Richard, what's your background in photography?
I started as a hobbyist when my parents gave me a Yashica FX3 as a teenager. I quickly startedlearning the craft, buying a couple of extra lenses along the way. Photography came and went overthe coming years with different cameras, but became a big focus 7 years ago when I upgraded to a new camera and lenses.
What inspires you to take photographs?
Photography has so many different aspects that I find myself continuously learning - the theory, the gadgetry and the artistry are all interesting to me. But I think, ultimately, I enjoy capturing a scene or object into what I consider to be a well-composed image.
How do you know what to photograph?
I’m still trying to work out my main genre of photography (landscape, architecture etc.), so I’ll have a go at most things.
I will usually plan a photo shoot of a subject that gives me an opportunity to try a new piece of kit or a new technique. I often find that the final product is different from what I might have hoped, but there are always learnings along the way which keep me picking up my camera.
One time I read of someone who was experimenting with re-purposing his photos, with interesting results, using an old photo as a background. At the time, I was entering a contest for an oil and water image, so I decided to try to incorporate a repurposed photo. One image shows the insides of a piano with the oil and water on top (you can see the diagonal wires). Another is a background of horizontal camera movement on Wellington Harbors’ lights. The challenge was how to do it. I displayed the old images on a horizontal screen and put the oil and water on top, resulting in a top-down photo.
I can be inspired by seeing other people’s work. One time I was keen to emulate a street light scene from a high building. The challenge for this image was, of course, the location, but also how to deal with the reflections on the window from the internal lights. In the end, I purchased some large rubber hoods online, and I was pleased with the result.
Another time I saw a tabletop still life that I liked and decided to emulate. Looking at my version of the desktop again now, I'd do it differently, but it was fun to try at the time.
I will also go out for a few hours on the weekend with an idea in mind if time allows, often returning to an area or subject where I’ve not previously had my camera with me.
How do you improve your photography and continue to learn?
I’m always reading photography books or reading articles on a given topic or technique I’m interested in. I’m always on the lookout for the next course to complete, and I follow several YouTube channels. I also challenge myself to reproduce interesting photographic techniques I might come across, and I also find that entering competitions can also be a good challenge.
Tell us about being a member of the Excio Image Gallery, what made you join?
I became interested in stock photography through having so many photos that just sit on a disk unseen. Also, the idea of potentially making money from my photos was appealing. My wife initially showed me an interesting article about Excio, and after looking at several other options, I joined Excio. I plan to put more time into my portfolio in the future and am looking forward to learning more about stock photography in general and getting to know the community members.