Allen Venables Photography [allenvenables]
Do you have an online gallery where one can view your photos?
Yes there are quite a few as follows:
For how long have you done photography? How did you begin?
For over 20yrs. I began as a keen amateur but being an art director I was allways involved with professional photography. I began taking it more seriously when I realised that I could do better than some of the professional photographers I was commissioning.
What has been your education as a photographer?
I have no formal education in photography apart from on the job experience
Please list any exhibitions in which you have participated.
To date none although I have a major personal exhibition in the pipeline
What is your favourite type of photography?
Any type to be honest - although I love live music photography and photographing beautiful women
What do you try to express through your photography?
I try not to think too much during a shoot - I plan meticulously beforehand but during the shoot I go with the flow. I express my creativity obviously but it all depends on what type of shoot it is - advertising photography usually is quite strict to match the art directors vision although I always attempt to add that something extra, wedding photography is all about capturing the moment and making the bride and grooms day memorable and capturing the true emotion. The list is endless depending on what you are photographing.
How do you choose your subjects?
Good question - and a very difficult one - its difficult to explain the process but somehow you know when something is just right - be it a landscape, a particular angle or a beautiful woman.
What type of preparation do you do before undertaking the photo session?
This is usually quite detailed from planning the location, the lighting, equipment needed etc. I also usually sketch what I see the end photos looking like and do a lighting set up diagram - although these very often change during the shoot
Do you normally photograph with a purpose already in mind, or do you let yourself go with the flow?
yes and yes. I do have a plan in mind, but I use that as a rough guide and definitely go with the flow during a shoot, so if anything exceptional presents itself I dont say to myself well thats not part of the original plan. I usually find that these are the best shots
Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sigma, Olympus, Sony, Pentax...which do you place your bets on and why?
Canon definitely! I use an eos 1ds mark 2 which is a real beast of a camera. I have never used a Nikon. My first camera was an eos 1000f film camera - the guy in the camera shop suggested it and I have been a Canon addict ever since.
Describe your current equipment: cameras, lenses, computers, accessories...
Is there enough space here?
Canon Eos 1ds Mark 2
L series lenses - 70-200mm IS f2.8, 24-70mm f2.8, 16-35mm f2.8, 100mm macro f 2.8, 180mm macro, 50mm, 28mm
Sekonic Light meter
Hensel Lighting 3 x monoblocs & softboxes, beauty dishes etc etc
Alien Bees Ringlflash
Apple Laptop, G5 Tower, Epson printers
Lightroom, Adobe Master Suite, Lucis Arts, Photomatix
and most importantly... a very creative brain - no matter what sort of equipment you have it wont mean a thing unless you do something creative with it.
What software and plug-ins do you use to retouch and manage your photos?
My workflow is as follows:
download images to computer - Mac - with a lexar card reader - convert and view with canon image browser - and then retouch in pshop cs3 - depending on the project I also use photomatix, luci arts, and tiffen dft
More recently I have been using lightroom and photoshop
I would love to use Capture One but the demos I have tried seem to be very buggy on the Mac
What measures do you take to protect your work against Internet piracy?
This is very difficult to control, I watermark my images with a copyright notice etc - but I have had instances where publication and net sites have used my images without permission - which I usually follow up with a nasty e mail.
Are you a good salesperson of your work? In what should you improve?
No not really - I depend a lot on word of mouth which makes terrible business sense. I try to keep my name on the net and Iam currently redesigning my website.
Which past masters of photography do you most admire?
To be honest I dont have many heroes - there are so many talented people out there from the masters to joe blogs with a point and shoot - I admire any examples of good work - no matter who took it. Although I do admire the work of Albert Watson, Annie Lebovitz, David Chappell, Dave Hill, Joe Cornish - not past masters - but definitely masters of their craft
Are technology and digital retouching reducing the gap between professionals and amateurs?
As I already mentioned it doesnt really matter if you have all the equipment in the world, you still have to have the expertise and vision to use them effectively and know when to stop. I think technology and retouching allows you a lot more freedom and the ability to do things that were not possible in the past - but reducing the gap - no I dont think so personally.
What is your team of habitual collaborators like?
I have a small team of people that I use quite often - hairdressers, make up artists, stylists etc - but I dont believe in huge teams of people - Iam very much a loner - to the detriment of my poor back ;-)
With which other photographers do you normally team up with or do sessions with?
Do you consider yourself more technical or more artistic?
I would say 50/50
What have you learned about the art of framing and composition?
This is very important to me - but Iam a firm believer of learning the basics / rules and then throwing them out of the window - thinking out of the box so to speak
How does one develop the instinct of knowing when to press the shutter release button?
Now thats a tough one - which I cant explain. I guess through experience, natural talent, trial and error you will know when the time is right. Or is it natural instinct? Or a combination of all of the above.
When should one use film, and when should one use digital?
One should use film when ones bank account is brimming with cash and when one is certain that you can bag the shot in 12 frames!
One should use digital when ones bank account is up and down, when one needs infinite shots.
I use both and to be honest there is very little difference once you factor in the scanning process of film.
Although I recently shot some 5x4 landscapes on fuji velvia and tried the same shots on digital - quality wise very little difference - but the film transparencies had that something extra that just cannot be repeated with digital. it is however a MUCH more expensive route to take
Does photography have the recognition that it should have in contemporary art museums?
yes, I think there has been a shift in recent years and photography is becoming more recognised as a true art. Although digital cameras have watered this down to some extent
Which websites for photographers do you frequently visit?
There are tons! I visit loads of photographers and tutorial sites and bookmark very often, but I guess my main inspiration comes from flickr - there are endlessly talented people showcasing their work.
Is there any particular technique that you could share?
Loads - but heres a quickie to boost a flat image - duplicate the layer in photoshop - go to filters - high pass - dial in 20 - set the layer to soft light - adjust the opacity of the layer to taste - est voila!
Allen Venables Photography