What a week it has been!
Last week (24th-28th July) I was given an amazing opportunity to shadow a photographer with a company; Simply Business.
So… who are Simply Business?
Simply Business is the UK’s favourite business insurance broker, with over 400,000 businesses and landlords protected through the company. With awards such as the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For 2015 and 2016 winners, they have also recently been accredited as a B corporation which awards them for their strong values. These range from improving the lives of their employees to creating a better future through their charity work (Whizz-Kidz and England’s Amputee Football Association). In addition to ensuring they do their bit to protect the environment and taking social responsibility seriously.
After receiving an invitation to work for them for a week, who wouldn’t say yes?
I was experiencing all of the typical feelings of being the new person at work such as being apprehensive, nervous, thinking will I say and do all the right things, but most importantly I was excited for what was ahead; I certainly wasn’t disappointed!
After meeting Ash, who would be the person I’ll be shadowing for the week, we discussed what type of photography I enjoy doing, how I decided that it is photography that I would like to pursue, university life and what this week includes.
Shortly after, I had an office tour I was given my first mini project of the week. The office had recently been refurbished, as a result, they wanted some photographs of the interior building and the employees working in the office. To begin with, I was unsure on how to approach this. My camera (Nikon D3200 with 18-55mm + 70-300mm lenses) is not exactly the quietest camera with the shutter, also having just arrived at the venue this was a little daunting having to take photographs of people I’ve never met before.
After a little walk around the office to think of some possible shooting locations, I realised that it is often the preferred pictures are the ones that are not staged and are more candid (in my opinion). As I began to snap away, the other employees became used to the sound of my camera and probably realised I was on work experience so they didn’t say anything!
Once all the photographs were taken, Ash and I sat down to review the photographs. Although this was my first time shooting in an office environment, I was not particularly happy with the way the photos came out. However, there were a couple of shots I was kind of happy with:
It was only when I was reflecting on the day on the way home that I started to realise that although it was a little bit scary going straight into the deep end of shooting the office, this is something that will be expected when I go for a job in this industry in the future.
Once I arrived at the office, I was given a couple of small briefs to shoot. Both of the briefs included going around London to take some photographs for some articles that will be written by another employee. These briefs included taking some photographs of Westminster, Downing Street and HMRC. Later on in the day, I was informed to also take photos of by constructions sites around London for another article. Although I was on my own for the majority of the day, I really enjoyed going out into London and having a specific theme to focus on.
Here are a few of the photos I took throughout the day:
Apparently, I ended up walking 8.3 miles (13.5 km) during the day!
This day was more centred around what the business does on an average day. Beginning the day with a weekly meeting about what has been achieved in the past week and what is happening in the next few days. I’ve never really been involved in a company meeting of this scale and it was definitely interesting to watch. With the great sense of humour of the employees, but with professionalism, yet a feeling of a family within the company, you can get an understanding of how they have won countless amounts of awards for being a great company to work for. With a guest speaker from Ellas Kitchen, you are really able to gain a sense of pride when both companies spoke about being a B Corp Business.
From a photographers point of view, I believe that there is an awful lot of negative press which results in negative photographs being taken to fit the story. By working with a company who tries to have a positive impact on the world, I am able to photograph the more positively which is something that I enjoy doing. This also made me realise that this is something that I may want to consider when I start to go into the photography industry.
Before lunch, Ash and I looked at the photographs I took from the previous day and spoke about what works well and what doesn’t, then how I can improve them. Sometimes a whole photo that you have taken doesn’t work, but by cropping a small section of it, for example, can tell the reader everything they need to know.
After Lunch, myself and Ash decided to spend the next day walking around the city and enter a competition from EyeEm (Lost in London). In the end, we decided on starting in Shoreditch and just seeing when we end up.
This was the day I was most looking forward to all week. Considering how much time I’ve had off from Uni for the summer, it’s very rare I get the chance to have a whole day dedicated to walking around taking photos. With the main focus on the competition brief of finding the unique side of London, we set off on our day adventure around London.
I knew before we began to set off, that in order to benefit as much as possible from the day, I had to ask loads of questions (sorry Ash!) to be able to learn and develop my skills. It was particularly interesting to see how a professional photographer takes photos in comparison to myself. I was pleasantly surprised that although a lot of the types of photography we enjoy and like to capture are similar (it was often a race to see who could get the shot first which made the day even more entertaining!) we both have different methods of going about taking the shots.
Throughout the day, I decided to shoot in aperture priority mode. The main reason for this is because it provides a good range of depth of field and a constant level of exposure within the photos. Another reason was that the weather forecast kept changing, one minute it was sunny, the next with was overcast and torrential rain. We were also moving around different locations constantly, therefore by continuing to change camera settings throughout the day with the constant changes in weather, I would have spent more of the day changing my camera settings than actually taking photos.
The route we took through London was:
Shoreditch-> Barbican -> Leicester Square -> China Town -> Piccadilly Circus.
We ended up walking 8.1 miles (13.11km)!
Here are some of the photos from the day…
The final day mostly consisted of going through and editing the photographs I had taken from the day before and then submitting them into a competition. We then reflected on the week as a whole. It was a fairly short day, but was a perfect way to finish what had been a great week!
A massive thank you to Simply Business and Ash in particular for having me for the week!
I hope you enjoyed reading!
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You can find the Simply Bussiness website here.