what they should teach photographers but don’t….

An Article for Freelance UK

“Merely learning the craft of photography falls well short of what it takes to operate as a commercially successful freelance photographer. Courses might be able to make you technically sharp, but no aspiring photographer can learn from a classroom the ‘life lessons’ that help you survive and thrive as a freelancer. These finer points of running a one-person photography business were revealed to Freelance UK by three independent and established photographers – Julian Claxton, Liz Drake and Barbara Chandler”

 It’s the photographer, not the camera 

With the ongoing growth of digital technology, it is easy to get complacent with one’s photography by getting carried away with cameras and kit, says Julian Claxton, pictured, a creative editorial photographer. He has seen photographers become obsessed with cameras and peripherals, akin to ‘a weight lifter that wants all the latest gym equipment.’

“Numerous times I have heard, ‘If only I had x, I would have nailed that’ or ‘I’ll start that shoot when I get better equipment.’” The Suffolk-based freelance says it is far too easy for photographers to persuade themselves that they need a piece of technology to perform better.

By all means, equip yourself with equipment you know you can rely on, but he reminded: “You’re a photographer, but also a creative…Clients don’t care if the picture is taken on a £500 camera or a £5,000 camera; they want the shots that work and the ones which fit their brief best. It’s the basics of photography that shine through, no matter what you shoot the picture with.”

Evidencing his claim, Claxton said one his most popular documentary images was taken using a £300 budget DSLR, which he was only using because his primary camera was in repair.

He reflected: “It’s ironic to think that image has paid for the camera numerous times over and just goes to show, it’s not what you’ve got, but how you use it.”




About Julian Claxton

My passion for photography is supported by experiences gained on exciting travel adventures and through working for fantastic photographers. In 2006, I made the exciting step of realising my dream of becoming a freelance photographer. Since this pivotal moment, I have held numerous exhibitions, been featured nationally & internationally in print and won numerous awards, including being a finalist in the National Geographic Photographic competition in 2013 with one of my documentary images from the Sudan. From an early age I began to enjoy taking pictures of my daily life, basking in the thrill of sending the film to the printers and eagerly awaiting the pocket sized prints. My first foray into the world developing and printing strangely began at school when I was asked to produce a descriptive photo for the school newspaper. A front page shot later and I was destined to start the long arduous journey of becoming a photographer. In between exciting travel adventures and working for fantastic photographers, I graduated from college and at a crossroads in my journey to becoming a pro photographer, I embarked on a career working as a medical photographer. Learning new skills and dabbling in video production as well as progressing design skills, I yearned for the challenge and freedom of becoming a freelance. I have been fortunate enough to work on some amazing assignments which have included shooting a documentary assignment with an air ambulance, gaining full access to a British Pro cycling team during an international UCI tour, cycling to Rwanda and creating a photographic documentary of my journey. The experiences continue to grow, meeting wonderful people to photograph and telling the story of their journey. The list of events and striking moments that have played out through my viewfinder continue to grow and provide me with ever increasing snapshots of life to capture. One of the highlights of my career thus far has been staying in rural Uganda, teaching photography to the kids from the region, in a project I set up in late 2014, entitled ‘Give a child a camera’. The basis of the project is to supply 35mm cameras and film to the rural schools in this region of East Africa, teaching the children how to shoot photographs. After a week of taking photos of their life, an exhibition is held at the school and the children leave with their very own album, camera and film. One of the images I shot at Eden school in rural Uganda, during morning chapel won the 2015 Travel Media Tourism and Photography award. A great honour and one that I wouldn’t have picked up had it not been for the wonderful children of East Africa. For further information please visit www.julianclaxtonphotography.com
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s