What Sort of Photographer am I?
I am often asked what “sort” of photographer I am; usually by potential clients. And it’s a really interesting question that I guess every pro photographer gets asked. As a free-lance photographer, I decided some years ago that I did not want to pin myself down to a specific “niche” as is often recommended as the proper course of action in Camera magazines; to set yourself apart from the others. I frankly didn’t see the point. I am certainly a generalist; which, before I hear you sniff, is a good thing.
Most people with a camera can hit the quality mark from time-to-time with an image, but my aim is to get “every” photograph right; being a generalist photographer allows me to shoot in multi-environments, with a multitude of subjects and with or without the right ambient light as a starting point (cos it’s really all about the light!)
As a professional photographer, this is clearly important, not least because it saves time. You see, I am not a brilliant salesman, and my marketing also leaves a great deal to be desired. So why do people hire me? Well, I absolutely have to get the images right – and my images work (that’s a good starting point!); every single one of my clients has told me I have hit the mark well. But it is more than this. I often shoot solo, and I travel relatively light (which is not always possible!) Because of this, I have a certain flexibility that allows me the freedom to employ my own specific photographic skills and style.
I found myself last year in Libya, the Arctic, Iraq, Switzerland, Dubai, Poland, Nepal…. in deserts, on glaciers, in body-armour, on elephants, in International board-rooms, with circus performers, soldiers in the mud, professional models or with poverty-stricken street kids.
I have photographed for huge companies such as Lidl and Coca-Cola, and I have photographed for small business websites. I have photographed in the most beautiful buildings in London, or at 6000 metres strapped to a helicopter in the Himalayas.
I have taken portraits of individuals; senior Royals or random street encounters, using available ambient light or 4 strobes fired by radio trigger.
As a “Generalist”, this is where I want to be; in some respects it allows me much more freedom than those who photograph niche activities, and it’s really exciting! It allows me to bring to bear the full variety of my photographic skills and experiences to each individual client or project, no matter the size. And importantly, I arrive on time, in the right place, and provide high-quality results even in tight-deadlines (how’s that for a bit of advertising!)
It all sounds a bit like I’m bragging, but I am actually just answering the question.
So what sort of photographer am I? Well, for the time being……A happy one!