I first met Tom in 2006 when Anne-Marie and I attended a Photoshop Workshop with Tom and co-teacher Glen Campbell based at the beautiful Wilson's Promontory, Victoria. I went on to participate in a number of workshops (8 in total), with Tom in beautiful Australian locations such as The Great Ocean Road, Mt Buffalo, Cradle Mountain, Uluru and Kings Canyon, The Blue Mountains and Wilson's Promontory. Based on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia, Tom now conducts workshops all over the world and there are some exotic and remote locations coming up.
Here's an insight into the talented man behind Tom Putt Photography Workshops
Tom, tell us a little about yourself
I started photographing when I was 13. I grabbed my dad's camera and practised heaps. I made plenty of mistakes, and taught myself everything I knew
Currently landscape photography seems to be your main interest. I know you had other loves previously, such as bird photography, sports photography, portrait and pet photography. Can you tell us some highlights from these and what each style taught you?
So many highlights. I’ve loved every one of them. Having experience in a range of different genres of photography has given me the skills to shoot in almost any situation. It has also given me great vision. My bird photography was a great passion, my sports photography lead me to photograph the Sydney Olympics, and my pet and portrait photography allowed me to meet many wonderful people
One of Tom's early bird photographs
Tom Photographing The Sydney Olympic Games
Tom's Pet Photography
How did it all begin for Tom Putt Photography Workshops?
Back in 2004 I wanted to teach photography and I noticed there weren't many people offering landscape photography workshops on locations, so it started there. We ran 6 workshops in our first year of 2005
Tom Putt Photo Workshop At The Great Ocean Road
I personally know the great experience your workshops are, but please tell us all what can people expect when they attend one of your workshops
Plenty of fun! The best photographic locations with plenty of one-on-one tuition to help you get the very best photographs, great company, great food, luxury accommodation to ensure you have the experience of a lifetime
Tom, With Tom Williams During Filming for a Segment Of 'The Great Outdoors' During A Workshop At The Great Ocean Road
Where is you favourite workshop destination? What makes it so special?
God that's like asking me who my favourite child is! Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia was an incredible location we visited in February last year. What an incredible experience to fly to such a remote location, spend a week photographing on the largest freshwater lake in the world that freezes over every winter
Who do you feel your workshops would appeal to most?
Keen amateur photographers looking for a unique opportunity to photograph in some of the most spectacular locations across the world. Best for those looking for a fantastic experience with guidance from professional photographers shooting along side of like-minded people. Coupled with amazing food, wine and luxury accommodation, what more could you ask for???
Mt Buffalo, Victoria, Australia, by Tom Putt
If you could hold a workshop anywhere in the world that you don't already go to, where would it be?
I'm sure you have so many special photos from your travels. Do you have a favourite photograph you have taken while travelling? Tell us the story behind it
No way! There's too many to mention. Every place we go produces favourite photographs.
What do you like about what you do?
I get the opportunity to travel the world doing what I love, impacting peoples lives
What do you dislike?
Let's face it, travelling does get tiring. However, I'm generally home a few weeks before I want to get away again!
If you had a do-over in life, what would you do differently?
Invest in Amazon shares from day one!
What do you want your tombstone to say?
Better than sex!
How do you spend your free time?
Time with kids, reading and exercise!
Who do you most admire in life?
Anyone who succeeds in life with hard work and determination
What are your top three favourite books and why?
Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill) - great advice on money and life
Get Big Fast (story of Amazon) - a great book on the early days of Amazon and how it succeeded
Out of The Blue (Richard Woldendorp) - the grandfather of aerial landscape photography with a stunning set of photographs in this large format book
What are you most afraid of?
Not succeeding in life
If you were the Prime Minister, what would be the first thing you would do?
Address the biggest social issues - drugs, alcohol, sugar consumption and mental health
If you could witness any event of the past, future or present, what would that be and why?
Mmmmmm not sure. I love the time we're in
What is a skill you'd like to learn and why?
I'd like to be a better tradesperson. Imagine all the stuff I could do without paying for it!
I’m sure like many businesses in Australia and across the world, your business has been affected by the Covid-19 lockdown. What has the lockdown meant for you and how has your business been affected? Are you still able to work?
Lots of time at home! I’ve had to close my art gallery here in Mornington for now and stop teaching my photographic workshops across Australia and the world. Whilst I’m disappointed, I like to look at the silver lining and realise that it gives me more time to connect with my family at home. As well as connect on a deeper level with my clients. I’m now running two live keynote presentations on Facebook here each week to help my workshop clients continue to improve their photography at this time. Preparing these presentations is most enjoyable and take many hours.
It’s been over a year since your gallery opened. Tell us all about your gallery. How is the lockdown impacting your gallery?
We have closed the gallery for now - two reasons - 1 because people should be staying at home and 2. there was no one down the street anyway!
