My journey to becoming a commercial photographer:
For most of my life I have been travelling the country with my family and visiting different places along the way. While I was doing this I would take photos with my phone of anything I thought was interesting enough. It was normally the stereotypical subjects such as flowers or buildings. Some would say that I had an eye for a good photo.
For Christmas in 2017 I was given a Canon EOS 1300D as a present from my parents. They must have thought I would enjoy being able to take as many photos as I like with a proper piece of kit! As a part of this present I was booked onto a workshop to learn how to use my new camera properly, held by a local photographer.
I used my camera quite a few times before this workshop to try and get used to it. I also did some research on cameras so I could understand more about them and how best to use mine.
When the time came for me to attend the workshop I was very excited to learn about how I could progress with my photography. At this point I thought it would be a brilliant hobby to get into as I enjoyed taking photos very much. The workshop was at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and would cover the basics of how to use a camera on manual mode. We had a while to apply what we had learned and to take some practice shots getting used to the manual settings. I found that I picked this up quite quickly and realised that the settings were just a balancing act where you had to understand the lighting in order to get the correct exposures. We also learned how you can use the camera settings to create different effects for different special uses.
Following this workshop I had a trip to London where I could take as many photographs as I liked. I made sure to use as much of what I learned as I could for the photos I took on this trip. I was there for a few days so there was also plenty of variety in the types of shots I managed to get.
After being in London I came back home and booked myself onto another workshop but this time it was on how to edit photographs. We went through an extensive lesson on how to use Lightroom for general editing of photographs.
Some more time passed along with many more trips off around the country. Along the way I was photographing as much as I could and trying to create images that I thought would capture peoples’ attentions. In order to see if I could get some feedback and also keep a chronicle of how I was progressing, I decided to start posting photographs to my Instagram page. I gained a few initial followers but nothing substantial. I also never really got any feedback on any of the images but I thought it was definitely a good way for me to look back at how far I had been progressing with my newfound hobby.
Around 6 months later I had nearly finished secondary school when I got a message from a local photographer asking if I would like to come and do unpaid work experience for them in the summer holidays. They said that they had been looking at the images I had been taking on Instagram and that I was progressing really well, and they liked what they saw. I had never thought of photography as anything more than a hobby, but I was interested to see what the business side of photography had to offer. At this point I had never imagined photography as a career, I was on a completely different path.
I agreed to do the work experience and began on the day after I finished Secondary School. It was a fashion based event at the Holiday Inn Dodworth and it took place in the evening. I had no clue what this would have in store for me. After all, I wasn’t expecting that this would be anything more than 6 weeks of work experience and learning something new and fun. I really enjoyed this first day and got stuck in while assisting on the shoot.
After this first shoot I was intrigued to see what else this potentially had in store. The photographer had a product shoot as well that they were taking on, which really made me curious as to how something like that is shot. The job was mainly white background work for a company that sells magnets. It was very interesting to see how these kinds of images are shot. I felt like I was involved in the shoot and I definitely learned a great deal. I even took many of the shots myself! I also learned about different kinds of camera equipment and what they were used for, which I think was very useful for my own knowledge about photography. It was at this point that I realised photography could potentially be a great career for me and one that I would enjoy very much.
I stayed on at the photographers for a while and eventually I was going 3 or 4 days a week sometimes. I even had keys to the studio! I felt that I was learning very well and editing to a high standard as well as assisting on many photoshoots. In September of that year I started college but I still wanted to stay on work experience at the same time. College taught me plenty about photography but mainly I learned what I know from doing the job myself and watching what the professionals were doing. It’s an industry where seeing how it’s done is the best learning tool.
After 21 months of work experience, I began full time, official paid work at the photographers and stayed for a further year until I found I wanted to leave. Right off the bat I decided to start my own company so I could create for my own clients and fulfil their photographic needs. I was given many opportunities for work by many different businesses, the majority of which are still happy clients of Alex Hollinworth Photography!
As I built the business up, gathering new businesses and creating fantastic relationships with contacts and business people, I thought at the 5 month point I would quadruple my studio size at The Business Village to make way for further expansion. I look forward to all of my future shoots with existing clients as well as contacts I am yet to meet.
Alex Hollinworth Photography is where the magic happens, why not come down to visit and see what we can create for you?