is that new people always question why things are done the way they are and the old guard, so to speak, can tell you why they aren’t done the way they’re not done. In the Ready Steady Pro group for example we’ve got newborn photographers from the North of England to the South, we’ve got Wedding Photographers from UK, US, Australia and commercial photographers from Singapore. We’ve got stock photographers, head shot photographers, portrait photographers and so much more. Not only that, this eclectic mix of creatives are a really friendly bunch too. I’ll admit I’m not quite sure how it’s happened but we’ve pulled together an amazing group of photographers from all walks of life. It’s a group I can no longer live without!

So, join a group, a community or a club. It’ll raise your game, question your thinking and be a hell of useful resource if you have questions. Doing this sooner would have made my life in the early days much, much easier!

This photograph is CopyRight property of Rammell Photography

Question 3: Who is the most influential photographer to you, and why? (Or, Which photographer do you admire the most, and why?)

Another question where I see guests often replying with more than just one photographer. So, I’ll do the same. I also have two huge influences on my photographic work:

Jerry Ghionis – Jerry is a master of light, a master of posing, and an astute businessman. For me Jerry has it all as a photographer. Not only can Jerry make amazing photographs no matter what the situation and lighting, he really knows his stuff when it comes to pricing, business models, sales and marketing and more. I’ve watched so many of Jerry’s video’s, read interviews and sat through Web Casts on the ICE Society website – never before have I found a photographer to be so engaging and interesting. I simply love everything that Jerry does. Of Jerry’s style, I’d call it ‘truly unique’ (because lets face it not everyone’s work is unique at all nowadays) and beautiful. Just really classy photography. Another thing that appeals to me so much about Jerry is his demeanour. He’s a real chameleon in that he can really adjust his approach to any situation and client. He can be the calm  guy, the lad, the joker and the ladies man. These are all the things you need to be to successfully negotiate a wedding day. More than anything though Jerry’s posing is second to none. Just watch him work with a bride and groom or a model. He has an eye for detail that you rarely see on photographers today.

The second photographer would have to be Martin Bailey. A hugely different photographer to Jerry in that Martin doesn’t even photograph people. Martin Bailey is a UK-Born Japanese citizen of over 20 years. Martin Photographs Nature & Wildlife and runs photography tours and workshops all over the world including Hokkaido in Japan, Iceland, Kenya, the Antarctic and more. The reason I follow Martin so closely is not only because he is also an amazing photographer, but also because of Martin’s technicality. Martin really know’s his stuff and can share and teach in a way that is very digestible. Martin runs a photography Podcast that is over 400 episodes old now and I’ve been through every single episode. As well as shooting, teaching and Podcasting Martin has also written a number of eBooks for Craft & Vision. One of these books is called ‘Making the Print’, in this Martin reveals some incredible tips and advice that only improves your photography, it also helps you shoot in a way that will improve the end-product print. Martin Bailey is a photographer I trust and believe in when it comes to technology, technique and nature & wildlife photography.

I also have to give a mention to Cliff Mautner, Susan Stripling and Joe Buissink for their work too. I know all of the names I’ve listed for wedding photographers are pretty much big names in the industry and you’ve perhaps heard of them all before, but the reason I believe in these people and find them influental is because they’re actually out there doing it, they’ve made it big, they’re a success. They’re not just shooting weddings at high prices, they’re also touring the world and teaching others all about that too. These guys know what they’re talking about, they’re great at what they do and that’s why they’re the so called ‘big names’.

RammellPhotography_Chloe&JohnnyPiggot-1

Question 4: If you able to give just one piece of advice to someone just starting out in their photographic career, what would it be?

I started this blog and this podcast because I’ve more than one piece of advise to give, so it’s hard to choose just one. But, for the sort of person I imagine to be reading this right now and for the person that Ready Steady Pro is aimed at, my one piece of advice would be: “Don’t demonise the day job”.

Nearly all of the advice out there, especially from the pro’s already in the market and the message being delivered by many videos and products is ‘Go Pro!’. Whilst I believe that if anyone has the business skills (firstly) and is a great photographer (secondarily) they can go pro, I would advise people to slow down, calm down and don’t just jump! There is a plan B you know!

