I’ve just had an email from a potential client asking if any of my course images were available for prints! In itself, not an unusual request and luckily one that I often receive !
What made this different though was it came from a quite well know interior designer based in New York and it would seem that her clients aren’t necessarily golfers!
Flash back to 2005. As a completely unknown Golf Course photographer I got my big break. My first commission was shooting all of the St Andrews courses for the Links trust.
So why did this happen? There’s a few reasons! Very few photographers were specialising in this area. Mostly courses were shot with blue skies, vivid greens and dark dark black shadows, ( I know this as a fact because when working with Callaway Golf, I was always very frustrated with the lack of good golf images for any of our advertising campaigns). But probably the most important reason was I was looking at course photography from a completely different perspective.
My reasoning was simple we play golf in all types of weather conditions so why not capture that in the photography? As far as I was concerned the more drama the better. Yes, keep it commercial but try to add some extra ingredients to spice them up, they have to work commercially for my clients and then have an extra dimension as a possible fine art print!
I think this is what St Andrews Links Trust really brought into, a different approach, commercial but with an artistic twist. Images that they could use to promote all 7 courses but would also sell as Limited edition prints online and in their shops.
It wasn’t long before a few more Golf Courses and companies in the Golf industry clocked onto this different approach. More commissions were coming in on a regular basis and I was loving the challenge of shooting these venues and then really seeing the images come alive in post production.
Soon after The St Andrews break kicked in I got my second big break. Remember GolfPunk? Well Tim Southwell the editor (and now great buddy) got in touch with me saying we’ve seen what you are doing, it’s different and we’re really excited about using the images! They started running them as double page spreads in the mag and soon after came up with the legendary title “GolfPorn”
In 2007 big break no three came along. GMS a well known and successful Golf Marketing agency approached me asking if I would shoot all of The Marriott courses in the UK, again they said we like what you are doing it’s different and it really fits in with how we want our marketing campaign’s to look moving forward. Shortly after they asked me if I would also shoot Loch Lomond another one of their Clients !
The weather at Loch Lomond was brilliant with some great Sunrises, Sunsets and big clouds. The light was amazing and really helped me with the process of trying to develop this dramatic style which my clients were buying into.
Dundonald Links was Loch Lomonds second course. I remember on the journey down the weather completely changed. For the next three frustrating days it was non stop rain. I’d almost given up on this shoot thinking I’d come back a few weeks later. Driving out of the complex I noticed a little chink of light on the horizon. I decided to park up and from the comfort of my hire car watched the clouds slowly pass by.
What followed was one of those defining moments, The sun was breaking through the Storm clouds but was very low. I knew I had to act fast and headed for the 8th green which was the nearest hole. It was a breathtaking moment, a spotlight of colour appeared over the green, making the flag stand out like a neon sign! Frantically I ran around trying to get as many shots as possible making the most of this beautiful biblical Light.
Back in my office working on post production I had a sense that here was possibly my first real fine art image. It wasn’t just a flag on a golf course, it wasn’t just showing the layout of the hole, it was capturing that real moment in time, sharing with the viewer what I had seen and experienced.
From that moment, that one single image has become my measure. Not every shot is going to make it as a fine Art Print and maybe they don’t have to. What they must do is to engage the viewer. As long as I’ve achieved my goal of delivering shots that are different, dramatic and dynamic, then make you want to pick up your sticks and get out play this amazing game that we love, my job is done.
Selling Limited edition fine art prints is the cherry on the top!!