The Madness of Share the Shoot…

What’s it all about?

About a year ago I came up with an idea,  it was based on years of photographing companies and what had worked best. It offered individuals who may be just starting out (or ready for a new set of images) 5 photos of them for a bargain price… and other people to act in their shots.

I called it ​”​profile shoots​”​ to begin with​, this soon evolved into the catchier “share the shoot

The idea was that everybody needs a decent headshot, but there are many other Powerful images a small business owner could use, if only they had other people available to be in the photos.  Quite often in the past when shooting 121, I would get people to bring a friend along to act as a client so they could use them in a photo.

So in February 2019 I pulled together 6 friends from my network and got a room at Croft Myl Halifax and gave it a go. 

The first session

I produced some worksheets with questions ranging from “​what do you do​”​ to ​”are you in favour of Brexit​” – all designed to stimulate reactions and conversation, then essentially played musical chairs with the six people, giving them different seats and a turn at the head of the table. 
This turned out to be ​a​ natural networking environment, where everybody just chatted and we ended up​ not ​needing the worksheet​. They were all animated and relaxing without any input from me​ – I could just concentrate on the lights and photographing each person. ​
We let everybody stand in front of a flip chart to get some nice presentation photos, which I see popping up daily in LinkedIn, so they proved to be really useful photos. 

After that we found a space upstairs where people could do a one-to-one chat with one of the other delegates, these prove really useful because a photograph of you listening to a client conveys a very positive message. 

Finally, we arrived at the headshot section and everybody is laughing and joking with each other and totally relaxed, so the headshots are massively easier to do than usual. Most people when you first meet them for a headshot are nervous and it takes a while to get a decent photo. All that work has been done in the first half of the session.

The fantastic thing about doing this at Croft Myl is the variety of backgrounds Vicky and the team have created around the building, we have a yellow, purple, grey, blue, brick and even a roof garden to use as your background.

By the end of it, I have usually taken between 500 and 1000 photos, totally knackered and rather red in the face. I have set up about 8 different lighting scenarios and entertained 6 people for 2-hours – I love it it’s a real buzz, a performance almost, and it’s great to see people making connections, exchanging contact details and hopefully doing a little bit of business in the future. 

Why do I only charge a fraction of normal headshot for this?

I keep seeing competitors in the local area doing headshot days where they charge £100 or £150 for just 1 headshot and wonder if I’ve gone mad doing this…  

Well, the main reason is that this is really a “taster session” or a “lead magnet”, where I’m giving true value to a wide range of people. Over a year this will hopefully raise awareness of McFade and introduce me to lots of people I’d possibly not meet

If each month 6 people update their LinkedIn profile and mention me, it’s 6 new LINKED IN networks who may click on my page and who knows where that will lead. 

I also like meeting and helping new businesses, many of whom could not afford a one-to-one session, so this is a way to to get them looking “the business” without breaking the bank. 

If I do get a full 6 people, the combined fee does add up to my usual rate anyway – so whilst everyone is getting great value, I’m still remunerated fairly. Sure, if all 6 did a 1-2-1 shoot it’d be better financially, but that’s not really the point.

It’s more about planting seeds for the future and awareness than out and out money making.

The pitfalls…

I guess one risk that people who were prepared to spend £££ on a bespoke photoshoot may opt for this and I miss out on that. The only other thing is people sometimes don’t understand what is included and what is extra, despite there being a big list of it on the website and a video. 

I have been asked to do all kinds of editing above and beyond what is included so have to have that awkward chat about it. 

Pro retouching of a photo can cost more than the shoot if they need a lot of work – this is definitely not included!

There’s more on this in the “Who it’s not for” section below.

What’s in it for people who come…

Why they booked…

I did a survey at the start of 2020,  and obviously the biggest reason for coming was the price –  I live in Yorkshire they are careful with money here! But with most headshots costing at least £100 each, and you get 5 for under £100, it should be a no brainer to book

A close second was having other scenarios than headshots in the photographs –  this means that people working on their own can have pretend clients or even pretend board meetings in their marketing images at no extra cost.

​Many thought it looked like fun from the marketing ​I had put out on the website and LinkedIn too.

Most Useful photos

The most useful photos are the headshots and many have found the “one-to-one chat” and a mix of other photos really useful too. We’ll keep going with the board room as that’s where people relax and get to know each other – plus we do get some great shots in there.

We are constantly evolving and trying to to get different photos for people, which weirdly means asking people not to talk when they are facing the camera… you are talking your face can look a little unusual in a photo. The more animated you are, the stranger it can look – so we’ve changed how that section works now after feedback.

