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05-11-2018, 14:53   #1
Boards.ie: Niamh
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Now ye're talking - to a professional photographer

Our next guest is a professional photographer who works in many areas of photography. He's done interesting things like photojournalism for local and national tabloids, photographing fatal traffic accidents, nude portraits for 'escorts', house sale photos for 'vulture funds' as well as more everyday stuff like working for car dealerships, the Gardai, local council, small businesses, families for portraits, etc.
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05-11-2018, 15:57   #2
Nekarsulm
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When did you go digital, and 1) what was your first digital camera and 2) how long before you upgraded (or it became obsolete)?
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05-11-2018, 16:16   #3
Sabre0001
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How did you get started, particularly in the realm of tabloid photojournalism (I'm imaging a Nightcrawler situation!)?

What subject matter do you most enjoy (or like, in case it's fascinating but not fun) shooting?
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05-11-2018, 16:17   #4
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Whats your view on the paparazzi and is there a line you won't cross in terms of a commissioned project?
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05-11-2018, 17:08   #5
GalwayGrrrrrl
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Thanks for doing the AMA What is a good value alternative to Photoshop for an amateur photographer?
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05-11-2018, 19:27   #6
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Originally Posted by Nekarsulm View Post
When did you go digital, and 1) what was your first digital camera and 2) how long before you upgraded (or it became obsolete)?
I have always used digital equipment. I used different DSLRs when learning as a hobby, but I suppose my first 'real' camera was a Canon 20D (that's not to take away from any of the other cameras I've used, but I bought the 20D when I was trying to take it a bit more seriously, so it always felt like my first proper camera).

I used this extensively enough and retired it in favour of a Canon 7D, mostly because I felt the screen size was restrictive for viewing images (I worked a lot with the public, doing nightclub kinda work, and everyone wanted to see themselves, so the small screen became a slight burden).

I fought with myself about spending the extra at the time and going full screen, getting a very expensive camera set up, but I was on a budget as I was only really starting to get work at the time. However, the camera has never let me down. I've become a big fan of it's hardiness.

The 7D itself is still running fine, but I've since added another 7D and a 60D to my gear list. But I primarily still use the original 7D. It's about 7 or 8 years old now, has been worked heavily, taken it's knocks and falls, and it's still functioning like a new camera.

Many would argue that as a Professional, I should have the latest and greatest of all equipment, but in real life, no one has ever specc'ed a job to have a specific camera, or any traits that my trusty 7D can't competently perform.
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05-11-2018, 21:30   #7
bren2002
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Where do you see innovation in the professional arena?
Camera phones are increasingly capable and touch up / adjustments are easy in phone.

How does the professional stay relevant in the gen Z age?
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05-11-2018, 22:00   #8
LimeFruitGum
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Outside of commissions and work assignments, what kind of photography do you enjoy doing for yourself? Or do you consider yourself ‘on the clock’ as soon as you pick up the camera?
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05-11-2018, 22:10   #9
AndrewJRenko
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What is your understanding of the laws around taking photographs in a public place which may include some people?
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05-11-2018, 22:11   #10
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Originally Posted by Sabre0001 View Post
How did you get started, particularly in the realm of tabloid photojournalism (I'm imaging a Nightcrawler situation!)?

Perhaps a more Disney version of Nightcrawler.

My initial interest in photography was night related. I used to shoot landscape shots around the immediate area at night time. This was how I learned camera basics. Used to wander out and about at 3-4am.

As I got more confident I started going out earlier, 2am, 1am, 11pm, etc. and eventually started bumping into other photographers who worked for the local newspapers. Through getting to know these people, I ended up getting asked to take on work on a part time basis, cash in hand (in other words, no commitment from either side). I took it and tried my best.

This was kind of working late night at nightclubs, and pubs, covering functions etc. Dealing with people wasn't my strong point, so it wasn't easy at first.

After a short while of doing that, I began to cover daytime events that were planned (events, functions, charity stuff, all the kinda local news events you'd expect in small papers) and then after a while the national papers started asking could I do this event or get a photo of a place nearby. Then I started getting the sudden 2am 'someone's been killed in a crash, we need a pic' calls.


So it just slowly gained a little bit of momentum. There are photographers out there who I believe have contracts with certain papers to provide X amount of coverage, but I've never had a relationship like that. I've always been completely freelance (so I get calls as and when they need me).

A good thing is that it doesn't get too boring too fast and remains generally enjoyable, the bad being that you never know how busy you'll be with the newspapers, so can't rely on them.




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What subject matter do you most enjoy (or like, in case it's fascinating but not fun) shooting?

A difficult question to answer. For actual photography, I'd say I generally enjoy portraiture. Especially when I was starting out and started doing nude stuff (even though I'm a mature, sensible person now, there's still always that 'omg boobz' excitement when someone undresses).

I enjoy trying to take completely different types of people, and present to them a photo that works for them. I recall a day, some years ago, when I had two portrait bookings one after the other; one was a woman who wanted sexual photos to gift to her boyfriend, and the other was a solicitor that was new to the area and wanted photos where you could see local landmarks.

