It’s been awhile but we are getting back into posting regular interviews, and of course the more in-depth video interviews. Today we are featuring glamour, fashion and fine art photographer Sam Rambo. He strives for excellence and his images show it. Sam tried hard to submit images that are PG-13 however I thought it best to label this post NSFW just in case.
Tell us a little about yourself?
Well I’m 38 years old and from the North West; I served my country for over 10 years in the US Armed Forces where I spent the bulk of my time living overseas, it allowed me to see many amazing things that I would never have had the chance otherwise. I have been happily married for almost 15 years now and about 7 years ago we adopted a 3-year-old boy, he has become my “mini me”. Photography wise, I have had a camera in my hand for as long as I can remember. I have always enjoyed shooting anything that grabbed my eye; it wasn’t until early 2009 that I started working with models and really taking this profession seriously. About nine months after I started working with models I got my first images published, they were for a little holiday special on Maxim.com. After that everything else started really falling into place. I was getting shoots for clothing companies, and working with some of the best models in the Northwest, and the West Coast. In late 2010 I started working with the fine folks at GlamModelz Magazine, and what a great team of people these folks actually are. The one thing about me and you can ask any of the models that have been there from the start, I’m still the same guy as the day I started, and I always believe in “paying it forward”. I always keep it humble, and enjoy meeting new industry folks any chance I get.
What inspired you to get into photography?
When I was growing up, I remember seeing amazing images of Europe, of the mountains, well just about anything, and I always wanted to be able to take images like those someday. Well that kept me current with the going trends in cameras and later days software as it evolved. Then in late 2008 I decided that I would figure out a way to start taking it all just a little more seriously. That was when I started looking into photographers from around the Northwest, checking out their work, and trying to figure out how they did what they did. So I sent one of them a message and ask if he would mind giving me a crash course into using studio strobes, and well the rest has been history.
What gear do you take to each shoot and what lens could you not live without?
It you don’t know Paul C Buff, you are missing out. My Bees and Vagabond are the life blood to my images. As far as lens goes my 70-200mm f2.8 is good as gold, and I have just picked up a new little gem that will likely stay on one of my camera bodies full-time, and it a 55mm f1.4 the bokeh and sharpness this little baby puts out is just amazing.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve taken and does it have any significance?
You can ask anyone who knows me and they will all probable guess the same. It’s my reflection shot with Lynnzie Cherelle. Significance, well there is a lot on many levels with that image; first Lynnzie was my first model I ever worked with. So any chance I get to work with Lynz is like a day at Disneyland. To know Lynz is an experience like no other, never in my life have I ever met a young woman so confidant, so vibrant, so hard-working, so full of life, and yet just humble. These are the same types of traits that draw me to everyone in my life, like my wife. Now the other reason this image means so much to me, it truly was the beginning of the B&W work I love doing so much.
Select a photo you have taken, explain how it was shot and how you edited it?
Well I will try to describe a basic lighting effect I use all the time. I first figured it out with a model by the name of Megan Marie. You need a white backdrop, a large soft box with a grid and place that soft box about two feet from the model, slightly in front of the model, and you point it going across the model from the side as to not spill the light onto the backdrop, almost a 90 degrees from the backdrop. If you’re using Alien Bees you take the power down to about 1/16 to 1/32 and set your camera up so your shooting iso100, max sync shutter speed (based on your camera between 1/180 to 1/250) and take your aperture down to about 3-4 and adjust your WB manually. This will create an image that puts off such a sexy low lighting effect, which just lightly paints the model with light and gives them such a great glow.
What processing tool do you use and do you believe in the camera doing all the work?
Photoshop, and quite a few others to include Lightroom. Well there is so much controversy over this topic, but let me say this. The only camera I know of, off the top of my head that does everything in the camera is a Polaroid. Even in the days of film, photographers were playing around in the darkroom. The key to photography and Photoshop, is to create an image that is great in the camera, and only better when you run it through post. If you don’t know how to shoot, then you don’t know how to shoot, but if you do know how to shoot, you can use these valuable tools to turn great into amazing.
What’s your favorite photography accessory other than you camera?
This is an easy one, Alien Bees ABR800 ring flash. If you only buy one light, this should be it!
Where do you prefer to post your photos online and why?
Wow, my work is everywhere… but sites I really enjoy are 500px, Model Mayhem and of course samrambo.com, these sites allow me the freedom to show all of my work, not just the stuff that is family friendly. Some of my best work my followers on Facebook will never see, because of the restriction they impose on the work we post on that site. One would think they would figure out a way to have a “NSFW” filter or some type of age filter. Parents do your job! I know everything my son sees on the internet… do you?
Do you ever get photographers block, and if so what do you do to get inspired?
Very rarely, but when I do there are a few way to get me through it. First is my wife, she will always nudge me and get me thinking, next are some of the models I have been working with for years, like Lynnzie Cherelle, Aiko Christine, and Megan Marie. I know if I need a good inspiration recharge, I setup a shoot with these beautiful young women, and they are always helping step out side my comfort zone, and open my mind back up. The other way is rather simple, I just talk to some old friends, like Ian McMillian, he is a good friend, photographer, and a bloody Brit, we can spend hours talking shop, I have even learned to understand his British accent. or I might just chat a while online a with a few good friends like Jay Jones of Phase 5 Photography down in LA. He is always good for some pick me up inspiration.
Is there anything you wish you had done when you first started in photography that would have made a difference?
Not really, I have been sort of lucky in the way I have approached everything. I never leaped before I looked. Good research seems to pay off quite well for me.
Any advice for new photographers wanting to go pro?
If you want to go pro in this industry, keep your name clean, treat everyone with respect, do your research, learn to market yourself extremely well, be ready to put in the long hours, dot your “I”s and cross your “T”s and know that this is one of the hardest industries to “crack” right now. So make sure you have what it takes to be in it for the long haul.