Working with Models – Sharing Experience with Charlotte Johnson

Tell us about your photography journey - how has it evolved into your passion for creating amazing portraits and photographing people?

I first bought a DSLR, a second hand Sony a200, about 10 years ago when I was doing my masters in Dundee, Scotland. I remember the first image I took was of my kitchen sink, window behind, on full auto. But it didn’t look like my kitchen sink… it looked beautiful! The image was softly focused with natural light spilling into the room through the net curtains and over the taps. I was hooked. After a while, I thought it would be good to learn more about how to use the camera and about photography, so I joined an evening class. I did 2 more courses after that one, learning about film, darkroom processes, and black and white photography, but I didn’t shoot portraits. I couldn’t imagine anything more horrifying than asking someone to take their photo. It wasn’t until I started my current job as a photographer for the University of Auckland 3 years ago that I started shooting portraits – and only then because I had to for the job. I wasn’t very good at it but I needed to be (and fast) so I put up flyers asking for students to model for me in exchange for free photos. As I improved and became more confident, I started to realise that I really loved shooting portraiture. Eventually, it became obvious from the way I felt taking and editing portraits that this was my field of passion.