Every year 20Collective runs a Mentoring Scholarship giving the successful applicant the chance to be mentored by a 20Collective photographer of their choice. The Scholarship is divided into two categories, under 25’s and over 25’s, with the aim of identifying two emerging photographers and helping to develop their talent. This year the photographers in 20Collective chose James Richard as the winner of the under 25’s category and he decided to spend the day with me in a one-to-one mentoring session.
James working with window light in an everyday space
I’ve been offering one-to-one training for wedding photographers for a couple of years after responding to several requests for tailor-made courses. Having tried various courses when I was starting out, I wanted to offer something that concentrated on what the photographer wanted to learn rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. I think most photographers know what their strengths and weaknesses are, whether it’s creative, technical or business related. So before the day I arranged a time to Skype with James to get a feel for where he was at in his photography career and what he wanted to get out the day. I also spent a while looking through his website not only to check out his work, but also to look at his branding and the structure of the website itself. After our chat James emailed over a list of the main things he wanted to cover and I fleshed it out with things I thought were missing or that might be helpful.
Here I’m demonstrating that an invisible camera is the best way to stay unobtrusive
As James is near the beginning of his photography career it wasn’t surprising that he wanted to cover a bit of everything! Sometimes photographers only want to concentrate on one aspect of their work as they are experienced and just need to tweak a couple of things to get to the next level. However, James wanted to cover as much ground as possible to give him an insight into where to take his business next.
My good friend and wedding photographer Rachel Manns came along for some of the day to take a few behind the scenes shots and also kindly offered to model for us. My studio provided the perfect environment to learn about looking for light in an ordinary room, something we are confronted with every week as wedding photographers. We spent some time talking about different ways to use window light in a wedding situation, from getting ready shots to receptions and portraits.
James gets down and dirty. Changing the angle to declutter the background in a busy street scene.
Just before the sun set we headed out to experiment with ways of shooting portraits in the street. With busy London streets it can be a daunting experience, but with some consideration to position and angle, background clutter can be eliminated. It was also a good opportunity to look for light in a fairly challenging environment.
After our session we made the two minute walk to the local pub to debrief and take it all in over a couple of pints. I really enjoyed spending time with someone so enthusiastic and eager to learn and I can’t wait to see where James goes next.
Finding the light. Subtly backlit by the weak winter sun and catchlights in the eyes provided by light coming in at the end of the street.
James’s take on our mentoring session:
“My mentoring session with Rik was amazing! I learnt so much from him and would highly recommend him to anyone thinking of having a mentoring session. I benefited massively from Rik’s years of experience in the photography world. The great thing about Rik is that he is both incredibly knowledgeable about photography but also really friendly and down to earth which makes the whole process a lot more fun! I was so inspired by my mentoring session and cannot wait to put into practice what I have learnt!”
More details on my one-to-one wedding photography training can be found here.