It was a real pleasure to be able to catch up with celebrated photographer John Woodward this past week; he graciously answered some questions for me, even while on the road for the US Open. Woodward is not just a photographer, but also a teacher- check out some of his instructional CDs, here.
And now, on to the questions.
How would you describe your photography practice- what do you most love to shoot?
I’ve been a professional photographer for over 40 years now. My work is very diverse. I did mostly event photography in the beginning of my career. I was the official photographer for the New York Yankees, and the Sponsors Tour photographer for the tennis tour. Much of this work was of the typical “grab and grin” variety.
Many things I do involve setting up for receiving lines. That’s when a VIP meets a guest, and shakes their hand. The Induro tripods that I use are especially helpful at these events. Depending on the level of the VIP, I may set up as many as four cameras. These all fire with the press of a button from my Pocket Wizard.
My personal work has embraced the things that Photoshop can do. I make many panoramas, and may have as many as nine images that need to be put together for the finished product. It’s important that the horizon lines are accurate. Again, a tripod is essential if you want to be accurate. When I’m in the field, the Induro C213 is my favorite. The carbon fiber is incredibly lightweight and I have no fear of going into the ocean or rivers with it.
How do you choose your gear- how have your choices changed since the rise of digital?
Digital has changed the game completely. I am looking for the largest sensor I can get my hands on. Commercial photographers believe that we can never have enough sharpness. We can always soften an image but we cannot truly sharpen an image. Tripods are once again essential for critical sharpness.
What features are most important to you in a tripod?
Tripods are most important to me in making my panel panoramas. I also love the way the Induro tripods allow me to get low to the ground when I’m shooting children. That ability is critical when shooting the little ones. You have to get down to their level. You also don’t want to hide your face behind your camera. I can set up the camera on a tripod and work slightly away from it and trying to capture the attention of the children.
What are you up to lately?
I’m just finishing up working at the US Open, where I’m using one of the Induro monopods. Then I go out on tour with Hanson, in our “Beauty And the Beast” presentation.
The beauty of what I do is the diversification. You’re speaking one day, judging the next, shooting a commercial portrait, model portfolio or covering an event. Every day is different and for that reason my job is a pleasure because each day presents new challenges.