Post image for Photog Friday: A few minutes with Barry Chignell

Photog Friday: A few minutes with Barry Chignell

September 18, 2009

The Phottix Journal is pleased to kick off its new feature, Photog Friday, with photographer and webmaster, Barry Chignell. What makes Barry tick? What’s his creative drive?

Name: Barry Chignell

Country of residence: England

Brief Bio: I am 33 and have been a photographer for about 3 years.  I spend my time running my website ( and exploring the country side looking for my next photograph!

How did you first get interested in photography?
There are 2 things that inspired me to take up photography;

  1. Initially my girlfriend brought me an Olympus P&S to take photos of my aquarium and the tropical fish I kept in it.
  2. I stumbled across the photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand and his work was such a fresh perspective on the world that I had to start capturing it’s beauty for myself.

What do you like to shoot?
I am really into HDR at the moment.  There is a lot of bad press about the technique and a lot of people that take the effect too far (which I am also guilty of on a couple of occasions!).  I also love landscape photography and often combine this with HDR.  I am currently exploring the portrait side of photography and the new challenges that it poses, it’s great fun!

Lilly Pad by Barry Chignell

Lilly Pad by Barry Chignell

What’s your approach to photography, your philosophy? What do you look for? How do you set-up a shot?
My approach is that if you like it, take a photo of it!  I am not really into the intricacies of getting the ISO exactly right and taking 2 hours to get a perfect light reading etc.  I believe that 95% of a good photo is the photographers passion and vision.  There is something about the open countryside scene that always makes me want to take a photo of it, I don’t know what it is that is SO appealing and probably never will!

I look for scenes that invoke a feeling, whether this be warmth, the feeling of being on holiday or happiness they all make me want to capture them.

How do I set up shots???……….well, it depends on the subject, if it is of a person then I ill ask them what kind of photo they want, whether it is for them or a present and then start to shoot based on their answers (freehand).  If it is a landscape shoot then I tend to use a tripod, decide whether I need any filters (ND’s, polarizers etc) and what DOF I think would suit the scene.  For the HDR shots I take 3 exposures and will usually take this sequence of photos numerous times as the light changes.  I never use the digital display on the camera to take the photos as this eats up the battery life and I prefer the old fashioned approach of looking through the  viewfinder and framing it that way.

What is the best photo you have taken? Why? Background and details, please…

That’s an impossible question to answer! ;0)  If I had to choose it would probably be ‘Lilly Pad’.  I love the shot for the simplicity of the subject and the lighting on the day.  It was taken on a trip to a local lake and Nature Reserve.  I was actually there for the wildlife but noticed the lilly pads behind some reeds.  I got very wet taking the shot and ruined a pair of trainers that I had recently bought!  It is an HDR image taken with 3 exposure and processed in Photoshop and Photomatix.

What gear are you using? What else do you want to buy?

I currently use a Canon 50d with Sigma 17-70mm, Canon 50mm and Tamron 17-300mm lenses.  I have a selection of filters (Cokin) and a Canon Speedlight 430ex MKii flash.  I also still carry my Olympus SP700 with me as it has an incredible macro function.

I would love a 14mm lens and an ‘L’ lens but unfortunately unless I win the lottery or start a life of crime these are a little way off!

Swan by Barry Chignell

Swan by Barry Chignell

Which area of photography would you like to explore further (macro, landscapes, portraits).
Other than portrait photography I also love macro and often bring a few examples back with me from shoots.  This is an area that I really love and once I have my other lenses a macro lens is then on the agenda!

Where do you see your photography 5 years from now?
Hopefully I can turn my passion into an income.  I am not one for rushing into something however and plan to build this up over time by refining my skills and also creating a dedicated portfolio gallery online.

What the best advice you would give to fellow photographers?

I think that you should go your own way with photography, don’t follow the hurd and don’t be afraid to take photo’s simply because YOU like them, not everyone will like all of your work!

Where can we find your images?



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