Tips from celebrity photographer Jules Tahan


25 Aug 2016

hero jules tahan



Tips from celebrity photographer Jules Tahan

25 Aug 2016

Celebrity photographer Jules Tahan has captured many famous faces over the years – from Molly Meldrum to Heston Bluementhal.

Masterclass of Photography with Jules Tahan

Jules recently took time out of his busy schedule to lead a free Masterclass in Photography at SAE Melbourne where he shared his extensive knowledge of the photography industry to a packed classroom.

The masterclass saw Jules sharing his expertise and providing some fantastic tips to the room of aspiring creatives looking to carve out their own niche in photography. 

Masterclass of Photography SAE Melbourne

Here are some key take-aways from the Masterclass with Jules Tahan.

Jules Tahan's Professional Background

Jules initially took up photography as an interest before he quickly realised there was more skill required than simply point-and-shoot. 

This realisation lead him to studying a diploma of photography before going on to work as a Photography Assistant for three years, until he decided to start his own business. 

Jules’ goal was to learn as much as possible as a photography assistant before taking on the bigger challenge and moving on to the next stage of his career.

Masterclass of Photography with Jules Tahan

Studying Photography

When asked about the difference between studying photography and working in photography, Jules replied it was very different but they went hand-in-hand. On the job experience provided him the strategies and rapport to solve problems and deal with the pressure of making an image from a collection of moments. But a photography course allowed Jules to refine and finesse his technique and ability to focus on the concept.

It was great way to learn all the fundamentals of photography and also experiment lots. It's great making mistakes at school because you can guarantee you will learn from it without too much of a cost to others.

Approach to Photography

"I love the creative process – bringing out a sense of emotion and story in my images," Jules said.

“Getting to know the creative team, the subjects we’re shooting and realising the vision are incredibly important to me. I’m fascinated with the manipulation of light and the enhancements that can be made in post-production.”

Masterclass of Photography SAE Melbourne

A key word of advice, be prepared.

Jules professes that things don’t happen by accident – there’s always a huge amount of planning that goes into making a shot look spontaneous.

In fact, planning has played a massive component of many of the projects he has worked on. At one point, his mantra was “Research, research, research”.

Jules gave an example of this when he was shooting the famous racing horse Black Caviar. The horse had a busier schedule than some of the human subjects he had shot, so timing was critical. It was also harder to build rapport with an animal over a human subject. He also had to take into consideration, the flash and bright lights, and the effects this may have on the horse. A second limitation was that the shoot could only be taken in a stable, so the background had to be super-imposed in post-production.

Black Caviar. Photo by Jules Tahan 

Image: Black Caviar by Jules Tahan and Stuart Wilson 

Photography Tips by Jules Tahan

  • Photographers need to be quick on their feet and know their tools inside out.
  • Don’t over complicate things, focus on the subject, not the technique.
  • Treat others with respect. Respect for your subjects, their team and your own team.
  • Do your research about the person. Get an understanding of what works for them.
  • Communicate. Let your subject know of your intentions and spend time with them to share the concept of the photo, answer questions/concerns and build rapport.
  • Communicate straight away to them and the team what your intentions are for the shoot and how you will go about it. This helps gain trust and respect between you and the subject.
  • Have a clear understanding of what the deliverable is and what the conceptual idea or story is. Especially if this hasn't been developed by a creative team for advertising and is more an editorial piece.
  • Have a plan and be ready to go.
  • Remember we are all human in front and behind the lens so be yourself.
  • Demand respect but don’t be demanding.
  • Have fun.


INSTAGRAM: @julestahan

Study Design at SAE

If you are interested in Photography then consider studying at SAE Institute.

With SAE’s focus on creative media, it will be ideal for anyone wanting to work as a photographer in the music and film industries.

SAE Institute intakes occur three times a year – February, May and September.

Enquire now