Interview With a Photographer: Michael Gray

1.     Where’s home?

Home, I was brought up in a very small town called Hertford in the UK! It will always be my home no matter where I am in the world. 

2.     What is the favourite place you’ve travelled to?

It has got to be the Philippines, this beautiful country surpassed my expectations in every way. The people, culture and food (of course!) made it a very special trip. Apo Island is one of the hidden secrets of the Philippines, it has the clearest water and turtles everywhere you look! I will be back!

3.     How did you get started as a photographer?

Videography has long been my passion - a hobby, leisure interest; something I loved doing outside of school. Needless to say, the classroom was not my favourite place. At 12 years, old, I worked as a paperboy, delivering newspapers in my neighbourhood each morning before school, to save up for my first camera. Next, I created short films with friends in the nearby quarry or woods and uploaded them to my YouTube account amassing a small following. Then, Instagram provided me with a powerful platform to share my content in a way that I hadn't before and my life took off from there!

 4.     What camera equipment / software / tech do you use?  Any must haves?

The most important thing I have learnt whilst doing this career, is that the equipment shouldn’t be your limiting factor. The number one tip I can give anyone is to be consistent. The equipment I use now is the Canon 1DX 2 and the GH5. Both amazing cameras!

5.     What photographers have influenced you, how you think and shoot?

A big inspiration when I was starting my photography career was @Andyto and @scottborreo. These guys just captured the light and colour so well, it was dream like. Recently joining the @beautifuldestinations team has lead me to learn from the best. Thinking outside the box and pushing the boundaries on each piece of work I produce is very important. 

6.     Any top tips for Instagram?

Instagram has been my classroom in that I have learnt so many invaluable things and developed hugely. It has also been my playground, having made many friends and many amazing memories. Instagram has truly changed my life and it’s incredible to work alongside creators every day who have inspired me from the beginning, tips I can give would be to upload consistently and have a real sense of community on the platform. Take time to respond back to your followers and always be active.

7.     What are you trying to communicate through your photographs?

I try and create immersive photos, bringing the photo into Lightroom and making the viewer feel like they are really there. If that’s on the edge of a building, I want the viewer to feel the scale and height of the building or if it’s a sunrise I want the colours to burst into life. I think this is really important to keep your audience interested. 

 8.     What motivates you to continue doing what you’re doing?

When I travel, I am always feeling inspired when discovering new places, my mind is always thinking of ways to capture what I see and this motivates me to continue to create. Also, showcasing my work to my followers and getting constructive criticism also pushes me to develop and to learn each time. 

9.     Are you a bathroom singer?

Am I a bathroom singer? No haha!

10.  Do you have any advice for young aspiring photographers?

As previously mentioned the best advice I can give anyone is to practice, daily, weekly, just any moment you have to create, take it. Don’t go in for the fame or money, go into film making or photographer because you love it and it gets you out of bed each morning. There is nothing better than doing something you enjoy in life every day. 

11.  What are your goals for the future, regarding your work?

I will continue to be a part of the amazing team @BD, and personally to continue to inspire others.