Digitalab Featured Photographer: Robert Bedson
At Digitalab, we appreciate the power of photography, whether it’s personal or professional. We asked Robert Bedson for one of his images and posed a couple of questions to find out exactly what it is he loves about photography and what he’d say to any enthusiastic photographer hoping to make a career out of their passion.
Tell us a bit about this image and why you chose it to be featured.
I selected this image for several reasons:
a. It has just received a Fashion Gold Award from the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers. I am a member in two of their sections, Wedding and Fashion. When it was awarded the activity on Twitter was very satisfying.
b. It is unusual for my body of work because it was not shot in London, as much of my fashion work generally is. It was shot in Mayfield Studio in Newcastle, the model, Alice Green is local, selected for her beautiful face and the MUA (make-up artist) was Emily Emmett with whom I have worked several times with in Newcastle. We were a team formed for the day and it all went very well indeed, shooting the whole collection within time and budget.
c. The stylist and designer was Joey Bevan (http://joeybevan.4ormat.com/). Joey is a part of the team for the Sky TV Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model (BINTM). I have collaborated with Joey on many occasions and I brought him to the North East to demonstrate that there is fashion outside of London. Joey also designed the collection I photographed that day. With my connection to Joey I have had the privilege of shooting with several of the BINTM contestants over the past few years. I love working with Joey because he so enthusiastic and talented.
d. the image required much post production to ensure that all the fine details in the back lit hair and garments were visible. The body was removed in Photoshop to give that floating, bird like look. So the final image was exactly as it was envisioned, so satisfying.
Which styles of photography most interest/inspire you?
A difficult question, I love to shoot in many different styles. When I shoot a wedding, I mix it up with traditional, arty and fashion poses, it depends on the client. www.northlightsphotography.co.uk
When I am shooting fashion I produce a mood board to help the whole team. The mood board contains up to a dozen images from others that illustrate the mood, and style that we are to create. We don’t copy them, it’s just to illustrate visually rather than trying to come up with all the adjectives that are needed that may confuse and all involved may have a different interpretation.
I am known for quite graphic model poses attempting to fill as much of the space in the frame as possible. The model needs to be good at taking direction. It’s almost like being a silent movie director calling out looks and directions constantly. I suppose it’s a throw back to when I was at Pinewood studios on the sets of Bond movies and Superman.
I take a lot of inspiration from cinema. Many shoots are based around movies that are due to be blockbusters. In the past few years I have shot amongst others; “Dark Knight Rises”, “Eyes Wide Shut” and Sin City. These are for publication.
If it is a catalogue or Look Book shoot then the client has the most say in the style, then I have to produce what they want, they are paying after all.
What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?
Know the technical process inside out. Most photographers do not know the process and rely on post production or the camera itself to produce images. Many of the good images are due to luck. As a professional photographer you cannot trust to luck. You must be able to predict and control every aspect of the final image, from the lighting, focus, exposure, post production and importantly print, to attain look that the client wants and is paying for. I am an external examiner for Teesside University and it saddens me that when looking over the various syllabuses at certain colleges they do not include the in depth technical knowledge that I got when I was at Richmond upon Thames College in the 1980s. It is especially disappointing that many photographers never print their work, this includes professionals and the millions who own cameras.
The 21st century will be the century of a missing photographic archive.
Historians rely on the ordinary images that folks take to get a truer impression on what life was all about. They will not have this asset in the future when hard discs of images fail or CD’s of images deteriorate and no longer can be read. I know you asked me to give one piece of advice but I feel that this one is really important. Always charge for your work, never give it away, the promises of further paid work never materialise because you don’t value your work so why should others?
Always remember that it is a business, marketing takes precedence over the art. I am always interested to hear from photographers, stylists and designers just starting out and give them some guidance and even collaborate, so please feel free to get in touch email@example.com.