Tony May Photography [tonymay]
Do you have an online gallery where one can view your photos?
What has been your education as a photographer?
Mainly self-taught and by reading a lot of books and magazines and looking closely at a lot of pictures. I did some training with Paul Wenham-Clarke in London when I decided I wanted to turn professional. He advised me not to assist but just to go for it.
Please list any exhibitions in which you have participated.
When I started out I was exhibiting and selling personal work in commercial galleries but its not something I have time for now.
Please list any awards for your work.
Yorkshire Region Advertising Photographer of the Year 2007
Yorkshire Region Commercial Photographer of the Year 2007
awarded by the British Institute o Professional Photography
I have received Merits in the British Professional Photography Awards both times I have entered it.
What is your favourite type of photography?
Probably working with a team including models, stylists, assistants and client. A lot of my work doesn't involve a big team or models so its great when it does and there are other talented people all contributing to creating something special.
What do you try to express through your photography?
If its for a client, I try and give them what they want but hopefully infused with some of my own ideas and style, or perhaps in a way they hadn't originally envisioned it.
If its for myself I'm usually trying to create something that's as perfect as I can make it. I like good graphic design and so like to create strong graphic elements in my images. I am like a frustrated poster designer from somewhere in the period between 1920 and 1980.
What type of preparation do you do before undertaking the photo session?
Location scouting, model casting, trying to make the brief realistic and achievable as well as discussing ideas with the client and agency.
Charging and checking the batteries the night before...........most important.
Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sigma, Olympus, Sony, Pentax...which do you place your bets on and why?
Hasselblad H/Phase One when shooting tethered, for the quality of he results particularly sharpness and colour, and for the big viewfinder. I also rent digital large format cameras and lenses with the Phase One back for studio work. Nikon digital SLRs when speed or low light is the main consideration.
Describe your current equipment: cameras, lenses, computers, accessories...
I have a selection Hasselblad H and Nikon lenses and I rent additional lenses like the Hasselblad HC120mm macro or tilt and shift lenses when required. I like details and shallow depth of field so on the Nikon system my favourite lens is the 85mm/1.4.
I use Macintosh computers and an Eizo monitor in the studio. The Eizo monitor and my secondhand Foba studio stand are the two most useful and best value for money pieces of equipment I have bought. I have Elinchrom lights, mainly because there is a Flash Centre in Leeds who deal in Elinchrom and I can rent additional lights and accessories when needed. They also meet all my rental needs.
What software and plug-ins do you use to retouch and manage your photos?
Capture One for tethered shooting and for managing and processing captures. It's great for workflow when shooting hundreds of images. Photoshop CS3 for selective editing and retouching. I have to run Nikon Camera Control Pro if I want to shoot Nikon tethered. I use Bridge usually only for inserting metadata. I find the presentation and gallery capabilities of Lightroom useful but don't use it to manage or develop images.
What measures do you take to protect your work against Internet piracy?
Watermarks on images which may be useful as stock images but generally I don't get hung up on trying to stop people pinching small lo-res images on the web as its not a good use of my time. It's a better use of time for me to look for more commercial clients.
Which past masters of photography do you most admire?
I haven't formally studied photography and I have appreciated a lot of good images often without knowing who created them. My two favourite photographs hanging on my walls are by Bob Carlos Clarke and John-Paul Gautrand.
Are technology and digital retouching reducing the gap between professionals and amateurs?
I don't think retouching is reducing the gap as for me its a very skilled activity. I would say that its increasing the gap as its possible to achieve results that most amateurs can't re-create.
Digital technology has made it possible for more amateurs to compete in areas like stock and social photography, although mainly at the lower end of the market I guess.
Do you consider yourself more technical or more artistic?
The technical stuff feels easier but I hope I am artistic. I have a long technical background so I tend to think of myself like that but I have learnt that its easy to pigeonhole yourself and restrict your ambitions. I have always had a strong appreciation of images and graphic design and I believe I think creatively.
How does one develop the instinct of knowing when to press the shutter release button?
Which websites for photographers do you frequently visit?
Tony May Photography