Photography Podcast

Episode 3 – Style, setting and reliable feedback

Episode 3 – Style, setting and reliable feedback February 27, 2018Leave a comment

Photographer for Violent Soho, Dune Rats, Camp Cope, Crowbar, Skegss, WAAX, The Hard Aches, and Clowns. I host the podcast, 'FILTER'.

Episode 3 answers three more of your questions! In this episode, questions on how to find your own style, how to find the perfect location, and where to find the most reliable feedback on your photography.


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Episode 3

Last episode was crazy! So many legends said so many kind things. I really appreciate anyone taking the time out to listen. And also appreciate everyone rating the podcast. Its really tough to get podcast cut through.

So everyone who did an Instagram story about it last week. I really appreciate you! People asked what they can do to help. The best thing to do is rate the podcast really. Apple look at download quantities, which we have covered and ratings, so thats how you can help.

After last week’s episode, a few people came forward saying that they appreciated the episode because they were sexually harassed at gigs so I asked for more information. One of them read:

Basically I had a AAA pass and when the three songs were over the security guard was telling me to get out of the pit. I told him no, I was expected to shoot the whole show. I got the promoter who came back over with me and told him to let me stay. But when I squeezed back past him into the pit he grabbed my ass. I probably should have said something but I shoot at that venue a lot and being so new to the world of music photography, I don’t know. Thankfully I haven’t seen him again.

I wrote back:

That is disgusting. I’m so sorry you had to deal with that. Its common security didnt get the brief about the AAA but thats not your fault or his. But him grabbing your ass is fucked up and shouldnt be tolerated. Theres lots of good security out there but I’ve also seen many security guards be dismissed for poor behaviour like this, even though it wasnt explicitly sexual harrassment. I reckon next time speak to the venue manager after the show because its easiest to explain your situation with less noise and ask for them to let you know the outcome of what action they or the security company took against them. Otherwise you’ll never know what they did to rectify the situation. Don’t lose faith, there’s lots of great people in the industry but theres a few bad eggs too. Together we can hold them accountable for their poor choices.

So that’s what I wrote. Normally I wouldn’t read messages I wrote back that came from podcast. But I think it’s really important to share whatever info I can think of. Because this is obviously a problem. We can change it together, you never should feel like being new to an industry means you have to accept being treated poorly.

Alright, this week is a positive episode. This week I’ll be at The Zoo for Cloud Nothings with Electric Zebra on Tuesday. With WAAX supporting Fall Out Boy on Wednesday. Then Maxwell Stern of Signals Midwest and Pinch Hitter will be at Crowbar, my home and love land. Alright lets jump into some questions

How do you find your own style?

Sent from Matthew Gilligan

Style is a hard one to determine. Everyone is individual. It takes ages to find your own style. So the key is to be patient. I think shooting so much content is the best way to start. Then take a look back at your edits and see what common threads there are. That’s your style, its just not chiseled out yet. To chisel it out more, you need to do two things. Firstly, be consistent with the trends you identified. Shoot with your style in mind. Both really tie back to editing because that’s where most peoples style is. Some photographers style are to do exclusively black and white.

Some are to purposely blur the movement of a subject. Some is to reduce the sharpening so everything is glossier and less sharp. Others sharpen images a lot and compensate with added grain. There isn’t one right style and thats the best part of photography. If you want to jump start your discovery and I wouldn’t recommend this over my earlier suggestion. Would be to look at three photographers work

and identify three characteristics that appear in all their photos

then apply the characteristics you like, and see what fits your own it takes the fun out of it. But its another way to do it. The other tip I’ll give you is to know when you’ve gone too far with exaggerating your style elements. Subtly is key. Otherwise it will work against you. They’ll look over edited and overthought.

How do you find things that you want to photograph in terms of themes or subjects and what sort of setting you want them in? With musicians and band photography you’ve found a spot but for someone starting out, do you have any advice? Cause I’m trying to do a running theme with a giant rubber duck (it’s a long story) and I am struggling for a setting. Sorry for the ramble, keep up the great work.

Sent by Troy Britton

I called into ICE T’s podcast with the same question. Or a very similar one. I asked what he likes and dislikes photographers doing when taking his photo. He said that the photographer needs to think through the whole photo. That includes the setting, so to pay extra mind to the surroundings and the themes. He said if he was asked to do a theme that didn’t work for him, he wouldn’t do it. And if he did do it, people would know he didnt want to do it because you can just tell. So while it wasnt exactly helpful to you, if you think along those lines, you need to think about the setting just as much as the subject, so its a good question you asked. Ever since ICE T gave me that answer, if I’ve ever had to do location shoots. I would go out a day or so before and find a good location. You have to do the exploring at the same time your shoot is going to be so the light is as close to the same as it would be. You might need to go to multiple locations but its worth taking that time out to see locations in person. Google Street View doesn’t seem to cut it for me. You never know, when you get to one location you might come up with an awesome idea and revert to a studio shoot anyway. Fresh air always clears my mind

Where do you look for feedback?

Sent from Nath

This is a really good question. Seems simple but its not. I’ll preface this with the note that everyones opinion is valid but heres a few things ive learnt when getting feedback. Your family and friends will often lie to you. They lie because they dont know what theyre looking for and they love you. So they are looking at it through rose coloured glasses. I dont ask anyone I care about what they think of my work. I care what they think, but I dont seek it out because it doesnt help me make decisions on what I should do differently or anything. the other thing ive learnt is that photographer feedback is too educated for what is actually useful. once you’ve been shooting for a while. that sounds a little pointed but what I mean is that only asking photographers for feedback on an ongoing basis will get you their feedback. which is useful but its feedback from their bank of knowledge. so taking that feedback, if you took every bit of feedback from them, it would inevitably turn you into them or change your style to theirs. even though thats not their goal, thats what would happen. so to combat that, I also seek out feedback from creatives from other visual art spheres – painters, sculptors, sketch artists, dancers, anyone who understands the arts. they have the same understanding of what goes into creating something as us photographers do. but they also don’t have any knowledge about the technical side. so theyre talking about emotion and impact rather than a formulaic sequence of recommendations. Since most people aren’t photographers, your largest audience segment are going to be those with no technical knowledge, so thats why I find visual artists of other genres and ask them for feedback before a peer. Similarly, if I were a painter, I wouldn’t ask another painter what they thought of a certain thing. if I specifically wanted to know how to do something, I would ask someone in the same visual arts field. but if its about feedback on a finished product, I would probably ask two photographers and eight visual artists from other genres to get a good viewpoint on how the finished product looks to them

Have a good week!

Missed the last photography podcast episode?

Catch up by listening to the last podcast episode, Episode 2 – Bullying, money and variety.


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Photographer for Violent Soho, Dune Rats, Camp Cope, Crowbar, Skegss, WAAX, The Hard Aches, and Clowns. I host the podcast, 'FILTER'.

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