Spotlight Interview … Children’s Fashion / Lifestyle Photographer Daniel Pangbourne

JRP: Welcome Children’s Fashion / Lifestyle Photographer Daniel Pangbourne to JRP Blog. Thank you Daniel for joining us.

Daniel Pangbourne: It’s a pleasure to be with you and be interviewed for your great blog.

JRP: Daniel where do you call home? How did you get your start in photography and is there any formal training in your background?

Daniel Pangbourne: Home is London in the UK. I have always had my studio in London since I arrived there after my college days. I spent three years in Manchester studying and experimenting with photography at art college. I then moved to London where I assisted several photographers on a freelance basis for a year or so. I then started showing my portfolio around to magazines and work started to come.

JRP: Many photographers have a moment where it becomes apparent that this is what they should be doing. When was that moment for you and why have you chosen this genre of photography?

Daniel Pangbourne: As a hobby I had been taking pictures and developing and printing my work since I was eleven. When I was eighteen and looking at career choices all the possibilities suggested to me by school looked very boring. One person asked what my hobby was, which was photography, and then said ‘Why not make a career out of that?’. After spending a few days with a couple of photographers to see what professional photography was all about, I was hooked and felt photography and the life of a photographer was the way forward.

When I was shooting fashion I was asked by a client to shoot an editorial children’s fashion story for a magazine and an advertising spread. At that point I had never used child models in a shoot before. But after that day’s shooting and seeing the results I knew that this specialization was my way forward. You need incredible patience but when you get that natural expression and that wonderful collision of art and life, the hard work is worth the result.

JRP: Who are some of the photographers that have influenced your work and why?

Daniel Pangbourne: When it comes to photographers I love, I am a bit of a purist. Black and white and incredible lighting (whether natural or artificial) is my basis. I love the work of Edward Stiechen, Honingen Huene, Ansell Adams, Eve Arnold, Arnold Newman and of course Richard Avedon. Contemporary photographers I like, include Bruce Webber, Mario Testino, Poalo Roversi and Steven Meisel.

But really, fine art has influenced me as much as photography. Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe and Dali to name but a few have had a massive influence on me.

JRP: Do you work alone or with a support staff?

Daniel Pangbourne: I have a great support staff. On commercial shoots I will have a Fashion stylist and Hair & Make Up person. A digital technician who looks after the downloading of raw files and organizes the different shots into sections ready for editing and processing. I will have one or two lighting assistants and occasionally a producer. Then of course I will have models, and because of my genre as a photographer of children and family lifestyle I will have the parents of the young models. It’s one big team!

Interestingly, for my personal projects I only work with an assistant and a runner. Always daylight and very reportage. After years of studio work with complicated lighting rigs it’s very liberating to work with such freedom.

JRP: What type of equipment would I find in your camera bag or studio for a typical shoot? What lighting equipment do you favor and why?

Daniel Pangbourne: I use a Canon 1sdmk3 and a Canon 5D. 28-70 zoom and a 70-200 zoom. This kit just about covers all I need for cameras and lenses. Because I have to work fast when shooting (as you don’t get a long attention span with children) the DSLR’s are much more practical than the ‘medium’ format cameras. I use Apple computers with Capture 1 as my raw capture and processing software. My studio lighting is Elinchrom. On location I take Elinchrom but prefer to use daylight with reflectors and scrims etc. With the new cameras having incredible ISO settings I can get great results in very low light conditions.

JRP: Could you describe your digital work-flow and the software you use?

Daniel Pangbourne: I shoot Raw on my Canon, either tethered in the studio or to card on location. These are then downloaded and filed in Capture 1. The client and I then spend time rating and editing the shots. Once the final selection have been made I will make any adjustments to exposure, saturation and contrast etc., and then process them to high-resolution Tiffs or small jpegs for the client to take away and further edit back at their studio. Obviously Photoshop is used by me, my digital technician or the clients studio to finalize the image before layout and printing.

JRP: Do you personally print your images?

Daniel Pangbourne: Yes, but now digitally. I used to print traditionally in the dark room, but I now have an incredible ink jet printer that re-creates color and especially black and white to such an amazing quality and consistency that I love it. A good bromide, R-Type print or Cibachrome is still better than a digital print, but to be able to produce incredible prints ‘instantly’ in my studio is wonderful.

JRP: Are there any memorable images or shoots you could share with us? What made that image or shoot special?

Daniel Pangbourne: I shot a private project of recording the young ranchers in America. I traveled around visiting ranches and recorded the day-to-day working life of the kids and took portraits of all the young children that were destined to be the next generation of Rancher and farmer. The whole experience was life changing and I love every image I took.

I have since shot several more projects on this basis and each time I reaffirm the incredible bond and artistic link between photography, people, documentation and story telling.

JRP: With the current economic conditions what have you done to keep your services foremost in your client’s mind?

Daniel Pangbourne: I am lucky to have a good client base. But marketing, exposure and advertising is still very important. Good work shines through, it’s just making sure potential new clients get to see that work and know who shot it!

JRP: What advice would you like to share with other photographers?

Daniel Pangbourne: Be true to yourself and choose the genre of photography you love and that suits your personality. Be very creative and keep researching and learning. Test shoots are a great way to try new creative attitudes and lighting techniques. Photography is a lifestyle, not just a way to make a living.

JRP: Thank you Daniel for sharing your thoughts and images with us. It has been a pleasure.

Daniel Pangbourne: It’s been great fun, many thanks for your interest.

JRP: To view more of Daniel Pangbourne’s photography please follow this link:

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