This week we were looking at our own practice bit more and how we can move forward and progress in our chosen areas. We were asked to post an image and talk about our roots in photography and what it means to us. Below is my answer.
Early work and me as an artist-
I've always been obsessed with image of making ever since I got my hands on a camera in Comprehensive School. I would take a camera with me at all times, pointing it at everything in my life from having beach fires skating abandoned warehouses, to hanging out with friends and family. I think after shooting so many different types of subject matter, it clicked with me that, the way that I photograph things or see the world around me, can be the primary subject in itself. My history of photography spans so far back with so many areas and intentions, I decided to focus in and look at some of the earliest academic work I shot.
The above image was from my FMP for my Ba in Photography at Falmouth in 2010. I was exploring a lot of
My connection with music and my practice has always been connected.
DEFIANCE, OHIO LYRICS
Hey Kathleen, Are You Hungry?
Are you angry?
Are you searching for a better life to live?
Are you waiting?
Have you been waiting too long?
What holds us back and how to burn
The bridges to a culture that taught us to hate and fear and live
Like cogs in a machine and not like lovers friends and kin.
How can you help but feel depressed,
Get up in the morning and get dressed,
Look out the window through rush hour smog.
Smoke and drink the world away
'Cause what the politicians say
Won't answer any of my questions like...
Why am I angry?
What am I searching for?
Is it a better way to live?
Why am I hopeless?
Have I been waiting too long
To strike back against this state of affairs?
This week's progress...
After looking at the week's notes, speaking to everyone else and the advice given from Maximus I decided to completely redesign my website and social media accounts. I already have a fairly in depth knowledge about marketing running a photography business that focuses on weddings. Right now my model for my documentary and editorial work is funded from the wedding work so I’m a little torn on how in depth to go into what I’m doing here. Their separate identities and I use an alias in order to separate my names. Although their separate one funds the other. I hope to gradually increase my income from the documentary editorial work.
I decided to completely delete all the images on the Instagram accounts. I then carefully researched hashtags and experiment with cycling through them. So far I have worked out my weddings and portraits to be successful with a high interaction rate and that’s because of the niche market and years of research and a/b testing. I’m finding it harder to do that with the other work for a few reasons. The first being, right now nobody knows me, second I’m not even sure how I would label myself as a photographer. I would say I’m a story teller with images. I’ve been looking at other photographers I know working and trying to implement tags from them to find my own voice.
Since completely taking down everything I am also mindful of how images are displayed together. I have a bit of routine now to after experimenting with times for posting and using a combination of Hootsuite with ‘atext’ a pre programmable copy and paste word paster i have streamlined a process that used to take 30 mins down to 3. I’ve automated images to a dropbox folder ready to by used while on my desktop/laptop machine in Hootsuite. I then schedule up the posts and send them out. I then need to push them to the social accounts from a mobile device. All of the images are in dropbox folders on all of my devices too.
To raise my profile in the photography industry
I decided to join a photography group called Shutter hub on Justin’s recommendation. I updated my Profile and short bio paying close attention to the language used and focusing in on what I’m trying to specialise in. Lifestyle - Documentary – Editorial- Commercial ( Essentially story telling in my opinion)
To earn a certain amount of money from your photography
- Right now I turn over 20-25k from my consumer based photography businesses’. I think aiming for 1-2k in the doc- commercial editorial arenas for the first half of 2018 is an optimistic but still achievable goal
To develop my skills and knowledge within the professional arena’s more.
- I’ve identified that I have a strong skill set from running my consumer based business’s. Automation, administration, legal issues including contracts and model and location release are all elements I feel comfortable discussing and navigating. Where I need to focus on the most is networking. I’ve made a start by joining new Facebook group’s dealing in the areas I’m hoping to grow my client base in (editorial commercial).
To arrange regular meetings with potential clients
- This is a work in progress, right now I am very time poor with a lot of editing to do from weddings and portraits. I am hoping to get down to London to ‘catch up over coffee’ with some existing clients where I hope to leave some cards and send over some pdfs to get stuck in their memory a bit. All of these pieces of advice that have been gained from the talks from the course, peers and conversations that have sprung up from networking. I also want to set up some meetings with agencies that have been mentioned to us through the course.
To add a certain number of new contacts to your database each week
- I can’t commit to this every week just from the sheer work flow I have running the existing business’s but I think organically I meet people and with them new opportunities can come up with time.
