Earlier today I caught up with Linda Johnstone who will be speaking at the Photohubs Coventry event. So, Linda, can you answer a few questions for those attending your workshop.
What got you into photography?
Editing!!!! Very strange route I know but one evening I downloaded Photoshop Elements, I think I wanted to do something with my new MacBook Pro (switch from PC) – I was immediately hooked and signed up for all sorts of online classes. I “played” with my photos and quickly realised it was a lot more pleasurable editing good images rather than bad, so I started taking more and more photos – then I upgraded my camera – then the editing became far, far less important. I was living in the Lake District at the time, so a had plenty of scenes to capture. However, another quick realisation, I much preferred photographing things that breathed………..and the journey continued.
If you had not been a photographer what would you have done?
I was a Nutritional Therapist, had been for 12 years, and ran 3 busy practices before our move to The Lakes. I was also tutoring & lecturing. I loved doing this and still consider myself an NT. However, always dealing with people who are not well can take a toll on one’s own health and well being. Had I not made the decision to switch careers, I would have gone on to do more specialised training in the Nutrition field (cancer, chronic fatigue particularly). I was also considering writing books and wanted to run retreats. We had a trip to The Lakes to look at properties to run a retreat from – which prompted the move and took me on the photography path.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
Don’t put yourself under commercial pressure and capitalise on your strengths.
Are you a full-time photographer?
I don’t do any other job but I currently have other commitments, so at times I work full time plus but at other times I’m part-time.
If yes how many years?
Set up Linda Johnstone Photography nearly 7 years ago.
What is your style?
Dogs – simply dogs. Mainly portrait, mainly studio lights (indoors and out).
What do you shoot?
Have a guess 😉
Why this subject?
I’ve always loved dogs, since a very small child. I said I wouldn’t have children, I would have 4 dogs (I was probably about 5 or 6 when I made that grand statement). I did have 4 dogs……………but relented and had one child.
Name 3 words that describe your style?
No – I’m not physically capable of ever saying only 3 words!!!
Have you photographed anyone famous? If so can you tell me who?
No – but now I’m going to find a famous person’s dog to photograph. Another “must get” image on my list.
Worst photographic experience?
A wedding – my first. It cured me of weddings – eventually. I persevered for a while, did OK, got great feedback but I never got over that horrendous experience. I hugely admire Wedding Photographers, I don’t think they get the recognition they so deserve.
Best photographic experience?
So many. I was incredibly fortunate that Paul Wilkinson took me under his wing when I first expressed an interest in photography. It was a firework commercial shoot with a bridal party (styled, with 6 beautiful models). It was an incredibly long day, learned so much from observing (I did take a lot of images as well) and I loved every moment and very grateful for that experience.
In my dog photography life, I’ve been incredibly fortunate with my clients, many who have now become friends. There are far too many of those to list one as best.
Canon or Nikon?
Was Canon – now Olympus.
Olympus OM-D EM1 MKII is perfect for pet photography, especially action. I love the choice of lenses and without doubt, the lightweight is a massive plus.
What has been your greatest photographic achievement?
I don’t think I’ve had that yet – always striving. Love the journey. Of course getting my first Silver and then my first Gold with the Guild was fantastic and had an enormous effect. On both those occasions, I don’t think I got much work done for about 2 days, I was on such a high.
Advice for someone starting out?
Practice, practice, practice. Invest in good quality training – then practice some more.
Don’t over-spend. You don’t need as much kit as you think you do. Network as much as possible, with other photographers (choose wisely) and in business.
Top 3 tips you would give someone starting out?
If you had to move to a desert island what 5 items would you take with you?
4 dogs and my husband – can I call them items? 🙂