Meet the man behind the snaps. Our latest Q&A features Tom (aka T Arran Photo), as we sat down to talk all things photography over a game of FIFA. Get ready for Amsterdam antics, photographing nudes, and dropping a lens cap during an orchestra performance.
FIRSTLY, TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?
I’m a creative commercial and lifestyle photographer, working with brands such as Adidas, NHS, and P&O Ferries. I’ve 8 years industry experience, starting as an apprentice at Hull College and then going onto freelancing.
WHERE DO YOU LOOK FOR INSPIRATION AND HOW HAS THAT SHAPED YOUR STYLE OF PHOTOGRAPHY?
Instagram 100%. I get inspired by the photographers that produce similar work to mine, but to a much higher spec.
My style has also developed through buying different equipment. One of the first lenses I bought was an 85mm f1.2 — which isn’t very practical at all as a first lens for photography!
From buying these sorts of lenses, my style developed into that shallow depth of field style. I started to look at light in a different way, playing around with off camera flashes.
Now, even though I’ve got my style locked down — which is light, colourful, and natural looking — it’s still improving and developing constantly. I’ve just bought brand new, upgraded flash equipment and I’m learning how to work them into my style.
WHAT BRAND WOULD YOU LOVE TO SHOOT FOR, AND TELL US YOUR DREAM LOCATION TO SHOOT AT?
One of my dream places to travel to is India. I guess I’d have to combine that with brands relevant to the outdoors, such as North Face or Patagonia. Just any company that offers travel opportunities or cool events, and that likes working with people and amazing locations.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE MOST EXCITING SHOOT YOU’VE WORKED ON?
I’d have to go with Adidas, purely because of the status of the client and being in New York. Being invited to travel across the world to work for one of the largest brands in the world was a real defining moment for me. Even though there was a lot of pressure, looking back it’s some of my best work.
If I were to mention something more local and routine, it’d be Freedom Festival. I look forward to it year on year, as I’ve been a photographer for them for 5 years now. Looking back on my photography for Freedom, I’ve seen my style develop throughout the years. They trust my approach and let my creativity run free.
WHAT’S THE MOST BIZARRE THING YOU’VE SHOT?
The Sea of Hull. When I started out as a photographer, I never thought I’d be photographing nude people painted blue. I remember getting a call on the Saturday morning saying the photographer they’d booked hasn’t turned up and could I come down. I literally jumped out of bed and ran out at like 5am to get to the last location.
EVER HAD ANY FAUX PAS WHILST SHOOTING?
I’ve probably had moments where I’ve thought, “Oh shit”, but I’ve never really had an “I’ve really messed up” moment.
I remember one time during Hull 2017 there was an orchestra playing. During the quietest flute moment, my lens cap dropped and completely dominated the sound. You know those moments when you can feel all eyes on you? That was definitely one of those.
WHAT’S THE PROCESS WHEN WORKING ALONGSIDE NORTHERN VISUALS ON SHOOTS AND WHY DOES IT WORK SO WELL?
It doesn’t tend to be super serious. You go to a job as just a bunch of mates, and our banter together makes shoots fun. The clients pick up on it and they enjoy it. It does lend quite well to the shoots, especially when it comes to making relationships with the clients.
WE’VE WORKED TOGETHER ON A TONNE OF PROJECTS, BUT WHAT’S BEEN YOUR BEST MEMORY SHOOTING WITH US?
Definitely the Made in Hull shoots. They were just so chilled and fun, we actually got to enjoy the music event as well as working it. Plus, we got to explore Amsterdam together and had no clue where we were going, it was just such a laugh.
FINALLY, WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN SAY, 5 YEARS TIME?
Over the next 5 years I want to focus on creating a portfolio that’s consistent in style. I’d like to be agency represented, as a lot of big brands don’t look for photographers directly, they look through agencies. I’d hope this would open up work for bigger, more creative briefs and provide more travel opportunities.