Interview with Andy Bell of Deceptive Media

Andy Bell is the photoblogger behind Deceptive Media.


PetaPixel: Could you tell me a little about yourself?

Andy Bell: I’m 43 years old and live in the South of England with my partner Liz and our boys Stefan and Adam. Currently I work from home as a freelance Web Designer.

Andy Bell: How did you first get started in photography?

AB: I first got into photography pretty much at the turn of the century as digital cameras started to become more mainstream. Like many I was drawn to the instant gratification that you get from digital cameras but what really got me excited was then being easily able to edit them.


PP: What was your first camera?

AB: The first camera I used seriously was a Sony Cybershot DSC-F55E with a massive 2.1 mega pixels.

PP: What equipment do you use now?

AB: I’ve been using the Canon 5D for the last 3 years with the following lenses:

Sigma 24-70mm f2.8

Canon 17-40mm f4L

Canon 70-200mm f4L

Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro lensbaby 2

Canon 50mm f1.4

Sigma 12-24mm

Software wise I use Lightroom and Photoshop CS4 on a Windows PC. There is a little more detail on my about page.


PP: How would you describe your photography to someone who has never seen it?

AB: Abstract/minimalist photography concerned mainly with colour, lines and shapes, though not exclusively, I also enjoy taking seascapes and people – I like all forms of photography but mainly abstract.

PP: What is one thing you learned regarding technique that caused the biggest improvement in your photography?

AB: Fairly early on in my photography exploits understanding aperture control and how it relates to depth of field was a big step forward along with minimum shutter speeds that can be used before one gets a blurred photo, I guess this is true for many.


PP: How about in post-processing?

AB: Using layers and masks in Photoshop, allowing a non destructive work flow.

PP: When and why did you start DeceptiveMedia?

AB: The first photo on my blog is dated 1st Jan 2004, I started Deceptive Media like others to showcase my work and get some feedback. I had been using photosig and dpchallenge before, where critics were scathing at times but this helped me learn the basics, I was hoping for more of the same from my photoblog but people don’t tend to be so critical on a photoblog., except maybe by their silence.

PP: Why did you choose the name DeceptiveMedia?

AB: Initially Deceptive Media was going to be a show case site for all my creativeness – photography, music and video, hence ‘Media’, so I was looking for a name that would vaguely describe my ‘approach’ and also was an available domain name, it took me a fair amount of time to arrive at. I wish that I had registered also as someone else has snapped that up which has nothing to do with me.


PP: What percentage of the comments you receive would you say are meaningful or helpful comments?

AB: I enjoy all the comments I get on my blog and they are all very much appreciated, but rarely are they meaningful or helpful, at least not in a critical way.

PP: What are some of the common questions you receive from your fans?

AB: What is it? How did you do that? That sort of thing.


PP: Where, when, and how often do you shoot?

AB: I shoot in my makeshift home studio and outside, I don’t really have any agenda, just when I feel like it.

PP: How many photographs do you usually take at one time?

AB: Sometimes hundreds sometimes 2 or 3. It varies. I think I take a lot less now than I used to as I have more of an idea what will work now days.

PP: Can you walk us through your workflow?

AB: 1. Shoot in RAW

2. Import photos into Lightroom into folders year/month/day.

3. Photos I want to edit then get copied to a folder called “In Progress” as a PSD after a little bit of tweaking in Lightroom.

4. Edit in Photoshop using adjustment layers. Techniques I use at this stage vary depending on the source and what I want to achieve.

5. The photo then either stays in the “In Progress” folder for ages before I decide to delete or makes it to the “Master” folder from where I pick shots to post to my Photoblog or Flickr, I use Lightroom to keep track of where every things been posted.

6. I print everything that ends up in the “Master” folder as 6X4 print and put it in a photo album, hopefully these will still be around long after my photoblog has ceased to exist.


PP: Can you tell us a little about your home studio setup?

AB: I have a little corner in my office that I can just about leave one of my Interfit flash heads permanently setup with some backgrounds and diffusers. It’s nothing special and not big enough for anything but macro or small subjects but it does mean I don’t have to keep setting everything up every time I want to use it, which in the past would have been a major reason not to bother.

PP: What advice do you have for a beginning photographer?

AB: I guess it depends on what sort of photographer you’d like to be. But I think the main thing is to try and develop your own style.


PP: Who are some photographers you regularly follow online?

AB: Milouvision, my brothers photoblog Digital Express, CandreK, NightPhotographer, FriskyPics, Mute and many more that you can see listed on my about page.

PP: Who is one person you would like to see interviewed on PetaPixel?

You could interview my mate Milou.

PP: Anything else you’d like to say to PetaPixel readers?

AB: Thanks for reading, and if you’re a follower of my photoblog then many thanks.