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27 Sep

Vivid Photos and Wise Advice from Christopher Cameron

Meet one man who has it all figured out: Christopher Cameron knows exactly how to elevate a swimwear photo to a breathtaking work of art. Not only does each one of his bikini shots defy convention, but his career success also means he’s full of valuable advice. Whether you’re a model, a photographer, or pursuing any dream at all, take in his wise words below while you check out his striking work at some of our favorite beaches around the world.


BIKINI: How did you decide to pursue both photography and videography?

CHRISTOPHER CAMERON: Photography was something I resisted professionally, but fortunately after a shoot with a longtime friend and now Miami-based model, the results made me think, “I can either fail at what I don’t like, or potentially fail at what I do like.” I had a strange unwavering belief that it was something I could be great at, so I quit my day job and took on work at a studio with an all-in mentality.

Videography; however, was more of an exponential growth-hack I fell into early on. By offering to shoot for free behind-the-scenes content for the top-tier photographers, I skipped having to assist the bottom-end local photographers that I felt I couldn’t learn or grow from. I essentially avoided the 10-year rat race of being an assistant by using video as the vehicle not only for fast-tracking education from the best, but absolving myself of all technical responsibilities of the day outside my own purpose on set, dramatically increasing my time to learn. It was like learning years of practical education in a matter of days. It was fantastic. I still do it here and there from time to time depending on the team involved and the concept.


BIKINI: The way you fast-tracked your career is so impressive. What’s the most important thing you’d tell someone starting their career as a photographer today?

CC: I appreciate that. I would say ignore your peers and follow your truths. Deploy self-awareness and take immediate and massive action for everything you need to achieve your goal. Don't look up to locals, they're not locals by choice. Unfollow anyone who isn't shooting to the top of the foodchain — you can't be the best by learning from those who aren't. You wouldn't take financial advice from someone in the red, so you wouldn't take photography advice from someone who isn't doing what you want to be doing.


BIKINI: Where do you find inspiration for your work?

CC: '70s–'90s top tier fashion photographers. Vintage Victoria’s Secret and Sports Illustrated. Most people will say it, but it's all I adore and consume, really. A time before terrible filters and excessive, poor post-production, where it was as raw as a great eye, great talent, and great fashion pieces. Those photos are untouchable by today’s standards.


BIKINI: How do you capture your subject's genuine personality?

CC: I always try to make an effort to capture the subject matter, not for how they are or how they’ve been photographed before, but for any potential I see in them. So I’ll be caught staring on set day quite often, but it’s always my mind analysing and assembling in my head what I feel the person’s strengths or weaknesses are, and how I can in turn capture them in a way that people don’t think “oh that’s hot," but more, “the image is beautiful," which is an entirely different emotion. I want people to feel something when they see the shot, or I haven’t done my job.


BIKINI: What’s your favorite photo you’ve ever taken?

CC: I don't really have one to be honest! I sort of take the shot, it works, so I move on. If I could pick one shot, I shot a portrait of Kim in a Bali Villa we were commissioned to photograph at, where I just held up a reflector, leaned back and took the shot. The tones and color were all just right, and that two minutes of picture taking was worth taking the time to shoot it. Nothing technical, just a case of my eye saw something it liked, so I had to grab the camera. As you can imagine, I always have cameras with me!

BIKINI: Where’s a place you haven’t shot, but want to?

CC: Honestly any tropical beaches. The Maldives are an amazing spot to shoot, but the southeast beaches in the U.S. and South America are already planned to go, mainly for the level of talent available. I always say, "Put me on a beach with an incredible team and I’m happy."

BIKINI: How different are swim and fashion photography to you? How are they alike?

CC: I feel they’re two completely different worlds operating in what is perceived to be a similar space, but rightfully isn’t. Swimwear is typically commercial and rarely strays into high-end outside top tier photographers' fashion stories, but it’s where higher-end swimwear stories and the actual fashion world meet that I prefer to operate. Swim typically books shorter, more exotic and tanned/athletic looking models, with standard poses and looks, where fashion opts for more of a story in the imagery, with taller and more unique looking faces, depending on the story's requirements. I like the balance of fashion models' unique looks and exotic models in more of a story format than really anything else. As I’ve been told in the past by influential figures in the industry, "Anyone can photograph a girl in a bikini, but only the rare few can tell a fashion story with it," to which I completely agree with. I strive to be a part of the rare few, and incrementally separated from those considered to be my peers.


Get the Midnight Co. Ryder One PIece pictured above


BIKINI: Your swim photos definitely stand out in a (pardon the pun) sea of basic bikini shots. What techniques do you use to help tell a story with your photos?

CC: I do appreciate that! I think people have forgotten it's not about the model, it's not about the signature post-production or Internet fame, it's 100 percent about the garment and story, and how you can serve those two things the best.

To go into a bit of a spiel — I'm not here to get followers or make someone an Instagram celebrity, so my focus and motives in a shoot are vastly different than the majority. I'm not here for social media fame, I don't use the camera as a tool to date models, and I'm not in it for the money. I'm solely here to take a great photo. A photo that I myself can be proud of, and the people who matter in the industry to think highly of. So because I'm not focused on Internet fame, hooking up with models, or making money, the technique I use (if you can call it that) is to discard anything that distracts me from putting 200 percent into the image serving both the story and the garment. Everything else is just noise. I make sure I'm on a beach at least four out of seven days a week with a camera, and sitting in front of Photoshop, either being practical, or learning from shoots from the best by studying their work.