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Introducing Nikon's New Ambassadors

Nikon's new Ambassadors Ross Harvey and Conor Mcdonnell joined us at the Nikon School for a chat.

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Nikon ambassadors - Conor Mcdonnell, Amy Shore & Ross Harvey

Nikon ambassadors - Conor Mcdonnell, Amy Shore & Ross Harvey

 

This week Nikon presented two new ambassadors to the UK media at the Nikon photography school in London. 

Conor Mcdonnell and Ross Harvey join Amy Shore from last year as Nikon’s latest ambassadors in the line-up for 2018-2019. There are Fifteen UK ambassadors at the moment covering specialisms such as Street, Entertainment, Wedding, Wildlife, News, Automotive, Landscape, Film and TV - for the full list of areas and people do look at the ambassador link at the end of this article.

The event was to allow each of the ambassadors to meet each other, as well as the press, and to share how they got to where they are. Normally, very busy with their own shoots and often heading off around the world, this event was a good opportunity for them to share experiences and ideas.

 

© Conor McDonnell – Event Photography

© Conor McDonnell – Event Photography

 

Conor Mcdonnell is an Entertainment and Wildlife ambassador for Nikon and is also very new to using Nikon equipment. he's also an example of how hard work and creativity always finds a way to succeed. Initially falling into music event photography from the need to see his favourite band play, he’d convinced the organisers that he was one of the few to be allowed to shoot the band live. After the first few shots, he realised that auto mode was just not getting the images so had to learn manual control during the live gig.

Conor's wildlife photography got a welcome boost when Nikon heard he was sailing up to the north pole as a WWF ambassador to photograph the trip. Nikon gave him a D850 and he has loved it ever since, particularly the pixel count as it allows images to be printed very large. As an ambassador, he's also able to shoot with some amazing lenses and his favourite one is the 24-70mm f/2.8.

In the early days, he learnt his processing skills working in a high street family portrait business, this taught him speedy and effective processing which is essential when editors are demanding images from the shoot you have just done. The overriding piece of advice Conner gave was to 'know your subjects and gain their trust'.

 

© Ross Harvey - Weddings

© Ross Harvey - Weddings

 

Ross Harvey is a self-confessed perfectionist and like Conor, edits his images but typically spends significantly longer doing so. Ross was your typical hard-working graduate working for a corporate creative design company. However, after impulsively buying a 2nd hand DSLR off eBay his true passion was uncovered. This was followed by his Dad buying him a Nikon D700 and telling him to follow his dreams.

Building up his skills by doing model shoots, then being asked to shoot a wedding with a friend his photography exploded and now he runs a successful international wedding photography business.

Ross is a fully committed photographer; he’ll often be at the venue the day before, then spend 15 hours shooting before, during and after the main event. If abroad, he will typically stay on to shoot guests relaxing and enjoying the next day, too. Such an event might give him thousands of photos to edit from which he filters down 3 times before starting his editing processes.

His other passion is street photography and he will stand still for 45 mins to get a particular shot. Ross mostly likes shooting street in colour and says to 'know your kit backwards' so that you can shoot instinctively without thinking about settings etc. This instinctive shooting is part of his approach to creative psychology and removing blocks that might limit you as a person – he calls it fear management and is hoping to publicise this approach later this year, I’m looking forward to that.

 

© Amy Shore - Automotive

© Amy Shore - Automotive

 

Also present was last year's new Ambassador Amy Shore.  Amy is a vintage car fanatic, has an engineering background in understanding metals and she had always been a photography hobbyist and shot a wedding for friends to help pay for university. In 2013, she shot a replica Ferrari P4 and her image got retweeted by one of the top guys in car photography; this instantly propelled her into the mainstream and classic car hub and Petrolicious contacted her to do some shoots/articles.

Since then, Amy has been very busy in the car photography market - a recent image she is particularly proud of is a starlit image captured on the D850 as ‘the stars give a beautiful diffuse light, quite unlike a moonlit image’. Amy is also moving into the quite different motorcycle market and rides to get a first-hand understanding of the motorcycle scene. She had some initial challenges as a youngster and a woman in getting accepted as a photographer but now others see her work and it speaks for itself.  She particularly says that the faith Nikon had in her really helped her know that she has succeeded.

 

Q&A session

 

The evening was rounded off with a Q&A session with photojournalist Angela Nicholson leading the questions to the three ambassadors. Here we found out about a little more about their paths into photography as well as what their favourite lenses are - the 24-70mm for Conor and 35mm f/1.4 for Amy and Ross. All of the ambassadors also said how they all completely love the D850, though Ross also likes the skin tones from the D750 for weddings.

Their advice to others is to see what’s popular then do something else. With Ross, this meant stopping using his tilt-shift lens as soon as loads of others started publishing images captured with one. A nice piece of improvement advice was to beat yourself when taking a picture - forget the images captured by others.

The last question was about tricky or embarrassing shoots with the answers being about getting covered in beer or orange juice, as was an impromptu boudoir shoot on a wedding morning...

All three wanted to come back to meet again but recognised a photographer's life is often very busy, something we can all relate to. 

For more information on Conor, Amy and Ross, or any of the other ambassadors, do take a look at the Nikon website.

Words and pictures by Stuart Fawcett (JackAllTog)

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