hinckley

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.

WHY THOUGH?

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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Hinckley Bid's 9th Annual Soap Box Derby Film

The Soap Box Derby

Hinckley BID (Business Improvement District) organise many social events in the small market town centre in Leicestershire every year in what is now becoming an historic tradition.

I was commissioned to create a short film of the whole event and arrived early on the Sunday morning of the race day.  The first thing I encountered was the huge numbers of entrants hanging around in the pits, tinkering around and putting the final touches towards their carts.

The Soap Box Derby is a timed solo race down Castle Street which is a large hill named after a small Mott and Bailey that centered in Hinckley many years ago.  Castle Street is a long downhill gradient and the course is manufactured with a chicane and a ramp with a large stopping and turning area at the bottom of the hill.

Thousands of people come to Hinckley from all over the UK to watch the derby and this film is a short tribute to everyone that takes part in both the racing and the organisation.

The commission was to create this short film with a focus upon the event and the crowds that flock to watch and for the purpose of showcasing the extent the BID go to, to bring people in to the town centre and to show how good for local business are the BID and the events that bring the footfall.

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Amstreetdam

A Street Photography Project in Amsterdam

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines landed me on a motorway bridge on the outskirts of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and with a short train ride to arrive at Centraal Station, taking in the track side views of rural, residential and industrial landscapes.

Paul Hands (2018).

Once settled in the hotel, I hit the streets ready to put my new Panasonic LX100 to the test.  Up to this point, i'd only used the LX100 a few times but not under any pressurised commercial situations.  It was only up on writing this blog that I discovered a fast AF setting within the menu's.  I'm kicking myself now because I spent the whole time in Amsterdam, anticipating photographs because I was worried about how slow the AF was.  I put it down to being spoilt using a dslr with almost instantaneous focusing and having owned a Fuji XPro 1 for a short part of its life.

Julie Hrudova (2015).

Julie Hrudova, a street photographer based in Amsterdam became a source of inspiration for me prior to my trip.

Julie Hrudova (2012).

Julie Hrudovae (2012).

When I first discovered the pictures by Julie, I was blown away by her presentation, modernity and classic style of street photography.  I recommend taking a look through her Flickr website.

Jonathan Higbee:

Jonathan lives in NYC and has recently collected the amazing recognition he fully deserves with his coincidental work around New York in what Jonathan describes as his love letter to New York.  I've included Jonathan here because his work is so cool that when I'm out on the streets looking and searching for scenes, backdrops, places and people to photograph, I always have some of his strongest images in the back of my mind but I never ever come across similar.  

I can only put that down to different minds and a different set of eyes.  Proof that it's the photographer that makes the pictures as opposed to the camera!

Don't take my word for it anyway, please head over to Jonathan's website and see how good he is for yourself... https://www.jonathanhigbee.com

Jonathan Higbee

Jonathan Higbee

Jonathan Higbee

I'm currently influenced by many photographers and with all good work, it's informed by others.  

 

So this is my Amsterdam project...

 

Amstreetdam:

I've created this work from a perspective full of influences from street photographers that I've discovered around the world.  Julie Hrudova, Jonathan Higbee from New York City and many of the artists showing their work with the Pure Street Photography collective.  These photographs are intended to show my view of the quirkiness of the streets in Amsterdam, day and night.  I've found myself being drawn to almost surreal, graphic and intimate stories at the side of the canals and narrow roadways.  Amsterdam really is a beautiful city and a giant habitat that just keeps on giving, which ever direction you walk in.  With a good eye for a a photograph, it's difficult not to find something you can make great photographs of.

So this is my visual story of Amsterdam.

Black and White Street Photography

I also made some in colour because Amsterdam is too colourful that I couldn't resist having a play with the beauty of the city.

Colour Street Photography 

I still feel like I've only skimmed the surface of Amsterdam.  There's so much to explore and I only had three days to look, learn, discover, feel the heart of the city and show that in my pictures.

As this was a test for me working with my new LX100, I feel compelled to tell you what I think of it.  Had I discovered the fast AF setting, I may have enjoyed this camera more.  I still enjoyed playing with it and am learning new ways to work the streets with it. I found the light meter to be accurate and I shot in RAW, knowing that I didn't fully trust the camera, I wanted that flexibility.  The manual controls are very intuitive and I found it easy adjusting the iso, shutter speed and aperture to suit each scene.  

The challenge as always with street photography is not so much the technical side, but more the story and visual impact.  You can't just make a good picture, a view of the world develops in your frame and if you're ready with your camera and become part of that moment in time.  It's an honour, especially if you can overcome the initial anxiety of pointing your camera at people on the street.  Breathe and feel the world living.

The photographs that appear in this blog can be made available as artwork and I've discovered new suppliers for my prints, who offer excellent quality.

