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 to want to pursue them beyond Upper school gates and into either further education or as a career. I enjoyed subjects and was quite good at many in my eyes, but in today’s stream of A and A* results I was just a 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. When I left school I agreed to do a 1 year Business Course at the local College, something to give me some basic office skills I could take into a job later, but first I worked for my Dad in his electrical installation company. A small family affair. After college I worked in the office doing electrical plans on a CAD machine, I basically worked for my bed and board really with just a bit of pocket money on top – enough to keep my pony on the road and compete in some showjumping. The only photography in my life that I really remember can firstly through my Grandad’s rather old, but rather treasured leather cased film beauty.
How I wish that was still around as a family treasure on my shelves.
At 20 I fell into a job through a friend, working for a huge American bicycle brand – the one that Lance Armstrong road during his time in the Tour de France. I worked with them for about 6 years I think and ended up as part of the distribution sales team, supporting great numbers of bike shops around the UK. From there I moved to yet another massive American brand, this time a sunglass one. Yet again a brand that Lance Armstrong was sponsored by! Oh the shame of it all!! I spent 11 year working my backside off for the sunglass company 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 flipping 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 a very male dominated ‘strong’ sporting office life but it didn’t excite me overly and actually the time out travelling with the company was great as although I’m quite outspoken at times I’m naturally quite introverted and enjoy my own company and don’t need masses of external stimulation to feel content or stimulated.
I just didn’t know what I DID want to do.
The turning point came at the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011 I was made redundant 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 with that as 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 bridge camera. I used to take photos of my horses when they were professionally produced for the show ring by an incredible show team based in Buckinghamshire. 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. I loved photographing my horse in the ring but realised that a ‘point and shoot’ style camera wasn’t the way forward with the photography behind family snaps. I played with the bridge and then 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. 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
If you are looking for a photographer offering simple solutions with effective photography for your business then please do drop me a line today so we can chat about your needs and options.