Monday morning lands with a bang yet again, and another weekend is over in a flash! It has been a bit of a blur since Friday, and I haven’t seen nearly enough of the family, but there was lots to do and that’s how it goes sometimes! Thankfully not every weekend is like that, but this particular weekend saw me finally starting to move my photography business forward in a new direction. I decided, after a couple of slow years getting married myself, having a baby and making a home, that it was time to get the business back on track.
I did look at a new venture last year, something completely different that a friend had recommended to me, but in the end I felt like a square peg trying to squeeze myself into a round hole. It wasn’t for me, and even though I was told I could “fit it around my current commitments” it just seemed to be eating away at all my spare time. I didn’t have the passion for it either, not like the hunger I had for my photography. Building my own business and my own personal brand has been something I know I can feel truly proud of, and to actually go out and see my work on a friends wall is fantastic! So this year I have decided to relight the fire and reinvest in a new website (www.andyvokes.com in case you were wondering), and have also invested in some new equipment and some training to move things forward. I have a lot more to think about this year, and a lot of work ahead of me, but one of the things I have come to realise in the last 12 months is that if I want this business to success I should actually be treating it like a business… rather than just treating it like a hobby and hoping for some magic to happen!
Thats the thing with photographers, we’re artists, not business people, and its that lack of business skills that can often let us down. I have relied too much on just trying to take better and better photos to get me through, and as important as that is for a reputation, it is not necessarily a business building skill. One of the simplest things someone running a business can do, is to create a simple plan and stick to it! Some of the greatest businesses often just have a very simple goal, and they stick to it. I need to start setting myself some proper goals and targets for 2015 and ensure I make a plan to achieve them, and try my best to stick to it!
This weekend was actually taken up by the first part of my plan, and that is to get some training under my belt. When Joey Photographer gets fed up of his office job and wants to make some money at the weekend, he’ll probably head to Argos, buy an SLR and go shoot a friends wedding for free. He may well do an awful job of it, but it seems like the default environment for anyone with a camera to head for, there’s always someone getting married and who wouldn’t want their photos done for free, or next to nothing at the very least?! In an already oversaturated market, this just makes things harder for the guys who are charging a normal price and trying to make a living from it.This is why I have decided to set my targets towards newborn photography. I need to expand my horizon a bit and start doing something different. Being a wedding photographer is great fun, and I have been to some amazing weddings where I’ve even ended up feeling a bit emotional myself, but the competition in trying to book couples is so fierce now, that it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming.
But back to the weekend though, and Friday evening, where we both sat down in front of the tv with drinks and snacks to watch a film, and our Friday evening choice of hollywood blockbuster was A Million Ways To Die In The West, which I’d put off watching for a while as I thought it looked rubbish and was going to be a great big disappointment, but actually really enjoyed, although clearly the wife didn’t find it quite as funny, as she was asleep before we were even half way through. Pretty much a typical Friday night in the Vokes household then! With an early start needed on Saturday for the big drive down to Bournemouth for my training, it was going to be an early night for me too!
Saturday didn’t start as planned with me sneaking out before the wife and daughter woke up, oh no, Olivia decided it was the right day to wake up early, which slowed down my getting ready as I had to look after her while the wife got showered and dressed. There used to be a time when all that was done while Olivia had her morning nap, although now Olivia has since done away with that and only naps once during the afternoon now!
Eventually I was on my way, and had a good day, and here are a couple of shots from the shoot. We had a wonderfully calm and happy baby, who was so good!
It did all look way too easy and the real challenge is going to be in replicating the shoots, although I have a few expectant ladies signed up for a free shoot when they have had their babies. It takes the pressure off slightly when they’re getting something for nothing! At least I came away from the training session with a dvd to remind me of some of the stuff that was talked about. After an epic 6 hour round trip I could finally put my feet up with a pizza and a few beers!
Sunday morning didn’t allow me much of a lie in to recover, as I was soon up and off to try and capture some shots of our friends little newborn boy, he was super cute, but totally refused to go to sleep making things a bit tricky. I had my kit all set up and ready to go, but really needed him to be asleep to get the poses. At some point, when a baby doesn’t sleep, you have to eventually accept defeat, as the baby is in control of the session, you can’t force a baby to do something they don’t want to! So we called it a day and are going to try again instead this weekend! It meant I was out longer than I intended on Sunday, and consequently couldn’t wait to get home to see the wife and daughter, who were out in the garden playing with bubbles. It was such a nice sight to come back to! Missing a bit of family time is a sad consequence of trying to run a business on top of a full time job, but sometimes you have to make these sacrifices to get somewhere! Thankfully I don’t miss out too much, as I am well aware that time missed now is time I just can’t get back later! That’s a lesson that can only be learned the hard way, but that story is for another day!
So if you haven’t already, go check out my new website and give me some feedback… what are your thoughts/impressions? What would you change? What is it missing? All your feedback/comments/bitching/snide remarks/sarcasm is always appreciated!