Meet Dave Henshaw, role model and amazing photographer with over 5,000 awards. He is amongst one of ViewBug's team favorite fashion and portrait photographer... ever. Be sure to follow Dave so you do not miss his next shots!

"Although I have worked in the photography industry for over 20 years, It was only in 2011 that I purchased my very first DSLR camera. It was a trusty Nikon D3100 with a 18-55mm kit lens and I can remember taking it home and asking myself "where do I start?". I'd studied graphic design in Liverpool and part of my course was lessons in photography, that was way back in the days of using film and developing your own prints, but being part of the digital age and working on Apple Mac computers, I was well aware of what creating digital images could achieve. Self taught in Adobe software packages, I was soon downloading files from my Nikon D3100 and playing around with them in Adobe Photoshop, I was really impressed with my early results. It wasn't long before I was taking pictures of family members and friends, who then recommended me and my new found talent to their family and friends...this was a real confidence boost! I was then recommended to an agency, who commissioned me to do my first ever corporate shoot. It was 2012 and I was so nervous, this was my chance to make a good impression and push my skills. I arrived with my basic kit and a bag of nerves... but my confidence was higher than ever. The shoot went ahead and so did my career as a professional photographer, the images were perfect and I received amazing testimonials. I have since gone on to upgrade my Nikon kit, have had many pieces of work published and most recently, I won an award with the IPA for one of my creative advertising series titled 'Beautiful Scarecrow'. The future for me and my photography seems bright, I still have so much to learn, I don't in fact think I'll ever learn it all, as a photographer I'll never master everything, but as a creative, I will hopefully produce pleasing pieces of art. I am a family man, married to an amazingly supportive wife, whom without, none of this would have been possible, and a father to 3 of the best kids ever, they inspire me everyday to be the best I can be!" - Dave

What inspired you to be a photographer and how did you become such a skilled photographer?

My initial inspiration in photography came from my father. I can remember he always had a camera wherever we went and he'd be constantly snapping away. Back then, I obviously didn't fully appreciate the skills in using film cameras, but my father was really good and caught some amazing family images. He separated from my mother when I was young and sadly he passed away without me really getting to know why he was so interested in photography. Later in life, I caught up with one of his brothers and he told me that my father was a photographer in the British Army and that he'd have to take photographs of the enemy using a Russian made Zenith Sniper Camera. This camera was left by my father and his brother kindly passed it on to me. I often use it with a 50mm to capture fabulous portraits.

I do appreciate it when people tell me that I am a skilled photographer, but honestly I still have so much to learn (I feel continuing to learn is very important). I'm constantly working with natural light and learning to understand how the sunlight falls at different times during the day and during the seasons, I think it's important to understand that, especially when planning ahead.

A lot of the creative portrait work that I do is all part of a team effort. I initially tend to come up with the idea or the theme and I have an amazing network of creatives around me, all of whom specialize in different areas. I'm grateful that I can call upon these outstanding people to help me create what my minds-eye sees.

What was your first camera and what is your brand of choice today?

The first camera that I can remember buying was a Ricoh FF.9. I had several jobs during the school holidays and remember having to save up to buy it. It used 35mm film and I use to love experimenting with the various ISO films, which was nearly always AGFA because it was cheaper. I'd be taking snaps of friends and family all of the time and I'd take it into work with me to photograph my colleagues, it was just so much fun.

Following that, things got a bit more serious and I invested in a Pentax K1000. This camera got me all of the way through college and I loved developing my own film into prints, nothing compared to that, the excitement of watching your picture appear on paper in the dark room was just sensational and I really miss doing that these days.

These days, I'm what I call a 'Nikon'eer' and I use the D800 range. For me, it is perfect, especially with the huge selection of glass that is available now. The Sigma ART range is fabulous for various projects. I do however tend to use my Nikon collection of lenses for all portraiture work and I would personally recommend using prime lenses, the 'Nifty Fifty' should be in everyones kit bag.

Who is your favorite photographer and why?

Honestly, I don't actually have one. I admire and gain inspiration from many photographers every day, some who specialize in fashion, others who specialize in landscape and then some who specialize in creative. Personally, I don't believe that any one photographer is the best, they are all the best they can be, but they all aim to improve with every photo shoot they do and they are constantly learning. Yes, some photographers have gained international recognition and I have visited many galleries looking through their work, the wonderful work of 'Steve McCurry' for example was exhibited in Nice, France a couple of years back, I think I spent 6 hrs walking around it in a daze. I also have a great collection of books on photography and quite often I will sit and admire the work of 'Rankin' into the early hours, before realizing I have to put my own kit on charge for a shoot the next day. In my heart, I respect the art that all photographers capture, it's what makes you unique.

What is your dream photoshoot?

For me, it would have to be a portrait session with one of the original Supermodels. I was part of a team that photographed Naomi Campbell back in the 90's, it was a fashion photo shoot for a retail company in the UK. It was all very fast and I never got to spend anytime talking to her, but to have a portrait sitting with her, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Carla Bruni or Helena Christensen would be magical for me.

Can you walk us through how you accomplish your portraits (lighting, lenses, post-editing), any cheat notes for your followers?

I get asked this question a lot and truly, I don't have any cheat notes to share, but I can tell you what I do.

As I previously mentioned, getting to understand light, whether it be natural or artificial is the key to mastering what you wish to achieve. Yes, the kit is important and it does improve your end result, but I have captured some fabulous work on a basic Nikon D3100 with a standard kit lens.

Any post-editing I do is always in Adobe Photoshop. Other than Nikon's camera raw, Photoshop is the only software I use. I have over the years worked on a few presets of my own that will speed up things like contrast and tone adjustment.

On occasion, I get asked to do some skin retouching, for this I would do some frequency separation, again I have my own settings for this and I'd advise you to do the same. Some tutorials can be found online and they are great for learning, but develop from them and your work will improve.

Any tips for aspiring photographers?

• Understand light and work it to your advantage, get that right and you are 50% of the way through.
• Photograph everything and anything until you find what it is that brings you the most joy, then work on it.
• When taking shots, keep the camera to your eye, I have missed far to many opportunities to mention, because I moved to look at the back of the camera, do that only when you can't shoot anymore.
• Break the rules, be creative, photograph your way, become a visionary.
• Always play to your strengths.
• Talk to your subject and you'll get a better portrait, NEVER sit in silence.
• Did I mention understand light? :-)