I’m Stephan Small prefer to be called Steph because often people get my name wrong.
Born and bred Manny (Manchester), UK.
How long have you been taking pictures?
On and off since 2011
When did you get into photography and why?
Funny story, I brought my first DSLR to shoot music video and as a consequence fell into photography. I think I’ve always been a creative person and as a young kid I spent a lot of my time drawing and sketching characters, family members and friends. I loved expression and capturing people in a moment.
What would you say your style is and has it changed throughout the years? If so why?
When I first started taking photos, I used to shoot urban landscape, more specifically city landscape at night and street art. Now it doesn’t give me the same feeling or give me the opportunity to be a creative as I want. I try to put my subject’s personality in my shots and incorporate that with my style. So if you see a model laughing in a pic it’s likely it genuine. Post shoot shots tend to me my favourite.
How do you approach a shoot? Do you pre-plan or is it a click and run?
It varies to be honest. I have my pre shoot ritual, checking batteries, formatting memory cards, printing out mood boards and deciding which film I want to. Light dependant. I like to plan styling, so often I’ll acquire items to use for shoots via brands or just buy things myself. I find inspiration for ideas everywhere I look, so I try to save images and use them as references. Often I will meet up with models and just vibe the whole thing. I like to keep things as organic as possible.
Is there an end goal you’re trying to achieve with your images, be it an aesthetic or story?
I usually will follow a mood board or an idea I have in my head. Once I have something that satisfies the board or goals for the shoot I’m usually happy to end.
Do you have any influences you can share?
Too many, my influences don’t always come from photography but more the aesthetic, feeling or mood. Charles Bukowski (Author Poet), Banksy, Terry Richardson, Helmet Newton, Hype Williams (Music video director) Emily Ratajowski (Model).
What inspires you?
Feeling, mood and sometimes simply the person I’m working with how their energy vibes with mine. I’m very much about feeling/vibe mood.
Is there such a thing as a bad photograph?
Nah I don’t think there is such thing outside of the photography community. Thing about the scene is everyone is a critic and everyone has a different idea of what makes a good photograph.
Are you looking for a career in photography or are you just having fun?
Ideally would like to have my own studio. See my work on the magazine covers, travel more through photography and work with some of my favourite brands
Which social media platforms do you use and why?
The gram!!!! Instagram has given photographers like myself the ability to share our work with the world and engage with likeminded people. I’ve made so many friends, connections and gained work through insta it’s changed my life.
Which photographers do you mainly follow on social media?
I don’t have a main photographer I follow to be honest. Most of the photographers I follow I’m friends with.
What are your thoughts on mobile photography versus DSLR / mirrorless?
I still don’t think mobile photography is there and the feeling isn’t the same for me.
I think the way forward will be better Mirrorless.
What’s your main go to camera, lenses and how did you make that choice?
I’m a canon guy always have been, Canon 6D is what I’m working with at the minute.
Usually 50mm 1.4 is my main lens. It’s a Great camera and an affordable full frame. 50mm is just the right focal length for me, unless I’m shooting in a confined space.
When I shoot film I use all sorts too many to mention lol currently using a Fuji MJU III, Konica C35 EF, Canon 50e, Pentax P30n,
What is your dream location to shoot at?
Los Angeles, USA.
Describe your favourite picture and how you captured it?
My favourite picture is probably a picture I took of a model called Ella on a bridge. I took Ella to Manchester Media City and we noticed this cool bridge, I asked her to walk on it and look back. I wasn’t sure whether it would work but it ended up being a really cool shot, which ended up being published.
In three words how would you describe your photography?
Fun, sexy, cool.
How do you feel about better quality cameras being put into smart phones?
For me I’m going back to shooting film so the quality of cameras in phones is irrelevant.
I think mobile phone cameras will keep getting better and eventually replace the point and shoot market. DSLRs will get better and smaller that’s inevitable.
What are your thoughts on expensive cameras? Do you think they create better images?
I think there are benefits in all options but I don’t necessarily think more expensive is better and there is no point having a £10k camera and your using the full auto mode because you don’t know what all the other settings do lol
I think the most important thing is the imagination of the shooter and I would say that has more value than anything.