Spotlight Interview … Photographer David Leyland


Multi-talented photographer David Leyland joins us on James Robinson Photography Blog. Thank you David for sharing your time and images with us. Where do you call home?

David Leyland: Born in 1959 I was originally from Manchester but now live in Milverton a beautiful village in Somerset, England.

JRP: What led to your interest in photography? Have you had any formal training?

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David Leyland: My father was a print-maker and photographer. I have also studied Fine Art and have a Degree from Canterbury College of Art. I have always done a mixture of painting and photography. Sometimes I blend the two formats in my fine art work and more recently I have got involved in video including the use of a drone for aerial work.

JRP: Who are some of the artists that have inspired and influenced your work?

David Leyland: My father was my initial inspiration to get into photography. More recently I have been inspired by a number of photographers for different reasons. Jeremy Cowart always inspires me both with the way he combines painting and photography and his humanitarian work. Joel Grimes is a photographer who has influenced so many people with his style of shooting and his composites. I would say finally Benjamin Graham my work colleague. We are constantly pushing each other and exchanging ideas and techniques.

JRP: How did you develop your vision and technique?


David Leyland: Although I do other genres of photography in my work from food to landscape etc., portraiture is my main love. Although I haven’t consciously tried to develop a particular style I always prefer to photograph people with character and try to convey that aspect of the persons persona. I think the most important aspect of most portraits is the eyes as they can convey all aspects of a persons mood and character.

JRP: You are involved in a photographic partnership. Who is your partner and what role does he play in the day-to-day operation of your business? What are your areas of concentration?


David Leyland: Benjamin and I work closely together on all aspects of the work. Initially I would say that Benjamin was more a landscape and architecture photographer while I was a portrait and food photographer. However over time we have both influenced each other and now find ourselves combining all aspects of photography.

JRP: What would I find in your camera bag for a typical shoot?

David Leyland: I have recently slipped two discs from carrying too much in my bag so I should have a rethink on this one. Generally I shoot a Canon 1DX, Canon 16-35 f2.8, Canon 24-70 f2.8, Canon 70-200 f2.8and a Canon 50mm 1.4. I have a Manfrotto 058b tripod which is fantastic but extremely heavy so more recently I have bought a MeFoto Globetrotter Carbon Fibre tripod which is amazing. Beautifully designed and thought out as well as incredibly light.

JRP: What type of lighting do you prefer, artificial or available light? What are your most often used light modifiers?

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David Leyland: I love natural light and use to avoid flash or strobes as much as possible but about twelve months ago I got hold of some Einstein strobes. The Einsteins are wonderfully controllable lights and I have grown to love them mainly with soft boxes but sometimes shot through my own modifiers slats etc.

JRP: Please describe your digital work flow and the software you use.

David Leyland: I always import using Lightroom then on to Photoshop. Although most of my images are single shots I do occasionally take two or three shots to capture a higher tonal range in landscape work. I also enjoy adding multiple images to create composites but prefer the results to look as natural as possible.

JRP: For you when is the most critical moment in the capture of your images?

David Leyland: I would say there is never any one specific moment. I am always aware when I am taking images what I can do in post and shoot accordingly.

JRP: Has there been a shoot or project that revealed to you the distance you’ve come as a photographer?

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David Leyland: The recent images I have been putting together of musicians I feel are my best work to date.

JRP: If not photography what would David Leyland be doing with his time?

David Leyland: I love cooking and food not to mention painting but I live and breathe photography and can’t imagine a life without it.

JRP: So far what has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?

David Leyland: I would say from my fine art training where I was taught to experiment and keep pushing yourself. Einstein once said something along the lines of “The problem with most people is, not that they aim for the top of the ladder and fail, rather they aim for the bottom of the ladder and get there”.

JRP: What advice would you share with other photographers?

David Leyland: Enjoy what you do and never think you have reached the point where you no longer need to learn.

JRP: Thank you David for sharing this time with us. It has been a pleasure and we wish you continued success.

David Leyland: Thank you James.

JRP: To view more of David Leyland’s photography please follow this link:

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