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“Picture Perfect’” is where Kaboom! Magazine.com sits down with some of our favorite photographers and get to know how they come up with ideas for their photoshoots, thoughts on photography, and ask them some of their favorite moments of their career. Today, we get the chance to sit down with the very talented Benjamin Riches. The highly popular photographer from the down under tells us about his very favorite locations to shoot, how he comes up with amazing ideas for photoshoots, working with famous fashion models and celebrities, perfecting his craft, photography in social media, and many more. Get to know and strike a pose with literally one of the best young photographers in the world Mr. Benjamin Riches.
Benjamin Riches Info:
Photographer Name: Benjamin Riches for my commercial work and B.Rex for my more adult work.
Zodiac Sign: Virgo
Hometown: Perth, Australia
Years in Photography: Professionally 7 or 8 years
Personal Website: www.benjaminriches.com
Camera Equipment: Changed from canon to nikon 2 years ago.
Notable models/celebrities you’ve worked with: Tony Hawk, Tiesto, Carl Cox, Dash Berlin, Justin Jay, Marshmello, MK, Sasha Grey, Zeds Dead, Eagles of Death Metal, Claptone, & DJ Snake to name a few.
Notable brands/magazines/websites you’ve worked with: I’ve been published in GQ magazine and worked with MTV.
Some of your favorite locations for videoshoots/photoshoots: It’s hard to find an ugly space to work from in Australia.
If you could have one videoshoots/photoshoots with one person (past or present) who it would have to be with…..: If I could shoot with Ariel Winter tomorrow, we could create something truly beautiful. I’d kill to have assisted David Bailey and Helmut Newton. But most of all, creating a cover for Esquire magazine in the 70s.
Tell us a little bit about where you come from?
I’m from Western Australia, I went to middle class private schools , I grew up 60+ min from the city, I coasted through high school easily, did mostly art and science subjects, partied a lot.
I grew up in what is called the east perth hills, its a strange combination of rich white people, motorcycle gang members and hippies but mostly its populated by rednecks.
I’d have to spend 90 min on a bus and another 45 min walking just to make out with a girl.
In high school I started hanging around a studio, went on to be in a senior position at that studio before stepping down to focus on just my own career.
I’ve been with the same girl for 9 years, we have 2 amazing girls together.
Growing up did you always want to be in the cinematic industry or did you have other dreams?
During high school I decided I wanted to be the top in 1 class, i kinda thought photography would be easy, it wasn’t. I went on to receive valedictorian though.
In hind sight, I wish I did something else first, bringing outside influences would be great, also i was passed over for a lot of opportunities due to my age, those first impressions have stuck with some people.
What was the first camera that you received?
My dad had a Nikon f3. which was a pretty fucking rad camera to start on.
What type of photographic education have you had?
The city I am based in doesn’t have enough work to sustain full time assistants, so I never had the privilege of working closely with someone for years, I needed to start shooting to make enough money.
I would always jump at the opportunity to assist photographers though, I still do when guys from the east coast/ international do jobs here.
Despite studying photography, what I have leant from assisting and having those seasoned pros to mentor me has been far better then anything I ever learned in an institution.
Describe your style videography/photography?
I hate the idea that i’d have a style. every performer, artist, brand that I have worked with I have always looked at creating the best images and experience for them. Never would I force someone to fit into my style. It needs to change to suit the job, otherwise when the other pieces don’t fit in, the images will look contrived.
Are there any photographic artists who have inspired your work?
Helmut Newton, Mert & Marcus, Mario Sorenti, David Bailey, Lachlan Bailey, Miles Aldridge, Steven Klein, Annie Leibovitz, Matsu, & Tom of Finland.
When you work with individual subjects, how much time do you spend researching and getting to know them first?
As much as I can, I’ll often have coffee with them days before our shoot, especially if she will be shooting naked, its easy to be awkward for both of us. A coffee fully clothed helps take that edge off (Laughs).
Do you still remember your first videoshoot/photoshoot?
I have tried really hard to forget it.
If you’re not looking back at your old work and thinking its terrible, you’re probably not getting any better. you need to always be getting better.
Do you remember the moment when you realized that you were actually a talented videographer/photographer?
When my mum said my work was pretty good.
What is the wildest moment you’ve ever had during a videoshoot/photoshoot?
When I got the email Tony Hawk was coming to my studio to shoot portraits with me. I was 20 at the time and it was pretty fucking surreal. Such a lad though.
This one time, I was running the media team for a small festival, I let 30 women rush and dance on stage for the final show of MKs tour.
