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Tom Cullis"I started doing photography years ago hanging out with great mentors like James Loy, Steven Underhill and Phillip Ritchie..."

TOM CULLIS WEB SEARCH

"My taste in selecting a model is usually dependent on the project that I am currently working on..."

"My current project is a holiday issue for a New York Magazine featuring Kathy Griffin..."

-Hello Tom, thanks for accepting to be interviewed for my website, how did you start doing photography? When did you start working with celebrities?

Hi Edo, Thank you for the interview and chance to be featured with so many of your great models and photographers.

I started doing photography years ago hanging out with great mentors like James Loy, Steven Underhill and Phillip Ritchie. Their passion for an image that was fresh, creative and properly lighted became contagious. I had worked with celebrities as a physical therapist for many years and became comfortable with these people in a very personal way. It was an easy transition to move from treating them to photographing them. When you have great mentors and are willing to put in the time, great results happen very quickly. There were no shortcuts to time and experience in becoming a skilled photographer.


-Do you remember your first photo shoot? When did you start taking photos of models?

I don't know if there was ever a first photo shoot but my first time trying to be a professional photographer was an incredible eye popping experience. It was suddenly obvious that there was more to a great image than getting a hot model and shooting away. The challenges of camera angles, balancing light and most importantly connecting with and directing an inexperienced model was overwhelming. It can still be that way years later as you learn many more options and your equipment grows in complexity inventory.

My first model was an incredible guy who was 6'1 21 years old and of Japanese/German descent. He was a natural exhibitionist and the shoot became erotic very quickly. I had a lot of lucky shots that day but I wish that I had that day back to shoot again. That session had more energy than the following 10 shoots combined and was a education as to what a shoot can be when the model can perform.

 

-What do you consider important when you select models to shoot? What are the physical features of your "ideal model"?

My taste in selecting a model is usually dependent on the project that I am currently working on. I coordinate my location, stylist, makeup and model all at the same time. My preference for a model is usually on the lean side and 6' at the minimum. I work with primarily with signed agency models that are used to the requirements of a long photo shoot. Inexperienced models frequently take a considerable amount of time and patience to get into the flow of a fast paced shoot. These models are usually booked with me for concept testing only.


-I guess not many models are comfortable in front of the camera, how do you help them relax?

I don't have a problem getting my models to relax for the camera because they are carefully screened prior to a shoot. If the connection is not there the shoot does not happen. If I have to shoot a model that I have not met prior to the shoot I will put in the time to try and make it happen but if it does not work I will stop early and wrap it.

 

-I visited your official website, www.tomcullisphoto.com, and I was really impressed by your style, very artistic and glamorous, what advice do you have for new/aspiring photographers to improve their photography skills?

My advice to new photographers is simple. Continuing education is very important. Find mentors that you aspire to emulate and contact them for advice or suggestions. Assist or watch people who are very successful. There is no substitute for a solid education and constant practice. The demands of current digital photography and printing requirements for magazines and fashion require constant reading and upgrading skills if you even hope to be competitive. Fixing sloppy photography in Photoshop will only carry you so far. It will definitely fail you when that big job comes your way and the skill is not there to make it happen for the client.


-Please share with me some of your current projects...

My current project is a holiday issue for a New York Magazine featuring Kathy Griffin and concept editorial featuring new designers this Spring . I am also in a college photography program to test medium and large format cameras and their interface with computer processing programs. One of my mentors James Loy had always told me, if you have skill you should be able to create great images with a simple disposable camera. I try to never forget that very important fact as I grow and shoot with these new incredible creations of technology.

Copyright Tom Cullis' Official Website: www.tomcullisphoto.com

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