FOCUSED DETERMINATION: Mickleton resident John Williams has swapped his detention officer uniform for a professional photographer’s camera
FOCUSED DETERMINATION: Mickleton resident John Williams has swapped his detention officer uniform for a professional photographer’s camera

A MICKLETON man has celebrated his 40th birthday by hanging up his detention officer uniform and taking up a professional photographer's camera.

John Williams admits being a ‘cliché photographer’ who has been fascinated by cameras from early childhood and spent his pocket money on photography magazines.

His first camera was an Argos 35mm point-and-shoot.

But it had always been a hobby and he made his bread and butter in Durham Constabulary.

He said his entrance into the world of professional photography was probably because, with 13 aunts and uncles on his father’s side, there was no shortage of weddings for him to attend.

He always took his camera along and took candid shots of the ceremony and those attending.

He added: “My first wedding came about when a friend of my sister asked if I would shoot her wedding.

“This was most definitely a first, as at that point, I was still taking artistic photographs of fruit and vegetables in black and white.”

Later, a friend asked him to cover his wedding as well.

The father of four said: “Then people I didn't know were phoning up just based on what they had seen (from the first two weddings).”

Demand for his skills grew simply by word-of-mouth.

He added: “I would average about 10 weddings a year.

“The amount I was turning down because of work was incredible.”

Having quit Durham Constabulary about two months ago, he now trades under the name ImageWorks Photography.

Some of his success, he believes, is due to the way he takes his photographs, which is based on those family weddings he attended.

The results are few posed images, apart from the obligatory family group shots.

The photographer said: “There are people who don't like being in photographs all the time.

“Because I float about in the background, they don't know until after I've taken the photograph.

“My style has always been to get them to smile without having to say cheese.”

Another difference from other professional wedding photographers is the sheer number of photographs he takes.

In a recent shoot, he snapped more than 2,400 images.

He said: “I like to tell stories, that sets me apart. Because I like to tell stories and I don't like intervening or choreographing, I take photos throughout the day.”

As a result, a client can get as many as 800 processed photographs of their happy day.

Adding to the narrative, he likes to create a slideshow he puts together for the couple, which is timed to music, with more significant moments such as the bride coming up the aisle coinciding with a dramatic musical uplift.

Perhaps he draws on his own musical background to achieve this – when not out taking photographs, he performs with the band Renegade Jukebox.

The slideshows are presented on DVD in 4K resolution.

He said: “It almost becomes like a second event.

“The slideshows are usually about 20 minutes long, any longer than that when you are showing it to other people it tends to become boring.”

Along with weddings, Mr Williams also does family shoots, portraits and corporate events.

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