Interview with Steve Casting

by Louis Schoeman on Jan 13, 2017

We have started a new blog section called "Featured Interviews" where we go out and interview photographers who have registered on our website. We will be asking questions and learning from photographers and other professionals from all genres, so that we can all learn from one another. We recently asked our team manager Warren Akerman to go and interview a well known photographer, Steve Casting who is based in Bryanston, South Africa.  

SA  - Firstly thanks for taking the time out of your schedule we really appreciate it Steve. For those who are not familiar with you and your amazing work, can you tell our members a bit about yourself and what you genre you specialize in.

Steve Casting - Thank you Warren. I own a Casting Agency in Gauteng and Durban and a Production Company that specializes in TVC and Feature Films. In my Photography, I’m broadly known for my Glamour Work but have slowly started to move towards specialist Portraiture. I have successfully produced a variety of Stills Productions locally as well as abroad. Now days I only do photography for the corporate industry and no longer shoot for the public / the private sector.

SA - How and where did your career start Steve? Did you always want to be a photographer?

Steve Casting -  Warren, my career in Photography started professionally in 2014 but I have been involved in the Creative Industry for 10 years now. Strangely enough I never thought of being a Photographer. I’ve always produced and been active as an Art Director in the Industry. My choice in picking up a camera came from when I was struggling with other creative’s (Photographers) in seeing my vision. 

SA – What was your most challenging assignment?

Steve Casting - Collaboration on a Calendar Shoot (no names mentioned) that turned out to be an absolute disaster with Agency and Creative’s not understanding the Storyboard and client getting really upset on set!

SA – What is the funniest thing that has ever happened during an assignment?

Steve Casting -  At the time, this was hilarious, whilst on production for a certain well known men's nude magazine at a very exclusive 5-Star Boutique Hotel in Sandhurst, we had our model posing nude in the garden, and unbeknown to us, there was a Wedding taking place and the Groomsmen party had come out onto the balcony, suddenly we heard a woman shouting and we looked up and the young Groom was getting the Third Degree from who we suspected was his Mom or new Mother-in-law. Apparently he had been enjoying the “view” a little too much….

SA - Hahaha, he probably got flash-backs from his bachelors party! What advice can you give aspiring photographers in your field?

Steve Casting - Never, never ever stop learning and constantly be your own worst critic. Keep your ego’s in check and have FUN. I always say at my Workshops, that you really need to take the “technical “out of Photography and apply a fun creative angle. Strive to be the Photographer, Art Director, Post Edit Department and Creative Director.

SA – True that Steve. My grandfather always used to say “The moment you think you know everything about photography, put your camera down and take up gardening”. Having photographed nudes myself we obviously have both heard about the trolls who use our art and our industry to try and take advantage of models. I for one always request that models be accompanied by a member of their family or significant other when I photograph them.  What other advice can you give models looking for a genuine photographer, how and where do they start?

Steve Casting - Yes Warren, this can be a very sensitive topic. Firstly, the Model really should look at the Photographers portfolio but also having said this, he may be new in the Industry, so that could be a problem. Social Media Platforms have allowed us to better “qualify “who we work with and it has made our Industry a very small workspace. My advice would be, after you have Facebook stalked the Photographer, to ask other Models and you will pretty much so be able to make up you mind. Please also bear in mind that there is the “scorned “Model out there, so speak to several Models before making up your mind.

SA – Living in the digital age is both a blessing and a burden in disguise. What would you say are keys elements to marketing oneself correctly and efficiently?

Steve Casting - Don’t brand yourself with sub standard work! As stated in the last question, Social Media is a powerful tool and can be used as an successful platform for Marketing, Branding and Commerce. Warren, I have created a Brand that may not work for everyone, so maybe it’s best I keep quiet on this one….hahaha.

SA – Which photographers have or continue to inspire you?

Steve Casting - Rey Mangouta & Gary Miller ( each for their own reasons ).

SA – What makes you excited about being a photographer in South Africa?

Steve Casting - Easy….we have the most beautiful woman…. Seriously, we have such a diverse and talented young sector that is coming up the ranks that I believe will compete against International standards. I believe that the Commercial sector has also opened wide open. I’m talking apertures at f1.4….lol.

SA – We all get our bad days when Murphy decides to do his thing and everything goes to pot and nothing seems to be going right. Explain your mindset in such a situation and what you do to remain positive and push through.

Steve Casting - Warren, oh my, this has happened and as a Creative, we tend to really get frustrated. Am I allowed to be absolutely honest here? It’s called TEQUILA, she comforts me and reassures me that all will be well and if that doesn’t work, you need to pull together as a TEAM, yes that's right, as you are only as good as your TEAM. I have a good team behind me that makes for a good production, hence, favourable results.

SA – Haha, ok,ok……. We have steered away from this question for as long as possible now. We all know that the brand names war is just a marketing strategy by camera manufacturers or as I like to call them (various firmwares). We also know that merely owning a camera doesn’t make you a professional photographer, just like by owning a pen doesn’t make you an author. None the less here goes….. what is your firmware of choice?

Steve Casting - NIKON……why are there any other brands out there? 

SA – Hahaha  (coughing and clearing of throat)I believe there are, I use one of the others, hahaha. What focal length lens(es) do you enjoy working with ?

Steve Casting - Warren, without any doubt my Sigma Primes 85mm,50mm & 35mm. My absolute go to lens is my 85mm best for portraits! 

SA - Joe McNally says exactly the same thing regarding the 85mm. Which do you enjoy working with, natural light or artificial light? Or does the set and client requirement dictate which you will be using?

Steve Casting - I’m a strobist all the way but you will notice that I introduce Natural light in most of my Photography, so there is a fine balance between the two. On many occasions I have had to shoot natural but this was more for “general “corporate work whilst travelling in Africa. I will NEVER take on a commercial client that is looking for a “ natural “ light feel as it is beyond my skill set and for this I would contract another specialist.

SA – There is a huge stigma regarding our trade, most think its glamorous, few see the long hours, jetlag, travelling times, prepping, sleepless nights, deadlines and pressure we work through. During all of this we also have to keep up with market trends, while still being true to ourselves and unique in our style while constantly learning from ourselves and others. What advice can you give people who are looking for but have not yet found their unique style. How do they go about finding it?

Steve Casting - The problem we have is the Millennial’s who expect “instant gratification “ Guys, this is a creative process that takes TIME !! I would advise that you find a Photographer that inspires you then look at creating your own technique, whether it is in how you edit or the angles in which you shoot. Personally, when I started I emulated a close working colleague but changed the Editing process completely and also the Genre. The most important thing I can say is, don’t get hung up on other people's work, focus on your OWN! Where can people get in touch with you?

Steve Casting- I’m a Social Media bunny, so through Facebook or they can email me at

SA – Thanks for giving us the opportunity to interview you Steve. Good luck with your 2017’s assignments. We’ll stay in contact and showcase your work on our website as the year progresses, thanks again.

Steve Casting- Thank you Warren and good luck with your venture. I’m looking forward to some exciting blogs and being part of the team in the future!

SA – Sure thing Steve, you’re the first of many more to come. Thanks again for your time.   


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