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Craig Derrick Photography

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Like most people who are well past the Facebook generation, I hate having my photograph taken. At least I hate candid shots by someone who thinks it’s amusing to take a snap while you are stuffing your face with cake and then upload it to their
Facebook page so you can’t even delete it. But I would love to have a really good picture which I can use on my website, send to my cousin in America, or even upload to my own Facebook page.

So when the opportunity arose for a professional make-over photo shoot with Craig and Katrina Derrick of Craig Derrick Photography Ltd, I volunteered. ‘I’d love my make-up done and my photo taken,’ I said enthusiastically.

However, when the day arrived I started to panic. What should I wear? When booking my appointment Katrina instructed me to bring three changes of clothing – something casual, something smart and something dressy. Something flattering that isn’t covered in dog hair would be a good start. I spent over an hour trying things on –– in the end I took four outfits and four pairs of shoes and boots. It wouldn’t all fit in the case so I ended up wearing half of it.

When I arrived I was warmly greeted by Craig and Katrina. I sat comfortably on one of the huge leather sofas in the reception area of their stunning home-based studio on Hewlett Road. We drank tea – we saved the Bucks Fizz and choccie biscuits that form part of the package until halfway through the shoot – and chatted about how they came to move from St Albans in Hertfordshire to Cheltenham. Katrina had always lived in St Albans, working part-time in marketing for a local estate agent whilst running a successful home-based beauty salon as a qualified Beauty Therapist.

Craig has spent 10 years working in Software Asset Management but always knew that his true vocation was to become a professional photographer. From his late teens Craig was passionate about photography – his real love being wildlife. Not going to bird parks or zoos though, just sitting in a field or by a lake and waiting to see what turns up. Maybe a swan or a deer or even a field mouse. But it’s very hard, he said, to get your photos into publications like National Geographic as there is so much competition, but it would be his ultimate ambition.

Craig and Katrina met for the first time briefly in December 2008 and married on a romantic snowy Christmas Eve in 2009. Katrina, having a property background, was tasked with finding their marital home to encompass a photographic studio. After a lot of searching, they both fell in love with Cheltenham – the beautiful architecture, the friendly people, the interesting festivals, the exciting racecourse etc and relocated from St Albans in June 2010. Craig Derrick Photography Ltd opened on 24 July 2010.

At their studio premises they offer a two hour professional make-over photo shoot for individuals, families and groups of people of all ages from new born babies to three generations in one family.

Being new to Cheltenham and to the business, Katrina decided to run several ‘win a professional studio shoot’ competitions at the near-by Swimming Pool, St John’s School Fun Day and the Belly Dance Guinness Book of Records Event at the Brewery. They were a huge success and found them their first invaluable clients.

In August 2010 they became the designated professional photographer at Summerhouse Equestrian
Centre in Hardwicke where they attend and photograph the Affiliated and Unaffiliated Show Jumping and Dressage events and successfully sell the images on-line. In the short time they have been here they have already taken on a 17 year old work experience girl called Kristina Tristram who is studying ‘A’ level photography, and one of their make-over shoot clients was Emily Rogers, a stunning teenager who was entering Miss Teen Galaxy. The professional images of Emily have led them onto now working with Lip Gloss Events Ltd – an established event company that organises teenage beauty pageant competitions throughout the world. Another avenue of their growing business is working with an amazing company called The Wedding Cut – the professional wedding day videography and photography company that offers a truly unique and contemporary way to capture your wedding day forever.

But back to the make-over. I have to admit I was very self-conscious but both Katrina and Craig
re-assured me that I would feel more confident once my make-up had been applied by freelance make-up artist Julian Castandeda, who hails from Columbia. He moved to England 12 years ago and has been a make-up artist to a number of well known TV presenters. It would take him about 45 mins to apply their make-up every day and this would give them the opportunity to relax and prepare for their shows,
he told me.

5 mins is usually about how long I spend each morning!

Once my fabulous make-up was finished I was ready for the camera and Katrina took me into the studio where she showed me pictures of some ‘example poses’ that would look good in the photos and help me relax into the shoot. I must make it clear that there was never any pressure to sit or stand in a particular pose – if it didn’t feel right, then I just said so. Then Craig started clicking away using different backdrops, props to compliment my outfits and clever lighting techniques.

I changed three times during the shoot from jeans and a sweater to my best loved maxi dress and waterfall cardi and finally into an Amanda Wakely evening dress and East shawl. We even persuaded my husband, Russell, to join me for some of the photos. Nothing cheesy Craig promised.

After the shoot Craig and Katrina select the best images from the shoot to edit using their Photoshop skills should the images require some minor touching up. They then promptly upload these images as a password secure album to their web site and also post them out to their clients on disc so they can spend a week selecting their favourites in the comfort of their own home, obtaining the opinion of friends and family. This popular method of viewing is to ensure all their clients avoid the emotional hard sell we all dislike. With the help of my family I made my selection, so what do you think?

Craig is adamant that their business is one of integrity, listening to their clients bespoke needs, providing high customer service throughout and offering their clients to purchase the images they fall in love with without needing ‘a second mortgage’. All their clients are invited to give feedback by rating and reviewing their experience with Craig Derrick Photography on www.freeindex.co.uk – this feedback has rated them the number one photographer in Cheltenham in just 8 months of opening their new business.

Craig Derrick Photography is located at:

Prep House, 53 Hewlett Road,
Cheltenham, GL52 6AD.
Tel: 01242 241253 / 07584 426044
Email: info@craigderrickphotography.com.
Web: www.craigderrickphotography.com.