Martin Hobby

Following in the footsteps of his photographer father, Martin has been capturing weddings, concerts, portraits and events since age 16. Based in between Kent and London, UK, Martin grew up around a thriving music and party scene, the perfect setting for his photography. Winning “Event Photographer of the Year” by SWPP in 2012, Martin draws inspiration from everything he encounters: the streets, shadows of people, and even his toddler son.

Martin uses Zenfolio for all three of his websites (music, wedding and commercial), praises its simplicity and loves that he can make money in his sleep. “I can put a gallery online and the clients can order prints directly from their gallery and it goes out to the lab and then on to the client without me having to do anything.”

Where were you born and raised? Where have you settled?

I was born and raised in a village called Greet Street Green, on the borders of Kent and London. It was lovely and peaceful but still close enough to the city if we wanted to go out and party.

I’m now in Dartford, about 15 miles away from where I grew up, I would like to move further out in to the country side at some point.

What type of photography do you shoot most often? What type of photography are you most passionate about shooting?

I shoot a real variety of work, but I guess its portraits, or people in general, that I am most passionate about. I love encouraging an expression or provoking a reaction out of people.

How long have you been a shutter releaser? What led you to this profession?

My father was a wedding photographer in the 60’s and 70’s so I’ve always grown up around photography. I shot my first wedding with his guidance in 1993 when I was just 16 years old. 21 years later I’m still doing it, the fear of having to get a “proper job” is what keeps me going.

How has Zenfolio helped your business?

Zenfolio has helped because it’s so simple. I’m a photographer not a web designer, but I do want to be hands on with it and update my pictures as often as I like.

I also love the fact that it makes me money while I sleep, I can put a gallery online and the clients can order prints directly from their gallery and it goes out to the lab and then on to the client without me having to do anything.

Tell us about your work flow, what editing program do you use?

I use Lightroom mainly. I get bored easily; I want to be out behind my camera not sitting indoors behind my computer. Lightroom speeds up that process for me. I do use Photoshop as well, as sometimes you need to add that extra “WOW!” to a shot and that can only be done in Photoshop.

Do you have brand loyalty for Canon, Nikon or something completely different?

Team Nikon! My father shot Nikon and so do I.

What is the best part of being a professional photographer?

The bizarre situations that I find myself in, and the places and locations I get to visit that I would not usually be allowed access to. I get to meet and chat to the most amazing people, from all walks of life; everyone has a story to tell.

Are your photography skills self-taught or were you classically trained?

A real mixture of the 2, as I’ve mentioned already my father taught me all the technical stuff while I was really young, so for as long as I can remember I’ve understood F stops and shutter speeds, and how to use a handheld light meter. The one thing we always argued about was whether photography was an art or a science. I was for art, as photography is about being creative. He was for science, as he liked the technical aspect of mixing of chemicals for developing and printing. I still say it’s an art, and I like to bend the rules whenever I can.

What advice would you give a new photographer just starting out?

Fake it till you make it, otherwise you will never feel ready or have the confidence to do the things you want to do. Also, go after your dream. If you want to be a fashion photographer don’t do work experience for the local high street baby photographer, get out there and knock on doors and assist the best people that you can in your chosen field.

What was your first published work?

My first published work was the first photo I ever sent into a magazine, it was used to illustrate and article in ‘Practical Photography’ in 1995. I got paid £10

What inspires you as a photographer? Or who?

Inspiration is everywhere; it comes from seeing shadows fall onto the floor, and getting ideas to try. It comes from reading fairy stories to my little boy, from song lyrics, or emotions that you feel.

I do take inspiration from other photographers but I’ve never been one to study other photographer’s work. I think that would make me stale rather than inspiring me. It’s always best to just get out there and try stuff. Ideas don’t work all time, but the best way to learn is make mistakes.

Is there a trade secret you care to share with us?

Don’t ever feel scared, no one else knows what he or she is doing either.

What is the very first camera you ever owned?

The camera than I learned on was my father’s Nikon F that he bought in the 60’s. I still shoot film on it now. It even has a crease in the paper shutter where I poked it as a child. It still works perfectly.

Tell us something about yourself that we would never guess.

Most of the time I’m making it up as I go. I tell people this and they don’t believe me, but it’s mostly true.

What piece of equipment or doohickey do you have with you on every shoot?

Gaffer tape. That stuff is invaluable. Fixing equipment, pinning clothes, attaching lights to things. I have an old 120 roll film spindle that is perfect for wrapping a load of gaffer tape round, and it take up much less space than taking the whole roll would.

Do you have any final words of wisdom on being a first class shooter?

Believe in yourself. If you don’t, then why should anybody else?

Martin Hobby

Music and Commercial Photographer, Kent, England