Who is it “not” for?

​With 6 people and limited time available, and being in one building for the whole session, there are obviously limitations which we cannot avoid​. This is an entry-level taster product, not the fully-fledged McFade photoshoot you get in a 1-2-1 session.

You can only shoot a limited amount of scenarios and cannot spend too long creating specific shots for one person, at the expense of other people’s time. So if you do have a detailed and specific list of images you need, but they don’t really fit into the boardroom, one-to-one meeting or a headshot scene, then when we would recommend doing a one-to-one shoot. We can then dedicate the time you need and get the right location for you. 

If you accept that the photos you get are going to look pretty similar to the ones on the website and the videos we have created, then when you should be fine. If you need a different background or something unique – then a 1-2-1 is for you.

We aim to make the best possible photos for 6 people in 2 hours, which means that we can’t deviate too much from The Script. If you are in any doubt just drop us a note before booking and we will help go to you towards the correct shoot for you

The Future of Share the Shoot

Copright of McFade Photography

So profile shoots evolved into share the shoot, it was essentially a lead magnet, but it now seems to have become a popular product in its own right. Initially, there was a challenge each month to get enough people through the door to make it work, but hopefully, with enough word-of-mouth and a few Facebook Ads, we can keep this going throughout 2020 and help lots more people.

All but 1 in the survey thought the shoot was hugely underpriced for what you get, so I’d book soon as I’ll be acting on this feedback 😉

How to choose a photographer from the 1000's recommended on LINKED IN

Recommendations are King

The best way to source most products and services these days is to ask for recommendations based on people’s experience.

It can certainly filter out solutions, products and providers who have given a good experience. I’m pretty sure everybody who is buying a new pair of headphones will read the Amazon reviews or checkout What Hi-Fi reviews before buying them. 

Photography Recommendations

When hiring a photographer it can be a little bit different – what is a good result for one person may be entirely wrong for another person. This could be in terms of style of image, or the photoshoot experience. When you put a call out for photography recommendations everybody will recommend the photographer in their BNI/4N/Networking group, or someone they know, which is what you would expect. 

Do some digging…

The great thing about photography is that being an entirely visual medium, you can pretty quickly go to their websites to check out the style and standard of their work. You can do this with designers and musicians as well of course – so it’s a step you should always take

When you put your next call out for a photographer on LinkedIn and get the 1000 recommendations, you already know that they are “probably” decent people because they have been recommended. But do take that second step of checking their work. 

Why?

Photography can have three effects

  • firstly it can damage your brand if it is of a poor standard or gives the wrong impression
  • secondly it can be a good filler for a website, like magnolia paint in a house you are trying to sell – its safe but doesn’t really “wow” anyone. This is probably most common.
  • Thirdly it can look outstanding, imaginative, delicious, dramatic, beautiful, majestic – whatever your brand needs and creates a massive impact on your marketing and website. 

You can pretty quickly find this out when you go to their website and see previous projects. Are you looking at the images you’d want on your own website? Are you settling for something safe and predictable when you could get something disruptive and exciting?

Photography is all about getting noticed amongst the noise of modern life – it has to have an instant impact or your’ll be swiped past in under a second. People don’t have time or the attention span to look at bland things when a cool thing may be one scroll down in the browser

You may as well invest your money in something that is outstanding rather than just a magnolia filler for your website.

BusinesS Headshots – it ain't what you do…

It’s the way that you do it…

Franco Demori

“It ain’t WHAT you do, it’s the WAY that you do it” – As the Bananarama song goes.

That’s probably true in most businesses but it’s certainly the case with photography. It’s not just the end product which counts, but how you get to it.

I’ve been shooting business folks for almost a decade now and with the odd exception, no one really likes the idea of it. We are second only to dental root canal work to many!

It’s totally different from shooting models like Andy Taylor Boocock here.

Models are trained, they know what looks good, they can turn it on instantly and look like a Vogue front cover, then turn it off and start talking about their pet bulldog. They don’t have the usual hang-ups about a lazy eye or double chin like we mortals.

So what have I learned in all these years?

  • Talk a lot
  • Set lights up and keep chatting
  • Be friendly and patient
  • Show them the photos on the camera back (or laptop) regularly
  • Have fun
  • Give people stuff to do – or get them to use their imagination
  • Don’t get hung up on perfect poses
  • Take LOTS of photos to give LOTS of options

Talk a lot

I’ve always treated my shoots almost like a 1-2-1 chat with a new business connection. Grab a coffee, chat about their business, find out more about what they do and where they’re going. You’ll be amazed at who they know, where they’ve been and all sorts – just like any 1-2-1, so it’s a great way to start.

