Adapting As An Artist

To Adapt with changing times, understanding you need to change is the first step!

I’ve recently had to thoroughly scrutinise myself and my work to figure out how to use my skills for the good and benefit of everyone connected with me.

It’s quite a difficult thing to do, really look at yourself and work out where you’re going wrong, who you are and who you want to be etc. When you discover the bad parts about yourself, it kicks you in the gut but is great for an idea of where to start.

My work life wasn’t really going anywhere. I was picking up the odd job here and there but nothing solid enough to support my family and everything I do is to help them to survive. Our survival was coming in to question because of the lack of direction I had. I felt like I was letting them down, which I was and these alarm bells were ringing for me to take notice.

This is one of the very first photographs in the first portfolio I put together to get accepted on to a level three photography course at NWHC in 2012

Looking back to correct your ways.

There’s not a lot of point in looking backwards but you must remember the mistakes and don’t make them again. It’s how we all grow and the more mistakes we make, the more lessons we get and as long as we understand how to grow from those mistakes, it should be easy to pass through the lesson.

I’ve had to look back at my website because I've had a dry spell where I’ve had no work after working in temporary jobs through an agency. Some good jobs and some truly terrifying! Last week I came in to a bit of good fortune because a talented photographer Simon Turner hired me to second shoot for him at a wedding within the grounds of an old Granary deep in the countryside of Fawsley, Daventry called The Granary Hotel and Wedding Venue. That was awesome, although a real challenge with it being the hottest day of the year and the guests didn’t want to move much, nobody did!

This photograph is from one of my recent weddings. I love this picture because it offers some anonymity to those in the picture with their identities are not completely revealed and the photograph still tells you a story.

This photograph is from one of my recent weddings. I love this picture because it offers some anonymity to those in the picture with their identities are not completely revealed and the photograph still tells you a story.

A Wedding Theme Developing.

I’ve had to look at where my talents lie in photography and it always boils down to street, documentary and the landscape / environment. Wedding photography requires the perfect combination of each of those genres because my street shooting experience keeps me on my toes, I’m alert to my whole surroundings, aware of the little stories developing around me as people live through their lives, interacting with each other.

Documentary style helps me to see where the stories are happening and know where and how to get the photograph without interfering with the scene (as little as possible anyway). The landscape and the environment is the stuff of features and backgrounds. My understanding of combining these skills to produce what I feel is my best work, is where I need to place my efforts.

My filmmaking is an entirely different entity with regards to weddings but it’s a talent that I need to develop.
So I’ve reshaped my entire website to represent myself as a documentary wedding photographer and storytelling filmmaker. I’ve placed my photographic practice in a personal box that can only be commissioned privately or for a wedding.

Ratcliffe On Soar Power Station. I made this while on the way home from photographing a family day with SSAFA (The Armed Forces Charity). This is the kind of image that I’ll be including in with my personal practice from now on.

New Website

With taking heed of my thoughts and desire to develop more as an artist, I’m placing my focus on documentary wedding photography and the production of promotional films. I’ll still be practicing photography as an artist but my main focus of my website is now aiming for employment. I have a family at home and a little girl that I intend on giving a good childhood to.

So if you’re familiar with my website, you’ll notice the stark differences.

I hope this new design works and does the job I’m trying to train it to do. Only time will tell.

This photograph forms part of a nationwide project I have been putting together for the past 12 months, The Quirky English Countryside. I’ll still be building projects like this for the good of my soul and the benefit of the wider community but more on a personal level.

Burbage, Hinckley, Leicestershire.

Please have a browse around my website, starting with my home page, which is where people will land when visiting my site and also let me know what you think and I’d love to hear if you find any typos or spelling mistakes.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Islastones World Record Breaking Day

A short film documenting the community of Hinckley and Islastone’s smashing the world record.

Isla ‘Smiler’ Tansey would be so proud of her legacy.

This film is dedicated to Katherine, Simon, Harrison and all of the Islastones team.

Creating this film was good for the soul and something that I needed to do to help raise awareness for Islastones and Abbies Army, partly because I feel so close to the cause and it’s a way of me giving back to the community. I also get to practice doing something I love, for filmmaking and telling stories has become my way of life. I’ve made this completely for free. It has cost me very little to produce except for my time, resources and use of my equipment, staying up until the small hours, til 2am, editing and tightening up the timeline but it’s been great fun.

I hope you enjoy the film and please do leave me comments, so I know the hard work I’ve put in to it was worth it. You can leave comments at the bottom of this page or on the social media posts.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog, which will help me reach wider audiences with my work.

If you're interested in having a film like this being produced for your business or organisation, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch so we can share ideas on how to help. Contact me.

The Bright Side Of Life

In all that life throws at us, in every place where life exists, there’s a bright side to everything. If we look with an open mind and see the best in life’s challenges, situations and the environment, we can live with gratitude, appreciating our experience.

I spend much of my time watching life happen around me as if I don’t exist sometimes. I often forget about my own presence and make photographs that help me to understand the world around me in a visually attentive way.

Please click on the gallery to view the pictures with a picture viewer.

