John Steel Photography
Who, why, how and what?
Eh up, I’m John Steel and I’m going to tell you a little bit about me. I’ve been a professional photographer for the last twelve or so years and it’s certainly been an interesting ride and I’m still on that ride now, but who is John when he isn’t working?
I have two beautiful daughters (at the time of writing) Daisy my eldest is 9 and Chloe my youngest is 5, so when I’m not taking pictures (job) I’m with my daughters. We like to do fun things like craft, getting outside to parks, playing games, drawing, colouring and doing all the fun things we used to do when we were kids.
when I’m not with my kids, I still like to get out for a little walk (I usually take a little camera with me), see friends and enjoy going to the gym. I also occasionally dust off my skateboard and head to a skatepark and pretend I’m not old.
Start with the why?
Why do I do what I do? Why am I a professional people photographer? I guess like everything it was ingrained in me from a very young age. I’ve always been a shy and introverted person and I’ve always been fascinated by people. I’m sure this started a very young age but I was probably too busy being with friends or generally having fun.
I do remember when I had my first (properish) job, I was an office junior at a solicitors and every dinnertime I would head outside to buy a sandwich and I would eat my dinner on the art gallery steps, in Leeds City Centre. I used to love just sitting there in my own thoughts and people watching. Some people would do the same thing every day, others would be just bustling about and I loved it.
It’s funny as when I was growing up, we used to have really basic clicky, cameras which our family would occasionally record our memories on. I remember being at middle school (remember them)? When I told someone that I would love to have a good camera.
To cut a very long story short
I guess I was trying to say, I never really actively pursued being a photographer, although it was certainly there in a subliminal way. After quite a few years and a few jobs later I decided that I would go to university and do a sports development degree as I had realised that I had a passion for sports and would like to work in that field.
In all of this I should have mentioned skateboarding. Skateboarding was a massive piece of who I was, I had invested about 15 years in the sport at this point and it was my life, it’s what I thought about, who I hung around with, how I dressed, where I worked and everything was skateboarding
Whilst at university one of the subjects that I chose was an events management module. You had to come up with a concept, design, plan and run an event. After thinking about this for about 10 seconds I came up with the idea of Smiley Culture. I used to be known as Smiley John and my idea was to run a skateboard contest (with a twist) and also showcase art from lots of the skaters who were very creative.
As this event was going to be fabulous, I asked my friend Steve Sharp (Dave) to come along and take some pictures. The whole event was a massive success, everyone loved it! Dave had come along to take some pictures and I knew the would be fab. I went round to his house and in his room he had an Apple Imac and the screen saver was a picture that he had taken of the weekend at Whitby, North Yorkshire, I was blown away!!! From that moment on, I knew I wanted to be a photographer. I bought a camera and started to learn the basics and that as they say is history.
So how do I do it? How do I take the pictures that you see in my galleries? I specialise in photographing people and it’s taken years of practice to know what makes people tick. Every person is different and most don’t like having their photo taken. I am a story teller and a documentary photographer and my years of people watching has helped me do this in the John Steel way. I try to make my photography sessions fun, I can work with most people and get them to relax. The people who have a big front and a lot of bravado, I can usually quickly get passed that and get to the real person.
I know about photography fundamentals like light, moment and composition and I use them. I do this as second nature and the rest of the time I’m building a rapport with my client, be it a wedding couple, a family, a business person or someone participating in their favourite sport. I know what makes a good picture and that’s how I do most of my shoots.
What is it that I actually do? Well, I am a people photographer. I have four different areas where I work the best and these are weddings, family, commercial and fitness. I try to capture pictures which are true to the real-life event, for example, a wedding I want to capture the whole day, not set the day up but photograph what is really happening from bridal preparation to drunk dancing.
A personal brand shoot I want to capture the real person. People buy from people and I want to bring the best out of each individual. Not fake personas but the real, authentic version of them.
A family session, I want to capture your family exactly as they are. Pictures which will last forever, real memories, not weird fake pictures in a white box studio. I want kids running around, jumping, throwing leaves.
A fitness shoot, I want to again capture the story of someone doing what the do. A bodybuilder training, a real-life session where they grind and push out every single rep. This is what I do. I tell stories and capture real-life images.
So, that’s a little bit of background about me. If you would like to know more about me or more importantly how I can help you? Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org