Set lights up and keep chatting

This helps take their mind off the camera and lights and you avoid all those long silences whilst you’re setting up. You should be able to set lights up on auto-pilot really.

Be friendly and patient

This is really important, keep things light and enjoyable. If things take a bit of getting going, let them take as much time as needed – it’s not their expert area, so lots of encouragement and positive messages helps build confidence. If something’s really not working, then move elsewhere, a change is far better than persevering with a bad idea.

Show them the photos on the camera back (or laptop) regularly

I do this all the time. It works brilliantly – your client can take a look and instantly see whether

  • the outfit is working,
  • they like the background,
  • they like their hair, makeup and anything else they want to check
  • they need to smile more, or look a bit more serious!

It also means that you’re getting feedback on whether the look, lighting and locations are right, so you can change things. The end result is that you should have got shots that the client likes and avoid any issues down the line with them hating all the shots!

Have fun

This is the #1 key to my shoots really.

I’ve been photographed and know what it’s like if you’re faced with a quiet photographer who just doesn’t say anything. It’s painful and you really want the ground to open up and eat you.

So on my shoots, it’s more about creating an air of levity and really interacting with people – especially if you’ve got groups of people.

If they’re all having fun, you’ll get far better photographs.

Give people stuff to do – or get them to use their imagination

This follows on from the “fun” comment – if you expect a business person to just pose amazingly first time in front of your camera, you’re probably going to have a hard time!

They need something to do, think about or look at to get them going. For me it could be anything from asking “what does a fairy do?” or “can you pull a face like Pob?”, to “how high can you jump?” or “look at that door…. imagine #appropriate celebrity# is winking at you”.

Sure they’re strange things to ask someone who runs an SME, but they’ll certainly stop thinking about the photo shoot and give you a new expression to capture!

If you’ve got a few people in the photo, then just think of things you can get them all doing – could be all looking at one of the group, looking at their watches and yawning, opening their eyes as wide as they can (a personal favourite that) or all jumping at the same time.

Giving people weird stuff to do lightens the atmosphere, makes them all forget about the camera and hopefully gets a lot of laughter!

From that, warm, friendly photos follow…

Don’t get hung up on perfect poses

I bought books on portraits when I set out.

They were usually American and had “senior” photos – people leaving their high school – and they all followed a really strict formula. Hand positions and head positions were discussed, sitting and standing debated… and they all looked very “cheesy”. Many of them make great twitter memes.

There is definitely a need for a little helpful guidance. The body angle is often worth sorting straight off, get their feet to point at 45 degrees to you and them looking slightly over a shoulder.

But if you venture into too many instructions, you lose the client. They get concerned about the hand and chin positions you’ve given them and start looking really confused. That smile goes and they start feeling self-conscious.

Think in terms of “micro prompts” – little easy things they can do, I often look around me for something they can look at – “look at the clock as if it’s the best thing you’ve ever seen” – they look the right direction and you may just get a “Wow” expression.

But a little “try lifting your chin a little” is easy for them to do – whereas the 50 things you need think about in my old posing books would really flummox them!

Take LOTS of photos to give LOTS of options

And finally…

I now take LOTS of photos when shooting clients, this is so you can let the best moments happen naturally. You have the lens to your eye and are talking away to them, expressions come and go fast – get them, get as many as you can and keep going.

I used to take a few shots and then move – take a few more – which was fine, but I found there was more energy and flow if you just kept going and encouraging them all the time.

It costs the virtually same to take 100 shots as it does 1000 – there’s more hard drive space needed and more time to filter the good ones out, but you don’t need to develop/edit all of them.

Zap the duff shots quickly, then you’ve got a raft of proofs for the client to choose from.

So that’s kinda how I do it

The best thing I can hear on my shoots is someone who started out saying “I hate having my photo taking” tell me they “really enjoyed it” at the end of it.

Fancy a Try….?

If you’re reading this thinking I’m mad, then you’re probably right!

But if you run a business and fancy this experience for a change, then get in touch with me at ade@mcfade.co.uk

If you’re brand new, a solopreneur and need photos of you with other people or just like networkfing and need some shots of yourself… I’ve got a new event called SHARE THE SHOOT which embodies everything in this blog at an amazing price… follow this link for more details

My Presentation at SHARE – Jan 2017

Showing my Work to my Network

Every year or so, we get to present our business to the SHARE network group – it’s great to get more than 1 minute to talk about your offering, to make sure everyone knows the extent of what I do.

