Steve Climpson has been a professional photographer for nearly 30 years. In that time he has worked for a large spread of clients both large and small. Multinational corporations to one man bands.

I've been very lucky. I've made a successful career in a highly competitive profession but for me the old adage of 'the harder I work the luckier I get' applies.

Historically I've photographed mainly heavy industrial processes, pharmaceutical labs. inside and outside architecture and country houses. I've always had a studio and a few years ago my work gradually changed away from locations to more and more studio based shoots. This suited me as location shoots can be very hard work indeed. I once weighed my kit for a typical shoot at 330lbs! I do the job properly using multiple heavy duty lighting equipment, something which many 'photographers' don't know how to use.

My basic tools were a Sinar 4x5 inch camera, Hasselblad cameras and Elinchrom flash together with a whole host of other kit and of course film and Polaroid. The film was entirely Kodak as their film produced the most neutral colours and using Polaroid for testing the composition and lighting effect.

In the early 80's my wife Sue was working in television graphics as a designer and illustrator. TV started using digital technology and we could see this change was going to happen throughout the photographic, design and print industry. Sue had trained on Quantel Paintbox which at that time was the best digital image manipulation computer, in '84 and when, in '88, she left the TV industry, we bought an Apple Mac IICX with an 80mb hard drive and a whopping 8mb RAM! It cost about £8000. We bought some software and learnt through trial and error, reading the manuals in bed and pooling knowledge with friends. Sue designed brochures for which I did the photography.

In 1990 we were just getting into Photoshop and had got our hands on a very early Beta copy some time before before buying Photoshop version 1.6 (I think). Then, in '91 we were commissioned to shot a large corporate report and produce a montage of photographs running as a strip together over 18 pages.
In at the deep end I went out a bought a HUGE 1 gigabyte hard drive secondhand for £1200 - a bargain! After scanning the transparencies we spent weeks doing this job, reading a novel as with every move the computer took 10 minutes to think about it. If you moved or altered the image wrongly there was just one undo so you had to make final decisions as you went. It was fun, but only in retrospect. The images were put together with the graphic design and output to four colour separations film then made into printing plates and successfully litho printed.
This was probably the first large scale, digital photomontage successfully litho printed in the UK. Every printer who saw it couldn't believe their eyes! We learnt a lot and won an award for it.

After that we were plunged into a digital media labyrinth of complex processes and an endless upward learning curve. It was interesting times. The main problem that we encountered was convincing clients what was possible. Most really could not get their heads around it.

In 1996 I bought a BetterLight digital camera back. Fitting my existing Sinar like a big darkslide and using HMI continuous lighting it took anything from 30 seconds to 10 minutes to produce a beautiful and very big 130 mb file of such awesome quality it quite took your breath away. Updated and still in production, the BetterLight produces the finest files obtainable by any camera system. Time moved on and I migrated to a multishot flash system made by Imacon / Hasselblad.

Sue and I were very early members of the Digital Imaging Group (DIG) a division of the Association of Photographers in London. I think that there were just 12 members and we were all fumbling our way along a digital imaging path. It was exhilarating to be part of a small, pioneering group of photographers and there was a open, anarchic, and freewheelin' feel about it all. It was really good fun and we made good friends there. DIG eventually became an online forum called ProDIG on which I was quite active. After a few years some members of ProDIG formed
Pro Imaging which is a worldwide professional photographer support and campaigning organisation. Myself, Richard Kenward and Martin Orpen were the original founders of Pro Imaging. Today Pro Imaging campaigns against Royalty Free stock libraries and Intellectual Property Rights Grabbing of images and has become a well respected organisation.

My clients have included Visa International, Honda Europe, Lilly Industries, Kenco Coffee, Cabouchon, Hyundai and hundreds of smaller companies.
Call me on 01256 895600