My name is Andrew and I am commercial photographer and visual artist who has been creating images with cameras since I was boy.
I studied Fine Art as a degree and Visual Communication for my Masters, and this set me on an exciting journey into the world of photography (and around the world with photography, for clients and agencies).
Over the last 15 years, I have shot landscapes in the Andes and Atlas mountains, portraits for the Royal Saudis, an international editorial and front cover for New Style magazine, followed the cocoa trail in Africa for a world-wide agricultural company, and shot with many creative teams and model agencies.
I have two different, separate camera kits for my personal work and commercial work (Nikon D digital cameras and bodies). Today my friends, I will only be discussing the old-fashioned stuff, as it is not that often that retro gear gets the limelight anymore!
For my personal work, I shoot on a classic Mamiya RB67 Pro. Using this camera (and roll film) requires a very different approach to today’s rapid shooting digital world. Every step must be considered carefully (it’s expensive developing and scanning the film, and there is no delete and reshoot option, so you need to learn about proper photography).
(See: best photo scanners here.)
Using a large roll film camera (with a big view finder that you look down into), allows me to approach the image-making in a way that is akin to how I used to paint pictures at art school, and this has turned in to a practice and process that I enjoy (it is also a welcome change from the fast-paced commercial digital shoots and provides good opportunity for reflection on your work as an image maker).
When the shutter is released on the RB67, it makes a wonderful low sounding thud and you get the immediate feeling that something special has happened!
Working with fashion models with these cameras also requires a very different approach in terms of pace, and in the relationship between how the photographer and model will work together on a shoot.
I have three interchangeable lenses for my Mamiya RB67: a Mamiya 50mm, Mamiya 65mm and a 127mm Mamiya ‘Sekor’ lens, all of which produce lovely images on film.
The Mamiya RB67 is a fully manual and mechanical camera, so there is no internal meeting and no auto focus, so over the years I have learnt how to spot meter (see guide) using handheld meters, but now I have a Lumu Light Meter app on my iphone 11 with which I can spot different zones of the scene and decide on what exposure, accordingly.
I tend to use different types of roll film on a shoot depending on the subject matter and conditions, but Fujifilm Pro 400H 120 is by far my favourite and, in my opinion, the best allrounder, yielding good exposures with beautiful rich colours in most lighting conditions.
For my personal work, I have a *no flash allowed* rule, so in order to create, and keep, atmosphere, I utilise available light with reflectors, and ‘build up’ and ‘paint in’ light using a range of tungsten spotlights with dimmers and soft boxes.
Some of the lights I use include PhotonBeam 800W 3-head kit with barn doors and dimmers, a MiniBeam 300W 3-head kit, and 2 x Ianiro 500w mini spots with dimmers (sadly discontinued as they only make LED lights now).
My trusty old friend and retro titanium 3001 Manfrotto Professional tripod body with super 3D Pan and tilt head keeps the Mamiya RB67 firm and steady during shooting.
Finally, the work I shoot on negative is developed C41 and scanned as medium resolution files in order that I can select the strongest portfolio images.
The selected negatives are then drum scanned at my local lab to a whopping 300MB and these will be used as my master images within Adobe Photoshop where I will create the final set of images.