Prints available poa.

Contact me.

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Croft Hill Photography Workshop

December is usually rich with golden hour sunsets during mid afternoon that bring the best light for landscape photography.  Sure there's the small risk of rain but often that brings drama in the skies as well, so it's hard to not find good photographs that have that ability to transport your viewers to see and feel as you did making the picture.

It's not all about the location, nor is it about your equipment.  Photography is a direct reflection of what you see.  So we choose locations that present us with enough material / elements and compositional promise to help inspire us.

Come and join me on another of my photography workshops but this time, on Croft Hill.

Looking towards Earl Shilton from Croft hill, 2016

The workshops are relaxed and always in the company of like minded people.  I'm always on hand to teach and guide you when you need support.  My manner is to give you what you need to explore this wonderful and accessible art form.

The things I can cover during the workshop are:

  • Exposure
  • Composition
  • Technical support
  • Ideas
  • Making art with your camera
  • Not limited to any of the above and I'll be on hand offering tailored support to each person.

The Ascent to Croft Hill

This is the last workshop for this year.  I'll be organising a more adventurous series of workshops around the uk next year.

Date: Thursday 28th December 2017, 1:30pm - 4:30pm.

Workshop Price = £35

To book a place on the Croft Hill Photography Workshop...

Why is your business headshot / portrait so important?

Professional corporate headshots / portraiture helps to put a face to your business and makes you and your employees appear human to your customers.

corporate headshots / portraiture, Leicestershire

Your image 

is so important in business

Did you know that when your customers view your website and come across photographs of the staff, the information they can get from a simple headshot is initially your look, style, type, age, occupation, professionalism, socioeconomic status, personality traits, and of course your brand, you're the brand!

So as you'd imagine it's pretty important to get it right and project the right image to prospective customers and those that already work with your business.

Some people might take their own photos and convince themselves that it looks good and if they've been trained professionally in the visual language of photography, there could be a good chance that it is but usually it isn't.

You often get photographers in my industry that haven't actually trained or qualified in photography, have just bought a camera and then watched some Youtube videos! That puts them on the same level as you, so why should you pay someone like that?  Is that what you think of your professional image and your beloved business?  

Cutting corners is always bad news in any industry.  Image making is no different.

If saving money is your goal, try to reverse your thinking.  Make yourself look more professional, get more work, make more sales and put extra money in your pocket.  That's the same as saving isn't it?  Perhaps better than holding what you have and collecting more instead!

Put the extra effort in to you!

Contact me to discuss my corporate headshot / portraiture service.

  • I have a fixed studio in the town centre of Hinckley, Leicestershire.
  • I have a portable studio and portable professional lighting if you want me to come to your business.
  • I'm qualified, have a Level three, HND and BA Hons degree in Photography & video.
  • I'm experienced and have a long list of incredibly prestigious clients of all sizes.
  • I have solid reviews, awards and fantastic reputation.

Here's some quotes from my clients:

Our company has used Paul Hands Photography on two occasions now; the photographs produced have been exceptional quality and Paul really helped our staff feel relaxed in order to achieve some really professional looking staff portraits. We will continue to use Paul Hands for his portrait services and in addition we have instructed some bespoke commissions in relation to obtaining high quality material for our website.
— David Frisby, Mode Transport Planning
We used the photographic services of Paul Hands for our Corporate Staff Photographs. We required photos for our new website. Paul was recruited as a last minute booking and he could not have been more accommodating. His attention to detail was a comfort as a client and we received great customer service. On the two days of shooting he was very professional and brought out the smile in every member of staff in his own unique way (a lego car and a gingerbread man helped with this too but I won’t let any further details slip and ruin his secrets to getting you smiling). We had the photographs returned to us within a matter of days and Paul had put each set of photo’s into individual files, per staff member, for ease of reference for us. These little bits of attention to detail really make the difference. The quality of the photographs were crisp and clear and were exactly what we were looking for. We would thoroughly recommend Paul’s services to anybody looking for a photographer, he is fantastic!
— Rosie Iliffe, Stuart Fletcher & Barrett Wealth Management
Corporate Headshots / portraiture, Leicestershire

This is me, hi

I'm Paul Hands

Let's do business together, contact me using the link below.

A Commercial Film Production To Remember

I was booked by Diabetes UK to produce a commercial film, a trailer and a series of documentary style photographs.  They came to me because they wanted the natural candid feel that I often produce. They wanted a sense of fun to help promote their Type 1 events to the children and parents who have to endure type one diabetes on a daily basis.

I jumped at the chance because I felt that working with such a genuine and helpful charity is how I want my business to be seen.  I always offer a generous discount to charities.  This opportunity was to work a a large group of 8-10 year olds who all have type 1 diabetes and these events are designed to help the children learn to manage the diabetes on their own, and to continue to enjoy a normal, healthy and active lifestyle.

