|Model - Shannonlou|
Hi Sam. Thanks for taking some time to answer some questions for me. I understand a career in photography wasn't your initial plan?
'Hi Ian, many thanks for choosing to interview me.
Funnily enough no, photography was never a really something I’d considered doing full time until 2014, which really isn't that long ago when I come to think of it!
I’m actually a qualified personal trainer and have worked within the health & fitness industry for many years. Photography has only ever really been a hobby, but even then it was only as far as point and shot cameras, nothing too flash (pardon the pun) or fancy.
It all began back in 2014 and it’s all thanks to a very close friend of mine (I won’t name them but they know who they are) He knew I had an interest in photography and asked me if I wanted to take some images of his car to be submitted into a well known car magazine.
I can remember driving out to find a location which would be suitable for these images, it’s actually one of my many locations I now use for my shoots.
I'll be honest, I had absolutely no equipment, no fancy camera and more to the point no idea what I was doing haha! - Oh how times have changed....
After a few hours taking these pictures I headed back to my house and uploaded them to my computer; Now, considering I had no idea what I was really doing and had no editing software to my surprise, the images weren’t too bad! – In fact, the magazine my friend submitted the images to actually published them!
I suppose it was from this point on I caught the “photography bug” and decided that if I was to invest within myself and really focus on my photography I could potentially turn my hobby into a career and the rest is history as they say....'
I like to think my blog is a safe place to be able to brag, and name drop...plus I'm nosy so, what magazine was it?
'The magazine was for FastFord Mag, I think the majority of their content is now online, like most things these days but I did a little searching and managed to find the magazine image! - Take a look...'
On your website bio you say your first photoshoot was with a "standard off the shelf camera". This is a photography blog after all, and there are a decent number of gear nuts like myself, so, what camera was it, can you remember?
'If I can remember rightly it was a Sony DSC HX50'
|Model - Rosa Brighid|
Judging by your bio you no longer shoot with that, so, what do you shoot with now?
'No, I actually gave the camera to a friend of mine a few years back.
In all honestly I don’t actually have that much equipment, I have two main bodies, a D3200 which is used for 90% of my work you see on my social media & Purpleport and a D750 which is used for my wedding photography.
My D3200 remains in my camera bag as a back up camera for my weddings!
In regards to my lenses for the D3200 I have two lenses, the 50mm F1.8 and also a 55 – 300mm f4.5 – 5.6 telephoto, to most people’s surprise the 55-300mm is used a lot more than my 50mm F1.8! - There’s just something about the 50-300mm that clicks with me! (no pun intended)
For my D750, I have the 50mm F1.8 and also the fantastic 70 – 200mm F2.8.
I also use LED panel light(s) & a few cheap flashes off Ebay which seem to do the trick!'
|Model - Artemis Fauna|
As well as fashion and portraiture you shoot weddings. What made you take up what is arguably the most stressful photographic subject there is?
'The wedding photography kind of happened by accident for me!
My cousin got married a few years back and asked me if I’d be happy doing his wedding photography for him. I remember saying I’d love to do it but it would be my very first wedding so perhaps if he got a wedding photography team on board for the main day and I’ll just do the evening when everyone is drunk!
But him & his now wife both wanted me to shoot the whole day. So we sat down and went through the plan of action for the day.
I remember going to his wedding rehearsal and thinking to myself, what have a signed up for! - Needless to say I had no sleep the night before the wedding!
However, come the day of the wedding everything seem to fall into place for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
After sometime going over the images and editing etc etc I gave the images from the day to my cousin and his wife and they were over the moon with my work!
Like most people they shared the results on social media and the rest is history really.
I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoy weddings, I think providing you plan and prepare as much as you can and try not to stress too much (I know that’s much easier said than done when your shooting the biggest day of a couples life!) They’re not as bad as people think.'
|Model - EmilyM|
Despite your best efforts planning, have you had any mishaps whilst shooting a wedding?
'Not that I can think of no, I suppose I've always been fairly lucky although, I shot a wedding back in Autumn last year where they had torrential rain from the moment I arrived to the moment I left, I wouldn't really say a mishap but I felt extremely sorry for the bride & groom as the grounds of the venue they had hired was stunning.
I do remember back in November 2016 doing an engagement shoot, I'd just finished setting up my equipment, I explained I was going to take a few test shots, pointed my camera that the couple, to which the groom says to me "you've left your lens cap on" - We've all been there!'
|Model - Artemis Fauna|
As you're a qualified personal trainer I assume it's fairly safe to say you're a health nut. The few health nuts I know are fairly obsessed with protein shakes. As I have to ask my obligatory nonsense question, and I don't know a sufficient amount about health and fitness to ask a sensible question, what's your favourite protein shake flavour?
'Yeah, I’m either in the gym or editing haha!
