I spent my childhood in Louisville, Kentucky. My Dad was the president of one of the biggest advertising and marketing firms in the midwest. All through high school and some college I worked for my Dad in the photography studio, helping on product shoots (cars and washing machines... big stuff) and in the darkroom. So I guess you could say that photography is in my blood. But, I also was an avid guitar player and a professional actor.
When I made the decision many years ago to become a professional photographer, it wasn't cars and washing machines that drew my eye. It was people. These people all came from the theater and music worlds that I was a part of. Talent agencies took notice and soon I was very busy shooting modeling portfolios and headshots for all sorts of entertainers... singers, dancer, actors, tv personalities, professional speakers, politicians. If they were in the public eye, they were my specialty.
One of the first gigs I got was being hired to teach modeling at a couple of the biggest talent agencies. That was an invaluable experience in that it taught me a lot about body language and communicating with my subjects. When you have 20 or so models in front of your camera, you develop a compact way of getting people to do what you want. It was a great training ground. It not only honed my lighting skills, but because everything was photographed with film, it had to be done right.
I firmly believe that Photoshop should be used for "enhancing" a good photo...not "fixing" a poorly lit one.