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Mark Cleghorn - Speakers' Corner - A passion for bring education to fellow photographers - part 1 of 1

by Mark Cleghorn Published 01/11/2009

We don't believe there's ever been a speaker line-up quite like this before at any photo convention - anywhere. At the pioneering eight-day long 2011 gathering, our broad church of professional and aspirational photographer visitors will have a truly enormous choice of seminars to be delivered by 100 top-rated experts from across the globe. (We just wanted to make quite sure we had covered every subject under the imaging sun!)

Of course it would be impossible to produce personal profiles for every single speaker given obvious Imagemaker pagination restrictions, so we've drawn some of these key names out of the hat to give you an exclusive 'cross-section' profile snapshot. We asked them all similar questions - and here's the result.

Imagemaker: Tell us a little about your background, your first camera and photographic experience and your subsequent emergence as a pro.

MC: When I was 16 we went on a family holiday to the USA and that's where I first discovered photography. I shot over 200 rolls of film in the first month - everything from architecture to street people. I just fell in love with it.

I went straight from school to a job as a commercial assistant in 1982. Three years later I turned pro.

Why photography?

It's very simple. It means I get to shoot stuff.

Film or digital? Is there still a place for silver halide?

I started shooting digital in 1999 and went fully digital two years later. I tend to be an early adopter of new technology - once I switched I never looked back.

Tell us about your capture and output devices.

For me it's Canon cameras, a PC and output via Loxley Colour Lab in Glasgow.

Bit of detail about your own studio set-up/staffing.

I have a staff of six. I am supposed to be semi-retired now but we shoot 30-35 weddings and over 200 portraits a year and the rest of my working week is taken up as chief trainer and master for PhotoTraining4U.com which provides online training for photographers at all levels.

The problem with professional photographers today is...

There is a demonstrable lack of structured training in the industry as a whole - and quality and consistency issues at both capture stage in lighting and exposure as well as output and presentation to the client.

What's the worst commercial error you have made to date?

It has to be admitted that over the years I have invested a disproportionate amount of time trying to help others in the industry, which in turn meant I was taking my eye off the ball in my own business.

How did you rectify the mistake?

I started a training company for photographers in 1993.

The lessons learnt?


You can learn something every day. And every day you can also help other people learn something - and it really doesn't have to be at the expense of your own company.

Are you excited by the evolution of imaging? The future: is the (imaging business) glass half full or half empty?

It's a given that a half full glass is always also going to be half empty. The imaging industry will become massive and the pro-am market will grow rapidly. And with all this will comeincreasing mistakes. Those errors will grow exponentially unless a learning structure paradigm is applied.

Is it getting harder or easier to make a decent living?

No change really.

How do you stay ahead of the game?

There is always a need to keep changing and evolving style and presentation to try to stay one step ahead.

How do organisations such as The Societies help?

The thing about a large professional organisation is that it can land a punch in the industry if it needs to.

Why is The Societies Convention such a big deal for photographers? Is it primarily about the chance to learn from the experiences of imaging icons?

What makes this show great is the passion. It's not just The Societies, it's the interaction of the members who attend.

Who today is leading the way in creative social photography?

The client.

If you could pick just FIVE seminars (other than your own of course!) to attend at The Societies Convention whose workshops would you attend?

I would attend them all. No sleep allowed, no alcohol and no parties. Just learning. Only sleep if the speaker bores you.



What do you think will be the next big thing in the industry?

Increased focus on training programmes.

Would you want your own children to take up the reins of your empire (or have they)?

Yes. But they are already fulfilling their dreams and ambitions in other fields.

Your plans for the next five years?

I guess more of what I am doing now.


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1st Published 01/11/2009
last update 07/02/2018 11:57:18

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