Well for those of you that are interested, let me give you some background on me, after all what do I know about photography?
I have been an enthusiast photographer since I was 16. Actually, within a month of earning wages I went out and bought a Pentax P50 and I loved it! I was hugely inspired by a friend of mine Steve Magennis (photo right), a professional, award winning wildlife photographer, not only for his amazing wildlife images, but more for the shots he took of us friends at parties, weddings or anywhere else. The rest us had our point and click cameras that did ok but his were amazing! What I now understand to be having a ‘shallow depth of field’ meant he would focus on a person and blur everything else out. So that’s what gave me the bug.
Over the coming years I used my camera at any weddings I went to and friends would tell me mine were better than the official’s shots! That boosted my confidence and made me believe I had a good eye for photography.
Then came the Digital SLR!
Fast forward to around 2004 and I got my first Digital SLR, the Canon 300D. It was amazing and it along with being able to create fullscreen virtual tours (still my core business), I decided to look at photography professionally.
My first shoot
Jamie, our middle son was attending Gloucester Avenue Nursery around 2004 and with my wife helping as a governor I offered to go in and take some shots of the kids at play. No charge, and no pressure! I put a stofen cap on my flash and used a sigma 24-70mm lens and had a blast! The nursery were delighted and the web designers who used the images asked if I could work for them as the shots were better than the ones their ‘professional’ was shooting. And that is how I got started in the world of professional photography. No qualifications, no education, just a keen eye and a love for photography.
Over the following 8 years I worked in around 250 schools throughout the UK capturing lifestyle images for use on websites and prospectuses. In that time my kit has changed considerably. Cameras went from a 300D to 30D to a 5D then a 5D mkII and currently I use a Canon 5D mkIII. Lenses? I started with a 24-70mm 2.8 Sigma and a 70-200mm 2.8 Sigma. Both lenses were great and I’m still a fan of Sigma kit although I upgraded to Canon 24-70mm 2.8 and Canon 70-200mm 2.8 lenses in 2008 when I got my mkII,a all purchased on lease through Warehouse Express. I’ve never been interested in image stabilizing lenses and there’s no better lenses out there for the work I do, although I’m trying to justify a 300mm lens at the minute 😉
I have always specialized in 360º Virtual Tours
Outside of schools my main business has always been creating virtual tours and I am very much a specialist in that area, having worked with clients like Manchester United, the British Army and the Red Arrows along with my every day clients. Please take a look at my website Smart Virtual Tours.
Here’s a selection of my other photography work currently including product photography and lifestyle shoots for RNIB, property photography and I’m just dabbling into some video with my 5D mkIII.
So all that is said to explain where I’m at, how I got here and to maybe encourage you that it’s possible to produce some great photos without the need to go to college or Uni.