Reading In Between the Lines With Photographer Charli Burrowes
DateAugust 27, 2017
Although Charli Burrowes wasn’t always planning to become a professional photographer, she hasn’t looked back since discovering her talent and passion for snapping pics. Inspired by everyday life and the in-between moments that we all experience but often look past, Charli’s photos always capture the honest imperfections of what it means to be human. She has worked for major clients including FujiFilm and Uniqlo, and also runs her own blog where you can follow along with her on her travels. Read our interview with her below to learn more about Charli’s work and how she stumbled into the world of photography.
Tell us about your style of photography. How did you develop this style and what do you enjoy shooting the most?
I guess my style is super crisp and colorful. It’s all about the little details and pulling out the magic in the every day. I think everything has the potential to be beautiful if you look at it in the right way
Photography is all about capturing that moment. What’s the secret?
Training your eye. So that when you are creating/composing an image… when it’s right, you’ll know. You get better at framing your shot with time and practice. I shoot every day–practice makes perfect!
Where are you based? What makes home a good base for you?
At the moment I’m based in Brisbane, Australia. But I’m just about to head off to Japan to shoot for a bit, then back down to do a campaign in Sydney and one in Melbourne. I move around quite a bit, but Brisbane is definitely my home.
Tell us about your gear, what camera do you use? What lenses do you prefer? Post-editing?
I use a Canon 5d MKIII. He is my bae. I alternate between two Sigma art series lenses–the 50mm and the 35mm. Then I have a set of profoto D1s and a few modifiers. Other than that, I like to keep it pretty simple tech wise! Post-production work is done in Lightroom and Photoshop.
How did you get into photography? Tell us about your first experience.
It actually happened at college. I was studying journalism and I did one visual communication course that blew my mind and changed my life. It was a six-month photography block and it was so great, I switched my courses around to try and major in visual comm after that. I kept studying journalism/PR because my parents would have died if I bombed out to start shooting. But I found myself seeking out assistant work/intern work on little shoots around town on the side. I did that for maybe four years before I scored a gig as a brand manager at a fashion house, where I worked on larger shoots for about a year, then moved on to creative director at another label for two years. It was a good five years of kicking around camera men. Then, I lost my job there and decided I’d have a crack at going freelance (much to parent’s horror). 14 months in and I’m booked out nearly two months in advance. I guess redundancy was the best thing that ever happened to me! Gave me the kick I needed to get started on my own.
“The little intricacies of life have always sparked the best ideas.”
Tell us the story behind one of the most memorable photos you’ve shot…
I did an art installation for FujiFilm, and I had to take 700-1000 instax instant print pictures of everyday life to include in the install. I couldn’t really pinpoint just one of those snaps–I like them as a collective. The whole project forced me to take more notice of everyday life and I saw some really beautiful accidental moments.
What is a constant source of inspiration for you as a photographer?
I live in the city in Bris, so I like to get up early and walk the empty city streets. I’ll head to a local cafe and people-watch while the city comes alive. The little intricacies of life have always sparked the best ideas. Aside from that, I devour shoots, animation, film, and music in serious gulps. I try to start every day with some internet scrolling and doodling out ideas.
Who has been a great influence or mentor to you and what did you learn from them that you still carry with you today?
I’d have to say my first client, Cam. He runs a little phone case company called the Dairy, and he was the first person who said he thought my work was good enough to be put up on someone else’s site. That really gave me the confidence I needed to have a crack. If he hadn’t offered, I might not be here.
Can you give us three photography tips and explain each?
1) Think of a picture in pieces. I like to think of photos as puzzles; you’ve got to start with finding a center and build out. Try and find your balance, and compose something beautiful with the pieces you have in front of you.
2) Your equipment is always second best to your light. With amazing light, you can snap a billboard on an iPhone. So never stress about your gear not “being enough.” Photography is about how you best use what you’ve got at your disposal. So when in doubt, seek the sun.
3) Shoot for how you like to edit. If you want to really bust up the colors and sharpness of an image in post, you’ve got to think about that while you’re shooting. When I start shooting, I think of the end story–where is this picture going? Who’s it for?