All too easily people can jack in their day jobs today and make a go of being a full time photographer. It’s easy to be lead into thinking this with all of the success stories you’re seeing on the internet and media. I’m not saying you should not do this, but what I am saying is that you don’t have to. You can keep your day job too for now. Many photographers in the industry also have a second source of income, whether it be teaching, online classes or subscription-type services, product endorsements, or…believe it or not…a day job! That’s right. With so many people flooding into the photography industry it has become more and more of a saturated market. You have to do more to stand out now. If you’re a working photographer times are harder than they’ve ever been and you may have to take work you’d otherwise prefer not to take. Well why not keep the day job, or go part time. Transition your way into the industry perhaps.

This may sound like a really contrasting bit of advice compared to what you’re hearing from the rest of the internet masses, but working for yourself isn’t just about making good photographs, it’s about cash flow management, diligence, taxes, paperwork, advertising, marketing, sales and a whole lot more. Not to mention that your credit situation changes once you’re self employed. If you’re looking at a mortgage your situation can be taken into account. Sporadity of work can really hamper the amount banks will lend you. I’m not trying to scare you here, just giving you some facts.

I’m working my way towards full time too, but I am planning my transition to be long-term. Over the course of 5 years starting in 2015 (after my wife has finished her year off on maternity leave). I’d rather do it right.

So, my one piece of advice: Don’t demonise the day job. Bide your time, suck it up, keep going to work, earn that regular wage and then enjoy photography and be selective about the work you take, because you can afford to be selective.

Question 5: Paint a picture: What is the one thing / place / person you would love to photograph and why? It can be a person or a moment from history. As part of this answer also tell us about what gear you’d use, what lighting, what looks, wardrobes, poses and expressions you’d make use.

It’d have to be a day of shooting portraits in the most interesting place in the world: London.

I’d setup a portable studio in South Bank. I’d have a two light setup and photograph strangers as they pass. I’d ask them to step into the booth / portable studio type setup that I’ve got and I’d work through a series of expressions with them. At first I’d imagine many would be nervous & confused, but after a few minutes I think I’d be able to get a really ‘cool’ picture of them.

I’d take email addresses and send them a link to the page where I’ll post all the portraits. Those willing to pay the printing and shipping costs can have a copy of their portraits.

This would be less about the actual end photograph as such and more about the project and the process of photographing and interacting with all of those people. I’d love to get it to 100 / 150 people in a day and then put together a small book.

Anything to Add?

Yes! I just want to finish by saying that in an industry such as photography, where everyone is creative, you cannot just be better. You have to be different. Being better is not good enough. You have to have something unique about you and your work. You have to stand out for something, be associated with something, be ‘that guy who does that thing’ rather than just another great photographer. In truth, there are more great photographers than the world has room for. I’m sure in your local area there are a handful of great photographers. So, be different. Not just better.

On top of that: Join a community, give up obsessing with gear, go to night school, college, university or some other establishment and learn about business. Find a great accountant that knows about taxes. Listen to Podcasts and shoot every day. Be better and be different. Give back to others by paying it forward, be kind to others and help when people need it. If you’re kind on the way up, you’ll have friends if you find yourself on the way back down…That’s the key to success. It’s that simple 😉

If you want to know more about me, see my work, or get in touch I’m on pretty much everything on the web:

Personal Work: www.MichaelRammell.com 
Wedding Website: 
www.RammellPhotography.com
Blog: www.ReadySteadyPro.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mikerammell
Twitter: @RammellPhoto / @ReadySteadyPro
Google+: www.plus.google.com/+MichaelRammell 
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/rammellphoto/
Instagramhttp://instagram.com/rammellphoto

Don’t forget you can also post in the comments section below, or join the fun over in the Ready Steady Pro Facebook Community

Would you like to take part in photography Q&A? Send us an email with your answers to the 5 questions and it could appear on this blog too! More details can be found on the Q&A Page

Photography Q&A with Simon Dewey

As part of the Ready Steady Pro Q&A Series we ask photographers from all backgrounds, niches and skill levels to answer 5 questions for the blog. This week, we hear from Simon Dewey of Simon Dewey Photography.

