Discover the captivating story of Steve Buchanan, a photographer driven by curiosity since the age of 14. From 7-Eleven shelves to Maryland's Eastern Shore, Steve's lens has expertly framed everything from mummies to machine guns, showcasing a unique perspective on the beauty of the world. Join us in an exclusive interview as Steve shares insights into his creative process, capturing the essence of culinary delights, architectural wonders, and the enchanting stillness of life.
How did you end up behind the camera?
I’ve been interested in photography since I was a kid. At some point someone told me that photography could be a career. I started running full speed at that and haven’t stopped since.
Can you describe your creative process when conceptualizing and planning a photo shoot?
I love a good creative brief. Absent that, I’ll ask new clients to create a mood board and share that. From there I can pull relevant samples of my own work and put together a shoot plan based on their needs, budget and timeframe. Occasionally, we’ll produce a full treatment for a job.
Can you share a memorable experience from one of your shoots?
Just last week I photographed a home for an architect. The homeowner didn’t have one dog, she had 5. She didn’t have one cat, she had 5. Luckily, they were very friendly and happy. Although I did need to help lift the basset hound out of the back of my clients car, when it hopped in.
What made you want to be part of Production Paradise?
I love that Production Paradise has such a global reach. I also like that they are proactive in their outreach.
What is your favorite piece of equipment or photography gear, and how does it enhance your work?
I’m really not a gear guy. With that said, as someone who came up working in large format, the tilt/shift lens is a great bridge between the 4x5 and full frame formats.
I see that you are food & drink photographer as well as architecture & interiors. These are two very different styles. How did you come to take these two types of photography?
I really don’t see them as all that different at their core. The scale is different, but they’re both very technical and require precision. I’ve never been the “f/8 and be there” kind of photographer. I like nothing more than crowding around a monitor, with the client, art director and stylist wondering whether that drink needs to move to the left or right.
What do you like the most about being a photographer?
The variety, and the ability to see people, places and things that most never do. I had an office job once, early in my career. It was horrible.
What challenges have you faced in photography, and how have you overcome them to capture stunning images? How do you keep your creativity and inspiration flowing in your work?
I’ve been very lucky in my life and in my career in that the challenges I faced are less than most. I’ve had to face the same as the rest of us, global economic collapse, pandemics and the like. Understanding that the career you have now will not be the same as the one you had 10 years ago, or 10 years from now is important.
Are there any photographers or artists who have significantly influenced your style and approach?
I’ve been a fan of Irving Penn and Harry Callahan since college. The use of light and majesty of Albert Bierstadt has always been inspiring.
Are there specific types of food & drink or architecture & interiors that you find particularly interesting or challenging to photograph?
I love a good drinks shoot. Watching the light play through a glass, the way droplets run in just the right way are such great fun. And of course, a good blue hour exteriors shoot is fun.
How do you handle client expectations and ensure their vision aligns with your creative direction?
I strive to make sure the client feels like they know exactly what they’ve going to come away with before the project even starts. If we can add a couple of extra surprises along the way, even better.
Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to share or discuss?
I’m hoping to continue with a couple of personal projects this winter (fresh produce shot on large format film) and again this summer(bridges of Acadia Nat’l Park). Assignment work is usually pretty thin during those times so I make it a point to spend that time on personal work.
A heartfelt thank you to Steve for graciously sharing the magic behind the lens.