Behind the lens with Andy Holter Photography

As we are currently unable to explore Cornwall through our own eyes, we are reaching out to those behind the lens, those who take the incredible images we are all admiring so much right now. Learning a little more about how they came to be such talented photographers and gaining some little tips of wisdom. We certainly want to learn how to improve our photos so that at times like this we can appreciate the true beauty of our surroundings. We’re kicking off with Ann’s Cottage friend Andy Holter, based in Newquay, we can’t get enough of his incredible sunsets and epic surf shots.

New South Wales, Australia – Catalogue Favourite

How did you get into Photography?

I would say I just stumbled into the art of Photography. I started to learn to surf around the age of 18 and while learning I would take photos of my friends and sitting out the back of the line up with some incredible sunsets as the backdrop. Back then I was using a disposable waterproof camera, this was before GoPro was a thing. Around the age of 22 a house mate was selling a Digital SLR and asked me if I’d wanted to buy it for a really good price, I bought it on a whim and started having a go and teaching myself. Some of my first photos were at the beach, at this time I was living in West Sussex on the coast. Along with photography I started a new appreciation for capturing the sunsets each evening. I would go every evening to the beach and practice by just playing around with the settings. This has continued to this day, I’m now 36.

Moving to Cornwall in 2008 and visiting so many new places I wouldn’t go anywhere without my camera, documenting all the moments. I am mostly self-taught, everything I know is through trial and error and I have picked up a few key points over time by chatting with other photographers. I have a huge passion for photography, surfing, the ocean and nature. A few years ago, I started using my skills to capture different events, volunteering and being part of Christian Surfers and the UK Pro Surf Tour. After a couple of years photographing the Jesus Surf Classics in Croyde for Christian Surfers the UK Pro Surf Tour needed a photographer to step in when their current photographer was unable to attend. I’ve now shot the comps for them for a few years and really enjoy capturing the best surfers in the UK in action at various locations around the UK. I’ve also been expanding my business by capturing weddings and all sorts of different genres of photography.

Where is your favourite location to shoot?

With Photography being my profession and hobby, I really enjoy all aspects and genres of the creative art from shooting surf competitions, weddings, family adventures and brands. My favourite place to be in my down time is the beach and looking out over the ocean. As the ocean and sky change all the time, I love documenting the beauty of nature on a daily basis. 

“I love documenting the beauty of nature on a daily basis.”

What do you look for when capturing that shot?

As previously mentioned, I really enjoy sunsets and the ocean, my favourite times of the day are the Golden hour and Magic hour. The Golden hour is the hour around sunset/ sunrise when the light in the sky starts to turn a warmer orange hue. I love to capture waves rolling in with or without surfers riding the waves, back lit, with the sea spray highlighted by the warm glow of the sun. The Magic hour is the time after sunset when you think all is over and suddenly the clouds and sky light up with all sorts of reds and oranges, I never get board of this even after 18 years of capturing these moments. 

“I would recommend just getting out there and giving it a go.”

What’s your favourite photo you’ve taken and why? 

It’s so hard to pinpoint a favourite photo as I have captured hundreds of thousands of photos in my photography life from weddings, sports events, nature and travelling to beautiful destinations like Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, Costa Rica and Africa. My chosen photo was captured in New South Wales, Australia as the sun was rising, the wind, sun direction, tide and in coming swell all lined up creating some big beautifully shaped waves with the sun lighting up the spray of the wave with its beautiful fiery orange hues. I rarely see the sun rise and so this along with the location made it a special moment to remember. 

What tips would you give to aspiring photographers?

I would recommend just getting out there and giving it a go. I love the outdoors on a daily basis with no agenda and just see what is going on and let nature inspire me as to what I capture. You may start by shooting in automatic but I really recommend learning how the aperture and shutter speed changes the outcome. We are so fortunate with digital cameras to just be able to capture as many photos as we like until we fill our memory cards. I recommend also learning to edit in post-production as sometimes this can really transform an image with a few small tweaks to the lighting, I recommend looking into Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom and perhaps YouTube tutorials. 

Happy shooting.

Andy Holter Photography