For something a little different I’ve interviewed and up and coming photographer. I thought it would be good to get someones opinion on how they are breaking into the pro photography world. Before you ask again yes at some point I will be doing the interview on myself. Anyway lets get into the interview with Paul.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Paul Parkinson but everyone calls me Parky. Online I am “parkylondon” pretty much everywhere. I’m still on the right side of 50, married, two kids and I live in Sidcup, Kent in the UK. I have a day job but my dream is to go fully professional. Photography is a hobby that turned into a passion and is verging on an obsession. I am not mad.
What made you get into photography? / How did you get started?
I did quite a lot of photography back in the film days (Minolta Dynax 5000i with those little plug in cards – anyone remember those?) but kind of drifted out of it. Around 2000 I bought a Fuji 1.3MP digital camera and that rekindled the latent love for imaging.
It went crazy when my son took up freestyle snowboarding. There were all these guys zooming around our local slope and doing jumps and backflips and I said to myself – I gotta get these on camera. A Canon 450D followed and it’s been a slippery slope since then.
What sort of photography to you mainly do?
I started with high speed, low light flash photography. Nice and easy eh? It was my sons snowboarding that started it all off. I’ve since added landscape and portraiture to the preferred list. I’ve done a couple of weddings but they are too stressful to be honest. Thankfully both the happy couples have pronounced themselves “delighted” with the outcome but I won’t be pursuing wedding photography as a career!
What gear are you using?
I’ve got a Canon 50D and a Canon 10D which has been converted for pure infrared. A range of lenses include the EFS 17-55 2.8 which is my favourite lens, a 70-300, EFS10-22 and the cheaper Canon 85mm prime. The Sigma 30mm 1.4 and Canon 28-135 complete the range. I have two Canon flashes and a couple of super cheap no-name flashes which I use when needed.
I adore my Manfrotto tripod and monopod but the real super buy for me have been the Rogue Flashbenders. Awesome light modfiers and cheap at the price.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
Canon EFS 17-55 f2.8. A wonderful piece of glass that is 2.8 across the range. Silky smooth bokeh when I need it and super fast.
How are you marketing yourself?
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
This was possibly the hardest piece to do. I’ve included two images.The Seagulls and Chips image was actually shot on my cellphone. I love it for the colour, the way the birds are looking around and its vibe. The seagulls were actually looking for chips my son and I were throwing into the air.
The Frozen Ground image was in a local park just as the sun was going down. I think the colours, the starkness and the snow all meld together beautifully.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
I’m not a pro myself so I’m not best placed to give this advice. What I will say is the following to new photographers.
- Shoot RAW
- Shoot on Manual
- Shoot lots – be savage with what you keep and what you throw away. If you shoot 100 pictures keep five at most. Understand why they were the best. Understand why the others weren’t good enough.
- Read everything you can get your hands on – books and blogs. Read up on technique, read about images and how they were taken. Replicate those images in your area.
- Don’t pay the Newbie Tax. Don’t buy something because it’s cheap and looks shiny. Do your research and don’t be fooled into thinking you need a new (lens / body / toy) because the marketing people say you do.
- Buy a decent tripod – buy the best you can afford and if you can’t afford it save up until you can (see Newbie Tax) . A tripod will slow you down, force you to set up an image rather than taking a snap. I’m still doing this even now but I’m trying.