Behind the lens with Louis Bamford

Behind the lens with Louis Bamford

 We're always keen to see what sports photographer, Louis Bamford, has been up to when his rolls come through the lab. So, we thought it was only right to share his work with all of you and spend a bit of time getting to know the person behind the lens. 

 For those who don't know you, can you introduce yourself?

I’m Louis Bamford a commercial sports photographer based in SW London. Originally from Cornwall, where I studied photography at University at Falmouth. I’d say my photography style is fairly commercial/ with my own little style which I still can’t put my finger on... I guess I like to use wider lenses and be up-close with people. I very rarely use a telephoto.

How did you get into photography and how did it become your full-time job?
I started out at college doing graphics, photography and 3D design. Initially at uni I wanted to do graphics but after spending time shooting, and a little convincing from my college photography tutor, I fell in love with photography.

In my second year of uni I focused my attention to sports, shooting a project on Sunday league football, Ultimately landing me lots of exposure and a job as a studio photographer at a sports company in Devon.

Louise Bamford, Take it Easy Lab, Jack Grealish

 What initially drew you to shoot Sunday league football?

It’s funny because I think sometimes photographers will come up with an extravagant way of how/why they shot a project. I was literally in my second year of university struggling to think of what to do. One evening at a pub with mates I was told that the pub  had sponsored their mates Sunday league team. It really was as easy as that! I think another factor in the decision was that  I knew 90% of the team, so I was able to capture these unseen, intimate moments with the players - them losing at half time or taking a cheeky cigarette behind some trees.

I think a massive thing for students these days can be struggling to think of something that is unique and hasn’t been done. If you can find something you’re interested in, have some ideas on how you want to deliver the content, you’re in the right space. My moment didn’t come until second year and it just worked.

How has your work evolved since this project?

I think my first project at uni really set the tone. I love having stories and meaning behind campaigns.  Nowadays this could be working with Producers, Art Directors, and other creatives to tell a particular story within a commercial space.

Louise Bamford, Take it Easy

You seem to be able to make all your subjects feel at ease, how do you go about getting these types of shots?

A list of dad jokes on the phone never goes a miss.In all seriousness, I'm not sure - I think trying to learn a little about the person you’re working with helps. Find out what music they’re into, explain what you want to get out of the shoot before shooting so that you and the subject are on the same page. It's not always achievable with time constraints but just have fun and always smile/keep the energy up.

 Who has been your favourite person to photograph and why?

I know I keep going back to it, but the Sunday league project was one of my favourites, I’m in the process of planning another little personal project in the near future so watch this space. But in terms of people, it’s not necessarily the person but more the campaign/ how I try and execute it. If I had to put a name down, as a F1 fan, spending the day with Lando Norris was one to remember. The majority of the athletes I shoot I only have around 30mins to capture content. Whereas with Lando we spent around 6/7hrs shooting for the day talking F1, cameras and eating Pret.

Louis Bamford, Lando Norris

You've already photographed personalities from a wide range of sports but are their any sports you would like to document that you haven't already?

I still pinch myself with the amount of sports I’ve covered and people I’ve met but I think as an NBA fan shooting some basketball campaign in the states would be the icing on my career.

What would your top tip be for anyone taking portraits?

Music. Get the tunes pumping, find out what makes your subject get comfortable and also take time to chat beforehand. Don’t jump straight into shooting without creating a rapport. SNACKS! It can sometimes be a long day, so there's nothing like a little snack to keep yours and your subject’s energy up.

In terms of actual helpful photography tips, I think the perfect recipe for some great portraits is look for light, backdrops, complementary colours and props that may give another dimension/meaning to your subject.

Louise Bamford, Nike

How much of your work do you shoot on film?

Within the commercial space I’m in, I’d still say that it’s 70% digital, as usage wise sometimes film doesn’t have that sharpness clients want but I’m always trying to sneak some film in!

What do you like about shooting on film?

I think the unknown. The fact that clients can’t peer over your shoulder and check what you have is also an added bonus. I love the tones and grit that film creates and the nostalgic look. There's a real buzz to waiting to see if you captured a shot that at the time you thought was amazing.

Film makes me think in a different way, I feel it’s more of a creative look at the subject and light as you want them all to align.

Louise Bamford, Take it Easy Lab, Boxer

What film camera do you us and what do you like about it?

There are so many to choose from but I would go with my Mamiya 7, it’s got it’s pros and cons but for me I use it for landscapes. I think this is why I like it so much. I don’t shoot landscapes for work so I see it as my escape camera.