Barnsley photographer Liam Gilroy talks to us about styles, editing tips and photoshoot planning. He constantly surrounds himself by all the right people to ensure his authenticness in his photography and his parents old photos ignited that spark. Read the full conversation below and see some of his photos. Visit www.liamgilroy.com
BFC: What first attracted you to photography?
Liam: What first attracted me to photography was mostly how, when I was growing up, my parents took a lot of photos of me and my siblings just as people do now, except they weren’t lost in the cloud for ever, they were actually developed and printed and acted as physical memories. I always loved that idea of archiving memories this way, and I think that’s what’s lead me into my love of capturing people, moments and atmospheres.
BFC: Its a shame people don’t really print out their photos anymore. So how has your style developed over the time?
Liam: I think over time I’ve developed a more earthy tone and started to focus in on a certain aesthetic that excites me, usually the more gritty and mysterious. I usually do this this now by creating more of a ‘shot on film’ feel, which perhaps relates to the last question. With fashion photography I think it’s good to have models that have an uniqueness about them, which ultimately makes the clothing more desirable!
BFC: Following from your styles, where do you tend to get your inspiration from?
Liam: A lot of the time I’m lucky enough to work with people who express a theme in their products, so in those cases I can draw on that iconography and try to match that with a real world setting that helps to build a narrative.
BFC: What was one of your favourite projects that you’ve worked on?
Liam: One that springs to mind is a Fear and Loathing Clothing shoot we did for their Up The Dosage collection. We shot all the lifestyle shots around this huge abandoned house which was a lot of fun to play around with. We decided to run with some more unusual ideas, like building a prop satanic ritual in the barn, the location was a playground for photography. Here’s a behind the scenes video of that shoot.
BFC: Oh wow that’s so cool! What were your post-shoot processes after that?
Liam: I’m lucky enough that my brother Jordan Gilroy co-runs F&L and is a very talented designer, so we get to collaborate a lot and that extends into the editing of the photos, which we always agree on! Outside of F&L I still get a lot of freedom in editing (mostly in Photoshop). I think because fashion based photography is usually more dramatic, you get to take more liberties with colouring and balancing the image and it’s seen as being part of an overall process.
BFC: What tips would you give about photo editing to those who want to make their own products look better? Maybe they only use their mobile phones, so is there anything they can do just to bring them more to life?
Liam: A big thing for me is not getting too caught up on gear, so I tent to find kit and software and stick with it until I feel like it hasn’t done the job. For me I use photoshop, because you can always play around with depth by using layer masks or tilt shifts etc and play with the contrast a lot. I use a cool piece of software called CameraBag2, which has some awesome customisable presets for specific tones etc. Honestly, I think Instagram is great if you’re working on mobile. For example, you can get a really great looking tone just by pumping up the contrast and and taking the saturation way down on your image just like you would in Photoshop. I think it’s just good to experiment.
BFC: And last question, what tips would you give to someone who’s planning their own photoshoot?
Liam: My advice for anyone planning their own photoshoot, if I’m qualified to give advice, would be to first create a good atmosphere, make sure everyone’s on the same page about what you want to achieve and make sure that everyone’s having a good time! Your shoot will benefit massively from this. Second of all I’d say try something different. With the exemption of practising before you shoot, try and do something new that you finding challenging.