For a photographer – it’s a rare chance to actually show the work, rather than just talk about it. I’m selling a “visual” product – not an audio one, so it’s really hard to show people just what it is you do.

A Different Venue

We usually meet at Darrington, but today we met on North Street, Leeds. This was to accommodate a bunch of members who had a city centre workshop straight after SHARE. Had some great sandwiches – best I’ve had in a long time, we got lucky there!

Great venue actually – they’re called Henton’s; if you’re after an event space, get in touch with Charlotte Bates.

Technical Issues

The only thing that was less than ideal was the projector – the images looked pretty horrible compared to the view on my laptop screen.

I’ve never hooked up a 4K laptop to an unknown monitor before, so probably with a bit more fiddling I’d have got it right – but time was pressing and people were arriving!

The Presentation Slides

So here they are for you to view at the correct quality – well they’re small, but hopefully your phone/computer will show them at the right colour!





















































































9 Ways Photography Can Transform Your 2016

Why does every marketing team love stunning, unique images?

It makes their job easy – photos are powerful – they make your business:-

  • stand out from the crowd

  • easy to understand

  • have INSTANT impact

  • communicate who you are

  • show how you do it

Well here are just 9 of the many ways photos help boost your business

1 More clicks on Facebook Ads

We used this to advertise a Yorkshire Coast photography workshop which wasn’t selling – once “live” it got 65 clicks to our website in the first day and sold out!

Facebook ads are a great source of leads if you get it right – and the “hook” which grabs attention is a great image.

In fact, Facebook limit the amount of text you can show on the “image” part of the ad, so it’s never been more important to have a compelling photograph.

Some of the most effective ads are “carousels”, where you can have multiple photos in one ad – this is a fantastic opportunity to show your offering, up that click rate and drive traffic to your site.

2 Great looking website

Setting the scene for the Chicago Blues Brothers tribute band

Setting the scene for the Chicago Blues Brothers tribute band

Every website needs great images to tell your story, it gives visitors reassurance, confidence and a good idea of who you are. Where should you use photos? Here are a few examples:-

  • team page – pictures of you and the team – so people know who they are talking to BEFORE they pick up the phone
  • what we do page – you “in action” doing your job – reassurance that you are THE expert and shows HOW you working
  • about us page – your building and environment – shows people where to go when visiting and also the “vibe” of the place
  • our products/services page – your products – if you have them, you need to show them off!
  • your blog page – you winning awards – huge credibility builder, and reassurance

And there are many more – great images help clients understand what you do and how you do it INSTANTLY.

3 Great first impression on LINKED IN

CT2A0816

Guess what kind of experience you get when you call Alex at ABL Business… The photo says it all

Your LINKED IN photo is the first impression you give many clients – they’ll either get a referral or do a google search, then check you out on LINKED IN.

This photo has 3 main purposes

  1. To show “who” you are, a bit like a passport photo
  2. To instantly convey the right first impression and show some personality and professionalism
  3. To encourage people to call YOU rather than the other business owners in their search

If you’re showing your logo, your children, your pets, your holiday, your wedding photo…. it’s not really working for you.

Also, it you’ve changed your hair, grown a beard or started wearing glasses more often, then it’s probably time to refresh it too.

4 Everyone looks at photos

Everyone loves photos these days!

Everyone loves photos these days!

Your marketing includes great copy and design, you’ll also have videos and testimonials, all of which are hugely important.

However, people have to “read” copy and “open” videos – neither of which you can guarantee.

Everybody sees the photography – as soon as they open your collateral, the images pop up. The purpose of them is to then encourage people to read that copy and open that video – it’s a team effort.

You can check (in Google analytics) how long page visits are before and after installing your new photography and see the impact.

5 More engaging newsletters

010 india agra taj mahal street beauty

How’s your email marketing going?
Are people opening them or junking them before opening?

The email subject line is probably has the biggest influence on opening rates, photography is used in the email body to both engage and “guide” the reader…

“Decide what you want to draw to the user’s attention. If you have one stand-out offer, put it side-by-side with an image of someone looking right at it, or their body gesturing towards it. If you have multiple offers, utilise an individual looking down or around the area these offers are located.

Test this by monitoring your marketing click-rates before and after your new photography

6 “Instantly” Show what you do

_MG_2183

Would you guess that she’s boot-camp fitness trainer who uses ropes outside in her training?

The speed of communication via photography is amazing – a quick glance of an image can leave a lasting impression.

We’re told attention spans are dwindling so this fast communication method is essential.

