The journey of a Commando Cameraman has been a long one and probably a bit of an unconventional route. But it has equipped with some very useful skills and enabled me to become a successful wedding photographer who can seamlessly deliver a superb record of your special day. As a Commando Cameraman you are hiring not only hiring a great photographer but a personality and character that will deliver an outstanding service and all conditions, with smile and to the highest levels of proffessionalism.
The inspiration to become a professional photographer?
Running my own photography business wasn’t something I ever thought about growing up. I left school at 18 and joined the Army, taking a commission with the Royal Artillery for 12 amazing years. My army career took me to all parts of the world – downhill skiing in the Alps, cross country skiing in Scandinavia, walking the mountains of Bosnia, climbing Kilimanjaro, diving the seas around Belize and even commanding the beautiful and remote island of St Kilda. As I craved even more excitement, I became an Army Commando and fell in love with tropical jungle!
On leaving the army, I took up residence in the Bahamas and worked as a diving instructor and dive master. Working on Hollywood blockbusters, teaching actors and holiday-makers to dive and diving with sharks off the 3rd largest coral reef in the world were normal ‘run of the mill’ days!
Whilst out in the Bahamas, I met a great photographer who was pioneering underwater photography (yes, it was a while ago!) – we shared a room for 6 months and got to know each well! Steve Simonsen (http://simonsen.photoshelter.com) ignited a passion for photography that has led me to where I am today (Commando Cameraman). Steve introduced me to the Nikonos 5 underwater camera and E6 processing (slide film processing). So I started as an underwater photographer, which really taught me about light, exposure and composition.
This naturally started to progress to dry land and when I presented a slide show of a week’s images to a dive group one evening I got such a buzz about showing my work that the seed was firmly planted. It just took me 20 more years to actually do it professionally!
Eventually I returned to the UK, via Italy and Azerbaijan (ran a commercial diving company in Baku), and completed a photojournalist course at the London School of Photojournalists. I hated the paparazzi style of photography that was being pushed at that time but it put some good foundations in place for my current documentary wedding photography skills.
I shot my first wedding in January 2010. I was asked by my brother-in-law to photograph his wedding and whilst I agreed, I was terrified! It was January and the ceremony was set for 4pm. The church had a power cut so there were lots of candles and it was freezing outside. I only had a D80 and one flash and the vicar wasn’t very helpful, but I really enjoyed the pressure. I now look back at those images and think how much better they would have been if I’d shot them today. I then shot a few more weddings as a guest/photographer and it took off from there. I left full-time employment in 2011 and have never regretted it!