Interview with James Ritson, Affinity Photo product expert

We talked to our very own Affinity Photo product expert, James Ritson—who some of you may know as the voice of Affinity thanks to his stellar tutorials—to learn more about him and his role, and to see if he has any tops tips for Affinity Photo users.

How did you get into photography and image editing? Is it something you’ve always been interested in?

My interest in photography and video came about when I was 17. The school I attended had just started introducing Media Studies lessons and we ended up producing music videos using some basic camcorders and editing software. I really enjoyed it and decided to pursue it further, then got into photography and media encoding.

‘Cambridge Blood Moon’ by James Ritson

Previous to that, I’d always been a bit of a nerd anyway—I was sucked into the world of PC gaming early on, when I was about 10 or so, then quickly got into modding games instead of playing them! I taught myself programming, mapping, texturing, etc and even started a mod team. All of that kind of fell by the wayside once I got into the world of media production, but those skills have since proved useful at Serif.

How did you turn it into a career at Serif?

I joined as a Junior Technical Author after looking for a bit of a career change from a video editor and camera operator. When I joined, Affinity Designer had just been released, and Affinity Photo was in beta the following year. I ended up doing the video tutorials for Affinity Photo, and that led to me teaching the apps internally and externally. I started doing demos of the software to companies in different industries as well. At a certain point, it became clear that maintaining that role on top of the technical authoring responsibilities was going to be too much, so I became part of a new Product Expert team dealing primarily with Photo, and we set about recruiting experts to be responsible for Designer and Publisher.

Mam Tor by James Ritson What does your role as a product expert entail?

The remit is to basically ‘look after’ an app in regards to training, demos, tutorials and many other responsibilities—it’s a very flexible role and the context can differ depending on the app. Affinity Photo is quite technical, for example, so I’m constantly developing my skills and exploring different facets of image editing and processing—colour management, 32-bit linear colour space workflows, high end retouching, architecture, just to name a few. I’m frequently producing macros, assets and other content to help out corporate clients and tend to deal with the more technical queries or issues that arise. I also get to use my previous skills—for example, I write and maintain an app for internal use that incorporates all kind of media encoding requirements for streaming video, optimised imagery for the Affinity website and more.

Is there a part of your job that you enjoy the most?

That’s a tricky one to nail down—I could say the sheer variety of the role. It never really gets monotonous because there’s always something new to tackle. That said, there is a kind of routine—once we get to release time, there are tutorials to be produced, etc—but things can be kind of

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