Director of Photography: Self-Employed
Tom studied Industrial Design and Technology before going on to become a self-employed photographer and cameraman. He has since worked for a host of channels including the BBC, ITV and National Geographic.
Loughborough had the best Industrial Design department in the country. In 2010, Loughborough had just opened its new Design Building, too.
The relationships that I made at university with like-minded people helped me build on the skills of working in a team, approaching things with a professional mentality and not being afraid to try new things and get involved.
Would there be one piece of advice that you would give to current or prospective students looking to study the same course that you did?
I didn’t go on to work in the area that I studied, however I would say that even if you are doing a degree which is in a creative field, find a different creative outlet whilst studying because it's hard to get the enjoyment of having a creative outlet whilst it’s being marked!
How did your involvement in LSU Media impact upon your Loughborough experience, and how has it helped you since leaving University?
I hold LSU Media and the opportunities I was afforded during my time there responsible for my career progression. I now get to work professionally at the top end of the media industry with the friends I was volunteering with at LSU Media only a short time ago.
I left university and made my first documentary with a fellow student about setting a cycling world record across Europe. This taught me a huge amount in a short space of time about shooting, editing and producing.
I then got a job as a runner at the BBC in the Current Affairs department, after a recommendation from a former Loughborough student. After 6 months of gaining broadcast experience, I became a freelance Cameraman and Director of Photography at 22 and have since worked for National Geographic, BBC, ITV and Sky Sports amongst others.
My advice is to always be nice.
It sounds so silly to say, but the media industry, especially TV, is a very small world. Word spreads extremely quickly and it can be amazing to get a call because someone has recommended you, or seen your name on the credits for a show you’ve worked on.
However, it also means that the bad gets remembered along side the good, so I have always strived to be a helpful, positive and fun person to work with on every production. It often gets you a better cup of tea from the runners too!
Freelancing can be a scary prospect - as I write this I have a day off during the middle of the working week. However I love the balance of having a time to work hard and a time to play, and being able to pick and choose what jobs you take is a real benefit of the work I do.
TV is expanding rapidly to online platforms, and working briefly on a series for Amazon Prime has led me to believe that I will be doing more work for Netflix and Amazon in the future. I’d also love to do the Olympics in Tokyo 2020!
The first time I was the only cameraman on the billing for a BBC One primetime broadcast was a really big milestone for me, as it's something people don’t often achieve at the age I was when it happened (24).
Also, having a cinema screening of the first documentary I ever made surrounded by friends and family was a personal highlight.