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Speakers' Corner - John Denton - part 1 of 1 2

by John Denton 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.

I was bought my first proper camera, a Praktika SLR from Argos in Pontefract by my Granddad. He was an artist and my inspiration to get involved with photography. It was the start of a lifelong passion that eventually became my business.

Why photography?
Quite simply I wanted to paint and draw but was hopeless. I tried hard, as my Granddad taught the subject, but realised I was never going to progress with a brush or pencil so took up the camera instead. There was an immediate realisation that this magic box could change the way I saw, and recorded, the world around me.

Film or digital? Is there still a place for silver halide?
There’s certainly a place in the overall world of photography just as there is for medium format, SLR, compact, and phone cameras....I’m no purist though and love the immediacy and practicalities of a digital SLR.

Which camera?
At the moment I have a Nikon D300. I have used this camera for years and love the feel and results I achieve. I’m thinking of finally biting the bullet though and upgrading to the new D850 but I’m still undecided.

Bit of detail about your own studio set-up/staffing. Why (as a customer) would I choose you?
I run a small commercial setup for boudoir and wedding clients. They get a very personalised service based around artistry and attention to detail. Clients coming to me have to share my desire to create great images on their day. My main work is teaching photography, sharing my inspirations and passion for manipulating light. I work with a small team of regular models on workshops around the world.

The problem with professional photographers today is...
That there is no single officiating body that can give credence and credibility to ability and professionalism of their membership.


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What’s the worst commercial error you have made to date?
Being desperate to get clients in the early days who weren’t right for me and my style of photography. Not recognising that not every potential client is right for you is one of the most powerful realisations a photographer can come to.

How did you rectify the mistake?
One went as far as insurance and the small claim court. A couple of others went through negotiation to get me out of the booking. Legal helpline from Insurers and The Societies were invaluable sources of advice.

The lessons learnt?
If alarm bells ring at any stage of the booking process, disengage.

Is it getting harder or easier to make a decent living?
It’s never been an easy business, that’s why so many come and go. If it was easy everyone would do it.

How do you stay ahead of the game?
Change, adapt, look at new technologies, new techniques and adopt the ones that stay true to the core values of your business. Know that business inside out and have clear goals and values and build everything around those.


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