Monday, 5 October 2015

Interview With Russ Jackson Photography

Russ from Russ Jackson Photography is a huge influence to a lot of newborn photographers here in the UK, and as well as running his very busy portrait studio, he also offers training to photographers of all levels (see here for more information)

I interrupted his holiday recently to ask him to give us an insight into how he uses props in his work

Do you have a favourite colour you look for when choosing props? 
Anything natural, I am a real sucker for organic textures and natural colours so tend to stay away from the brighter bolder colours. I am a big fan of using darker backgrounds just lately.

Are there any colours you tend to avoid in your sessions? 
I try to avoid reds, oranges, bright pinks, purples and bright blues anything that is not a nice pastel organic colour really….

Do you prefer one kind of prop over another?
I find tiebacks much easier to use than headbands. I have some rompers and trouser sets but don’t tend to use them as much as I should. I really believe that we should focus on baby so try to not accessorise too much!

How important to you is it that your props are one of a kind?
I think it is nice to have something unique but if it isn't I am still happily buy it if it fits my style and is well made.

How many times would you use the same prop before consigning it to the back of your prop stash? 
I have some props that are years old. My customers choose the props during the session so as long as it keeps getting picked it will stay in the studio.

How important is the price of a prop to you?  
Well it depends on how awesome it is! The most important thing for me is that it is very well made, fits our style and looks amazing!

What do you look for when buying props?
Quality, and a fast turn around and delivery.

What has been your best bargain?
My old kitchen scales! A car boot bargain at £2.50! (wow! That IS a bargain!!)

And what prop have you spent the most money on?
A newborn nest from the U.S. I think that cost well over £100 with delivery.

Can we see some photos of your prop storage area and studio?

Do you have any tips on using props in photography?
Keep it simple…we are photographing babies so the baby should dominate the image….. Always try to compliment your colours and textures.

How do you decide what props you are going to use in each session? Do you have setups already in place or do you chat with your clients beforehand? 
I always let my clients choose the background colours, props and accessories. We love everything in our studio so they can never really choose a prop or accessory that we don’t like. We obviously ‘steer’ them in the right direction as far as matching the colours and textures. Many of our clients will just let us choose what we feel is best, we love that!

What is your absolute most favourite image in your portfolio and why? 
I have so many but I love this one.
It is quite an elaborate setup but even so the baby is still the absolute focus of the image. I love using dark colours these days.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the area of newborn photography?
I don’t think you have to go mad when you first start off. We have sooooo many props we bought and now look back on and say “what were we thinking!?’ Start off with a small selection of props that you love and then slowly build up your collection.
Buy quality items. You always get what you pay for. If it is cheap it will look cheap in your images. To save a few pennies when looking for props to pose babies in (baskets, boxes etc..), go to antique fairs and not to high street antique shops. Car boot sales are amazing places to pick up the odd treasure.

Which photographers influence you? Whose work do you love?

Kelly Brown is perhaps my biggest inspiration but I also love Kelley Ryden, the girls at Baby As Art, Jade Gao (Newborn Photography by Jadeand Elisa Stambouli at Littlepose.

Thank you Russ for your time - and thanks for introducing me to some new photographers whose work I hadn't found before

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