Well, I was born in a little, sunny seaside town in the UK, back in the 80s. As a kid I was always dreaming. When I finally realised that NASA wasn’t going to come knocking, I got a job as a photographer for a local portrait photography company. That’s where I honed my trade, learning mainstream photographic skills and techniques for many years….
One day I got asked to shoot an event. A big music and dance extravaganza with a couple of B-list celebs. To my surprise I found it thrilling – the buzz, the excitement, the variety of people and all the different things going on. So I did more. Slowly I discovered that there are key elements to properly showcasing an event through photography – capturing the crowd, both in wide shot and up close for those intimate moments of emotion and attention; capturing the artists, or speakers, or hosts, in ways that make them look good. Understanding event lighting (and lack of it!). Working with under-attendance in a way which makes the space look packed. How to really bring out the character and personality of different venues. All of this became my passion and I turned it into a business.
“We make sure we have a beginning, middle and end that mirrors the progress of the event itself, from people arriving, to reactions after the ‘big moments’. “
A key part of how we operate at Martin James is planning; very quickly I learnt that properly understanding event schedules and set lists is fundamental to good event coverage. Knowing where people will be, and when, is the only way to properly tell a story. That’s something else we try to do: we don’t just take spontaneous ad hoc shots, we make sure we have a beginning, middle and end that mirrors the progress of the event itself, from people arriving, to reactions after the ‘big moments’. We always try to provide a sequence of shots that allows our clients to put any part of their event into context, location and time, as well as providing similar shots of all performers and speakers in case the need arises from a marketing and publicity point of view.
Finally, our signature style is different to most event photography: we get right into the action, and aren’t afraid to get our hands (and knees) dirty, whether that means climbing up on stepladders or lying down on stages. We talk to people, build rapport, allowing us to bring out their personality, and to set up shots that you wouldn’t otherwise get. This is where we really stand out from our competition.