7 Introduce & value your team

120 austin hayes team shoot 3 small 013

Julie and her fellow directors at Austin Hayes – one of many sub-team shots we created for their website

So many teams miss out on this – many don’t even have a team page!

Contact with your business will be more personal and also shows clients your value your colleagues. Your colleagues will feel more valued too!

As well as a team page with photos, how about a friendly photo of your receptionist on your website’s Contact Us page?

8 Something new to post on Twitter

8357_10153348274183549_6006504024326276457_n[1]

A bit cheeky really, but this got dozens of facebook likes and re-tweeted 15 times.

Tweets with images, stand out from those without – its as simple as that!

Memes are also all over twitter, you can use your photos as backgrounds for these. The Morley one above is very tongue in cheek, but it got a surprisingly amusing reaction – and I traced 8 new follows back to this post!

Basically, you need a LOT of content to fuel a twitter campaign, and if you re-hash the same things over and over, people will notice and get bored!

A regularly refreshed supply of great new images supercharges your output for months

9 Get noticed in Print

mcfade top 5 tips for business photos66

I’d love to know what’s on that piece of paper

Everything above has been about digital media – but don’t forget print!

  • The press are more likely to print your story with a great image
  • People are more likely to pick up a flyer with great design and images on
  • Brochures are more engaging with a great cover shot – and images to support the content
  • Images create the “feel” and evoke “emotion” – which sell products in magazines and catalogues

 

Many more uses….

We’re sure there are many more – and we’d love to hear what marketing needs your photos fulfil – comment below!

5 Photo Tips For Every Business

What are you Business Photos Telling People ?

Business Photos used to be fillers on websites.

  • Pretty pictures would just separate the text and logos,
  • Photos would be bought off Stock Photography websites and have no connection to you
  • Californian models with perfect smiles or sunset shots of the New York skyline would be used to sell the smallest Yorkshire plumbers business.

Those days are over – or should be. Every pixel on your site should help tell your story, rather than distract. This is where great, personal photos of your business comes in.

Here are our 5 Photo Tips for every business

1 – First Impressions are Now Online

edgy Illiya
_MG_7856-2
_MG_0582
_MG_8568
_MG_7457
_MG_5234
_MG_5438-2

OK, we still meet people out networking, or on jobs, but the first chance you get to impress most new clients is often from Social Media or your website.

Think about it – how much business do you get from referrals? How many of those people will look at your website, before replying to an Into Email or Linked IN message? 100% or thereabouts?

So when people see that page of “little thumbnails on LINKED IN, they will instantly get an idea of what you look like, your personality, whether you’re a happy, approachable soul or a more dour type.

Also, if you’ve “invested” in some great photos – that can give the impression that you “care” or are “serious” about your business…

2 – “SHOW” us what you “DO

mcfade top 5 tips for business photos27
mcfade top 5 tips for business photos29
mcfade top 5 tips for business photos37
mcfade top 5 tips for business photos15

We’ve all got great elevator pitches – we can tell you what we do and how it makes you different. We have come a long way from saying

  • I’m John and am and accountant, and I do accountancy

It’s probably more likely to be

  • “I’m John and I help people by….

Which is all well and good, but you don’t get a “feel” for what you are “about” from those words – what will I, as a client, experience when I engage you?

Make it easy – use photos

  • Create photos of you action – meetings, presentations, building stuff… whatever it is
  • Show people where you do your work – board room, coffee shop, break out area, a building site, in the Albert Hall…  what do I expect to happen?
  • how you do it – showing stuff on an iPad, pen and paper, white board, quarry…
  • what you wear – suited and booted, semi-casual, jeans and tee shirt?
  • show your branding – if you’ve got it, flaunt it!
  • differentiate yourself from your competition….

Remember this….

mcfade top 5 tips for business photos8

3 – Break the Stereotype

mcfade top 5 tips for business photos22
mcfade top 5 tips for business photos23
mcfade top 5 tips for business photos19
mcfade top 5 tips for business photos20

On being asked to describe a “Financial Director”, my mental picture was Michael Palin, in a pin stripe suit and bowler hat… that old Monty Python Accountant character!

Ask people to describe “business men”, they’ll think of grumpy old men like Alan Sugar & Donald Trump, as they’ve seen The Apprentice

So when you tell people what you do, they may have the same prejudices.

Break that barrier down – use photos of you that SHOW you are different – that have personality outside those outdated stereotypes.

 

4 – Photos of You Presenting or Getting an Award

mcfade top 5 tips for business photos46
mcfade top 5 tips for business photos44
mcfade top 5 tips for business photos43
mcfade top 5 tips for business photos41
mcfade top 5 tips for business photos32

Photos of presenting, or picking up awards, gives the impression of expertise – it’s as simple as that.

