Q&A

-What was the last workshop you attended and why? I don’t have time to attend workshops in truth mostly and at times I struggle to attend my own!


-How did you start out professionally in photography? I started at a young age of 7 developing films for my grandfather in the garden shed. He loved to shoot and I loved the whole process of developing and printing. To me it was magical and to this day I still see the final image in my head before I even unpack the gear as a mono in terms of tones and texture. I think this is where my process begins, to then stage and light that scene as an almost reversed engineered image from my mind. At 16 I went into the world of press and media working in the darkrooms of the Daily Mail and onwards out to start taking pictures myself and soon realised that my ‘different take’ and viewpoint on an image or scene started to be very popular with people like the Independent newspaper and the Guardian, I left and went to work for agencies from there


-What is your typical camera setup on a shoot? It varies depending on what I am shooting and what I am trying to create. Mostly, I work out in the environment with lighting rather than in a studio. I hate studios if I am honest and I don’t think that’s where cars belong, trapped in a big white box. I like to set them free and shoot them where they live and breathe life.


-You often work with Hasselblad cameras. Is there still an advantage to shooting medium format given that DSLRs have become so powerful in the last 2 years? Hasselblad gives me a quality of raw that I still think surpasses that of DSLR. People are a little obsessed with pixel count these days but it’s much more than that, it’s everything around the camera system; the lens quality, sensor type and sensor size. That said I use DSLRs also as I tend to see cameras as ‘tools’, so I pick the best tool for the job.


-Your photography focuses on the commercial and advertising market. Was this market always your goal or did you “stumble” into it? I left the photography business in my early 20’s due to a massive dip in work from a small recession we suffered back then. I joined the Royal Marines and took on a whole new challenge but on my return to the normal world I went into media management and worked in that part of the industry for many years. 7 years ago I was made redundant and took that opportunity to go back to what I loved and always felt that I needed to explore further. I did a business plan over 5 days of hard thinking and my goal was very firmly high-end commercial work shooting the prestige end of the car market. Don’t get me wrong it has not been easy to get to hear today after just a few years but hard work and determination are values that I think are sometimes under rated. I truly believe that anybody can achieve anything in life, it depends how much you want it. The difference between Triumph and trying is … a lot of ‘Umph’!


-How much fun is it to photograph some of the most beautifully designed cars, yachts and products ever created? I can’t lie, it’s great but people do seem to think it’s a very glamorous life. The truth is that there is a lot of pressure to come up with the results that are needed and the bigger the shoot and client, the greater the demands as they look to you to create something that’s outstanding. But it’s my job just like a plumber so I should be able to do it or I should not call myself a pro photographer.


-What is your post-production workflow like? In truth I try to keep my work in PS simple and try to achieve as much as possible in camera using position and lighting, this for me is the real craft of photography. I do think that there are a few things in everybody’s workflow that are very important.  Certainly to me, a good quality and calibrated monitor and a good back up storage system are essential!


-What is your dream project? I have always wanted to shoot a Aston Martin racing through one of the tunnels near the Alps in Switzerland being driven as 12 white horses gallop through with it. Capturing the movement and the intensity of what I think would be a beautiful shot; I also would like to shoot this ‘in camera’!


-What is your biggest resource in relation to technical knowledge and how long did it take you to master your technique? Lighting… lighting, lighting and lighting! This for me is the key, not only to good photography, but also to creating a unique style and the advancement of your work. It has taken me years to get where I am now and I have done it all by doing the one thing that I constantly tell people is the doorway to learning how to light… SHOOT and shoot some more and keep on shooting! Put the books down and the lighting diagrams and learn light for yourself and you will work out after time what works and also importantly what does not. It’s a life-long process! I learn something new each week and that’s something I love.


-What is your approach to attracting new clients and keeping the ones you already have? It’s about making that connection as a person firstly and not just meeting somebody to make money from them. Realising your place in the scheme of things and starting to have the mindset that you are part of their business and care genuinely about the their future and success. (A huge amount of info on this is in a business interview that lasts 1hr 20min and is currently live and available on Kelby Training… Click here to view the all of Tim's training videos)


-What was the best career advice you were ever given? Do what you want in life and don’t just accept things as they are. Be yourself as everybody else is taken and don’t wait for doors to open. Believe in yourself and the measure of success is often not how far you get in any one given moment but how much ability you have to pick yourself up after defeats and keep pushing forward.