These photographs have been made in a wide variety of locations around the UK over the period of 12 months between 2018 and 2019, as far north as Liverpool, south to London and across the width of the land.

Documentary Wedding Photography Showcase

Documentary Wedding Photography Film Showcase

This short slideshow has been put together to benefit engaged couples looking to choose their wedding photographer.

I’ve carefully crafted and designed this beautiful film with the most amazing song in the background to help carry the emotion of being in love and starting out on the journey to married life.

Before watching this video, I’d like to explain something about my style because you’ll notice that my work is different to what you would normally see. I’ve been trained as a classical documentary photographer through various institutions, finishing with De Montfort University.

My style is documentary / street photography. What that means is that most of my work is unstaged, not posed and mostly natural, reportage styled and candid. Sure I do some posed photography for group shots and special ones for the Bride and Groom but largely, my clients love my work because it’s shows the real story of your day with such a great sense of fun that when you look back at your pictures, you’ll laugh, smile and cry, all at the same time.

I suppose that what I’m trying to say that promotes my style and without coming across like a love myself a bit too much, is if you want unique photography that blows you away for the rest of your life, watch this and get in touch with me.

Did you like it then?

Sam And Dan Get Lost - Comedy Film - Behind the Scenes

Comedy Feature Film - Behind The Scenes

Sam and Dan Get Lost (played by Robert Lane and Richard Baldwin), formerly Blokes, is nearing the completion of filming the penultimate scenes.

Director - Lee Price

Asst. Director - Cameron Savage

Asst. Director / Lighting / Locations / Media - Paul Hands

Sound - Stuart Tizick

Plus supporting crew.

This blog is about keeping people up to date with our progress during the recording of our comedy feature film. Filming has stopped.

Kind of….

Filming has only really been postponed because of British summer time, the light isn’t fading until 10:30pm and everyone involved is making this film around their current work commitments. Some of our shoots can often go on in to the small hours and it’s difficult to maintain when you have to be up to go to a job in the morning.

We’re aiming at restarting filming again in the Autumn, after the nights begin to draw in again. The whole film is set at night time, one night in the lives of these two guys that have both suffered at the hands of the women in their lives. They collide in an unexpected way and form a comedic friendship whilst on their adventures (getting lost).

The unlikely duo played by Robert and Richard both come from a creative background, belong to an improvisational comedy group called the Improlectuals and have featured at the Leicester Comedy Festival.

Have a look through this set of behind the scenes stills and look out for my next blog.

Don’t forget to keep up to date with our filmmaking, you can subscribe to my blog for news by email.

Feeling the need to check out my photography?

Click here to view my projects.

Sam And Dan Get Lost - Comedy Feature Film

Sam And Dan Get Lost

A comedy feature film, 95% made in Hinckley, Leicestershire and 5% Nuneaton, Warwickshire!

Formerly Blokes. Film Director Lee Price has changed the title of the film that our small and creative team have been working on since the start of 2019.

Sam and Dan played by improv comedy actors Robert Lane and Richard Baldwin

As a creative team, we’ve almost completed the recording of our new feature film that has been filmed purely around Hinckley and some small parts in Nuneaton, in the middle of England in Leicestershire and Warwickshire.

Director Lee Price gives us information in good faith that we’re about 10% away from completion and then everything that has been recorded has to be put together in post production before we can look at distribution and the possibility of putting a big show on locally for anyone interested in seeing our hard work come together.

I must add that I’ve seen a lot of the footage and it’s really quite funny, I can’t wait to watch the completed version.

Here’s the latest behind the scenes photographs.

You can subscribe to my blog and get these sent directly to your email address.

I don’t write blogs too often, so you won’t be bombarded but I do have some great news coming up soon regarding a 12 month project that I’ve been working on around the English Countryside. I personally think it’s quite exciting because I’ve never worked on a project for this length of time before. So sign up and I’ll let you know when they’re ready to view.

The Film 'Blokes' - Behind The Scenes

A visual story of behind the scenes for the film ‘Blokes’.

Director Lee Price has written and is producing a comedy feature film about a couple of blokes that unintentionally cross paths for similar reasons.

The two blokes are played by Robert Lane and Richard Baldwin with Kellyanne Mitchell featuring .

We’ve been filming around Hinckley so far and are getting through the script quite well, although have had some poor weather interruptions recently. This is what we got up to last Saturday night.

On this film I’ve been helping out with location scouting, lighting and any other duties. Cameron Savage who has also been directing his own short films, is working the sound, whilst Lee directed on screen, he also manages his crew behind the scenes and much more off set.

I hope to tell you more about Blokes as we progress through the various stages. I’ve been sharing a lot about our filming on social media, Facebook in particular, where I’ve also been releasing new work from a countrywide photographic project that I’m creating. Follow this Facebook page.

If you subscribe to my blog, you can bypass the Facebook algorithms and help to bring things back a little closer to what I remember as normality and get my blog via email.

