Interview with Julian Farquhar
You have been involved in the photography industry for 2 years although you only recently made the move to full-time.
What prompted you to start working in this career?
I always had an interest in photography but never really took it seriously. I remember my first digital camera was a 1.3MP point and shoot by Olympus, it had a tiny memory card but I was fascinated by how easy it was to take pictures and print them at home. After moving to NZ I bought myself a digital SLR to help capture some of the amazing places and things I had seen since living here. It just kind of grew from there really, like a weed in an unattended garden it slowly took over my life!
How do you manage your work and home time? How have they worked together?
Unfortunately it’s all too easy for the work/home lines to blur, especially because I work from a home office. I do try to have some downtime and try to stick to working core hours between 8am and 6pm. There is always flexibility in this though and some jobs will require me to be available during evenings and weekends but I try to keep some time set aside for family and sports.
Describe to me the most memorable moments, both high and low of course ha ha?
High would have to be exhibiting some of my personal work as part of the 100day project in Auckland earlier this year. It was great to chat with other exhibiting artists and see their opinions on some of my images. As of yet there haven’t been too many lows, but I would say the worst so far have been equipment failure or when a client isn’t 100% happy. That’s definitely the worst for me as I love to please people and want them to be excited about what we have created.
Tell me some people you admire and how perhaps they reflect on your own life?
Admiration comes in many forms. From a business perspective I would say Richard Branson. To be able to setup a business from nothing and make it one of the most successful and recognized brands today is truly inspiring. There are others around me in my personal life I admire. My wife for the long arduous hours she puts into her job but still being able to come home with a smile on her face and listen to me and all my problems. I often wonder how she does it. My grandfather is another person I admired greatly, he taught me important lessons in honesty and integrity and always had time for me when I was a kid no matter how busy he was.
If you could do it all again would you do it differently?
Good question I would probably brush up on my business skills before taking the leap into the profession fulltime. There’s nothing like being thrown in the deep end to make you realize how little you know about business, tax, marketing etc.
What are the challenging facets of the job?
Definitely educating people. People are losing sight of the value of quality work; these days everyone has a digital camera so it has become easy for people to assume photography doesn't cost much. So it can be difficult when providing cost estimates to clients. I do find thought that whenever you take the time to explain your pricing and what they will get they usually understand.
What would a typical day be like?
Get up put the kettle on and have breakfast. After breakfast I start addressing any emails then turn the attention to outstanding jobs. There is usually some editing from previous shoots that needs to be finished off before a handover and closing the job off. Mostly being a photographer is 10% actually taking pictures, the rest of the time its business, marketing, customer service etc. All the little things you never thought you would need to be good at!
What do you see as your real strengths in this career?
Being able to easily talk with people and make them feel comfortable and relaxed is something that I would see as one of my strengths. I am also a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to the final product so you know very job I do I will have tried my hardest to give the best possible product.
Describe your work environment?
I’m pretty fortunate in my line of work that this can be anywhere! But usually it’s visiting clients for shoots at their workplace or at a location of their choice.
What skills have helped you the most?
My background is in science so I would say I have a very technical approach to my photography and am a very good problem solver. Often as a photographer you turn up to a location for the first time, you need to be able to assess the scene and figure out what will work and what wont. It could be that you don’t have the correct light modifier with you for the situation or something breaks or you may need to eliminate unwanted light sources. Being able to quickly identify the problems and come up with a work around has definitely been a skill I have called upon many times!
What do you expect to be doing in five years from now?
Ideally in five years I would like to be teaching others and running workshops or 1 on 1 sessions focused on all things from lighting to Lightroom workflows. Entering more competitions is something I intend to start doing in 2014, so maybe taking out the top prize in some of those would be pretty special!