Updated: Sep 10, 2020
2020 has been interesting.
So far this year; the UK has left the European Union, Australia has suffered the largest national fire disaster on record, President Trump’s impeachment began...and ended, Harry and Megan left the UK, Mr Peanut died, the Tiger King happened and the Pentagon released official videos of UFOs.
None of this has stuck in our minds though, as we each focus on finding our own way through the Global Pandemic that is COVID -19.
Everyone’s COVID Journey is unique
Mine began in February when, for the first time in my career, I found myself out of work. I chose to take some time out and wait for the impact of COVID-19 to pass. However, after less than 3 months, I felt frustrated, bored and unfulfilled. I was anxious to spend time rather than just waste it.
I’ve always been a photographer, I had just never tried to make a living from it but with the initials “.JPG”, it seemed destined that John Paul Gillard Photography should become a thing.
I made a few calls, checked my kit, checked my skills, checked my ego at the door; and took the plunge.
Forming a company - hiring accountants- creating a website - building a marketing campaign; have all become the new normal for me and of course along the way, I shoot some amazing spaces.
Starting a small business can, at times, be as time consuming and stressful as performing the role of a European Project Director. That said, the change in lifestyle is remarkable.
Where I used to spend much of my time in airport lounges and hotels, I now find myself in my home studio, editing images and looking for more business.
That isolation is broken up by client calls, walks with the dog, the hustle and bustle of three adults all working from the same home and of course the occasional trip to site to shoot something beautiful.
I have had some amazing support from work colleagues, old bosses, past clients and a wonderful circle of friends...I am very fortunate.
Over the last three months, my style of photography has refined and adjusted. Initially, I was shooting the wide vistas that show up online so often. However, I am naturally fascinated by the smaller details and now find myself complimenting a shoot with the tiny design vignettes that the creative teams have worked so hard to pull off.
I believe that these small details tell just as big a story and allow for interpretation and imagination to fill in the gaps.
As a small business starting up in the middle of a global pandemic, with the constant threat of uncertainty looming, I am surprised and proud of the progress that the business has made in such a short time.
I believe (in fact my business plan is built around it) that success will come from quality and service as opposed to volume. I aim to add as much value through photography as I can . Eventually, I shall expand my service offering and provide additional elements that will promote the great work that my clients do and push it to the front of peoples minds (watch this space!)
For now though, clients are the key and expanding the number of companies that I am able to work with is my primary objective.
My approach is clear, I shoot for free anywhere that travel is allowed in the UK and Europe (travel and accommodation cost excluded). I don’t charge to attend and simply agree an individual cost (or bundle cost) for the images that are selected, up front.
That way, my clients get to see the results of the shoot before they commit to any cost.
Portrait photography is great fun. It provides an instant sense of achievement as your client warms to the camera and lights (however slowly!)
Portrait photography offers an opportunity to interact with a client, to instantly review, tweak, adjust and refine the result.
Whilst the amount of equipment and set up is larger, with lighting rigs, backdrops, multiple lenses and plenty of space all required, the payoff is always worth the effort.
Post processing portrait images is subjective and often personal. Clients may have requests to adjust images in specific ways. Sometimes the requests can be more general. Getting the processing right is an immensely satisfying achievement.
Seeing a client use your images (the same images that took a while to coax and to refine) makes everything worthwhile.
If you would like a me to photograph one of your projects or refresh your team head-shots (or your own) then get in touch at;