JRP: When you view the site of Graeme Pitman you are impressed with the style and execution of his images especially at such an early stage of his career. Thanks Graeme for sharing your time, thoughts, and images with the readers of JRP Blog.
Graeme Pitman: Thanks for the opportunity to let me share what I love!
JRP: Where do you call home Graeme?
Graeme Pitman: Home is in Dubuque, Iowa. My family moved here In 1994 from western Canada and I’ve called it home ever since. It’s a pretty cool little city of 60,000 on the Mississippi. Not nearly as flat or uncultured as most people would imagine.
JRP: What got you started in photography? Do you have any formal training?
Graeme Pitman: My passion for photography started my senior year in high school, six years ago. There was no particular point of conversion – just a slow burning. In College my good friend Ryan Thompson pushed me to attend a photography school in Montana. I worked for a year and saved up enough money to go. Started up business immediately following (2005) and went full time in 2007. Never looked back.
JRP: How would you describe your photographic style?
Graeme Pitman: Photojounalistic inspired modernly classic [he laughs]. I don’t know how I’d describe my style. I’m really attracted to clean, sharp images with good lighting. I also really enjoy super-wide apertures. Capturing moments, expressions, and feeling is the most important. It’s what separates mediocre photographs from great ones. I try and shy away from any ‘fads’ or ‘gimmicks’ that come along every year. HDR. Textures. Actions. They are too often used as a crutch, and I think they are already dating themselves.
JRP: What would I find in your camera bag?
Graeme Pitman: Main Bag: Canon 5D (Just made the switch from the crop sensors to the FF) // Canon 30D (Backup) // Canon 200mm F/2.8L // Canon 85mm f/1.8 // Sigma 50mm F/2.8 Macro // Sigma 30mm F/1.4 // Canon 17-35 F/2.8L // Canon 430ex Flash
Lighting Bag: Alien Bees ab1600 strobe // ab800 strobe // Tripod // 50″ Octobox // 30″ Softbox // Reflectors
JRP: What software do you make use of in your digital workflow?
Graeme Pitman: Be lost without Lightroom 2 and Photoshop. I’m actually still rocking CS1 … I think it might be time for an upgrade.
JRP: How do you handle printing your images? Is it done in house or do you outsource to a lab?
Graeme Pitman: Outsource, definitely. My operation doesn’t have enough manpower to handle all that’s involved in printing in-house. Maybe someday. We use Bay Photo out in Cali. Never had a problem.
JRP: A great deal of the work presented on your site involves weddings and portraits. Is that an area you have a special fondness for?
Graeme Pitman: Portraits are my flagship. I love photographing children – implementing my own style to make great images. Although I have a studio, all my kids work is done on location. Somewhere they are comfortable, their house, a park, wherever. I find it’s very difficult to make compelling images of children in a studio where they are uncomfortable. Get them in their element that’s where the magic happens.
I also have an affinity for shooting seniors, weddings, and commercial work. I think I’m going to be tailoring my business to the kids and seniors instead of weddings from now on, though.
JRP: How do you prepare for a wedding shoot? Is there anything special you consider prior to the event?
Graeme Pitman: Gracious. The checklist is extensive. I make sure my batteries are all charged, and my lighting is all where it should be. Make sure all my flashcards are where they should be. Then comes shaving and ironing the clothes. Then I fill up my water bottle and grab a few bites. I try to always look at a few blogs that morning to relax and get some ideas of things I might try and implement. After that I triple check my camera bag, grab the clients contact information and contract and load up. I always get there at least 30 minutes early to look around the venue and get ideas, test the light, and prepare for the stress of the day!
JRP: Do you make use of available light or do you use supplemental lighting on location? What kind of lighting do you prefer for your portrait work?
Graeme Pitman: Both! Light is wonderful, whether you are manipulating it or not. I’d say I do about 50/50 natural and strobe. I’m starting to see how light works a lot more, which is helpful to know whether to use the strobes or available light.
JRP: Do you have any special projects you are working on?
Graeme Pitman: Currently I’m trying to get through the wedding season without drowning. I know personal projects are important to a photographer’s sanity, but I currently don’t have time for any. That will change this fall. I’m thinking up a few concepts…
JRP: Thus far what has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Graeme Pitman: Don’t give up!
JRP: What advice would you share with photographers starting out?
Graeme Pitman: Shoot, shoot, shoot! Don’t be afraid to fail. Work on your people skills and interacting with the client. It’s just as important as the technical aspects. Study other photographer’s work and try and to reverse engineer it. Don’t get sucked into any fads, just work on your lighting. Try and be as original as possible. Use socially networking sites for the bulk of your marketing. Find good photographers to support you and bounce ideas off of.
JRP: Thank you Graeme for sharing your thoughts and photography with us. It has been a real pleasure talking with you. Continued success.
Graeme Pitman: You’re very welcome!
JRP: To view more of Graeme Pitman’s images please go to these links: