How did you become a photographer and what type or genre of photography do you enjoy most?
I have always had a passion for photography and from a child my intention was to become a photographer. After attending Reigate College of Art & Design on a foundation diploma I decided to specialise in Graphic Design and Illustration. Upon receiving my degree I pursued my career starting as a pate up artist then onto creative leadership and direction. I moved to New Zealand in 1994 and worked as creative leads and studio management, all these positions still involved photography but mainly as director. In 2006 I was offered a position at Te Papa Tongarewa as graphic production manager and again involved in exhibition and artefact photography. Following my time at Te Papa I have worked in the GLAM sector for Auckland War Memorial Museum and Tauranga Art Galley as exhibition project manager, exhibition designer respectively. After a break and working in the motorcycle industry in 2020 I decided to follow my real passion and get back into photography.
The things I love to photograph are wildlife, particularly birds (which takes an incredible amount of patience and stealth!) I have also just started doing landscape photography and really enjoy the technical side of setting up for long exposure scenes. I cannot go past sunrise and sunset shots, our house in Bethlehem is on a hill facing west looking at the Kaimai Hills so, just about every evening, I get a lot of inspiration.
What gear are you shooting with?
I’m shooting with a Sony A7II with various lenses. My main on-the-camera lens is a Sony 24-105mm F4, I also have a Sigma 100-400mm for wildlife and sport shots. For general indoors I have just picked up a Samyang 50mm F1.4 MkII, fast enough for low light and OK for landscapes.
I used to be a Canon shooter until 3 or 4 year ago but made the move to Sony when I wanted something light for travel. I originally switched to an APSC camera Sony A6400, this gave fantastic results but it just didn’t have the dynamic range of the full frame Sony A7II.
Have you sold photographs through an image library before?
I have tried selling my shots through images libraries like Picfair without success. I found the site quite hard to manage and there was no real promotion activity for my images. I joined Excio over a year ago and really like the support and personal attention that I receive, I’m hoping as my portfolio gathers momentum that I get the rewards for my creative work.
How do you select which images to publish for sale and how do you prepare them?
Choosing the shots that I want to upload for potential sale is difficult and time-consuming, but I really do enjoy preparing the images I have chosen in-post. It fits perfectly with my expertise in Photoshop and Lightroom.
Part of my problem is that I am very self-critical and if the image isn’t exactly as I require for my high standards I just don’t use it, I have been told that I am far too critical. This is both a good thing and a bad thing as sometimes I dismiss perfectly good shots, but I still think it is a good thing to be self-critical - something we were taught at art college.
As you can image there are many reasons why I am so particular about my choices, I think my creative background from layout and paste-up artist, illustrator, graphic designer and production management have embedded a real eye for detail. If a photo has an out of focus subject or I cannot make the composition fit with what I envisaged then I have a tendency to disregard or put to one side the image. I’m a great believer in 'you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Once I have browsed through my images I look for the best images (in my opinion) and save them in a output folder in Lightroom. I may resize the images with a focus on composition and give them a once over for any blemishes. I then look at exposure and contrast, generally making minor changes to these areas, because of the dynamic range of my camera I will normally slightly under expose most shots. Sometimes when I want to be more creative I will utilise masks or brush masks in Lightroom but for anything major I will export into Photoshop. For example, If I want to remove an unsightly branch or piece of grass that could ruin the composition. I will also check for background noise and sharpness before exporting/saving the file.
I only shoot RAW as this provides far more image information, allowing you to capture more detail and greater dynamic range from your camera sensor. More flexibility for editing!
Tell us more about your expertise in Lightroom and Photoshop...
As my background (over 30 years) has been in graphic design and graphic production I have been using Photoshop for many years and Lightroom within my production management positions since Adobe released it. Whether for personal use or work I have always been self taught in creative programs and like to try and push limitations of the software.
I also spent many years using Photoshop for image optimisation for online use in Websites, Social Media and specialise in 4 colour plus spot colour label printing.
What has been the most challenging aspect for you so far?
Getting out and taking photos has been my biggest struggle. I have, until recently, been very time poor due to my work so getting motivated has been difficult. However, there is nothing like a new lens to get you motivated and getting out to places that you know have potential for the shot you might be looking for or going somewhere new that you know has potential - we live in New Zealand after all so it can’t be that hard!
Where do you hope to see the photographs that you are selling with Excio being used?
I would love for my images to be used commercially for tourism, brochures, magazines, and in print. I would also be proud to see some of my images framed and hanging in homes, hotels, or galleries.
Do you plan to make selling photographs your main source of income or is it still more of a hobby?
It would be nice to have selling images and/or framed prints as my main source of income but in reality, I believe it will still be a passionate hobby.
What do you like most about the Excio Image Library?
I think the best part is that it is New Zealand based. It’s easy to upload my images and offer them for sale and you get a personal service, any problems are generally answered quickly.
Can you tell us about your favorite photo?
My favourite photo to date has to be this Tui image, I returned from being away and awoke the following morning hearing this bird in the distance. I mimicked the call and it came flying in to investigate landing on the flax outside our kitchen window.
Where can we find you online?
What else would you like to share with us?
I have recently set up a studio at home and look to progress my photography into studio product shoots and portrait work. Being a bit of a tech geek I have complimented my photography with drone videography and aerial photography, this is a work in progress but I love the opportunity to be able to see things from a very different angle and perspective.