by Clive Nichols Published 01/11/2010
'If you're a food photographer your subject matter sits still. The wind is the biggest single problem for a garden photographer.'
Brief personal background
I studied Geography at Reading University and then became a chef in an Italian Restaurant for 3 years. After that I turned to travel photography and then flowers and gardens. I have produced 17 books and have a picture library boasting well over 65,000 images, plus a crop of add-on garden photo-products including jigsaw puzzles, cards, trays and mugs.
I have agents selling my work worldwide and am fortunate enough to see my images frequently published in key titles like The Sunday Times and House & Garden Magazine in the UK and leading publications spanning the globe.
I've been shooting now for over 25 years.
First camera/photo experience.
I had an Olympus OM10 when I was at university. I took hundreds of pictures of my mates
I always loved travel and photography has given me the chance to see astonishing places all over the world
I capture digitally. Once I mastered the basics it left me feeling more confident of getting good results every time. I think it has made me more artistic photographically. I would never go back to film. It doesn't give you anything like the post production control of digital workflow
Capture and output devices used
I shoot RAW - Canon IDS MK111 and use the Adobe raw converter and Photoshop CS3 -Why? Because that's how my techie expert Stephen set me up - I would never have known what to do without him.
Bit of detail about your own studio set-up and staffing.
My wife Jane does all the major admin jobs. Gemma is also in the office and does the day to day invoicing etc. I don't have a studio as I work mostly on location. I also have a team of assistants and my techie operator (Stephen) for big commercial jobs.
Why would customers come to me? Hopefully because they know that I am a perfectionist and that they will get the best job possible.
The problem with professional photographers today is.....
The whole business can appear too complicated. It is very difficult to keep every aspect of the business going. If you are good on the technical side, the chances are you will not be good at marketing. If you are artistic and good at marketing then you probably won't have time to attend to the technical aspects.
The worst commercial error you've made to date?
I really don't think I've had any major howlers. Yet!
Are you excited by the evolution of imaging?
For me the glass is always half full. I feel that I am just starting to understand how commercial shoots work and I think I can muscle in on a lot of this work as I have a great team alongside. The potential is there as many photographers have gone bust.
My fees are going up all the time ....so effectively I am earning as much money as before but with less work. I guess I am lucky too because I have a library of 50,000 images which earn money for me every day as stock.
Is it getting harder or easier to make a decent living?
I would say the same. You have to work at it 24 hours a day, every day. I believe the harder you work, the more you earn.
How do you stay ahead of the game?
I think that I am able to adjust my style and type of photography as required.
I am shooting all sorts of different things now. In addition to gardens and flowers I shoot interiors, landscapes, travel etc.
How do organisations like The Societies help?
Watch this space. This is the first seminar I will have done for them....but I imagine they are good for increasing profile and fan base.
Your own mentors (living or dead)
I love looking at other photographers' work - people like Rankin and Nadav Kander -photographers who are consistently attracting world class commissions.
What do you think will be the next big thing in the industry?
I think the iPad will have a major effect on paper publishing - making it harder and harder for book and magazine publishers to make money.
Would you want your own children to take up the reins of your empire?
No - they are too talented to do photography. Ha!
Your plans for the next five years?
To enjoy myself as usual.
I expect I will travel a lot more, as I will no longer have to pay school fees.
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