These are a few of my favourite things..
Feeling totally amazed and very privileged to be asked if I’d like to be the ‘featured photographer’ in the second edition of the 0n-line photography magazine “We Are Creatives”. Compiled and edited by photographer Andrew Lam, the magazine features work by members of the London Photography Social MeetUp group, but is also open to submissions by anyone.
It’s an editorial piece featuring and interview and some of my work. Picking six or seven of my favourite images proved much more difficult than I’d anticipated. I find I fall in and out of love with my pics all the time! However, here is a link to the magazine and the pics I sent across and which currently I’m probably most fond of.
The interview got shortened a bit as I waffled on too much! If you’re interested, here is the slightly more wordy version:
All photographers talk about gear – what do you shoot with now and why did you pick that system?
I mainly shoot with a Nikon D850 and a selection of Nikkor lenses (the 85mm f/1.4G is my absolute favourite). I also have a couple of Profoto flash heads which I occasionally use if I need an extra kick of light. Choosing Nikon was originally a bit of a random choice – many years ago I bought a cheap Nikon compact camera and have just upgraded many times since then with a system I was already familiar with. No regrets though! The D850 is awesome and there’s currently no other camera I rather would swap it for.
Can you describe how you got into photography and how it got you to where you are today as a photographer?
I’ve pretty much always had some kind of camera. At times I’d feel more enthusiastic about photography than at others, but would often get frustrated and lose interest when I couldn’t figure out why my images didn’t look anything like the ones I saw in magazines. Then about five years ago, my wife and I got to share a cab with another couple who been at the same wedding reception and who just happened to be heading in the same direction we were. The guy turned out to be a professional photographer and we ended up enthusiastically talking ‘shop’ the whole ride back to north London. Samir helped me figure out some pieces of the jigsaw I had missing and make sense of a whole bunch of stuff I couldn’t work out for myself. Ever since then, I’ve been hugely passionate about photography and have tried to learn as much as possible. Everyone should have a ‘passion’ in life.
What has been your favourite shoot or image and why?
I’ve been on some incredibly fun workshops and worked as ‘second shoot’ on some pretty amazing weddings, but the first time I plucked up the courage to hire a model for my own little shoot in Hampstead is a particular favourite. It’s so nice to be able to slow things down and just shoot at a pace you feel comfortable with in a location and style of your choosing. Not sure I have a ‘favourite’ image. There are some I’m quite fond of, but I find I regularly fall in and out of love with my work so I’m never too sure which I’m going to like on any particular day.
You shoot a lot of portraiture and the posing of your subjects are fantastic – what advice do you give in terms of posing?
It’s really kind of you to say so, but any good ‘posing’ in my images relies far more on serendipity than any skill on my part. I’m finding posing one of the most challenging aspects of photography to master and one that can ‘make’ or ‘break’ a portrait/fashion image. It’s definitely one of the main things I want to try to figure out in 2019. There are a few basic rules you need to be aware of, but after that it’s a case of having a solid repertoire of ‘base’ poses from which you can make small adjustments and variations to suit the mood and style. I found Lindsay Adler’s book “The Photographer’s Guide to Posing” really helpful as it does a great job of explaining this tricky subject in a way I can actually remember on a shoot.
There are so many new photographers every single day, what advice would you give to photographers starting to learn photography?
Learn how your camera works and then study a few basic rules about composition. Read about photography and watch some of the hundreds of tutorials on YouTube and the free stuff on CreativeLive. In photography, ‘light’ is everything. Learn how to use it to your advantage. Shoot everything and figure out what kinds of photography you really enjoy. Go to some workshops and MeetUps (Andrews!!). If at all possible, find a mentor. Becoming a creative thinker and a great photographer is a journey, but you need to be on that bus or you’re going nowhere! Oh… and if you’re really into portrait photography and you only have the kit lens that came with your camera, investing in a relatively inexpensive 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 prime lens just might be the best money you’ve ever spent!
You have done workshops for a long time with various groups, what do you think are the benefits of workshops and groups shoots?
Workshops are great because you get to have fun with people that feel passionate about the same things as you do. You’ll get as much or as little support as you need and the opportunity to shoot in a studio or some great locations. There’s usually a range of togs at different points along their journeys as photographers, but everyone acknowledges that they’re learning and willing to help anyone who’s feeling a bit unsure. The models don’t bite either (although many are barking mad) and really patient with folks who’ve only just figured out which end of a camera to point. Have a laugh, meet new friends, learn a load of stuff!!
We see your images shared all over Instagram and, especially to me, your images are easily recognisable as yours. What are your ambitions for your photography?
Each year, I try to set myself a few goals for my photography and last years was all about trying to introduce some stylistic consistency in my work. If you can recognise my images, then I’m really very happy as it means I must be doing at least something right! I think the current style of my work is a combination of lens choice (usually 85mm or 105mm primes) and an editing process I’ve been using for almost a year now. As I already mentioned, this year I want to learn how to pose my models for the kind of fashion editorial style images I’d love to be able to create and do some more of my own shoots. However, if I’m a better photographer in December than I am today, I’ll be more than happy.
If someone is looking to book a shoot with you or collaborate what is the best way of contacting you?
You can contact me either through social media (Instagram: @stevebutler, PurplePort: SteveButler, Facebook: SteveButlerPhotography) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org