Hello! I am Tom, from Thomas Oscar Miles Photography, based in the UK.
My art looks at personal vulnerabilities, embracing them through ideas of self-empowerment. Opting to shoot predominantly self-portraits, I hope to inspire others to tell their own narratives, celebrating both the darker and lighter times.
My work uses dark visuals, with delicate detailing to create worlds that embody a spectrum of feelings and lessons, we all must embrace.
I started creating in 2013, whilst at school, since finding my professional footing in 2020. I shot with gear from my family that was inexpensive, allowing me to start my journey.
Beginning to shoot with a Nikon Coolpix A10 16.1MP Compact Digital Camera Red as a kid, later evolving to a Nikon D40X until I saved up, and bought my first ever camera in May of 2015 (the same camera I use today) Nikon D610.
My camera body, lenses, remotes, tripod and computers have all remained the same since 2015. Knowing my gear and using it to its optimum means that my process does not stray away from the heart of where it began, remaining consistent and reliable ever since.
Shooting predominantly with natural night means that I have come to understand just how light really works, and how I can use it to my advantage.
In the last couple of years, I invested in a LumeCube Broadcast Lighting Kit for a natural light effect, when shooting in my usual darker atmospheres.
I have also started playing with lighting, to create a more painterly, often Baroque-inspired mood, using Set Photo 135w 5500k 220v bulbs with stands and umbrellas.
These are also continuous lights that can mimic daylight and be harsher, more dramatic light. I have loved experimenting and bringing lights into my practice as I feel it has evolved the look and helped me find more control in the camera, without depending on making lighting in Photoshop later.
The camera gear I choose to use includes my Nikon D610, which perfectly allows me to capture my concepts.
The lenses I opt to use are my Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G AF-P DX VR Kit Lens for wider shots and the lens I mostly choose to use for most of my work is my Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G.
This lens works triumphantly for getting a soft background but keeping the key elements sharp.
Finally, my Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Nikon Fit is what I use for my more intimate portraits, to help capture closeup details.
My Nikon ML-L3 Remote Control has been a lifesaver whilst shooting self-portraits; choosing to use the two-second delay timer allows me to drop the remote in time to have it away from the final photo, whilst also focusing my camera onto the subject matter with ease.
Setting up my camera on my Velbon DF-51 Tripod allows me to play with any angle I need and this is the same tripod I’ve used since my first-ever portrait. It has been on this journey with me from the beginning and I love its functionality and practicality, especially when shooting on location and in difficult terrain!
My go-to memory card(s) are the SanDisk 256GB Ultra SDXC’s, my camera has the capability to have two cards, so I try to have two in at once, as backup.
This way, I don’t need to rush deleting the photos off of them, until I have done two backups of the files. I shoot in RAW, which means I need more space. This file type allows me to make edits before I open the photos in Adobe Photoshop, such as sharpening and colour correction.
Keeping all of my equipment safe is paramount to my practice, otherwise, I would fall into old habits and lose many a small remote, lens cap or probably keys!
My Tarion Camera Backpack has the capability for dividers and to carry all of my gear all at once, which is great when shooting both on location and on your own.
When I finish shooting, my photos get uploaded on my multiple Seagate Portable Drive 2TB External Hard Drives. The files get organised based on the year and month of when the files were created, to make them easier to find when I am sending off files for printing, or submitting to galleries or contests.
My computer is an Apple MacBook Pro 13″ which allows me to work on the go. I work in a small office space in my house, but love to sit on my sofa with some feel-good music or telly on. This is the way I have worked since I first started, finding comfort in being in a soft space when needing to concentrate.
I plan all of my ideas beforehand, getting the ideas out of my head and onto paper. I use plain paper notebooks, my favourite being my Eleanor Williams Custom Embellished Notebook which Ellie embellished my photography logo onto the cover of.
Sometimes I will come up with a concept, write and draw it into one of my notebooks, and come back to it months or years after. Jotting down as much as I can about the idea means that I won’t forget all the details I have dreamt about.
Some accessories I keep in my bag when shooting include my Duo Brush On Striplash Adhesive – White/Clear for sticking any assortment of objects on me, including pearls, deer bones and gold leaf. This all helps to bring my characters to life.
I may also bring antique and vintage props along with me which often get odd stares by dog walkers!
Safety pins, a first aid kit and string are all super beneficial for technical elements. I feel safe knowing I have got these things on me like I can conquer any battle!
Crystals are a great tool to get refractions in photos when held up to the lens. I opt for these during wedding dances or when I am after a unique perspective on a portrait session.
A mirror is also a great tool, in particular during self-portraiture. This allows me to see myself to amend any posing or prop placing to reduce the need for long shooting sessions.
One part of my gear that may not be traditional for other photographers is myself! (Hence the choice to have my person showing in the kit photo.)
I put myself in my work process in many ways: not only technically- working as a self-portrait artist, carrying my gear on locations, and choosing to take photos primarily of myself, but also putting my heart into every part of the creative process.
This is key to continuously finding passion to create. I create to tell personal stories that may connect with others, sharing in a way that helps me learn more about myself and grow to embrace what I may struggle with in my own life.
Finally, I often like to bring both my wedding and fine art business cards along with me, in case I get a curious passerby who wants to find out more about my work.
These are a great way to build a following, especially when beginning to have a local base that you can build upon.
It’s never what you know but who you know!
I get my business cards in bulk from Vistaprint, designing and ordering is so easy.
My technical process hasn’t changed too much since the beginning of my journey and this is definitely done by choice, something I recommend to newcomers to photography.
Invest in good quality equipment that works for what you are specifically after. Learn with your equipment.
Learn the rules, know how best to break them, and then master what you have come to learn, transforming it into your own individual practice that works best for you.
My goal with my work is to sell through galleries, to art collectors and fellow empowerment-inspired people who desire connected art on their walls.
My kit will evolve to accommodate this and how my practice will evolve once I find my dream galleries.
Build your kit as you go and don’t feel the pressure to get the latest and most high-tech equipment.
Do what works for you and learn as much as possible, be okay with failing and know that you will allow yourself to grow, becoming the photographer you were meant to be.