About Martin

Bio

Martin is a wedding and commercial portrait photographer based in the South East of England. He has a fresh, modern approach to all his work, and believes that how you engage with your clients is just as important as your camera craft. Martin photographed his first wedding way back in 1993 and has had various job in the industry over the years, from pet photography to managing a luxury portrait studio. He started his current business in 2009. Martin also loves punk, rum, Lego and is quite a good cook.

Interview

Where is your home base?

I live in a town called Dartford, on the border between Kent and London.

What is your photography genre/specialty?

My work is a pretty even 50/50 split between weddings and commercial. The commercial stuff is mainly portrait based, headshots or editorial portraits for magazines and promotional use. I would say I am mainly a photographer of people, I like engaging with people, finding out a little about them and trying to get the best reactions I can in a short space of time.

What is your most memorable image and why?

This changes all the time. Ask me next week and I bet it will be a photo that I’ve not even taken yet! Most of my memorable photos will be of my son, Ollie, but If I had to choose an image taken at work this shot of ‘Dinosaur Pile-Up’ is pretty rad. I have it printed on my mouse mat. It’s there every day reminding me in times of doubt that I can be pretty good at this photography lark.

Why did you become a photographer? What drives you to capture images, and has this changed over time?

My Dad was a wedding photographer in the 60’s and 70’s, so I was introduced to photography at a very young age. Naturally I tried to rebel; I didn’t want to be a photographer, I wanted to take the pottery class at school. Sadly, I was the only one who did, so they didn’t run the class and I choose photography instead. I’ve tried to get out of photography a few time over the years, but it seems like it’s the only thing I’m good at… I find capturing images quite cathartic; it’s a release. If I’ve not shot for a week, I feel like a caged animal. I need to be out there taking photos the same way some people play golf.

Do you have any personal rituals to help you get ready for a shoot?

Yes, and this is the first time I’ve admitted it. I put my “armour” on—my rings and my bracelets (in a certain order). I think doing this focuses my mind and gets me into work mode.

What are the top 5 things you can’t live without while on a shoot?

Coffee, a second cup of coffee, breakfast/snacks, water, gaffer tape. I realize that is mostly food and drink based, but other than a camera, if you’re out there shooting all day you need to look after yourself. And everything can be fixed with gaffer tape.

How do you regain your inspiration if you hit a creative rut?

This is always a tough one. Going out and shooting something for yourself rather than a client is a good way of getting through it, but when you are out working every day the last thing you feel like doing on a day off is picking up a camera. Often its just your mindset that needs changing. You might still be banging out amazing work, but if you’re just not feeling it just push through. Don’t let it get you down.

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your journey as a photographer?

The biggest influence has to be my Dad; without him I wouldn’t have picked up a camera in the first place. More recently my biggest influence is a photographer friend called Anthony Gould-Davies. Not so much in how I shoot but how I act. He made photography fun for me again. It’s all a performance, a pantomime. I believe our job is to put on a show for our clients, to entertain them and make their time in front of the camera a memorable and enjoyable experience. Search for “Halo & Hobby” to what we get up to.

If you could share just one tip with aspiring photographers, what would it be?

Fake it till you make it, otherwise you will never feel ready or have the confidence to do the things you want to do. It doesn’t matter that you feel scared; you should feel scared or at least a little bit nervous. You can almost guarantee the person the other side of your camera is even more nervous than you are.

What are the top three Zenfolio features essential to helping you run your business?

1. Unlimited storage—it's effectively another offsite backup for my high res edited files once the job is complete.

2. How easy it is to use. Once you get your head around the parts you need and you get the basic design sorted, it’s so easy to keep it updated.

3. The sales side of things. It's great waking up and finding out a large print order has come in overnight. It really can make you money while you sleep.

If you could second shoot with any photographer (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

I still do quite a lot of second shooting. It’s a great way to meet other photographers, see how they work and also try out some ideas of your own. Second shooting is all the fun and none of the stress of wedding photography. Me and Zenfolio Ambassador Steve Bridgwood work together a few times a year, which is always a laugh.

How has the photography world changed since you turned pro?

The world wasn’t digital when I started. I shot my first wedding in 1993. Everything has changed.

What one piece of software besides Zenfolio do you consider to be vital in your workflow?

Lightroom. I’d be lost without it.