Irvine man opens photography studio with former classmate


A man from Irvine teamed up with one of his former photography classmates to open his own studio.

Alan Maclean, 36, now living in Hamilton, met Mark Billingham, 37, of Glasgow, while they were studying HNC and HND photography at Paisley’s West College Scotland.

Their new company opens this Saturday, May 1 at Govan Workspace which plays an important role in the regeneration of the area.

Alan said: “The professors at the university were fantastic and always available to help. There was also support for other areas, although I never needed it.

Alan enjoyed all aspects of the course, but ultimately opted for portraiture as his favorite.

Its key to success is finding what you are passionate about and mastering it rather than trying to be good at everything.

Since graduating from college, Alan has worked as a photographer in school while setting up a company called STILLSSCOTLAND to make stills for television and movies. Now his latest project is the new studio with Mark.

Asked about his time at WCS, Mark, who now lives in Paisley, said: “Having the right advice was great and I had a tremendous sense of accomplishment when I presented a job that I was proud of. My biggest regret is not asking for more help as there were so many resources and the speakers were great! “

Mark’s advice to prospective students would be not to be overly self-critical and not compare yourself to others. He echoes Alan in saying find your style and excel at it, allowing the technical aspects to develop naturally, with ideas and creativity being more important.

After WCS, Mark pursued a bachelor’s degree in photography, which he recently completed, and has an exciting career start with the new studio after a brief hiatus due to the pandemic.

Without their college experiences, Mark and Alan say their studio wouldn’t have been possible.

Although Alan thinks that in the photography industry it is your portfolio and your personality that are most important, when asked if he would recommend studying at WCS, he said, “To one hundred percent. If I had never been to WCS, I wouldn’t have come as far as I have come if I was just self-taught. I also would not have met my business partner and friend Mark. “

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