The Photography Junkies Interview with Dave Kai Piper

(c) Dave kai Piper

As part of new effort with the Photography Junkie site i am tracking down the people who inspire me.

So to start it all off I pinned down Commercial photographer Dave Kai Piper to see what makes him tick.


(c) Dave kai Piper


Hi dave and thank you for agreeing to take part in this interview.

Ive followed you for a while now and love your work. you seem to be all over the place doing it
whats it like to live the dream so to speak?

The Dream, .. I will let you know when I know. From my side, there is just hours and hours of phone calls and hard work.
5am trains and endless hours in front of the computer. I guess things are always different from inside the bubble.
Ideas & Images is the new company that I am working from,
it was designed from the ground up to let me do the things i want to do and enable me to have more fun and more creative freedoms.
The things I am working on now have been in the pipeline for a number of years, so, the dream is almost there, just still working and learning at the moment.

So is ideas and images your business front or is it more of a personal project side of things?

Ideas and Images is  a new company I set up, it enables me to work as a photographer and a consult to the photography world and with companies who want easy access to the Photography markets.
At the moment we are working with Future Publishing on the new Photography Show.

what does that entail?
Chloe-Jasmine Whichello looks after the commercial Photography side (which I shoot) which leaves me free to work on the business to business side of things.

do you find it better to have someone handle that side of things?

for sure, it is great indeed. Being a photographer to day, is a a pretty tough thing. It is no longer about taking good photos. There is so much more to it.
The Ideas side of the company really lets me fly and dream, while the images side is the more photographic side.

How did you get into commercial photography?
Commercial Photography is where the money is. It is that simple.
Photography for me is a business as well as a hobby.
I break my work down on the site into Client and Personal.

Was it a case of banging down doors? and putting in the blood sweat and tears or did some lucky accident happen?
there is no silver bullet, there are people who have been lucky and there are people who have worked damn hard and been lucky.
You need to have a bit of both in my eyes.
People told me that " this is about who you know, not what you know. So i made it my business to know who was who and target my efforts.


I wouldnt be me if i didnt bring up gear at some point What is your gear of choice?

At the moment I am not using a DSLR at all. I use a Pentax 645d for work anything needing that level of image quality. Which is unbelievable by the way . Then the Fuji X-Pro still comes every where and is a mix of work and play.
Then the Ricoh GR is my travel camera and fun camera

I too have a 645 and a 6x7
645 digital ?
film /scan hybrid
Ahh.. okies.. A film workflow would not work for me !!
Too slow?
clients want instant feedback
they like to see things on the screen and working with AD's on set.
you can have the team look at the images and fix things there and then

My bread and butter is a sony dslr but where possible i use film
I really want to get my hands on the A99,
Amazing camera
looks like a fun camera, and I love Zeiss Glass.
I have its little brother the 77
i would reccomend a weekend with either
as soon as you are used to the evf then you really dont want to go back

(c) Dave Kai Piper

(c) Dave Kai Piper

What inspires you?
thats a tricky one.
I like tech, I like films, I love art and romance, I love creating my little vision and moments in time.
As an artist I we can lock in moments of time that will last for ever.
The challenge to impress and create inspires me.
if you was looking for name or person.. it is quite tough to say.. but.. I would have to say people like Tim Burton, Quinton Tarantino and Helmut Newton.

Do you think you a re quite methodical in your approach to creation or do you set up the scene to let the creativity flow through you?
I am extremely methodical in my set up. there is a great quote I would like to give you from Gregory Heisler

“The work is primarily subject-driven. All decisions flow from there. The photographs are all made in response to a unique subject, in particular context, at a specific moment in time. The thoughtful preparedness that defines my working method actually facilitates spontaneity and allows me to embrace surprise. I always have a game plan but view it as merely the jumping off point.” <— Gregory Heisler

Someone who is on my list to interview
I am a huge Heisler fan
I did a talk on the idea that creativity is something you can and should plan.
It was a PhotoLive in London. I took apart people like Einstein and other great thinkers and applied the science of being creative
pretty good I hope !! there was some film and audio recording floating about some place !!

(c) Dave Kai Piper

(c) Dave Kai Piper

You have shot some cool musicians how would you say that compares to your fashion/commercial work? is it a different mindset?
yeah.. very.. the Music thing is more me photographing bands I like,
it is mostly not commercial but just something fun to do. After all Photography is also mu hobby and I am huge music fan.

You said about your early starts before so what does a typical day involve for you?

Coffee, and coffee
My days start my checking my e-mails and working out what needs attention asap and getting my today together. I usally try to avoid edting in the day time as I need to make calls and work to normal business hours to ensure I can get what I need to get sorted done before other people finish work. Then I would start my editing about 5 ish till about 9 even 10pm.
If i start editing in the morning, I just lose track of time and my whole day is lost.

You seem to have been very active this year (2013) what would you say have been your highlights?

just the other day I was talking to Jaret Reddick from Bowling for Soup about the ways we both approach creative projects and work.
It was pretty cool to sit a punk rock band down like Bowling For Soup and do some classic portraits. The shots were very different to anything they had done before.

How did that come about?
Dave Kai-Piper
well, thats a whole other story about the band, lol

They are just the best guys and gave me so much time.
You teach your craft that through passion or necessity?
Passion for sure.

 Do you retouch your own or outsource?

It's all my own handy work. I know it is bad and I should outsource, but.. in time I guess I will have to. At the moment I can just about get away with it.
I just stick some punk rock on and get busy.

I like to throw a random statement in there some times so is professional photography dying?

Fuck no
It is bigger and better and more bad ass than ever, some people are dying out of the industry, people who are not changing or evolving are loosing ground.
Photography is changing, not dying.
and it will always change,
and keep changing.

How are you able to get the work that you do? any tips for someone starting to set foot into
paid photography?
Or what would be your top tips to succeed in the photography industry?

be aware of your peers and stick to your own path at the same time
Tips - that always tough, as what may work for me, might not work other people.


So you dont get inundated are you taking on staff?
I have looked at it a couple of times.
I would not want to say much on that at the moment.

Whats next for you?
Dave Kai-Piper
next - There is so much coming but not much I can talk about. I guess the Photography Show is the next big project -

I am consulting on a few key elements of the show.
It is going to be really nice to have nice center piece for eh UK photographic community for once.

The concept of the community is something I am quite passionate about.

Will you be speaking too or is it mainly consulting?
I doubt i will have any speaking roles, but will be at the show. People should register on the Photography Show website for more updates.

(c) Dave Kai Piper

(c) Dave Kai Piper

When you dont have a camera in your hand do you immerse yourself in another hobby?
haa haa
I guess when not working, I am shooting bands or landcapes
So photography is your entire world as well then
I watch films, but, to be honest. I am a total workaholic.
I watch films to see the camera work and almost base my film choice more on the DOP than the lead star.
Where can people find you?

People can find me at

How active are you on your blog?

Keeping up to date is tough, but, I do try.
Can people contact you?
Sure, twitter is best for questions and quick stuff @davekaipiper

Last question is there any particular photographer or creative that would would love to point people to their work to showcase?

there are so many amazing people. Everyday I find 10 more amazing people. I guess. on the very top of the list ? Gregory Heisler
even if you don't like his work, the approach and mentality he has it first class.
Dave Kai-Piper
After that my good friend Thomas Woland -

Thank you for answering my barrage of questions