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Spatial awareness and painting with strobes - part 1 of 1 2 3

by Damian McGillicuddy Published 01/06/2014

It's all about creativity and my OM-Ds seem to have this in spades. I LOVE communicating to fellow members through Professional Imagemaker, and I get a real buzz from sharing my thoughts, experience and techniques with you all. It's lovely to receive the positive feedback you, the membership, send me. This time though, it's my turn to say a BIG thank you!

Many of you, upon hearing my eldest son was critically ill in hospital sent me so many positive, kind and up lifting messages I was genuinely humbled - so I just wanted to say 'thank you'. Just to update you, Matt is no longer critical and in isolation. It will be a long and slow process but he is moving in the right direction and slowly improving, fingers crossed eh!

All the recent interaction got me thinking about my photography and then photography in general then I had, by chance, a conversation with a few photographers and that got the old cogs really turning!!!

I LOVE my OM-Ds - I really do I love their optical quality, I love the innovative features, I love the build quality, the price point, the form factor ... I'm a little smitten as you can see ... BUT, and it's a big but, as much as it facilitates me in making the images and increases my desire to shoot more, it's a lovely tool to use, it doesn't take the image for me!

Over the last month I've had several encounters, chats, call them what you want, where I've been slightly surprised by the lack of basic knowledge of core lighting and camera craft that the photographer has displayed.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting everybody should know everything, I am far off knowing it all, and everybody has to start somewhere, but, to me, the industry and the craft has changed. The core building blocks are just not there. The understanding of light, its patterns its quality, how it enhances and flatters subjects. The effect lens selection has on an image, ratios, the inverse square law - the list seems endless.


I've said it before, I am NOT criticising those new to the wonderful world of photography but some of the people that have elicited this response in me are people taking money from the public for their work then wanting developmental answers to be gifted to them to push their business on. It hardly seems fair, if you want results and money out of a deal maybe you should put effort and investment in - hey maybe I'm just a little too old school!

Everybody seems happy to covet the latest and greatest in kit thinking it will give an edge or make life easier, the simple fact is this...it is NOT the camera that MAKES the picture the camera just RECORDS the elements the photographer chooses to highlight within the frame. The latest and greatest may ease the burden, and blimey I love the light-weight form factor of my OM-Ds but it will NEVER replace the artist driving the equipment. Ask yourself, do you want to be a picture taker or a picture maker?

Its far to say I pretty much adore my job but its not quite as 'rock 'n roll' as I'm sure some of you like to imagine!

Of course being Olympus principal photographer is as good as it gets in my eyes, but that doesn't mean everything is always 'rainbows and lollipops'. One of my main roles at Olympus is to share the excitement and wonder of photography and to give an insight into how I do things and share a little of the knowledge I've picked up along the way.

More often than not its done in less than ideal circumstances and generally with an audience so there is no place for smoke and mirrors - everybody is watching!!!

So here we go let's do a 'How it was done'.

This image was from a recent shoot for John Lewis in London.

My given location was a corner of the in-store restaurant, the saving grace for me was the lovely, long curved wall, this was to become my recessing backdrop to create depth and the prop on which to pose my subject.

Contact Damian McGillicuddy

1st Published 01/06/2014
last update 18/05/2017 12:25:37



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