outdoor portait of young man with out of focus building in background

Outdoor portraits are something that I shoot only infrequently, but they definitely have their place.

And collaboration? Well, read on …

I set up my business as a freelance photographer nearly 20 years ago. Back then, every other photographer I met was a rival in my eyes. I was jealous of the work they booked and shot, and jealously guarded every lead I got. They were to be avoided at all costs. But quite quickly I came to realise that it’s much better to view other photographers not as rivals, but as colleagues and collaborators.

Over the years I’ve built up a network of fellow photographers that I know, trust and whose abilities I rate. We talk about work, current trends, different ways of lighting a scene (oh, those conversations are riveting to non-photographers!) and a million other things. I’ve asked for advice when I’ve had a problem, and been asked for my thoughts by colleagues when they want to find a solution to their own. We’ve worked together on projects, second shot or stepped in for one another. We’ve passed work to one another when we’re already booked or busy. I’m part of a community, a network of mutual support and help – and it’s great to know it exists and is there when I need it.

So, when a colleague in London got in touch recently, I was more than happy to step up to help out. He has a regular client, London based, who’d recently recruited two new staff members. Both were Manchester based and needed new headshots, shot in the house style (a head and shoulders shot, relaxed, outdoors in a suitable location – a mews, or narrow alley – with the background thrown out of focus so as not to distract). Now, two headshots like that doesn’t need a lot of set up and takes less than an hour to accomplish. So it would be a whole day out of his schedule to come up to London, for around 30-40 minutes’ work. Hassle for him, and extra and unneccessary expense for the client. Which is where that collaborative network kicked in.  A couple of messages swapped, some examples of the kind of shot needed looked at, a quick outdoor portraits session later and …… job done.

Everybody happy. The network did it’s job yet again.

outdoor portait of young man with out of focus building in background