June 13, 2020

Questions and Answers

Hey everyone, hope you are keeping well and thanks for joining me here where we will discuss some of the questions you put forward on my Instagram Questions and Answers story. Here I can respond and delve into more depth than we can on Instagram.

I have included the majority of questions you guys asked but also some more informative and educational questions that might help you out in shooting, editing and building a killer Instagram feed.

Okay, lets jump into the questions and answers…

Life and Childhood

Where did you grow up?

Born and raised in the North East of England where I still call home. With good access to Northumberland’s finest beaches and countryside you’re never far away from adventure.

Best Childhood memory?

Not necessarily the best memory, but definitely the most memorable…

On an early family holiday to Menorca, I went swimming out to sea and rested on a rock. Little did I know I had just sat on a jellyfish and had been stung. After returning to shore, me fearing I was about to die, my brother’s first reaction was … “can I wee on you? That will stop the stinging” LOL

Life Plan

Are you a full time photographer?

Not as of yet, I still work in the construction industry full time but earn a small amount from my photography work. Still working towards making it a full-time career, maybe 2021?

Goals for the future? Do you have a life plan?

I try not to dwell on this subject too often, so do not have a set life plan. I have a small idea in my head of what the future might look like but I try to live in the present rather than dream about the future. 

Adventure and Travel

Top 3 places to travel after COVID-19?

There are many places I would love to travel to once it’s safe to do so and revisiting some of my favourite countries will be high on the travel list. I cannot wait to get back to Scotland and climb some mountains, return to the Faroe Islands as my last trip was cancelled and head to the West of Iceland to see some new places. These are my favourite places to adventure to and I look forward to making new memories here with my loved ones and friends.

Favourite city you’ve been too?

I am not one for city visits, I find them very claustrophobic and too busy for my mental state. Saying that I have visited Edinburgh a couple of times and there is something magical about that city.

If you could only shoot in one location for the rest of your life…where?

The Scottish Highlands would be my choice or more specifically Glencoe. The area is super diverse with mountains, lochs, wildlife and some of the best roads to drive on. A place that would easily keep me inspired for a long time.

Is there a place you feel most at home?

As I grew up by the coast, I always feel most at home by the sea. This is why I really enjoy my time in the Faroe Islands, exploring with the mountains and sea so close to one another. Maybe, one day, I could call this place home for a while.

What is the most memorable moment from your travels?

Wow, okay, where do I start? I’m struggling to narrow It down to one moment, each trip is always so memorable creating and travelling with my nearest and dearest. For me, it’s probably the trips where you’ve chased sunrise and sunset for a week, you’re tired, drained of all energy but the laughs and experiences keep your motivation high!

What drives you to keep adventuring?

Simply, the love for exploring and being outside.

Photography 

What inspired you to get into photography? Any love and hates?

I have always wanted a big boy camera, but In the beginning, I just wanted a higher quality camera than my iPhone and a way to document what I see day to day. From there, I became addicted to chasing sunrises and that led me to wanting to explore further a field and into the mountains. Now I couldn’t imagine a life without photography.

Loves and hates? Not too many of the later, I guess my only hate is the early alarms for sunrise missions, but you get used to the/deal with them if you want the right conditions. I really love how photography has connected me to so many inspirational people and I have even made life long friends though heading out taking pictures. 

What inspires you right now?

I pull my inspiration from all strands of life; movies, music, art, magazines and talking to friends. It is incredible how a piece of music or a scene in a movie can inspire a little project in your mind.

Did you study photography at all or are you self taught?

I do not have a degree or any form of qualification in photography, but I have definitely accomplished my 10,000 hours in this art. The beauty about this industry is that you never stop learning, there is always a new skill to master and that is what drives me to continue to learn more.

What is your dream brand to work with (which you haven’t worked with yet!)

A tough one to answer, so many possibilities. I LOVE documenting stories of adventure and my dream story-based shoot would involve a badass car, a badass couple just travelling around some badass places. 

If I were to choose the dream brand shoot it would include a Singer Porsche, Breitling, David Gandy behind the wheel driving through the Swiss Alps.

Any tips please for growing and engagement on Instagram?

This is ever-evolving as Instagram changes their algorithm, but there are a few basics you should always follow;

  • post your best content only
  • upload daily where possible; and
  • only when your audience is online
  • create a community that you engage with regularly
  • don’t forget to engage with your own audience too!
  • utilise relevant hashtags and feature accounts when posting
  • curate your feed, make sure there is some order to it, I like to have a pattern to mine

The more time you put into building your feed and engaging with your audience the better and faster you account will grow. BUT don’t think this will be an over night success, you have to give it time and a lot of effort.

You can also apply these rules to any social media site.

How do I improve my photography skills?