There was another time where I was playing basket ball with Diplo backstage, he was unimpressed with my skills.
I was shooting a swimwear campaign in Bali, the art director had sourced an amazing villa in Uluwatu, which ended up being owned by some British lord, he hung around and we smoked and drank and he told us our tans sucked.
Sexiest videoshoot/photoshoot you’ve ever been apart of?
This is a tough one, I’m not sure I can even narrow it down (Laughs).
Over the years, did you ever encounter famous people who were very difficult to shoot?
Everytime I try to take a selfie.
Legit though, once you’re in the green room, they really do become regular people, I chilled backstage with Carl Cox talking about motor bikes and the lack of crassness in house music, Sasha grey spoke about her record collection and some other cool stories, Montaigne was super candid, DJ Snake literally says nothing, I’m not sure I have a negative story about anyone super famous.
I do have loads of shit stories from girls I’ve shot though (Laughs). Most of the time once you assert your expertise and show them you can make them beautiful, they love you.
How has social media influence your career?
I was annoyingly late to using Instagram to showcase my portfolio. I’ve had Insta for so long, but kept it for just my phone snaps, such a waste.
The influence though, not so much, I always make it about the girl I am shooting, where and how it is published comes later. I don’t really want that to anything to shift the vibes whilst creating.
Social media can be very profitable and very risky at times.
Can you tell inspiring cinematographers some of the Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to involving your business with social media?
Know your local community, work together and your industry will have stability.
Produce better work, not more work.Learn the difference between a cool photo and a beautiful photo.
Where is the most fascinating place you’ve been to do a videoshoot/photoshoot?
That villa on a cliff in bali, being on stage when RL Grime bought in NYE to 20 000 people.
Explain how you come up with ideas for projects such as videoshoots/photoshoots?
I base my shoots around the subject, or if I do have a very specific idea for my own portfolio, ill wait until the right girl turns up, casting is so important.
How much planning do you do for each shoot, and how much happens naturally?
I’ll do the whole spectrum, I’ll be going in with nothing but a brief phone conversation and a muesli bar to planning how every minute of the production day will be utilised.
Mostly I am very prepared, nothing worse then getting on set and you haven’t got the necessary equipment for the over produced lighting they want.
Plus the more time I can focus on my subject, the better the shots will turn out, the more I will see, the more I can push. any time spent fucking around is time missed creating something beautiful.
Do you coach or talk to your subjects about the expressions they will be making, or do you capture the spontaneous expressions from your conversation with them?
Photography is so much about psychology, everything from the music playing to what I’m wearing plays a part in how to get what I want from the subject. Some people need strict instruction, others need more gentle quips. the photographer is the director, you need to know that you are directing.
What’s your single favorite video/photo that you’ve captured, and what’s the story behind it?
One of my favourite things about photography being my creative medium and being fairly busy, I get to fall in love with what I create more often, its always fleeting, but that means I can always chase creating something to love more often.
What do you think about working on big budget films at some point in your career?
I’d love to steer my career into shooting movie posters, I just can’t work out how.
When you’re not working with models or capturing some of peoples greatest moments, what do you do in your spare time?
When I do get some spare time, I’m enjoying my 2 girls, I always try to fit in a coffee date at least every 2 weeks with them or binge watch TV, because netflix.
How often do travel?
Perth is the most isolated city in the world, its hard to get work in other states. that reminds me, I need to renew my passport.
Besides your equipment, what is one thing that you must have when you travel?
A light jacket and an iPhone cable.
Let’s put you on the spot! Who is your favorite model/celebrity you’ve ever worked with?
Montaigne (if you don’t know she’s going to be pretty famous soon) our onset banter was great.
Jesse Hughs from Eagles of Death Metal, I’ve been a huge fan for years (I saw them in the same venue like 5 years before shooting them) I was booked for the gig, bluffed my way into the green room and ended up partying with them till 3 am. it was the night he proposed to his girlfriend on stage, I have photos of them running through the streets of Fremantle at 2 am.
Have you ever been starstruck by one of your subjects?
Maybe a little by a model I was shooting who was a member of Mensa.
What are some of your ultimate goals that you would like to achieve being a videographer/photographer?
I want art parter to be my agent, and I want to earn it.
What would be your dream videoshoots/photoshoots?
My dream photoshoot, to do the Pirelli calendar.
How can people book you for their next project?
Smoke signals are the best way to get ahold of me, if smoke signals are inconvenient my email firstname.lastname@example.org will be fine.
What’s next for you?
It’s tax time next week in Australia and ill be sorting through my average system of accounts and receipts to keep up this glamorous lifestyle.