An Interview With New Member Mark Hamill Photography
We are so delighted to welcome Mark Hamill to our creative hub and to find out more about him and his photography business we sat down over a coffee and had a good chat.
Tell us your journey to founding your company?
I originally started my career as a building contractor working in London applying internal and external facade systems on large projects like the Wembley Stadium and Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, shortly after the birth of my daughter I moved home to Derry in 2008 and due to the economic downturn building work was limited so I decided to enrol on a City and Guilds in Photography in 2010 and after 2 years of studying I helped a family friend cover a wedding in 2012 and shot a few family and friends weddings. It wasn’t until 2012 that I attended my first photography workshop and caught the “shutter bug” I loved the skills and concepts of shooting a live model within a studio setting and capturing epic memories that families treasure while applying the control of your camera to weddings and my overall style. I took the plunge to open my first studio in 2015 and expanded to a larger studio in 2016, more recently another step to use Eighty81 Creative Workspace as the main hub for my brand to grow further and train the next generation of photographers on workshops.
Tell me about your business in one sentence?
Wedding Portraiture Fashion & Workshop Photographer Capturing Memories.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to starting/building your business and how did you overcome them?
I felt the biggest hurdle was finding my market and ideal client, when starting out I didn’t have a main market so I thought I could cover everything but it soon became clear that I needed to stick to one or two markets, I shot newborn, product, fashion, wedding, commercial, event, portraits and anything else that included a camera but I soon realised its better to be king of one or two markets than jack of them all so I’ve filtered my focus on weddings, fashion and workshops and this made my vision much clearer.
How do you define success?
I’ve always had a hunger to push myself out of my comfort zone and nothing drives me more than someone saying “I can’t” the more I hear those words the more I tell myself “I can” and the more my hunger grows the more I see my business grow and expand.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Three simple words “practise practise practise” lots of photographers believe if they invest heavily in the best tools then the work will fall at their feet, nothing is further from the truth, if you're not investing in your craft either via software and post production or shooting in different lighting environments or directing people then that expensive equipment is void as you are the main tool and not your camera.
Why have you chosen to become a resident of Eighty81?
I originally visited Eighty81 Creative Workspace in 2015 at a open day, I loved the location and open space and central location, at that moment I didn’t see it suiting my business at that time but now that I’ve moved into the training/workshop photography I see the huge potential of the fantastic grounds, building facilities and quirky Peace Bridge areas to use for models and bridal workshops and keep everything on my doorstep.
What has been your greatest moment of success?
I work closely with local charities and recently run a open charity workshop in aid of foyle search and rescue, after not being to sure what to expect on the day it was a sell out and I raised £380 for repairs that were needed after one of they’re boats were damaged, it’s great to receive but a better feeling to give something back.
How do you see your company expanding over the next few years?
I’m expanding more into training content for start ups and classes that direct more than give vague directions on how to move your business forward.
What would be your top advice for anyone looking to start a business?
Eat well, get your 8 hours sleep and leave your work life at work and your home life at home and enjoy your work and keep hungry!
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