Profile: Stephen Spraggon – Landscape Photographer

FirewallStephen Spraggon is a Baltonsborough (Somerset) based landscape photographer who particularly focusses on capturing images from the beautiful surroundings in Somerset, Dorset and Exmoor. For this feature, Stephen took the time to speak with A Level photography student Rhys Buchanan about his work, which we are delighted to share with you. What initially drew you to specifically landscape photography? I settled on landscape photography through trial and error really. I’m mostly self-taught so over time I’ve spent hours photographing everything from animals to abstracts to motorsport but I always came back to landscape. When I’m taking pictures of the countryside I feel fulfilled and happy so I’ve followed that feeling all along. Your portfolio includes photographs of many areas across the UK. Do you have a personal favourite place to shoot? I love dramatic landscapes such as mountainous areas. The Brecon Beacons contain the nearest we get to mountains in the south so that area comes high in my list of favourites. It’s hard to beat the view of the levels from Deerleap on a misty morning too though! Do compositional elements such as ‘The Rule Of Thirds’ and ‘The Decisive Moment’ influence your work? I am very much guided by my gut instinct when composing a picture. Often I’ll position a key part of the picture in one third of the frame but that’s not because I’m ticking off a mental list of compositional ‘must dos’, it’s because it feels right to me to make that picture work. One thing I am conscious of is thinking creatively, so I do consciously try to compose images in a way that you wouldn’t expect, to put my stamp on the picture and to make the viewer think a little about what I’m showing them. What is your proudest moment as a photographer? Last year I was commissioned by VisitBritain, the tourism agency for Great Britain, to photograph some of the key attractions in Somerset. I thoroughly enjoyed the work and am very proud that the resulting images sit in their image library alongside those by many other photographers whose work I admire. A Gorgeous Bit of CheddarDo you have a favourite photograph from your portfolio? One picture that I often come back to and wonder how I actually managed to capture it is “A Gorgeous Bit of Cheddar” (Right). For me, it’s my best example of “the decisive moment” in picture making. The sun came out for a few moments and in that time the light and the sky was working harmoniously with the landscape below. You often run workshops for aspiring photographers what can people expect to get out of these experiences? I really enjoy both helping people learn and sharing my enthusiasm for the outdoors. My intention is to take people to great locations, show them around and help them make pictures of things that they find inspiring or interesting by giving them tips on both the technical skills and how to make a good picture. Lastly what advice can you offer to young photographers aiming to get into the industry? Young photographers should be very pro-active and get their work seen as often as possible. Work won’t find you, you have to find it. Unfortunately the creative side is only a small part of life so you have to have a head for business too, which involves making phone calls, meeting people and selling yourself. Don’t be complacent about the quality of your work; always strive to better yourself and ask yourself how you can improve. Finally, perseverance is hugely important as you’re likely to get many doors shut in your face so you need to keep motivated and keep plodding away to make your mark. To view Stephen’s work and find out more about him and his workshops visit