Going back to basics is always a good idea. Whether it concerns fashion, sports or photography. Community member Patrick Yates (patrickyates) photography style is quite traditional and he goes back to basics. There’s nothing over processed or surreal in Yates photos, instead you will find sharp and crisp photos of the reality you see in front of you (or Yates, behind his lens) - a reality that is exceptionally beautiful. Yates specialize in everything from automotive to landscape to studio based work. He is also working with local photography groups, helping them to achieve their photography goals - something that keeps Yates motivated to continue his work as a photographer.

What inspired you to be a photographer? 

I really only "stumbled" into photography. I used to work for a very large American bank in their European I.T. Department. Let's just say, too many hours took its toll on me and someone (my hairdresser!) suggested I needed a hobby and had I thought about photography? I gave it a really good go from that point on. I'd always taken photos on family holidays and days out, but never really appreciated at the time what I was doing. Family and friends who looked at my holiday snaps always commented on how good they were, but I thought they were just being polite.

It took the bad experience at the bank to make me realize that there is a big world out there and that photographic opportunities are endless. So, I guess it's thanks to the bank I'm doing what I do today.

What was your first camera and what do you shoot with today?

I remember as a child my grandfather gave me a Kodak Box Brownie, this was in the age of Disc camera's and Polaroids. So I got a few strange stares of the other kids who had the then modern kit. I now shoot with a Canon 5DSR.

When someone looks at your photos, what do you want them to take away from it, what are you trying to communicate?

I'm always trying to capture that moment in time when I was in a particular place. I almost think of my use of the camera as me looking at the view through someone else's eyes.

If someone comments on a shot and say nice things then that makes me feel more accomplished and as a bonus I've made someone smile. A person recently commented on an image that they felt the calmness of the place and felt relaxed. That made me feel that it was “job done”.

What is it that you love about photography?

I love the fact that the subject area can be so diverse. I like to try different genres and sometimes completely leave my comfort zone, but always try my best to get the best image I can for myself or a client. I also enjoy being a social photographer. Helping others achieve their goals is a big factor on why I continue now. Working with a local group, we often have evenings or tours where we take photographers out of their comfort zones and get them involved in events they wouldn't normally get the chance to.

What has photography done for you?

Commercially, It’s allowed me to work with some big names of industry, Ferrari & Hasselblad to name a few. I work with a Greetings Card publisher now which is one of the largest in the UK.

Personally, it's made me appreciate the world much more and people more. I'm quite a shy person really and quite often struggle with my expressions. When I have a camera around my neck, those feelings seem to disappear. I’m not afraid to teach the subject or pass on my knowledge. If I see a fellow photographer struggling I'll offer some help. Quite often I'll learn a few things back in return.

Do you try to be conceptual or do you prefer to show the feeling behind a photo?

It really depends on what or who I'm working for. If it's a product shot, it could be quite conceptual. How the client envisages their product and I'll try to capture their vision. If it's work for myself then I always try and capture the moment, especially in landscape images. So I suppose in those, I try and show the feeling of the place in images. A perfect sunrise or sunset can convey so many feelings. They can make you smile or cry, remember or simply forget. At the time I take these shots, I like to spend time pondering the view and gathering my thoughts. If people look at my images and do the same then it makes me feel accomplished.

How do you describe your style?

I'd probably say "of the moment", but quite traditional. I'm getting back to basics in a lot of my more recent images. The new camera (Canon 5DSR) creates such large raw files that changes the way you operate your camera. So now, the choice of tripod, filters and lenses really do matter. The slightest error or movement will show up in your image. So much more thought goes into the shot before pressing the shutter release.

I’ll always try to do stuff differently. I used to rush images and fix things in post-processing but now I try to minimize errors.  I always post process in Lightroom and very rarely use anything else. Photoshop might be used to remove certain blemishes or articles.

If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?

My Canon ultra-wide 11-24mm F4 L lens. It's a fairly new lens but sits perfectly with the new camera. Images are sharp and crisp. This combination also means I can shoot in pretty much all weathers.

What are your 3 tips for others who want to become better photographers?

1. Push your limits and try something different.

2. Keep shooting often, but also enjoy the moment or location. If that means putting the camera down, then do it. I find this makes me appreciate a scene in my head much more.

3. Don't be afraid to seek help and advice, or criticism.

Have you received negative feedback from your work? What did you do about it?

I have and I welcome it (sometimes). Negatives can ultimately only lead to something positive. Ultimately if you are happy with an image then great. Remember people are different and what you put out there might not be their cup of tea.

The one which hurt me the most at the time was a shot I took in Ibiza. I submitted it for a photography course that I was doing at the time. The tutor completely hated it and even said that an image like that should never be considered to be submitted for a portfolio. Two weeks later, the image was published in a DJ magazine. They loved it and it fitted their brief.

Where did you learn to take photos?

I have done online courses but really used them as a point of reference. I'm pretty much self taught. Reading about techniques then going out in the field (or studio) and trying them out.

Raw vs jpg and why?

Raw, it's so much more versatile and allows for so much more post processing options.

What do you carry in your camera bag?

A Canon 5DSR (main camera) and a Canon 5D mk3 (as backup camera), various lenses including a wide angle, mid zoom and telephoto. A 3legged-thing Eric tripod. A Filter holder kit and a range of filters (NDs / Grads and Big Stopper). Grey card, extra batteries, memory cards & remote release. Not forgetting a soft lens cloth or cleaning brush. Occasionally a few radio controlled flash guns.

If you could have the gift of a great photographer who would it be and why?

I'd probably say Rankin. His portraits are brilliant. I struggle with portraits and people. I would love to pick up some tips from the portrait master of my time.

What is the most common mistake you see people making when shooting these days?

Over use of HDR and reliance of it in post processing. I've done it in the past, but I used it as a very lazy attitude to images. I recently went through images that I over processed using HDR and found that I preferred the normal exposed image much more once the raw image had been processed properly in Lightroom.

That is not to say HDR doesn’t have its place. A well processed HDR image can be fantastic.

What is your dream location to shoot?

Iceland. I've been there many times and just love the place. The scenery is a photographer's dream and the Icelandic people are by far the most laid back and friendliest.

How do you decide on where to shoot a photo?

It depends on what I'm shooting. Let's take cars for example. If it's a super car, then I'll try and choose a location that's not really suited. Imagine a Ferrari on the moors or in an abandoned warehouse etc. The stark contrast in the image can give it impact and much more memorable.

I’d also say, never try to overcomplicate a shot.

What is next for you? Any planned adventures with your camera?

Tenerife and Iceland are already planned over the Winter months. They are very similar landscape locations with only the weather being so different. I love volcanic places, lots of interesting terrain to get lost in. Tenerife will be a stargazing experience as I'm pushing myself into getting more involved with astrophotography, probably triggered by my Northern Lights experiences in Iceland. I have a good mentor for this genre so trying new techniques suggested will be put into motion.

What is your goal with your photography?

Just to make people smile and enjoy doing what I'm doing. I'm constantly learning and developing. I don't always get it right, but I'll try until I do.

Make sure to follow this talented photographer here and also visit his website.