CAPTURING INTERACTIONS & GENUINE MOMENTS: AN INTERVIEW WITH LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER, OLLY BURN | Arts & Creative Interview | Art Jobs

CAPTURING INTERACTIONS & GENUINE MOMENTS: AN INTERVIEW WITH LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER, OLLY BURN

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1. Did you receive a formal education as a photographer or are you self-taught ?

I studied photography at Falmouth College of Arts, where I learnt a lot technical aspects of photography working primarily with film and had the time and freedom to explore which areas of photography I enjoyed the most. However, I think the bulk of my learning came from working within the industry, first as a model maker and set builder, then as an assistant for four years.

" I freelanced a bit, but worked full time with two photographers and I think it was during this time I learnt the skills required and got an in-depth view into what it takes to be successful in the industry, from being on set to learning the most effective methods of self promotion. "

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2. What do you love most about your job ?

I love the opportunities that come with being a photographer, meeting and working with amazing talented people and seeing incredible places. Travelling for work often opens up the chance of experiences that would be really difficult otherwise.

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3. Is capturing that “moment” spontaneous or is it carefully planned prior to shooting ?

I think it’s a combination of the two. When I’m shooting, I try to work in a spontaneous and authentic way, encouraging and working with people to feel at ease and express themselves.  However, careful planning and preparation is vital to make this happen, and allows the shoot to be as real and fluid as possible. On a commercial shoot it’s so important to have every detail considered prior to shooting, so the day can be relaxed and fun and we can really get the best from everyone. With my personal work it’s definitely more about exploring and learning, I get such a thrill from the unexpected and being able to observe and react to things.

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" On a commercial shoot it’s so important to have every detail considered prior to shooting, so the day can be relaxed and fun and we can really get the best from everyone. "

 
4. Is there anything that frustrates you about the industry ? 

Diary management! While some jobs are a long time in preproduction and dates are firm a few weeks before, often things can come in very last minute. Planning life more than a week ahead can be very difficult!

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5. What obstacles have you dealt with in your career and what did you do to overcome them ? 

Like in any careers there are obstacles to over come, however I try to see my career so far being a series of opportunities and making the most of them. Luck and fortuity certainly comes into play, but I hope to be able to make informed decisions when needed. 

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6. What has been the most challenging location you have ever shot in ? 

We shot for a week in and around Kingston, Jamaica, shooting numerous scenarios in many locations. Downtown Kingston can be quite a dangerous place, we had to have police and security at all times, and also cooperation from the gangs that occupied each area. While the gangs from each area were happy to help (in exchange for cash!) we still had to be wary of rival gangs and not overstepping the mark. But this allowed us to experience areas of Kingston we simply wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise, and meet some really lovely local people.

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7. You have worked with some major clients including British Airways, AirBNB, Dove, Men’s Health etc. How have you managed to market yourself so well over the years ? 

I think staying busy with personal work is very important, shooting for the love of it and not to a brief. Getting work in front of people can be challenging and often expensive, but always worth the investment. I’ve produced a few printed promotional pieces in the last few years, each time getting bigger in format and more inventive in presentation, which are sent out to key creatives and commissioners. The response has always been so positive.

 

" In a digital world, I think a well thought out physical piece stands out and grabs the attention of people who care about the work. "

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8. What additional skills do you think a successful photographer possesses that may surprise most people ?

I have really tight team of assistants and I think that’s become a really big part of my career. We travel and work a lot together, but our relationship is very much as friends as opposed to colleagues. Working together is always amazing fun, and when pressures on we’re able to offer each other support. I think clients see this too, and respond well to the friendly but hard working set up we have.

 

" I have really tight team of assistants and I think that’s become a really big part of my career. "

OLLY BURN
AOP

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