Photographer Spotlight Joey Seawell
Joey Seawell is one of our fashion and lifestyle photography clients, and with the colder months and monochromatic color palette outside our northern offices, we thought it would be fun to take a deeper look into a photographer whose bright, poppy colors and fun beach photos bring a lot of pop and pizzaz our otherwise dreary winter.
How did you get started with photography? Your work is in interesting and eclectic mix of studio photography and lifestyle work; how do you bridge that gap?
I began photographing my friends on their BMX bikes doing stunts and just being rowdy teenagers. One thing lead to another and I began photographing everyday life and then creating photographs of ideas I had. I had that ah-ha moment and realized I could do create photographs for a living. It does not matter to me what I am photographing as long as there is good energy, this goes for studio shoots or environmental/location work. I work very hard to make sure that my subject(s) are having fun while on set, I want it to be a fun and memorable experience.
Why did you choose Capture Integration as your dealer for your gear needs?
When I was considering a medium format system I reached out and spoke to Dave McRitchie at Capture Integration. He was so helpful and easy to work with. CI is close to my studio and I love to work with local/semi-local folks. That combined with the great customer service, it was a no brainer.
What is in your bag these days? What kind of gear do you use on each type of your shoots?
In my camera kit I’m carrying a 645 DF+ body and an IQ250 digital back. A mix of Schneider Kreuznach and Phase One lenses. My most used lens would be the 55mm. Love the prospective on that lens. The 120 macro lens is my next go to for portraits and out of this world detail. Next to the camera, my most valuable piece of gear would be my 4×6 scrim jim. I do not leave the studio with out it. Besides those key components we use all sorts of profoto gear or HMIs (if working with still and motion) and various grip support, etc..
Medium format photography is, for a lot of photographers, a game changer when they start using higher resolution backs. What changed for you when you started using digital medium format?
It really is a game changer. I am ecstatic with the quality the new CMOS back is delivering. I shot with CCD backs and they were great for studio, but 80-85% of my work is in an environment and the CCD backs were not conducive for my type of workflow (because of the low light ability and slower response) so I would often leave the kit in the bag. I pre-ordered the IQ250 and it honestly is the only camera I use now. I love the depth and the richness of the images. It makes me very happy to achieve a very similar look that I would get from shooting 2 1/4 film but with the ease, immediacy and affordability of digital.
Lifestyle work is something many photographers start off in due to the ease of access (you don’t need a studio, for one) but the high end work like you have on your website is much different. What sort of changes do you employ to stand out from others to make it the complete packaged deal?
Wow! Thank you for the kind words. Like I said earlier, I really focus on creating a fun atmosphere for everyone on the shoot. Yes, we all have a job to do but doesn’t mean we can’t have fun doing it. I guess what makes me stand out is the crew that supports me. I am very determined to push myself and/or the concept and the people working along side me truly help achieve whatever it is we’re after. Solid Teamwork.
Like almost all the photographers I’ve been interviewing, you’ve got a Motion section. Are you seeing an increased demand from clients for this type of work? How has that changed in the past few years?
I have definitely seen an increase in requests for directing. We’ve been working on dual sets (not always ideal) where we are running motion and still one after another. Or sometimes simultaneously. I really enjoy working with Motion and see myself transitioning more into that world over the next few years. I think in a narrative form and I am directing my talent on our shoots. It is a natural step for me and I am excited to welcome more directing work.
Your personal work focuses on Southern Culture, but could easily be in any of your portfolios for Lifestyle work. Do you find yourself experimenting more with the personal work, or exploring subject matter within your style that you wouldn’t normally be hired to shoot?
Thanks again for the compliment. I guess everything I shoot whether it’s personal or commissioned is all sort of in the same line or same style. Some of my ideas are created with commercial intent, others are not. I honestly feel it’s back to the good energy I mentioned earlier. I think that it translates from a landscape to a portrait or a plate of food… they all give a happy feeling… that’s what I’m after when I’m creating an image. Fortunately there is a visible common thread.
How do your studio shoots and your lifestyle gigs differ? Any differences in gear, workflow, or crew?
Sometimes the shoots can become quite the production. When we’re on location we don’t use as much artificial lighting as we do in a studio. Other than that they are about the same. Everybody is having a good time, good food, good tunes.
Is there anything that you wish you could see happen gear wise? What sort of limitations do you find yourself running into, or products you wish were made to fix that one little annoying workflow issue, or set problem?
I would love to see a new medium format body with faster, more accurate auto focus. I love all of the advancements with digital back technology, the introduction of the CMOS sensor is huge!!! Dear Phase One, please release a new body with better, faster autofocus.
Do you have any personal changes on the horizon for 2015 photographically?
I’m working on a few short films that I am very excited about and I also have a few road trips planned that I’ll be creating some exciting new travel work. In addition to these things, I’m very excited that my wife and I are welcoming our second child in July!
You can find more of Joey Seawell’s work below: