INTERVIEW WITH TOM PUTT @tomputtphoto
Tom Putt is an award-winning fine art, landscape photographer who resides in Melbourne, Australia. With a photographic career spanning over twenty years and a portfolio of breathtaking landscapes.
Tom’s passion speaks through his images. Regarded as one of Australia’s most prolific landscape photographers. It is an absolute privilege to learn more about his incredible career.
Firstly, can you start with a little bit about yourself?
I’m a professional landscape photographer based here on the Mornington Peninsula. I live with my partner and five kids, three dogs, three rabbits and three chickens.
When did you first start your photography journey?
I started photography when I was 13 years old. I borrowed my dad’s old Minolta XG-9 film camera. I had a love of ornithology and photographing birds. That’s when my journey began really.
What kind of equipment do you use and why did you select it?
I have used Canon gear for over twenty years and then was converted to use their D800 system with 36 megapixels, but since then I’ve now acquired a Pentax 645Z medium format 50-megapixel camera which is large bulky and heavy, but I actually love it.
I love the Beautiful files that it produces, the clarity in the photographs and the ease of using the camera. I have an Apple laptop and iMac 27in for editing.
What would you say is your favourite lens and Why?
I love using my 75mm prime lens on the Pentax while it’s not the lens I use all the time, I love the manual focus, the clarity and simplicity of using such a beautiful old lens.
When you travel what photography equipment do you take?
I try not to take everything, but I carry my Pentax 645Z with four lenses, DJI Mavic pro-drone, a GoPro, tripod and everything else! Laptop, a backup drive, filters, small fold up umbrella and an emergency beacon.
What are your go-to settings when your shooting landscape?
Always looking to shoot at a 16 ISO 100 – simple!
What time of the day do you prefer to shoot?
Any time when the light is right, to be honest, but obviously before sunrise, I think would have to be my favourite. It is often calm and quiet with not too many people around.
What methods do you use for editing? Can you kindly explain your workflow?
I exclusively use Lightroom, I import my photographs and back them up. I will begin going through and five-star my favourite pictures. Once I’ve gone through all of my images, I will be filter the catalogue just to show the five-star photos, and then I will process each one using the develop module.
I honestly don’t edit them too heavily I probably spend only 2 to 3 minutes per photograph, and I really am just looking to tease out the very best in each picture.
Among all your work what is your most memorable image?
That’s a tough one - how about the old cliché of “the one I haven’t taken yet”. Honestly, there’s many I like, few that I love. I’m really into my aerial photography at the moment, so there’s a fair few from recent trips I’ve done to Iceland, Lake Eyre and Shark Bay.
Your aerial work is incredible what do you love about this photographic perspective?
Thank you so much aerial photography I love for many different reasons. One is that I enjoy being up in a helicopter or aeroplane shooting from above - it is a real thrill and an adrenaline rush.
Secondly, it is such a unique perspective on something that you don’t often see - I love doing something different.
Thirdly while I’ve been shooting panoramic landscape for 20 odd years, abstract aerial landscapes I find more artistic and more like a painting rather than the photograph which I love.
How do you educate yourself to become a better photographer?
That’s a great question. I think being a better photographer is all about education. Educating yourself on how to be a better shooter, consuming as much photography as possible; through a camera club through mixing with other fantastic photographers; through practising your photography as much as possible; through looking at as many magazines Instagram accounts Facebook accounts to learn and grow; having a mentor. And not settling for second best.
Who would you say is your greatest photography influencers?
The classics Ken Duncan, Peter Lik, Peter Dombroski and more recently Scott Cook.
What is the most exciting country you have visited?
I’ve just returned from two weeks on the Faroe Islands in the middle of the North Atlantic Sea, and that was AMAZING.
Spectacular sea cliffs, quaint fishing villages, easy access to all areas and no one else around!
What country are you dying to shoot in but haven’t had the chance yet?
Antarctica hands down. I love the snow, ice and minimalistic landscapes.
What motivates you to continue taking photos?
I love creating. That’s it. I’m one of these photographers who can’t wait to download my photographs to see what I’ve got. It still excites me. Creating is a variable that keeps my passion alive.
Lastly, what is one piece of advice you would give someone starting out in photography?
Learn as much as possible. Have fun while doing it. Find a mentor to guide you. Play to your strengths. If it turns you on, learn website design, social media influencing, video editing, drone flying, etc. Have a few strings to your bow to offer great skills to your customers.
See more of this breathtaking work on Tom's website www.tomputt.com