People ask similar questions, so here is a page of similar answers.
I Hear You Hate Photoshop - Whats The Deal?
To be clear, I don't hate photoshop or the digital workflow. I'll do exposure correction, levels, dodge and burn, and i'll remove obvious blemishes digitally like everyone else. But that's it, and it's a 10 minute rule. At 10 minutes I accept the image just isn't right, write it off and plan to shoot another instead.
I've got two reasons for this. Firstly, I suffer with blepharitis - an eye condition which is largely brought on by looking at screens for too long. My eyes stop blinking, dry up and then it hurts. A lot. For days. Pavlov and his dogs couldn't have made a better incentive for me to minimise time in digital post.
The second reason is that I'm actually against most of what photoshop is used (or abused) for these days anyway. What I see too often is overcooking where it wasn't needed. Too many plasticised faces and liquified bodies where every pore has been cloned out, or the clarity has been ramped up so every pore is a lunar crater - it's just not my bag. Don't get me wrong, I see some artists producing astounding visual art using photoshop, and I applaud them. But for me, that's not photography, that's something else that uses photography as a raw material.
Instead, I try to put my energy into getting it right at the point where I take the shot. If I got it right, then I don't have to spend more than 10 minutes on it at the computer desk later. It's an old school methodology, but it suits me well and means my post workflow is pretty much the same in digital or film.
For software I have used Lightroom exclusively for many years, first on desktop and now increasingly on iPad. I don't like adobe's subscription model, but the Creative cloud link between desktop, iPad, and this site, are keeping me with them for the moment.
I'm In A Shot You Took, I'm Not Happy About You Selling An Image With Me In It.
Well, no has said this yet as it's rare I shoot street images, and I don't sell stock imagery. But if this is the case I'm very sorry to hear it and I want you to email me and tell me right away. Include a picture of yourself taken with a phone or webcam so I can see that it really is you in the picture and not a hoax. The reality is that with event or re-enactment images, you guys in the shot are probably the only people who would buy it anyway. I'm not out to exploit you so if you're that sure you don't want it out on the web, then I don't want it taking up site space either.
What Kind Of Camera Do You Use?
Early on I tried Canon, Sony, Panasonic, and Fuji systems before eventually falling in love with Leica's M system rangefinders in film and digital. I indulged my 120 roll film addiction with an old Hasselblad or Contax here and there, but otherwise I learnt using the Leica M system. I heartily recommend it to anyone. The minimalism of the system will teach you more about photography than any course, and the glass is to die for.
That said, it's also a monstrously expensive camera system and as of 2019, I now shoot Nikon. That might be a shock for folks ending up here from an old LFI blog or Steve Huff post, but I'm just not willing to spend that kind of money on a hobby anymore. It isn't an investment, it's depreciation.
These days I use a Z6 for digital, and an F6 for film. I have a handful of the new Z glass and the FTZ alongside a selection of classic Ai-S lenses to use between them. The Nikon kit is well beyond 'good enough', presents no limiting factors (some of the old AiS glass is truly gorgeous in fact) and now my whole rig costs as much as one fast lens from Leica. Perhaps I've finally got a little older and wiser!
For lighting I use a combo of Arri Fresnels and Elinchrom scan lights for studio work, and good old fashioned natural light with an occasional reflector outdoors.
What other Photographers do you admire or follow?
My arts education is college level, and I'm a philistine at heart, but I know what I like when I see it.
I love the work of Hurrell, Bull, Man Ray, Lee Miller, Mark Shaw, Edward Quinn, and JeanLoup Sieff.
For more modern names, I admire Vincent Peters work, also Peter Lindbergh and for different reasons, Sebastiao Salgado. But generally I try not to obsess over other photographers work too much. It's hard enough to pull original ideas out of your head without drowning yourself in other peoples work non stop.
The photographers and sites I follow, tend not to be about the work, but about being enthused by people who are genuinely enthusiastic. My top pick for getting enthused? I go to Johnny Patience's Site every time. I also still love seeing Steve Huff get worked up over a new toy, and value Ming Thein's more analytic articles. No 500px, no youtube, no hanging around on Purpleport or Model Mayhem -sorry!
Do you have a Photographic pet hate?
I'm fast becoming a very grumpy old man, so on any given day that could be a big list.... but up at the top, for a long time now has been 'the homeless project'. As far as I am concerned, unless you have a longstanding relationship with a homeless charity who has explicitly asked for your help, or you are paying your subject the going rate for a portrait model, you're exploiting those people and helping only yourself.
In other words, if you really want to help the homeless, go volunteer a few hours every week or month at your local shelters or soup kitchens and leave the camera at home, and then you'll be helping someone up rather than standing on their shoulders.