The students were interested and engaged and were a pleasure to work with. They even gave me some tips on social networking that will complement my social networking strategy.
Here are my notes with images show during the presentation along with images shot to illustrate basic lighting and depth of field techniques.
My name is Paul Fletcher and I have been a wedding and commercial photographer in Brighton & Hove for the past 16 years, trading as Paul Fletcher Photography.
Before I tell you about my business, I would like to hear about your expectations from todayâ€™s talk and what you are hoping to learn from it?
Talk about successful and less successful times.
Talk a little about previous education and career path, accounts background, Commercial Union Asset Management and how I wanted become a photographer and eventually started my photographic career as a cruise ship photographer.Â Mention that I’m doing what I love and if you have to make a sacrifice to do what you love, it can be a good thing, so long as you can make enough money to live a fulfilled life.Â You have to find a balance.
One major factor in becoming a successful photographer and achieving success in other careers is CONFIDENCE.
Ask â€˜Has anyone put themselves forward for something outside of their comfort zone and been terrified by the prospect?â€™ Perhaps you got up on a Karaoke or in front of a group to talk and needed to summon your inner strength.
I had to in order to work on the cruise ships in America (show photos) and also to stand in front of you now.Â We will talk more about that and throwing yourself in at the deep end later when we come to face-to-face networking and social media.
2) My business and how I started, how 3 of us became 1, weddings were my main income, press and pr jobs were easy to come by and life was good.
3) Competition within the photographic industry has increased with the proliferation of digital cameras and smart phones has opened up the possibilities for more people to become photographers.
4) When you combine this with the recession , when people look to photography as a way of supplementing their income, it’s squeezing pro photographers and forcing us to change tack.
SHOW LARGE PRINTS
5) Itâ€™s not all doom and gloom for photographers or any other business. There are ways of surviving the recession, and some of these are:
i) Donâ€™t diversify too much; instead concentrate on what you are good at and invest your time and energy in promoting those strengths.
Discuss social photography and resulting connections over weddings and over saturation. Discuss commercial photography and maximising the profits in that industry by concentrating on sales of prints and merchandise to get the message out there.
ii)Â Make your connections with people, look after those connections and keep them fresh. Coffee, emails, free incentives, just donâ€™t expect it to be a one way process. Good example is my time spent on the Breakfast Club website and that is leading to more business.
iii)Â Be inventive when it comes to making your connections and donâ€™t just rely on faceless advertising. Get to know your competitors and local businesses.
iv)Â Other than adverts in magazines and newspapers, Can anyone tell me what marketing tools/mediums are available to a business?
Facebook â€“ Not my favourite as itâ€™s more suited to personal social life but a definite contender when used effectively.
Twitter – Brilliant for photographers and aspiring, especially when combined with blogging or Twitpic
LinkedIn â€“ Great for all businesses for connections
Instagram â€“ Brilliant for photographers and aspiring with iPhones
Blogging – Brilliant for photographers
Face to face/business to business networking
Affiliation with hotels and event planners
Recent Facebook changes to Facebook Pages for business have been a huge bonus because you can now contact people under your business profile and not just under your own personal profile.
LinkedIn is great for business and the reviews definitely help. Testimonials are key to every business and we should about them in order to help get your message across.
Twitter is my absolute favourite, especially when combined with your photo blog. You can target people and businesses, promote them and make strong connections. Itâ€™s a great medium for giving a little of yourself and your time to your connections, which in turn strengthens your connections and gives them an incentive to promote you.
Blogging (Photo Blog) is another great way to give a little bit of you and your time to people, which in turn allows people to promote you. Photo Blogs and Twitter are a perfect marriage because of the impact photos have and how they can give a real flavour of what to expect.
Take a wedding venue as an example (Hotel Du Vin)
Instagram â€“ Is great with Twitter because you can add a colourful effect to a photo and show your creative side, which in media is often important and in photography is crucial when targeting design agencies, etc….
Twitpic â€“ Is similar to Instagram but you need to process the images yourself before uploading, assuming you want an effect at all.
Networking breakfasts, curry club and various other types are essential and itâ€™s never too late.
Affiliation is important.Â As a photographer you want to affiliate yourself with success. Bespoke hotels are a good example. I realised this when it was too late, so think about who can benefit you and where you want it to lead, early on, so that when you are in business you can put it into practice. Young people will always have the edge, knowing the current trends and offering a modern approach.
6) Get inspiration from others and donâ€™t become to introverted. Follow your competitors on Twitter, study your mentors and keep up to date with current trends.
7) Take time to discuss the photographs any questions that may arise.
FIVE PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS
i)Â Make use of available light and only use bounced flash if necessary, which gives your images shape and depth
ii) Make good use of depth of field to make the subject stand out and give it clarity. Take shots for examples andÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â display them on the laptop.
iii)Â Donâ€™t just rely on average white balance. Change the balance for the lighting youâ€™re in, e.g 5300 kelvins for direct sunlight, etc….
iv)Â Always stay calm when you are photographing people, even if things aren’t going to plan. If you seem like you are in control, even when you are not, you will gain their trust. Practice your techniques on family and friends so you can get a feel for directing a subject from behind the camera. It helps if you understand the technical aspects of photography so that you can concentrate on communicating with your subject and putting them at ease.
v) Donâ€™t be afraid to experiment. Often experimental images can prove to be the most exciting and creative. Look around at your environment carefully, and as if you were looking through a camera. Look at repetition and symmetry in natural and man-made objects. Look for juxtaposition in your surroundings and look at the shape of objects defined by the light. Light and/or lack of it is key to every image.
9) Take a variety of shots of an individual and display the image on the laptop for people to see. This exercise is to give the students an idea of what you consider to be a good image that has a â€˜realâ€™ feel about it. Put it alongside a poor, over-flashed image and an image using the artificial room lighting as a guide to what you try to achieve.
11) Any questions?