Having joined us in January 2017, freelance photographer Darren Curtis has quickly struck up a strong relationship with the FocalAgent team and our estate agent clients.
Read on to find out how his uncle influenced his career path and why working with FocalAgent means he doesn't have to worry quite so much about his own SEO.
Shooting with FocalAgent since: January 2017
Locations covered: Durham and surrounding areas
First camera: Canon EOS 100
Photography was a family affair for you. How did you get into it?
I first got into photography through my uncle, who was a very keen amateur photographer. He would have absolutely loved to have worked for FocalAgent if he was still with us; he would have even loved drawing up the floor plans!
I got my first camera from him: an old Canon EOS 100, which I still have.
But when I got my first DSLR, my passion for photography really grew and I started to think about doing it for a living.
How did you make the leap to become a freelance photographer?
I'd previously worked behind a desk for an oil company. I scheduled fuel deliveries for 10 years but never really enjoyed it. I felt like I needed more variety in my work and really wanted to work for myself.
I decided to try my hand at any photography assignments I could get my hands on, so I could see which I preferred.
I do enjoy wedding photography but find it very competitive in my area. There are some photographers who offer packages for less than it costs me for an album!
Let's jump ahead to December 2016, when we first spoke...
Ah yes. I was going through my emails one day in December. Amongst the promises of listing top of page 1 on Google and countless offers for SEO was an email from Annie Peddie at FocalAgent, asking me to carry out an interview for FocalAgent.
It's probably the best thing I have done since becoming a photographer. I wasn't nervous at all before my first assignment and was actually really looking forward to it!
Annie, my Photographer Business Coach, was so helpful that I felt part of the team straight away.
My FocalAgent work is now the most important part of my business. I honestly don't know where I'd be without it. Thank you so much for that email back in December, Annie!
You're a few months into your partnership with FocalAgent now. What advice do you have for new starters?
I like to make sure I'm well prepared when I arrive to a job. I always have my roller bag with me, which has:
- My two main bodies: Canon 5D mk3 and a 6D
- 3 Yongnuo YN600EX-rt speedlights
- Various lenses
- My trusty tripod
99.9% of my shots are taken with my Tamron 15-30 f2.8 lens and of course my tripod.
If I could give one piece of advice to any photographer starting with FocalAgent, it would definitely be to keep the notes up to date on the portal!
All the staff at FocalAgent have always been so friendly and helpful. It really does make my job so much easier knowing I have lots of support behind me. When I was unable to carry out my assignments one day, everything was rearranged for me and I felt like I didn't have to worry about a thing.
What aspects of being a freelance photographer do you love - and which do you struggle with?
As I worked behind a desk for many years, I don't mind doing any admin. It's promoting my own business that I need to learn about. I've spent hours reading up on social media and SEO. It's my weakest point but arguably the most important, so I'm really happy that FocalAgent promotes me to its clients.