I have to agree, most people who are into their training especially weight lifting can be obsessed with protein shakes, for me, I personally do use them but only after a workout to help recovery, I’m not one of these lets have a protein shake for breakfast, lunch & dinner health nuts.
But to answer your question I’d have to say strawberry flavoured.'
|Models - Tillie Model (Left) & Artemis Fauna (Right)|
Granted, you might not what to answer this for fear of getting into trouble, but I'll ask anyway. On the subject of both weddings and personal training, and without giving names or too much in the way of specifics, so as to not drop you in it... Who has caused you the most trouble, or have you found the hardest to work with, a bridezilla (or their mother, we've all heard stories) or a personal training client?
'The majority of my wedding customers have actually been really nice, supportive & just let me do my job so; I've not really had a bad wedding experience yet, maybe I'm just extremely lucky!
I do remember one of my personal training clients though who was a bit of a nightmare to work with, I won't mention names for obvious reasons but I can remember sending them over a diet plan in order to help them achieve their results, the next morning, I had an email back from this client explaining how the diet plan I had created did not match and I quote "what I had seen on an online fitness blog"
After explaining the reasons behind the diet plan and why it was created the way it was, they demanded that the diet plan was changed to match the fitness blog! - I refused to adjust it, due to specific goals and dietary requirements, they then cancelled all future sessions with me, demanded a refund and wrote a letter of complaint to the fitness manager of the club I was working at.
Both myself & the fitness manager at the time really didn't know what to think of the whole situation! - Very bizarre'
|Model - Bella|
Within your notes you bring up the subject of model releases, and it giving you peace of mind. Model releases are one of those subjects that is often debated on photography forums, and by debated I mean often argued about. Have you ever had a situation where you've had to use the "you signed the model release" card?
'To be honest I’ve never had an issue with this, for those who have worked with me will know this but I make everything as clear as I can in our pre-shoot comms and explain exactly how the images will be used.'
|Models - Tillie Model (Left) & Artemis Fauna (Right)|
One of the things you offer is photography training. If someone was to hire your services for this, what do they get?
'This is something I've only recently started doing, well, since the start of 2017.
I get a fair few message via my social media platforms, mainly on my fashion work where people ask me how do I achieve the results and what settings do I use, the usual questions: what camera mode am I in? what shutter speed do you use? what’s my ISO? etc, etc.
I can remember when I first purchased my D3200, looking at all the settings and thinking to myself, what an earth does any of this mean?!?
I’d hate to think how many books I’ve read and youtube videos I’ve watched to get my basic understanding of photography but I fount that getting out there, practicing and getting to know your camera is the only way to improve.
I must of used every single mode on my camera trying to figure out what works best, Now I only ever use manual mode and I often think when I see these messages if only someone had actually shown me a few basic tips.
Which leads me onto your question, my tuition sessions are for 2 hours, this includes myself & the model (mainly shooting fashion/portraits) The first hour is spent watching myself shoot, I explain everything I’m doing from the start and of course answer any questions as we go, the second hour is then over to the participant.
This allows them to get involved, use their camera and understand photography a bit more.
I also explain my typical lighting set up and how to take control of the shoot.
I’m not one to over direct a model, I’m actually extremely laid back to work with but I’m sure most will agree, the model can’t see what you can see behind the camera so don’t be afraid to ask them to adjust their pose(s)'
|Model - Brunutty|
When you're asking the model to adjust her pose, are you just describing it or are you in there posing to show them? I pwomise if the answer is posing I won't be asking models for images!!!
'Haha! - I certainly don't pose myself!
I find letting the model pose freely works best and then directing from there, it's just minor corrections I make such as "Can you give me more eye contact" , "look down for me" , "just look out to your left/right" , "Can you turn to your left ever to slightly" etc etc - Although I often get my left & right and their left & right mixed up, which is always amusing!
I also find showing the model previous shots we've got and then explaining my ideas really helps them, but I won't be posing anytime soon!'
|Model - ChloeAnne9|
As someone who has successfully made the transition from hobby to job, what advice would you give others who want to make the change?
'Ohhh good question! – For me as I explained earlier photography was never meant to be a career it kind of “just happened” I’d say the trick would be to give yourself a 5 year goal.
If you can imagine where you’d like to be within 5 years of wanting to go full time that’ll give you something to aim towards and I think there needs to be an end goal in order to achieve something.
Just be determined and never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone!'
|Model - ET|
Where should people look to see more of your work and contact you?
'The majority of my work comes via social media and that’s where I’m most active, so I’ll link all that below:
I've also recently started using 500px, so I'll link that as well....
Lastly, what's your favourite joke?
'Would it be possible to change this to what's my favourite quote? My sense of humour is extremely dry and I'd hate to offended somebody haha!'
Sure... What's your favourite quote?
'My favourite quote would be:
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” — [Benjamin Franklin]'
I'd like to thank Sam again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, be sure to check out all the links above for more of his work, as well as the links attached to the images for the other creatives involved in creating them.