As far as Advertising Photographers go Guy Farrow stands out in a crowded arena of well established photographers for his robust and well rounded approach to everything advertising. His great love the outdoors and passion for the extreme flows through his veins and embodies his creative and fresh approach to his photography by his freshness in captures.
“Ladies’ day campaign for the grand national – I shot this hanging out of the back of my land rover strapped 2 feet off the floor!- we drove at 45 mph parallel to the horse with a full lighting rig on top of my roof rack to freeze the motion!”
As far as Advertising Photographers go Guy Farrow stands out in a crowded arena of well-established photographers for his robust and well-rounded approach to everything advertising. His great love of the outdoors and passion for the extreme flows through his veins and embodies his creative and fresh approach to his photography by his freshness in captures.
I noted his work a while ago when enticed by the lady riding the horse for Ladies Day, the mix of photography and post-production was quite different. From his social media feed it is evident that he certainly mixes it up with people, locations and lifestyle work.
His eclectic mix of images and work allows his creativity to remain fresh and vibrant and gains the attention of a super range of clients
“clients ranging from Adidas & Nike to the English National Ballet & Vivienne Westwood, Guy Farrow is a sports photographer and fashion photographer who captures real drama. He is a highly creative photographer who has been repeatedly listed in Luerzer’s archive 200 Best Advertising Photographers. Guy’s experience and passion for creating dynamic imagery is reflected in his enthusiasm and charming level-headed approach.
"John Cleese was the face of an advertising campaign for an insurance company-I love johns humour & he didn’t disappoint on the shoot!"
Guy, I have seen your work pop up regularly, can I ask how did you get into photography?
I actually got into photography through my childhood next-door neighbour Andrew.
Andrew, who was my father’s friend, used to build train tracks in his garden then photograph them with his Leica to give the impression they were real trains.
I would then borrow his camera and wander around taking pictures of flowers in the garden or our family dog. I’d just mess about with the camera and loved it.
"This was a health campaign for a pharmaceutical company using character models-using a mixture of gel lighting to create a moody cinematic feel"
What was your early path in your career?
I left Newcastle college with an HND in photography & managed to acquire an assistant role at a Leeds commercial studio. I was actually a terrible assistant, on one occasion I remember forgetting to pack the camera on a location job in London which didn’t go down well!! I was inspired at the time by a talk I went to by Nadav Kander who also admitted being a lousy assistant-this gave me hope!! The studio I worked for gave me my own set of keys, & after long gruelling days assisting I would stay at the studio shooting my own images, sometimes until 4 am. I would experiment with every lighting technique I could & extensively used the hosemaster system ( a fibre optic lighting tool), which gave me a great knowledge & discipline of lighting.
"A commission for Manchester united to shoot sir Bobby Charlton for the front cover of their programme-another 2 minute shoot"
Where exactly are you based these days?
I never did the London gig, something I sometimes regret. I’m lucky enough to be able to dip in & out of London though, which I still love doing! I’m now based up in the Yorkshire hills of Slaithwaite. The majority of work I have is now either on location or overseas, so for me, it really doesn’t matter where I am.
"This was a shoot with Olympians for birds eye who sponsored the Tokyo Olympics we shot several athletes in there sports then overlayed Chinese cartoon graphics to the shots"
So who really inspires you and your particular style?
I’m inspired by so many styles & photographers. I suppose you kind of drift into a style, mine I feel is a more cinematic style which I love to create dramatic & challenging lighting setups to create the end image.
"Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro & ambassador for dare 2b clothing shot in malaga"
Your style of work seems mixed and has a lot of photoshop within so what drives your creativity?
I think even with tools like photoshop to hand, I always try to achieve as much as possible in-camera. I guess this comes from my early days of polaroids & film, the discipline of ‘getting everything in camera’. I like to create something a little different, something that does have a creative edge. For that, a lot of the time ideas come whilst I’m on set. You can plan as much as you like but more often than not the real gold dust comes from being in the moment.
"This was as shoot to promote a theatre production for coronation street-shot in the iconic piece hall using real cast as models"
Do you do you own retouching and post-production or does this go to a retoucher?
I do the smaller bits of re-touching. I’m a great believer of using someone for their specific talent, like in the old days of using a bespoke black & white printer. I work in tandem with a selection of retouchers to stylize the shots to a certain feel with my direction.
"I shot this campaign for Beaverbrooks diamonds-I also shot a tv commercial on slo mo cameras which was great fun!"
Do you like to photograph people more or places and how has this evolved within your work?
Originally I was a still life photographer. My work evolved into fashion through a lot of Adidas work for the likes of Stella McCartney. Now I predominantly shoot people.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I’m constantly researching styles, whether it be in magazines, books or Instagram. There’s so much inspiration around now. We’re in a very image driven society, so everywhere you look there’s something new.
Is this driven by clients or by the agency and do you get some input into the final looks?
I like to get my input on style & feel from an early stage of the briefing process. We usually work together unless they have a specific style in mind. It’s often worth challenging an initial thought and questioning the ‘why’ behind the idea. From there I can get quite a bit of input.
"Halloween campaign for the famous Annabels a Club in London, shooting scary clowns into the early hours "
Do you like art and if so, does this affect your work?
I take the photos and then I process each one individually in Photoshop. I make very few changes and most of them are made whilst converting the RAW file to a Jpeg. I sometimes apply Just minor exposure details. Maybe increase some of the contrast a little to enhance. Each image takes no longer than a minute to process. If it needs longer than that then I just admit I missed it and got it wrong and move on.
Quite a few photographers find inspiration from art Do you like art and if so, does this affect your work?
Yes, I love all types of art. I think there’s a great crossover with composition, cropping & light which again I research a lot. Photography is art after all.
Who are your photographers or artists who inspire you?
My main inspiration has to be Nadav Kinder – I love his style & amazing flexibility from still life, fashion, portrait & landscapes
"Dame Laura Kenny shot an ad campaign for Halfords shot in Manchester "
How does your average shoot day look to others looking in?
Chaotic! There’s always lots going, people everywhere, coffee cups everywhere full of cold coffee that no one has time to drink!
What lighting equipment would you like to own, do you own or prefer to hire in?
I have a load of Broncolor packs & lighting – I use this predominantly for studio work. I then have an Elinchrom battery kit which is great for the outdoors & more flexible than the Broncolor kit. I do hire more kit on in the big sets when needed
What is your camera system, how many do you have and why,
I shoot the more crafted advertising static shots on Hasselblad h6 with a phase on 1q3 back-this is great for big media shoots as the file size is massive! For the more spontaneous shoots, I use my canon MK 4 system
"Harry Maguire-shot for a water charity foundation campaign-I shoot a lot of footballers & I think I was given 3 minutes for this shot!"
What lenses do you use and what is your workflow from camera to picture?
Totally depends on the shoot & composition. I don’t think I have a go-to at all! and I shoot tethered to capture one software.
What are your hobbies, as we notice some Xtreme stuff going on and how is this part of your life?
I love the outdoors. We’ll spend weekends in the Lakes hiking, cycling and eating in country pubs with lovely log burners. I do triathlons including iron man events which keeps me reasonably fit! I also love my motorbikes and do a lot of trials riding & road tris on my Harley. My dog Wilson also keeps me outdoors a lot of the time!