Formby’s newest estate agent Berkeley Shaw ask for my help with photography
A private investment client Curzon Property Ltd contacted me and asked me to photograph and document the journey and progress throughout a complete renovation of a fabulous Victorian property in the centre of historic Lord Street, Southport.
The large building has an interesting history and one that became more familiar, relevant to my background and coincidental than I would have thought.
Most recently the ground floor shop front was Mister Smith's, which many Southport residents will recognise as the gentleman's clothing store that recently closed down.
Any time a well known and well regarded store closes it's doors is a sad day, but when a thoughtful and respectful investment company takes over that considers the history and importance of the building moves in, it can only be good news.
Yes, there will have been job losses with the closure of the shop, but from what the director of Curzon Property Ltd has told me, there will be so many more options available depending upon what is decided by the company and granted by the planning department. I have heard some of the exciting plans that are available for this building and Southport can expect another sad closed, boarded up property to become thriving businesses providing opportunities for many.
Many of the rooms had the usual lowered false ceilings common with the era's of the 80's office decors. Sadly they had hidden the gems that lay above including the incredible ceiling coving and ornate decorations. The large areas were divided into smaller office spaces with partitioned walls, and each small space reminded of better days with 1980's decor, furniture and in some places, calendars left hanging reminding us of the days the office staff collected up their belongings and moved on.
Many of these offices were once occupied by the famous Southport brand "Hatch & Fielding" which anybody from the local area will know were probably the first and certainly best known estate agents in town.
The reason that is a strange coincidence and relevance to me personally is that my first real job as an estate agent was not for Hatch & Fielding, but my employer at that time, Ian Crane worked for them and valued them greatly as the company that brought him through the ranks to become a successful local independent estate agent. Another previous colleague and friend Gill also worked for Hatch and Fielding and has told me has fond memories of working there and remembers the building very well.
It was only as I was photographing so many of these incredible architectural features, albeit in a ruined state of disrepair, and I was discussing with my client about the history of the building, and what he had found in some of the historical documents and incredible discoveries from within the building that made me realise the connection between the past and the present......I was documenting, as a self employed photographer, the offices that my previous employer had worked in around 30 years ago.
It was certainly interesting taking photos of that fabulous victorian property over the course of the first two visits. I still have two more left to document the final stages of the renovation and I look forward to each one.
I have worked with Key Agent for 2 years taking photographs for estate agents in the north west to help with their marketing.
There are around 750 photographers across the country, so when I was chosen as their 'Photographer of the Month' for December I was ecstatic. I never expected to win the award that I have followed with interest as they gave this to other PFA's throughout my time with them. A particular PFA (Professional Field Agent) who has exceeded the expectations with the quality of their work, relationships with both agents and clients and the turn around time, based on various service level agreements is voted for by the team at head office.
Estate agents that have professional photography will always beat the competition because:
- They will win more instructions by offering professional photography at the valuation
- Potential clients will be more impressed by the quality of the online advertising
- The agent will have more time to concentrate on generating sales and new business
- Vendors love to show off their homes and with great images they love it even more
I can help estate agents to get their professional photographs at a cost that will be far lower than they expected, giving them more time to concentrate on other elements of their business.
I am offering all local estate agents no obligation 2 free sets of photographs of 2 of their properties to show them that it can make a difference. Even if your photography is excellent already, give me a try and compare my images with your own. If you don't think it's worth it, you have lost nothing.
For those agents that can see the difference and believe that it will work and gain them instructions, the prices will start from only £50 per property.
Not only am I a full time professional photographer that specialises and spends 6 days a week photographing properties for agents including Reeds Rains, Entwistle Green, Bridgfords, Ian Crane and more, I was an estate agent myself for 20 years.
Therefore I completely understand the pressures of gaining listings and maintaining higher fees. If you used my services 10 times per month and gained just 2 new instructions due to the photography, I don't need to tell you that it's worth it. Plus consider all the extra time you would have. (I can also draw your floor plans too)
Please visit www.davidahicks.net or contact me directly on 0789 456 1191 or email email@example.com and we can arrange a coffee and chat.
I recently shot a wedding at the Racquet Club in Liverpool for the first time. The bride and groom were Kay and David who are keen photographers also and so it was a pleasure to work with them and get some great images of their day.
