If you’ve heard of "America’s Next Top Model," you’ll undoubtedly be well acquainted with its photographer. A judge for 17 seasons, Nigel Barker was propelled to household name status as viewers saw him critique model portfolios and take part in various themed photo shoots. Now, in partnership with Adorama and with the backing of Canon, he is preparing to launch his own show: "Top Photographer With Nigel Barker," a web series showing Barker on the hunt for emerging talent in photography. In this exclusive Fstoppers interview, I chat with him about how the show will work and also get advice on social media, the process of selecting portfolio images, and how to handle yourself with clients.
Articles written by Jack Alexander
The debate surrounding the relevancy of film cameras is an ongoing one; the opinions about which vary from photographer to photographer. The resurgence of digital camera technology in recent years has meant DSLRs are now widely used by the masses, pulling the future of film photography into question somewhat. Is it now just a novelty? I chatted with Howard, one of the owners of a North England-based camera shop that shunned digital cameras in favour of film... and found that business is very much booming.
I'm a photographer because my life is filled with hot models all day, every day, right? No, but really, photography, as a career, should not be taken for granted. Let’s be honest, we’re hardly saving lives here, and we should be very grateful that we can make a career of essentially taking pictures. That’s not to say it isn’t hard work or a lot of responsibility, because it is. I just know I’m feel very lucky to be making a living from what I love doing most. And there’s so many reasons why it has to be the best job in the world.
Having your images stolen at one point or another is virtually a formality when it comes to being a photographer. It’s frustrating, not least when it happens through one of your customers. One new website claims to have the solution to make sure you never get ripped off again.
It’s easy to feel that we have great ideas for our images, but that we simply don’t have the budget to execute them to the standard we’re picturing in our minds. You should always try to find ways to be creative on a budget, so here’s how and why you don't have to spend a fortune to produce good results.
Lately, I’ve noticed a huge surge in the number of emails I’ve received inquiring about my interest in partnering up with a website or app that claims to be shaping the next generation of holiday photo. One email even introduced its company’s services with a tagline of “the app that’s replacing selfie sticks.”
Scrolling through Instagram, I came across a photo that I deemed worthy of a double-tap. Curious, I clicked on the profile to see more from the same photographer. Scrolling through his feed, I started to notice that although every photo included a human subject, there wasn’t a single face in sight. Intrigued, I had to know more and reached out: Meet Noel Alvarenga, the photographer who hides his subject’s faces.
I encounter lots of people who are torn between pursuing their passion for photography as a career or keeping it as a treasured hobby. There’s naturally that underlying paranoia that doing what you love full-time and taking on the pressure of monetizing it will kill your enjoyment. I’d like to say that years after going “pro,” I still love what I do every day. If you’re unsure and need convincing, here’s why I believe you too should take the plunge.
With his brother, Romeo, the face of numerous Burberry campaigns, Brooklyn Beckham has now been spotted working on the other side of the camera for the famous fashion house. The teen, who last year was reportedly working in a West London coffee shop for £2.68 an hour, is the official photographer behind Burberry’s latest fragrance campaign, entitled "This Is Brit."
Working as a behind-the-scenes or “stills” photographer is an entirely different experience to most usual photography jobs. As photographers we naturally tend to take charge of the creative direction, and are used to getting our own way. Working BTS requires you to work within different dynamics, not least of which involves being surrounded by other creatives, each with their own opinions and ideas. Here are some of the best and worst things you can expect whilst shooting behind-the-scenes.
Email etiquette. Nobody tells us how it should be done. Much like taking photos, it's something we tend to learn as we go along, and our individual email style can take several years to shape. Here are many of the things I’ve learned through dealing with a multitude of different clients, including how best to address and engage with those with whom you’re doing business.
Being involved in any creative industry usually guarantees one thing: we’re never happy with the work we produce. At least not for long. We’re constantly striving to better ourselves and the work we’re putting out. And in the age of the internet, we’re consuming more images from other photographers than ever, meaning that it’s all too easy to compare our work to that of our peers. For years I questioned my own shooting style, but here’s why I believe you should learn to love your photographic approach just the way it is.
In the creative world, constant advancements in technology mean we have to keep up or risk being left behind. Clients looking to hire a photographer no longer seem to seek proof of physical qualifications, but rather insist on browsing a website of our previous work. Here’s why it’s important to have your own website, how I’ve found it best to organise your work, and what you can do to make it as appealing as possible to prospective clients.
Let me set the scene: I’m a 24 year-old photographer based in London. I specialize in portraits with actors, models, and musicians and I started freelancing almost three years ago. I didn’t know what to expect when I first started working in the creative industry, but I soon learned the extent of how many jobs are expected for absolutely no payment in return. But is it really all that bad? Speaking honestly, I don’t think so. Here’s why I think we should stop complaining and, within reason, keep saying "yes" to more free projects.
Each month I will be featuring and chatting to a different creative. My first is Nirrimi Firebrace, a photographer known for her intimate approach to taking portraits. She's been a name on the lips of many creatives for the better part of a decade, paving the way for the next generation of young photographers. Here, I spoke with Nirrimi about her inspirations, shooting style, and future plans.
The rise of social media over the past few years is undeniable. It’s come to shape our habits and behavioral patterns, as well as redefine social norms. So, it’s inevitable that the creative industry has been influenced too; but in a world where our brand’s worth is often dictated by our follower count, just how important is mastering social media to any creative trying to make it in the industry in 2015?
As a self-taught photographer, I’m an advocate of learning through doing. I didn’t study it, but I can imagine that reading all the Photography 101 books that are available still wouldn't prepare you for actually being on a set, with a model standing in front of you, and a team awaiting your creative direction. In my journey, experience has meant everything. Here are some of the things I’ve learned over the years that may help when shooting your own portraits.
It’s been almost 3 years since I moved to London to pursue photography as a career. I’ve learnt that there are many misconceptions about those who take photos for a living - so here I’m setting the record straight about what day-to-day life is really like for a portrait photographer in one of the world’s biggest cities.