Welcome to the first in a series of ‘Ask the expert’ style posts for the DHR blog! This week we have interviewed photographer extraordinaire Marc O’Sullivan and asked for his insights into the world of modern PR photography. Marc also tells us about what camera he uses and shares a few tips.
What type of camera equipment do you use?
I’m a Canon man, as they say ‘You Can with Canon!’, but you can take great pictures with any camera. Don’t get hung up on fancy equipment, just take pictures.
In your experience, what kinds of photos appeal most to Irish media?
Sometimes people forget that newspapers are driven by news, interesting stories, and exciting content that appeals to their readers. There are so many PR images sent to the picture desks each day that to stand out, if you don’t have a news angle, you need a great visual, either involving people, props or location. That is my challenge every day; going to what may seem like ordinary jobs in magnolia covered hotels and eking out a patch of light or an interesting corner to try and find a good image for press.
Who or what inspires your work?
I just love taking pictures. I nearly always have the camera with me, especially on long walks with the dog up in the Phoenix park. There are great pictures around every corner. In my professional work I get a kick out of being in the middle of today’s news, the buzz of the media swirl. I love getting media coverage for clients!
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started out in the photography business?
Nobody could have foreseen how digital media and iPhones would affect my job. Photography has been devalued. Everyone shares images for free but unfortunately retweets and shares don’t pay the bills. Deadlines are almost immediate, sometimes you haven’t even left the job and clients are looking for images, and then you have the iPhone warriors – you set up a shot and 10 people jump in taking shots on their phone. It’s all change but the challenge is to stay ahead of it and on top of it.
Any tips for amateur photographers?
If you really want to be a photographer, I would recommend assisting a photographer. You won’t make any money but you will learn a lot more a lot quickly than on a college course. YouTube is an invaluable asset. There are millions of hours of videos on every technical and artistic aspect of photography from lighting to posing to shutter speeds at the tip of your fingers and finally, don’t get obsessed with cameras and lenses just get out and take pictures and enjoy yourself.
The featured photo above is one of Marc’s favourites and was taken at the launch of a specially commissioned monument and exhibition in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One in July 2014.
Visit Marc’s website: www.marcosullivan.ie.
Follow Marc on Instagram.