Hi, my name is Tom (@wardy.0512) and I am a 17-year-old portrait photographer from the UK. I have been shooting for roughly six months now as I started in August 2017. I first became interested in photography when I joined Instagram; I remember being amazed by creators’ posts and I wanted to learn how they did it and maybe create a following of my own.
I alternate between landscape and portrait in the past, but now I primarily focus on portraits. I’m inspired by other photographers who use a similar style to mine: Brandon Woelfel (@brandonwoelfel) and Gab Loste (@gabpolitely) are examples, and I also watch photographers on YouTube such as Peter McKinnon (@petermckinnon) and Jessica Kobeissi (@jessicakobeissi) amongst others. My family and friends also play a large part in my inspiration as they have been very supportive of me throughout the past six months.
My work features many of my friends as I prefer to use people I know over models, mainly because I feel more at ease and enjoy the shoots more when it’s with people I’m comfortable with. I also prefer having the subject ‘free’ so they aren’t restricted to a certain pose.
I am very passionate about photography – I’ve posted every day on Instagram for almost four months, and growing a following and building up a portfolio has been a fun but difficult journey so far. One of my first photoshoots that features heavily on my feed is the ‘spur-of-the-moment’ shoot that I did with two of my best friends, Rhi and Sam (see the photos from 21st January 2018). It was Sam’s brother’s 21th birthday party and we went upstairs three/four times over the course of six to seven hours to take photos, and we ended up taking over 1000! This is where I tried out many of the photos that I had wanted and really helped me to get to know my camera in low-light conditions, which was vital for my style.
I use the Canon EOS 400D with a 50mm f/1.8 and 28-90mm f/4-5.6. It’s an old model so it struggles in low light but the 50mm helps with that – it’s a perfect length for portrait photography and it is a fast, prime lens allowing for faster shutter speeds (as the low aperture of 1.8 lets in a lot of light) and sharper images, so results are always great. If you are looking for a good, budget lens then the ‘nifty fifty’ is one of the best choices. Although, I am planning on selling my canon gear and upgrading to a Nikon D5600 with a 35mm f/1.8. But while I’ve had it, the 400D has been a great, budget, beginner DSLR and has helped me to make the transition from point-and-shoot cameras.
If I had to give one piece of advice to new photographers, It’d be don’t get into the mindset that you need to spend enormous sums of money to take the best photos – practice your skill, don't purchase it.
If you want to see more of my work you can find it on instagram at @wardy.0512