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David Fawbert Photography: Winner of Business Dad of the Year

On Saturday night, I won my first ever business award. I've been to lots of awards ceremonies, but usually as the official photographer or part of the team organising the event.

Shortly after receiving the award

So it was with unbelievable pride that I was awarded Business Dad of the Year by The Family Network, at a glitzy ceremony in Docklands.


The Family Network - and the Stratford-upon-Avon branch in particular, run by the wonderful Gill Cleeve - has been a fantastic source of support, friendship and fun over the last 12 months.


And what a 12 months it's been. The awards night came just two days after the one-year anniversary of me registering David Fawbert Photography at Companies House - though it took me a few weeks to get everything sorted and start properly trading.


I still remember the day that Gill added me to a Facebook group called Networking Mummies. I checked that it wasn't a mistake and I was definitely allowed in there - and shortly afterwards it changed its name to The Family Network - and I haven't looked back.


I've used lots of the services offered by members, and lots have used me as their photographer. But that's not why I'm a member. It's because the members are dedicated, hard-working and talented - and not just in business. They all juggle their businesses with their families - children, spouses, parents - and make it work. And we all support each other and have fun.


There are loads of photographers just in the Stratford group. But we don't compete. We recognise that we all offer something different, have different styles, and sometimes we're fully booked. Sometimes, we even recommend each other to clients. Just yesterday, I worked alongside fellow member Charlie Budd, AKA The Tall Photographer, at the Micro Business Show.


My children seeing me off to London at the railway station

I do all of this for my family. Starting my own business has been a huge challenge. I work harder than I ever have before. But I'm also there a lot more for my family than ever before. My wife and children are amazingly proud of me, but we're a team - maybe we should be Business Family of the Year?


So thanks to everyone who has supported me - either by being a customer, offering advice and support or just being a friend.


George Naylor and Faye Lorde in Heartbreak Productions' The Railway Children, Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa

I love photographing theatre. It's my passion, my love and my chosen career. And I like to think I'm pretty good at it - certainly other people tell me so:


The Hired Man | Night Project Theatre | The Albany Theatre

And while I love it, one downside is that I'm normally photographing a rehearsal or a dress rehearsal - which means the company are performing with no audience, and I'm just a shady figure in black capturing it all.

But outdoor theatre, with an audience, is completely different. Which is why I Ioved going along to Jephson Gardens in Leamington Spa last week to photograph Heartbreak Productions' outdoor staging of The Railway Children.

Not only were the actors performing for the paying public - which always adds a certain something - I could actually see the people watching. I could see their smiles, their delight, families enjoying cuddles, the wine and the picnics. And I could capture this on camera - something I don't really get to do in a theatre.

The audience enjoying Heartbreak Productions' The Railway Children, Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa

One thing that's really lovely about Heartbreak shows is the audience participation. There's always something for those watching to be involved in - making train actions from where they're sitting, children getting up and running around, and sometimes across the stage, or even being part of the set. And again, at an outdoor performance, I can photograph all of this.

The audience get involved in Heartbreak Productions' The Railway Children, Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa

The real magic of outdoor theatre, though, is the setting. I photographed an evening performance, set against the River Leam. As the sun slowly set, the whole place was bathed in the lovely orange glow of summer, and I could see people relax more and more as they were engrossed in the story, covered themselves with blankets and snuggled closer to their loved ones.

Families enjoy cuddles while watching Heartbreak Productions' The Railway Children, Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa

It was a magical way to end a busy week.

If you want a photographer who understands theatre - indoors or out - and can capture those moments that really tell your story and show your production at its best, drop me an email to contact@davidfawbertphotography.co.uk or give me a call on 07813 155 289. And why not give me a follow and a like on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?


Heartbreak Productions are currently touring four productions across the UK: The Railway Children, Much Ado About Nothing, Pride and Prejudice and The Midnight Gang. Visit www.heartbreakproductions.co.uk for more information and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Gary Jones of Grow Media and Marketing is handing over Leamington Hour to Cat Dutton of Ktchenorium and Katherine Attreed of AtKat Marketing

When I told my wife I was planning on becoming a full-time self-employed photographer, her second concern, after how she was going to deal with having me around the house more often, was that I might get lonely. I spent 15 years in large organisations, leading and working with teams of people, and she was worried I'd miss that. And as I worked in corporate communications, talking to people was effectively my job.


As a people photographer, I wasn't too worried. One of my favourite parts of the job is meeting new people, getting to know them quite quickly and capturing some of that personality.


But, as a theatre photographer, I also spend a lot of time in a darkened room with people who are pretending to be something they're not. Which brings me neatly onto networking groups!


Fortunately, my experience of networking has been overwhelmingly positive. The first one I went to, back in April, was the Small Business Connect Up, run by Catherine Attreed of AtKat Marketing. And one of the first people I met there was Cat Dutton of Kitchenorium.

Cat Dutton and Katherine Attreed have taken over #LeamingtonHour from Gary Jones

Then at the May event last week, I met Gary Jones of Grow Marketing and Media, who is also the creator of the Leamington Hour networking events.


So it was quite fitting that I had the pleasure last night of attending my first #LeamingtonHourLive event and photographing Katherine, Cat and Gary at what was Gary's last event as host - as he hands the baton over to Katherine and Cat.


And Gary went out with a bang, with Stacey Calder of Business Success Network giving some fascinating insight following her visit to Facebook HQ earlier this week - including quite a lot of detail about the toilets - and a great mix of people running all sorts of businesses - dance schools, copywriting, publishing, network marketing, visual arts, yoga and wellbeing and many more.


One person I spent a lot of time talking to was Christine Ingall, a local author with a twinkle in her eye and a wicked sense of humour. You can book yourself on her free meet-the-author event at Waterstones in Leamington on 14 June. I'll also be doing a bit of work with Christine next week, so watch this space for more...


If you're looking for a photographer to capture your portrait at an event or meeting, get in touch with David Fawbert Photography. I capture high-quality, professional images suitable for press and PR, websites, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and more.

© 2020 by David Fawbert Photography