BASED IN: Idaho, USA
KNOWN FOR: Children’s portraits
SHOOTS WITH: FUJIFILM GFX 50S Camera, GF45mmF2.8 R WR Lens, GF110mF2 R WR Lens
A traumatic family incident drove Adrian Murray (pictured) towards photography, as a creative outlet for stress more than anything else. Now he not only shoots commercially but enjoys sharing his personal images – and the stories behind them – with the world on his social media channels.
Tell us a little about how you got into photography in the first place?
I started out in photography when I was at dental school and my eldest son was about a year old. One night, when I’d just started my studies, I found my son unresponsive in his crib. We rushed him to hospital and were fortunate to get him back, and we’ve battled with his health ever since.
I was under immense pressure from my studies too and needed to give myself a break from the stress. I realized that a great new hobby could be photography – I had an artistic background and a good understanding of the science behind the process, so it seemed like a natural move.
We now have four little ones and, as time has passed, we have moved forward with photography in more commercial aspects – we now treat the endeavor as a family business. My wife helps me, and even the kids love taking pictures!
Can you explain your photographic philosophy? What are you trying to communicate through your images?
In today’s world, we constantly find ourselves buried in screens. I want my imagery to force the audience to remember a time when they didn’t have to worry about their inbox, which is flooded with responsibilities and deadlines. The goal with my work is to get people to remember their own childhood – for both their sake and the sake of their children.
Childhood is something that we only really get to experience once: it’s a time of discovery and wonder. That’s what I love to capture and create with my photography.
And how did the move to the FUJIFILM GFX system come about?
About a year ago, I was walking through the park with my family and my DSLR when I realized that I just didn’t want to lug a large camera around with me all the time. And I was getting a bit bored of utilizing that shallow depth-of-field look that you see everywhere now.
To decrease the weight of what I was carrying about, and increase the depth of field I could shoot, I bought a FUJIFILM X-T1. It was small and weather-resistant – perfect for my needs. Shortly afterwards, the FUJIFILM GFX 50S was announced and I knew I was going to be able to have a camera system that offered every benefit I wanted, from portraiture to landscape. Now I have an X100F, an X-T2 and a GFX 50S. The GFX 50S really is in a class of its own!
What are the key benefits of the GFX system for photographing kids?
Ease and speed! I love having the EVF (electronic viewfinder) to get an immediate view of what to expect in the image before I shoot it. And I can manipulate settings quickly and easily, given the external controls that are available. I’ve always shot manually, so the ability to control the ‘exposure triangle’ before I even turn on the camera is a great benefit, I think. This is especially helpful when I’m photographing children, who are constantly on the move.
What practical considerations are there when photographing children?
Honestly, you’re at the whim of the child. You have to be able to let go of all control and accept that they’re the ones in control. If you think otherwise then you’re setting yourself (and your subject) up for a stressful situation! You need to be constantly ready for anything, and it doesn’t hurt to bring along some snacks either.
I like to shoot in natural light, because it offers the freedom and flexibility to move around with the kids. Remember, their attention span is as short as their height, so you don’t want to spend hours on this.
Don’t push them – you won’t get good results. Just let the child do what he or she wants to do, and keep your camera down for some of the time. Let them play, imagine and explore. Essentially, just let kids be kids and you won’t have to worry about them getting too distressed.
What else do photographers often get wrong when photographing children?
When photographers shout ‘say cheese’ it really drives me crazy! For generations, we’ve been told to crack a forced smile and it’s just the least genuine aspect of photography. I have to remind my own family of this when the camera comes out around my nieces and nephews.
I also see a lot of people photographing children while standing up at full height, even though their subject is only three feet tall. I think that when you’re working with kids you have to bring your height down to theirs – get down to their level. As well as being able to see them better, you’ll see the world from their perspective too.
Adrian Murray is a FUJIFILM-compensated professional photographer.
To see more of Adrian’s work, visit his website.
To explore the full GFX system lineup visit GFX Gear Chooser.