John Beardsworth

Photographer, Author, Consultant

About me


My photography is varied and ranges from documentary to landscape.

The work of photojournalists like Don McCullin and Brian Harris (in the early Independent newspaper) was what first made me want a camera in my late 20s, and I also remember being impressed by London shows by Chris Killip and Sebastaio Salgado. I like long term projects, one early one being on Speakers Corner, and in the last 15 years I’ve photographed a wide variety of historical re-enactment – my Cambridge history degree meeting my inner McCullin! In 2018-19 I started a similar project on Brexit.

Landscape has always been my other love. Maybe surprisingly, McCullin was an early favourite as I had seen his harsh black and white Somerset landscapes. 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, and just being there.


I’ve written about 10 books teaching aspects of digital photography, and I think it helps that my background wasn’t in photography or graphic arts. During a career in accounting and then in financial IT, photography had been a passionate hobby and I loved darkroom printing. Working for the printing press manufacturer Heidelberg introduced me to Photoshop about 1990 and I slowly built up my digital skills with scanned negatives and slides. 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 book. 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.


My knowledge of Lightroom has origins in my murky past as a spreadsheet warrior. As a chartered accountant, in the 1990s I learnt to program Excel and databases and became more of a financial IT guy. Eventually I was in consulting roles, 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 28 years, I do know Photoshop pretty well too.

Note that 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 – expect.