How would you describe what you do?
I’m a freelance photographer working in still life. My clients are mainly in design and fashion, and I specialise in anything object-orientated. What I do changes monthly – I work for a lot of magazines, but what they get me to do each time is always different. A lot of my bread and butter comes from small businesses and other sole traders, for example graphic designers or small shops who want photography for their online presence. At the minute I’m retouching shots of a jeweller’s work, planning a shoot for Size? tomorrow and shooting a job for The Telegraph.
What does a typical working day look like?
On an average day I’m at the studio planning, shooting tests and doing research, usually between 9am until 7pm. If a set is too big to fit in the studio, then I base myself elsewhere. I tend to shoot eight days a month, but a two-day shoot will often end up being over a week’s work.
On a shoot day I usually get up at 5.45am to get in before everyone else. I’ll put on some music and have coffee, then the set designer arrives at about 8.30am with assistants and equipment. The initial set-up to get the first shot is the hardest. I try to plan as well as I can, but sometimes it goes to pot so it’s important not to be too sentimental. I tend to think less about locking down every shot (although sometimes I’ll sketch them out) and more about what we're trying to achieve. You work until the job's done, sometimes that’s 11pm. Knowing when you're done is a lot about gut feeling. It’ll look crap, you'll move everything around again, and then after a couple of hours it'll suddenly look right.
How does your freelance work usually come about?
Sometimes it's a surprise. I tend not to ask which of my projects people have seen, so I don't try to redo it for them. Art directors tend to have a pool of photographers that they like to work with; for example, I've shot a lot of stuff for PORT Magazine, and its co-founder has now moved to The Telegraph so I'm starting to work with them too. It's about relationships you make – the more you maintain them, the more things happen.