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Photographer David Gannon reveals how natural light is the key to capturing a beautiful photograph


Goss.ie proudly sponsored the fashion category at the Huawei Snapys last year, an awards that brings together social media gurus and fanatics.

The awards stretches across 20 categories including food, selfie, Dublin and the Wild Atlantic way just to name a few.

On the night, plenty of talented individuals were awarded for their work – including fashion and portrait photographer David Gannon.

Winning the award for “Best Fashion Photograph”, David is an aspiring photographer who uses natural light in his shoots, and focuses on connecting with his models.

After winning his award, David went on to win the DCU Hybrid Photographer of the Year in April – and before that, Goss.ie chatted to David about what life is really like as an aspiring fashion photographer.

How did you find your passion for photography?

I remember loving taking snaps on those little disposable cameras when I was really young and on holidays, maybe around 8 years old or so.

My family noticed my interest and a few years later I was given my first digital camera, it was just a simple point and shoot. I brought it everywhere with me, taking pictures of anything and everything.

I was lucky as I knew from an early age I wanted to become a photographer, so in Transition Year I was able to work experience in three different photography companies in Ireland.

I decided to study Multimedia in DCU as that contained photography, video and writing – all things I enjoyed.

It was there I developed my passion for portrait and fashion photography when a friend of mine asked me to shoot with her as she was interested in modelling. I loved it.

From there I began to shoot all my friends and I’d message any people that looked like models on Facebook asking if they wanted to shoot.

What is your typical day like?

Right now I’m in second year of Multimedia, but all my focus is on photography. Wake up and watch a Youtube video on fashion photography.

On the bus, time to grow my Instagram account – and of course as many shoots a week as I can fit in, usually around 2 or 3.

Some of these are for my portfolio, and others might be people looking to build their modelling portfolio or get a sick new profiler for Tinder etc. Then all my other time editing the photos and college assignments.

I ran Photoshop, light-room, and photography and modelling workshops this semester with DCU Fotosoc and that was a great experience. I enjoy teaching photography and editing to people – Youtube tutorials have thought me so much, so it feels good to give back.

What techniques do you use?

There’s lots of techniques I use to create good portraits, the most important being creating a rapport between myself and the model.

If the model is comfortable, they will perform much better, and the expressions and poses will be more authentic. If I want a certain expression I might tell them to imagine themselves in an elaborate scenario – as if they were sitting down and someone they didn’t like walked in the door, or they just finished singing a song on stage and dropped the mic.

On the more technical side, I always shoot in natural light as I love the soft light it casts. Cloudy days are always excellent to shoot on as the light is wonderfully diffused and soft.

If not, I can ask an assistant to hold up a reflector to act as an improvised cloud or shoot in an alleyway or in other shadowed areas.

A great tip is to shoot at golden hour, just before the sun goes down with the models back to the fading sun – the light will be beautiful and it was cast awesome highlights around the models hair.

I really enjoy shooting on location as it provides so many opportunities for creativity. We are not limited by lights or a studio, only our imagination.

The bench that looks about 200 years old? Sit your model down there like they’re chilling. See some graffiti on a wall? Get your model to stand beside it, they’ll look cool.

After the shoot is done I will celebrate and edit the best shots using Photoshop.

I like to keep the portrait as natural as possible, going easy on the skin retouching and colour toning.

I have a Wacom drawing tablet which really helps the editing process – imagine trying to sign your name using a mouse.

That’s why drawing tablets are amazing for editing and all the intricate strokes it requires. I put up one edited portrait a day on Instagram.

What do you hope to do in the future?

Right now I’m in the portfolio building part of my career, doing test shoots with agencies and networking with other people in the industry.

It’s a difficult industry to break into as there are tonnes of photographers out there who all want the same jobs. I would love to assist more photographers, it’s probably the best way to learn, nothing beats learning from people actually doing the stuff you want to do.

My dream job would be shooting fashion advertisement campaigns. I’d be happy shooting anything involving people really, I love meeting new people.

I genuinely have no idea where I see myself in the future. This time last year I was camped out in the Phoenix Park taking portraits of any deers that didn’t run away, and now I’m shooting beautiful models around the city.

Seriously though, I hope that I’ll have built up good relationships with modelling agencies and various companies.

I hope to have my photos on massive billboards and be everyone’s go-to guy for amazing portraits.

I would also probably move out of Ireland to somewhere like Los Angeles or New York.

There’s bigger opportunities for photographers, but bigger competition as well.I was never one to shy away from a challenge anyway.

To check out more of David’s work and how to get in contact, head over to his website HERE.

David has also launched his own YouTube channel where he uploads behind the scenes videos from his photoshoots, as well as tutorials. Check it out HERE