All you need to know about Chris!
Hello and welcome to my world.
I have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed many years as a professional photographer.
It opened many doors for me and allowed me to develop in many ways but all good things must come to an end.
A combination of health problems, relocation and big changes in the photographic industry made me realise that, as much as I still love photography, it was no longer a viable occupation for me.
Everybody is a photographer these days it would appear and I feel there is a much lower demand for professional photographers and many more photographers to choose from. People's perception of photography has changed and the mystery has been taken out of it. A photographer's customer often has a camera capable of taking high quality images, a better computer, and the same software as they do.
As a profession with no barrier to entry it is just a matter of buying a camera, having some cards printed and placing and advertisement and you're a "professional" photographer!
So, in 2010 I took the bold step of selling all my photographic equipment and starting again.
It has been quite a revelation and one thing is for certain - I am enjoying photography again
The Early Years
My interest in photography started at a very early age. My father was a keen amateur photographer and owned a variety of cameras some of which I still have in my possession.
It was at school in Amsterdam in the mid-seventies that my photography started to take shape. We were fortunate in having a photography class that I was able to attend and we had our own darkroom in which we could process our films and make prints. My father also set up a darkroom at home and so I could experiment as much as time allowed.
While I was a full-time professional photographer my philosophy was:
Firstly, remember the customer is your number one priority. Everything has to be to their liking if you are to succeed. From the moment they arrive I aim to be professional at all times while at the same time making their visit a pleasurable experience. I feel it is vital to make them feel comfortable and reassured.
Energy and enthusiasm are essential during a photo shoot if you are to get good expressions from your customers. If the customer believes you are enjoying taking their photograph then their expressions will reflect that. 80% expression. List of 1-10 first 8 are expression.
After the shoot, during the process of viewing and choosing images, it is important to ensure the customer only buys images they really like and are not pressured. I want them to be repeat customers and to refer me to others and this will not happen if they go away regretting their purchase or feeling they were pressured into buying.
My objective is to capture something of a person's character and to provide them with an image that they will treasure for many years. They must be of a standard that is much higher than they could achieve themselves.
I see myself as having a very spontaneous photographic technique which I think originates from many years of clay pigeon shooting. What I mean by this is that much like when I'm shooting clays, I like the camera to be in front of my face for as little time as possible. I like to be able to see the subject clearly and only lift the camera when I'm ready to take the shot. In the studio I find it helps maintain a rapport with the client and has also saved my skin while photographing motorcycle racing on more than one occasion.
Published Crash Sequence
I like to shoot using available light when I can but am happy to work in a studio with quality lighting.
I like to achieve as much as possible in camera but realise that Photoshop is the modern day darkroom and have learned many retouching techniques over the years.
My First Professional Job
My professional career was not always as a portrait photographer.
Flash clay breaking during the 2002 Commonwealth Games Men's Skeet Final.
In 2002 I was trying out a new camera body at the National Clay Shooting Centre in Bisley, Surrey when a magazine editor called Mike Barnes approached me and asked to look at some of my images. After looking at them has asked if I would be interested in selling some to him for publication. I agreed and have been working for him on a freelance basis ever since. It turned out that the event I had chosen to test my camera at was a warm up for the Commonwealth Games and I was asked if I could cover the actual games the following year. As a result I was an official photographer at the 2002 Commonwealth games and had many images published both during and after the event.
Starting in 2001 I developed a passion for motorsports photography and it rekindled my interest in motorcycle racing to the extent that I decided to concentrate on it full time to see where it took me.
Initially I attended club meetings and sold photographs directly to the riders. It wasn't long before I started to get images published in local papers and more and more people started asking to see my work.
After a couple of seasons working the club racing scene I decided to apply for a media pass for the World Superbike Championship round at Brands Hatch and was pleasantly surprised to have it accepted first time. At this meeting I captured a sequence of images of one of our top riders crashing at high speed which culminated in his bike clearing the crash barriers and hitting the catch fence 5 or 6 meters above the ground. This made the front page of Motorcycle News and put me on the map.
