by Lori Sweezey – Dundas, ON
I think that all will agree…OL Magazine’s cover shot is outstanding! In the building of this magazine, we always take our readers into consideration when choosing the perfect photos to grace the pages. What we never considered (before now) was what the photographer sees while taking these amazing photos of the breathtaking final product of a homeowner’s dream.
Outdoor Lifestyle Magazine spoke with internationally acclaimed photographer Shawn Talbot of Kelowna, BC, the very talented young man who is responsible for our front cover. We needed to get inside of his head in order to see landscaping through his eyes and his camera lens.
OLM: How long have you been photographing landscape design? How did you get into this type of work?
ST: I have been a commercial photographer for eighteen years. Right from day one I have had a passion for architecture and design. I think what attracts me most to this type of photography is in the ability to be a perfectionist (which is very much a part of my personality). For the most part, I control the lighting, the placement of furniture, the perspective and most of the elements within the frame – except, of course, the weather. This control allows me to shoot, adjust, shoot, adjust and continue repeating this cycle until I feel that I have the perfect shot. Arnold Newman once said that, “photography is 1% talent and 99% moving furniture.”
OLM: How is this different from photographing people or other inanimate objects? And what kind of things do you have to take into consideration during a landscape
ST: Outdoor landscapes don’t require lunch breaks nor do they bill over time. The biggest consideration with any architectural photo shoot is weather. A lot of my favourite images are taken during dawn or dusk which really helps because, as long as it isn’t raining, the weather doesn’t impact the images much. Of course, in Kelowna, BC, where many of my clients are located, one of the main wishes is to have blue skies. On rare occasions this can take some patience.
OLM: Is there any kind of emotional connection that you must have with the landscape/design itself in order to be able to convey the beauty and functionality?
ST: The first thing that I do when arriving at a property is to walk around and get a feel for the space and try to visualize it under different lighting conditions. I am a fairlyanalytical thinker so I look at a space in terms of what perspective gives a strong sense of place while also capturing a visually appealing weight and balance. I love contrasting warm and cool colours against each other, particularly through reflections, so I’m always looking for opportunities to showcase that. I have to admit that photographing properties such as this one is relatively easy when you have a brilliant landscape designer and builder like Gene Brown. I am fortunate in that most of the properties that we shoot are very high-end and every detail has been considered. Fire bowls, beautiful tile work and accent lighting everywhere makes for tons of reflections and endless opportunities for angles. Brown is a master at what he does and for me that means that I can point the camera in just about any direction and it’s likely to result in a beautiful image.