When did you start to take up photography and how did it lead to starting up your own business? How has it evolved over the years?
I dabbled a little in photography in the pre-digital age but really found my feet in around 2008. This followed my wife and I moving to Norfolk in 2005 and then my leaving a long career in international banking in 2007 (although, no, it definitely wasn’t me that caused the crash!). I needed something to do and after taking a few shots for my wife who was running a fashion business at the time, I got the taste and took the leap into doing it commercially. Initially this was primarily family photography, but eventually I realised that I needed to be able to shoot weddings if I was going to make a job of it, and so did my first in 2010. I can still remember how nervous I was in the run up to that day! Now I undertake wedding, commercial and family photography assignments and I’m also looking to develop my personal photography portfolio with a lot more portrait work. People are endlessly fascinating subjects!
What have been the biggest successes and challenges of running your own business?
The biggest success has been seeing the year on year growth of what I do and the sense of achievement in actually running my own business. The biggest challenge is believing that the next job will always come (it always has!).
If you could sum Norfolk up in one picture which place would you take the photograph at and why?
There are many superb and dedicated photographers of the landscape of Norfolk and I don’t necessarily count myself among them. My overriding interest is people and urban settings and so I think I would choose the fine city of Norwich and I would walk until I saw someone that I felt typified what I consider to be a vibrant, colourful and culturally fascinating city. I’d walk up to them, ask if they minded me taking their photo and then with their agreement, take a street portrait.
Lily - Street Portrait from Keith Osborn Photography © Keith Osborn
What has been the funniest thing that has happened to you whilst running your business?
Thankfully, I have a really great time doing what I do. One of the funniest things that’s happened was during a wedding last year. I’d positioned the bride and groom and they were just right. I was adjusting my own position with my camera to my eye, composing the shot whilst moving slowly backwards – and then falling flat on my backside after tripping over a stone which was sticking up out of the grass! But the best bit was that the bride said I rolled professionally in just the correct way to protect my camera – much more valuable to me than a bruised bum – or ego! The upside was a very lovely and concerned bride making sure I was OK to carry on, which of course I was.
For those looking for a Wedding Photographer what advice would you give?
It’s funny you should ask that! I have written a ‘tips’ article on this very subject and I think the key things are: check the photographer’s testimonials to see that they can do the job; make sure they are fully insured and that you sign an agreement; look at their images and make sure their ‘style’ suits you; and the big one – meet them and make sure you get on – they’ll be with you a lot of your day and you want to make sure they’re a pleasure to have around!
Wedding photography from Keith Osborn Photography © Keith Osborn
For those looking for a Commercial Photographer what advice would you give?
Well, strangely enough, I’ve written about that too! There’s and article on my website entitled: Why You Should Use Professional Photos For Your Business… There are many reasons, but I think it boils down to the fact that quality sells. No matter how amazing smartphone photos are, the results will not compare to the quality that a professional photographer can give you. They will often have years of experience and have invested heavily in their equipment. They know about composition, lighting, and how to make you and what you do look and feel great. They will know how to provide images to your web designer or PR agency and can talk knowledgeably to them about your requirements. High quality photos are not snapped, or even taken – they are made, and a lot goes into the making. But you might say: “What about the cost?” – well, my answer to that is that professional photos should be regarded as a business asset. They are a genuine strategic long-term investment, not a cost.
Le Stange Arms - commercial photography from Keith Osborn Photography © Keith Osborn
Tell us a little bit about People and Places - Images of Fakenham and also Fakenham Makers Market.
People and Places came about as a result of my ongoing relationship with Active Fakenham, promotes activities and wellbeing through a series of community events. They commissioned me to produce a series of environmental portraits of people who live and/or work in Fakenham with a view to them being exhibited this coming August. Personally, I can see myself carrying on with this project as it’s proving immensely satisfying to undertake.
Fakenham Makers Market is, in 2019, in it’s fifth year. It’s a market held six times a year in Fakenham Parish Church, for truly independent, creative, handmade arts and crafts. It’s mainly run my wife Debbie, and I do some of the ‘gopher’ work for her! We have some fantastically high-quality makers and it’s a friendly and supportive atmosphere. There’s also homemade refreshments and usually live music.
What makes Fakenham such a special place to live or visit and how has it changed over the years?
We’ve lived in Fakenham since 2005 and my wife and I really love it. The best part is how genuinely unpretentious the town and its people are. It’s a real Norfolk market town and you hear real Norfolk accents which is wonderful. It has a great Thursday market, one of the very best around – both for the veggie market and the collector’s market (and auction). It has walks, the River Wensum, a great programme of events throughout the year, and people who really care about it’s future. The main noticeable change is the high street which has succumbed somewhat to the recession over the last ten years but for my money which is now beginning to breathe again. We’re getting some new independent retailers who are adding interest and enthusiasm to the town again.
Keith Osborn Photography is proud shirt sponsors of Fakenham Town Ladies F.C © Keith Osborn
If you could design your perfect Norfolk day out what would be the itinerary?
It would be a visit to The Sainsbury Centre for their latest art exhibition (they’re unfailingly good!), lunch at a good local pub with excellent local Norfolk ale (or two!), a bit of photography in the hustle and bustle and people of Norwich (including a visit to one or more of the excellent photography retailers in and on the edge of the city – with some magic money!), and an evening stroll on Brancaster beach to watch the sunset.
The Norfolk Brewhouse © Keith Osborn
If you could photograph 4 people in the World who would they be and why?
Woahh! You ask some good questions! In all honesty, I’d probably like to photograph the sort of people that no-one’s ever heard of! So, I might answer this by saying what I haven’t done yet in people photography that I’d like to do. I’d like to make a portrait very sensitively and collaboratively of a homeless person or refugee, to capture their dignity and humanity. I’d like to photograph a surgeon at work improving or even saving someone’s life (although I am quite squeamish unfortunately!). It would also be great to make a photograph of an extreme sportsperson just as they finish their sport with all the energy and hard work and passion written in their face. And it would be an honour to photograph a truly elderly person and to try to capture just a fraction of the life they’ve lived.
Which is your favourite ever photograph you have taken and why?
That is so hard – virtually impossible! There have been so many, in so many different contexts. I’ve truly loved some of the wedding photographs I’ve taken which have really been in the moment. And I’ve been very pleased with some of photos that I’ve taken that have required more time to craft in the studio. In fact, I sometimes forget about a photograph and then see it again and love it - again! So, I think I’m going to go with one I’ve taken very recently that didn’t take too long to take but was very considered. It’s part of the People & Places project and it’s a photograph of Fakenham cyclist Connor Rumbles on his bike in the snow. The snow adds a real sense of drama, and I’m very pleased with the composition. I also love the fact it’s black and white – it just ticks a lot of my boxes!
Connor Rumbles © Keith Osborn