There is always lots that I miss out putting in workbooks for projects, and this includes this project – each time I start a project I profess that I will write a diary each day of what I am doing, when, how and why, but unfortunately I seem to do things at such a rapid pace, often in tandem with other jobs (and looking after a family) that I don’t have the time to dedicate to it and it often ends up in my head rather than on the paper – or perhaps it is just that I don’t ‘work that way’ and am used to multi tasking and doing without recording my steps – I know them but thats not helpful in recording a journey for an academic mark!
The one thing that I bring away from this project is that there are only opinions on what is acceptable as self promotional material. What one person likes, another will dislike.
I have discovered that what is needed is a promotional package that can be used dependent upon the client and the type of work. Also, the self promotional material needs to be fluid enough to be adapted and changed as the photographer changes.
A website is a good basic way to keep in the public domain and allow others to find you easily, but you must keep the content fresh and up to date to make the most of it. My website is a wordpress site with a few custom tweaks to make it mobile friendly (in an ‘inclusive’ world that uses mobile technology to search online as much as a laptop or computer). My address is http://www.deborahdoyle.co.uk and although it is up and running, with domain name and hosting paid for it is by no means a completed project – and will be ‘tweaked’ many times before I am happy with it!
Whether you choose to update your site yourself, or to pay someone else to do it for you really does depend on your time available for such tasks, your capability of carrying them out to a high standard, and or course your financial situation. I paid a company to make these changes – expensive but essential. As a photographer I can have a general level of competence for simple tasks in computing but I am not a computing expert and feel that my time is valuable – wasting time trying to do a task badly (maybe several times before giving up!) is not good value – I paid someone to produce a mobile friendly app for me to achieve mine.
Business cards are a good way of letting other people have your details. I like Moo.com because their prices are not too high and their quality is good. I particularly like the mini cards for my female clients – they seem to like these better when given a choice and they slip easily into a purse. Having an image on them that they want to keep is also a good way of keeping them around in their purses! I have produced cards for my Specialist Production exhibition and also another set of cards that I like for my Nature versus Nurture project as I plan to continue both projects after the course has finished and need to be able to hand out details to interested parents. Examples of proofs before I printed below.
Postcards have been produced for my exhibition with the details on the project on the back. The cards have no space to write on them, or to send them, as I think that the subject image on the front is not suitable for posting – nudes in the post just are not acceptable no matter what the concept of the image is.
The catalogue worked well as a newspaper. For the main part everyone sent in their information in time (with the exception of a few students) and it looks pretty amazing. Having a large item to hand out is a good way of keeping in a persons mind – no matter if it ends up as rabbit hutch bedding – images stick in your head. It was also interesting to see who would accept the catalogue when looking at the exhibition in the week to the professional practice hand in. I had though that perhaps ‘joe public’ would take one just for a look, but instead they often declined one and the professionals, lecturers, students and artists did take one. It was a bold choice to go so big with the catalogue, but one that worked thanks to the hard work of the lecturer in charge. Below is the proof of my page in the catalogue.
Invites to the private viewing, and the event itself need to create a ‘call to action’ to make the viewer want to go. This could be an offer, or as in the case of our invite, a striking image seen at an unusual angle.
Posters for events are obviously helpful for getting the message out to the public, as are posters and photographs on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Also putting posts on other websites (links) helps to spread the word to people that may not see your site, but frequent others, like this post on the college website about the exhibition.
My business plan has been in two different sections, as I have two different plans and am unsure which route I will be taking.
The first is a general plan of PGCE teacher training and doesn’t need a lot of detail in – living would depend upon student finance loans (much as for this degree) and possibly could be supplemented by a little bit of photography work at weekends now and then.
The second plan is much more detailed and is the sort of plan that I would need if I was to approach a bank for a loan or an overdraft (although there are no cash flow, profit and loss forecasts, etc in the plan that the bank would want to see). In my second plan I have looked closely at who my competitors are locally and their prices and what I need to earn to be able to live. It takes into account the prices that others are charging, and my own self worth (I haven’t trained for all this time to sell my services for £20 including shoot time, editing and a disc of images like others are currently doing) and where I am going to work.
I have taken into account things like tax regulations and starting a business (I am already self employed as a photographer so I have already done these things and am used to producing a tax return each year) and having am registered with HMRC for national insurance contributions.
Another thing to take into account when starting (or running) a business is that you need the right insurance for the job that you are doing. Anything involving the public means that you need Public Liability Insurance at the very least, as well as insuring your equipment. Wedding photography usually would mean purchasing Professional Indemnity Insurance should, heaven forbid, anything go wrong on the day and the couple sue you.
Professional membership of governing bodies and professional groups are a good idea. I have looked into the membership of such groups as the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). I should have sorted this sooner then I could have taken advantage of their student packages that offer money off the first year of non student membership. It did however allow me to tell my daughter about it and she now has membership which she uses to get into official functions (its much easier to get a press pass if you are a member of the NUJ – even a student member – than without it!)