Ken has been a friend of mine on Facebook for awhile now, and I’m glad to share his work with you all today.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Ken Cranney also known as “Riker” I am a Canadian born from Toronto Ontario, I am 50 years old , married to a Dutch girl named Ina (pronounced Ena for those that are Dutch language challenged) whom is also very much my partner and partner in Rikervp.
Together we have a son Riley 3, and I also have two beautiful daughters from a previous marriage Cheyenne 25 and Candace 21 whom both still live in Canada.
What inspired you to get started in photography?
What first inspired me in my early years around when I was 15 or so was an old Kodak camera I had and abandoned farm house and lots of time on my hands. Later as I grew into my 20’s
photography was always part and parcel of my work and essential in documenting automobile collision/loss damages for one of the largest auto insurers in Canada and the USA for many years.
But my fascination came shooting people’s portraits and creating scenes such as our 50-60’s foto shoot day.
And with that said graduating to shooting creative fashion more this year to expand our portfolio.
What gear do you take to each shoot and what lens can you not live without?
One thing I can not live without are my pocket wizard transmitters and receivers, they have allowed me to take my imagery to the next level with more creative use of lighting on location.
When I pack my camera bag it usually contains my Canon 5D MKII, 24-105 USML lens always travels with me it’s so versatile, 580 and 430 Speedlites and My “Black Glass” for those long exposure shots.
I also love my 50 mm 1.8 macro but I do not use it enough. I also have a Canon 450D as a backup with a wide array of lens’s, but that usually is in a separate back pack. For larger shoot’s I have a mobile studio and on commercial shoot’s we bring in the big boy’s or shoot in studio. But like all that are just starting out and like to keep the cost down we rent most large studio space and equipment.
How do you market yourself and has social media been an important part?
I market myself in a variety of ways, we have our official website, we are also on most major social websites such as Facebook, Flickr, Myspace, G+, Hyves ( the Dutch Myspace version) and also a lot of photography sites as well. I find it has been a valuable tool in promoting myself and my works.It is also a valuable tool if you want to communicate to the public in general and if you want to stay in today’s fast paced world and the global market. As it has already brought me international business and it’s key to anyone’s success I believe.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve taken and does it have any significance?
That is a tough but a good question, as I have not one single favorite but many and for many different reasons. Some are very personal, some have special interest (such as two cancer patients that we have worked with) and one of them was a young 12 year old boy Joost who donated almost 40,000 euros to the Hospital here in Rotterdam (that is treating him for the 3rd and last time for leukemia )from the paintings he did and that I photographed and put on canvass. We sold over 4,000 to the generous public and all the money from the sales were donated to that Hospital. This one of our most special project to be involved with and this was all volunteered work, So yes this particular one is special.The image was a simple image and colors saturated to give it a coloring book like graphic effect to it. and was titled appropriately..Joost & Friends Stand by me.
This was one of my supreme moments.. capturing this earlier last last fall. included is the image. My very first attempt at a lightening shot. And damn was this a proud moment. !
Select a photo you have taken, explain how it was taken and how did you edit it?
One of my most recent favorite images is the Cat Woman Vs The Penguin of which I will include here, I shot this particular image in an old 16th Century building that still has the original jail cells in the attic. It was shot with one 580 speedlight held high above the action in the scene and in post work the background in the window was changed to reflect the Batman like atmosphere and the Penguins little helpers were also photoshopped in and appropriate shadow added too.. well sort of added to the realism of the shot. One tool I really like using is Topazlabs’s plugin’s for Photoshop they have such a diverse product to really assist in one’s creativeness. It’s really hard to ask a fellow to name one.. The other image, well I’ll include it too and I really think it’s speaks for itself from the composition to the layering of the clouds in the skin.
What processing tool do you use and do you believe in the camera doing all the work or in post ?
I first start with the camera’s own software for raw edit, as I find an image that stands out and that I wish to further process it’s then sent on to Photoshop for tweaking and final edit. While I am still using an older version of Photoshop I am finding my limitations with it and need to update to newer software. I still believe if you can create it in camera first that is the best instead of faking it. in other words, “Why fake it when you can create it” these are words are adopted from another professional here in Holland and well know through Scott Kelby, and his name is Frank Doorhof.
Whats your favourite photography accessory other than your camera?
Pocket wizards ! I will not leave home without them..
Where do you prefer to post your photos online and why there?
I post mainly on Flickr and as well on Digital Photographer in the UK, I do also have quite a few images on FB, but that is surely not the ideal place to drop images. I like Flickr as it’s easy to work with and link too. For me it works best. I am not finding google’s G+ all that fun or even gathering followers is tough although I’ve seen so many incredibly talented photographers works on there and I love seeing what others are doing.. all the time..
Do you ever get photographers block and if so what do you do to get inspired again?
[Ken en Ina] Well for me, I never get tired or develop photographers block. As I have so friends with idea they shoot to me all the time, I work closely with a talented body paint artist and extreme makeup artist Miranda van der Velde who creates all the time and we have teamed up for the last 3 years exclusively and it been nothing but fun from the first day we met and some of the creations we’ve captured remind me that I am so lucky to have not only good friends but creative people all around me all the time.
Is there anything you wish you had done when you first started in photography that would of made a difference?
Again another good question, not really for me, the process for me is as it should be everything in my life has had it’s place and time, learning things as you go being open to others and suggestions have all formed who and where I am at today.I went from playing with a toy camera to the big boy stuff and I would like to get into medium format eventually. But I do wish at times I had learned and developed the skills sooner and kept with it in my later teen years who knows where I would have ended up today.
Any advice for new photographers wanting to go pro?
I feel that if you want to go pro it has got to be all in, not one foot in but all of you. Start small take on small jobs and progress from there. If you have passion and talent and a will to develop the skills the only thing you need to do is find a way to market it and yourself and start earning. but you must be able to give it your all. The hardest part is the transition, leaving one boring job to start a career that can truly give one’s self.. self-satisfaction for a well captured and polished image. What could be better than that?