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A Day in the Life of... Dan Humphreys


Dan Humphreys explains how he became Lead Photographer at Curious Production and discusses what he loves most about what he does

A Day in the Life of... Dan Humphreys
Day in the Life of… is a new series from the Creative Circle, celebrating and championing the diversity of talent across Britain’s creative community. Encompassing creatives from all areas of the advertising and creative spectrum, each edition will focus on an individual and their role within our exciting community. 

This time we are talking to Dan Humphreys, Lead Photographer at Curious Productions, about how he forged his path to where he is now, being a new parent and the pros and cons of collaboration...

My role...

I’m the lead photographer at Curious Productions, which can sometimes be better described as ‘problem solver’. From the moment I receive the creative from the client I’ll instantly be thinking about the best route or approach that’s needed to achieve the final image. It might be simple or complex, but every job needs to have this thought process behind it before the camera is even picked up.

No matter how much planning is done pre-shoot there is always an on-set curve ball. How this is dealt with in a time sensitive fashion is the real challenge.

How I got here...

I always wanted to get involved in the visual industries after spending summers as a runner on various film shoots. My Dad was a Camera Op and then Director in the 90’s and early 2000’s, so you could say, it’s in the blood. I then studied photography at university and three months after graduating secured a job as a photographic assistant at Tag Creative. I learnt more from the photographers at Tag in my first month than the previous three years at university…more importantly I was sold, this was what I wanted to do! 
I learnt the process of crafting an image where the actual camera can find itself in the background during this part of this process.My portfolio contains shots taken on a variety of cameras from my first 35mm to the luxury of a Hasselblad. The choice of lenses and lighting is where you truly put your creative stamp on an image. Initially postproduction was a process that I was grossly naive of, however I quickly learnt how closely you need to work with the creative operators to get the most out of the work that you produce.

My typical day...

I’m up early, which I guess all new parents are. Call me at 6.30 and you’re likely to hear Postman Pat in the background! It runs in the family but I’m a bit of a time freak, if a call sheet tells me to be on set at 8.30am, I’ll plan to be there at 8.00am and probably arrive at 7.30am. Once I’m in the studio I’ll get the kettle on, camera out and start planning shots and roughly setting up the lighting. On set my key relationship is with the Art Director, so early on I spend time talking through the shot with them, then throughout the day we’ll stay in close contact making sure we are on the same wavelength.

Sometimes we wrap early, sometimes late. but as long as we have the shot it doesn’t matter either way.
It’s important for a photographer to understand how images are going to be treated in postproduction. I need to make sure that I capture not just the ‘Master Image’ but other elements that will make the retouching process as straight forward as possible. If I’m shooting at our ‘Home Studio’ then I’ll cast my eyes at what the artists are working on, which will generally be an image from the previous day and give any instruction that may be needed. It’s important to remember that they weren’t on the shoot so won’t necessarily know why something was done a particular way, or what a particular shot was for, it’s important to make sure this is relayed accurately to them.  

Hardest part of my job...

One of the best and hardest parts of the job is the people. 
You can be on a shoot and have 15+ people attending and generally that means that you have got as many opinions as you have people. Not everyone is going to feel the same way about a shot, but it’s important to know who you are shooting the job for, who’s feedback to action and who’s to take with a pinch of salt. 

What I enjoy the most about my work...

Photography is a hugely collaborative profession and it’s great to work with a variety of people every day, creating work that you are all happy to put your name to. 

Seeing your imagery go through the process of retouching and being finalized is very satisfying, and then catching your work whilst flicking through the morning papers or surfing the web, is immensely rewarding.

You can check out Dan's work here.
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Creative Circle, Wed, 28 Jun 2017 11:04:36 GMT