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Paul Berry Member Profile - part 1 of 1

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Studio location?

Based in Peterlee, County Durham using portable studio equipment. I do a lot of things that don't require a studio.

How did you get started in photography?

Have been taking photographs of things for 25 years, but set up in business in 2006

Would you say that shooting weddings and portraits is a good career choice if you want to make money?

It's a good career choice if you're passionate about photography but as for making money...I'm still waiting. I submit images to libraries too, and do other types of photography not just wedding and portraits. I enjoy doing documentary work, landscape, still life etc. too.

Did you have a 'lucky break' like many other successful photographers?

No, still waiting!

Which other photographers have you found inspirational?

Yousuf Karsh, Patrick Lichfield, Cecil Beaton, Joe Cornish, Don McCullin

Is there a huge marketing effort required to generate the correct of good business or do you rely on word of mouth?

I did do a huge advertising campaign in many forms across the North East, but I have proved my suspicions right in that advertising is pointless, it's a waste of good money. Word of mouth is much better although it takes time to generate a reputation and enough people talking the same language about you. Networking, writing loads of letters and getting yourself invited to stuff to give business cards out is my favourite way.

Do you shoot what you feel is best for your clients...:

I work along with both these criteria, what the client wants mixed with a creative input from me...more often than not giving helpful creative advice opens up possibilities that the client never thought of. So both the client and I come away pleased.

So how do you make sure it's yours that is commissioned above any of your competitors?


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I don't view photography or my business in the 'competitive' sense that this question alludes to.

How would you best describe your personal style or technique of photography?

I wouldn't necessarily box myself into having a style, and do what it takes when it's needed and change for each occasion.

What things do you most enjoy about your job?

Being able to create something and be able to sit back and know that nobody but you owns it, you can sell it, give it away, hire it out, but at the end of the day you're the creativity behind it.

What are the most difficult things about your job?

Business! I've never had a business orientated head so all the stuff like, book-keeping, advertising, promotion etc are hardest, especially when it's a matter of finding the most cost effective ways to spend your budget. I've never been a gambler and many things in business tend to be a gamble.

When is the busiest time of the year for your business?

Haven't come across a busiest time yet.

How much of your workflow is digital?

80% What advantages does digital offer you...: I'm finding that a lot of customers expect digital because they're under the illusion that its somehow better or quicker. So, having digital equipment is a door opener in some respects. If not too much post production work is involved, like a PR job, then speed is an advantage.

What generally is in your kit bag?

Nikon D70s, 18-70mm, 70-300mm, SB800, and polerizing filter and spare bits and pieces.

Bronica ETRSi, 50mm, 75mm, 150mm, 250mm, 2xconverter, polarising filter, b/w filters and spare bits and pieces.

What prompted you to buy the camera of you choice?

D70s, as above it's what's expected [digital]

Bronica: the increase in size format for increased quality. I find you think more when you're slowed down by medium format equipment and thinking is always valuable.

From a technical point of view which areas of work could be improved upon?

All of it...I am always open to suggestion, even from a technical point of view photography is very subjective. David Bailey makes money by pushing out some rubbish, but because of who he is it transcends technicality...because it's him its accepted as close to perfection...ha!

What do think the future holds for you?

I'm hoping to become the best known and respected photographer in the town. I'd like to do some more documentary work, possibility with the emergency services to highlight the work they do in the community, as well as working with charitable organisation to help them in some way


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