Recently, I’ve been producing a lot of landscapes and quirky street photography around England and have been sharing this project on Instagram, which is relatively new to me. If you’re on Instagram, please follow me @paul_._hands

Spaced Men

A New Feature Film

A fictional story written and directed by Lee Price.

Lee Price is an experienced filmmaker based in Hinckley and has created three features, filmed locally and has now sought and joined a talented team of creatives together to work on his more adventurous 4th film, Spaced Men.

The screen play has been written and read, then each of us has spent time wondering how to bring this to life. We’ve been out on a first scout of locations and even completed some test shoots. Now the ideas are really starting to flow and there’s an energy building for something that can become something quite special.

We have Lee Price as Director, Cameron Savage as Assistant Director, Myself Paul Hands as Director of Photography, Mark Hartopp as the VFX, technical expert, Matt Cobb as main character Matt and practical effects, Paul Mackanzie as a main character - Paul, Benjamin Swinton as drone pilot, produced by John Brookes and we have a wide network of creatives and professionals that are collaborating with us along the way.

We’re in the early stages of what is believed to be a lengthy estimated 18 months to bring this film to screen. There’s tons of stuff happening in the background, we’re making solid progress and it’s going to be really exciting bringing news to you about this as we go. You might even get some sneak peeks at some of the footage and trailers.

Mark is building a website where we’ll be able to update with news on our progress and provide a platform for information on the film and the team of creatives behind the feature. I’ll share news of that as soon as it’s ready.

You can learn more information about Lee’s 2nd feature ‘Frettin’, which is available on Amazon Prime and also has a Facebook page.

I’ll also be updating my blog as we move through the production, if you subscribe, you’ll get news by email as I share it.

Remember the name of this film, Spaced Men, it’s gonna be awesome!

Dreaming of Summer

Combe Martin Landscape Photographs

By Paul Hands

I set out to make artwork from the landscape, while on a family holiday earlier this year in North Devon.

The golden hour falls perfectly in the summer evenings where the sun sets right in the middle of the vista. So I had a play with the light and the environment.

As it’s colder today than what we’ve been experiencing recently, I wanted to push our memories back towards those beautiful summer months we had in 2018.

This is a curated series of photographs and are available as prints or canvas, please click here for more info.

All Rights Reserved ©

I'm a Photographer and Filmmaker but WHY?

What’s the point of making photographs and films?

There comes a time in any creators life when they question themselves.

I think I know the answer but then again, I’m not sure?

Derby Road, Crossroads, Hinckley, Leicestershire.

What do I achieve by making photographs?

Who cares anyway?

The above photograph was made on a whim. I’d always planned to make a picture from these bollards, knowing somebody had drawn a question mark on one. It attracted me because it’s quirky. I grabbed this photograph while walking home from a friends house late at night and while I a little worse for wear.

It’s a powerful picture and one of my favourites (of many)!

I made it because I like the look of it and fits with my quizzical mind. It doesn’t fit with any project and stands alone as a single image. Once I got home and did a little post production on it. I only ever perform digital darkroom techniques and never crop a photograph in post. This is simply because I have been trained to get it right in camera and it’s become a firm belief of mine, that if you have to alter the picture in post, then it’s not good enough anyway and I tend to just move on if I don’t get it right.


I posted it on social media and possibly got a few likes from people following my social pages but that’s it. That’s where it stopped! What was the point of that? Well, I’ve got a huge library of photographs that tell a story of my journey through life and it gives me a record of the weird things that I notice on my travels. A lot of my photographs also tell parts of other peoples stories and journeys.

Maybe he was walking home from the pub?

I like to think I can second guess peoples stories. Was this man walking home from the pub late at night? I noticed the difficulty in walking up this hill, so I flattened it for him, levelled it out.

My little doggy, Laila

I often take my dog for walks at night and with my camera, just looking for things that I find interesting. Usually it’s something different and more often than not, the photographs just pop up on social media and then sit on my hard drive. I always plan to print them and make a book one day (which is sooo expensive)!

So, going back to they why…

I wrote a post about this on social media and it went something like this…

Why do I bother making photographs? I mean what’s the point? Seriously, I could just sit at home and look at other peoples work on the internet or spend some real time going to see an exhibition.
Actually, I’ll tell you why. It’s because I have to. It’s a burning desire that cannot be ignored. I’ve become a creator, a storyteller.
Well I’ve always been quite good at talking up stories but now I know how to use a camera, I have to do that.
It’s like having a child and needing to have time with them, to see them and watch them growing. It’s not exactly like that but I can only liken making pictures to that with this level of passion.
Every day I see something that would make a great photograph, in fact I see things more than just once a day and it hurts when I can’t record that moment. It burns away inside of me.
I am a photographer and now I’ve said it, I can’t ctrl z that!
I must make, I must create, regardless of how many people like my work, regardless of who sees it and regardless of what anyone thinks, I still have to do it.
I know I could never stop!
— Paul Hands

I think this just about sums it up, although you’ll never get to understand how my mind works, I don’t think I’ll ever know, I just know it’s a little bit odd, a bit weird and not quite the same as everyone else.

Let’s just leave it at that shall we?

Brookside, Burbage

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