SimonDewey_Q&A

About Simon:

I’ve been a photographer for a relatively short period of time – I came to it just before the birth of my first son, who’s now four. I’m generally quite musical and creative, but I never had any aptitude for the visual arts – (my art teachers pretty much wrote me off in secondary school). I tend to photograph weddings – mainly because so many big things happen in such a short space of time – but pick up other fun assignments along the way. Up until now I’ve been juggling work with an NHS job, but have been served redundancy and am planning to work as a full time photographer 2014.

Here’s what Simon had to say when we him asked the 5 questions:

Question 1: What’s the one single thing that has had the largest positive impact on your photography so far?

Realising that I don’t have to please everyone. In fact I’d go one step further and say that you don’t have to please anyone. Good service is essential, but when it comes to your style and the way you get your results, doing what everyone else is doing will only bring mediocrity. I’m still finding my voice, but I think I manage to attract a premium just by using it. There are photographers out there who are absolutely terrible technically, but they have their own thing and there own niche market.

Question 2: If you could start over again from scratch, what would be the one thing you would do differently?

Come to the realisation above sooner!

Everyone says you should focus on your brand and your business before the photography – set the prices for the money you need to live on and run the business etc… but to be honest my brand grew out of the photography and finding my style. Knowing my ideal target market grew out of analysing my best clients, so I did it all backwards from what many advise is the best way. Not that I’m saying my way was better – I see plenty of photographers falling out of business around me using my approach!

PROPHOTO SL 3 mobile

Question 3: Who is the most influential photographer to you, and why? (Or, Which photographer do you admire the most, and why?)

There are two that spring to mind: 

  1. Alex Webb. He’s the one photographer that has it all for me. He has such a dramatic way of using light and colour, and his eye for a perfectly timed moment is impeccable. I love the way he balances seemingly impossibly complicated compositions – to the extent that a lot of the time he’s inventing his own visual vernacular.
  2. Trent Parke. He’s a street photographer in the broadest sense of the term. His pictures are often dreamlike and ethereal and more about the experience than the visual representation. He tends to use grainy black and white film and develop on the road, yet he constantly pushes, uses and abuses the technical limitations of his process.

I was reading a David Duchemin book on creativity (recommended by Michael Rammell!) last night and he was talking about the positive effect constraints can have on the creative process (something that I always believed and used to my advantage when I was a musician) and I think Trent Parke’s work only goes to prove this.

Prophoto SL BRidesmaids

Question 4: If you able to give just one piece of advice to someone just starting out in their photographic career, what would it be?

If it’s not fun, change it.

Seriously, it’s your business and your creation. The only compulsory part is filing your tax return, and everything else is a matter of choice. If you’re heading in the wrong direction your gut will let you know. Being able to pay the bills is a side effect of having an enjoyable business – if you love what you’re doing and then it shows, which attracts clients in itself. You produce better work. It’s a cycle.

But like lots of other photographers I can make myself incredibly stressed and anxious. I think it comes with the territory where you’re trying to live off a creative well – you have no idea if there will be water tomorrow or if it will be drinkable. As we all know most of us are juggling another job and family commitments whilst our elders constantly remind us that we’d be better off finding another source of income!

I have been studying mindfulness recently – the art of letting it all go and living in the present. It’s quite similar to the Buddhist outlook.

Question 5: Paint a picture: What is the one thing / place / person you would love to photograph and why? It can be a person or a moment from history. As part of this answer also tell us about what gear you’d use, what lighting, what looks, wardrobes, poses and expressions you’d make use.

I love music and I’d love to do more music work with backstage access, huge lightshows etc. I think I’d be in my element. Maybe Bowie, at any point in the 70’s. I’d take one of the later Nikon digital bodies back in time with me though. I always get a second wind at a wedding if they have a live band. I’ve just had an enquiry for a wedding at a beautiful venue in Richmond Park, maybe Bowie will be within their budget!

best of 2013-6177

Well, thanks so much for taking part in the Q&A Simon. For more information about Simon and his work you can find him at all of the following places:

Website: http://www.simondewey.co.uk/
Blog: http://www.simondewey.co.uk/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simondeweyphotography
Twitter: https://twitter.com/simondeweyphoto

Have a question for Simon? Simply post in the comments section below, or join the fun over in the Ready Steady Pro Facebook Community

Would you like to take part in photography Q&A? Send us an email with your answers to the 5 questions and it could appear on this blog too! More details can be found on the Q&A Page