Something that I get asked quite often is how exactly I got into photography. So I thought I would write a blog post explaining all!
It all started with music. From a young age I was going to gigs and festivals and quickly found out that there were more gigs on then I could afford to go to. It was when I started to write music reviews for local blogs that I realised I could get into gigs for free in exchange for writing for free. I set up my own reviews website with the plan of covering larger acts than the local blogs were and called on some photographer friends to help out. The inevitable occurred – there was a gig where none of the photographers were available and, being the adventurous person I am, I borrowed my friends DSLR and headed off to photograph my first ever gig – The Feeling. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and the photos were terrible! However, I had fun, so chatted with friends for gear advice and ordered myself a DSLR. After my camera arrived, I spent a few weeks learning to use it, photographed a local gig and then decided I’d give it a proper try out and photographed McBusted followed by Tom Jones, a week or so later. These photos were not so terrible:
After this, I spent about a year and a half shooting as many gigs and festivals as humanly possible. I have to give a massive thanks to Ollie Millington, who advised me on how to join a photo agency, what lenses I needed, how best to get PR to give you media accreditation and countless other advice. Ollie told me what I needed to do and I got on with it, unlike the other people who he says contacts him who just want Ollie to provide everything to them on a plate.
In this year and a half period I photographed around 100 gigs and 11 festivals whilst holding down a full time job in Digital Marketing/SEO. I found it immensely difficult to monetise music photography, with photo agency sales being low values, and was either just breaking even or only making a small amount – which of course are a lot higher when covering a festival than a gig. I also found myself having less fun at gigs, feeling that my efforts could be better spent in another area of photography. My dream was not to make lots of money, rather leave my job and have my passion as my full time job.
From my first ever photoshoot with my friend Liv
Throughout my time shooting live music I would say I dabbled in other areas; photographing a few friends, models, the odd wedding and a little bit of sports. A local photographer that I knew however hadn’t really ever spoken to – Scott Choucino – had a photographer drop out from being his second shooter at a wedding last minute and I stepped in to help out. Over the following year Scott effectively introduced me to portrait photography, especially the commercial side of things, by hiring me to assist him on shoots, along with countless hours spent advising me, teaching me, criticising my work and helping me find a studio to start working from. Scott is the second person I have to say a huge thank you to, for I would not be where I am today without his help.
My first studio
Around a year into having my old studio on London Road I made ultimate jump; I quit my job, sent out an email announcing I was a full time photographer and dove into freelance life. In my first month I somehow managed to work with Tesco, Loughborough University and a few other local companies. I was also doing lower end work for a sports photography company. Since then I have spent hours networking, shooting, editing, and building a client base up so that I can raise rates and build a successful business. 2017 saw me buy a house and moving out (much to my parents satisfaction!) and also move to a bigger studio complex, which you can read about here.
My favourite portrait images are below.
Leicester Aero Club