“Photography has always been important to me – I’ve photographed pretty much everything from Landmarks, friends, family and wildlife including Lions and Elephants! I had a darkroom in my property for developing film from my first photography course 25 years ago, and I experimented with different shutter speeds, aperture sizes, and so on. I also took a 1-year course at an adult education centre 20 years ago. But that was based on film and developing, so when I came into estate agency 20-years later, my confidence in my photographic abilities in the digital age had declined dramatically.
It was apparent to me that the photographs I took of properties would be significant to my clients and my business. They appear in so many places, on the Internet, in print, on hi-res TVs and mobile phones. Images give prospective buyers a look inside properties before they even visit. So they must be exceptional if they’re to help me attract the right buyers. I also realised that a lot of potential vendors would want their properties photographed to high standards; so the better my photos, the more of those I’d attract.
Yet, even with all my experience, for around a year, I wasn’t able to master my interior and exterior house photos. My wife Sacha and I bought into an estate agency franchise, and they supplied a Canon 1100D, but I was instructed to use it on auto with a flash. I’d squeeze into the corner of rooms, use the camera’s fully-auto settings. I had no tripod; no idea of composition and the results were – frankly – not the greatest.
Thankfully, a friend mentioned a certain John Durrant, and he was a lifesaver. By this time, Sacha and I had realised the franchise was a mistake, and we were set on opening our own agency. John made the process of creating vibrant photos so much easier. Not only is John a really experienced photographer, but he’s also a former estate agent, so he speaks my language.
Using John’s techniques my images no longer looked like they’d been Tangoed by using flash, interiors weren’t underexposed and overexposed windows became a thing of the past. After a day’s workshop, I knew precisely the settings, techniques and mindset I needed. Despite my success, I confess that for a few months, I did go off-piste for a while, (John said I ‘went to the Dark Side’). I experimented with different techniques, but John pulled me back on track and now every image I take is better than the last one.
I’ve studied Photoshop and Lightroom for years, and I’m easily capable of editing images – adding blue skies etc. But, I’m not quite as good as John. The big problem (not really a problem) though is that Sacha and I have become SO busy taking on and selling houses. In some part, that’s because of the quality of our property marketing. So, I no longer have the time to edit all of my own photos and most will go to John at Doctor Photo.
It’s an absolute life saver to know that when we are so busy and I don’t have time to sit there editing images, they can be passed on to John and his team at Doctor Photo.
Thanks, John, for being my Obi-Wan Kenobi and reigniting my passion for photography and most of all, for helping me show our properties in the best possible way. Getting rid of the franchise, starting our own agency and learning the Durrant Technique for taking great photos – these have all without doubt contributed to our current success.”
Photography by Scott Martin