Anyone in business who spends time networking and meeting new people will know that one of the first questions you will be asked is “what do you do”?
As a photographer from Newbury in West Berkshire, I’ve discovered over the years that just saying, “I’m a commercial photographer”, is almost guaranteed to elicit the same reaction – “Oh, you do weddings and family portraits”.
“Well no – actually I don’t!”
This public perception that all photographers do the same thing isn’t that surprising, given that most peoples’ only connection with a professional photographer will be at a wedding or when they go as a family to have their pictures taken, to celebrate some significant lifestyle event. But in fact photographic skills cover such a vast variety of uses, from press to forensics, including some extraordinary niche applications.
I currently photograph products and corporate headshots for press releases and websites and my business is helping clients promote and improve the image they present to their customers.
But by qualification and training I am a registered medical photographer.
The extensive experience I gained during my 45 year career has given me the opportunity to sample many of these skills from extreme close up pictures, event photography including Royal Visits, corporate style portraiture of Nobel Prizewinners, scientific glassware and instruments, sometimes recording the most harrowing and distressing times as well as the happiest moments of life and working with the most vulnerable members of the community.
Probably the most important aspect of my work is closely shared with the wedding and portrait photographer and that is the ability to build rapport, with people of all backgrounds, which in a way is as crucial in putting people at ease, as the photographic skills
For this reason I have made a clear decision of where my photographic interests lie and although I still continue my niche clinical service helping diagnose skin cancer at an early stage using photography and photographing personal injuries for use in legal and insurance claims, I am now equally selective in my commercial interests.
I believe that photographing weddings and families is as specialist as any other branch of photography and I acknowledge and admire those choosing to work in these areas.
Unfortunately, with more and more camera owners turning to photography to supplement their incomes, it is essential that the professional specialist is recognised.
For this reason when someone asks what I do, I start by telling them what I don’t do – Weddings and Family Portraits.
Of course, if they’re disappointed that I can’t help them, I have a select list of highly skilled professionals that do, and will happily recommend them.