So when you’re next doing a talk, especially to a large group, it’s well worth getting some great photos. You can either hire a photographer yourself, or befriend a photographer who is working the event.

If you’re interesting enough to talk to a group of business people, then maybe your services are worth a second look?

If you’re a bigger business and can afford high profile guest speakers, then get images of them too – here’s one of Falklands soldier and campaigner, Simon Weston. The PR opportunity from this talk was huge.

mcfade top 5 tips for business photos49

5 – Make it INTERESTING!

mcfade top 5 tips for business photos66
mcfade top 5 tips for business photos67
mcfade top 5 tips for business photos59
mcfade top 5 tips for business photos60
mcfade top 5 tips for business photos14
mcfade top 5 tips for business photos15

Who said business photos had to be boring?

No one as far as I know – it’s just that everyone is afraid to pop their head above the parapet and do something different – something to change how people see you.

“Interesting” is individual:-

  • maybe it’s shooting your team photos at a dramatic location
  • maybe it’s getting into your racing driver overalls
  • maybe it’s looking all serious when you’re usually the smiliest person on earth
  • maybe it’s crawling over a table

But it always involves great ideas, great photography and strong rapport between you and your photographer

 

How can we help you?

We Help People Like YOU Transform How The WORLD Sees Your Business 

Those are our 5 tips on how to make your images work for you – so what do you need to do to create them?

We are passionate about creating stunning images of businesses and the people in them.

Our mission is to personalise websites and marketing material, to make it easy for potential clients to understand you business and choose you over the competition.

 

Need New Photos?

If you’d like a new suite of images we have full details here – http://www.mcfade.co.uk/commercial/leeds-commercial-photography-package/

 

Need a BRAND NEW Website – from just £750?

If you would like a whole new suite of images AND a stunning new – we now do these too. Details here (http://www.mcfade.co.uk/website/) we are getting booked up fast.

So you want to be a pro photographer… what they don’t tell you

After running a workshop on Anglesey in the late Noughties, I got chatting to a professional photographer from Somerset. Great guy, had a few beers and his main comments on his 20 years in the photo business were

  • stock photography wasn’t worth doing any more and
  • assignment pay rates had dropped and
  • not to even consider going into photography as a career – it’s “dead on its arse”

At that time I was a reasonably well paid software engineer and was pondering what to do when we inevitably got made redundant by Lloyds TSB, who’d just bought HBOS.

Well with absolutely no experience in business and 7 years of shooting everything from cars to kebabs, October 1st 2010 hailed the end of my IT career  – and then nothing…

_MG_1261

 

The 10 things they don’t tell you

1  – The Nothing

There’s a lot of “nothing” after you leave your job. No bosses gives you work, no one except call centres offering free insulation, your mum or mates ring, no deadlines and generally nothing happens.

That is unless you make “something” happen.

If you’ve been employed, you’d always lie about being a self starter, working well alone or in a team – no CV is complete without such twaddle. But on day 1 of the business you really do have to be a self starter. No one will ever know you exist otherwise.

And if you stop for a moment – everything stops till you start again.

It’s wierd

 

2 – You have no clients

You may think you have, you have probably done a few canvases, shot a dog or 2 – maybe your cousin’s kids and a few weddings have bought you that new camera.

But you quickly realise that those client’s walls are full, those weddings only happen once and those kids don’t need another photo for a year or 2.

These income streams are fantastic for amateurs wanting some more kit – but for all the bills, food, petrol and insurance costs, it just isn’t enough to survive on.

You have to find LOTS of weddings, or LOTS of families, or LOTS of people needing prints of you work – or if you go commercial, lots of business needing your particular skills. That’s a whole new kettle of fish….

 

3 – Dead Man’s Shoes

Believe it or not, there are other photographers out there working.

The chances the very people who you want to get work off are the people who use these photographers. Why would they risk changing a tried and tested photographer to use you?

It’s really hard to get into these places, people will say “why don’t you try schools”, without knowing that every school already has a photographer who does the job for them. Why would the school change?

 

4 – You will make no money

Possibly the most shocking thing they don’t tell you is that you will make very little or no money in year 1, possibly a little more in year 2 and if you are still in the game – year 3 may look rosier.

Do not consider starting photography if you like eating out, expensive drinks, holidays, prestige cars or regularly seeing your mates in the pub – unless you have a fortune stashed away or a partner with lots of cash.

