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Tom Miles - "What does it mean to be a professional photographer?"

“What does it mean to be a professional photographer”

Lecture and Lighting Workshop.

Edinburgh College hosted a day lecture by Tom Miles on Wednesday 14th March to a packed audience. We were lucky to catch him before he heads off to The Photography Show, NEC, Birmingham on behalf of Nikon.

Tom is a London based professional photographer with 25 years’ experience in the editorial market, specialising in sport, health & fitness, PR, design agencies and commercial clients. He has taught at over 40 universities across the UK as well as specific courses for the Nikon School, Calumet and the Association of Photographers and now BIPP Scotland.

Tom shared his wealth of experience of working in the industry. The morning session started with a presentation of his work for a wide variety of clients. Discussion took place on copyright, usage fees, editorial fees as well as creating narrative and layout.

The afternoon session kicked off with a lighting demonstration, where Tom recreated the lighting from one of his commissioned images utilising basic Speedlight’s through to Elinchrom Quadra location lighting. The objective was to create a dynamic portrait in the challenging conditions of using a bland corporate room location.

Following on from this he presented his ‘reverse engineering’ lighting presentation. The audience were asked about a series of images to see if they could work out how they were lit with behind the scenes images demonstrating the technique after.

Final year students were given a series of briefs to choose from, which were issued the week before. The challenge was to make 5 images suitable for publication which must include a cover shot, a double page spread and a further three feature images. The briefs were:

  • The corner shop

  • Childhood

  • “The Outcast”

  • The daily commute

  • Sports wear.

All images were submitted on the day of the lecture and critiqued at the end. Here is a small selection of images made in response to the brief, we think they produced an excellent job with a short deadline and challenging weather.

Tom’s work can be viewed on his website:

…and all the behind the scenes and a wealth of information on lighting and business can be found on his blog:

(c) Sarah Newman - Childhood

(c) Gabriella Pieniazek - Childhood

(c) Agniezska Nawrocka - Childhood

(c) Lee McAdam - Sportswear

(c) Erik Strakota - Sportswear

(c) Gordon McPherson - Outcast

(c) Marta Drozdz - Outcast

(c) Niall MacTaggart - The daily commute

(c) Carmel Pia - The daily commute

(c) Hazel Boyle - The corner shop

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