Artist of the Month | William B. Folsom | Photographer Fort Mill, SC | January 2016
"There's a subtle dance between aperture, shutter speed, and iso. You're missing the opportunity to be really creative if you don't understand exactly how to do it...and sometimes you fail. Don't be afraid to fail."--William B. Folsom
William Folsom is a Photographer based in Fort Mill, SC. He has over 30 years experience in the field, and he started his journey with a Brownie Hawkeye in hand during the film days in the 1954.
It was on a beautiful Christmas day with blue skies and heavy snow all around that this accomplished photographer was handed this camera by his grandfather. Even at the ripe age of 11 he was astounded by being able to capture the natural, stunning beauty surrounding him.
In 1956 he purchased his favorite camera, the Zeiss Contaflex with 2 lenses, a wide angle and a medium zoom lens. He didn't upgrade again until the 2000's! From there he went digital and absolutely loves it. William's current favorite cameras are the D700, D800, and the D810 even though he owns a D3, D4, and a D4s as well. For him the D810 is much lighter than those of 3 and 4 series.
Publications and Accomplishments
His accomplishments include being featured on over 100 magazine covers, published in many books, and writing 3 books of his own. He had a great relationship with the Fairfax County Police Department and was invited to many of their events to photograph them.
His biggest magazine cover accomplishment came in 1995 when he was featured on the November issue of the International edition of Time magazine. It's quite a story! He took images of an Amercian soldier with an American flag as a backdrop. All of the images came out wonderful with perfect lighting, posing, etc. There was 1 image where the flash on the soldier misfired. This created a very dramatic portrait, because the flag in the background is perfectly exposed, while the soldier in the foreground is a bit dark with very little
contrast. He accidentally submitted that image to his agent along with the others. Apparently his agent had an eye for drama, and he submitted that one to Time! I have said so many times that our "mistakes" or "accidents" sometimes make the best art, and this is a wonderful example of that. "Civil War Times Illustrated" is one of his favorite magazines to be featured on. The editor told him that when they feature one of his photos on the cover they sell apporximately 5,000 more copies than when they don't. They actually chose one of his images to use for the 50th anniversary edition. He also enjoyed working with "Army" magazine, and he was able to travel to many different bases. He's written and published 3 books: Event Photography Handbook, Butterfly Photographer's Handbook-A Comprehensive Reference for Nature Photographers, and The Art and Science of Butterfly Photography. His photos have been published in many books to include North Carolina on My Mind, Virginia on My Mind, Your Wedding Perfectly Planned and Personalized, and Fighters The World's Great Aces and Their Planes.
What he's doing now.
Currently he's working on wildlife and nature photography within his personal body of work. He moved to SC a couple of years ago, and he's now in a position to experience so many new vistas. His upcoming events include traveling to Costa Rica in the spring of 2016 to photographer butterflies, heading over to Greece to capture the Greek Isles, and then he's off to Rome!
Professionally he's working with a few commercial clients in addition to leading his photography workshops, where he takes you from having zero camera/photography knowledge to being able to shoot in manual mode, learning composition philosophies, as well as learning the necessary language of photography.
Photography is William B. Folsom's life. If you ever have the pleasure of conversing with him you'll soon notice that there's no getting away from having some sort of dialogue about photography. He says, "As long as I have my camera, I'm having fun!"
When I asked William how he is different from other photographers, his response was "nothing". That is exactly what makes him different! He is a gentle, humble man, and this part of his character really speaks in his work as well as drives clients to his doors.
The image to the left is part of his Wedding Series at Nim's Lake located in Fort Mill, SC. He and his team offer weddings on the lake, and there are many beautiful vistas there to choose from for engagement and Bridal shots. His team is comprised of Tim Williams, the President of Williams Photography, and Jake Williams, lighting assistant and boat guide. They also offer guided trips on the lake for other photographers to capture some wildlife images. At times I am also part of the his team as a contracted wedding photographer.
William feels a team that works well together is extremely important in today's wedding photography market. He enjoys having all of the different artistic styles as well as other photographers to have a different approach than his own. This allows him to cater to a variety of clients and appeal to many different tastes within any given event. Personally he takes a very strong traditional approach to portraits.
His Advice to Beginners
"There's a subtle dance between aperture, shutter speed, and iso. You're missing the opportunity to be really creative if you don't understand exactly how to do it...and sometimes you fail. Don't be afraid to fail."
If you would like to hire William, take one of his classes, schedule a guided tour, or get to know him more, you may contact him here.
Rock Hill SC
All images contained in this article are Copyright Williams Photography or William B. Folsom.