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Thursday, 4 September 2014

Professional Photographer Monthly Column August 2014


It’s Friday afternoon and the end of lovely week of training up in the Lakes.  I’ve met many new people, seen old friends and had wonderful feedback from photographers who have left excited and with new found confidence.  The week began with the announcement that I will be representing Nikon UK as one of their Ambassadors.  It is an achievement that I am hugely proud of and many of the wonderful comments following the news acknowledged that it is the result of a great deal of hard work and commitment to the industry.   A fair few also mentioned the prospect of kit…

You don’t take on the responsibility of being a brand Ambassador because of the new camera bodies and lenses  - although of course this is a wonderful part of it.  As it goes I was a loyal Nikonian anyway.  If any of you read the Lottery Wish List article last month you’ll notice I spent the least and I chose a Nikon Df over a medium format system because it’s what I genuinely wanted.  And this was BEFORE the Ambassador scheme was ever discussed.

I absolutely love my kit – it works exceptionally hard for me and has become an extension of my hands.  When I am training photographers I always say that you need to know your kit intimately because at the end of the day our success as people photographers comes down to the decisive moment.  It is about knowing exactly the right moment to press the shutter – having already made decisions about lens choice and light.

So enough about kit – Nikon are trusting me with their brand and it is a role I will take very seriously.  I am delighted that I have been chosen to represent the Lifestyle sector in the UK – I believe it is an exciting time for all of us who use this label to describe our work.  According to Wiki ‘Lifestyle Photography’ is a ‘style of portrait/people photography which aims to capture and document real-life events, situations, or milestones in an artistic manner and the art of the everyday’.

I think that this is a pretty good definition – I certainly try and reflect my clients stories – their life and style choices – in a genuine and artistic way.  For my clients it is a luxury item and they come to me because they want something bespoke. I truly believe that this is a growth market in the UK and one that offers great opportunities for photographers.  It is also a very easy market for new businesses to enter and I often read people moaning about this ‘glut’ of newcomers and the resulting competitiveness.  

The reality of course is that most people enter the market with no real idea of what it takes to be successful – they have no business experience, no brand and they aren’t prepared to invest in the type of camera bodies and lenses that a pro photographer needs.   Do these photographers worry me?  Not in the slightest because my clients would never be attracted to them in the first place.

I am often told that I am an inspiration to photographers who are at the beginning of their journey and Nikon’s endorsement will mean even more people will look to me for advice and reassurance of what is possible.  And based on the last 4 years I am testament to the fact that amazing things can happen.

However, nothing that I have achieved is down to luck.  The wiki definition of this interesting word states that it is a purposeless, unpredictable and uncontrollable force that shapes events favorably or unfavorably for an individual’.  I believe you create luck through huge effort, commitment and dedication.  It certainly means that you appreciate achievements when you know you have earnt them!

So it is time for me to celebrate – to pop open a bottle of bubbles and pat myself on the back.  If you know me – and I don’t mean on FB or Twitter – you will be aware that I don’t ever take time to do this.  I have absolutely no ego and am constantly striving to be a better image maker and story teller. 

I have a wedding tomorrow and then I am jumping on a plane and heading to Turkey to drink juice and do yoga on a mountain for 5 days.  This isn’t normal for me and I agreed to go with a friend when I was on holiday in South Africa very aware of the benefits of taking time out.  I’m going to go off grid and have some me time.  I mentioned this to the team at Nikon (apparently the sunsets are amazing) and they’ve sent me a Nikon 1 V3 and a couple of lenses to have a play with. Lucky Kate?  I guess it depends on your outlook.

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