Snowboarding is a lifestyle. William Bremridge is a professional photographer that has chosen to marry his love of snowboarding with a passion for photography.
Check out his perspective on getting paid to do what you love and drinking hot Ribena.
Winchester, Hampshire. But I’ve been living in London for a year and a half now.
Use 3 words to describe your relationship with snowboarding?
I LOVE SNOWBOARDING!
What are the pros & cons of being a professional photographer?
Getting paid to do what you love is a huge plus point but thats about where the pros end! There’s barely any money in photography nowadays. Due to the fact that decent good camera gear is so accessible, the competition is a bit higher. This means that there are a large number of people selling themselves as a ‘photographer’ simply because they have a half decent camera. Although this doesn’t bother me too much, the effect this has is the people who hire photographers are willing to pay less and therefor the wages and quality of the results goes down. For example: last week a company called me needing a group shot of their staff for a magazine cover involving them standing by a commercial jet on a runway. They said they couldn’t pay me but would be able to credit me for the shot, as if that was some sort of payment in itself! Being credited for the shot is the least I’d expect and to have the nerve to ask a photographer to work for free is a joke!
My response went as follows...”If you needed a new carpet fitted would you ask a specialist to do it for free?...No?...Then why do you think this is any different?”
We hear you’re working for London Freeze. What will this involve and is this a good gig?
London Freeze can be a damn good laugh. I’ve been shooting there for both years that it’s happened so far. I like the idea of attempting to cover it in a slightly different way each yr. Unfortunately the organisers have tightened their budget for staff photographers this year so I’ll no longer be working directly with them but I will be there shooting it as a freelancer this October. I get a bit bored shooting the ramp all day so I’ll be doing quite a lot of portraits this year of riders and bands.
What do you think it takes be a good photographer, are there any special skills or talent needed in the snowboarding realm?
With regards to being a snowboarding photographer I think you need to establish your own style while still being open to diversity so that you can appeal to the art directors of brands and magazines. Its imperative you learn how to shoot action, portraits and reportage style shots so that you can document entire trips. This type of photography unfortunately involves virtually no money at all so do it because you love it rather than as a potential career!
If you want your work to be relevant and therefore useable, here are few simple steps…
1. Get yourself out a resort/town that you know has a large amount of pro level talent.
2. Establish a good knowledge of who’s who in pro snowboarding and don’t be afraid to ask if you can shoot them. Its not difficult to track someone down these days and if you’re polite and willing to learn then you can’t go too far wrong.
3. Get the names of the art directors of all the magazines you can think of, come up with potential photo projects and ask them if they’d be interested in seeing the results. This works better than just sending shots in now and again.
4. Get some warm gloves because your trigger finger is going to get cold!
I think the most important thing is to constantly strive to better your work. I get bored of my own stuff very quick so I’m quite good at pushing myself!
What are your plans for this winter?
I think I’m doing a couple of trips. One to Austria and not sure yet where the second one will be. I really want to do a trip to Japan but it may have to be the following winter due to lack of funds.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years?
I think the true sign of being a successful pro photographer is having a sandwich table at all your shoots. Ideally I’ll have my own studio and be doing frequent advertising and clothing brand work, with a sandwich table.
Which photographers do you respect and why?
From snowboarding there are a handful of guys who’s work I like. I loved Vincent Skoglund’s work when I started out as his work always looks so calculated and well thought out. Look out for Tommy Larsen (www.larsen-photo.com), he’s relatively unknown but his use of lighting is brilliant. A fellow Englishman who’s work deserves a mention is James Bryant (www.jamesbryant.co.uk
Outside of snowboarding, these are some of the people I’m really into at the moment…
We hear you had all your camera equipment stolen recently. That can’t be a good experience. Tell us what happened…
Yeah that was definitely one of life’s sour moments. I live with my brother and his girlfriend and I came home to find our flat door kicked in and a huge amount of kit stolen. My laptop wasn’t insured so I lost that but insurance have fortunately sorted out the rest. I very much hope the people responsible get syphilis.
Do you have any words of advice for aspiring photographers?
Study the work of as many photographers as you can from all different genres.
Take time to gather a portfolio you are really proud. A small portfolio of good images is better than a large portfolio thats been padded out. Go out and find work because it won’t magically come to you.
Random BSA question: What did you have for breakfast?
Hot ribena and a meatwich.
Check out Will’s Website here