Shoot what sells (and a little of what you love, too)

There’s not always an overlap between what you want to shoot and what your client will buy. As always in life and business, there’s a compromise to make. Imagine a Venn diagram, with ‘what you love to shoot’ in one circle, and ‘what sells’ in the other. I know of many full-time portrait photographers who prefer nothing more than shooting landscapes and wildlife. Unfortunately, they struggled to make a living from them, so they capture portraits as their main source …

Go Pro Series Episode 1 | Thieves, drumsticks and the story behind my very first Nikon

Paul recalls how he became a Nikon user in the beginning – and what he would buy first if he was starting all over again… We’re in Starbucks in central London. We’re taking our daughter to see The Lion King, and we’re passing time before the show starts. The tickets are tucked inside my camera bag, along with my trusty Pentax, loaded with film. This is 2002, after all. The camera bag is on the floor under our table. When …

Go Pro Series Episode 2 | Do you need your own studio to be a pro?

A couple were walking up the drive of our house to meet us. They were choosing a photographer and this was the first time we would meet in person. In fact, it was the last time, too. Explorer Alex Bellini brought his family in for a came for a commercial portraiture shoot in the garden outside our studio. We had just about finished when I invited him upstairs for a quick studio portrait on his own. That’s when I captured …

Go Pro Series Episode 3 | What it takes to make it as a professional portrait photographer

There are many skills that will help you make a living from portraiture. But you might be surprised that ‘great photography’ isn’t at the top of the list. Taking amazing images is just one part of being a professional photographer, but still an important part! For the lighting diagram and behind-the-scenes story for this portrait of beautiful Bryony click here One day, very early on in my career as a professional photographer, my wife Sarah asked me how the business …

Go Pro Series Episode 4 | How to develop your own distinctive style

At first, clients will pay you to replicate others’ work. With time, you’ll attract clients who want you to create images in your own style. But how do you develop a distinctive style in the first place? Can you imagine someone recognising a photograph as yours, purely based on its style? When you’re just starting out, the achievement of a unique and distinctive style can feel as elusive as the finding The One. Where does your style come from? How …

Go Pro Series Episode 5 | How much should I charge for my photography?

“You aren’t charging half as much as you should be,” a client told me one day, midway through our shoot. I must have been feeling contrary that day. “Alright then,” I responded, “I’ll charge you double.” “No way! I’m not paying that!” And that, in a nutshell, is how confusing pricing can be. I don’t know a single professional photographer who is confident that they have it absolutely right. We all second-guess ourselves every time clients tell us we’re too …

Go Pro Series Episode 6 | The wisdom of workflow

We’d hit crisis point. There was a backlog of images to edit and a queue of many more to capture. My wife Sarah was running the business side and I was shooting, culling and editing the pictures. I was the bottleneck and there was no reprieve in sight. It was time to redesign our workflow. Every photographer has a workflow, even if they haven’t formalised it yet. A good workflow is resilient, efficient, useable, obvious and consistent. The pursuit of …

Go Pro Series Episode 8 | Create The Right Client Experience

Your customers are important, so ensure that you look after them and watch what you say. One of my clients told me about an experience they had with another photographer. They commissioned a shoot of their family and were due to meet at a local woodland spot. It was the first time they’d done anything like this, and they were a bit nervous. Their two children – six-year-old Harry and three-year-old Jade – provided the usual challenges on the morning …

Go Pro Series Episode 7 | Ditch The Digitals!

The studio phone rang late on a Friday night. A journalist from a national newspaper was calling to get permission to use one of my images with a story they were running. I asked for details: a violent crime had been committed. The victim was in a serious condition in hospital, and the media were looking for a picture of him to go with the write-up. This journalist scoured the guy’s Facebook page and came across an image of him …

EP89 Steering A Covid Course – Taking Control Of All That I Can

Well, it’s only gone and happened again: we’re back in lockdown from this Thursday.  Finding out on a Saturday night that you have five working days left in what is normally the busiest month of the year, is not ideal, to put it mildly.  Still, we have to find ways of coping, ways of staying positive. This is a quick podcast I recorded to talk about the things we’re doing here to stay in the right frame of mind to …