Picha Photographer Interview-Erick Forester

Erick Forester is an events and portrait photographer based in Nairobi whose work continues to inspire young photographers to follow their dreams. As an integral part of the Picha team, we had a virtual sit down with him to delve deeper into his love for photography, his goals and aspirations as well as tips and tricks for capturing the perfect shot.

How did your journey into photography begin?

In 2014 I had a friend who had an old Canon 600D that I greatly admired, he wasn’t  a professional photographer but he looked so sophisticated and I wanted that. I took a picture of his camera and ended up  photoshopping myself holding his camera. Thanks to my growing  interest in photography  I spent most of my time on Facebook and YouTube watching  tutorials on how to operate a camera and how to work with different lighting until early 2017 when I finally managed to buy my first camera after painstakingly saving and parting with a few valuables . After I had my gear I reached out to several photographers who I greatly admired on social media to act as my mentor, I successfully managed to get a reply from one who took me under his wing  when that ended  I began to work for myself and learnt to motivate myself to reach the place I am at now.

What genre of photography do you enjoy shooting?

I enjoy Event photography.  The scenes are always so vibrant and filled with all sorts of activity and interesting human interactions. I am such a people person so meeting new people and taking their photos in whatever element they are in is always exciting for me.  If a scene from a concert has a good light setup then I am able to capture emotions and moods and it makes the concert infinitely more fun for me.

When embarking on a shoot which gear do you use and why?

I am currently using a Canon 6D which I pair with either the 24-70mm 2.8 or 70-200mm 2.8 lens. I particularly enjoy the ease of use of the camera, its ability to shoot in low light, and the vibrant colors produced while the lenses are incredibly sharp with faster autofocus and great image stabilization- which comes in handy especially in events photography where everything is happening in real-time.

As a creative who has to balance business and the art of creating images, how has PICHA Images helped you concentrate on your craft?

PICHA has been instrumental in equipping me with essential photography guidelines through physical workshops that have been invaluable and have boosted my images to competitive standards.  Through Picha, I have been connected to numerous clients thus taking away the stress of having to personally search for clients which enables me to focus on perfecting my craft.

Through Picha, I have been connected to numerous clients thus taking away the stress of having to personally search for clients which enables me to focus on perfecting my craft.

Who do you look up to in the photography world and how have they influenced your work?

I look up to Brassai a Hungarian- French photographer who is known for his unique style and great composition skills. His works appeal to me greatly in that he manages to capture a lot of candid moments in black and white which isn’t the type of photography many modern photographers gravitate towards. He never fails to inspire me to think out of the box and to work on my image composition skills.

How would you describe your photography style?

Clean with a touch of moody feel

 Tell us the story behind your favorite picture?

 Happened to be on my first ever event concert photography assignment, I was down the stage trying to get a different angle shooting ASA while she was doing her last performance (I shoot events with both eyes open). My left eye was attracted to the crowd so I turned around and saw a man carrying a lady on his shoulders as she sang along to ASA. The lady’s feelings were sparked by the super performance of ASA at the 25th Koroga festival edition.

Cpt; A reveler on a man’s shoulder getting emotional while ASA performs during the 25th Koroga festival

The more comfortable you are the more comfortable the client will be and the easier the session will be.

You’ve worked with many people from models, celebrities to vulnerable communities. How do you develop a relationship with your subjects so they trust you and aren’t afraid of the camera?

Before booking a job I always have a good conversation with my client to have a clear idea of what the brief is, we can talk then make a plan, and also discuss what is needed so that I know what they need and want to achieve. I like to learn about my subjects by asking some questions while we work just enough to get them talking. I also talk about myself. The more comfortable you are the more comfortable the client will be and the easier the session will be.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in photography?

I would advise them to practice, practice and practice some more. They should watch tutorials, attend workshops and classes. Through practice they will be able to find their own style of photography, be aggressive and ready to learn from other people. At any point, they should never feel they already know everything. Personally, I find that taking time away to be in solitude, or to take a break enables me to avoid burnout and to continue being innovative with my work. Take the time to hone your craft and everything else will fall into place with time.

Through practice, you will be able to find your own style of photography, be aggressive, and ready to learn from other people.

What’s next for you in photography?

I look forward to growing my areas of expertise and through Picha I hope to be able to access the kinds of markets and clients that will develop my skills.

Follow Erick on Instagram @erickforester & @pichaimages