Being based in northern England, there’s a constant diet of soccer, soccer and more soccer because of the huge interest globally in the English Premier League and the prominence of local clubs such as Liverpool and Manchester United. I also cover general news across the North and get drafted in to assist in London for major events and news stories.
My earliest memory of photography is my father taking pictures of the family on holiday. My interest increased as I was given my first proper camera for passing my high school exams and started to explore photography properly.
A work placement at my local newspaper, the Liverpool Echo, gave me my first exposure to photojournalism. After that experience I was hooked and spent every school vacation at the paper, shadowing the photographers, printing in the darkroom and just immersing myself in pictures.
At college I learnt about photography more formally, studying photojournalism and press photography in Newport, South Wales and Sheffield, England. But there is no substitute for just getting out and taking pictures.
I covered the Dunblane school shootings in Scotland straight out of college, and it was a real eye opener for young eyes: the grief and pain were tangible.
News photography has the ability to shed light on dark corners of the world and capture moments good and bad that can shape opinion and ultimately change how we think and see the world. Used properly it is a powerful tool.
Working for Reuters you have to think globally, whether that means looking for the different nationalities of the star players in the Premier League or giving a different take on something British that may not be common overseas. For example, no matter how many times we Brits have seen the pomp and ceremony of a royal wedding, you have to remember there are plenty of people who haven’t and they want you to paint a picture for them.
There's no bigger buzz than hearing a big story break on your patch and having to react quickly to get in the right place for the pictures.
The thrill of never knowing what the next assignment might be, or what might unfold in front of your lens is one of the best parts of the job.
I love the larger assignments when Reuters assembles a team of photographers from around the world. It’s a huge melting pot of talent, ideas and techniques. You never leave these assignments without something you can take into your own work.
As photographers, we are all in competition when the cameras are up to our eyes, but I've also found a huge sense of respect and friendship once the job is over. And of course there’s always a willingness to talk about pictures and great photography.
My biggest lesson has been don't switch off, expect the unexpected and keep it simple. And always keep your eyes open - I don’t think a photographer ever stops seeing pictures, even on a day off.
Being a photographer is without doubt the best job in the world. Okay, the hours can be unsociable, and the working conditions hostile, but this is far outweighed by the opportunities it presents you with.