I’m Tom Greenwood. I’m a Sydney-based photographer, videographer and former journalist.
Most of my work is for non-profit organizations, who use it to advocate, educate, market and fund-raise.
I see my role as capturing the human side of my clients and, more importantly, the human impact of their work.
I pride myself on:
offering the whole package for clients
planning and preparing
making subjects feel at ease
working fast but not hurrying
creating positive, emotive still and moving images that tell human stories.
My time as a journalist proved an invaluable training in communicating sometimes complex issues in straightforward terms. It's a skill I now put to use scripting videos and helping interviewees express themselves in a natural and effective manner.
Aside from my work with non-profit and corporate clients, my still images have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian, The Weekend Australian magazine and South China Morning Post.
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:
How much time is required to shoot the required images?
What would be the best days/times to shoot?
Which locations might work best?
How many subjects are required? What age, gender, occupation etc?
How best to handle consent? Is verbal consent sufficient or is written consent necessary?
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.