Hopefully by now you’ve been following my photography through my social media channels for a while. So I reckon it’s time to give you a bit more about the person behind the Brand as I’m sure you are as intrigued in life about others as I am. I say intrigued thoughtfully, rather than nosey, but you know, if nosey more fits your style then own it!
In this ‘Meet the Maker’ series of blogs you’ll get to curtain twitch into my life a bit. What makes me tick, what potentially ticks me off and why I do what I do. In this particular blog I’m going back to the start, when I first picked up a camera and what gave me the reason to work in photography professionally.
School days were not happy days for me. I didn’t have any particular subjects that inspired me enough into either further education or as a career. I enjoyed some subjects but ultimately was a very VERY average pupil gaining mostly B,C & D’s in my GCSE’s. I was the class of 1988, the first year that GCSE’s happened and we were the new system Guinea Pigs in some ways, I often wonder if my results might have been different a couple of years down the road. I couldn’t wait to leave school but I agreed to go to college and do a year in Business Studies. College life felt different as it was a choice, rather than a laid down law and I chose the whole path. I did well and gained the qualification I needed and then went into the family electrical installation business creating building/wiring schematic plans as a CAD operator. I’m not sure that was particularly creative but I certainly viewed everyday things in a different way to how I had beforehand!
At 20 I fell into a job through a friend working for a huge American bicycle brand and I worked with them for about 6 years. From there I moved to another massive American brand, this time a sunglass one. I spent 11 year working my backside off and ended up in a really strong role which needed a fair bit of European travel. I wasn’t earning 6 figures but I was very comfortable.
However, through all of this I always always knew I wouldn’t work for other people forever. I never intended on working in sales but I seemed good at it. I coped with the very male dominated sporting office that loved it’s high octane/adrenaline fueled world but I didn’t want it to define me or be my ultimate career – however good I was or whatever salary came with it. Travelling with the company was great in some respects, in others it wasn’t and it’s never as glamorous as folk think. Although I’m quite outspoken at times I’m actually pretty introverted and enjoy my own company, I just don’t need masses of external stimulation to feel content or stimulated, I could play hard at work but the partying hard bit wasn’t really for me and I as I got older I couldn’t really keep up anyway!
The turning point came at the end of 2010, I was made redundant through a global buy-out but went to work for what used to be my biggest customer. It was based at home though and wasn’t full time. I was happy I’d been given a reasonably healthy redundancy package. I was 38 and didn’t feel the need to chase my tail for someone else too much.
I’d been following some triathlon sports through friends and bought a camera. I used to take photos of my horses when they were professionally produced for the show ring for me. My work at that time with the sunglass company meant that having a horse at home was just not feasible, but I didn’t want to be be without, so this is how I dealt with it. It was like having horses at boarding school. I loved photographing my horse in the ring but realised that a ‘point and shoot’ style camera wasn’t the way forward. I moved into the DSLR field with whats generally referred to as a ‘hobby level’ camera body. One day at one of those grim off road running events that people do (!) I found myself sat next to the official photographer. We chatted and he was super super helpful. He looked at my shots and actively encouraged me to pursue my sports photography more but said I’d need to upgrade the camera body to a Pro version. I gulped, I’d seen the thousands of pounds these things cost! I went back to my redundancy money and invested a bit more and started to make contact with some Event companies.
What better than combining my personal love of horses with work and by that stage I’d sold all my horses anyway, so this was my way of getting a horsey ‘fix’ too!
These event companies are appointed by the event organisers and are on-site selling your images from the day. Not to be confused with any of the vast array of media accredited photographers that may also be on site too. Those photographers are taking images to support publications and or media channels. They are also there (or should only be there) by approval of the event organisers.
I showed some of my images I’d done to a few Official Event Photography (OEP) companies and with my riding background they were interested. However I also had my competitive background in horses so I had solid knowledge of each discipline and knew I’d need to be alert and have eyes in the back of my head to stay safe! I plunged forward and asked for a trial and got one. That was 2013 I was uber excited! I didn’t have the best camera and my technical skills weren’t brilliant either, but I was told that its easier to train someone with an equine background to do equine photography than it is to train someone who photographs weddings or landscape proficiently but doesn’t have a clue about horses in any manner. With my knowledge and enjoyment of cycling I also worked in this area too.
After a few events I realised I would need the better camera body. I gulped – I’d seen the thousands of pounds these things cost! I went back to my redundancy money and invested a bit more and carried on in the first phase of my life as a photographer earning money!
Find out what happened next in my own journey in Part 2.
Have a fabulous day
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