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John Dean - Photographer

If you happen to be in Cronulla, strolling along the foreshore and hear a buzzing above, it's likely there's a man with a remote control nearby operating a drone. That man is John Dean, and he is the master behind the stunning image we have on the front of this edition of 2230 magazine.

Background of John Dean

John grew up in the Southern suburbs of Sydney and knows the area well, despite confessing that, like many locals, he is not a surfer. He does, however, spend many a morning down at the beach chasing the waves and those that inhabit them as a drone photographer. If you’re up early enough on a nice morning you’re likely to see him.

John’s interest in photography goes back to when he was in high school and learnt the basics in the darkroom. He picked it up again as a hobby after finishing a Communications degree at university. But it’s really been during the past five years that he started to pursue it in earnest.

His transition to drone photography came about when consumer drones first hit the market, but it wasn't until more portable models were released that he decided to invest in a DJI Mavic Pro, the same drone he flies today.

And it wasn't until COVID, that John took his passion to the next level, commercialisation!

In John’s words, “Losing my media job due to the pandemic allowed me to take stock of what I wanted to do next. Photography was always something I was doing on the side, but hadn’t really promoted or pushed. Having that extra free time gave me the chance to shoot more often, start up my online print shop and give it a crack.

“It’s certainly a business that has its up and downs in terms of busy and quiet periods, but it’s rewarding knowing that your work resonates with people, and they find value in it.

“I’m still learning myself, and I’ve actually just found a new full time job, but my advice would be try and diversify what you shoot and offer, even within a particular niche of photography.

“My next challenge is juggling a little photography business with full time work.”

So, according to John, what does it take to get the perfect shot?

“I love sunrises and sunsets, along with Golden Hour – the period after or before [them]. Many people ask me how I get my surfing shots, and it was something I came upon by chance early on. I usually take those an hour or two after sunrise when the sun lights up the water but it’s not too harsh.”

John’s work is well recognised, and he has a huge following on Instagram with over 32,000 followers. You can check out a selection of his shots on his website, where you can also purchase prints. If you want to see more, jump on to his Instagram @johndean_ where he uploads new photos each week.

Insta: @johndean_ E:


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