Why College Paid Off For Me
Back in 2011 I was working full-time as a contractor and part time in my own photography business, and I wanted to find away to switch these around. I have been a passionate hobby photographer for over 20 years, my aim was to make my photography business my full time job, but I didn’t want to be known as one of guys who picked up a camera and called himself a photographer. It was important to me that I could offer my future clients reassurance that I had a qualification and experience. At the time I knew my contract at the company I was working at was about to end, and I was keen to look at the options for further education to take my business to that next level.
I had two options College or University, but in both cases I would need to look into funding. At the time MK College had a full ad in the local paper and the course the caught my eye was the HND Photography. So I made an appointment for an interview with the program manager Antonio Longo. I should say at this point I was a mature student of 43 and family man with 4 boys and a mortgage to think about and wasn’t sure if would be eligible for the course or even the funding. I went to the interview and was welcomed with a very positive attitude and was accepted on the HND with content of my portfolio and subject to funding. This was just the start of my amazing journey at MK College, I had managed to secure a student loan and was ready for my first day of College life.
From the first day I never felt out of place even though I was the daddy of my class, I literally could have been dad to all of them. I knew the course was going to a personal challenge to me as this was the first time I had been in full time education since 1985. But the support from my tutors was second to none when came to helping me with the contextual side of the course work. Mind maps, essays, connotation, denotation and annotation are things I never had to do before. When I started my HND I couldn’t write a shopping list let alone an essay, but now I’m sitting to this laptop writing this and other pieces for my own blogs. Also I was given a great opportunity to help and talk to other students about my business, hopefully giving them inspiration to go on and succeed.
One of the reasons the Photography HND course at MK College was suited to me, was one of the modules was photography business. This was important because this is what I needed to take my business to the next level, as at the time I had really no idea how to do exactly that. This module was to run the whole of the second year which included Business Planning, Marketing and live jobs (paid and work experience). If I hadn’t done this HND I think I would still be running my business part time, this gave me the confidence to think about not having to find another full time job after the HND. And that’s what I did, I am now running my business DW Images Photography full time. College gave me an all of the other students a great platform to grow and showcase our work, building a very relevant career path for each of us in the areas we wanted to go. Mine was commercial photography and college let me use every opportunity to grow and promote my business it could even letting me use the business module for my Final Major Project at the MK College Summer Festival at Middleton Hall in Central Milton Keynes.
I finished my HND with a Distinction and I also won Student of the year. So not only am I now running my own photography business now, going to MK College and doing the HND has inspired me to carry on teaching others. I now have a contract with the college to go in and teach Level 3 and other HND students photography and business/marketing from my experiences, and I am always more than willing to let other students connect with me and ask questions. The opportunities I have now are just the best and have only been made available because of the great help and support I got from the structure of the HND course and all of the staff at MK College, I can’t thank them enough.
As I said I am now a full time commercial photographer specialising in Corporate, Acting headshot and Commercial Product Photography.