About Mike French
Since leaving Plymouth University back in 2011, I have enjoyed shaping a career in marketing and design. After growing up in Somerset, a short time spent in Norfolk made me appreciate Devon and the South West much more. Luckily my wife got a job as a doctor in Torbay and so we packed the three cats up and found a cosy place to call home.
Experience – From Architecture to Marketing
I originally studied Architecture but gradually over time I started to lean more towards creating and less to the bureaucracy of British standards….
yawn. Marketing and Architecture actually find themselves very similar with both requiring diplomacy, planning, a creative approach and careful management. My time in Norwich was spent working for the UK’s largest independent automotive retailer with over 80 stores throughout the East of England. It was busy and I learnt a lot but upon moving back to Devon I found myself developing a brand that has now become an international success.
When I’m not being creative
Photography drives my friends and family mad. Not a day goes by where I don’t take a photo of something but my other weekly fixes include walking and bikes. As a kid, I spent enough time bugging the local bike shop that I finally got a job building and fiddling with bikes. Back then I was photographing local bike races with my Nikon D90 and a borrowed 80-200mm. After cutting my teeth (and braking my back) with DSLRs I made the move over to the Fuji X-System and haven’t looked back.
Mike’s camera bag
I shoot with a Fuji X-E2 because it is tiny, light and has superb image quality. It completely transformed my outlook on photography and made me enjoy taking pictures again. The cool range finder look also helps. Lens wise, I shoot my landscapes with the incredibly sharp Samyang 12mm F2. For a fraction of the cost of a big Nikon lens, it offers amazing sharpness and colour rendering in a manual focus package. I now use a Fuji 35mm F2 and an 18-55mm F2.8-4 for my day-to-day and professional requirements, with a rather lovely Super Takumar 135mm F3.5 for times when I need a longer prime.
For lighting I use 2x Nikon speedlights (SB700, and SB800) along with a Nissin Di466 and Cactus V6 Triggers along with a plethora of umbrellas, softboxes, and reflectors to shape the light as I wish. Recently my trusty Giottos become a bi-pod instead of a tripod when a leg ‘fell off’ so I have now started using the tiny Manfrotto BeFree which is perfect for a small mirrorless camera.
All of this packs away in to a combination of a Think Tank Retrospective 5 for day to day, Lowepro Flipside 400 for landscape work and a Nova 200 for weddings.