Two completely different types of photographs to take, but both were enjoyable and challenging. It was always frustrating, but yet still fun, trying to get new poses to work right and play with the lighting.

Although I admit that, like anything else, the more you do it, the more 'job-like' it becomes, and instead of creativity, you start to just 'do what works' to get out the door.
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05-11-2018, 22:28   #11
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Whats your view on the paparazzi
A circus act, but one I'm very much jealous of. I've never worked in the USA, but I'm lead to believe that if you can get the 'right' photo of a known celebrity over there, the money you can make is huge.

Which explains why so many do it.

I see videos of celebrities on Youtube giving out to paparazzi to F off and get away from them, but if the same celebrity wasn't in the magazines the following week they'd be going mad. Celebrities and Paparazzi need each other in many ways, but I don't agree with when it's pushed to extremes.


For example, I think there was a photo before of one of the Royal family in the UK topless, when on holiday? Because a photographer had used a massive zoom lens and hid, and managed to get a sneaky photo, when the woman in question thought she was completely secluded. Things like that bug me.

There's a great documentary called Teenage Paparazzo. It used to be easily found on Youtube but I can't seem to find it. It's worth a watch if you can find it, and have an interest in that kinda thing. Kind of shows how the paparazzi and celebrities bounce off each other.












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is there a line you won't cross in terms of a commissioned project?
As the song says; 'if you've got the money, I've got the time'.

I don't recall ever saying 'no' to a job because of my ethics or morals. I'm a professional, so when I pick up the phone to someone, I make no opinions or thoughts known to anyone.

There are jobs I've done where I have felt uneasy at times. I did a shoot of a stillborn baby before, which was a bit eerie. Also Irish Water hired me in the midst of protest season and I'd to stand at a water meter in front of loads of protestors like an idiot. Still never said no, though.
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05-11-2018, 22:31   #12
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Thanks for doing the AMA What is a good value alternative to Photoshop for an amateur photographer?

I'm not sure if it's still free, but I recall GIMP was a generally well recommended bit of software.


https://www.gimp.org/


I never really used it extensively. My photoshopping is tame compared to what some photographers (who are practically graphic designers) get up to, so I never really got the most out of GIMP.
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05-11-2018, 23:00   #13
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Where do you see innovation in the professional arena?
Camera phones are increasingly capable and touch up / adjustments are easy in phone.

How does the professional stay relevant in the gen Z age?

It's not the first time I've been asked that. I still don't have a proper answer. My rambling, spluttering attempt at an answer is below.

To paraphrase Michael Scott (of the US Office): People will never go out of business.

On a domestic/personal level, hiring a photographer is generally when you can't take the pictures yourself. You can't take your own family photo, and you can't do your own wedding photos, so you pay someone to do it for you.

From a commercial/company standpoint, it's because a company expect good results, and if they don't get them, they have a person who will accept responsibility and be accountable to rectify any issues.

Also, these days, people in commercial situations are under a lot more pressure and stress to get things done fast, and done right. Getting an employee to learn to take decent staff headshots might work out for you, but if it doesn't you're after wasting time and messing about. A lot of the companies I've worked for don't have the patience for this. They budget set amounts of time to do this kinda thing properly, and they expect it to be done.

Social Media has made domestic photography much more popular in my opinion. I've had a lot more bookings for family events these last few years, because people want to be seen to be hiring a photographer.

Go on to TripAdvisor and pick a hotel. Look at the difference in the guest photos and professional photos. We're already at the stage where a smartphone can take good hotel pictures, but you need to have the eye and know-how. Most people press the 'take photo' button and have no interest beyond that. Not everyone's a budding photographer. Most simply don't want the headache of dealing with it.

Not a great answer, perhaps, but it's what comes to my mind.
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05-11-2018, 23:31   #14
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Outside of commissions and work assignments, what kind of photography do you enjoy doing for yourself? Or do you consider yourself ‘on the clock’ as soon as you pick up the camera?
I enjoy portraiture on my own time. I'd often schedule a portrait session if I'm bored or know I have some free time coming up. I'm re-decorating around the house soon and will likely take the camera out and do a couple of landscapes to hang on the walls.

That's stuff that I do for myself and my own interests.

Anything else though, I consider 'on the clock'. If a friend asks me to photograph something for them, as a freebie, or if i am volunteering for a charity, even though I'm there by choice, it still always feels like work.
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05-11-2018, 23:41   #15
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What is your understanding of the laws around taking photographs in a public place which may include some people?
The gist of it is that you can take photographs in a public place. You can take photographs of private property, if you're standing on public property.

You can take photographs on private property, but must stop if asked (or if there are signs etc. making it obvious that photography is not allowed).

You have no right to privacy if you're in a public place.

If you're in a place where you would expect privacy, photography is generally not allowed.

Everything relating to this in Irish law comes down to what is considered "reasonable expectation". That is; whether or not you have a reasonable expectation to privacy.
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