I get asked a lot of questions about my work and thought I would take the time to answer some of the most popular questions to help you all know a little more about me and what I do and maybe even help some of our newer photographers on the scene!
1. Canon or Nikon?
2. What is your favourite lens?
My favourite lens ins my 50mm 1.4. I use it for every newborn shoot, most of my family sessions and even at weddings for the detail shots.
3. Lightroom or Photoshop?
Photoshop, but I am going to give LR a go soon. I will always edit in PS though.
4. How do you get the blankets blurred in your newborn photos? Is it done in Photoshop?
No, I do it all in camera. I shoot wide with all my work giving me that beautiful depth of field.
5. How do you get your newborns to sleep and do they stay asleep the whole time?
I make sure my studio is warm and lull baby to sleep. Most babies will wake several times during a session and most need top up feeds to get them back to sleep, though I have had the odd few sleep the entire time. It all depends on the baby
6. Natural light or studio light?
I mostly use natural light, though lately I have opted for assisted studio light from a soft box due to my new studio space getting limited light in the winter.
7. How long have you had your business and what advice would you give to someone new starting out?
My business is coming up to it’s 3rd year Advice for newbies… hmmm… Give everything a go until you find what style fits you. Not everyone is good at newborns, or weddings or models, you just need to find what fits you. Before starting a business, do a business course or a photography workshop that covers business, too many people start out with a passion for photography only to have the passion sucked right out of it when they start a business as they don’t realise till it’s too late that 80% of doing photography as a job is in the office and not actually shooting. I spend more time editing, answering phone calls and emails, ordering products, designing, marketing, researching and staying up to date with the industry than I actually spend doing photography. So make sure you are good at all of it and ready to run a business before taking the leap from hobbyist to running a business. You can never know it all in photography, there is always something new to learn, so I try to do at least 1-2 workshops every year to keep bettering myself.
And the biggest bit of advice for a newbie, which is a trap for most… Don’t compare yourself to other photographers! I always compare myself to my last shoot. How can I do better than the last shoot? I look back at my earlier work and look how far I have come and that keeps me motivated to keep learning more and growing. It’s better to look back at your own work and see how far you have come, than watching someone else’s journey and feeling bad about your own work. As soon as you start watching other photographers you fall victim to jealousy and possibly being the copy cat without even realising in most cases. Inspiration is one thing, but you need to have creativity to be a successful photographer, so take little trips and go for drives to get those creative juices flowing. Look at story books and movies rather than the photographer next door And the other bit is pricing, but that is in the next question…
8. I’m finding it really hard to price myself, what is your advice?
When pricing yourself, pretending to be a client to find out other photographers prices really doesn’t work, though I know a lot of people do it. To me that doesn’t really make any sense. Every photographer has different skills, different training, different expenses involved with running a business and different markets. So comparing two is really apples and oranges.
You need to firstly cover your expenses, your insurance (you must have public liability insurance when dealing with people, you never know what could happen, you and your clients MUST be covered), equipment, servicing that equipment, props, programs and other tools, electricity, your car if you drive to your sessions plus fuel, your training and workshops etc.
You then need to work out an hourly rate for your time in the session, your time editing, your time answering emails and speaking on the phone and research and training etc.
THEN, you need to add that you are a BUSINESS and businesses need to make a profit, so you need to allow for profit, to enable you to grow your business. If you have no profit, you can’t do workshops, your business will never get bigger, you won’t get to upgrade that camera or your computer or the latest Photoshop program, all the things you will eventually need to stay in business in the future.
Too many people fail at their business because they do a session for $100 including a CD of images, they get too busy, they can’t keep up, they lose their enthusiasm, the passion is gone and they crash and burn!
9. How do you get your customers? Do you do markets or advertise?
No I don’t advertise. I have considered it, but I am too busy and always booked out so there is no point in me advertising at this time. All of my clients come through word of mouth. I offer a referral program for clients who refer new clients to me, they each get a reward, also returning clients get free prints too. If you look after your clients, they will look after you! I am lucky, I have the most wonderful clients, many whom have become great friends in the process. It’s all a matter of having good talk behind your back
10. How do you back up your work and what storage do you use for all of your files?
I have a 1TB hard drive that backs up my working 1TB hard drive, I then burn all sessions to discs and archive them in boxes. I always have them, they may not be easy to get to, but I have them there. The CD will be my only copy of each session, I keep each session on my hard drive until the client has received their order, once they get their order, the session goes onto CD and is archived.
So that is some of your questions answered Unfortunately I can’t answer all of them, but these seem to be reoccurring questions, so hopefully you got something out of this and got a little insight into my little biz!
Feel free to share with anyone you know who might get something out of it xx