Since 2014, Peter Williams has been covering the North Wales coastline, impressing agents with his personable approach, attention to detail and great photography.
We caught up with Peter to find out how he got started in photography and what brought him to work with FocalAgent...
Working with FocalAgent Since: June 2014
Location Covered: North Wales
First Camera: Ricoh 500GX
Hi Peter! Let’s start at the beginning: how did you get started as a professional photographer?
Photography has been my passion since I was about fourteen, my first camera, a Ricoh 500GX was a basic film camera with lots of buttons. It was a good camera for an introduction to photography, as I could control the shutter speed and aperture and get to know the basics. A year in Wrexham Art College and three years in Blackpool College of Art studying commercial and architectural photography had me setting up a photography business working primarily for businesses in North Wales and the North West, helping them to promote their products and services.
So how did you come to work with FocalAgent?
I received an email from FocalAgent in June 2014 asking me if I'd like to carry out property photography in North Wales. After a bit of research I could see the potential and signed up. I've since photographed over 1,000 properties for FocalAgent.
A lot has changed over the years, but my passion for photography has remained the same. I still enjoy taking great photographs and working for FocalAgent gives me the chance to do that many times in a typical day, it enables me to hone my skills in interior photography whilst working quickly and efficiently.
And what do you consider the “golden rules” for providing a good service?
Having been trained in architectural photography it is important to me that I get the best possible photographs of a property, which will include finding the best angles, adding additional lighting and staging the rooms to bring out the best features of the interior and exterior. I show the photos to the vendor at the end of the shoot to ensure that they're happy with them and that everything meets with their expectations. It's great to get their positive feedback, but it's also great to get positive feedback from the agents, as it ensures that they will continue to ask for my services in future.
I've been working with some of these agents for a few years now and know how they like the photos to look, what angles they want and what they want to show or to avoid. Communication is key to a good relationship!
And how do you make sure to always get the best shots?
I use Canon cameras and have done so for many years since giving up my Mamiya and Sinar film cameras. I shoot with an on camera flash usually bouncing the light off the ceiling, when it's white, or off a white reflector when the ceiling is coloured. If there's an adjacent room or glass door in the photo I'll add an extra light or two in the other rooms to help balance the light levels.
I always use a tripod for interior photography to give me the option to use a slow shutter speed. I also use the tripod for external views to take a high level photo at around 15ft whenever appropriate.
What’s your favourite thing about working with FocalAgent?
FocalAgent has offered me an excellent top up for my commercial photography business. Most of the work comes in at short notice, so I use it to fill gaps in my diary, which helps to boost my monthly turnover. The admin and invoicing is taken care of by the FocalAgent team, allowing me to concentrate on appointment making, photography and some editing.
My client relations manager is Jess, she has an enthusiastic and friendly attitude, this is a great asset, especially when it comes to helping me to coordinate new appointments. Jess' pronunciation of the welsh town names is also improving rapidly. We've just booked in a property in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwll-llantysiliogogogoch, so It'll be fun hearing her pronounce that one!
There must be some difficulties working in such a rural setting?
On a good day I can get six or seven properties photographed and still have time for a few cups of tea along the way. This number does drop when the properties are dotted all around the North Wales countryside, but is partly made up for by the fact that I enjoy driving through the fantastic scenery.
Planning ahead and coordinating the appointments so that undue travelling is minimised also makes a big difference!
Thanks to Peter Williams for sharing his story - and his favourite FocalAgent photographs - with us! You can read the interviews with our other Photographers of the Month here.