The location itself on Chapel Street in Liverpool is a historic building that was once a private gentleman's club and is now a family run hotel incorporating the Ziba Restaurant. It's location is ideal for some great shots outside with the famous Liver Buildings as a backdrop.
The Racquet Club in Liverpool is a great venue for a wedding if a Liverpool Wedding is your preferred choice and I look forward to working there again next year.
Free Amazon HD 8
Each couple get a tablet during the wedding breakfast, with images from the earlier part of the day to pass around and share with guests.
There will normally be an opportunity for me to take time out whilst the couple, family and friends are all enjoying the wedding breakfast or meal to start editing some images. These will be loaded onto an Amazon HD 8 Tablet so it can be passed around to enjoy.
There may be some images from the morning preparations, the guests at the ceremony, or the bride's arrival at church. It's a nice way to view an early selection of the wedding photographs and of course, the couple can keep the tablet as a free gift.
All the other images, of which there would typically be around 300 - 500 for a full days coverage, will be individually processed by myself and sent to the couple within 6 weeks on a presentation USB memory stick. These photographs will be copyright free, high resolution, quality jpg's that can be used to make a wedding album, printed at home or professionally to produce large wall art or canvases.
- Have you just arranged a wedding last minute?
- Are you getting married in September or October but had decided against a photographer?
- Has your wedding photographer let you down?
I have spaces left in the diary for September and like to be busy so for a special promotion I am offering a full day's wedding photography for a much reduced rate. Instead of my usual fees of £850 I will capture your special day for just £350
This will include the full day from bridal preparation right through to last dance and beyond to the evening entertainment if required. All individually processed, high resolution images on a presentation USB to keep and do with as you wish.
Just visit www.davidahicksweddingphotography.com for more information and to see my portfolio.
Contact me quickly as once the diary spaces are gone, they are gone.
It was a huge honour and a pleasure to help photograph Jo and John Moss' wedding on the beautiful shore of San Giulio on Lake Orta in Northern Italy. The ceremony took place in the gorgeous gardens of the local town hall - Villa Bossi in perfect sunny weather with the lake as a backdrop for some stunning photographs.
As the guests waited in the glorious 30 degrees sunshine with no idea which direction the bride would appear, a speedboat was spotted coming towards us across the lake. As it drew closer we could see Jo and her proud, beaming dad Ian waving at us as they approached.
They then walked arm in arm towards the ceremony preceded by the chief bridesmaid and two flower girls spreading rose petals down the aisle. Every guest was leaning and ducking with their own cameras and iPad's trying to get the first shot of the beautiful bride in her exquisite white bridal gown from Natalie Ann Brides from Liverpool. The four bridesmaids also looked flawless in Dessy Ragalia purple dresses from The Wedding Rooms Formby.
Once the ceremony was completed, the new Mr and Mrs Moss led the friends and family to a drinks reception at Venus Restaurant in the Piazza Motta, the typically Italian central square with a great variety of shops, delightful restaurants, cafes and pizzeria's.
Following the reception there were further surprises starting with chartered boats to a secret lakeside location for the wedding breakfast. As the boats neared the shores, the tasteful and elegant music from the live band could be heard and the wonderful setting for this wedding party became apparent. The guests then enjoyed a five course Italian banquet and enjoyed the brilliant, amusing speeches by the groom, father of the bride and best men. It's safe to say that a great time was had by all and it certainly helped to capture some entertaining photographs for the newly married couple to treasure.
I am offering two promotions in one this summer with half price wedding photography throughout July, August & September for just £450 for a full days coverage.
I am also going to give the bride and groom a free Amazon Tablet with some of the photo's loaded onto it from the earlier part of the day. They can then view photographs during the meal and this can be passed around the guests to enjoy.
This is a limited offer to help build my wedding photography portfolio and applies to any north west wedding until end of September. Once I have booked enough to help me achieve this I will end the offer so contact me early to take advantage.
This week I was very fortunate to find one of the last remaining spaces on Kevin Mullin's photojournalism photography course.
I have been a huge fan of his approach to capturing a wedding and some of his images are among the best wedding photo's I have ever seen.
