Meet Me…

Meet Gavin – Surrey’s leading, independent creative photographer

I’m Gavin, your photographer. I’m also the founder and creative director at GTPCommercial™ photography here in Guildford, Surrey.

Gavin Thorn - Commercial Photographer and Artistic Director at GTPCommercial™ Photography, Surrey

Gavin – Your photographer and Artistic Director at GTPCommercial™ Photography, Surrey

I officially started my photography business in April 2011. I’d just quit my job in engineering at the time and had decided to strike out on my own. I wanted to carve out my own future, to be master of my own destiny. As much as I loved my engineering career after 25 years it was losing its spark. I’d achieved everything I’d set out to achieve, risen higher than I ever thought possible as an apprentice but it just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I wanted more, much, much more. I wanted to work for myself. But doing what?

Photography had always been a keen interest, ever since my parents gave me my first SLR for my 18th birthday. So my new career path was a logical step, or so I thought. My friends didn’t, nor did my boss. In fact everyone I knew told me I was an idiot. I’d never make it. I’d be back within 6 months. I was a fool to even consider it. It was exactly what I needed t hear. They made me more determined than ever to succeed. The only problem was how to actually do it.

In 2008 I had my epiphany. I was under a huge amount of stress at work, my blood pressure was up at 160/100 and my GP advised a lifestyle change. My job was killing me. Literally. Something had to change. I took a much needed day off work and booked myself onto an advanced studio lighting course in Birmingham. It was very intense and we covered some very advanced setups (many of which I still use today) but most of all, it was the best fun I’d had in years. I didn’t drive home on the M6, I floated. It was on that journey I decided to quit the day job and start my own photography business.

I had my work cut out. Although I thought my images were good, I had a long way to go to match some of the seasoned pros out there. I had to raise my game. The next 2½ years were spent studying, learning and absorbing everything I could about photography. I enrolled on training courses and seminars with some of the leading photographers in the world today. My images improved and that’s when I started my blog, theLightMatters™.

In the Autumn of 2009 I had my lucky break. I landed a role as house photographer for a model agency in London. It was perfect. During the week I was an engineer, at the weekends I was a photographer. The agency kept supplying me with new faces every week which was just what I needed. Putting all the theory into practice over the next 12 months I really learned the craft of photography. I had a new outlook on life, I was like a new person.

September 16th 2010, my life changed forever. I made my decision to ‘go’. I’d been called to an “all hands” meeting at the Oval cricket ground. I made my way in, amid lots of very worried colleagues. The presentation was exactly as we all expected: the company was downsizing. It was perfect timing. I’d paid my mortgage off the previous week and was on the brink of resigning. Now I was going to be paid to leave. That news couldn’t have come at a better time.

I left Nokia on March 4th, 2011 or at least I was supposed to. I never actually made it in that day. I had a studio booked in London, two London Fashion Week designers’ collections to shoot, a bikini shoot and seven high fashion models to work with.

That was just the beginning.

Gavin Thorn Photography officially started in April 2011 when I started trading. Since then my work has been published all over the world. I’ve shot covers and fashion spreads for magazines, been featured in British Vogue and in 2014 I won an international Best Business award from Brad Sugars’ Business Excellence Forum.

My life has changed completely in just a few short years. Being a photographer is an amazing experience but the one thing I love about it most is that it’s given me my family back. My only regret is I didn’t do this 10 years earlier.


Gavin lives in Guildford, Surrey with his lovely wife, Karen, their two wonderful children, Genevieve and Jonathan, and Calypso the kitten.

He runs photography blog and you can find him on twitter as @theLightMatters.

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