So by now, I was itching to upgrade my camera and take it to the next level. I had amassed thousands of pictures, a hard drive full of imagery. I longed for a full frame 35mm camera that was fully capable of getting the imagery I had in my head into reality. When I was young I wrote nearly every day, stories, poems and little drawings. I had saved all that work from when I was a teenager in the hopes that one day I would be able to visualize it into something. I wrote in secret, I never told people I wrote, I never showed anybody what I did and the worlds I created. But I could as a photographer visualize them at least. A lot of people was telling me that my images were good, and I should do this as a job. Yeah right, I couldn't manage my personal life so how could I cope with a business. I had managed a studio under the rule of a company with full training, but how could I set up a business and run that?
Well luckily for me I was getting heavily depressed in my current job and wanted a change. Although I loved dealing with members of the public, the company I worked for was awful to their staff. Working them into the ground and when they got sick they would discipline them with warnings. Of course me being epileptic did not go down well in the company, and every time I had a fit, they would punish me with a warning, which quickly escalated into a final written warning within a year. The funny thing with epilepsy is that stress is a trigger. I was going through a marriage break up two years prior and getting back was very stressful, stress at work was mounting the more fits I had and one day in August, I said goodbye and handed in my notice. Did not know what I was going to do, but know I needed money to pay bills. So I went to the job centre, started to sign on until I could think what I wanted in my life. I found help out of depression in my photography..
I decided that I didn't want to end up in that situation again and have to rely on a company for my life. I watched a film that changed my life because it taught me that I CAN change my life, I had all the tools necessary, ME. I just needed the help and push in the right direction. Lucky for me the local job centre hooked me up with an agency that helps people set themselves up in their own business. They send you on courses, plan out your idea, help you create a business plan and guide you through to going live and serving your first customers. They even give out a grant of £300 to start you off. Brilliant.
The first idea I gave them was too big for them to make a reality and asked me to downscale it to something more manageable. So I decided to take the photography part and concentrate on that.
Smile Pictures was born.
I used natural light and outdoor locations to service my clients and got gorgeous results. Even more better than I had before.
Too cut a long story short, I learned a lot in the next two years, about managing a business, spending money wisely and hard work. My working hours went from 4pm till midnight working at the supermarket to getting up at 8am, starting work at 9am and finishing work at 3am in the morning. I worked my tail off to make the business a succss, I went door to door, rang people up, sent out leaflets, created online adverts and websites. Within a year I was managing 4 websites: my main business website, a website dedicated to advertising other businesses within my local area, a website to offer out editing services, a website I used just as a blog, and I was in the process of building another for training workshops when I met someone who changed my life.
He was exactly in my shoes, he ran a shop and had customers in a small area. He had kids and had common interests with me. We went into business together and created a photography and film studio that also trained other photographers.
I knew I needed to upgrade the camera by this point to something more suited to my needs. I couldn't still yet afford the kind of camera I wanted as I was investing £1200 into the building of a studio. I went instead for a camera older than my Olympus, but yet had the functions and picture quality that was required for studio photography for the kind of portraits we were doing. The Fujifilm FinePix S3Pro. Still not full frame, but the sensor was still larger than the Olympus and I got some killer Pentax lenses to go with it. The images that were coming off were much better than the Olympus under the right conditions.
But sadly by then end of the year in 2015 my business partner had enough, just after three months of opening he decided he could not afford to be in the business anymore and backed out just as we were getting regular work in. Oh well I'm sure I can do it alone, I'm not gonna get into details here as it's pretty ugly but to cut another long story short the studio had too close as he owned the space in front of the studio and was not allowing access to the studio anymore. In that experience I learned a lot about business and life as well as you never know what people are like, I found out some home truths that ended my marriage and partnership with both wife and what I thought was a friend.
So going solo and expanding on what I learned. .
I decided if I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it right this time, I will do it the way I want to do it with images I have in my head, rather than what sells to the usual markets.
I am going to need a more up to date camera. As much as I loved the images coming off it I really needed a bigger sensor size more in line with the photography I wanted to achieve, film like imagery. The above image was not edited in any way as I liked it the way it was as it was the kind of photography you find usual professionals offering. Standard photography sessions. I feel I want something more than that, I want my imagination to really lift off and get imagery that evokes other worldly beauty and timeless, classic images that one day would be regarded as gallery worthy with a real cinematic feel exactly like the imagery below.
So with a budget of £400 I went out and started to create my current photography business, The camera I now use is a full frame Canon 5d Mark iii, which I was to later find out is the same model of camera that marvel used to shoot the summer blockbuster "The Avengers"....Awesome. I also was able to buy additional accessories and lenses that I required for the type of photography I do now.........