The day long course took place in Amersham Studios in Buckinghamshire so although it was a fair distance to travel for a one day course, I had not ventured the furthest as there were attendees from Belgium and also one from the USA! That is how good Kevin Mullins is.
He has won numerous awards since he began in 2008 and is a Fujifilm ambassador, and has traveled around the world giving talks on his photography approach, and on behalf of Fujifilm.
I wanted to attend one his training sessions to learn more about both the style that is often referred to as 'Documentary' or 'Candid' or 'Photojournalism' photography, and also to collect advise and tips of the business of wedding photography and how to make mine develop. However it is described it is one that I'm a big fan of. I would never copy a fellow photographer but try to take inspiration from one so successful.
I'm sure Kevin wouldn't mind me adding a couple of my favourite photographs from his collection that best demonstrates this style if I provide a link back to his website.
The approach is completely candid, nothing is ever staged and so the expressions, reactions and moments that are captured are completely natural. It's all about looking out for expressions, touches and interactions.
Looking through Kevin's website as some of his many hundreds of weddings that he has shot all around the world, just makes me want to get out there and start shooting.
I love his work and will take as much inspiration from it as I possibly can.
I now have my certificate from the CAA to enable me to operate the drone commercially. There are understandably various restrictions and regulations that must be adhered to for safety reasons but in the right location and conditions, it can produce beautiful results.
It could be for many different requirements for an aerial drone, and below are just a few examples of how they have been used recently.
- Marketing of a property or farm for sale or let
- Roof inspections to prevent having to erect expensive and time consuming scaffolding
- Construction inspections and update videos
- Farm's aerial crop surveys
- Promotional material for a company website
- Sports and recreational events from a new and exciting angle
- As a gift for somebody with a boat so they have a photo/video to treasure
- Golf course hole-by-hole flyby's
- Camping and caravan site for marketing and website use
I am available to hire and can discuss the different options with clients if they want to contact me by phone or email. Let me know what you are thinking of and we can decide how and when it would be best to go ahead with the project.
Not only are the fees likely to be less than most people would imagine, I also offer the service that the client pays for the photographs or videos on delivery and only when they are completely satisfied. Although for obvious reasons, I will always strive to get the best results that both myself and my client are happy with first time.
In the event of the conditions not being suitable to fly, we will have to rearrange but there will be no expense to the client for that. It will be rearranged on a mutually convenient day for both parties.
I look forward to hearing from anybody with their thoughts.
It may have been the hardest thing I have ever done, but I passed my flight assessment two weeks ago and I am now just waiting for the official confirmation and certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority to enable me to operate it commercially.
If anybody has any requirements for great quality aerial images or 4K UHD video, please let me know. The turnaround time expected from the CAA is 28 days, so I have approximately 2-3 weeks and then I will start flying.
If you have an idea of what you would like, contact me and we can make some arrangements to get an appointment organised and if it is within the strict CAA regulations we can fly the Typhoon and get the results that you need whether it's for business or pleasure.
I was very happy to have been asked by AMS Case management in Bury to help them with their corporate headshots for their website http://amscm.co.uk/index.html
They were looking for simple shots of each member of their team with a plain white background.
I used a 2.0m x 2.4m collapsible white backdrop and a three light setup with a softbox for the key light, an umbrella as the fill light with a third off camera flash to light the backdrop and give the pure white effect required. All three flashguns were powered with transmitters/receivers.
The clients were made up with the final images and although portrait photography is not a speciality of mine, I enjoyed the task and I am also very pleased with the results. I now feel that I can branch out where required to provide further clients with this service to supplement my commercial photography services.
I set up David A Hicks Photography on 1st October 2014. It was always going to be a tough industry to break into, I didn't know at the time where it would take me. I was determined to make it a success and working 7 days a week and most days until midnight in the first few months was hard work. I wasn't too popular with my wife as I was always sat at the pc, either studying, processing images or trying to establish the business.
I'm not sure if it was easier because I was working full time as an estate agent, because the pressure wasn't as intense if it didn't work out, as I had an income (a very poor one which is why I knew I needed to make this work) or harder because I didn't get much time with the family as a full time job and trying to start a business at the same time is very hard work and a big commitment.
