Today I welcome a very special guest, a photographer and educator from the United Kingdom, Andrew S. Gibson.
I was introduced to Andrew's art and teachings for the first time when I came across his book titled, Mastering Composition.
What struck me the most was how he excels at so many various genres and styles from landscapes and portraits to macro and conceptual photography. I was also impressed with the depth of his teachings and how he manages to break down the complex concept of composition in photography to an even greater, more incredible depth. This book became my companion for many months.
To begin, please introduce yourself and let the PhotoTraces audience know who Andrew S. Gibson is.
I am a writer and photographer based in the UK. I've been interested in photography for over 20 years. I run The Creative Photographer website and write and publish books about photography.
How long have you been a professional photographer?
I'm not. I make a living writing about photography, which is something different. Although I do use my own photos to illustrate my books and articles, so in that sense my photos are used commercially. But I do no work for clients.
Your photography has such a unique personal style, which is a struggle for many beginning photographers. How long did it take you to develop your style and do you have any tips for our readers?
I'm not sure that my style is so unique. I am little bit of a photography chameleon. My photography changes a lot depending on what I am photographing and writing about at any particular time. The result is that I don't specialise in a specific genre. I have been a photographer for over 20 years, so you could say that's the length of time it has taken me to get to where I am today.
My advice to your readers is don't chase a style. Go look for an interesting subject to photograph instead. Then go and shoot it in a way that is true to yourself rather than following another photographer's style. Your style, if such a thing even exists, will emerge and evolve as you follow your true interests.
We all know that it is the photographer who is responsible for great photography and not the camera but, people still want to know what equipment the best photographers use.
What equipment are you shooting with? What is your favorite lens?
My most used camera is the Fujifilm X-T1 and my favourite lens is the Fujinon 35mm f1.4.
What are your thoughts on the new mirrorless trend?
I bought my first mirrorless camera a little over two years ago and stopped using my digital SLRs right away. Digital SLRs (not to mention the lenses) are just too big and heavy to carry around for long periods of time. Going mirrorless has saved me money and given me a kit that is light enough to take anywhere. I'm sure this is a major factor in the rising popularity of mirrorless cameras.
What is the most valuable advice you received when you were just starting to learn photography?
Buy good lenses. Good glass is an investment in your photography.
The business side of photography is something that interests many beginning photographers. What worries them is that there is no clear path or business model as photography changes rapidly and what worked five years ago does not seem viable today. What do you find works best for you these days?
As I said earlier I am not a professional photographer. But the way I earn a living is an indication of a revenue stream that many professional photographers use – education.
If you want to succeed as a photographer you need to become a good business person who is capable of adapting to changing conditions. Change isn't new, it has always been with us. Read as many business books as you can. Take courses if you have to. Learn to understand money and taxes. Read as many personal finance books as you can. Create a product or service that people want to buy. Become as good at your craft as you can. The way forward will appear.
Andrew, your blog was always a source of knowledge for me. I’ve learned a lot from your tutorials and eBooks. What I see that the main focus of your teachings with the regards to post processing is Adobe Lightroom. There are many photo editing applications around including the famous Photoshop. Why Lightroom?
Lightroom is far more than an image editing application as it helps you organize your photos as well as develop them. It's the heart of the photographer's workflow. The way it works (parametric editing) means you save a lot of hard drive space compared to programs like Photoshop. The knock on effect is that it makes it much easier to manage and back up your photo files.
We have a lot of readers who are just starting with landscape and travel photography. What is one practical piece of advice you can give them that they can try right away to improve their photography?
Go somewhere interesting! You'll need the right gear, but it's more important to travel, see the world and find interesting things to photograph.
I bought my first digital SLR in 2006, a Canon Digital Rebel XT with 18-55mm kit lens and took it with me on a trip to South America. The quality of that early kit lens was questionable to say the least. For readers not familiar with this camera imagine an 8 megapixel SLR with a tiny LCD screen, no Live View and a crappy lens. I created some of my favorite images with that camera and used them to illustrate an article published in Practical Photography magazine. That article kick-started my writing career. None of that would have happened if I hadn't gone to South America.
Andrew, as always, I appreciate your time and honesty. We are glad to have you join the PhotoTraces community to share your insight and expertise.
I understand that you have a special gift for the PhotoTraces community today. Can you tell us more?
Yes, you can download three of my ebooks for free by going to here
Andrew has a special gift for members of the PhotoTraces community. Claim your gift at the end of the interview.