Hi Toby! Tell us about yourself in two sentences - who are you?
My name is Tobias King, I'm 40 years old and have been taking photographs since I was given what was actually a ropey old compact camera for my 10th birthday, but I thought it was the bees knees at the time. I am an Intellectual Property Researcher for a design company and also their photographer.
QWhat's the weirdest situation you've found yourself in while taking a photograph?
A This was back in 2012 when there were many events celebrating the imminent start of the Olympics. The torch procession was coming to town and this offered multiple unusual photo opportunities (I was lucky enough to capture an image that was used by The Guardian and later won an award and was exhibited at the Design Museum in London). Ahead of the arrival of the Olympic torch, there was a concert in a park close to my house and thanks to being dressed smartly and having the confident swagger of someone who was blissfully ignorant of where he was, I managed to wander unchallenged into the backstage VIP area. I knew Wretch 32 would be performing and hoped I might catch a glimpse as I was a genuine fan. By an amazing coincidence, he arrived in a chauffeur driven Mercedes right at that moment. Suddenly I was a paparazzi photographer! But even more weirdly, I then found myself the de facto welcoming committee, shaking his hand and having a chat about how his journey had been. I took around 500 pictures in five minutes and despite the fact I've not had any communication with him since, still consider Wretch to be my best friend.
QWhat do you shoot on? What's your favourite set up?
A I've had a wide variety of kit down the years. After opting to take redundancy from a dreadfully boring IT role in 2013, I was fortunate enough to be able to buy a Nikon D800 and spend six wonderful months taking photos every day. Alas finding gainful employment was harder than I thought it would be, so I had to sell my beloved D800 because it turns out that being able to afford food is quite important. Not a day goes past when I don't think about that camera and I still mourn her more than most of my deceased relatives. Since then I have been using the three backup cameras I've had for some time and they all offer something useful (despite being entry level and far removed from the high end kit that I look upon fondly - like a greedy but poor child with his face pressed against the window of a bakery). Nikon D3300 - can produce some lovely results thanks to a decent sensor coupled with a sophisticated processing engine, so long as you don't want it to do anything too quickly. As I mainly shoot landscapes, it is most often found connected with my Sigma 10-20mm f3.5 wide angle zoom lens. Samsung NX2000 - coupled with the 16mm pancake lens, this is a genuinely pocketable compact system camera that I love for its portability and convenience. After all, the best camera is the one you have with you! Fuji X-M1 - another pocketable mirrorless camera that offers some beautiful images thanks to its X-Trans sensor and some gorgeous Fujinon lenses that are available.
QWhat's your number one tip for an aspiring photographer?
A Make sure you enjoy the whole experience and have fun! Pictures convey emotion and the chances are, if you enjoyed taking it, people will feel that same way when they view it. Shoot the things that you connect with; the things that move you emotionally. Photography should be a passion and never a chore. If it ever starts to feel stale, or you feel creatively blocked, limit yourself. For example, only shoot at a particular focal length or only take black and white pictures for a week. This kind of limitation makes you stop, think and overcome challenges, i.e. it forces you to be creative. Technical skills can be learned fairly quickly and you should definitely know how to use your camera properly to achieve the effects you're after, but this knowledge should be happening naturally in the background, with the emotion of the moment directing what to capture. Oh and always shoot RAW and expose for the highlights (shadow detail is always easier to recover than blown out light).