“Tom is one of a kind. He’s got a wonderful photographic eye and an uncanny knack for capturing people as they really are – happy, struggling, hopeful, proud, shy, complex… human.”
Jason Garman, Oxfam NZ
“With his journalistic experience and natural sensitivity he managed to translate comparatively dry scientific studies into engaging general-interest stories.”
Dr James Butler, CSIRO
"Consistently, Tom demonstrated a journalist’s ability to find the essence of a human interest story and then support it with powerful images."
Simon Ingram, UNICEF
"Tom brought a lot of sensitivity and experience to our photography, helping draw out the humanity of the subjects in a compelling, beautiful way. He was also flexible and patient to work with - a pleasure to have on board!"
Kirrilee Trist, The Salvation Army,
"Tom is very personable and makes his subjects feel at ease. He is very respectful of community members and interested in their lives and culture. He takes the time to ensure he gets good shots, is easy to work with, responsive, adaptable and conscientious.”
Kirrily Johns, WaterAid Australia
“Tom Greenwood is both an excellent photographer and wonderful storyteller. Tom is flexible, easy going and a pleasure to work with, always fulfilling the brief provided.”
Larissa Tuohy, ChildFund Australia
"A total pro, Tom can always be relied upon to deliver.”
Emma Turnbull, AMP Foundation
“… professional, highly skilled, ethical and creative. He is easy to work with, accommodating of long shooting days and best of all, always nails our brief.”
Lara McKinley, Oxfam Australia
I capture photos and video, sometimes switching back and forth during a shoot.
Whether stills or the moving image take priority, I follow a clear process:
Some clients have a crystal clear vision of what they require in terms of images or video material. Others know they need content but are less sure about the specifics. I help clients work out how to achieve the best end product, for the most reasonable investment.
I help work through questions such as:
I ensure that the subjects are happy, willing and well-informed at every stage of the process – and leave feeling good about the session.
I’m always mindful that graphic designers love images with space; sections of images on which text or graphics can be placed.
Designers also love a range of landscape and portrait formats for a variety of potential web and hard-copy uses (eg. horizontal webpage straps or portrait format report covers.
As a former journalist, I’m always happy to grab a few quotes or conduct interviews for case studies if required.
I believe in tight editing. That means providing a broad selection of images. It doesn’t mean swamping the client with thousands of mediocre shots.
In terms of retouching, a polish will always improve an image but I work on the basis that a well-exposed image shouldn’t need too much work. Above all, I try to maintain a natural look. There’s nothing worse than an over-Photoshopped image (yuk!)
If the client requires, I caption images in metadata, covering the who, where, what and why.
In terms of format, most clients prefer retouched high-res jpeg files (plus low res duplicates for easy viewing). However, I’m also happy to provide unprocessed RAW files.
I pride myself on flexibility, speedy delivery and meeting the needs of the client in terms of turnaround.
My experience as a writer of feature stories for newspapers and magazine was excellent training in shaping a narrative. I pride myself upon communicating complex issues and ideas in an easy-to-digest manner.
My work tends to be all about people and their issues. What they have to say is therefore front and centre in any video. Interviews are central therefore and I’m a stickler for detail when it comes to lighting, background, sound quality (including avoiding extraneous noise) and making the subject feel comfortable and happy.
B-roll illustrates the narrative and give a sense of place and colour. When it comes to the edit, you can never have enough, so during the shoot I take every opportunity to grab what I can.
Some ideas and processes can be best represented in graphic or animation form. I employ my graphics/animation skills – or invite specialist graphic designer or animator colleagues on board - to bring the vision come to life.
Timelapse is a dynamic tool, that helps give a ‘big picture’ feel to a clip and give a visual sense of the passing of time.
I’m often asked how long a video should be. The correct answer is not a second longer or shorter than it takes to tell the story. This requires crisp editing. A strong rhythm (here music is key) helps propels the narrative and draw the viewer through the story.
1. PREPARATION IS KEY
- A thorough knowledge of the brief/shotlist before the shoot
- Double checking of equipment before departure
- Ensure travel plans are watertight.
2. HAPPY SUBJECTS - HAPPY SHOOT
Before shooting, greet the subjects and make them feel at ease. Explain clearly what we hope to achieve, what that might involve and how long it should take.
3. WORK FAST BUT DON’T HURRY
Time is always limited therefore making use of every available moment on a shoot is crucial.
4. EXPLORE EVERY ANGLE
Whether it is photos or video, you have to mix it up. This might mean getting low, high, close, wet or dirty.
5. EYES & HANDS
James Brown famously said that in show business: "Hair is the first thing. And teeth the second."
In photography, to really capture a subject, it's eyes, then hands.
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