They attend without their parents and love every minute of it!

Shooting this film and producing the documentary is up there with the best commercial project I've been commissioned to do.  The children were an inspiration and genuinely warmed my heart.

I'm currently at the proofing stage and won't be able to release the film until it has been finalised but rest assured, as soon as it is, I'll be sharing it here.

Maybe a sneak peak at one of the pictures...

You can click through the logos for Diabetes to go to their website and learn more information.

If you'd like to enquire about commissioning me for other assignments, please contact me here.

UBL 17 Fight Photographs from The Athena

Welcome to the home of the boxing photographs from UBL 17 at The Athena in Leicester.

This page on my website has been specifically dedicated to the huge collection of photographs, from the unlicensed fighting that goes on between some of the hardest men in Britain.

To view the pictures, simply click on the photograph, then choose the fight collection that you wish to look through.  You will even have the option to buy and have a bespoke book designed for you as well prints and a dvd slideshow with music.  You can do this directly through my website.  Payments are secured and guaranteed through Stripe.

 

Professional Photographer Leicester, Leicestershire, Hinckley, Nuneaton, Coventry, Birmingham, Warwickshire, Midlands, England, UK, United Kingdom, Great Britain.

Commercial, Business, PR, Public Relations, Landscape, Street Photography and Documentary photographer available for commissions.


UBL 17 Highlights

Boxing Photographs, Leicestershire, Midlands

What an incredible night of unlicensed fighting.  A large group of hardened men avoid going completely underground to fight on the shows put on by Gypsy Jerry Gorman and Elvis Hopkins who runs Kings Gym in Leicester.

The shows are that good, there'll be no time wasted on idle chat.

Watch this slideshow mother fucker...

Oh, and turn your volume up!

Tough hardened fighting men go to war against each other in an unlicensed night of brutal gloved boxing bouts. Jerry Gorman and Elvis Hopkins of Kings Gym in Leicester put on such a good show that only viewing it will tell you what it's about. So get on with it...

DMU Student's photo chosen as one of the best pics of the year

This is a nice accolade to start 2017 with.  If you're not aware, I'm studying a photography & video Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree at De Montfort University while running my photography and video business, which is now in to its successful fifth year.

I entered a national student photography competition last year and missed out on £12K worth of prizes by a Gnat's nut.  However, my work was highlighted as highly commendable.

You can read more about my success with this nationwide competition here... 

This was my entry chosen by the judges as significantly good in their opinion.

 

I also have some even more amazing news to share with you.  My wife Lisa and I had a little too much Paella and Red Wine at one of Lisa's exhibitions last year.  This ended with the most incredible experience of my life.

Emma Leigh Hands was born 31/12/2106 @ 17:29 weighing 4lb 15oz.

My world has just turned upside down and my outlook on life is so very different to that of a couple of weeks ago.  It will be interesting to see if this moment in my life has an impact on my photography style and outlook.

So, 2017 promises to bring around a completely different lifestyle for myself.  I'm sure I'll be working even harder this year.  I'm hoping to get some more work creating films like the last two with R-Tech Performance and Gorman's Fight Club.  I'm happy to make commercial styled films that have a backline story and add a commercial context to be different to the typical advertising style.  I like to create documentary styled films that have high impact and hook the viewers straight away.

I'll also be looking for new clients regarding my still photography side of the business.  I'm hoping to be working with many more (PR) Public Relations Agencies, Commercial and Corporate clients as well as potentially get involved with more charities like SSAFA (The Armed Forces Charity).

What is important to note is that I will be graduating from my degree course and will then be applying myself to my business completely on a full time basis.  This can only mean that my clients are truly going to get the best of me from here onwards.

Happy New Year

If you'd like to get in touch with me, please click on this link.

R - Tech Film Trailer (Official)

This film has been 3 months in the making and involved numerous film days on set at the R - Tech Performance unit on the Dodwells Industrial Estate in Hinckley, Leicestershire.  We've also followed R - Tech and their customers along with the VAG Gang and VAG Tuning to Santa Pod Raceway in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

The trailer has been cut to exactly 2.01 minutes and timed with a background music track that hits the viewer with everything that R - Tech Performance are about, inclusive of the modified car scene that they're famous for being involved with and tells a very quick version of their story.

This is of course a prequel to the full length film version, is designed to appeal to a customer base who takes pride in their cars and is due to be released at the end of this week.  The intention was to create a raw and punchy stylised commercial film that can be used on their website and social media to generate a buzz and vibrant level of interest around their company and the scene going forwards in to 2017 and the future.

Have a look for yourself...