From fashion to aviation, “I shoot what I like” says ex-RAF trainee jet pilot Jon Grainge. A few months back, he started using the Calvendo platform because it was, as he puts it, the next logical step for him to also produce calendars, after already publishing his own photo books and magazines. We agree!
Jon, can you talk a bit about your background as a photographer and how and when you took up photography?
I have had an interest in photography since I was at college in Taunton in 1965 when I loved taking pictures of graveyards in black and white. After I left the RAF (trainee jet pilot) I retained my interest in aviation with visits to many air shows which I photographed with an assortment of cameras. This I continue to the present day. After my retirement I took up shooting fashion models and to combine this with my love of travel, I arranged many trips around Europe and North Africa to obtain some classic images. It was just before this period that I qualified with the Institute of Professional Photographers.
How would you describe your style and approach as a photographer?
I would not consider myself a conventional photographer. I shoot what I like and not what other people may want. I like contrast, for example smart models in rubbish surroundings or the reverse. I want the viewer to talk about my pictures and not just admire them.
Let’s talk tools: What type of camera are you using and why?
Most of my life I have used Nikon but recently changed to Canon and have found that their lenses are a little sharper and more affordable. Currently I use a Canon 70D but soon hope to upgrade to a 5D Mk3 full frame.
What makes a good photo for you?
A good photo – well, in aviation it needs to be sharp which is challenging when the small object could be doing 600 mph. In fashion, I want mood and a story, i.e. why is that model there, why in a long dress. In landscape, I want mood and romance and nostalgia.
Can you tell us a bit about your portfolio: Which type of photography and motifs to you like most?
I most like fashion shoots abroad in the sun. The thrill of the Sahara with a beautiful woman … cannot be beaten. However, the speed, noise and thrill of a great air show is a joy forever.
You’ve so far published an impressive 26 wall calendars with Calvendo in a relatively short space of time. Why did you decide to give it our publishing platform a go?
Calvendo is a name synonymous with calendars and is the only one I aimed at. I publish photo books and magazines so the next logical step was calendars.
Do you have any specific tips for first timers using Calvendo?
You will need to be patient for your first calendar to get the technicalities right. Calvendo’s standard is high but very rewarding when you get it right.
Last but not least, what are your general comments on Calvendo as a self-publishing platform: Anything you particularly like? Or things that need improving?
The platform with its calendar creating tool is great and easy to use once familiar and the Calvendo concept of no-cost publication onto Amazon is second to none.