...my story so far.
Ever since I can remember I’ve been fascinated by brightly coloured images of far flung places; and after graduating university with an honours degree in Photography I spent the early years of my career working as a freelance photographer, before being hired by one of Europe’s top portrait studios, where I was privileged to photograph literally thousands of people from every walk of life.
My transition from behind-the-lens, to becoming a senior leader in the photography industry started in 2008. While working in publishing for the travel-giant Thomas Cook, I identified an opportunity for the company to make significant commercial gains by creating an in-house Photography Dept, and became the youngest person in the company's history to present a business plan at board level; allowing us to start generating our own propiatory content. Of course, leading a team of in-house travel photographers requires a considerable amount of globetrotting, and after finally plucking up the courage to ask my wife to marry me, I focused on the commercial aspects of the photography industry.
In 2014 I was recruited as Head of Lafayette Photography UK, to lead the turnaround of one of the oldest photographic companies in the world, and three years later took charge of commercial & strategic photographic operations for Carnival UK; with P&L accountability for over £13m in sales, and photo operations across a fleet of 11 cruise ships.
Today, I'm a focused, determined, and authentic leader with a passion for staff engagement, developing people, and delivering results through high performing teams. I'm able to challenge the status quo within established businesses, and confidently deliver & influence at board level. I have strong strategic vision, and the experience to execute it operationally.
Although no longer behind-the-lens directly, my love for brightly coloured images of far flung places endures, which is hopefully evident in the photographs on this site, serving as a reminder of my foundations as a working photographer.
Due to the recent impact of COVID19, I'm immediately available & keen to hunt down my next challenge; and if you'd like to get in touch, I'm always happy to discuss how I can add value to your project or organisation.
My full career summary is detailed below, please feel free to connect on LinkedIn via the button at the bottom of the page.
+44 (0)7904 324 740
An authentic professional with 15 years experience across a range of photographic sectors, including travel, education and direct retail. I believe great businesses are built on great relationships, and my passion for developing world-class teams is second only to my passion for the power of stunning visual content. Whether developing external client relationships, overseeing creative projects, or building strategies for future growth, I have a track record of commercial success. I’m impeccably organised, with proven business acumen and exceptional stakeholder management skills; offering strong creative & strategic vision combined with pragmatic operational execution. Excellent analytical skills ensure my approach is always data-driven, enabling me to quickly deliver long-lasting & positive results. Previous colleagues describe me as trustworthy, collaborative and fun.
• Re-modelling of the Thomas Cook Photography Dept. Transforming the operation from a basic ‘picture desk’ - to become a true in-house photography studio, commissioning or shooting 40% of all visual content for the UK business, reducing reliance on Rights Managed content by 80%
• As the catalyst for the transition, I became the youngest person in the company’s history to write and present a business case at board level
• Played a key role in the development of the visual style for a number of large travel brands, including Thomas Cook, Airtours, and Club 18-30
• Reversal of a declining trend in net revenues within the photo-retail accounts for a leading global cruise brand, driving it to a position of growth for the first time in eight years
• Engineered the turnaround & merger of three academic photography businesses. Rebranding and creating a new strategic vision. Overturning a pattern of historical decline and realigning the business to ensure future commercial success
Aug 2017-July 2020 Account Manager, Photography, Carnival UK (P&O Cruises, Cunard)
• Key link between CUK & it’s photographic partners, operating across 11 world-class cruise ships
• Working collaboratively to develop photographic services, tailored to the individual brand
• Analysis of data & insights to inform the development of products & long term commercial strategies
• Commercial / strategic responsibility for 3 concession partners
• Delivered £1.2m of incremental net revenue within the first 18 months
• Led a complex tender project over a two year period resulting in the transition to new photography partners, growing net revenue from £2.8m to £3.6m over the minimum life of the contract
• P&L accountability for £13m in photo sales, financial forecasting and reporting up to Exec level
Mar 2014-July 2017 Director / Head of Lafayette UK (Est.1880), Ede & Ravenscroft Group
Reporting directly to the board, I was appointed to lead the turnaround of their academic photography business which was experiencing trading difficulties following mismanaged mergers. Over a three-year period I spearheaded the transition from a loss making operation, to a position of 30% YOY growth
• Comprehensive restructuring of the business, including consolidation of three regional offices
• Implementation of a detailed cost-out program e.g. rationalisation of assets & renegotiation of contracts
• Re-envisioning all photographic products/services
• Intensive process redesign, focusing on greater efficiency of shoot production processes
• Curtailing the shrinkage of market-share via a structured client-retention plan
• Re-aligning staff to new mission/vision/strategy
• Design and development of a complex and bespoke software package
• Line management of 12 full-time staff and over 30 freelance photographers
Sept 2008-Mar 2014 Photography Studio Manager, Thomas Cook Group
• Managing a team of six Photography Execs & in-house Photographers
• Developing the ‘look & feel’ of photographic style, and setting the brand guidelines in order to accurately reflect the company’s vision for each of its businesses
• Negotiating the best possible licensing terms for royalty free & rights managed content
• Developing and curating a library of 250k+ photographic assets
• Commissioned and produced 50+ international photo shoots over a five year period
• Managed an annual shoot budget of £200k+
• Training and leading the department, running workshops on lighting, post production & best practice for working in the field
May 2005-Aug 2008 Studio Manager, Venture Chester/Manchester
• Managing a team of 12 staff at one of the brand’s biggest flagship studios
• Responsible for the hiring & development of the team to ensure all studio output is on-brand, and of the required standard both technically and creatively
Jun 2004-Jan 2005 Volunteer, Save the Children, El Salvador & Honduras
• Leading a small team working to alleviate poverty & create sustainable income solutions for rural communities. This was a dangerous & challenging period for foreign aid workers in Central America, due to the hangover from recent civil wars & an ongoing struggle with gang violence in the region; with international volunteers often being targeted by the gangs. However I view this as one of the formative periods of my life, and which continues to define my outlook on the world today
EDUCATION, QUALIFICATIONS & I.T. CAPABILTY
PQE: Professional Photographic Practice & Copyright Law
BA (Hons): Photographic Communication 2:1
Other: BTec in Audio Visual Studies, A-Level Photography
Fluent in all common Microsoft/Mac packages, plus extensive knowledge of Photoshop and other advanced image editing/workflow software
Experience of working with international teams of developers to create bespoke software packages. Sitting on IT steering committees and ownership of major development projects from concept & specification, design & build, UAT, budgetary control and responsibility for final sign-off before release to live environment
Understanding of commercial print & digital processes, advanced colour management and all photographic processes, workflows, and lighting techniques
I have travelled extensively throughout the world, including considerable independent travel far from the beaten track. As an experienced trekker, I have hiked to Everest Base Camp and The Inca Trail, as well as through the Amazon jungle and some of Europe’s highest mountain ranges. In 2011, I summited Kilimanjaro raising money for charity in the process, and more recently scaled Mount Toubkal, the highest point in Morocco’s Atlas mountains.