On the hard work behind a relaxed shoot and the importance of the human touch: Interview with lifestyle photographer Jeff Camden
By Jasmine Lee
Primarily focused on lifestyle and advertising campaigns across Australia and abroad, Jeff Camden has the ability to capture genuine, nuanced moments across any given assignment. With a strong portfolio of aerial, travel, lifestyle, and portrait photography (shooting personalities such as 50 Cent, Ed Sheeran, Alice Cooper, Kim Kardashian, Lily Allen, amongst others), Jeff Camden is well versed in the state of photography. We were fortunate to catch him in between his busy travel schedule and get a bit more insight about the man behind the camera.
Production Paradise: What initially inspired you to pursue a photography career?
Jeff Camden: I think I really started to seriously consider photography as a career during high school when I had access to a dark room and SLR cameras. It was the whole process of documenting parts of my life and other friends lives that inspired me most.
Production Paradise: Name your favorite/ most rewarding photography experience.
Jeff Camden: I have been really lucky in my career and have managed to score a lot of amazing projects, but probably the shoot I would never forget is when I was assigned to photograph the USS George Washington air craft carrier during active war games. It was an amazing day in which I was flown out to the carrier in the Pacific Ocean and spent time documenting the carrier in and active state.
Production Paradise: Do you take inspiration from other photographers or artists in different disciplines?
Jeff Camden: Absolutely, there are so many talented photographers and other visual artists from every corner of the globe. I’m always looking at images on Instagram and Behance, as well as magazines and books for inspiration and motivation for various projects and also just because I love looking at beautiful images.
Production Paradise: You describe your approach to photography as “relaxed”. Is it always possible to create a relaxed atmosphere at the shoot? How do you capture the “perfect” photo?
Jeff Camden: It may be a little bit of a loaded term. Generally, on any given project I’m aware of the images I’m trying to create and what’s required to achieve them. The crew and I are also always fully focused during a shoot so the “relaxed” term is more about creating an organic approach to the mood. I always tend to like the results of a shoot when the images come from a relaxed, natural environment with good on-set attitudes creating the mood and pushing the direction and feel, as opposed to a forced scenario. It’s important to stay calm and let the talent feel relaxed so they are comfortable to create the perceived realness that you need. Often times my favourite shots are those moments between takes.
It’s hard to say how to capture the “perfect” photo. I’m not sure I have managed to capture one of those myself. Top shelf crew, great talent, perfect lighting and an inspiring environment are always a great place to start.
Production Paradise: Did you capture most of your favorite photos on commissioned or personal shoots?
Jeff Camden: I have favourite photos from commissioned and personal shoots. My favourite images generally consist of wide epic landscapes with a human element, but sometimes it’s moments and feelings that you can see in interaction or in an expression.
Production Paradise: You have a varied portfolio with celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Ed Sheeran and have also worked with major clients such as Toyota and Queensland Rugby League. What qualities helped you to get noticed and hired for big campaigns?
Jeff Camden: I started my career in the editorial world shooting features for News Corp, I was lucky enough to work in the areas I was really passionate about and managed to score a lot of great assignments. I eventually moved on to the commercial and advertising space. The work that I had previously shot in the editorial space definitely helped me get noticed for those bigger campaigns.
Probably the biggest factor for getting hired for campaigns and shooting higher profile people, are the relationships that I have made along the way, with other creatives as well as clients and agencies. I think just being someone that is good to work with and is easy going are the main qualities I try to bring to any given shoot, it’s important to be professional, but obviously have fun too.
Production Paradise: What can we look forward to seeing from you in the near future? Any projects lined up?
Jeff Camden: There are a few things that I’m pretty excited about right now, both personal projects and commissioned work. Hopefully I can keep pushing and get everything over the line and have a great year. I never really like to talk things up until I have everything shot and archived.