Hello one and all, and welcome to our new feature, Behind the Lens! Some of you may remember a Photographer Spotlight feature that graced the pages of Food and Cosplay a couple of years ago, well it’s back and better than ever. We now have a full interview with your favourite photographers as well as a selection of their finest images to whet your appetite, and if there’s anyone you think we’re missing, feel free to let us know!
We’re kicking off this feature with the excellent Will Satchwell Photography; not only a great photographer, but an all round lovely person too. I first met Will last year when looking for photographers to shoot my new Daenerys costume, and instantly knew I’d have to meet up with him again next time to get more shots! From a personal point of view, I couldn’t recommend working with Will enough. He’s happy to share knowledge on how he creates the images and is always willing to try something new.
Favourite food: double steak cheese burger in a stone baked toasted roll with sweet potato fries and an apricot relish!
How long have you been doing photography? What first inspired you to start?
I have been taking photos since I was 10 years old but first got into professional photography in 2004 on work experience in London with a family friend at a big graphic design agency in Hammersmith. So 14 years, give or take.
What was your first camera, and how does it compare to what you have now? Do you have a dream camera/lens you’d like to save up for?
So my first camera was an Olympus OM-1 that was gifted to me by a family friend. I learned the fundamental basics of photography on that with metering, exposure control and shutter speeds for the relevant purposes. At the time I was at college and I was also in a photography club which produced its own prints, so being able to produce my own in a darkroom was a really useful thing and something I’m extremely glad to have been able to do. What I use now is a Sony A7RII & A7RIII. Photography has changed dramatically. We have a luxury that is that we can produce our images on the camera and then edit and process within seconds on a laptop via digital media. Currently the ability to use Eye AF with a button has meant that shooting perfectly in focus shots is near impossible not to do. The dream for me is a Hasselblad H6D-400 and a 35mm, but that’s nearly £60,000 and totally a luxury, but I honestly couldn’t be happier with my gear. Okay, a wide angle for me would be most convenient as I generally use a 24-70mm f2.8 and a 70-200mm f2.8 as my main lenses but I get by with what I use which is all that really matters. A 16-35mm f2.8 will be on the cards at some point in the not to distant future for more dynamic landscape work.
What has been your most complex/rewarding shoot over the years? How did you achieve it?
Honestly, for me it was probably my own wedding where I was in front of the camera! I was producing the images with our photographer Sassy Lafford of Assassynation Photography as we just clicked. We brainstormed on the fly and ended up with some stunning photos. Given the way I trained, I run by the principals of how to take photos by cutting bad light and adding good light if natural light doesn’t fit the bill. If ever something has been tricky it’s more conditions on the day or location issues. MCM Comic Con is a prime example, you have to shoot on the dockside avoiding people or in a car park. You really have to use your head to work out how to avoid getting every shot looking the same. 2019 I’m going to be taking shoots to another level with location work and high level produced cosplays on the horizon. I spend half my life photographing stunning guitars that a long term client and friend produces so a drastic change to the cosplay side!
On the flipside, have you got any photography horror stories for us?
Something always happens on my Carillion guitar shoots that’s funny as Chris, the owner, is a nutcase! But cosplay wise I’m lucky to have escaped any horror stories. I’ve had the joys of wind damaging cosplays which was unfortunate but mainly you work to the conditions and if something happens you adapt to it and push forward. The commercial photographer in me sets in!
What’s your biggest tip for new photographers?
Learn the basics, shoot manual, use good quality lighting, don’t be afraid of anything new and don’t be afraid of your old work! It shows a time line of your progression and believe me, with this you sometimes strive to better the photo when it doesn’t need to be done! Don’t be overly critical of your self!