850 Music & Entertainment

Exploring Entertainment in Florida's 850 & Beyond

Meet Photographer Al Graham

What first attracted you to photography?_AMG3411bx
Good question. I never really “started” in photography, I sorta transitioned into it. I used to work on other people’s images as part of web development waaaaaaaaaay back when Photoshop 2.5 was current (the first version available for windows). Eventually, I started producing photos and more and more working on my own images. This could be looked at as a backwards way of learning, but I think it’s helped keep me from falling in love with my own work. It’s terrible when photographers don’t see the flaws in their own photos because they’re too caught up in their feeling for that moment/person/event. You really need to be able to separate yourself from the image to properly evaluate it.

When was the first time you felt like a professional photographer?_AMG4845bxp
I’ll let you know when that happens. No matter how big you get, there’s always someone bigger.

Favorite style or subject to shoot?
My favorites are actually two very disparate types of work; live entertainment and creative portraiture. The two are about as different as you can get.

With live entertainment it’s purely reactive, like shooting sports. I don’t control the lighting or the action, I merely try to capture it in a way that conveys the experience of being there. As house photog for Vinyl Music Hall, I work with the lighting and production manager quite a bit to represent the performers in the best way possible.

On the other hand, with creative portraiture, I have complete control over all aspects of the image. Production, perspective, composition, lighting, and styling is all done to bring a concept to life in an image. One is creatively capturing an image that’s presented to me and the other is bringing an image into existence.

Favorite piece of equipment?_AMG9546bx
My head. If you understand light, everything is a potential piece of gear. I make a lot of my own light modifiers. I think about what I need the light to do and devise a way to make that happen. It’s like David Hobby says: “Less Money, More Brain, Better Light”.

What is your dream photography gig?
Any job where the check clears and pays enough for me to keep doing this. I’d like to open my own studio soon. Does that count?

Any advice for others who are interested in photography?
Learn about color and calibrate your monitor. I’m amazed at all the bad color out there. Learn to balance flash with ambient light. And learn to make your camera an extension of yourself.

Best piece of advice you got starting out?© Al Graham / Retna Ltd.
Be a business person first and a photographer second. Otherwise you won’t be either for very long. As with most creatives, photographers tend to be artists first and don’t understand the expenses of being in business. I sat down once with one who was shooting weddings for $750. We evaluated the total time she spent on a wedding and determined that she could make more working at Starbucks. And that’s not even considering gear, gas, software, and other expenses. Needless to say she’s charging a more realistic amount now.

What services do you offer?
Event Photography, Band Promos, Editorial, Creative Portraiture, Environmental Portraiture, Corporate, and a bit of Fine Art.

How can someone contact you?
Contact info on my website stays current:

2 comments on “Meet Photographer Al Graham

  1. Donna McDowell
    July 8, 2013

    Al Graham is awesome!

  2. Pingback: Meet Photographer Michael Smith | 850 Music & Entertainment

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This entry was posted on July 7, 2013 by in Posts and tagged .
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