Working The Frame by Peter Grant

Network Rail just gave me clearance for a set of photographs made recently in Oxford. This is perhaps the best frame in 300 or so I captured that morning, so I thought I’d share with you how the shot evolved. 

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Carry Business Cards by Peter Grant

Business cards are cheap.

Get some, and carry them. Give them out as often as possible. If someone asks about what you're doing while working to document somewhere, give them a card. It helps with building trust between you and your subjects. It makes you seem legit (which you are, because you understand why you're there).

On the back of mine, I've got my wedding business. As I noticed that when talking to those I'm capturing, they've often asked if I do weddings. Now I can give them something that shows both of my photographic avenues.  

On the back of mine, I've got my wedding business. As I noticed that when talking to those I'm capturing, they've often asked if I do weddings. Now I can give them something that shows both of my photographic avenues.  

Understanding Why You Photograph by Peter Grant

Grab a notebook and pen, turn your phone off, and put it in the corner of the room. Get rid of any distractions.

Now write.

Write about what you're trying to photograph. Write about why you're trying to photograph it. What are you trying to say? Why are you trying to say it?

My work is about all those people who work behind the scenes. Those under appreciated foke, who make the world go around. My reasoning is to make those who see my photographs think about all the work that goes on behind the scenes, running trains, fixing buses, or moving our TVs half way across the world.

My work is about all those people who work behind the scenes. Those under appreciated foke, who make the world go around. My reasoning is to make those who see my photographs think about all the work that goes on behind the scenes, running trains, fixing buses, or moving our TVs half way across the world.

In a culture like ours, which generally tries to please the consumer, the pains of the producer are kept well out of sight. The chef’s nightly anxiety over creating a dish is carefully hidden from the customers. The child does not know the level of effort, self doubt and worry that the parent contends with; we don’t think about the struggles going on in the cockpit, on the factory floor or in the boardroom.
— The Book Of Life, On Perfectionism

Now when someone asks, what are you doing, you can answer with conviction.  

Carrying A Notebook by Peter Grant

Always carry a notebook. 

Start a new page for each day shooting. At the top of the page write the date, and some sort of quick title. So when you flick back through you can find what you're looking for. 

Under that write any instructions you'll need, like who you're meeting when you arrive or where you're going. You might require special equipment like a hard hat or steeltoes, so write it here. Perhaps you need a different lens because you're going to be in cramped locations. This is about thinking ahead. 

I knew space would be tight, so I made sure to bring along a 24mm.

I knew space would be tight, so I made sure to bring along a 24mm.

Write down your goals of the shoot, what things are you hoping to photograph. Get thinking about any scenes you might expect, and how you want to capture them. Don't go wild though because it never ends up how you planned.

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.
— Mike Tyson

Keep the notebook within easy reach, like in your back pocket. Make sure it is easy to open to the correct page, with a pen ready. Write down anything you might find useful in the future. Names, what's going on, or things you want to arrange next. Grab peoples email addresses if they express an interest in your work. So you can email them some photographs later. 

After a days shoot, sit down and have a look over your notebook.. Make some post-game notes, what could you have done better, what should you do next time, was there anything you forgot to write down?

Remember: Always carry a notebook.... and a pen.

P.s. I don't suggest using a phone for note taking as it looks rude to those around you. It looks like you're not focusing on why you're there, and are instead checking football results.