Brett Critchley's portfolio is the portfolio in which you can find everything, from cars to sunsets, from people to pets, from landscapes to isolated. Open mindedness and long time stock photography experience could be the explanation for his portfolio diversity but that's not all. There's a secret to the camera that takes Brett everywhere and anywhere. It comes with a special, optimist lens that allows him to see the world and any subject as potentially special. To paraphrase Brett, you never know what awaits in front of your camera when you set out to shoot but you'll surely find something special. You may have not known this, but perseverance and willingness are Brett's middle names. He is that kind of hard working photographer who admits it's all about 10% talent, 90% sweat and who thinks failing is actually learning. Let's see what else he's got to say...
How has stock photography changed your life?
I can certainly thank stock and Dreamstime for giving me any opportunity to grow as a photographer. Like many I thought I was a great photographer when I first discovered stock and then soon realized how little I knew. It's given me the chance to learn from the best, it's improved my technical knowledge, my awareness of concepts, the importance of light, bright colorful images. I certainly think my success in photo competitions has come as a direct result of what I have learnt here. I will continue to strive for perfection, to grow my knowledge and skills and keep working on improving and growing my portfolio :)
You have a great deal of variety of subject matter in your portfolio. What in particular inspires you the most when it comes to shooting?
The thought that most inspires me every time I pick up my camera is the thought of capturing something special, it’s a bit like chasing the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow and realize that diversity is almost as important as concepts in stock photography.
Tell us how a regular shooting day looks like for you. What about the ideal shooting day?
I don’t think I have a “regular” shooting day as I’m often trying my hand at many different things and styles. I enjoy heading out with my gear some days with no real idea of what or where I’m going to go. My ideal shooting day is when I’m abroad and exploring new places, I love to be out for a sunrise or sunset over a new location.
What is the newest technique you have learned to use for your stock photography - software/equipment/shooting style, etc - and you would gladly recommend to fellow photographers?
Probably the ability to create photo montages. Now I often capture great skies, textures or backgrounds when possible and keep them to add to other shots. After a recent visit to New York I have many shots of the city with a great blue sky but this is very common. It’s great to be able to add a much more interesting sky or change a picture to hopefully make it more saleable/less common.
You have been a very active and helpful member on our message boards for a long time now, and we really do appreciate that. How important do you think our community model is in today's microstock business?
The community here at DT is very special, it’s the one thing that really makes DT stand out. So many great contributors take time to help out and offer advice, it’s a great source of info also, all one needs to know can be found by using the search feature to explore previously asked and answered questions. This is a very valuable resource and certainly should be one of the first places to visit if you're new to the world of stock.
On your profile page we see you have some nice photo awards. Do you find time to take part in such events often? Do successes translate into commercial profits?
To be honest these are the only national competitions I have entered and feel very lucky with the results I have had. It feels very special to have been selected as one of only 10 winners from over 20,000 entries. Even more special was receiving the prizes at a garden party hosted by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, AKA Prince Charles at St James Palace, London. I have not yet pushed my photography commercially other than stock at DT but I think it’s a great achievement to add to my C.V if and when I decide to look at gaining further work in this field.
What's your favorite photo from your portfolio and why? Can you tell us a short story behind that picture?
This has to be my Great Wall of Chinapicture, ID 15657417
. This very iconic shot was taken whilst backpacking across Asia in 2005. I was running over a 15 mile stretch of the wall and listening to my Mp3 player when a U2 track came on that I had heard many times, but never had it stood out before. The track was Beautiful Day and as I was running thinking yes it is, I heard a line I had never heard before that went “seeing the world in green and blue, seeing China right in front of you”. I had to stop as this did kind of take me by surprise and made me well up a little. I took this shot at the point I had heard the track as way of remembering it. Was very pleased with it composition-wise and would love to go back one day with my now better gear.
How do you assess your future involvement in editorial shots - will it become even larger percent of your portfolio?
I really do enjoy shooting editorials. It gives you a great freedom and allows you to capture life as it is today. I hope one day these shots may become a valuable record of the decades they were shot in. I hope to continue and develop my editorial awareness and plan to try and at least contribute 50/50 editorial and RF stock.
The one/ultimate tip you would give to other photographers trying their hand at stock.
Do not give up! It may seem hard at first, rejections are common place for most, learn from these. All you need to know is here on DT, spend time looking at what sells, it's not a case of copying but seeing how so many elements all come together for an image that generates lots of sales.
What do you like doing when you're not shooting (photos)?
I have recently brought a puppy, an English Springer Spaniel and love to spend time with her and my fiancé at our holiday beach home in Wales.
Brett's trajectory in stock illustrates a balanced progress, quantity increase always matched by quality increase and continuous efforts to improve, learn, grow and outgrow. Brett sets an example, we say follow it.