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Category: Professional Interviewed

Following the fashion photography path - James Nader is a fashion photographer but his path to getting here wasn't all that simple. Here's why.

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 Photo by James Nader.
James Nader left the world of still life and commercial world behind for a more challenging and enjoyable career in fashion photography. He's always liked to tell stories and the interactive process of a photo shoot was something James just couldn't walk away from.

You start with various elements to create a story clothes and styling, make-up, location etc. and you write it! I was always inspired by the great black and white Hollywood classics and loved the use of light. Photographing people allowed me to reproduce this for myself,” explained James.
 
His story telling hasn't always gone so smoothly as around ten years ago, when film was still king, James lost interest in photography. He turned his attention to computers and started his own interactive agency specialising in photography related screensavers. Although his agency became successful he soon lost interested and started to shoot creatively again. Eventually he left the company and formed another business. This time it was in what he likes doing best – photography.
Photo by James Nader.
His love for photography was something he found by chance while trying out a variety of creative processes at University and even though he never really learned the art fully as a student and struggled with the technical side of the profession, the digital revolution was a liberation for him and he soon found himself trying still life and other advertising styles. But it was the interaction with models and working with them to create looks, shapes and great photos that really fuelled his passion.
 
James' images are characteristically very clean and crisp. He likes to keep things simple and never over complicates a portrait with too much light. He takes his inspiration from classic films, master painters and LaChapelle. He likes the way they use light and pose to create an atmospheric scene.

 
I like minimal lighting and I am kind of arty in a way but I'm not too far out. I do like high fashion but I don't go too over the top. I keep it simple and I don't over complicate the lighting. If I have available daylight I use some of it and balance with the flash. I tend to use continuous or tungsten light such as a red head or blonde to give me the illuminated effect I achieve. Flash is great but immediate where as continuous lighting allows the scene to build up light, texture and depth. The colours are richer and more intense, the only downfall would be the that the exposure is slow. The model has to be aware that the lighting exposure is a fraction of a second and keep still."
 
Photo by James Nader.
Before he starts any shoot James ensures himself, his equipment and any models or places he is using are booked, arranged and ready. His external hard drive is now always with him too as once he took more shots of a model than he had anticipated and even though they were good, he didn't have anywhere to store them and deleting images in front of a client will never win you any brownie points! He also visits his chosen locations as much as possible. When he arrives on the day he will always do a walk round with his team to help them understand his ideas and for them to give their input too. Having people suggest looks that may work is something Jame's encourages, after all every photographer wants the best they can get from a shoot and sometimes a photographer can be too focused on the shoot to think out of the box. Of course if it's a commercial project then James follows the given brief as much as possible and finds his creative freedom with the interaction with the model and use of creative lighting.
 
I work with professional, semi or even amateur models,” explained James. “ It just depends on what I'm looking for. I have just done a shoot with a guy who had no experience but was a real natural and I have some great shots. It is always an advantage that if you are using a model that they have some type of experience. It makes it easier for you to photograph and create shapes. I do find it frustrating that you have to spend so much time to create a look with some models but I can be a little intense in what I am looking for out of the model.”
 
It's important for James for the models eyes to be right and he pays particular attention to the fingers and the shapes of the body as this all adds to creating a better shot. He also believes it's your role as the photographer to work with the model in a positive way and to make them feel at ease. You are, in effect, the director of your own film.
Photo by James Nader.
 
One word of advice don’t rely on a numbers game and what I mean by this don’t expect to get a great shot just by shooting and shooting and hoping for the best. If I don’t like it or it isn’t working I wont shoot it and I will tell everyone that this is so. We then reset and start a new pose or location. If it is the model who isn’t working, be subtle and offer a range of scenarios to try. If  it's still not working, move it, don’t try to force it.”
 
His inspiration comes from magazines and the internet, although he never copies the poses because as much as they can help they can hinder you too. As you can end up emulating someone else's style rather than crafting your own. A series of what James calls test shots are useful. This is where he takes a series of photographs of the model to see how they move, what their best side is and how the light falls on them. Of course you can also jump into their place yourself and show them how you want the pose to be.
 
Photo by James Nader.
Just remember to be flexible, creative, research your locations, choose models carefully and keep it simple.”
 
With a background in design it's no surprise that James enjoys editing his work. Photoshop is his darkroom and all of his post production work is all shot as individual elements and then constructed in Photoshop layers to complete the final image. His post production work only betters images he strives so hard to create perfectly, something which he says can be improved further by working with different clients or creative teams.
 
I think the day you really believe that you have made it to the top (whatever or where ever that is) is the day you are not doing so well! And maybe left behind as there is always someone better than you waiting around the corner!”



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