Northamptonshire Photographer – Thinking of going into business?

Nov 14,2013

I’ve received a number of emails recently from people looking to venture into a photography career asking me how I started my business. I thought I’d put a little blog together highlighting the top three rules I created for myself when I was starting out and why they still remain part of my philosophy today:

 Surround yourself by positive people

Do you ever find that if you’re having a negative day it makes everyone else around you negative? Or do you ever find that the more you think negative the more negative things keep happening to you?

When I decided I wanted to venture into photography, I was greeted with an array of responses from well-meaning friends, family and acquaintances.   Needless to say they weren’t all positive. I had people telling me that there was too much competition out there and I shouldn’t bother trying. Others said I was too ambitious and would never be ‘good enough’. I also had some that said ‘ow it’s just a phase – you’ll get over it’ {I kid you not!}. It wasn’t all negative of course; there were those who had faith, who were supportive and encouraging.

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results ~ Willie Nelson

Then something interesting happened…

As my business grew, so did my network; I gradually started leaving the negative people behind and suddenly I began to grow as a person and as a photographer; good things started to happen to my business. I found that when I surrounded myself with positive people, I felt positive and it gave me the determination and drive to succeed. I made a conscious decision to cut ties with negative people – it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but suddenly I found I was surrounded by likeminded people and it made a huge difference in motivating me to push my business forward and in adopting a positive ‘can do’ attitude.

Network, network, network

Informal conversation is probably the oldest mechanism by which opinions on products and brands

are developed, expressed, and spread ~ Johan Arndt

Imagine ever person you meet is a potential client or knows a potential client. Every meeting you have is an interview, every shoot you do is an interview and every wedding you photograph is {yep, you guessed it} an interview!

You represent your business and everything about it. Whilst you can put an ad in a newspaper or drop leaflets through peoples doors marketing your business, who best to tell someone about it then you; the most passionate, driven and committed to the cause person!

Now this bit is really, really important…

It’s amazing what word of mouth does for a business; it’s far more powerful than any advertising you’ll ever pay for. Remember, if you do a good job {and go the extra mile for your clients or contacts} they’ll tell all their friends and family about you. They will become the best advertising tool you will ever have.

Never stop learning

When we start something new that we really enjoy, we want to know everything about it. Initially we have plenty of time to read books, articles, blogs and even attend a few workshops on the subject. Then as time goes on, your business gets busier, your time is spent out on shoots, editing, sorting out accounts yadi, yadi, ya…
Sound familiar?

The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as long as we live ~ Mortimer Adler

Never stop learning. Never stop striving to be better. Never stop pushing yourself. I make it my mission to do a bit of learning every day; whether it be reading a chapter from a photography book, an article online or even going out with my camera and trying out a new technique. I often set up experimental shoots when I want to try something new and will ask friends or family to be my models {and sometimes my childood teddy bear!}.

I also make a point of critiquing my own images too. If I like a photo I ask myself what it is about the photo that draws my eye to it. If the shot hasn’t quite gone as I had planned, I ask myself what I could have done differently to make it better. It’s easy to just flick through your images and choose the ones you like and dislike, but when was the last time you REALLY looked at your images? This in itself is classed as learning.

Never take your skill for granted. The photography world is ever-changing and you should always factor time into your schedule to learn something new or even just to brush up on existing skills.  I get really cranky with myself if I go a couple of days without learning or researching something new 😉

So there you have it, my top three rules that have helped me move my photography business forwards. I’d love to know if you have any golden photography rules that you work to. Feel free to share them in the comments section below so that other can learn and be inspired 🙂

 

 

Comments

  • Marie Clarke November 15, 2013

    Great blog post, some great points for anyone looking to start a business.

  • Emma Davies November 15, 2013

    I found you on Twitter a while ago and love your work. This post is awesome, and should be on everyone’s reading list. You ARE the average of the people you spend your time with, and if they are negative you can’t help but soak it up. I can’t agree more about networking and growing: and although it’s hard to do, I’d add regularly getting a critique ~from someone you trust and who knows what you’re aiming to do~ (important). No point getting a critique from from a studio photographer if you’re a lifestyle one, or from and old school ‘nose mustn’t cross the cheek’ gentleman if you shoot for emotion and interaction.

    • admin November 15, 2013

      Hi Emma thanks for your lovely comments . ‘You are the average of the people you spend you time with’ – I couldn’t have put it better myself! 🙂 I agree critique is also really important. Friends and loved ones will almost always tell you how good it is; getting constructive feedback from an ‘expert’ is critical to helping you grow and develop. Thanks for sharing Emma 🙂

  • Lynnie Gale November 15, 2013

    Great Post…….and you can just take out the “photographer” and replace it with anything you set your heart on!!!
    Thank you

    • admin November 22, 2013

      Thanks Lynnie and yes you are absolutely right! I think this philosophy can be applied to anything you do 🙂

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