Favourite food: ITALIAN & FRENCH Favourite travel destination: ITALY & ISRAEL
Favourite Restaurant: A difficult one as there are so many fabulous restaurants now, but it would have to be Italian I guess!
Reading recommendation: The Source by James A Michener
Quote of the moment: “NEVER WORRY, NEVER HURRY, JUST STOP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS”
Thanks to Twitter I have recently been in communication with Charles Davis founder and director of Professional Photography. I have been blown away by his work and his general ethos, he is keen and as they say ‘dutch’ in the sense that he gives as well as takes opportunities. The prolific networker recommends that we should ‘network, network, network’ Charles Davis is clearly a big fan of social media and face-to-face networking groups. He’s right when he says ‘it’s essential to get you and your business out there’ who else will?
Meeting new people on a regular basis and participating in state-of-the-art joined-up social networks is certainly key in succeeding in a 21st century and is very much behind some of the successes of Professional Photography. Additionally try to give something back, it doesn’t have immediate benefits but long term you will be surprised at the opportunities that arise. Another top tip from the man who describes fashion as an industry that takes no prisoners is ‘do it because you love it, invest in the best equipment you can afford and learn as much as you can. Of course practice practice practice we all have to start somewhere’.
Charles you’ve got an extremely interesting and successful career history which has taken you from being part of the Special Escort Group looking after Royals and VIP’s to advising and leading in firearms operations to successfully filling the role of Fundraising & Communications Director for a large charity. Today I know you for your fabulous photography skills, so what was it that inspired you to become a photographer?
I was always very close to my late Father as a boy, he was an accomplished life-long Photographer who indeed encouraged me to have a go at Photography. He essentially encouraged me to do whatever I wanted in life, grasping opportunities that came my way with both hands. This together with my love of beautiful images is what attracted me to finally have a go as a full-time Photographer. Being in the right place at the right time has presented many opportunities and I can’t say no! (it wouldbe very rude to say no)
Your portfolio covers a broad range of skills and services suited to various settings ranging from images of products to beautiful wedding albums, in particular I picked up you’re steady involvement within the fashion industry how have you become involved in this?
I’ve always had an interest and followed fashion from a distance although in recent times more and more people have asked me if I’d be available for their shoot and it’s just developed from there. Clients seem to be happy with the results and excitingly I’ve just been asked to become the Official Photographer to a new very talented and very interesting Designer. So we will see, I just love what I do and am quite happy doing whatever shoot I’m asked to do as long as the results exceed the client’s expectations.
What do you think is the biggest preconception that people have about the fashion industry?
Do you know what? I’ve done some tough roles in my career but always been lucky to be able to develop what I’ve wanted to do, yes it may seem from the outside a little more glamorous but I can assure you they have taken a 100% commitment together with wonderful support from my family.
Describe what you do and who and what has influenced you to make you who you are right now?
It’s a fact of life with modern technology that many Photographers joke that they spend far to much time in front of a computer and not enough doing what they love, photography! It’s true, although an essential element to producing the best possible results for a client is in the selection and editing. Being personable too, it’s so so important if you can be friendly and build a rapport then your subject/Models have a fun experience and the shots are so much better. Influence has to be from, of course my late Father and in recent times Mario Testino, his work is just the best.
Now that’s a difficult one for me as I’ve been a Photographer since I was a little boy. The excitement I guess when the developed film came back from processing and seeing the images for the first time. Gone are those days now, you don’t even have to take a Polaroid, the technology is fabulous, I love it. Being able to instantly have your images transmitted to your iPad2 so that the client can confirm whether your close to the look required or not. We’re very lucky to be living in such a era of wonderful technology complementing our creative desires.
How does having your own business differ from working for a large corporation?
It’s amazing, together with scary! I say that as I clearly do not miss having to play the political game that is so often an essential part of your life when working for a large organisation at a senior level, as everyone has their own agenda. However on the other side the freedom of expression comes at a price, and that is ensuring there is enough regular sustainable business coming in. I’m an advocate of a joined-up approach to Social Media and although sometimes a little time consuming, I’ve built and developed some of my best clients via Twitter, Facebook, & Blogging. (DIY…love it!)
Can you describe the transition from the start of your business to where you are now? What has the process been like? Where have you worked and who have you worked with?
My roots over the last decade have been in the Automotive Sector and it therefore follows that my Photography work started there with Corporate Shoots, Press & PR material. Soon though I seemed to get booked for more and more Events, which again led to other opportunities, some of which were Fashion related. It’s not all Photo-shoots though I’m a prolific networker and not just Social Networking the vital face-2-face networking, early morning breakfast sessions, events, travelling just like any other business, building ‘Power-Groups’ of key contacts is really important to success.
Believe it or not, I know both those men in the picture, the man to the left used to race with my father and the one to the right worked for my father as a mechanic for years, what a strange and small world it is. sppppoookkky!!!
What has helped you the most?
Being personable, listening to your client to understand exactly what they want and delivering what they want, on budget and on time!If I had one thing I would ask people to remember, it’s that you don’t always have all the ideas & answers. Listening to your client, your models and the people around you on many occasions others have brought in a key element or idea that has just made the shoot spectacular.
What has been most challenging? And are there any do’s and don’ts we should know about?!!
In the world of Do’s & Don’t I try to keep an open mind, and secretly I’m a bit of rebel when someone says you can’t do that. I’d say why not! The current economic climate has been the biggest challenge but at least it’s the same for us all.
What are your favourite styles and looks?
Now that’s a difficult one for me, as I like so much. I think ‘retro’ styling has been an interesting one, where the old has been revamped and in many cases is so much better than the nostalgic memories we all have of any particular decade.
Do You Have A Favourite Walk Around Lens…If So What Is It?
I’m a BIG BIG Nikon fan! All my equipment is Nikon Professional Equipment, using the D3 & D3s Pro DSLR with numerous Nikkor lenses depending on the assignment. If I had to pick just one, it would be my Nikon D3s fitted with 24-70mm F2.8G AF-S E Nikon Lens & Nikon SB-900 Speedlight Flash.
Thank you so much for your time, I love your work and have enjoyed getting to know you a bit better.
BLOG: http://charlesjdavis.blogspot.com (It’s all bout the networking!!).