Skip to content

Meet the tutor: professional photographer Tom Arber

Photographer Tom Arber discusses his approach to photography. Tom will be leading a number of photography workshops over the next few months in response to Martin Parr’s exhibition, ‘The Rhubarb Triangle and Other Stories’. Full Details of each workshop can be found here.

‘For me an image doesn’t have to be perfect – it’s about communicating what you see without having to explain anything. I want to get across a story, a moment or an event in one (or sometimes across a set of images).

It’s important to feel confident with your camera and know how to use it to your advantage in a variety of different situations. I’m looking forward to working with participants at Hepworth for the upcoming photography workshops, building their confidence and technical skills, but ultimately I’m looking forward to working alongside people and talking about what you catch in the frame. The biggest skill is developing your instincts in when to photograph and what to include (or exclude). The artist Jeff Wall, often talks about how he begins, ‘by not photographing’ – the importance of looking, reflecting and considering is vital.

Image 2

My job as a professional photographer requires me to work across a range of different situations and subjects. I often work at weddings and live events – and even at these busy and fast-paced events I always try to stand back and view the scene. The above image is a good example of this approach – I noticed a shot-unfolding before me, children were running around in a loop that went in and out of the room. I framed up the shot and waited till there were at least 3 things going on that related to each other. I exposed the image using the main light in the room on the left, avoiding the use of flash. I had to keep one eye open to get the timing right, helping me to anticipate when the children would be back in the frame. This photograph was shot with the ISO on auto and the camera in aperture priority mode, I was using my 40mm pancake lens set to aperture f2.8 – allowing me to work with the relatively low-lighting and capture the width of the room in one shot.

Image 3

In my job I often find myself in very dark rooms or out at night. In these instances I have to push my camera to its limits in places where I don’t have control of the surroundings. I have learned to manipulate the light, the camera and the situation to get the images I need.

Understanding the fundamentals of photography, making it second nature, is the best way to allow yourself to focus on what to shoot… not how to shoot.

Image 4b
All images courtesy Tom Arber/

Find out about our photography season with Tom Arber at

No comments yet

Leave a Reply