Photographers are specialists. How do you choose the right one?


Photographers are specialists. How do you choose the right one?

I’ve been an ocean person all my life. If it can be done, on, in or under the water I have probably given it a go. I’ve spent a lifetime surfing, was one of the youngest ever to qualify as a SCUBA instructor, have a love of free-diving and thoroughly enjoy the challenge of holding my breath. I’ve spent a lifetime building these skills and merging them with my life’s work as a photographer.


There are a number of talented photographers out there, but not all of them have the knowledge and skills to work in the water. Understanding what happens when you take a photograph underwater is much more than simply waterproofing your camera. The entire skill set shifts.


When working in the dive industry, I spent countless hours underwater watching the way the light moved, the colour absorption and the refraction. I literally spent thousands of hours in this environment and because of that I can look at a client brief for an underwater photograph and tell them almost immediately what is required to get the shot they are after.


I’m not saying I know everything, there are always new challenges to overcome and problems to solve. But I am much further down the line than someone who is fumbling with a water housing they have hired for the third or fourth time, still working out how to translate their above water skills to the underwater world.


If a client asked me to photograph a motorcycle race, I wouldn’t take the job. Sure, I might be able to get some technically correct photographs, but I have no interest in racing motorcycles, I’ve never flicked through bike magazines or studied the sport. I’ve no idea what the critical parts of the race are, or where I should be positioned to capture them. I can, however, guarantee that there are photographers out there who are passionate about motorbikes and could do an infinitely better job than I could.


However, if you’re looking for a water theme for your next photography shoot, I’m in. If you want to try and push the boundaries of surf photography by lighting waves at night, I’m your guy. If you want your next shoot to have a unique look that captures the essence of your brand by photographing it in the water, let’s make it happen.


Photographers are specialists and if you want a specific skill set, you need to hire a photographer with those skills. Product, aerial, underwater, fashion, portrait, architectural… the list goes on and all these genres have specialist photographers. When it comes to sports, the list gets even more specific with each sport having its own niche photographers. It’s worth doing your research and hiring the right person for the job. That way, you get the results you’re after. After all, plumbers and mechanics both worth with spanners, but you wouldn’t hire a plumber to fix your car.


Enjoy your day,
Joel Coleman…

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