Drew Gardner - Pro Spotlight
London-based Drew Gardner primarily shoots people for advertising and commercial assignments. He is also a popular lecturer about advanced digital and lighting techniques in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. His photos are on exhibit worldwide. For fun, Drew recently shot all the photographs for the award winning chef, Andrew Pern's latest cookbook Loose Birds and Game. For foodies and particularly lovers of poultry and game this book is a feast for the eyes and the stomach!.
I started out as a photojournalist. I like people and shoot a wide range of subjects and treatments. Finding humor and unusual points of view in common subjects is what I ultimately strive for. Being people driven, I enjoy the interactions with my subjects and clients as well as the photography. I think of myself as a photographic comedian, having as much fun as I can with the camera and my subjects. Photography is still very exciting to me.
My use of light:
I primarily use flash lighting in my photography, trying to make it unique and my own. I want it to stand out so my work doesn't look like everyone else's. As a rule, I never light straight on. I try to move my main light off axis, pushing the light around to the back as much as possible. My lighting is very mood driven to provide as much impact as possible.
Inside vs outside work:
My work takes place both outside on location and in the studio. Outside offers the biggest problems because you are always fighting the changing light and elements. I love the challenge of being able to balance my light to the ever-changing available light, while maintaining the mood of the shot. I still rely on my light meter for complex sets, like balancing my lights to outdoor situations. But most of the time, I run without the meter. At times I work with crews of eight to as many as 15 people. I also work alone.
Use of Chimera:
The Chimera Medium SuperPRO Lightbank is the cornerstone of my lighting. I love my Chimeras because they give me such beautiful light with such great consistency. My oldest Chimera is 20 years old and still gives me beautiful results. I also have the seven-foot OctaPlus for large area soft lighting, as well as Small and Strip Lightbanks, using them as called for by the subjects.
Tips to new photographers:
My advice – look, see and observe the effects as you build your lighting. Be positive and throw away the rulebooks – keep shooting and testing, and always be a student.