 

5 – You really have no idea what to do

Write that business plan – everyone should go through that torture – read it every day.

Until you actually start doing something, you don’t know whether it will work, or more important, is something you’d enjoy.

You may start doing family portraits and going to people’s homes with a projector to do the “hard sell” on prints – invest on a Mac, projector and screen, only to find you detest kids or hate the sales part. Hands up, I did that, wasn’t for me… expensive experiment, though quite like the projector still!

You can plan all you like – but only when you “do something”, do you know whether it’ll work.

 

6 – Scary Networking

I now know it’s the most effective way of getting known and winning business – but at first, root canal work or watching TOWIE was preferably to “networking”.

You get your suit on, you get up a stupid-o-clock and go stand in a room of strangers who all look tired, and are already talking with their backs to you.

So you stand there, pouring coffee as the nerves kick in – what do you say? You are bound to make a dick of yourself? It’s hot in your suit – you feel your brow getting wet… GET ME OUT OF HERE!

Then someone comes over and saves you – only to launch into their sales pitch. Usually something where there’s no common ground too – it’d be ace were it a creative agency who need photos all the time.

(I’ll just add that after a few years you realise that everybody “knows people” – so you may not have a direct overlap with them, but you will with their network – so don’t avoid anyone, engage them for a while, they may be the link to your big break! )

 

7 – Everyone has 1000 ideas and knows better than you

It’s all well meant – people like to help. But you will hear the words “have you tried…..” at least 10 times a day for your first 2 years.

If you have any Bi polar friends, this can get amusing – I think on one manic night my mate came up with over 50 new business ideas – just wish we’d written them down as some were good.

 

8 – One person – 50 roles

So you know how to take photos, you can answer emails – but who

  • does the Twitter campaign,
  • manages the BLOG,
  • updates the FACEBOOK page,
  • designs the flyers,
  • prints and distributes the flyers,
  • keeps the website content up-to-date,
  • takes all the calls,
  • packs the kit into the car,
  • cleans the camera sensors,
  • charges the batteries,
  • liases with the clients,
  • does the shoot on time, in budget and to breif,
  • Goes networking,
  • Does the networking followups,
  • sets up the lights on the shoot,
  • fetches and carries,
  • spends hours in lightoom and photoshop
  • etc….

Well…. it’s actually you. You do all of that – get used to being a polymath!

 

9 – How much do I charge!!!

Possibly the biggest thing they don’t tell you is how much you should charge.

How much do you feel your work is worth? Possibly an impossible question to answer – and even professionals of 20-30 years standing will tell you it’s still a struggle!

The truth is it can be a total nightmare to work out – you clearly need to know how much you need to survive and keep the business running, so you do all those sums and come up with your monthly or weekly amount, then price accordingly.

All well and good – then you get out there and your market aren’t biting… why?

It could be one of a million reasons – are you too expensive, too cheap (that happens… ), have the wrong shots on your website… you don’t know.

Do you have “priced packages” on your website – risking competition nicking them, or do you keep it “price on application”.

Do you go for a day/time rate?

Do you include editing?

How many shots do they get for their money…

AAAAAAARGH!!!

If you’re thinking of going pro – start thinking about this NOW… do your homework, it’s not easy…. is your work as good as that bloke down the road who charges £750/day or are you only worth £300/day…..?

There is no definitive answer by the way…. I do a mix of packages and time deals, depending on what a client needs… preferring the simplicity and transparency of packages.

 

10 – Are you any good at photography?

Oh yeah – can you “really” take a good shot?

You can get so much positive feedback from your friends on Facebook that the actual quality of your work is lost in the drifts of electronic love.

How many terrible singers populate the early stages of X-Factor? They’ve all been told that they are amazing by friends.

Do you want to be that photographer – the one who’s been told by their 1500 friends that the un-level, blurred, poorly composed photo of that ugly boat was “lovely” or a “stunning capture” ?

I saw several of these in my first couple of years of networking – proudly clutching their blurb books of weirdly dressed children against white walls, or cringe-worthy and uncomfortable boudoir shots with white vignettes and spot colouring on the lips. You could see people across the room looking at them in shock – tactfully saying they were nice and trying to get away!

Now to make money, you don’t have start at day 1 matching the quality of £10,000/day photographers with £1000000 studios and teams behind them – but you need to be able to demonstrate, via your portfolio, that you can create a body of work with consistent quality and style.

If your work is “all over the place” style-wise, like we all are at the start, then you’ll confuse everyone. It is, after all, the style they are interested in – they want new photos to look like the ones you did for “Fred Bloggs” in your portfolio – so you should be able to recreate that style for them. it’s your visual CV.

