14/8/2015

Game Shoot Photographer - what is that?

Guest blog by Jon P Farmer

Having just returned from my third CLA Game Fair "embedded" with the team on the GWCT stand, it was suggested that I should use my privilege as a trade member to publish a guest blog by way of introducing my Over & Under Sporting Photography service to members of the Trust. I don't know why I haven't done it sooner - my aversion to writing my own blog probably!

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First, a potted history. I have had a camera in my hand since the age of 15 and it has been a passion ever since. I took the path of commercial and wedding photography just about 6 years ago when, after many years of treading the "industrial treadmill" in manufacturing supply chain I realised that actually getting paid for something you love is far better than the alternative.

The move to photographing game shoots took a little longer. I have been a shooter for the last 15 years or so (clays mostly and the occasional day on peg), and being a bit slow on the uptake, I did finally realise that I could combine two passions. It was a bit of a eureka moment and that was when we saw the birth of Over & Under Sporting Photography.

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Game Shooting is many things to many different people. It may be about the prestige of a particular shoot, a matter of pride in their prowess in the shooting line, perhaps it's about the traditional values of the sport or simply the camaraderie involved in a days shooting. My photography is about bringing all those together, telling the story of the day in pictures and presenting those images in such a way that you can look back on the day with pride and enjoyment for many years to come.

Spending the shoot day with the guns I capture the whole shoot, covering all aspects. From the hospitality, both at the shoot lodge and out on the drives, the social interaction, the shooting action itself of course, and all the things that go on around the shooting - the dogs, the picking up, the beaters, the transportation.

Not forgetting the landscape as game shooting takes place amongst some of the finest scenery the British Countryside has on offer. Depending on the Clients requirements I may even spend a drive with the beaters themselves - always an opportunity to laugh at the photographer falling on his behind!

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It is after the shooting has finished that much of my work begins, in the editing of the numerous images and in the design and production of high quality photo storybooks. I may just be producing one very special book to take pride of place in the gunroom or shoot lodge, or it may be a complete set of books - one for each of the guns and perhaps loaders. The needs of the particular client will vary, but each book will be put together with care to effectively tell the story of that particular shoot day.

I have clients that come back to me for more, but generally not in the same season. Usually they would plan for a photographer on a particularly special shoot. They may be entertaining special clients, suppliers or financiers. They may just have a special shoot coming up for a very special group of friends or family. Days where a beautifully produced photobook is a perfect gift and will preserve those memories for years.

A new product in my range is the Sporting Folio. Bound in distressed leather, in keeping with general shooting attire and equipment, it represents an ideal shooting gift and remarkable value.

Costs of shoot days are worked out on a "per client" basis, as the requirements of any two shoots are rarely the same, and there are many variables that I can utilise. I put guide prices on my website so you have a rough idea of cost per gun, but I urge anyone to call me in the first instance so I can put together a tailored and bespoke package.

As a proud Trade Member and regular supporter keep a look out for me at a GWCT event near you as I may well be there, otherwise visit Over & Under Sporting Photography for more information and call me for a chat. If you want, we can arrange to meet so that I can show you some of the fine books on offer.

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