Douglas Fry has been a professional photographer or more than twenty years, shooting everything from annual reports to press releases to weddings. His clients are mostly in the UK, and Europe and they range from FTSE100 companies to small startups. His studio prides itself on fast turnaround times and high quality work, and they also have been offering full post production work and video. Fry doesn’t have your typical background in photography, having been a soldier, a physics student and a world traveller.
Where are you from, and where do you live now?
I was born in Dorset on the English south coast, came up to London to study Physics at Imperial College, spent five years as a soldier in the Honourable Artillery Company, left to cycle round the world and upon my return thought I’d try photography for one year to see if I could make it work. We live in Oxford now but with an office in London.
How long have you been a photographer?
Must be twenty plus years now, I still enjoy it, as every day is different, I enjoy meeting new people, visiting new countries and the now technical craft that is photography.
How did you get started in photography?
My uncle was a photographer in Australia all his life and although sadly I never met him before he died, I did receive regular updates on his career as a wildlife photographer and he would send print of his latest work. I started working on features desks for the broadsheet newspapers here in the UK.
What type of photography do you specialize in?
Commercial and Weddings, I still enjoy both, I always arrive early and leave late.
Do you consider yourself a professional or an enthusiast photographer?
professional, my wife and I work as a team, I shoot do the photography, initial keeper selection, colour correction etc and Samantha handles all the enquires, bookings, flights and subsequent post production. We have a videographer too, Adrian, and we work as a team on corporate videos.
What draws you to photography?
The creativity and the technical, they are both vital. Well that along with certain people skills.
How does photography change how you approach or see the world?
I am observant, I notice many things about people and places. It can sometimes come in quite handy – I can spot money lying in the street, people walk over it, on it, never seeing it. I feel sure I’ll never get to it before someone else will see the ten pound note but its surprises me how often its just me. Its the same with a scene, person or view I spot throughout my day, it sort of jumps out at me, and I feel impelled to photograph it.
What did you shoot with before your current Sony gear?
In my film days, Leica M6’s, Contax RTSII’s, and MamiyaRB67. Then in the year 2000 I went digital to Canon and stuck with it right through to the industrial grade 1DX’s and prime lenses, still great kit but showing its age now, hence the change
What Sony gear do you use?
I am slowly getting to understand the Sony A7II, battery grips and its menu system. I think it is a technological marvel… I have the Voigtlander 15mm VIII, the Sony/Zeiss 16-35 F4, he Sony/Zeiss 55mm F1.8 FE, theLeica 35mm F2 Summicron (with Novoflex), the Leica 50mm F2 Summicron (with Novoflex), and the Leica 90mm F2 Summicron APO (with Novoflex).
These lenses are superb with the Sony and although I will buy an autofocus 90mm, the APO is unbelievably sharp and easy to use.
I also have a 300mm F2.8 Nikon manual focus, which is fantastic for some commercial work (like a conference).
What are your thoughts about shooting with your Sony gear, and specifically versus other gear you’ve used?
Fantastic image quality and pretty much all ISO’s, once brought in to C1Pro or Lightroom CC there is very little work that needs to be done. The lens correction tool, does very little now, with the Canon kit there was a big change when it was implemented
Image stabilisation is a great innovation as too is focus peaking and manual focus assist etc
Size and weight are a benefit too after the Canon 1DX system.
The buttons are too small and could be beefed up a bit.
I have had one camera totally fail since purchase with the ‘camera error, please switch off and back on again’ which is a bit worrying but I have three bodies so its going back to Sony for a swap.
They don’t have that weapons grade air of industrial indestructibility that the Canons have, I do feel I need to treat them much more carefully. If there is an even slight distortion to the rubber lens cup then the camera won’t detect that your face has move away from the eyecup and not switch to the screen automatically, which can be annoying. I have to peel back the eyecup slightly then it works again.
There is also only one card slot.
How could Sony improve their gear?
There should be two card slots, I repeat, there should be TWO card slots. A professional photographer needs to have that reassurance in case of card failure or dropping one, snapping one in the reader or some other easy unforced error, that there is another card. The card slot itself needs beefing up a bit to be lockable and to be placed on the other side of the camera body, it can be opened with your palm by accident and is easy to break.
The battery grip should be as one with the body for a ‘pro’ option, it would be still smaller and lighter than a DSLR but more rugged. It allows too for two batteries which gives the camera a more practical shooting life over the day
Bigger buttons and more of a knurled thumb rest on the body, it’s too shallow currently.
An option for 56Megapixels over the 24. For day-to-day, 24 is fine, but occasionally for a large double-page spread,the option to go for 56 would be a huge bonus. The lenses and technology are excellent
Tell us about a Photo you particularly like.
I was commissioned to document the mine clearing operation in Bosnia, from Sarajevo to Livno in the South. Its hard to convey what it must have been like living there as a civilian, but I was told that every green space could be mined, the fighting between the Serbs and Croats went back and forth through the town and mines were placed indiscriminately and no mine maps were produced so the worst had to be assumed. There is a good view of the whole town from the hill and with my newly acquired Canon D30 the ‘new’ 3.1 megapixel wonder. I stitched 10 images together in PhotoShop to show how much of the area was ‘green’. The bridge on which the Grand Duke Ferdinand was shot and instigated the WW1 is visible.…