by Ron Thomas Published 01/11/2010
Brief personal background and years as a pro.
I had a long career in telecoms engineering during which time I developed my skills shooting weddings in my spare time. This enabled me to finance my natural history photography. For the last two years, I have been able to call myself a full-time professional photographer. I am living the dream as I indulge my passion for the natural world and teach others how to interpret and photograph.
An Imperial box camera. I still have it.
Photography demands that you have a level of skill in both art and science. Couple that with analytical skills; if you can learn how to deconstruct images, then you are obliged to do a good job of constructing your own. I hope that in years to come, my pictures will be a record of what I have done with my life..
Film/digital (both?) Is there still any place for silver halide?
There is always a place for film. Any creative person should have any usable medium at their disposal. Digital is the way it is done just now. Twenty years ago, it was a development in the future. Who knows what will be the image recording method of choice in twenty years time? Creativity is the constant
Capture and output devices used
Canon DSLR cameras and lenses. I currently use an EOS-1D MkIII and a 5D MkII with several older cameras as standby/special usage. I bought into Canon digital because at the time I had several (mainly Pentax screw thread) lenses that could be adapted to work with the Canon EOS 10D.
I do the odd A3 print at home but for quality prints for clients, I use a lab. For my talks and lectures I use an Epson projector. I spend my time taking pictures, researching specific wildlife situations or on the PC processing images so I have not got involved in producing prints
Bit of detail about your own studio set-up/staffing
I work alone as the nature of what I do can require secrecy, camouflage, early morning/late evening expeditions, long term "wait and see" projects, bad weather and remote locations. When it comes to providing tuition (in the form of one-day courses), I try to replicate as far as possible in the lecture situation, wildlife photographic opportunities. For example, I set up garden type scenarios that can be used to photograph birds in a predictable and pleasing way. Attendees can take these ideas home and replicate what they have done on the course.
From the feedback I have received, I am told that course attendees like the way I explain both technique and practical ways to deal with photographing the natural world.
The problem with professional photographers today is...
I do believe that many photographers talk a good job when they should let their images speak for them. The images should always have the loudest voice.
The worst commercial errors you have made to date
Working for a long time in a situation that did not bring out the best in me.
How did you rectify them.
I started to work for myself
The lessons learnt
They are far too numerous to list here. I should have had the confidence to make the change earlier than I did
There are 164 days to get ready for The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
which starts on Wednesday 15th March 2023