Luthier Advertising Photographer
A few months ago I headed out into the fens of Cambridgeshire to take some photos of an absolutely amazing luthier. A luthier is a person that hand crafts stringed instruments, and that person was Leo Crossfield. The majority of Leo’s work is guitars, both acoustic and electric, but he also crafts violins, mandolins, banjo’s and pretty much anything that has strings. His craftmanship is absolutely amazing, and being a former guitar player myself, this was something I was really looking forward to.
The shoot was both for Leo to use in advertising his business as well as for a stock agency that I shoot for. The agency wanted more images of “makers” for their customers and I thought a guitar maker would be perfect. One of the things that I absolutely love about shooting for this agency is that it always pushes me out of my comfort zone. For this shoot, the workshop was incredibly tight with all the equipment and different parts of guitars that were in the process of being made. This meant that there really wasn’t anywhere for me to put up lighting… well, that’s not entirely true. There was space for me to put lighting up, but I wouldn’t have been able to use it properly without asking Leo to do things he normally wouldn’t do. I wanted to capture Leo as naturally as possible. I wanted him to work where and how he would if I wasn’t there.
After talking with Leo through the different things we were going to photograph, and where we were going to photograph them at, I decided that natural light was going to be the way to go. This meant that I was going to use the light that was available to me. Thankfully, we had a large window next to one area Leo work at, and at others we he had his own lighting and all of this allowed me to capture Leo in his environment and still have it all lit properly. Below are some of my personal favourite images from the shoot.
With any advertising based photography, I try to capture things that tell a story and would allow for a narrative when used in an advertisement. I also try to compose the images in a way that will allow room for copy and logos when they are used in advertising.
As you can see, the workshop that we did this shoot in was absolutely amazing. It was exactly what I was hoping it would be… a workspace that was evidently used. What I didn’t want was a polished, boring workshop with a bunch of lathe’s and power tools. Leo’s workshop was full of had tools and full of different guitar parts scattered about and these all give the images a nice narrative, which is something I try to get in my advertising photography.
To help with the narrative, we had Leo go about his normal days work. He, thankfully, had a couple of guitars that were in the process of being built and a couple that needed repair. This helped massively with the narrative as nothing was staged or forced here… everything was natural and I think that comes through in the finished images.
As I mentioned above, I didn’t use any external lighting for this shoot. Everything was shot using the light available to me. So equipment consisted of nothing more than my Fuji X-T2 and two lenses… the 50-140 2.8 and the 16-55 2.8 though I mostly used the 50-140 to give everything a little compression.
This was a great and fun shoot that pushed my boundaries. So much of my photography is about posing and lighting that it is nice for me to push myself and capture something in a more documentary way… and it’s something I love doing! If you have a business that needs amazing advertising photographer, be sure to get in touch and we will make it awesome!