Hey Rob, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Thanks for having me! My name’s Rob, I run Head Drop which is primarily a photography brand but also spans out into videography and event promoting as well.
How did you 1st get into photography and more specifically wrestling photography?
I was studying Media in Norwich, and at that time my friend Gareth was involved in a wrestling production company called Pinfall Productions and they were filming WAW shows throughout Norfolk. He asked if I wanted to come and help out to give me some work experience for my course, and when I wasn’t filming I was asked to take a few photos for the DVD covers. I only had a little point and shoot which is almost certainly worse than most modern mobile phones but the standard of wrestling photography was not what it is now and I had good timing so I started to pick up work from there.
How long have you been in the industry?
I started helping on shows in 2006, although it took up a lot of my weekends it would be years and years later until it was something that I really took seriously and made a little money from.
What is your go to camera?
I’m currently shooting with a Nikon D750 for all my action and studio portrait work. In the last six months or so I’ve been working more on Polaroid as well, so I picked up a Polaroid OneStep+ and also dabbled in film photography. Chris Brookes lent me his Canon AE-1 for a couple of months and I loved it so much that I bought my own, Excited to use that more post-lockdown.
What tips do you have for inspiring photographers?
Don’t be afraid to ask, try not to get in the way, and get artistic inspiration from outside of wrestling as well. Make your stuff stand out, and you won’t be able to do that if all you’re doing is looking at other wrestling photographers.
What are some of your favourite UK promotions and wrestlers?
I love all my regular companies that I shoot for, like Riptide, Progress, Soul and EVE - they all put on a very high standard of the match and have a strong and enthusiastic fanbase. Shooting with Cara Noir is always great because he knows his character inside out, the same goes for people like Jerry Bakewell, Eddie Kingston, Pac, Charli Evans, Cassius, and Timothy Thatcher. It’s very difficult to take a bad photo of any of them, as they know exactly how to carry themselves in the ring. There are loads of others, I could go on all day - I’m very lucky to photograph some incredibly talented people on a regular basis.
What matches would you recommend a 1st time watcher look at to get into wrestling?
Probably something very recent, with big production values and English commentary. I don’t necessarily think it has to be something like Rock vs Austin as WrestleMania, although that is a very good choice - I’d probably look to an NXT match like Aleister Black vs Velveteen Dream, or something involving Darby Allin in AEW. Big characters and lots of action. It helps if it's a match where it looks like they’re trying to leather each other as well, there’s a recent Jack Gallagher vs Oney Lorcan match from 205 Live which I think would be a good gateway match for fans of MMA.
What walls and pitfalls have you come across since you got started?
The biggest wall was one I built for myself, for the longest time at the start I just coasted on what I could do and a very small scene for wrestling photography, and didn’t really try to get much better or do research into the art of photography. That definitely held me back initially once the scene started getting full of very talented photographers and made me buck my ideas up.
Who are some of your favourite wrestlers you have gotten the chance to work with?
My absolute favourite has to be William Regal. He was my favourite wrestler growing up, and whilst I didn’t get to photograph him as a wrestler, I did get to shoot him performing his one-man show and also a portrait session with him before a show. As ever, there are definitely things I would do differently if I have the chance to photograph him now, but I’m very happy with my work from that shoot and he’s an exceptionally kind and patient person to work with.
What other industries are you involved in?
I’ve also shot quite regularly in the cabaret and burlesque scene for quite some time, I’ve focussed less on that for the past year or so but it’s definitely something I want to work more regularly in once events are able to be put on again.
How important is the use of social media to build your reputation?
Social media is great for getting your brand out, wrestlers always retweet stuff and credit when posting my work so it gets my work out to people who wouldn’t necessarily be following me already. The more eyes I can get on the work that I’m putting out, the better.
What promotions have you worked with?
I’ve been fortunate to have shot for lots of companies in my time, places like Progress, Riptide, Soul, EVE and Wrestling Resurgence are some of my regulars but in the past, I’ve also shot for Shimmer, NXT, Fight Club Pro, Attack, FWA, Lucha Libre World, Rev Pro, WAW, Lucha Britannia and loads more.
What events have you promoted and where can we find them?
I started running events basically just because I’d always wanted to run one and had been talking about it for years. I’m a big fan of the British and European style from the 70s and 80s, and I was sort of seeing a lack of that influence on the current British scene. The quality of shows here now is so high, but it seems to mostly borrow from the Japanese, US and Mexican scenes so I wanted an outlet for the classic British style and figured there may be a market for it. I’m very happy with all three shows so far, and you can find matches from all of these under Head Drop on YouTube. I recommend starting with Cara Noir vs Connor Mills, and then the matches with Jerry Bakewell vs Timothy Thatcher and David Starr. All three are under the British Rounds format and are a great start if you’ve not seen modern rounds matches before.
Where can our readers find you online?
I’m @theheaddrop on Instagram which is probably my most used platform. Searching for Head Drop should bring everything up, but Instagram I try to upload stuff to on a daily basis.