Firstly thanks to Scott and Brad for the opportunity, and also thanks to Glyn Dewis for introducing me.
Hi Everyone, My names James Hole, I'm from Brighton, UK and I've been given the wonderful opportunity to guest post on Scott's blog today.
I began my journey in photography at the end of 2012, when a friend asked me to take a couple of DJ promo shots for him. I didn't really know anything about photographing people or using and shaping light. So I chucked a speed light (I bought on eBay that same week) on a light stand armed with a snoot fashioned from a bunch of drinking straws, I watched a couple of YouTube videos and believe it or not the shoot actually went ok. I clearly remember that moment when I began looking at everything differently, realising that I wasn't limited to just what was in front of me to make a picture. With these basic tools I could create an image that looked completely different from the way a scene appeared to the eye. An idea that continues to excite me every time I make a picture.
At the time I was in the construction industry. I'd been looking for a career change for a while and had been considering going back to college. I decided that I’d see where this could take me, so I began reaching out to friend and picked up a bunch of small shoots and managed to get paid a little bit for them. I was just happy to be taking pictures. A little later on I decided with the support of my wife, I was going to give it shot full time. That was about mid-2013 and things have been going well since.
One of the most important things in starting my career was the personal work, the friends and family that I worked with to create a small portfolio. I can attribute the beginning of my career to one particular image. It was an idea I'd had for a while to photograph my Dad playing guitar on the deck at the back of my house. I put the shoot together in about 10 mins and shot for another 10 mins while my wife was cooking dinner one evening. The same day I'd had some ND filters arrive in the post that I was desperate to try out. The image above is the result of that test. The sun was setting (the flare is real, I only colour toned the shot) I popped a strobe in an umbrella and used about 5 stops of ND. I was so excited, I posted it up everywhere! About two weeks later I was asked to quote for an ad campaign and that shot was the main reference for the campaign.
I realised recently when deciding what to write in this guest post that I hadn't been shooting like this anywhere near enough recently. So this is a reminder for me too, to get out and make images that excite me and push me in the direction I want to be going in!
Make work you love, not what you think people want to see!
If I could share a few things I've learned during my short career it would be.
1) You need to be excited about the work you're creating. It shows through.
2) Network! People like to work with people they know and like.
3) Show your work! Don't keep waiting till you have this or that ready to be ready to show, tell your audience it's on its way with a teaser at the very least. Potential clients can't see something that isn't out there to be seen! (I'd recommend reading Show Your Work and Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon for inspiration on this).
I’m in the early stages of my career and far from having it all figured out, but I'm excited and grateful to have the opportunity to keep making images and see where this journey will take me. At the moment I am concentrating on editorial and commercial portraits and carving a path into the entertainment industry. Hopefully you've enjoyed reading my post and possibly found something interesting or useful to takeaway.
If you'd like to stay in touch with James, drop him a line on Twitter or Instagram, and check out more of his work at JamesHolePhoto.com
The views and opinions expressed in the Guest Blog series are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Scott Kelby or Kelby Media Group.
Thanks for sharing your insights, it’s great to read from a UK perspective how you began to find work in the industry.
That photo of your Dad playing guitar is really great indeed! I love the concept and execution of it.
All the best,
James it is great to see you on here, and to see your photography story over such a short time
A great surprise to see you as a guest poster James. I didn’t realise your journey had only started back in 2012. That PSW in DC must’ve been very motivating.
Love the quirkiness of image of the boy & the chickens :-)
Way to go mate! It’s a pleasure to watch and see how things are moving on for you. Seeing how you’ve developed in such a short period of time is nothing short of inspiring but the best thing of all is that nothing has been given to you; you’re where you are and moving beyond because of your determination to keep learning, keep improving and above all shooting what you love. Can’t wait to see what the coming years bring for you mate! Proud of you!
What a great article. Very thought provoking as I am looking for work and it will most likely entail a career change. Who knows, maybe it will be photography.