Mike Sewell decided to launch his own business after taking voluntary redundancy from the Leicester Mercury following a restructure last April.
Despite what he described as “dark times, Mike has since built up his client base from an initial one – the Mercury itself – to around 10 regular customers.
In a blog marking 12 months since the switch, Mike recalled being “pretty scared” at the time and considered whether to change careers altogether.
He wrote: “Photography, I thought, was what I knew. It’s what I had done for nearly twenty years and something I loved. It was also, crucially, something I was really good at. And with huge support from my wife, friends and family, I decided to launch my photography business – with one client.
“That one client, ironically, was the Leicester Mercury. Having released four staff photographers they were given a freelance budget by the Trinity Mirror group and I started freelancing the next week. These shifts were just what I needed to get going as I began my plan attract more newspaper and commercial clients.
“Over the years working in Leicester I had made a lot of contacts and the lovely messages I received from friends and colleagues made me confident of finding work. But it didn’t really take off as I’d thought it might. What happened at the Leicester Mercury was not a one off.
“The growing trend for newspapers to jettison their picture people meant there were very many photographers in my position, all looking for the same work. And I came to realise that if you are a business or agency that already uses a photographer, and you’re happy with what they do, why would you drop them for me? Being good doesn’t always guarantee success.”
He added: “I am sure there will be tough times ahead but right now, I’m happy. Happy that I am working with great people, happy that I still love taking pictures and happy that I can spend more time with my family, take little Darcey to school and well, play a bit more golf.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me get to this happy place and that includes the Trinity Mirror newspaper group. You didn’t make me redundant, you set me free.”