However I was determined and with various ups and downs during the following months I am proud to say I have made it and am now a photographer. A full time, self employed photographer. The paid job is gone and I can now devote as much time as is required to both work on the photo shoots I'm commissioned to and to build my business further.
I am somewhat surprised and yet immensely happy that it only took 26 months from the very first thoughts of the business including coming up with the business name to taking the huge gamble of quitting my day job. I proved to myself that it can be done if you work at it and don't always listen when you don't get the encouragement that maybe you should.
I'm under no illusions, and by no means am I guaranteed success just because I'm now a full time photographer. Far from it, I know I have to continue to move forward and try to stay ahead of the competition and constantly improve otherwise it will fail and I'll be back behind a desk as an employee.
However, at this moment in time I've never been happier and more proud of myself. The primary goal was always to be more of a breadwinner for my family and support them as they deserve. I really hope I can continue to do so as I love this work so much.
Anybody else that is considering taking a risk and a big leap forward into the unknown should give it a go. I could be asking myself right now, "what if I had tried 2 years ago when I was thinking about it" you'll regret it more if you don't ever try than if you try and fail.
That reminded me of a few quotes I had seen during the past few months that encouraged me:
"In the end we only regret the chances we didn't take" - Lewis Carrol
"And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more" -Erica Jong 1942
"Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations" - Jelly Wong
This was intended to be a short piece about how much time I now have to offer to clients as I am self employed with no barriers in the way. 7 days a week if necessary. Hence the title 'complete devotion', meaning I can devote all my time to this profession without being stuck behind a desk. However it took a different turn and started writing about my move from nothing to becoming a photographer. (I was going to write successful photographer there but time will tell I guess) and it would seem as though the title was for my devotion to the work over these months. Well, I suppose it could mean both.
David A Hicks Photography are soon going to be offering a new service to clients with the acquisition of a high quality UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) that can take top quality images and 4k video.
This goes hand-in-hand with the current line of work of which the majority is property photography as there is very often the need to get a good aerial shot of the property, gardens and to highlight the size of the plot.
The chosen drone is a Yuneec Typhoon H with 6 motors and propellers and is capable of 25 minute flying time whilst taking 12 megapixel still images and 4k video.
I have to be registered to work commercially by the Civil Aviation Authority and have a flight assessment to complete, once I have finished my training. I estimate this to be around end of January.
I will announce the date we can start offering the service to current and new clients once I have been granted the permission from the CAA.
Many of my regular agents that I work with have asked for me to be their "Preferred Photographer" so that all of the work comes to me and nobody else because they are so happy with my work. I like to build great relationships with my branches and this way we work very well together. They know what I will do for them and I know exactly what is required so that I deliver the best possible results that they are looking for.
I am now a Registered Member of the Guild of Photographers so am part of a highly respected photographic body committed to a code of conduct and high standards.
My new client Wiggett Homes www.wiggett.co.uk commissioned me to take images of their converted Children's Hospital in Pendlebury, Oaklands Lodge. There are a range of 1 and 2 bedroom luxury apartments and the show homes were ready so they required some quality photographs for their website.
They also have some stunning detached luxury houses at Grasscroft Heights overlooking Saddleworth Moor and with stunning open views to the front over the hills. The large properties are built to a very high specification including under floor heating, piped music system and media rooms. A small selection of the photographs I supplied for them are below. Check their website www.wiggett.co.uk for further information.
I decided it was time to expand the business and offer a wider range of professional services including product photography so that clients can come to me for all of their commercial photography requirements. To enable me to do this it is essential to have a first class macros lens, pin sharp prime lens, lighting, flashes, new tripod and a light tent. The light tent along with the tripod and macro lens enables me to capture beautiful close up images of products as required by any business that needs superb sharp images to advertise on websites, in magazines and newspapers and of course in their own brochures and catalogues.
I have been perfecting various techniques and lighting set-ups required for different products and now feel I am able to offer this as an additional service, however would still welcome the opportunity for further experience and therefore if there are any clients that have the need for some product shots, please let me know and I will be happy to provide some images for a very small cost, just to cover expenses.
A few examples are below and I will add to these as I capture more over the course of the next few days.