I’ve always wanted to own my own gallery and sell my landscape photography, it was just a matter of building up a significant volume of work as well as being the right time of my life. The gallery is another business along side of my photographic workshops so it takes significant time and energy. I wanted to wait until my kids were older to then shift that time across to managing the gallery and give it the attention it deserves. It only took me 20 years to get there!
The gallery is in Main Street, Mornington and opened November 2018. We specialise in local artwork from the Mornington Peninsula. We have stunning aerial shots showing off the pristine beauty of the beaches and water here. But we also have artwork from all over Australia with the 20 plus years of travelling I’ve done. We have well over 1,000 artworks available from small framed prints at $150 up to my Limited Edition Print range that starts at $12990. Artwork comes in a range of finishes also - traditional framed prints, metal prints, canvas prints and acrylic prints.
We also have acrylic desk blocks and recently (SOLD OUT) a self-published coffee table book titled ‘Mornington Peninsula’.
I’ve loved the experience of opening the gallery - getting to know the local community and helping them furnish their homes with quality artwork.
How do you choose what you will display at your gallery? How do you keep it fresh to keep people coming back?
We are continually learning what people want for their homes. We have a stock of artwork available and change it over regularly to keep it fresh. We also have themed exhibitions, such as our recent Lake Eyre exhibition, to cater for people’s different tastes.
How are you spending your time in lockdown? Has the lockdown made you look at anything differently?
I’ve been spending heaps of time getting my IP onto my website. I love sharing my knowledge and experience of photography with others. I usually do this through my workshops and camera club presentations across Australia however travel restrictions have of course put these on hold. It has certainly focused my attention more on providing online learning for people and I’m loving developing that content for my audience.
What are you looking forward to the most after the lockdowns have been lifted?
TRAVELLING and PHOTOGRAPHING whenever I want!!!
Over the past six months or so, you have received a number of awards for your amazing photography. Tell us all about these.
WOW it’s been a wild ride to be honest. It just goes to show you that patience and persistence can pay off. I’ve been entering photo competitions on and off for 25 years. I’ve had my fair share of failures, runner ups, and disappointments that’s for sure. But recently I’ve had a run of good fortune, winning the 2018 1st Place, AERIAL CATEGORY (OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR), 2019 1st Place, AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR (IPA), 2019 1st Place, NATURE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR (IPA) and just the other day the 2020 1st Place, PANORAMIC PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR (FINE ART AWARDS).
You went to New York City to receive one of these awards. Tell us all about that experience.
I was lucky enough to travel to New York City last year to accept the Nature Photographer of the Year Award which was a huge honour. That competition is regarded as the Academy Awards of Photography, with a gala event at Carnegie Hall each year. Rubbing shoulders with the legend of photography like Annie Leibovitz was a ‘pinch me’ moment. It was our first time in NYC so we spent a lot of time sight-seeing and visiting galleries. NYC is the art capital of the world!
What achievement in your life are you most proud of?
1. Running a marathon, strange I know but I’m not a good runner however training for that marathon was a big achievement for me. Three months of dedicated training and running up to 60 kms per week took a lot of mental toughness
2. My Nature/Aerial Photographer of the Year Award last year. I never would have dreamed of winning an award like that, let alone travelling to NYC to receive the trophy!
Can you nominate a day in your life that turned out to be a turning point? Why was it a turning point?
No although there’s plenty of “UH AHHHHH’ moments (that of course we see in hindsight!)
Your greatest regret?
Not being more mature about my financial future.
I guess at the moment it is hard to plan too far ahead, but what do we have to look forward to with TPPW’s? Anything exciting we should know about?
SO MANY exciting plans - our first trip to Tanzania in August (hopefully), aerial photography workshops at Shark Bay and Lake Eyre in Australia, and the Faroe Islands and Iceland towards the end of the year in 2020.
Is there any advice you'd give someone wanting to start their journey as a photographer?
Find what you love photographing and be the best at it!
What would be your top three tips for people to capture a great shot while they are travelling?
Be passionate about what your photographing, know your subject intimately, and create your own style
Thanks so much to Tom for a great insight into the man behind Tom Putt Photography Workshops. I can personally recommend these workshops to anyone who has a love of travel and photography. There is much more to Tom Putt though, than just his workshops. Tom has an amazing gallery on the Mornington Peninsula which you must visit if you are traveling in the area. For the keen amateur photographer, there are also lots of tips and information on his website so make sure you check that out also. You can find Tom at:
Gallery: 1/139 Main Street, Mornington, Victoria, Australia 3931
Phone: +61 490 055 697
I’ve been asking people I interview to provide a favourite recipe to share with everyone in our recipe section. I’d love it if you would contribute a recipe also.
The kids love my spaghetti Bolognese. It’s nothing too complicated other than I don’t include any veggies but instead a bottle of red wine, heaps of tomato paste and let it simmer on the stove for hours. The smells through the house are DEVINE! My tip - leave it to cool then eat it the follow day. It never taste good the day you make it. You need to let the flavours soak into the meat.