Another Photog Friday and another chance to discover the hidden inspirations, and unique journeys that make up the modern professional photographer. Never one to revisit the same country twice this week we are speaking to French photographer Sylvain Beauval-Zerrilli who found his number one model,muse and companion after purchasing a puppy called Fiona.
Name: Sylvain BEAUVAL – ZERRILLI
Country of residence: Lorient, France
Brief Bio: I started photography 3 years ago, and for the last year I’ve been a correspondent for a sports/news agency. I normally photograph sports for my local newspaper, but recently I’ve had the chance to work on other accounts.
How did you first get interested in photography?
My interested in photography came about really by chance! It only properly started 3 years ago when I decided to get a small dog, a French bulldog called “Fiona”. She’s very cute and playful, but also super energetic -much too fast for my camera phone! I was looking over photos and my whole summer was nothing more than a fluffy blur so I decided to buy a decent camera. I went to the local shop. While there I saw for a few Euros more I could get an amateur DSLR that was on promotion so I seized the opportunity and bought a Nikon D5000. Arriving home I was in a rush to test out its capabilities and functions. Fiona was sitting on the ground tilting her head to the side and unwittingly became my model. I had the idea to put a cap on her and fashioned a backdrop of sorts by taping a small black cloth on my wall. I uploaded this photo on to facebook and after getting encouragement from my friends found myself hooked on the hobby. It made me want to discover more; landscapes, portraits, sports…Everything.
Luckily since then my dog Fiona has become as passionate about photography as I am.
What do you like to shoot?
For pleasure I like taking photographs in any field, I always find there’s something interesting in every shot you make! But, I suppose professionally I am more orientated towards sport and automotive photography.
For me though, keeping my photography diverse fuels my desire to learn and avoids falling into complacency.
What’s your approach to photography, your philosophy? What do you look for? How do you set-up a shot?
I supposed with every photo shoot I try to get something different for me out of it. Sometimes there are things in a shot that have been organized and I’ve staged the shot I want to see. Other times it’s completely out of the blue and I improvise on the spot.
Sometimes I imagine a stage in my head and have planned the shot but then I arrive on scene where light conditions, weather, or details, awaken my inspiration.
What is the best photo you have taken?
I do not think this is my best picture, but in any case it is a photo that I appreciate very much, in a place that is special to me.
Why? Background and details, please…
It is a place that I appreciate a lot, a swimming pool with sea water. It is also special as it holds important memories for me; being child on the beach, next to it was a civil Mickey club where I made my first long swim, beach volleyball in the summer and then being a teenager with my high-school boyfriend… a lot of memories here, it is a place full of zen!
I visited this place many times to try to capture a picture that matched what I wanted to realize. I failed each time because I did not have the technical skills to realize this kind of picture. And then on this visit ‘Hey Presto!’ I managed to finally achieve my vision
For the shot I used; Nikon D800 + Nikon 16-35 F4 + Filter ND 1000 + Remote Aion, 16mm, 189 secondes, F11, Iso 50.
What gear are you using?
Since my beginning I have advanced, but I’m staying true to Nikon and I went from a Nikon D5000 to D7000 and the D800.
For opticals, I possess, Nikon 16-35 F4, Nikon 50 F1.4, Nikon 85 f1.8, Nikon 70-200 F2.8, Nikon 500 F4.
For lighting, I have 2 cobra flash Metz 44 AF-2 and Torch MecaStudio Metz, a Phottix Aster transmitter and receiver.
I also have other accessories like my tripod with ROTUL 3D, ND filter, remote Phottix Aion …
What else do you want to buy?
Well I must first master the equipment I have before investing in more, but I suppose it would be a second DSLR, I’d like a Nikon D4, for sports reporting it is the benchmark.
Which area of photography would you like to explore further (macro, landscapes, portraits)
I’ve touched already more or less every type of genre, but I’d like to spend time delving deeper. There is a saying in French “Je touche deja plus ou moins a tout, j’aime passer d’un univers a l’autres sa m’evite la lassitude.” Im not sure how it translates.
Where do you see your photography 5 years from now?
I love that a passion became my profession! That said it is a difficult environment. In 5 years I will have a better technical mastery, more professional equipment, which will allow me to realize pictures for which I scarcely hope to right now! I’d like to see myself in 5 years working for press agency, or magazine.
What’s the best advice you would give to fellow photographers?
First, we must enjoy it.
Never give up if we cannot get the desired results.
Keep it simple-minded and do not hesitate to share your passion.
Use criticism for improvement.
Try the modes you have not mastered or that do not seem appropriate for your shot! I started with the Auto Mode and constant experimentation on other settings, now my experience allows me to use the Manual mode to its fullest and I get much better results!
Finally, do not forget this, it is the photo that makes the photographer and not the photographer who makes the picture!
Where can we find your images?