Happiness can come in different shapes and expressions. Paul McCarthy (PaulMcCartheyPhotgraphy) is a commercial portrait photographer from Manchester, United Kingdom, who gives you all of these different shapes of happiness. McCarthy is the official photographer for Leigh Centurions Rugby League Team, and happiness for a Rugby player can express itself as a roar or a group hug. For a toddler happiness can be sleeping in daddy’s arms, and for a five year old happiness can be when she gets free rain to explore the nature. But in the end, happiness is happiness - what ever its shape.

I’m Paul McCarthy, 37 married with 4 children. I spent 15 years in the Royal Air force before going full time with my dream job. I’m an internationally published commercial, portrait photographer and the official photographer for the Leigh Centurions Rugby League team. I’d say my style is gritty and dark if I have my say but thats not always the case.

I started taking photos about 10 years ago after finding my initial love for photoshop. I used photoshop for a couple of years and decided it was time to take my own images. Photography has really opened doors to amazing people and friends, its also given me the confidence over time in dealing with any kind of situation.

My favourite shoot was probably my most recent. It was for the owner of the Leigh Centurions rugby league team and was commissioned by the rugby league world magazine. It was quick but exactly how I wanted my images to turn out. In general though any type of commercial work is my favourite. I love working to a vision and delivering to happy clients…. Especially if they give you a little free reign.

I think my most difficult shoot was for a toddler who refused to look at the camera, look at me, he cried the entire time. We ditched the studio and went for a walk in the woods. In the end I got some stunning natural images that we all loved.

My camera bag is all Nikon bodies and glass. I mainly use my D800e and f2.8 24-70 and my f2.8 70-200. I do also have a couple of 50mm and a f2.8 85mm. The flashes I use are the good v860n as they are cheap TTL if you need it and do a great job for price. For bigger and most of my shoots I use elinchrom modifiers like the huge octa box, a couple of strip lights with grids and I love to use my snoot….alot!

My favourite location to shoot is anywhere - and I mean that. I love turning up and going on the hunt for great spots to shoot. My favourite time is probably about 16:00 all year round, I tend to get quite lucky and have plenty of cloud which I love to use in a shot.

3 tips that have improved my photography and can improve yours too:

1. Get on workshops and learn, its all well and good googling things but there really is no substitute from learning of a pro.
2. move around your subject when shooting, don’t remain static, you’ll be amazed how changing your height and angle will get you some dream shots.
3. If you use lights, learn about them, play with the angles and METER them!

My favourite photo is "DB". It was taken on the Leigh Centurions playing surface, taken at 13:00 with just one elinchrom giant octa feathered to the subjects right. I used my Nikon D800e and Nikon f2.8 24-70. The inspiration was the article I’d been privy to as part of my brief as well as, I knew how I wanted to edit so when the clouds came out I started shooting straight away. Processing wise its been lens corrected in Lightroom, I’ve added some clarity to the clouds using Topaz Clarity and I used a black and white conversion in Alienskin exposure 7.

I think Viewbug is an amazing place no matter what your level. There are so many great images that offer inspiration and ideas and of course prizes! It made me enter competitions in styles I wasn’t really comfortable shooting, but thats what makes you improve. If you’re just starting with a camera I don’t think there is a better place, you can receive peer awards which is always great and you can see thousands of other images to help you find your own style along the way.

Fore more photos from McCarthy, visit his profile and website.