Nick - Sigpho - from Toronto, Canada, started photography almost 25 years ago, something that he had an on and off relationship with, but now is one of his true passions. He was always drawn to portraits of women, landscapes and nature, finaly anything beautiful and thought provoking.
Women top the list of what Nick likes to photograph, because no two are the same, and even the same model on a different day can be a different creatures. He never know what to expect, especially with women in their 20s that are still exploring who they are. In general Nick just let them be themselves and tries only to fine tune a pose or wardrobe. He keeps his shoots simple, usually one on one. A models comfort and safety always comes first.
Nick’s personal comment on this issue is: „I always make my models feel they have full control of what’s going on. I find setting that tone gives them the freedom to open up and express themselves, something all of us, mostly women like to do either physically or emotionally or both. I love all types of portraits, the more provocative the better. Lighting, textures, the setting, clothing and the model herself are the ingredients that when composed properly all make for a good image. My attitude (approach) is we’re making art, or sometimes a statement which should make the viewer feel something, or the ultimate prize, allow them to ask questions of themselves or relate to something they themselves can’t express openly for whatever reason. What I find the most interesting is the reaction women have regarding picture of other women or themselves. Especially if there are sexual overtone or nudity. Some love it openly, some secretly, some downright hate it, all seem to be secretly curious about trying modeling at some level, sometimes at a level you didn’t know they were open to. The mystery that is woman is what keeps us looking, and that if nothing is what women do best, they keep us looking. Clothing and fashion is a big part of that so I try to keep is simple so the clothing isn’t the focal point of my images. On the other hand, the way it’s worn is another story and is where I usually try to make things interesting. That all being said I can’t think of a better subject than a woman wearing something cool. Anyway, do I get to
shoot what I want to shoot on any given day, hell no, not even close. As an amateur photographer, I don’t always have the resources I need to do what I’d like, or work with the right professional model, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to be creative with what I have. I describe most of my portraits as Urban Sexy. Always looking to keep the shots natural, provocative, as sexy as the model will let me shoot her, and always tasteful, even though I know that’s relative. Urban fashion is ever changing, dynamic and usually pushes the boundaries. It also has a way of capturing the times we live in and the social mood. At the heart of it are the models that wear the clothes. Each bringing their own unique signature to the style. I’m driven by how someone feels by what they wear, mostly how it makes them feel to express themselves. Capturing a mood reflective of how a model feel because of what she’s wearing can be artful and mostly a lot of fun.“
In regards to equipment and processing, Nick has a fair bit of equipment but he sticks to the basics when shooting people. One Nikon body, a 50mm, 85mm or a 70-200mm depending on how he feels. For the most part his 85mm is usually his go-to lens for portraits and once on, usually stays on for the entire shoot. One, maybe two light sources and he’s good to go. A reflector when necessary and as much ambient light as he can work with. Processing is where Nick has the most fun. His creative mood changes day to day and so he tries not to mass process his photos in one day or even in the same week. He like to spread out the development of each photo. Nick gets inspiration for other photographers and he likes to experiment and let the creative juices run their course once he starts processing. Nick learns how to use processing tools like Lightroom and Photoshop in a slow baby step way. This allowed to develop his skills progressively and not overnight. He always shoot RAW because that always give the maximum amount of dynamic range to work with during processing.
Finally Nick adds the following: „Oh, I love the challenge of shooting just about anywhere. That strangest places can sometimes be the best places to shoot.
My advice to everyone that asks me about photography is always the same. Don’t worry about equipment just shoot what grabs you. Don’t over think it when shooting people. There’s a good chance your initial instincts where right and overthinking it usually allow the moment to past. Organize and store your file safely and revisit them from time to time. You’ll be surprised at
what you’ll see that you didn’t the first twenty times you looked at them. Those moments can inspire a new though process when it comes to processing that photo. A look that might be totally different from everything in that series. It will also educated you for what you need to do better the next time around. It’s journey that keeps on giving. The more you learn and the more you realize your potential and the more you’ll love it. Take a break for time to time. As you grow so will your perspective hence your ability to see the world.
My advice to models in general when shooting artistic photographs is, even though you’re the subject it’s not about you the person. We’re trying to create something beyond what people usually see in you. The photos we create aren’t about the people we know, it’s about the people we don’t know; the bigger audience. Family, friend and colleagues will always have an impression of you because you, and sometimes they themselves will create that image of you because it suits them. Modeling is about stepping out of that persona and into one that truly makes you feel alive. Whether you play hard, play to win,
play to shock, play to inspire, play for the challenge, play for the money, play for the fun of it or all of the above, I don’t care as long as you play with an open mind. That’s when the fun happens and the magic of creating photographs become special. Physically there is nothing about you that anyone hasn’t seen. What they haven’t seen is your inner beauty that is reflected by what you express physically. That btw is what make you special and why I need to photography you.“