Ray Stofberg is a professional photographer focusing on advertising, still-life, products & packshots and portraits. In his personal work he creates images that convey his emotions. He enjoys learning every day and takes great joy in knowing that there is so much more to learn, know and to experience.
An Interview with photographer Ray Stofberg
"There are a number of things that I find important in a Raw Processor, but most important is pleasing color rendition. I absolutely love the quality of the colors I get using Capture One Pro 7."
- Please describe your work as a photographer:
My professional photography focuses on advertising, still-life, products & packshots and some portraits. Then there is my personal work, images in which I work to convey my emotions. In all my work, I enjoy learning every day, with each step I realize how much I don't know. I take great joy knowing there is so much more to learn, know and to experience.
My first camera was a Nikon F4 (in 1990) followed by F90x and then a F5. Since then I’ve shot with both Medium Format and DSLRs, and Nikon has been the DSLR brand that I’ve worked most with; I’ve used the D1x, D100, D200, D300, D3 and the D700. Currently I use only the D800e and occasionally I grab the D700. From the beginning my subjects were the things and the people that surrounded me.
- How do you balance the demands of your commercial clients and your own personal work?
My theory has always been that when the commercial work slowed down, then I’d have time for personal work. The reality is that commercial work has not slowed down! I’m not complaining here -- I appreciate there are many people who are not making a living from photography. And besides, many client projects have given me an opportunity to push a creative theme and been quite rewarding
- What's been your experience working with various raw conversion/image editing software?
Since 2002 when I started working digitally with the Nikon D1x, I have used many different raw converters. I had also been working with computers and software already from my early childhood, so in general, I found that it came very easily to me. I have used all Nikon raw converters, Bibble, Iridient, etc.
I had long been a long Adobe Lightroom user, and while I’d always found that Lightroom had acceptable skin rendition for the Nikon D700, it hopelessly failed with the Nikon D800e. Awful skin tone rendering. I actually stopped using the D800e completely at one point, because of the bad colors. I reverted to the D700. (Only after I switched to Capture One and I enjoyed seeing what was coming out of the D800e, did I start shooting with it again.)
This is the prime reason I transitioned to Capture One Pro. I was delighted with the way it handles skin tones! I also went back to some of my D700 files and could have hit myself over the head for not getting Capture One sooner. (Although, perhaps if I had switched to Capture One Pro sooner I might have not realised how much better Capture One was -- because the differences with the D700 files are there, but not as striking as with the D800e files. Even in bad light, Capture One Pro retains good skin color. It’s incredible.
There are a number of things that I find important in a Raw Processor, but most important is pleasing color rendition. I absolutely love the quality of the colors I get using Capture One Pro 7. Also, I think it handles sharpening better than Lightroom does. I shoot to flash cards, and then afterwards do a bit of adjusting -- highlight/shadow recovery, exposure, white balancing, a bit of sharpening, but hardly ever any adjustments to color!
- What is your opinion of the recent move by Adobe to transition its customers to a Cloud based (software as service) model?
Their decision to move to the Cloud-based model had me made looking around for good alternatives, but the fact is there really are none for Photoshop. Luckily for me, Capture One is not only an alternative to Lightroom, but it’s better! Let’s put it this way: When I consider the D800e files, I moved from unacceptable to exceptional image quality when I moved from Lightroom to Capture One Pro!
- What advantage do you see for photographers who choose to transition from Lightroom to Capture One?
The largest advantage I see for Photographers is the much better quality of the Raw file rendition.
- Photography is such a competitive profession - what advice would you give to other aspiring professional photographers? What advice would you give your younger self?
I entered this profession because it was something that I really wanted to do. I make less than a third of the money I did in an “earlier life.” But if this is what you want to do, then, you should go for it! It might be a very competitive profession, but we are also living in a time where there has never been such a demand for images. The trick is to not to repeat what’s already being done, but find yourself a niche to own.