To increase hits on your website by a certain percentage
- I’m not going to concentrate my time on this because having learned a vast array of SEO skills and ranking page 1 for I’ve learned that that the amount of traffic is not important but rather the quality of traffic. In fact having a site with huge numbers of traffic but also a high bounce rate can harm your sites SEO performance and make it harder for people to organically find you. I’ve currently ranked page 1 for both regular search results and image results for my target niche. ‘Punk Rock Documentary Photography’ Not just nationally but globally.
Getting feedback on my web presence
- I reached out to a few fellow graduates from Falmouth who are now working in London. I looked over the website to see how people are generally displaying work and using their sites, and if I came across any bugs or pages not displaying properly or broken links I would send them a curtesy message to say hi and also politely say that I was looking through their site and noticed a few things that might need fixing. They were all very happy for the feedback as the things that needed fixing made brought their site down. They were happy for the feedback to correct it. Then One of my old graduate friends looked at my site and gave me some feedback. This strategy is quite old and a great tip I’ve learned from running photography businesses’ so far.
Think of this as a list of weekly actions, such as:
• Editing your portfolio
With the help of my peers and with Paul I made Drobox folders and got feedback from everyone but ultimately I went with Pauls suggestions. I was surprised at how much work I have. I’ve been steadily shooting pretty much every week for the last 7 years It’s easy to get disheartened and feel like you don’t have enough work. Having groups to look through and help curate is defiantly a huge help. It’s something I’m trying to organise amongst a few people with the main purpose of driving and supporting us all together.
• Updating my website
( can be moved forward)
◦ After feedback with Anna I re designed my website based on her recommendations. I found it hard to leave it so bare and with very little information on at first but slowly am getting used to it. I am torn over having the blog there. For me it was meant to be a way to communicate and build and audience, Ana suggested removing it but I’m not sure if I will. The live project habits and Mindsets needs a place where people can get my personal thoughts and information on it due to the nature of it. This was echoed by the working editorial photographers I spoke to in London also. They told me that to have a personal project live on the website with personal thoughts and information has increased their client base because it gives them a insight into their work.
• Preparing a PDF portfolio presentation
◦ This is in progress and I need to get some feedback from peers before emailing some out. I did call in with the Wales on Sunday, what I would call the only semi-serious paper with editorial coverage in Wales. I had a very warm response from the picture desk editor and we left the phone call where he knew who I was , where I am based, and what I am working on lately. I have the potential to submit a few images for a weekend piece on desolate nightscapes of wales.
• Sending out a newsletter
◦ I don’t think I’ll send out a newsletter because nobody knows me, I don’t have email addresses to send it to and also if I start sending lots of emails to people that don’t know me and don’t expect them I run the risk of having my email put on a spam list which would be fatal and I would be unable to use my domain email to get through to actual clients with email servers like Bing FIND LINKS and Gmail automatically putting them in the spam folders. On top of that it would probably annoy people.
• Researching a new personal project
◦ I have been thinking about a few ideas for a personal project. I have come up with a new idea that is kind of topical but also something I feel passionate about as well. I want to look at non-traditional or alternative role models for women. I had the idea after talking to my wife about kid’s clothes and the topical debate about how gender neutral clothes are getting more popular ow. At first I didn’t think about it. I just thought that it’s a pink blue thing. But the more I read about it and the more I watched topical coverage from social commentary about it the more it annoyed me, even girls toys are aimed at being pretty or glamour’s whereas boys toys where aimed at being scientific, and creative with ideas of being a hero or brave. I just thought how bad that is that were programming little girls with the preconception that that’s normal. That along with the discussion of having children that come up between my wife and I have made it particularly interesting to me. I thought it was prob the better out of the other ideas as it was more topical which is another factor to consider that came up in our notes and talks. The final positive note on it is that I know lots of strong powerful women that are great. I contacted one women explained the project and she was happy to get involved. I thought about splitting the project into 2 parts, one part documentary showing these women in their work places or places areas of sport and then blending it with a more editorial style of working by getting sponsored by fashion boutiques of their choice to take portraits of them in a going out setting. It creates positive work, softens any hard angle giving a balanced and honest approach whilst also creating new networking opportunities and free publicity. The Wales on Sunday picture desk editor was interested if the women involved were welsh. Unfortunately for me the first women interested is from Bristol and her choice of fashion boutique who are also interested are from Bristol. So I might look at potential media/new media in England / South West for coverage.
• Spending 10 minutes a day on social media sharing posts on Instagram,
◦ I’ve been spending 10 mins every day and testing various hashtag lists form manually looking at similar photographers and
*Pitched independent women article and had suppliers on board
*Booked a semi fashion job from networking…….