Greg Milner is a Birmingham based freelance photographer. Last year, Greg spent several days taking photographs of the house and garden for use on our new website. We asked him to tell us all about his experiences of photographing Winterbourne and share some top tips for getting the best out of your camera.
“My father was a professional photographer so I guess it’s in the blood. I grew up playing with (and sometimes breaking) his cameras and equipment. At around 16 years old, I began helping him at weddings and he encouraged me to take the odd photograph until eventually I became his ‘official’ second photographer – an important promotion on reflection! It wasn’t until much later that I decided I’d like to make a go of photography as a full-time profession. That was 6 years ago and I haven’t looked back since. Now I take on a variety of commissions from weddings, theatre performances, exhibitions, festivals, editorial and of course beautiful heritage sites like Winterbourne!”
“I think that photography is both art and science – without technological advancement we wouldn’t be able to take, process, view, edit and store images in the way that we do. What interests me however is the art of photography – the act of choosing what to photograph, the connection between photographer and decision, and how the resultant image depends upon the human being behind the camera. There’s no right or wrong way of determining that.”
“Photographing Winterbourne involved a number of different shoots, each one focusing on a different aspect to the house and gardens. I worked across a few separate briefs. The over-arching aim was to combine the beauty and history of the house with the way visitors and staff interact with the spaces – as naturally as possible. I love wandering around with my camera, constantly on the lookout and being unexplainably pulled towards an interesting shape, view, or pocket of light. Equally, it’s also enjoyable not having to think and to just appreciate the gardens as they were intended.”
“Plants are most definitely easier to photograph than people. They don’t tell you when you’re too close or ask to see the images straight after! Equip yourself with a nice sharp lens and some very comfy shoes. If you have a built-in, pop-up flash on your camera, stop using it! Very rarely will anything good come of it. You can find reasonably priced Speedlite flashes which attach to the top of your camera and have the functionality to point upwards, allowing you to bounce your flash off the ceiling. Hey presto, nice even light and no more harsh shadows!”
“As photographers we are slaves to light, especially in the great outdoors! What’s happening in the sky can make or break an image. You’ll normally find the best light early morning as the sun is rising or late afternoon as it’s setting. Try to avoid the middle of the day when the sun is very bright, particularly if there’s no cloud coverage – a challenge at weddings! Some of the external shots at the back of Winterbourne House needed some careful planning – I wanted the sun to light up the building and so balanced the position of the sun with good weather. Much like people, buildings also need the best possible light!”