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From teaching to clubbing – my retirement career change


Retirement doesn’t have to signal the end of work. For me the choice was obvious, I left my job as a deputy headteacher and began pursuing my passion for photography.

This was going to be the start of a real journey; an adventure I could pursue without worrying about work.
We all dream of our retired life… no more going to work; time becomes your own to plan and enjoy, but are you really ready for this? How are you going to ‘fill’ the time? Hopefully there are many years ahead, so it’s important that you have interests to pursue and enjoy, otherwise you might as well have carried on working.
For me, the choice was an easy one, I’d always enjoyed taking photographs and over the years I’d taken many on holiday, at family gatherings and other interesting events I’d attended. Yes, even going back to my teens, I’d taken my little camera to concerts at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester and taken ‘rough and ready’ pictures of stars like Rod Stewart and Peter Gabriel.
I’d always enjoyed taking photographs and over the years I’d taken many on holiday

A change of career

While I’d clicked a shutter thousands of times, I’d never looked at the technical aspects or even thought of doing so. Why did I need to? If I got a photograph I liked, that’s all that mattered.
However, upon reaching retirement, I decided I ought to consider taking it on another step now I had a bit more time to play with, and purchase what I considered to be my first ‘real’ camera… a camera which allowed me to be in control rather than relying on automatic settings.
This was going to be a big decision and one for which I felt I needed advice, so I decided to seek out a local camera club to join, thinking that like minded amateur photographers could provide this.

Joining my local camera club

I approached Bacup Camera Club, and received a pleasant email, welcoming me to attend one of their weekly meetings. It was a dark, damp and cold venue, but the warm welcome I received soon made me feel at ease. I felt as if I was the youngest in attendance, but considering the amount of time required to work on photographs and subsequent editing, the fact many other members were already retired shouldn’t have been such a surprise.
This first evening the members were reviewing the photographs/results from their annual competition, which had been externally judged. I was pretty gobsmacked at the quality of the images on display and I couldn’t help but feel that I definitely had a lot to learn, if I was to aspire to produce photographs of that standard. However I left the meeting absolutely ‘buzzing’ and couldn’t wait to get home to share my experience with my wife.

This was going to be the start of a real journey… an adventure I could pursue without worrying about work.

I returned the following week and said I’d like to become a member, despite the fact that there was no pressure on me to do so, as the members were quite happy for me to attend a series of meetings before coming to a decision. I explained that I wanted to buy a Digital SLR camera and asked if they could advise me.
However, when they asked me what I was using and discovered it was what they termed a ‘bridge camera’, they said it wasn’t necessary as I’d be able to take photographs in RAW format and manipulate them accordingly. Bridge? RAW? Manipulate them? It all sounded like a foreign language to me, the retired teacher!

A winning shot from Anthony

The start of my journey

I realised that I was at a real base level. However, the mention of words and phrases like aperture, ISO and depth of field, only provided me with a thirst to know more! This was going to be the start of a real journey… an adventure I could pursue without worrying about work. As I have since realised, to do this at the same time as my role in school would have been an absolute non-starter.
I still wanted to buy a new camera, despite what the camera club members had said, so I went along to a local camera shop for advice.
There I explained what sort of photography I was interested in i.e. low-light shots at live events, thinking that I wanted to improve the shots I could take of my DJ friend.
In short, I ended up with a semi-professional camera, which the sales assistant felt would be most suited for the situations I’d described.
It really did feel like a big, yet quite daunting, step to take. Yet I was now ready for the challenge of becoming a better, can I say, ‘real’ photographer.
To be continued…
Do you have a real passion you can’t wait to unleash when you retire? Share it with us and we’ll see if others can help you prepare to make the most of it. 
This article has been commissioned by retiresavvy and any opinions voiced are the author's own.


Great pictures - it's lovely to see you pursuing your passion in retirement. I hope many others have the opportunity to do the same.
#6 Thanks Jayne. i hope so too!
Really interesting - Looking forward to the next installment!
#7 Looking forward to sharing more with you.
@#8 Thanks Clarki. There is so much to learn and so many opportunities to take photos in virtually any situation. I'm continuing to experiment with a whole range of situations, until I find my niche.

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