Feature Friday - Gerry Kingsley
Friends, this week I have the tremendous honour of introducing all of you to one of my closest and dearest friends, Gerry Kingsley from Gerry Kingsley Photography. Gerry and I first met when we were kids living in Hanmer, Ont. some 18 years ago...forever by today's standards of friendships. I was working at the local photo developing lab (my first job) where Gerry became one of my regular customers, picking up film packages for his dad's Polaroid camera. Fast forward the many years that I've known Gerry and he has grown into an incredibly successful business man, turning his passion for photography into a career to be proud of.
Starting his professional photography journey in 2008, Gerry has since expanded his commercial photography business in Sudbury, Ont. to include beauty portraits and commercial advertising. He has garnered some impressive clientele over the years, including Collège Boréal, Vale and SNOlab. Last year Gerry achieved a significant goal off his business bucket list, opening up his own commercial photography studio in downtown Sudbury.
Though Gerry primarily works in Northern Ontario, his craft has taken him to various locations around the globe over the years, working in The United States, Ireland, and Africa to name a few. I honestly can't say enough about the talents of Mr. Kingsley. Though we are dear friends, Gerry is also one of my greatest inspirations.
Last week I got the chance to ask him a few questions about his photography business and career path. Take a look at what he had to say...
How old were you when you started your photography journey?
Since a kid I was always doing art, I actually started sketching but I remember loving playing with an old Polaroid camera my Dad used for work. I didn’t really start using high end dSLR’s until the mid-2000s
What style of photography do you enjoy most?
Probably a mix of portraiture and landscapes.
When/why did you decide to make photography your career?
Well basically in 2008 I was at a big fork in the road life and career wise and jumped in full tilt.
What was your best/worst photography experience?
Best would be travelling to places like the Caribbean, US and Europe for gigs. For the worst, hmm, I’m not sure if I would say I had any bad experiences. Well actually, this one time I had a gig 1 hour away from town and I realized I forgot all the batteries in the chargers at the studio, haha. The client wasn’t too impressed but was very understanding.
What would be your dream project?
Anything where I’m travelling to interesting places, meeting and photographing interesting people.
What inspires you as an artist?
Travelling and visiting other cultures. Visiting desolate landscapes and talking to people with different backgrounds, faiths and ethnicities. Seeing the world in a raw and unfiltered way is my true inspiration.
What is one of your long term goals? (business/photography related)
Just to continue growing my business, meeting new interesting people and having fun while doing it!
If you weren't in photography, what would you be doing instead?
I’d probably stay in the creative field in some way or other. Haven’t put much thought into it.
How did you choose your business name?
Easy, it’s my name!
What advice would you give to someone just starting up in your profession?
Persistence and dedication is key. Get better, keep learning do your best and don’t give up.
How do you use social media/internet to promote yourself/business?
Still figuring it out. Trying to use Facebook and Instagram as drivers to bring traffic to my website.
Have you been featured in an publications?
Yes, a couple. More in the works!
What other artists/photographers inspire you and why?
Joe McNally (Nat Geo Photog), Pratik Naik (World Renown Retoucher), Erik Almas (Top Commercial Photog IMO), Julia Kuzmenko (Photographer/Retoucher) Tim Wallace (Automotive) – These people represent some of who I think are the best in the industry and have always inspired me.
If you could start it all over again, what would you do differently? (in reference to your photography business/career)
Focus less on gear and more on the craft.
What are the largest hurdles you've had to overcome with your business?
Learning how to be a businessman and do business things.
What is the best advice you've been given in your photography career?
Don’t give up and keep shooting.
If you and your camera were invisible for one day, what would you shoot?
Portraits of earth aboard the International Space Station.
What excites you most about your business?
Getting a new gig!
What was your biggest 'aha' moment that helped move your business forward?
Getting an actual invoicing system. Made my life so much easier.
What kind of gear do you use?
Camera’s and lights. Haha. I shoot Nikon Pro dSLRs and I use a variety of lights, and modifres from Boewns, AlienBees, Nikon etc….
If you could travel to any destination for your photography, where would it be and why?
Iceland, because I love the desolate landscape.
What programs do you use during post-processing?
Typically Photoshop, Bridge and Lightroom.
How do you educate yourself to take better photos?
Retouching Academy, Kelby Training Online, person to person workshops and books lots and lots of books!
What is your favorite image that you've ever captured?
Hmm that’s a tough one. I think my favorite (at least for now) is a lone tree in the Maasai Mara converted to black and white, it’s incredibly dramatic.