About

Nigel Cooper

Photographer

Hello, I’m Nigel. I’m a professional photographer based just outside St.Ives in Cambridgeshire. I’m passionate about the art of photography and I have a fastidious eye for detail. I undertake most styles of photography but I especially love shooting portraits, fashion and commercial. I’m also an enthusiastic Cambridge wedding photographer and I love documenting wedding days with a combination of traditionally shot portraits of the bride and groom along with some family group shots while mixing in some photojournalism style photography.

I first got into photography when I was 10 years old. Back then I was a budding ornithologist and spent many hours photographing birds. I was 16 when I bought my first 35mm SLR camera, a Fujica STX-1n, which I soon grew out of when I discovered the optical limitations of its screw-in lenses. After much research (magazines and asking Fleet Street press photographers what cameras they used - there was no internet back then) I bought a Nikon FM2, and later an F3, so I could benefit from the superb optical quality of Nikon's lenses. My Nikon F3 and Nikkor 300mm F2.8 lens was a combo I loved working with, especially while sitting along the touchlines at Highbury and White Heart Lane with the other press photographers while shooting football matches for two north London newspapers.

 

For studio and commercial work I favoured a Hasselblad 500cm medium format camera. Although I preferred the 6x7 format of the Mamiya RB and RZ67 Pro cameras, I felt that the Carl Zeiss Planar T star lenses on a Hassleblad produced sharper images. The fact that Victor Hasselblad was born on the same day (8th March) as myself - be it 60 years earlier - made my medium format camera choice a little easier.

 

I devoured many books on photography and lighting and studied photography at college in London. I have a natural eye for a good picture, especially with regard to composition and angle. I've always said that there are three vital ingredients that make up a good photograph: subject matter, lighting and composition, anything above and beyond this is down to individual creativity.

 

In my late teens and early twenties I covered several news stories for local newspapers where I wrote up the stories and shot the accompanying photographs. After spending a year working for two photographic retail companies and a year in the hire department at The Flash Centre (Elinchrom UK Distributor) in London I eventually set up my own photographic studio in north London – that I ran with a Flash Centre customer/photographer that I met while working there – specialising in commercial, editorial, portraits and fashion.

As the years rolled along so did technology and over the course of a few short years film was all but dead in the water as digital took over. Today I shoot with Canon's full-frame professional series DSLR cameras coupled with Canon's finest 'L' series lenses.

 

My areas of photographic expertise are: corporate, editorial, commercial, photojournalism, sports, fashion, portraits, events, weddings and anything interesting and unorthodox.

I'm based in Cambridgeshire, UK.

 

Note about the photographs on the Portfolio page: I was a photographer before the word ‘digital’ was ever associated with photography hence I like to get the image as perfect as possible, in-camera, during the shooting stage: subject matter, composition, lighting and exposure for example. If I want a beautiful warm yellow hue I will wait until the ‘magic hour’ (about an hour or two before the sun goes down) before shooting any given outdoor shot, rather than change the colour temperature or drag the ‘tint’ slider around during post-processing. Likewise, I will compose the shot to perfection (typically using a tripod) rather than crop in post. I will also take the time to remove a stray discarded crisp packet from the foreground of a shot, rather than airbrush it out later. This way the work on my RAW images require little by way of processing (just like the old days with chemical developing and printing). Working this way maintains maximum image quality, authenticity and, in certain cases, ethics. I try to think like some of my favourite photographers of yesteryear: Bob Carlos Clarke, Patrick Lichfield, Terence Donovan, David Bailey, Beverley Goodway and Ansel Adams, by striving to achieve a great shot to start with.

Some of my favourite photographers:

Bob Carlos Clarke, Patrick Lichfield, Terence Donovan, David Bailey, Beverley Goodway and Ansel Adams from years gone by and more recently I love the work and style of Karl Taylor and Rosella Vanon.

Favourite quotes from photographers:

“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” ~ Ansel Adams

 

“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.” ~ Paul Caponigro

 

“When people ask me what equipment I use, I tell them my eyes.” ~ Anonymous

“One doesn’t stop seeing. One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time.” ~ Annie Leibovitz

“Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.” ~ Yousuf Karsh

In answer to this statement from a local history book writer, who said to my cousin, a photographer. “You take fantastic pictures, you must have a great camera” to which my cousin replied, “Thanks, and you write great books, you must have a wonderful pen.” ~ Robin Cooper

© Nigel Cooper 2019

Location: St.Ives, Cambridgeshire

Mobile: 07810 201111

Office: 01487 840356