April 27, 2015 by Anna Kalyalina
Adam Pretty is a distinguished international Sports Photographer based in Los Angeles, Sydney, Beijing, Tokyo and Munich. He has photographed seven Olympic Games, won numerous international awards such as the Canon AIPP and Sony World Photography Awards and has worked for some of the best magazines in the world such as Time Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Life Magazine, Harper´s Bazaarand Marie Claire just to name a few.
Production Paradise got the opportunity to speak to Adam, and we found out some key elements to his successful career.
Production Paradise: You are a sports photographer. Do you have a personal passion for any kind of sport?
Adam: Yes, I really love photographing water sports, the unpredictability of water and light can make for fantastic imagery. And I like trying different things with my sports photography – trying to keep things slightly unpredictable, fresh and surprising and working with water really gives me that opportunity as you never 100% know what you might get. On a personal level I really enjoy rock climbing and the focus and also mental diversion it can give you. I enjoy things where you need to devote your whole attention, mentally and physically and that also maybe push you out of your comfort zone slightly.
Production Paradise: You have a mixture of color and black & white shoots; is the b&w work one of the key elements that define your work? What makes you stand out from the rest?
Adam: Yes I enjoy working with black and white as it is where I started (processing film at home) and what actually got me into photography and sports photography to begin with. It just really helps me concentrate on the graphics and shapes in an image and simplifies things to some extent. I also enjoy working in colour but my first passion will always be black and white. I am not sure if it defines my work? but I hope I have developed a unique and original style and working in black and white has helped me develop this. I try and shoot sports pictures that are not immediately obvious, or capture something in a slightly different way. I like to break down the image to a graphic level, making it not just a sports action image but also about shapes, graphics and emotions and hopefully aesthetically pleasing as well.
Production Paradise: You are an international photographer with published work in top magazines such as Harper’s Baazar and clients as Adidas and Nike. What are the key elements to your success?
Adam: I have been fortunate to work with many other photographers who have helped me and offered advice throughout my career. Success comes from listening to advice and making lots of mistakes. Push yourself, try new things and don’t let yourself get to comfortable doing any one thing.
I also think in this day and age of photographic saturation you really need to develop your own style and not try and emulate what everyone else is doing. Hopefully you’ll get noticed for the unique work you are doing.
Production Paradise: Could you please tell our readers about your latest campaign Black and White Challenge?
Adam: The Black and White challenge was a Facebook marketing ploy designed to get photographers to upload their best/newest work and thereby generate lots of hits and page views… and it worked really well! I was “challenged” by a number of friends and so took part. I think it was a great medium for seeing some of my friends’ and fellow photographers’ alternative work that I would not ordinarily see and I put up some of my outtakes from an advertising shoot that would not normally see the light of day, so while I was slightly sceptical of it I also enjoyed seeing all the imagery.
Production Paradise: You’ve won a number of major international awards; which are you the most proud of? What’s the story behind the winning shot?
Adam: I think my first World Press Photo award in 1999 was my most proud moment as a photographer. My dad had bought me all the old books from competitions over the years and I used to always check out the World Press Photo books/awards so it was a huge honour and surprise to win one. Also 1999-2000 was a defining moment of my career as I had just joined Allsport (Getty Images) and I was shooting a home Olympics (Sydney 2000) and I pretty much shot 365 days of the year and almost killed myself working, as there was so much sport happening in Sydney. To be able to win an award with my favourite set of pictures (it was a sports series/story) at the time (and some are still my favourites) was a great feeling as a young photographer and also a huge motivation and launch pad to keep going and pushing myself further.
Production Paradise: How has Production Paradise helped you in your daily work as a Photographer?
Adam: Having moved around a number of different countries over the last 10 years, Production Paradise has been of huge benefit to me as it means clients can find me wherever I am. The website also generates new leads/clients all the time, especially when you are in a new country and hunting for work. I have had jobs booked in places like Beijing, Tokyo, Munich and other European cities because of my listing, so I have been very happy with the service.
Production Paradise: Do you have any exciting upcoming projects you could share with us?
Adam: I am going to be working on a portrait series for FIFA and Getty Images at the upcoming Women’s World Cup in Canada and I am excited about that. I also am really looking forward to the World Swimming Championships in Kazan where I will be doing some more live action and underwater work. Having the freedom of shooting editorial really keeps me refreshed for my advertising/commercial work and also gives me lots of new ideas and visions of how better to capture athletes in a controlled environment such as a studio.
We would like to thank Adam Pretty for taking the time to speak with us. More of his work you can find in Production Paradise or on his website. You can also find more Sport photographers in our worldwide Directory.
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