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Speakers' Corner - David Stanbury - part 1 of 1 2

by David Stanbury Published

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Tell us a little about your background, your first camera and photographic experience and your subsequent emergence as a pro.

My photo journey started 24+ years ago when my parents bought me a Praktika bx 20 camera for my birthday and my dad said ‘now go to college and learn how to use it’. From there I really fell in love with the darkroom and a friend of a friend at the time was looking for someone to shoot their wedding but only in BandW. The established pro photographers would only shoot in colour so I shot, processed, printed the wedding as they requested and from that people loved the BandW and the rest is history

Why photography?
I tried watercolour painting but it just didn’t give me that wow factor

Film or digital? Is there still a place for silver halide?
I spent my formative years as a pro shooting film, changing a roll of 120 in freezing cold in front of over 200 guests is my memory of film. My big break really was digital and how we could adapt that to our services, so for me I will stick to digital.

Which camera?
Medium Format, I just love the quality, the images just stand out and the fact that you have to approach shoots slower and with more thought makes for a better shoot.

Bit of detail about your own studio set-up/staffing. Why (as a customer) would I choose you?
Reputation, Jane and I work as a team and are renowned for how we work on the day and the way we just make the clients feel special.

The problem with professional photographers today is...
I think many are looking for the quick fix, we now do workshops, training etc but we have been in this game for over 20 years

What’s the worst commercial error you have made to date?
Not really a commercial error but when we first opened our studio we used to take half the balance before the wedding and the rest when they came to pick the photos, what started to happen was the novelty wore off, they spent too much on honeymoon or just came in weeks after and this was so frustrating as a growing business as we needed that money ASAP


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How did you rectify the mistake?
All clients now pay 3 or 4 weeks before the wedding in full

The lessons learnt?
Money is much better in my pocket than the clients ;)

Is it getting harder or easier to make a decent living?
I don’t think its any different from when we started, if anything when we started the thought of lowering prices/working for nothing was just not done or saying that was expected by the client

How do you stay ahead of the game?
We don’t actively try, we just keep our eyes and ears open and if we see something that we feel works for us then we go for it. Our clients will tell us if it works or not, but we are not afraid to try new ideas.

How do organisations such as The Societies of Photographers help?
I have been part of many photography organisations but to be honest it’s The Societies that has impressed me the most. It constantly involves its members, the magazine is very informative and covers many genres of photography so never dull. I also feel that as with anything ‘you only get out what you put in’ Photography societies are not meant to get you more customers/earn more money that’s the photographers job, a good photo organization is meant to help with advice and inspiration to make you more creative. How you want to use that creative inspiration is down to you.


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