Darren Woolway ARPS, AMPA, Ba(Hons): Automotive, Car and Still Life Product Photographer
My name is Darren Woolway and I’m a full time commercial photographer specialising in still life and automotive photography. I’m also a speaker and a teacher… but more about that shortly.
I was born on the 12th June 1985 at All Saints Hospital, Chatham, Kent, UK. The hospital no longer exists and now stands on the site a new housing development. Born of mother Tina Woolway (Baker) and Glen Woolway I am one of three. Paul is my identical twin brother, he is 3 minutes older than me and Stewart is my younger brother with 4 years between us.
We had a happy childhood and studied at local schools including Glencoe Infants and Juniors, I then went onto Chatham South whilst my twin went to Chatham Grammar. Following my GCSE’s I went to study A-levels at Mid Kent College before moving on to study a degree in Garden Design at Hadlow College, part of the University of Greenwich.
From Hobby to Profession
Back in 2003 I was studying for a degree in Garden Design when another student showed me some images from his DSLR camera -they were amazing -pin sharp and had lots of detail. Back then the best camera I had was a 1 mega-pixel compact; and to tell if a plant leaf had one or two stripes on it, was near on impossible. This was the start of my passion for photography; I quickly bought a model similar to my friend, a Canon 350D and so my journey began. Whilst studying garden design, I was working part time as a model represented by MWM-UK, True Model Media and Fresh Agents Ltd. Each photographer I worked with, I would ask them to explain a bit more about photography, allowing me to quickly get to grips with it. I will always remember the look on people’s faces when I told them what camera I had used to take my photo. Their response was always “No way did you take that on a 350D!” as they say, you can have all the kit and no idea or you can learn to use the kit to the best you can to maximise the results. I had great fun once I had learnt the basics; I practised by getting together with other models that I’d met at shoots or events to photograph them. Following on from Garden Design, I went to work on Royal Caribbean’s “The Liberty of the Seas” as a cruise ship photographer, this taught me many skills and gave me an appreciation for the hard work and dedication people have towards their careers. When I returned, I continued to cover events, weddings and portrait sessions part time and a bit of teaching photography privately but went to work full time in a school as a web and graphic designer. Being stuck at the desk all day wasn’t the same as interacting with people and I had the urge to push into full time photography once again. In October 2012 I decided that to give myself the time to refine my photography, find my specialism and build industry contacts; it was a good idea to go back to university and study a degree in photography. It has done exactly that, I graduated with a first class degree in Digital Photography, a commercial photography based course from Ravensbourne College in the summer of 2015 with my graduation ceremony on the 24th November 2015.
Since leaving University I have started working for a few magazines as one of the car photographers; currently these include Classic Ford Magazine, American Car Magazine, Custom Car Magazine, Performance Vauxhall Magazine and Retro Cars Magazine. Although photographing these beautiful classic cars and modified wonders is great fun; my passion really lies in advertising; it is my goal to push forward into photographing campaigns.
Why choose me?
Why not? I am a fun individual to work with, have great industry contacts to get the job done efficiently, on time and to budget, have a ton of ideas and I’m genuinely a nice guy. I started car photography as a hobby, which has become a passion and now I want to share that passion with you. Feel free to connect with me on Twitter or on Facebook, even LinkedIn if you are inclined or call me for a friendly, non pushy chat. “Photography for me is a passion, not a job”. “Photography for me is a passion, not a job”
What do I do with my spare time?
I like to give back to the photographic community the same way in which they have helped me. I regularly visit camera clubs to give talks and judge competitions as well as mentor members who are looking at entering for a Royal Photographic Society distinction. I am an accredited photographic judge for both the Kent County Photographic Association and the The Federation of South London Photographic Societies. When I get some free time I enjoy fishing; there is nothing better than winding down next to a lake as the mist is rising across it early morning, with nothing else to think about or concentrate on except for the end of the rod tip or the float bobbing in the water. Then there is my car… a 1993 Mazda 626 GLX, fully modified on every panel inside and out with a sound system that is louder than a jumbo taking off (148db). I love to take a ride in this at the weekend, but maybe with the music reserved for competitions; however recently the engine has died and being one of the only parts of the car that has not been modified I am contemplating saving up to replace it with something a little more special.
Having been brought up with motors since an early age, I guess automotive photography comes naturally to me. My dad worked as a mechanic ever since he left school, leading into becoming a driving instructor. He continued to work on cars every evening and weekend to keep us clothed and fed and now he is a Director of a Mazda Garage. Although the mechanics of the car never really interested me, but the design and shape of the body and interior did. It was that appreciation of the design that led me to photograph cars, the challenge of how can I light this car to make it look beautiful? Where can I take it so the surroundings compliment its character? By photographing cars, I feel I am able to take an object that is already beautiful and enhance that beauty to its fullest.