Many ways to do so, but the most effective way is to shoot, shoot, shoot. You will find your skills improving rapidly if you are constantly taking and editing photos. Of course, there are other ways to help expand your skills;

  • Photography Courses – these are ideal when you are just starting out, helping you understand the basics and fundamentals of understanding your camera and getting into manual mode.
  • YouTube, the best free learning resource available. Look for tutorials on composition, shooting in manual and post-processing to help with your constant shooting
  • Workshops, shoot with your photography hero’s and learn how they go about taking photos and edit. Can sometimes be costly but will certainly fast track your skills and knowledge.
  • Adventure with friends or other like minded creators. This is by far one of the best methods for learning, especially if you are adventuring with photographers with better skills than yourself. You get to understand how they shoot, what / why they shoot in a certain way; by far the most valuable method I have came across.
  • Learn to understand light and how it transforms the landscape, and understand what light creates the most flattering photos i.e. do not shoot in the middle of the day with bright sun! With this knowledge you can place your self in the right place at the right time yielding better chances for epic photos and videos!
  • Composition is also one of the best tools in photography, placing your subject in certain locations in the frame can make or break an image. Always think rule of thirds when shooting! 

I have also been using SkillShare for the past three months which is a great source for high-quality photography and videography courses, which are more focused than YouTube. You can learn pretty much anything on this platform, whether that is photography or cooking!

If you want to check SkillShare out, click the link below for a free 2 months premium trial! Ideal for this time when travelling is limited.

2 Months Free SkillShare Premium

How important is networking with others?

Networking is very important, not only will it connect to like-minded people but it may also open doors for you. I am grateful for the friends I have made through social media, without them I don’t think I would be where I am today.

Whats your favourite lens to shoot with?

I have so many favourites to chose from, but I would put the Sony 85mm FE 1.8 at the top of the list.

Want to learn more about the gear I use to take photos? Find the full blog post below.

What’s in My Camera Bag?

Other Passions

What passions do you have outside of photography?

Most of my activities outside of photography involve the outdoors, cycling, climbing and hiking. Since lockdown has limited us on travel I have re-found my love for cycling. Long are the days gone where I could cycle 110 miles in a single stint but I’m sure I’ll get back into it!

How is the wedding photography going at the moment with this virus?

It is not going, pretty much all of my weddings have now been moved to 2021. So next year is going to be interesting!

Editing and Style 

What software do you use for editing and how long do you spend editing a single image?

I primarily use Adobe Lightroom for all of my edits, with only a fraction of time spent in Photoshop cleaning up images and removing distractions.

Depending on the shooting conditions, the light etc a single image edit can take anywhere between 10 minutes and 1 hour. Sometimes the weather isn’t in your favour and you have to work your magic on an edit to bring the RAW file back to life.

How are you getting such sharp images on Instagram?

I get this a lot, I tend to sharpen in Lightroom with the detail panel, export as a 4×5 at 2700 pixels on the long edge. I then add a final touch of sharpening in the Instagram upload process.

How do you create your signature aesthetic?

Personally I still do not feel I have a signature style as such yet but its always a working in progress. At the moment I am really liking images with more contrast and colour.

You’ve gone away from moody days of 2018-19. What made you introduce colour to the feed?

Yes, I have! Simply I found my previous moody style too limiting, I always shot in flat light, wet and moody conditions and that then reflected on my editing style of flat and lifeless images. I also found myself in situations where I was capturing more bold and bright images with colour and it was a crime to keep them locked away on the hard drives!

What are your most favoured shooting conditions?

A mixture of mood and light, these kinds of conditions create the most dramatic of images. Think a rain shower with sunny spells :O

General

What do you do to relax and unwind?

Simple. Editing is one of my favourite ways to relax, but more ‘normal’ ways would include cycling, binging Netflix and YouTube or getting lost in an adventure magazine.

Cats or Dogs?

Im highly allergic to cats because of my asthma, so it is dogs for me 🙂

Your Last meal on earth? What is it?

I’d have to choose pizza!

Peanut+butter+jelly = yes or no?

Yes!

Dream car or motorbike?

Easy one, a 1996 Porsche 911 GT2 Evo, not cheap! A cool £1.5m. Not sure I would have any money left for a motorbike!

If you were a superhero, what would your power be?

Given the current situation, teleportation or time travel would be the ideal superpower right now!

Closing thoughts…

How do I get started in photography like you?

Easy team, take one camera (even your phone will do), find some friends and hit the mountains, the forest or coast. Document your day, taking account of the big views, the little details and the people you’re out with.

Keep practising this on a regular basis and remember there is no overnight success, but constant hard work can help speed things up!

As always thanks for reading team, hope you enjoyed the Q&A. Please let me know if you have any further questions down below or contact me and I’ll be sure to get back to you 🙂

Disclaimer: The SkillShare link is a paid promotion, I will receive a small amount of money for any complete sign up. As with most services, you are always free to cancel at any time before the 2 months expires.

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