How to Turn Your Passion for Photography Into a Profession

From my first camera as a young teen, to an iconic photograph of the Orwell Bridge that launched my career, I have managed to turn my passion for photography into a profession I love.  Here, I explain how it all happened…

I still remember my very first camera. It was a gift from Uncle Rex whilst on holiday. I spent days and evenings playing with the coloured filters, and I loved seeing the effect they had on images.

My dad was an amateur photographer, and once he realised the passion had been passed on, he gave me his two old manual Pentax cameras, alongside a dated flash kit with all the backdrops, umbrellas and film. Needless to say, I was in heaven, and spent the next few years practising and experimenting with my new kit.

I loved using photography to capture what I saw in my mind’s eye, and it allowed me the freedom to be creative wherever I went. All this was way before digital of course, and back then you couldn’t see instantly what impact altering settings would have on a photo. So I’d write down what I did for each shot, and when the film was developed I’d copy those details onto the back of each picture to study what did and didn’t work…. In short, I learned the hard way.

A passion that stayed with me

As I got older, I found a career outside photography, but the passion was still there. It became my main hobby, and I attended evening classes where I learned the techniques of developing film and studio photography.

Of course, my camera came everywhere with me. I loved (and still love) to capture scenes and people as they are, what we call candid. Which of course is now what I do now for a living. Back then though I was merely the family pest, constantly taking pictures of people without them even noticing. I’ve heard the words “stop taking my photo Cherry” more times than I can mention. Almost as much as “hurry up Cherry” as I would often slow down or wander off to get THE shot whenever I spotted a photo opportunity.

My mantra became ‘always look up’ because there’s so much more to see than at eye level. This has always helped me spot those opportunities for a great image that go unnoticed by most people. I love working with perspectives, angles and tones of light, and seeing the effect they have on people and objects. A pylon can become a thing of beauty if viewed from below, for instance. And nature has endless opportunities for art. Natural light, and all the colours it creates, fill me with such passion.

And all those pictures people didn’t want me taking at the time? Even now my family will ask for copies of those same pictures from twenty or thirty years ago. Such great memories captured forever.

Later on, as I brought up a young family, I still attended those evening classes, and would often volunteer to go to professional shoots to watch, learn, and pick up pro tips.

Becoming a professional

I still remember how I launched my career as a professional photographer six years ago… and it was thanks to the Orwell Bridge. I’m so fond of the picture I managed to capture. That image became popular, and that was the moment I realised that I could do this. I’m proud to know that all those prints I sold are hanging in people’s homes, being seen, appreciated and hopefully bringing happiness. And most of all, I feel incredibly lucky that my passion is also the thing I get to do for a living.

Using my skills to empower my clients

As a professional, I’ve used those skills I’ve honed since my early teen years to make a real difference to professionals, brands and businesses. I love being given a challenging brief and turning it into images that truly empower my clients to achieve the commercial goals they’re aiming for. Be it creating brand photography that engages people in their story, or product photography that increases a business’ sales.

Of course, It’s not all about business. I find it deeply rewarding to teach children and adults how to use a camera to produce images that have impact. And as a social animal, I love meeting others who share my passion for cameras, photography and being creative. I’ve met a lot of great friends this way over the years, both clients and fellow camera jockeys alike.

In fact, when I’m zooming between jobs in my 1972 Classic MG Midget (who I’ve christened Miss Bridget Jones, but that’s another story), meeting exciting new clients, and doing the thing I love most for a living, I really do feel like the luckiest girl in the world. What more could you ask for in life?

Looking to give your commercial photography the Simply C edge? Email me to find out more.


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