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Photographer who quit fitness job to pursue his passion is now the focus of national awards success

Darren Powell, Everybody Smile Photography

A Warwick man who walked away from a career in the fitness industry to focus on his dream job as a photographer, is celebrating winning a national award.

Darren Powell gave up his managerial role to become a freelancer after seven years, so he could spend more time at home with his young sons.

And last month he picked up the Business Success Recognition Awards for Freelancer of the Year for his business Everybody Smile Photography during a glittering ceremony celebrating entrepreneurial success.

The Awards, which are in their third year, were hosted by The Eastside Rooms in Birmingham on Saturday, honouring winners – as well as runners up – from across the country.

Darren Powell, Everybody Smile Photography

Darren Powell receives his Freelancer of the Year Award from Stacey Calder. Photo by Cameron Murray Photography.

Following a rigorous selection process, winners were revealed in 16 categories including Business Start-up of the Year; Rising Star; Business Leader; Networker and Network Marketer; Community and Against All Odds.

Darren, who has lived in Warwick all his life, said: “I originally wanted something that would give me more flexible working, and just as importantly to have a job I was totally passionate about.

“Documentary photography was something I had always loved from doing lots of travelling, I had always been passionate about taking photos that would give me lots of memories. So it made sense to follow that path. I much prefer delivering natural photos over staged ones, and this style of photography can be adapted to fit into weddings, families, events and corporate work. In fact more people now want a more natural approach to photography.”

Everybody Smile Photography saw a rise in demand for its Vlog My Wedding video service during lockdown which involved guests in the special day at a time when strict Covid restrictions meant they couldn’t attend in person.

The newest part of the business was launched this year in the form of Darren’s Everybody Smile Photobooths.

Darren Powell, Everybody Smile Photography

Darren, 46, added: “This was added due to the popularity of photobooths but with a poor end product. We have found away to deliver professional standard photography through a bespoke design photobooth.”

The judges said: “Darren’s Innovative approach with “Vlog My Wedding,” shows his adaptability and creativity. There are also strong client testimonials highlighting exceptional service and a unique personal touch.

“The business has also shown successful financial growth with consistent high revenue and expansion into new services.

“He’s also demonstrated work-life balance, taking time off while maintaining business success.”

Awards organiser Stacey Calder said: “‘The business success Recognition awards were set up to recognise small businesses doing incredible things. Darren and the other winners stood out amongst very tough competition. With over 500 nominations this year and a high level of entries it’s a win Darren can be proud of.”

But Darren does not intend to rest on his laurels with further expansion of his business in his sights, including a new photographic assistant who he’s currently training. He’s also revealed he’s in the early stages of exciting plans to build a new Wedding Network Community for businesses who operate within this space.

Reacting to his award, Darren said: “I was genuinely surprised when my name was called out because I feel that the Freelancer of the Year is probably the toughest category because everyone attending is a freelancer and there were some incredibly talented people there. I genuinely felt honoured that the judges saw me as the person worthy of this award.”