Photography 101 with Ben Watts

This past May, Camp David hosted a day long photography intensive with acclaimed fashion photographer Ben Watts. This crash course covered outdoor and studio lighting, as well as set management. We caught up with Ben on the ins and outs of the photography world. 

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What advice would you give to new photographers starting out, what has stuck with you over your career?

Always put your best foot forward when you’re given an opportunity. You never get a do-over, so when you are able to land yourself a meeting or a shoot, bring your A-game.

How do you create a rapport between you and your subject?

I break the formality with humor. I like to think I have a broad sense of humor and try to appeal to the subject and their interests. I also usually try to incorporate an activity to be able to capture candid moments and motion.

What are basic pieces of equipment every photographer should own?

You really just need a camera, the most important thing is the idea. I believe in keeping it simple. At the core of every great photo is a great idea. People get too intimidated by complicated equipment, just keep it simple and have a camera you’re comfortable using.

How did you handle the switch from analogue to digital? Do you have a preference between one or the other? Are you seeing a resurgence of interest in film?

I’ve definitely seen a big resurgence in film in the last couple years, which is great. I’m not sure how much of it is novelty, but I grew up shooting on film, as that was the only option, so I’ve enjoyed going back and shooting it more lately. Digital is great for jobs because everyone can walk away from a shoot knowing they got exactly what they wanted and needed on the day. It’s also a great medium for sharing your work instantaneously with others. But film is a great medium as well, it has a certain quality to you that you can’t replicate.

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Follow his adventures on Instagram.

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