Meet Ryan & Robert: the photography team with an eye for detail

  • Issue no. 3

In this issue, we spoke to Dean and Martin, a photographer and stylist team with twenty years experience marketing luxury products, brands and services through stunning photography. You can explore more of their work by clicking here. 

So first things first, Dean and Martin, please can you confirm where the name Ryan & Robert comes from?

Ryan&Robert was formed by pairing our middle names, Dean Ryan McDaid and Martin Robert Buckley. We feel there’s something particularly personal about middle names, which also underpins how we like to work with our clients.

So you two are a dynamic duo, please can you explain how that works?

First and foremost, we’re husbands, which brings an extra dynamic to our working life. We’re both instinctive creatives and have spent many years working as a team. It’s actually pretty straight forward, Dean oversees all photography whilst Martin looks after all business aspects, and everything else in between is a collaboration. When working with our hospitality clients Martin also tends to oversee the styling and preparation of the spaces we photograph.

This is a genius partnership, and styling is often overlooked, can you tell us why you think it’s so important particularly in the hospitality industry?

We both have such a keen eye for detail and believe it’s such an important factor in elevating the final result, especially when shooting spaces with lots of physical objects. We’re also obsessed with lines and symmetry so I guess you could say this happened out of necessity, as you’re quite right, this important element is often overlooked. We’ve often found ourselves on shoots where we’ve completely reconfigured a space where the client then adopts the new layout after we’ve finished shooting. Equally, small changes can be really impactful to the final photos.

When we enter a space for the first time, we have fresh eyes – especially from a photography perspective. How a room reads in person, can be very different to how it reads in camera and as we shoot from different angles the space needs to be adjusted to the lens. Our experience equally translates when shooting F&B, product & people, and if a separate stylist hasn’t been appointed, we tend to take the lead on this.

So this issue of  TAH is all about ‘experiences’. When tackling a brief, how important is it that you capture the essence of that space?

The key to photography in the hospitality sector is to, as you said, capture the essence of the space, rather than overly enhancing, or completely changing the feel of it. A big trend with hotels years ago was using lots of lighting in their photos which actually completely changed the look and feel of a space. And whilst they can be gorgeous photos the customer is always going to be disappointed when entering the space as they were sold something differently online.

We use lights but always make sure that they are only used to balance the lighting of the space and truly capture its essence.

How do you go about making sure that translates into the imagery?

It’s important to consider the framing and what kind of story we’re looking to tell. Are we trying to convey and entire space or capture a more intimate moment. Most shoots we work on are a combination of both. For most clients, they want to capture the imagination of their audience and when done right, the imagery should transport the viewer.

What would you say is the single most important aspect when considering this?

Having full understanding of the creative brief. We’re seeing a shift where some clients are moving away from the crisp clean untouched feel with their photography and are opting for a more lifestyle approach. This might be an unmade bed (but well styled), human touches, people enjoying themselves etc.

What’s the best experience you have had on set?

We can’t put our finger on one time in particular, but what’s so amazing about doing what we do is that we are always working with different clients and teams of creatives. Whilst sometimes you can run into some tricky characters, for the most part when everyone is gelling really well the vibe on set is just so positive and wonderful, it’s always in those situations where you create your best work and can leave set feeling great.

Any insider tips or trade secrets you can give us?

A huge factor for us in what we do is being respectful, positive and easy to work with. There’s nothing worse than working with someone with an attitude or bad energy, so we have always done our best to enhance the mood and just be really lovely. Something that has taken us a lot of time to understand is learning when to say no, sometimes something just isn’t possible and the last thing we would want, is for the client to be disappointed. So have conviction, trust in your experience and explain why something may not work and present an alternative solution.

Chris Hill
Senior Photographic Producer

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