Where do I start for this month's blog, feel like my feet have hardly touched the ground I've been that busy it's been absolutely mad as expected and I'm really in need of a break now.
As well as continuing to work 2 or 3 days a week I've had 7 weddings, 3 football matches and a kit shoot for Chorley FC. I also have another match tonight which is still in August. I feel like I've been behind the camera all month, I've probably taken 30,000 photos and travelled to Doncaster, Lake District and Derbyshire amongst others.
This is peak time for weddings though so you have to make hay while the sun shines as they say and it certainly has shone this month making these weddings some of the warmest I've ever done just to add to the tiredness. In addition to taking the photos I also have to edit them and this is extremely time consuming, try and market my business for more bookings, and keep on top of the accounts and finances. I've never fully appreciated the diverse nature of self employment but I certainly do now. The marketing side is the one I find the most difficult as there are so many options with social media. I am a member of 3 wedding photography sites that people use to search for photographers, Hitched, Bridebook, Add to Event as well as my website that I try to maintain and ensure I'm appearing in peoples searches. I've used facebook advertising as well as this gets a good return for quite a small investment. Despite all this it is sometimes really difficult to stand out amongst the masses of photographers who are currently trying to obtain bookings. The majority of business still comes through recommendations or people who have seen me working at weddings. It remains the best form of advertising and it's free! I'm so conscious that when I'm at a wedding I'm advertising myself, my behaviour, my attitude, a smile on my face, the banter are almost as important as my photographs and maintaining relationships during each wedding. The bond you can create with people during such a short time still amazes me. Not just your relationships with the couple but also their family and friends. Sometimes it takes a while to leave, having to say your goodbyes to so many people who you have met during the day. Hopefully they've enjoyed the experience and when they need a photographer they will think of me. I always underestimated the impact of myself on the wedding day experience but couples have actually told me I've enhanced their day which means the world to me and it's now something I want to achieve at each wedding, from taking care of the couple to ensuring they have drinks at all times and most importantly that I don't stop them from enjoying their day.
I do still stop and wonder how I've become a professional photographer, I now get paid to take photographs for a substantial part of my income. That still amazes me as it's something I love doing. I want it to become the totality of my income in time and in order to do this I need to be able to market my business better. I'm relying a little on the snowball effect of my work and customers to date but I know it needs more!
My venues this month have been, Wrightington Hotel, The Mount Pavilion Fleetwood, Lakeside Hotel & Spa Newby Bridge, Shaw Hill Golf Club Chorley, Chorley Registry Office, Castle Park Doncaster and Charnock Farm Chorley. Still very grateful for the fact a lot of my work is local but I will work anywhere.
My kit shoot for Chorley FC worked out well but it wasn't guaranteed! I turned up knowing we only had two hours before training and players would be turning up in dribs and drabs but when I got to the ground I found out we were doing on location but I needed to pick a location! With time short we decided on the underpass under the M61 off Eaves Lane in Chorley. Mainly due to the graffiti but I also knew the lighting in the tunnel was coloured. I took a portable off camera light and we piled into the minibus with about 6 players. The comments when we got there were colourful but the players got into the spirit and while some were naturals and some weren't the photos came out well and the new kits look great, lets hope they increase sales. We got back for the graphic photos at the ground with the rest of the players and quickly ran through a number of poses with each player. I probably needed more time for this but it worked out ok.
Next month I can have a rest with a week's holiday for the second time this year and only three weddings but a LOT of editing! See you next month.