John Baikie

Award winning photographer John Baikie is always on the go. An imaginative and ground breaking wedding photographer, John also shoots a variety of subjects and assignments. From portraits of British royalty to fashion and interiors, you never know what you will find in front of his camera. We can't wait to see what John photographs next.

John uses Zenfolio for his online portfolio as well as client proofing. He loves the ease of use, for both him and his clients. The elegant image display gives John confidence that his creative and elegant images always look good. Allowing his clients to directly purchase and proof through the system allows him to spend his time doing what he loves; shooting.

Where were you born and raised? Where have you settled?

I was born in the most northern part of the UK. Thurso was my nearest town, but I was brought up on a farm in the country, a very remote area but beautiful coastal scenery. I’m now based in Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands. Moved to the area about 18 months ago as there’s much more population and work.

What type of photography do you shoot most often? What type of photography are you most passionate about shooting?

My main business is weddings, but I’ve been building up my other work again lately, shooting a wide range of things. Commercial work is something I am focusing on at the moment, but also doing portraits, fashion work, equestrian portraits and I also offer training courses for beginners and novices. I am very passionate about weddings. I still get a great buzz from being part of such an important day in a couple’s life. Creatively, I get the most satisfaction from shooting fashion style portraits where I get to use my imagination a bit more. I love seeing a concept develop from an initial idea to a final image.

How long have you been a shutter releaser? What led you to this profession?

I have been in photography for 15 years, 9 of which as a full time professional. It began as a hobby but within a year of buying my first SLR I was working with the local newspapers shooting sporting events. It all grew very fast from there.

How has Zenfolio helped your business?

I’ve loved building the website through Zenfolio. The online selling facilities are better than anything else I have seen, and something I am keen to develop now that the website is finished. I see it as a great interface for my clients to buy products but also for proofing as the image display quality is great and it’s such an easy system to use.

Tell us about your work flow, what editing program do you use?

I have a very simple workflow system. I shoot 100% jpegs and edit in Photoshop. I am not a fan of editing or being in front of a computer, so I aim to get my images as near perfect as possible in camera.

Do you have brand loyalty for Canon, Nikon or something completely different?

I’m a big fan of Canon products since I went digital in 2002. I’ve been through a load of camera models in that time and currently shoot with the 5D mark 2 bodies. I use Quantum flash for my work, and occasionally shoot with my Bowens studio lights on location. I love all of these products. Another favourite of mine are Pocket Wizards. I never leave home without those!

What is the best part of being a professional photographer?

I think being able to do a job that brings so much happiness to my clients is pretty special. And I never have a “normal” day. It varies so much and I meet so many new people all the time. When I started I would have liked to answer this with something about being my own boss and having time off when I want it, but I don’t remember what a day off is. :-)

Are your photography skills self-taught or were you classically trained?

Mostly self-taught. I have a hunger for knowledge all the time and learn quickly. I’ve attended short seminars and workshops since I went full time but that’s all. I like to learn by experimenting.

What advice would you give a new photographer just starting out?

My advice is to invest in training or mentoring. I’ve had some amazing mentors over the years who have guided me so well. Too many people are starting up a business with no idea what they are doing and I find it wrong to be using weddings especially, as a way of learning something.

What was your first published work?

I was first published in local and national newspapers. It was mainly press photography I did in the early stages.

What inspires you as a photographer? Or who?

I find inspiration everywhere. The Scottish landscape inspires me and I like to use it in my work. I find inspiration in fashion magazines and music videos more than anywhere. Cinema is also good. There is inspiration everywhere if you look for it. Photography-wise I am inspired again mostly by fashion photographers. I also love the work of August Bradley who shoots imaginative and conceptual imagery.

Is there a trade secret you care to share with us?

I don’t know if I have any secrets, but my biggest tip for any photographer is to try to get the image right in camera. Too many photographers rely on Photoshop to make their image.

What is the very first camera you ever owned?

The first camera I remember owning was an old Polaroid I got as a Christmas present from my Granny and Grandad. Absolutely loved the instant results, which I guess, has come a full circle now that we have digital. Must have cost my parents a fortune in film.

Tell us something about yourself that we would never guess.

I am currently rehearsing for a big charity dance event based on the TV show Strictly Come Dancing , and have gone from total beginner to ready to perform Tango and Samba, for 750 people in the space of three months.

What piece of equipment or doohickey do you have with you on every shoot?

A reflector. Despite using a lot of off camera flash and other lighting, I still love natural light and love using a silver/white reflector on portrait and wedding jobs.

Do you have any final words of wisdom on being a first class shooter?

Just what I keep saying - learn to get the image right in-camera. And then have a life away from the computer screen.

John Baikie

Wedding and Commercial Photographer, Inverness, United Kingdom