Inspiration and motivation from the natural world have laid the groundwork for Surrey Hill-based, award-winning, and published professional freelance photographer Jon Hawkins’ pursuit of capturing stunning images of a wide variety of subject matter. Jon’s work can be described as a true reflection of his appreciation for his surroundings. With a multifaceted approach, Jon carefully captures many aspects of his subjects through mindful observation. Jon’s body of work is quite diverse and his passion for photography speaks for itself.
Jon, thank you for allowing us to get to know a bit about you. You are a brilliant photographer and I believe you have found your calling in life and you undoubtedly enjoy what you do.
After browsing through your website, I see that you have built up an extensive collection of wonderful photography. When did you first become interested in photography and how long have you been involved with it?
My dad bought me a “proper 35mm film camera ” for my 21st birthday (nearly 40 years ago!) so I was always snapping away at family weddings etc but never anything seriously… It wasn’t until around 2008 when I used to do some pest control with an air rifle, shooting pigeons for a local farmer. I would sit quietly in a wood fully camouflaged up and see lots of wonderful wildlife so I soon sold my rifle for a new DSLR.. so instead of shooting with a rifle, I started shooting with a camera, much more rewarding… I then became interested in all genres of photography from portraiture to macro… In 2010 I was offered voluntary redundancy from my job as an account manager for the Royal Mail so I took the plunge and became a professional photographer… I started with wedding photography and my lucky break came when one of the grooms asked if I did corporate work as he wanted lifestyle shots of a chain of retirement homes he was the MD for. Long story short this led to me taking on a contract for all 483 of their homes nationwide, this, two years of regular work, enabled me to invest in better kits and I’ve never looked back.
I’ve now ‘retired’ from wedding photography and now focus on portraits, dogs, horses, and corporate work such as headshots, products, and interiors. I donate most of my wildlife images to the Wildlife Trusts for use in their marketing, magazines, cards, and calendars.
Where is home?
Ash, Surrey, UK.
In regard to marketing, how much of your time do you dedicate to social media? Do you use any special programs or services?
I try to post on Facebook, my own page plus local groups once a day to keep my profile up and this is where a lot of my private commissions come from. I also use Instagram and occasionally Twitter.
What is your favorite part of being a photographer?
Meeting, visiting, and getting access to varied places and people I would never have dreamed of.
What is the most challenging part of being a photographer?
Trying to meet my own high expectations on every shoot I do… I never want anything to be just ok.
What type of session do you look forward to the most vs what type of session you most often do?
For paid jobs, dogs and horses are my favourite… I also quite like being left alone to do interior shots in a nice property…And wildlife is my passion, I love to spend time on my own in the middle of nowhere waiting for my quarry to show.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
Too many to mention .. most of them are close encounters with wildlife.
What drives you to create; does it satisfy a need or passion?
When I’m out and about I’m always composing images in my head.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
The natural world is my biggest inspiration and trying to capture it in an image.
What is your favorite part of heading out to a new location?
The excitement of not knowing.
How do you keep yourself motivated and your photography fresh?
Every day I’m either running or walking in the woods…The different seasons, wildlife, and landscapes I come across always inspires and motivates me to take more photos.
What do you hope viewers take away from your images?
What is your best photography tip?
Keep pressing that shutter…take more, not less.
What type of camera(s) do you shoot with? What is your favorite lens?
Canon…1DX and 5Dmk4’s…lens for portraits 70-200mm and for Wildlife 100-400mm.
What is in your camera bag?
Two cameras, 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm lenses, two flashes, batteries, CF cards, cleaning stuff, remotes, a squeaker (for dogs.)
What is your favorite photography accessory?
Photographer’s Ephemeris App, (tells you when and where the sun & and moon will rise and set at any location.)
What piece of equipment would you most like to get but don’t have yet?
A fisheye lens.
How important is Photoshop or other image editing software in your final images?
Very… I shoot in RAW and use Photoshop to lift shadows and boost colours.
Was there a point in your journey when you started to feel really good about your work? If so, what did it feel like to get past that ‘tipping point’?
Never have… I still have a bit of an “imposter syndrome.”
Do you have any projects that make you look back and shake your head? What made the experience so unpleasant?
Wedding photography… although all my clients were delighted with their photos, I never enjoyed it.
What do you think the future holds for you? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
Who knows… hopefully I’ll be happy and healthy and still making a few bob from taking photos.