Our Photographer of the Month for June was chosen for his creative approach to property photography. And with his Art History background, it's no surprise that London-based James Hawley has used his creative eye to become a Preferred Photographer for a number of our estate agent clients.
We invited him to FocalCity to have a chat about his experience over a couple of beers. Read on to find out how his creative background manifests in property photography, and why riding a motorbike has a huge impact on his work portfolio.
Shooting for FocalAgent since: November 2015
Location covered: London
First camera: 1950s TLR Yashica
Favourite photographer: Sandro Giordano and David LaChapelle
We've worked with you for a while now, but we'd love to hear about your first years as a photographer. How did your career start, and how did you decide to originally specialise in your niches?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have never considered a path other than photography. From the age of 16, it’s been all I’ve ever wanted to do. Shooting interiors and property photography is something I really fell into for the cash, but coming from a strong Art History background, my understanding of traditional compositional techniques lends itself to this particular field really well, and reignited my passion for architecture and design.
How did you find freelancing as a photographer, before joining FocalAgent?
For a lot of freelancers, finding work can be really hard; full stop. Add the fact it's freelance work and top it off with it being in a creative field and you’ve certainly got your work cut out for you! If nothing more, it needs to be the love that keeps you going when times are tough. Getting yourself out there is key, but fortunately FocalAgent look after that one for you!
Flexibility is obviously a huge factor in your day-to-day work with us - and your other clients. How do you manage competing priorities?
You guys provide a great platform for photographers to book work around other engagements. It's something you do extremely well. For me, it’s perfect being able to manage my own FocalAgent schedule and book the appointments myself around my other work.
What are your equipment favourites for a FocalAgent job?
Tripod, camera, two speedlites, radio triggers, wide angle lens, prime lens - and not to forget the motorbike. Two wheels is undeniably is the best way to get around London, and the decreased travel time allows me to be much more flexible on the postcodes I work in. It’s definitely a big plus for me. Sometimes I’m not sure what I enjoy more, the ride to my appointment or the job itself!
If you could give other photographers one piece of advice for working with FocalAgent, what would it be?
Talk. A lot. Communication is really important when you’re ‘out in the field’. If there's ever a reason you can’t do something you would usually do, call the estate agent or home owner so you can let them know. They prefer it so much when you let them know about an issue whilst on site. Or if you’re not sure whether it’s important, give FocalAgent a call! Two heads, or an office full of heads, is better than one.
All property photography in this post is the work of James Hawley. You can see more on his website here.