Coming from a background in graphic design, it was a natural step for Brian to investigate photography as another creative medium. That was five years ago and now, he is working full time as a successful photographer from his own studio in the UK.
“I did my first shoot with a professional model five years ago. I was a graphic designer on the corporate side before things fell into place for me to take up photography professionally. I wouldn’t say it’s all been roses. Good months and bad months, but something always seems to come along, so I have never looked back!”
Getting the right Look
Brian specializes in Hair and Beauty work as well as look books, ecommerce and test work for models. Working from his home studio or directly with model agencies in London, he is known for his natural approach to capturing his subjects.
“The model agencies generally want a natural, classic look for the models as this is how they want to present the models to clients. It’s no good a model arriving to a casting and looking nothing like the images in his or her portfolio. Agencies and models alike come to me because my retouching is mostly subtle. That is my style, and it works for me!”
This approach has led Brian to start a monthly agreement with a London agency to shoot for them, to update their model books while continuing to take direct booking from models.
“The best retouching is the retouching you can’t see. Everyone needs a little but you can go about it in the right way.”
Expanding the business
On the commercial side of things, Brian is concentrating on expanding his Hair work in 2014.
“I shoot a lot of beauty work, and it’s a nice way of marrying everything together. Beauty, Hair and Fashion go nicely together and it is one of those markets that never dry up. Although there is a ‘hair season’, it always seems like there is something hair related going on”
Look books can be a challenge at times and one in particular that Brian shot for a Parisian designer had to be done under less than ideal conditions.
“The designer came over from Paris in the morning of the shoot. We shot it and he went back that night. Unfortunately, we had to work in a tiny space - the model agencies office! A 5ft10 model in heels, only 4ft of space between us and a sloped ceiling behind me. How we got it I don’t know, but it worked out really well in the end thanks to the 35mm lens.”
Choosing Capture One
As any other photographer, Brian runs into many every day challenges, and they are made that much easier to overcome with Capture One. Brian explains:
“Image quality and color rendition is the bottom line that made me switch to Capture One.”
“As soon as I made the decision to move, I never looked back. At the time, I was using Aperture, but had also tried Lightroom and others. When I put images into Capture One, they are perfect as they come out with the colors I expect.”
“That’s huge for me because I don’t want to start color correcting what I have just done out of the camera. All I need to do is a little tweak of the white balance. Most times, there is no time to fix colors - especially in scenarios like ecommerce which is fast turnaround.”
Working with Capture One also gave Brian the new possibility of capturing directly to his computer.
“That was one of the biggest things for me - before I started shooting tethered there was too much difference between what I saw in camera and on the screen. That changed as soon as I began to use Capture One and the experience improved even more when I started to shoot tethered.”
“Color, image quality and default sharpening are all spot on. Honestly sometimes I don’t need to do anything in Capture One!”
As of yet, Brian hasn’t come to use Capture Pilot but he states “...there is going to come a time when I want Capture Pilot, especially for quick collaborative approval with e-commerce clients on
Brian’s favorite Capture One features
Like most Capture One users, Brian uses the basic tools regularly - minor adjustments to Exposure and Contrast as well as Shadow and Highlight recovery. Since acquiring a Fujifilm X1-Pro to complement his Canon equipment, Brian has also been exploring the Black and White capabilities of Capture One.
“I produce all of my Black and White work in Capture One. If I know that I am staying in Black and White and I only want Black and White, then I’ll only use Capture One. I just love the tones Capture One produces and it works every time! I have no need for a film emulator. I simply check black and white in Capture One, leave the sliders as normal and then process out. The models love them!”
Image 1 of Imogen Leaver was captured at Hadleigh Castle in the UK, using Brian's Fuji.
“I love the Fuji on location - it looks just like film when I process the files through Capture One! To be honest, the camera shines in daylight, but I haven’t had as pleasing results as with flash as yet. The images look somewhere between film and medium format. If I can get a daylight studio it will be great for model work.”
Image 2 was captured with Brian’s Canon 5D and it shows how he manages to strike the balance between detail and subtle retouching.
“If I am aiming for detail in my shots, the last thing I want to do is reverse it and blur it all out in post-production!”
In conclusion, Brian shows us image 3 of Zoe Cornwell and talks about the impromptu shoots that we all enjoy.
“I recently started working with makeup artist Zoe Cornwell and we had spoken about doing a session together for a long time. At the end of one particular day, we just decided to try something out. Zoe hadn’t modeled for about 6 months, so to get up and switch it on like that was pretty amazing.
“It blew me away! Impromptu shoots like that with no real plan and where you aren’t aiming to get the images published reminds me of why I love photography.”