Tom Woods is local photographer who has shot everything from weddings to food to surfing. He’s recently begun expanding his skills into film, and his first major project won a spot in an international surfing video. FOCUS chats to Tom about his passion for photography and surfing.
You’re a talented photographer and videographer based on the Coffs Coast. How long have you been in this line of work?
I have been taking photos for 17 years, but I started as a full-time professional photographer about 7 years ago. I love that I meet new people and do something different every day. I can be up in a helicopter one day, and the next I might be hanging out the side of a white water rafting boat, or be totally alone with my camera in the ocean. Then on the weekend, I may be capturing a couple’s most special day.
I feel so privileged to be involved in all of these sorts of things.
What equipment do you use?
I use Canon cameras (5Ds and 7D) and a bag full of lenses ranging from 20 mm to 400 mm, all of them primes except for one 70 – 200 zoom. Aquatech water housings and studio flashes.
You’re also a passionate surfer and recently got together with local pro Harley Ingleby to film a surf video for entry into an American competition. Tell us about this venture and the competition itself.
Yeah, surfing shapes my life; it’s the reason I moved here from Adelaide 12 years ago. So, I’ve combined my love of surfing and photography together and have been photographing for surfing magazines for the last 8 years. Recently I have been getting into moving footage, and my first major project in filming won a spot in a worldwide surf video called Innersection. It will be released in December and my clip is of local surfer and good mate, Harley Ingleby. We are working on getting more footage on a daily basis. $100,000 is up for grabs for the best surfers section. It’s a one in 20 chance for Harley to win big, but we are just super stoked to have landed a part in the movie!
Your own business, ST Images, has a daily photo blog for local surfing life …
Stsurfimages.com is my little baby that was born back on 7 April 2010, and I have been blogging early morning surf and beach pictures 5 days a week ever since.
Basically, it’s recording beach culture – in particular, surfers and waves in our area. I try to utilise the beautiful early morning light by shooting from both water and land. Young kids through to grandpas and grannies come up to me or email me on a daily basis and comment on how much they enjoy the website and how I’ve become a part of their everyday life. It’s a 5 minute escape/distraction for an office worker who can either log on to the website and get a taste of what the beach looked like that morning, or to check if they are featured in any of the shots. We photograph beginners right through to some of the world’s best surfers, so if you surf on the Coffs Coast, there is a really good chance you will already be on our website. If not, you probably will be in the near future.
Some of your commercial work has appeared in full page ads for jewellery designer Le Dãin in this publication; they have certainly been a talking point with each issue. Tell us about this little project you have running …
Yeah, I have really enjoyed the Le Dãin photo shoots. I met owner Carole Beros a while back at a function, and we got talking about ways to photograph her various collections. So far it’s had a car theme. My favourite was the 1950s theme featuring a classic MG car and models Jesse Emmanuel and Milly O’Rourke.
We also did a Mercedes Benz for the luxurious collection and the latest (in this issue) is the ‘All Revved Up’ series featuring two gorgeous models and a local rally car driver, Nathan Quinn. There was a Russian shoot in there too. We spend a lot of time planning out these photo shoots, and I enjoy the process and have loved the results so far. Stay tuned … I think Carole has plans for more!
How can people stay updated with ST Images?
We have two websites – one showcasing our commercial, portrait and wedding photography www.stimages.com.au and the other is our surf/beach culture website at www.stsurfimages.com.au. We also have Facebook pages running off both of these websites.