Location, location, location: Being at home in a place where the great outdoors of the Peak District is in spitting distance means that landscape photographer Andrew Kearton is perfectly placed for his work. Here, he tells us about his approach to photography, what he likes about Flickr, what to have in mind when creating a calendar plus he’s got a very simple, but nonetheless essential tip for Calvendo first timers.
Andrew, can you talk a bit about your background as a photographer and how and when you took up photography?
I began photography as a means of recording the beautiful places that I went walking with my dog (who also features in my photography). I had only ever taken snapshots for years with a pocket camera but always had in the back of my mind the idea of taking photography more seriously. In 2007, I bought an entry level DSLR and was totally hooked from then on.
The past few years I’ve been trying hard to refine my skills. After leaving my previous job due to some health issues I became a self-employed landscape photographer last year. I’m lucky to live in a beautiful area on the edge of the Peak District national park so I am spoilt for locations. When my health improves I will go further afield.
How would you describe your style and approach as a photographer?
I think I have developed a very naturalistic style over time. I don’t generally like to over process images though some enhancements are necessary to put across a particular mood or highlight certain features. I try and work as spontaneously as possible, photographing whatever stops me in my tracks at the time rather than go out with particular images in mind. I enjoy the surprise factor of what the weather conditions and light can create in the landscape.
Let’s talk tools: What type of camera are you using and why?
I’m not terribly big on kit and don’t own much compared to many photographers. I did invest last year in a Nikon D610 after using a Nikon D90 for many years. It has given me a lot more options with the extra detail and dynamic range it offers. Ideal for me as I rarely use a tripod or filters. I like to photograph on the move rather than find a spot and stay there so I don’t want to be carrying lots with me. Also as my Border Collie dog is always with me I need one hand to control her (especially in fields of sheep).
What makes a good photo for you?
I think a good photo needs to be a good example of whatever it is going to be used for. A good fine art photo may not necessarily make a good stock photo, for example.
For me, I like anything that keeps me looking at the image. You know when you like something because you connect with it in some way that’s not always easy to describe. Anything that is out of the ordinary in terms of lighting, mood, composition I tend to like.
Do you have favourite photographers or artists that inspire you?
I think it’s important to look at different art forms and learn from them but I don’t have any particular favourite artists.
You’re using Flickr to showcase your work. From your point of view, what are the main advantages that this platform can offer photographers?
I follow the work of a number of photographers on Flickr, both amateur and professional, and am always amazed by the inspiration I find there. I think there are many enthusiastic non-professionals out there who are producing work that is amazing and often far exceeds that of more well-known professionals.A platform like Flickr brings together all kinds of styles and techniques but I also embrace the social network aspect of it and have found many friends there.
You’ve so far created thirteen calendars with Calvendo within a relatively short amount of time (well done!). Can you talk a bit about why you decided to give our calendar publishing platform a go and how you set about the process of choosing themes and pictures?
I gave it a go because it seemed a perfect opportunity to showcase some of my images with relative ease and no expense. It didn’t take long to grasp the workings of the site but choosing images and putting them together has been the more tricky part.
I’m still learning but I do think it important that each photo on a calendar be interesting enough to hang on someone’s wall for a month. It’s tempting to go for all your favourites but you have to be tough on what works in this format and what doesn’t.
My work is quite broad, mostly landscapes but also lots of macro, nature and abstract themes so I have a lot of ideas.
Do you have any specific tips for first timers using Calvendo?
Read the FAQ’s thoroughly to avoid simple mistakes at the start and take time to properly check each calendar before submitting it.
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?
It’s early days for me but so far I’m impressed by how easy it has been to use and the staff have been good in helping each time to produce a product that will be saleable. It’s also quick from submission to publication.
More flexible calendar formats, perhaps some templates and additional fonts for wording may be useful but I’m not unhappy with things as they are.
Thanks, Andrew, for talking to us, and we look forward to seeing more of your calendar ideas materialise in our product gallery!