Jonathan Banks

Architecture, Commercial | Last Updated: February 16, 2021

I’m a photographer… kind of obvious when I am featured on the Shotkit website, but what I mean is that I am a photographer who does not necessarily want to be identified as shooting in any particular genre.

So, to start again, I am an award-winning photographer with over 20 years’ experience in commercial and editorial photography.

For the Shotkit website, I will be categorised somewhere between a commercial photographer and an architectural photographer, so I have selected images to support this.

In my day to day practice, I work with corporate clients shooting everything from annual reports to marketing material; editorial clients documenting events and shooting features plus portraits; architects and designers capturing everything from hotels to offices; and charitable organisations photographing campaigns to instigate change.

I don’t think the diversity in my photography dilutes my focus, in fact, I believe that it is a strength for the people I work with and for my position in the professional world of photography.

After graduating in Photographic Studies from the University of Derby, learning under the prolific artist John Blakemore, I cut my teeth working with a number of British broadsheet newspapers. I worked on news, business and features with mostly photography in the UK but some assignments abroad.

I have always worked with charitable organisations. There is something that is incredibly rewarding about the photography, humbling about the people who allow me to photograph them, and I enjoy the challenges of having to think on my feet to come away with pictures that I hope will make a difference.

At the time of the digital change, I foresaw the value of an editorial image plunge. I was shooting various business features editorially and began to be asked to photograph commercial work for the companies that I encountered.

I have developed this side of my business and now photograph for a stable of corporate clients ranging from tech giants to pharmaceutical companies and energy firms.

It is rare to see an architectural and interiors photographer that also shoots reportage work. I love the unpredictable nature of photographing people as I also enjoy understanding and capturing the design of a building. I always believe that with any photography there are three stages to the work.

The first is the preparation and appreciation of what you will be photographing and understanding how to capture whatever it is to show the viewer. With architecture and interiors, this means talking with the designer in advance and learning about their vision. How the space was conceived and what features make the project unique.

The second stage is scheduling the shoot and working with all parties involved to ensure that everyone is set up for the photography.

The final stage is the photography.

I have used Nikon cameras since the FM2. I have no particular interest in technology only that the camera performs how I want it to. I currently shoot with two Nikon D850 and a spare Nikon D4S.

The Nikon D850 is one of the best 35mm digital SLR’s ever made. It has an incredible 45.7Mp sensor that produces the best quality images but also performs well in low-light situations. This is perfect for my diverse subject material. I tend to use a Blackrapid camera strap with the bodies.

My go-to lens for commercial photography is the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. I will work with one body housing this lens and a second body with my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8. I usually have the Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 in a pouch on my belt in case I need something a little wider.

I always have flashguns on the cameras as I work with fill-in flash a lot. I sometimes photograph with a Pocket Wizard Kit having the flash heads on stands. I am currently photographing with Nikon SB900’s and a Nikon SB910. Also in the arsenal is a Nikon 1.7x Teleconverter to give me a little more reach if required.

If I do need lights for portraiture or otherwise, I have a set of four Elinchrom Style 600RX plus various brollies, reflectors, and softboxes.

For my architectural and interior photography, I work with three Nikon tilt and shift lenses, the incredible Nikon 19mm f/4 plus the Nikon 24mm f/3.5 and Nikon 45mm f/3.5.

The 85mm is on my list of things to purchase! I have a Kirk BL-D850G mount for the camera and two tripods. My primary tripod is a Gitzo Systematic Tripod Series 5 4S XL with an Arca Swiss D4 Geared with Quickset Fliplock head.

The second tripod is for commercial photography and travel when I can’t take the Gitzo. This is a Manfrotto 055CXPRO4 with a Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Tripod Head.

I have bags for all occasions – that’s not to go with my different outfits but to cater for different assignments. I favour the Think Tank system and have the Think Tank Production Manager 40 for all the studio kit plus, Streetwalking Roller Backpack V2.0, Airport Ultralight V2.0, Retrospective 7 V2.0 and a belt system with pouches.

You will also see a Billingham Bag plus a Lowepro Roller X300 and a Portabrace shoulder bag.

I have always used PC’s and work with an HP Z4 G4 workstation plus the HP Dreamcolor Z27 studio display. I also have a Microsoft Surface Book 2 which is amazing. I do have an iPhone XR which has an excellent camera!

The peripheral pieces of kit are LaCie rugged drives for travel, Sony XQD cards, Sandisk CF cards, Ansmann rechargeable batteries, and chargers, and Western Digital SATA drives to archive my material.

I work with a DROBO raid system whilst the jobs are current and then archive everything onto SATA drives using a STARTech device. All my photography is mirrored on two identical SATA drives and stored in two different locations. | @jonathan_banks_photography

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