From then on I have held British Superbike Championship and World Superbike Championship media passes and have also photographed MotoGP at several circuits.
Chris presenting Troy Bayliss with a photo Troy requested.
I was official team photographer for the Rizla Suzuki British Superbike team for three years and I am the official superbike photographer for the Sunday Times Australia. I have also been official photographer for several other prominent teams.
Sadly, there wasn't enough money to be made and I have now stopped photographing the bikes on a full time basis.
I am available for commissioned work and have worked for many publications in the fields of motorcycling, shooting, fishing, music and martial arts.
I have had hundreds of images published over the years in publications including:
The Sunday Times (Australia), Motor Cycle News, The Daily Telegraph, The Western Gazette, Pull!, The Shooting Gazette, Sporting Gun, Clay Shooting, Target Sports, Fast Bikes, Performance Bikes, Road Racing World (USA), Bikesport News, Slipstream (Suzuki UK), Surrey Advertiser, The Sun, Peterborough Herald, Irish Racer, Shooting Times, Crawley News and various event programmes and advertisements.
In 2007 I decided to change direction and give up motorsports photography to concentrate on portraiture and weddings. With this in mind I signed up with the Barrett and Coe School of Photography, who I came across at the 2006 SWPP convention, to gain some formal training and qualifications. I passed the portrait exam with a grade 2 (less than half a percent off grade 1) and I gained a grade 1 on the wedding exam.
I signed up with Barrett and Coe as a franchisee at the end of 2007 and represented them in the Guildford area for two years. In 2008, after looking into renting commercial property, I had a studio built to the rear of my house and operated from there. I used an Elinchrom Octa light bank containing an Elinchrom 600RX head and also a set of Multiblitz Profilux 200 lights with umbrellas, softboxes and other accessories such as snoots and grids. I also used reflectors and posing blocks.
I had a selection of backdrops to choose from including paper rolls, cloth and the walls themselves. Coloured gels and a smoke machine were available when appropriate.
February 2009 - Awarded my Licentiateship of the Master Photographers Association (MPA).
November 2009 - Won the MPA UK Event Photographer of the Year title.
November 2009 - Award of Excellence in the Master Photography Awards.
August 2010 - Awarded my Associateship of the Master Photographers Association.
October 2010 - Award of Excellence in the Master Photography Awards
Issued: 12 October 2009
For immediate release
Surrey photographer scoops major award
Surrey based photographer Chris Martin has won a top prize in a major national photography competition.
Chris's winning image in the 2009 MPA Awards.
Chris won the Events category in the Master Photography Awards 2009. Chris beat-off competition from other leading photographers from across Britain. Hundreds of professional photographers from around the world were joined by representatives from the major photographic companies at a glittering Awards ceremony held on 11th October at the Hilton Hotel in Newcastle.
Chris has had a keen interest in photography since his school days in Amsterdam and has been a full time professional photographer since 2000. He is based at his studio in Normandy from where he runs a portrait and wedding business. Chris also has experience in sports and media photography and photographed the Manchester Commonwealth Games.
The Awards, run by the Master Photographers Association (MPA), is one of the most prestigious within the photographic profession. Membership of the Association is restricted to full time professional photographers who must qualify to the minimum required Licentiateship standard. The organisation exists to promote and maintain standards of excellence and professionalism within the photographic industry.
MPA Chief Executive, Colin Buck, was delighted with this year's entries and paid tribute to Chris' success: "There was a great diversity of imagery, and all were judged on the same criteria - artistic merit, good use of lighting, composition and print quality - all the winners were of a very high overall standard. Winning a Master Photography Award is a huge honour for any photographer and I'm delighted for Chris. I'm sure he will use the Award to help further his career."
For further information on Chris, please visit www.chrismartinphotography.co.uk.