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Blog interview: Tom Jeavons

What made you take up an interest in photography?
I actually came to the party late in terms of my interest in photography. I would love to say that I’ve always been interested from a young age and that the passion was always there and I’ve honed my skills over many years. But sadly the reality is a lot more boring, it was actually my wife who had the interest in photography and she returned from a workshop one day all excited to show me what she had learned. 

I tried one of the techniques she had been taught and took a really nice photo of toothbrush of all things. I managed by fluke to get a really shallow depth of field with the toothbrush in pin sharp focus. It was then that I got interested. This was 6 years ago.

You do a lot of wedding and portrait photography. What’s been your favourite moment to capture?

Most of my work is wedding and portrait photography and I really enjoy this because I love capturing real moments that matter to the people in the images. I can’t say that I have a favourite moment, but I have weddings that standout for different reasons. Recently I took a photo of a confetti shot, this had to be taken indoors because of the bad weather, I knew that this was an important shot for the couple so I had to think of an original way to photograph it without it looking boring due to it being indoors. I got up high and looked down on them. I had one photo from the whole sequence that work really well, this is currently my favourite shot just because I know how hard it was to take. 
Being forced to think outside the box and being put on the spot sparks that creativity and pushes me to do better so it’s these moments that I think are my favourite as it’s such a rush when it pays off. (Image below). 
What cameras do you use?
So I take 4 cameras to a wedding 2 Fuji X-T3’s and 2 Fuji X-pro2’s I also use a Fuji X100F for street and travel photography. I would use this camera at weddings, however, there is only one card slot and the fact that I am not able to back up my images in camera is too great a risk. 
I only use 2 cameras at a time, these tend to be the X-T3’s, but I keep the X-pro2’s as back up. 
You have been known to capture street photography from time to time, what do you look out for?
I have a few different themes that I look for in my street photography, my favourite is warm interactions between people, I like seeing and documenting, love, kindness, laughter all the good stuff. I also look for light and shadows and enjoy the interplay between strong contrast, whether it’s light and shadow or colours. 
For street travel photography I love seeing people doing ordinary things that documents the cultural norms for that region or place. I have travelled to Asia a lot and the culture can be very alien to here in the UK and this fascinates me, I never tire of walking down the street capturing the hustle and bustle of street vendors, motorbikes, fashion, colours and the sense of how other’s live their lives. (Images below).
How do you get your subjects to relax?
Depending on what the session is, I will approach it in different ways, for portraits we tend to have a coffee and talk about the session what the client wants to get out of it, during the first few minutes I will show some of the images and reassure them that they are looking great. This helps them to know what poses look good and what they don’t like. 
In the main I find having a good sense of humour and making the session fun is definitely a winner for putting people at ease, however, I am aware that there is a fine line between having fun and being cheesy, you have to read the client and gauge whether they are on the same wavelength as you, if not then I keep it more professional as it can have the opposite effect. 
For weddings, I try to make everything as easy as possible for the bride during the morning, it is very common for the nerves to kick in after she has put the dress on and things are starting to get real. I normally insist on spending 10-15 minutes for bridal photos with myself and maybe one or two bridesmaids,  this helps to give the bride some space. 
In the main though I find that I try to keep the sessions fun and engaging, this normally puts people ease, I give clear direction and ensure that they know what’s happening next and how long things will take. 
What has been your favourite location to shoot?
I have shot is in a lot of fun locations, my favourite was a very unique venue called the Asylum Chapel in Southwark, this was bombed during the war but not destroyed, it has a very distressed but cool look to it, most photographer’s would give their right arm to shoot at this venue for good reason, it’s stunning (in a distressed kind of way). ( images below). 

In terms of travel, I love photographing Mount Bromo in Indonesia at sunrise, the volcano is still active and the steam mixed with the colours in the sky made for a beautiful site, I’m not sure my camera’s did it justice! It was incredible to be there though. 

What challenges have you faced in capturing your shots?

At weddings the biggest challenges come from balancing the couple’s time with their guests and getting the photos. You also need to manage people, the guests, close family, venue staff and suppliers diplomatically so that you can carve out some time and good locations for your shots. Typically I get about 45 minutes throughout the day with the couple so I need to make sure I make the most of it. 
You like to travel, what’s been your favourite place to go?
My favourite place so far has been Loas, in particular Luang Prabang, this is a peaceful little town on the Mekong river. This is full of history and is not too concerned with getting the most out of tourists, they actually enjoy having tourists and provide opportunities to interact with the community. While we were there my wife and I helped with a project to teach local young people English. This was very rewarding, we got to learn about what life is like for them and they were grateful for our help. 
If you could capture a specific moment in history what would it be?
How cool would it be to photograph the first moon landing? I would definitely have to get out first so I could capture Neil Armstrong coming out and taking the first (second, I would have been there first lol!) step on the moon. Plus what an adventure would that be, definitely something to share on my instagram story. 
What is next for you in 2019?
So 2019 is pretty much mapped out for me, I’ve got weddings booked in for most of the year with a few dates left towards the end of the year, but this is normal for wedding photographers. I’m also going to concentrate on doing some fashion photography and I’m working with a couple of talented models to boost our respective portfolios. I think it’s always positive to push your self and do something outside of your comfort zone, so fashion photography is my challenge for 2019 (images below). 
I also hope to do some traveling when wedding season is over so I can do some more travel photography and gain some valuable experiences. 
All photos: Tom Jeavons Photography.
Insta: @tomjeavons Twitter: @jeavonsphoto

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