Jak Spedding: interior and architecture photographer

Hi Jak, can you start by telling us where you are based and what you do? What do you want to achieve with your work?

I’m an interior and architecture photographer based in Manchester, UK.

From a client’s perspective, I hope that my work is financially rewarding for them and I’m always shooting with the knowledge that if I can help someone grow their business by producing imagery which will win them more work then I have done a good job.

From a personal angle, I want to make work that inspires me to go out and do it again the next day.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

If it’s a shoot day, it will always begin the night before, making sure every battery is charged and all my kit is ready to go. Last minute checks of the weather and sun locations are a regular occurrence, too.

An architectural shoot tends to be a full day and will start with a walk around the space we’re shooting, just seeing if there are any areas which may be different from the original plan or might need extra attention.

Then, all the Pelican cases are rolled out and everything is set up. I shoot using a combination of natural light and flash which can take quite a bit of setting up – the way I work is quite a methodical process, which is one of the aspects of architecture photography I enjoy: in some instances, it’s as much a box-ticking exercise as a creative process.

After any shoot there is always going to be a similar amount of time spent retouching, which involves me sitting in front of a screen making sure every wall is perfectly vertical for far too long.

Can you tell us about your career path? What is your educational background and how did you get started with photography?

I first started taking pictures on a gap year in China as a way to tell stories to people back home and it quickly became a passion.

I hadn’t really made any plans on what I wanted to do when I returned home and, as is the case for many people that age, university seemed like the obvious path, so I enrolled for a BA in Photography. From there I was really lucky that I was allowed to complete my second and third years online, as I got offered an assistant job during the summer of my first year.

After a couple of years assisting in a studio, I started branching out a bit and got quite a few different junior jobs abroad. I got to work in France, Portugal and Germany for a year before returning to the UK to take a full-time studio position.

Four years ago, agency life had stolen most of my creativity so I decided to take the next step and start my own company.

Why did you decide to focus on architecture photography? Was architecture always a passion of yours?

Funnily enough, I wanted to become an architect when I was younger and spent my work experience in school working for local architects.

Sadly, A level physics got in the way of those plans (something which I was told years later wouldn’t have even mattered) and I ended up going down the photography route.

Setting up for myself was a blank slate for me to shoot what I wanted. Agency life basically means shooting whatever is put in front of your camera, so I took my new lease of life to really concentrate on what I wanted to photograph. I’m a massive believer that if you’re passionate about something, you will do the best work – it becomes about more than just putting food on the table.

And one last question: what are your career plans for the next couple of years? Which projects or buildings would you love to photograph?

I think for any company, growth is always quite high on the list. Originally, I wanted to expand the company to employ more staff but my skill set isn’t in being an account manager and I love to be creative, so my growth will be working on larger projects and I would love to pick up more international work.

Before Covid hit, I had just started to find international clients. Sadly, that’s all been pushed back, but luckily there are really interesting things happening much closer to home. The Manchester skyline is changing rapidly at the moment and it’s really cool to be one of the people who gets to document what is happening there.


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