I came across Paul on twitter during a recent storm we had here in Perth. Anyone who has lived in Perth would know we don’t actually get to many storms to talk about. Anyway one of his lightening photos popped up in me feed and from there on we have been chatting. It was quite interesting to read how he came to be the photographer he is along with providing some insight into how he shot one of the best photos i’ve seen of Cottesloe Beach, and there are a lot of shots out there. Enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments below.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a commercial photographer & hobby landscape photographer from Perth, Western Australia. I grew up in Queensland and have travelled around Australia for most of my life, lived or worked in nearly every capital city in Australia. My wife, Bec, and I moved to Perth 3 years ago.
What made you get into photography?
My Dad was in the military, we moved around a lot, when I was 6 years old we moved from Adelaide to Brisbane, we drove, so my parents bought me a camera to keep me occupied.. it’s managed to do that ever since! My Mother is an artist, so I’ve always had art and art books around me, which has helped me develop my sense and appreciation of aesthetics & composition.
How did you get started?
I took a road trip around Australia in 2002 and borrowed a friends film SLR.. I got hooked and started buying my own equipment. I started shooting at friends weddings in 2004 and then started upgrading my equipment. Bought a second hand Canon EOS 300D from a friend in 2006 and have been upgrading pretty much since. Moved into wedding photography part-time in 2007, assisted a few other photographers in Brisbane and then started my own business full time in 2009.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
Up until the middle of last year it was primarily weddings, but I’m now moving into commercial photography to free up some time to further explore my true passions, humanitarian and landscape photography.
What gear are you using?
Canon 5DmkII, Canon 16-35mm f2.8L, 24-70mm f2.8L, 70-200mm f2.8L, Carl Zeiss 50mm f1.4 and some studio lights.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
Carl Zeiss 50mm f1.4.. it is so versatile. it’s perfect for portraits, video and I use it for my panoramic images, I use it to take several photos and stitch them together.
How are you marketing yourself?
I get most of my business through word of mouth, I’m encouraging that by having a blog that I link to from twitter and google+.. facebook tends to get me a little bit of traffic, but not much business. I’m also working with several media companies and PR companies that refer business my way.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
I have several favourites, but I’ll just include some of my favourite landscapes and humanitarian photography.
What post processing tools do you use?
Photoshop & Lightroom
How did you shoot and edit this photo?
This image of Cottesloe was 9 images, taken on a tripod. I used a NDx400 filter so I could do 30 second exposures to flatten out the water and capture the colour. Each exposure was: ISO50, 30 seconds, f8. Minimal post processing, I’ve stitched it together using photoshop and then run 2 sharpening actions that I created. One uses the high pass filter and the other uses the calculations function.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Learn your gear inside out, knowing your equipment and how to use it in nearly any lighting situation will save you time after time. Best resource I’ve found for learning your equipment is CreativeLIVE (http://creativelive.com), run by Chase Jarvis. Check out the 2 courses on there by Zack Arias, you’ll learn everything you need to know about cameras and photography right there.
If you can, get along someone who is already working in the business and assist them. One of my biggest tips though, learn how to market yourself. You can be the best photographer in the world, but unless you are marketing yourself and selling yourself.. you won’t sell a thing. I’ve discovered over the last 2 years that running a photography business is hardly about the photography once you get to a certain level.. it’s all about the business, marketing, selling and networking. There is also nothing wrong with having it as a part-time side business if it doesn’t interfere with your full-time or part-time employment. Most of all, get out there and enjoy yourself!