John Beardsworth

Photographer, Author, Consultant

About me


Taking war photography back to the 1640s?

What first made me want a camera was seeing the work of photojournalists like Don McCullin, and Brian Harris in the early Independent newspaper, and I also remember the impact of shows by Chris Killip and Sebastaio Salgado. This might explain my long term projects like documenting Speakers Corner, but having studied history at Cambridge was what actually led me to photograph historical re-enactment. Influences are never so simple or obvious.

Landscape has always been my other love. Maybe surprisingly, but McCullin was an early favourite after I got his wonderful book of wintry Somerset landscapes in a harsh black and white. Others would be Fay Godwin and William Neill, while more recently some of David Ward‘s ideas have been thought-provoking. Yet just as much inspiration comes from my interest in art history.


I’ve written about 10 books on digital photography, the latest two published in 2014, but I didn’t begin as a photographer or even as a graphic artist. I had been a “spreadsheet warrior” and photography was just a hobby, but working for Heidelberg in the graphics industry I been familiar with Photoshop from about 1990. So while I loved darkroom printing, I also built up my digital skills with scanned negatives and slides, a “wet and dry” route. Then in 2003 I mentioned on my blog that I had just bought a Nikon D100, and this led to the opportunity to write the first of three books on digital B&W.

Advanced Digital Black and White Photography is probably my favourite. Partly that’s because I know it contained a few big firsts for books on the subject – Lightroom, Photoshop’s B&W panel, using SilverEfex, and smart object workflows. It’s still bang up to date.


I have a murky past – as a spreadsheet warrior. Qualifying as a chartered accountant, I spent two decades before finding how I could program Excel and databases. Escaping into financial IT consulting, I was implementing big accounting systems, OLAP cubes and “business intelligence”. That background happens to be ideal for managing photos and the field of “digital asset management”, so I found myself improving clients’ Lightroom productivity and designing web sites (my own web site has been going since 1997) which integrate efficiently with their workflows. And after using it for 27 years, I do know Photoshop pretty well too.

I have moved all my newer Lightroom content over to my other web site, Lightroom Solutions.


You can contact me by email. Please make your subject line obviously human or leave it as set by the link.

My Italian is good, and I am OK in French and German. Please don’t blame me for Brexit – it’s not my fault.

And if you see me somewhere, do say hello. I am told that in person I am nowhere near as frightening as you may – quite reasonably – imagine.