For the love of photography

November 27, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

HELLO! A bit of a random post today. I was asked today by a photography student down near Cambridge to answer a few interview questions on my job, I thought id post the transcript here for anyone reading to have a look at my life as a photographer:


Why did you decide to pursue this career?

-   I have loved photography since I was a child. I used to mess around with my parents Zenit EM film SLR for many years, as a teenager digital cameras started to be introduced, albeit it extremely high prices. Into my late teens 1mp cameras started to become affordable. I remember getting one for xmas and was amazed at the ability to snap away without going through tons of film – although it was obviously limited compared to my parents film SLR – I kept this for doing high quality stuff and used the digital to learn new and interesting stuff. I ended up going to university studying science & I.T. related degrees but photography remained a big part of my life. I founded the Bangor University photography club around 11 years ago with 2 other fellow students – there was one many years prior to us founding the current rendition of it, but it had apparently died out and for many years there was no such club, I am pleased to see it is still going although I have not been part of it for a few years now. After uni I then worked for 5 years in the medical industry & I.T. shooting photography part time, weekends, (usually 3-4 nights a week in events with {originally} some occasional weekend weddings that built up – my first few weddings I was 2nd shooter following a pro). Eventually I had built up a reasonable portfolio and circumstance led me to leaving my I.T. job and starting photography on a full time basis, it is something I was thinking about for a good couple of years but the opportunity arose, so I decided to make the leap, I am still early in my career but loving every second of it.

What support training would you require to be able to do this job?

- I learned my craft myself, assistant positions rarely open up, and training is mostly provided in academia in the formal sense. Like anything in life, officially or unofficially if you constantly work away at something, you will get somewhere eventually

How long have you been in the business of photography?

- Full time ~ 1.75 years, part time ~ 4/5 years

How did you first get noticed?

-  Originally I was doing mostly events work part time, portraiture at events, club photos, musical events, people starting noticing the quality of the work, numerous photographers in the area kindly emailed me commending me on the quality of the work and mainly they were impressed with the skill of flash photography I was doing. From there, word got around.

How did you sell your first piece of work or get your first paying job?

-         At first it was just people emailing and asking for prints of landscapes or portraits they had seen, I charged a sensible price with posting and took it from there, sadly this is a job where its worth isn’t widely known, so I don’t really charge what it’s worth now to stay competitive! Lol, but I love it so keep going.

Are you able to have photography as your only job or do you need another job alongside to manage?

-         As above, I now work full time but am living off much less money than I used to for the love of what I do.

Would you say photography is a hard line of work to get into?

-     EXTREMELY, it’s a completely and utterly saturated market, add in to this anyone who owns a DSLR calls themselves a photographer. For every real photographer there must be 100 part timers, 1000 uncle bobs/weekenders, 10000 ‘photographers’ who are ‘Joe blogs photography’ on Facebook. Anyone looking for a real photographer must wade through 10000+ people in any one county who call themselves a photographer. Of course one assumes here the person searching through an endless list of people I describe here would be someone who knows what they are looking for and knows what qualities a real photographer should have – 99% of people do not know what they are looking for, finds anyone with a small handful of good images and hires them, this is a complete lack of education of what ‘proper’ photographers are to the general public. This isn’t anyone’s fault in any way at all, and I don't blame anyone, it’s just the way it is right now sadly, I just think if I keep putting in 110% constantly, I hope one day it will get noticed more :)

Now everybody has a digital camera do you notice less work coming your way as people think they can do it themselves?

- Lol ! indeed, read above.

As a photographer do you class yourself at work 5 days a week, 9am to 5pm or 24/7?

- There are not enough hours in the day, 24/7

What do you wish you knew when you started taking photographs that you know now?

- Having a bigger starting budget, to make any headway you must invest many thousands of £££’s because at every level there are 50 other bigger fish in the pond who are more advanced, more experienced, and have much better gear (gear isn’t everything, but it’s obviously integral to the job – pro’s use top end gear for a reason). You have to have a thick skin in every sense to work your way up the ladder – it’s only really a market for people who thrive on challenges, never stop thinking and are completely immersed in their art. You won’t survive or get better if you don’t eat --> sleep --> photography, repeat.

Me with cameras or catching up with contacts Me with cameras or catching up with contacts Me with cameras or catching up with contacts Me with cameras or catching up with contacts


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