Steve Bright, a commercial photographer and director living in London, is the Travel, Documentary, and Landscape Photography category winner for the 2022 Spotlight Awards. Steve loves to challenge himself and go outside his comfort zone in photography to capture some of his best work. He is fascinated with the Human Spirit and spending time with people in their world. You can see this passion brought to life in his image that won the 2022 Spotlight Awards.
Production Paradise: Tell us about the winning image – the idea behind it, how was it shot?
Steve Bright: I was in the Nepalese Himalayas shooting a personal project on Sherpas, on my way to Everest to climb to Camp 2, when I met Ang Gyalzen Sherpa in Gokyo, 4,750m above sea level. He was keen to pose and brought out his horse, Karsang, for the shoot on the shores of Gokyo Lake.
Production Paradise: How do you feel about winning the Category Prize of Spotlight Awards 2022?
Steve Bright: Very pleased!
Production Paradise: What makes your photographic style stand out?
Steve Bright: I have spent a long time shooting bands, actors and celebrities in the studio and learning to really understand lighting, so when I go out and shoot on location I take that with me and use flash to accentuate and elevate the person in the environment.
Production Paradise: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Steve Bright: I am a visual magpie, screen grabbing images from all over the place whenever I come across them. We have never had such easy access to such a wide range of imagery from all over the world and I have many themed folders of images that I can look at for inspiration.
Production Paradise: How did you end up behind the lens? Tell us about your career path.
Steve Bright: After originally thinking that I wanted to be an illustrator I decided that I actually preferred photography and studied it at Blackpool and the Fylde College of Art and Design. I then moved down to London and spent about 3 years assisting other photographers before starting to shoot covers and features for music magazines. I then diversified into shooting campaigns for TV shows, and am now pivoting into doing more sports advertising work.
Production Paradise: What do you think is necessary to become a successful commercial photographer?
Steve Bright: Technical skill, understanding how the industry works (what clients want from a photographer and who your work will appeal to), having a clear idea of which niche in the photography industry you want to occupy (this can change over time), and being good at marketing and promoting yourself!
Production Paradise: If you weren’t a photographer, what would be your alternate career path?
Steve Bright: I think I’ve now been doing this for so long that I’m kind of unemployable in any other field! Maybe retouching (although I don’t like spending all day every day inside at a computer) or something completely different, like carpentry.
Production Paradise: We believe you are not resting on your laurels – what are you working on now?
Steve Bright: I’m always shooting new personal work, both test shoots with sports models and also longer term projects. I’m currently in the early stages of what will be a long term project about people working to combat climate change.
Production Paradise: Spotlight Awards had a judges’ panel composed of potential clients for commercial photographers – did that influence your choice of image(s) selected for your entry?
Steve Bright: No, I think you just have to go with your gut when entering images into awards, as well as looking at the kind of thing that has done well in the past. Different organisations have different styles of photography that they favour (eg. documentary, commercial, fine art etc) but within that, hopefully a good picture is a good picture!
Production Paradise: What made you want to participate in these Awards?
Steve Bright: In the past I haven’t entered awards as I didn’t think I would be successful, so in 2022 I decided to change my attitude and give myself a chance! The Spotlight Awards seemed like a good fit for my style so I took a chance.