With a love of photography that stemmed from childhood, Ant Jackson expanded his wedding photography business to include property photography in 2013. Since then, he's felt the benefits of working to his own schedule with FocalAgent, even allowing him to be picky with which weddings he shoots.
Read on to learn his story, and take in some weather-specific advice for other budding FocalAgent photographers.
Shooting with FocalAgent since: July 2013
Locations covered: North Wales, north west England, Merseyside
First camera: An original Polaroid
Favourite photographer: Damien Lovegrove
We'd love to know more about your background. How did you get into photography in general, and how did you decide to originally specialise in your niches?
I loved photography from being a small boy, mostly taking photographs of racing cars when my father would take me to Oulton Park. As I got older I would still take photos of cars and bikes. Rallying became a favourite pastime to photograph in dark, wet muddy forests. My work got recognised and I end up working for a number of motorsport and car magazines.
Then one day I met another photographer at a rally who was also a wedding photographer. We got on really well and he asked me to work for him as his second photographer.
I loved shooting weddings and eventually set up my own wedding photography business. One thing led to another and through wedding fairs and word of mouth, I was shooting 60-70 weddings a year - not leaving much family time as you can imagine.
What were your first thoughts when we started working together?
One day, I got an email from FocalAgent asking if I’d be interested in shooting properties. One telephone call later and I was working for this awesome company. It seemed like a fantastic opportunity to develop myself and my business further. FocalAgent was growing at such a rapid rate that I realised I'd be daft not to take the opportunity. The rest is history...
How have things changed over the years?
In the early days, we mainly used to shoot high end properties. My first was a 36 acre property which used to be a farm. It had a swimming pool, gym and was a big shoot. But as the market has changed and professional property photography has become more commonplace, we can shoot properties from either end of the spectrum.
As the market has grown, so has FocalAgent, and my workload. It's fantastic. I still shoot weddings, but only weddings I want to do. FocalAgent has given me the flexibility to pick and choose, and this gives me a brilliant work/home balance.
You're known for providing consistently strong customer service. What's your advice for other FocalAgent photographers?
Confirm each job as soon as it's received on the portal, and make the call to arrange the appointment as soon as you possibly can - the new app is a big help.
Having a really good relationship with your branches is key, and it's important to help them out if they have an urgent job to do. They appreciate honesty, so if you're running late then give them a call. We're all human!
And any tips for the shoot?
Remember, the front shot is usually what sells a property, so find out what time the sun hits the front.
I also try and group jobs by area to reduce my travel time. Checking the traffic and weather forecast is something that's been surprisingly helpful. It makes you more efficient, saves you time and makes you more money.
Most importantly, be prepared, organised and enjoy it!
All photography in this post is courtesy of Ant Jackson. Check out the rest of our Photographer of the Month interviews here.