Hello, and welcome to gophototraining, designed to support my photography workshop and seminar activities in and around the UK.
Thank you for the amazing feedback we get about our events. These countless positive comments from people who have been on courses previously, are very much appreciated. Not just about the content, but also about our style.
As an experienced, working photographer, I have been able to tackle a vast range of subject matter professionally. So far. It has been an amazing mix during three decades plus, and a lot of shots. This gives me a wealth of ‘real world’ experiences to draw upon, not just the theory but having used it continuously.
I have been lucky enough also to be immersed working with and for, some of the worlds leading imaging companies when it comes to cameras, lighting and software.
Formerly for a number of years ‘The Advisor Of Photography’ for Nikon Corporation in the UK, I remain flattered that decades later, that they still utalise me as an Evangelist to help explain the system and inspire its users.
I have also used my technical background and photography skills as a consultant and or as a photographer, for a wide range of companies. Some of those include Hasselblad, Contax, Olympus, Adobe, and Profoto among others, to help educate and inspire people to better photography.
And I remain flattered that some companies have and do involve me in product assessment and development feedback before launches.
It is interesting though how you can be perceived. Some only know, or see me just as a photographer.
Others for example, because of the magazine and book writing I have done in the past, the training events, or my technical role with photographic companies, not as a photographer at all. But a ‘technical’ bod.
In truth, that is my fault, as I don’t always fill in the blanks. But you certainly can quite easily become stereotyped. “Que Sera, Sera, whatever will be, will be” and all that.
As for professional photography? I have photographed the well known from royalty, actors, politicians and other well-known people over the years, to the great British Public, from portraits to weddings or at numerous events, plus business images.
Then the fashion stuff, and numerous other kinds of people work through to diverse subjects as scene of crime imagery, to photographing laser beams. Throw in architectural imagery, product photography, low light photography, then some landscape and close-up images, and it has been an interesting mix to say the least so far.
And it certainly has kept me motivated and on my toes.
But there are some things we no longer shoot. That may be because the market has changed, or I wanted the challenge of new areas. And you can only do so much at any one time I think, if you are to do it well.
You meet the positive, the negative, the confident, the unsure. But it is your job as a photographer to understand and be able to accommodate each, and get the best from them on the day.
Knowing how to instinctively use your equipment of choice makes a photographers life so much easier.
On that score, I am blessed as many say nice things about my positive personality. I can’t help it, I am who I am:).
But my shooting experience and technical knowledge do give a solid foundation to work from across genres, and I put that back into my courses to try and help others and save them time by giving clarity to techniques and kit use.
From the beginner who maybe wants to create nice looking family or travel images, to the pro looking at new genres, or tackling their current ones more efficiently, that ‘real’ world’ background helps. In fact it is invaluable.
So where are we today? There are often more hits than misses in an acceptable technical sense from the off today. And that’s no bad. Credit the manufacturers, We have for example, never had previously more accurate and flexible cameras as we have today. But another day, and that same technology same settings may give a noticeably different result.
So for me, the bottom line is this; if you don’t understand the basic principles of image making – I call it ‘the craft’ – how can you truly judge any bit of technology for its benefits? Or get the best from it?
Certainly without some basic craft skills, I don’t believe you will be around long term as a pro photographer, or reach your potential as an enthusiast either.
And when you add up what equipment can cost, knowing when and how to step in still just helps realise a cameras; lens or lighting potential. Good technology harnessed alongside real photography skills are a world away from pressing a few buttons and accepting what you get.
I have enjoyed shooting film, from large format through various medium formats, 135mm and others. But a shock when I think about it, is that I first came into contact with digital capture in 1988. And of course, have immersed myself in that as well for a very long time now.
My lighting skills remain a strength to what I do, but I retain an interest and passion for photography in many forms.
Thousands have kindly been to our events over the decades now, so I guess there must be something to that. Photography should not be a chore with the technical stuff stifling our creativity, just a vehicle to get there, and realise your vision.
So if you are kind enough to join us at an event, I look forward to sharing some of my enthusiasm. We have wide ranging courses, covering the needs of those beginning their photographic journey as a hobby, the enthusiast, to the professional, wishing to extend or just reaffirm their existing skill set.
Step – by -step and easy to follow, with really useful levels of knowledge, and skills delivered to our delegates. Our courses either direct or through our ‘Partner’ companies, aim to help your photography achieve what you want it to in minimum time. And with the equipment you wish to use.
I am pleased that my own photography resides in peoples homes, has been published countless times in books, magazines, used by well known high street names and in our national newspapers, let alone in other media and around the world.
Yet for all that, while I am not looking to be in photography’s all time ‘hall of fame’, I still feel I have not quite achieved much yet.
Guess I had better put some effort in:).
My best wishes and good photography… John.
I am immensely flattered when people mention some of the books and magazine features on photography that I have been lucky enough to be a part of.
My photographic background gave me a solid foundation to call upon.
By combining those with my experiences as a pro photographer, it has been possible with limited writing skills, to have enough to say for book publishers to invite me to become an author. In all I have authored over a dozen titles.
While I did that alongside my main work as a photographer, I went on as a ‘freelance’ to have technical contributor/consultant/editor roles for such titles as:
British Journal Of Photography (Freelance Technical Contributor).
Professional Photographer (Freelance Technical Contributor).
Photo Pro (Freelance Technical Editor.)
Amateur Photographer (Freelance Technical Contributor).
Practical Photographer (Freelance Technical Consultant).
Nikon Pro (Freelance Technical Contributor).
Nikon Magazine (Technical Editor).
Mac User & PC Pro (Technical Contributor).
As for the books, they covered both product based guides for publishes Hove Foto, plus techniques/post capture for Applied Visual Arts (AVA).
Of the former, my book on AF Nikkor lenses was the most enjoyable to write, but those on Speedlights were also popular in the days before many were writing about them in detail.
It gave me a chance to share my ‘reservoir’ of knowledge having been emerged in Nikkor optics, their design and application for Nikon.
I was very lucky in that I had also been able to shoot with most of the lenses the corporation had made both manual and autofocus. Few in fact had escaped me, which looking back was quite an achievement.
Even today, each year people still come up and say such nice things about that book being a ‘bible’ or ‘go to’ book for its guidance, many years after it became outdated.
It was intended to be updated, but such was the speed at which Nikon started to produce lenses, alongside the publishing world being effected by ‘online’, that the publishers understandably decided not to pursue that.
I still have an interest not just in ‘Nikkor’ but all lenses of quality, and try to keep up to date in a general sense.
As for the Speedlights, well they are the most amazing and useful of tools, so I was glad to join some dots for people long before they became as popular as they are today.
I enjoyed working on all the technique books, particularly the close-up and monochrome titles. At the end of it all, it is not about the kit, but the images we create.
I stopped writing a few years ago, as it was not something I had intended to do long term. It takes an enormous amount of time and effort, and I did want to expand on my workshops and their frequency, so something had to go.
Should a magazine or publisher come along that seems to have a ’fit’ with me and I think I could offer something, then I may do so again. But if I don’t, I am pleased with what I did.
You would always in retrospect change a few things go into more or less detail for example. But with the aid of some excellent editors, I think we gave some really useful information and guidance out, to help people develop their photography further.