I came across Lukes work as a skate board photographer here in Perth. I saw a campaign he shot for a skate brand which lead me into his website and then finally all the other types of shoots he has done. Have a look at what he has to say.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Luke Carl Thompson, I’m 26 years old and live in Mount Lawley, Western Australia. I am very self motivated, love learning something new, have a great appreciation for visual art and enjoy scientific exploration. A combo which has led me down the path of becoming a self taught professional photographer.
What made you get into photography?
I had always enjoyed photography since I was first exposed to it at a young age, but the decision to start investing more time in it came from seeing Photographer Dave Chami shoot photos of my friends skateboarding whilst I was filming. I was really intrigued by the process and loved the results he was achieving. At that time the skateboarding talent in Perth was increasing really fast but there where no resident photographers getting them coverage in national magazines. At the time I was already filming with some of Perths best skateboarders. I then saw an opportunity for me to become W.A.s premier skate photographer, so I studied hard, saved all my pennies and went out skating and shooting every day I could. I was ready for a new challenge and spent many hours researching the technical side of things before getting into some trial and error of my own.
How did you get started?
Just by shooting portraits of my friends doing crazy things at parties with disposable film cameras. That evolved into shooting skateboarding in the streets with an Olympus fm10 my Dad gave me. I found some used extension tubes and spent months photographing the bugs and flowers in my back garden too. Pretty soon I had saved all my pennies and purchased a used Nikon fm2 (for the fast flash sync) second hand. I was just so curious and wanted to learn all the techniques behind multiple styles of photography. Which led me to shoot a broad range of things, learning along the way.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
At the moment my work is so varied I don’t think I have a main type. From fashion advertising, commercial advertising, band promo, fashion lookbooks, abstracts, landscapes, portraits and skateboarding too.
What gear are you using?
These days I use a nikon D3 for most of my work. Along with a Samsung NX10 with a 30mm pancake I take everywhere. Lenses I use are NIkon 16mm f2.8, 35mm f2, 50mm f1.8, 28-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8 VR and a nikon mount lens baby. I love my two Elinchrom Quadras with various light modifiers. Then I have an sb-800 and an sb-28 that I use too. I used a Canon G10 with an underwater housing for a while there too, that thing was great.
I really love cameras as well so I have been through plenty of them. Wish I still had them all. I’ve owned and used an (in chronological order) various disposable cameras, Olympus FM10, Nikon fm2, Nikon D70, Olympus mjuII, Hasselblad 500cm, Fuji GA645zi, Olympus Pen-ee, Bronica ETRS (Loved that kit!) and a Bronica SQ-A kit too. Thinking about all those old cameras makes me really wish I had a medium format body again. I loved shooting medium format and can’t wait until full frame 6×6 or even 6×4.5 digital medium format camera kits become reasonably priced and fully featured.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
Couldn’t say I have a favourite lens. Each one is a tool to achieve the desired qualities in your image.
The most used lens is probably the 30mm pancake on my NX10. I carry it everywhere and it so much fun to use.
How are you marketing yourself?
Not very well? Haha. My marketing is just the usual facebook social media stuff, but within limits. Mostly it’s word of mouth and face to face meetings that get me my work.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
A favourite! No way could I choose one photo as my favourite. I like some images simply because of the people in them or the image might remind me of good times gone by. Although I can always appreciate a technically perfect image. As well enjoying images for their artistic qualities which can be as personal as the nostalgia value. Then again I always enjoy an image that provokes emotion, action or opinions in the viewer.
In the end I have attached a few of my recent photos which I am enjoying at the moment for various reasons.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
My main piece of advice is to just keep learning as much as you can and put it into practise. Experience is worth a thousand internet tutorials. You can never be too skilled in this profession. An important piece of advice to help new photographers succeed is about communication. Successful communication between you and your client is the key to a happy client and working relationship. Make sure you know exactly what your client wants and why they hired you as well as making sure they know what you need to produce the results.