What you will eventually learn is that “niche” is everything – a CEO I saw speaking said “get big, get niche or get out” – he ran the Co-Op and was called Peter Marks. Now finding that niche may take a while – so be prepared to deviate and change your plans till you find it. Be brave and stop doing the things which take ages yet bring in no money. Ask for help when networking – meet people for coffee… find out what’s hot and what’s not… or sound out your ideas…

You need to be able to use your camera like it’s an extension to your body – things like F-stops and shutter speeds are not instinctive and second nature, are you sure you’re really ready to stand in front of a CEO of a huge company and his team – especially if you’re not entirely sure how to set up lighting for their team shot?

Sure things go wrong, have you go the knowledge to recover most situations? If a flash smashes and you’ve only got 1 left, do you know where to put it to get the job done?

 

Phew – we got there…..

So there you go – 10 slightly tongue in cheek things to expect when you quit your job and start your new photography business. I’ll leave it to you to decide which bits are true and which imagined 😉

The truth is that you need:-

  • to be a good or great photographer first, then you can concentrate 100% on the hard job of building the business. If you’re struggling to get consistent results in the simplest of situations, get practising and maybe go pro next year instead?
  • need to be different or special – niche, niche, niche….
  • money to fund the first few years – or live on a friend’s floor rent free.
  • to be a people person to both win work and then to get the best from the people you photograph
  • to love photography – really love photography – you will be doing it a lot, any doubts, stop now!

But most of all – and I hate to say this as it’s such a hideous chiche – you need that positive attitude keep you going when the “nothing” hits your or that client cancels….

Raise the Flag for Britain

We’ve been supporting One Britain One Nation (OBON) for a while now, a campaign started by former police inspector Kash Singh, to bring people from ALL communities together in celebration of being British.

This event at the Aagrar Midpoint centre at Thornbury saw giants of the local restaurant business unite behind Kash by the ceremonial raising of the OBON flag. This is the start of a busy month culminating a series of events on August 11th where churches, mosques and temples throughout the UK will join restaurants and businesses in flying the flag.

We went along to get a few shots and meet everyone.

_MG_7915_MG_7931_MG_7930_MG_7926_MG_7924_MG_7916_MG_7906 _MG_7946 _MG_7937

Make Your “Online First Impression” Count – BiY Talk, June 2013

You don’t HAVE to have a boring profile shot these days….

_MG_9887 _MG_9728 _MG_9695 _MG_9444 _MG_8821 _MG_5262 _MG_4784 _MG_4081 _MG_3891 _MG_1784 _MG_0166_TT john_thompson_shoot104 chris_rae_guitar_04

Had a great time talking to fellow business people at BiY today – part of a creative “trio” with Rob and Andy of Plump Digital and Video Advert.

Just thought I’d note down my main points from the talk…

  1. The world has changed – people want to see “you” and your “everything” now, great photos “sell”, bad ones repel. 
  2. Get known as the “local go-to” person is helped with local images, images of you “in the locale” – be that a flyer with Leeds town hall on, or a bill board with your face on.
  3. Place your self or your products in the community, and get photos to blog/promote this – gets you a degree of “local fame”
  4. A great profile shot is often your first point of contact – make it count.
  5. Linked in searches – Friendly and approachable encourages people to pick the phone up – stern and grumpy makes them unsure and choose the next “supplier” on the list.
  6. Getting you portrait done is incredibly easy and should be fun

And a few tips…

  1. If you are going on a shoot, take a couple of outfits – smart/casual, just in case one doesn’t work well
  2. Take different coloured accessories (e.g. scarf, tie) to add variety to your shots
  3. Be yourself – vital 
  4. Get/Give feedback throughout the shoot – 2 way process gets the results, don’t let the photographer make ALL the choices, tell him/her which shots you like – and do more of those
  5. If you’re worried about weight – leaning forward a little helps hide an extra chin, and if the cameras higher than you, it helps too – so maybe use stairs or a balcony
  6. Black or white V colour – McFade supply you both, we love both and can never decide so we’ll do both for you.

 

_MG_4579

_MG_9446 1

PR Shoot – Andy Green

_MG_4498

Photographer “Directs” the Director

Andy Green of “Video Advert” spends his days directing and creating promotional videos for businesses around the UK – so the “directorial boot” was certainly on the other foot for our PR shoot. Used to showing people how to present and perform, Andy now was in front of the camera and, like me, obviously was far more at home behind it!

BiY Associates Working Together

_MG_4489

A fellow BiY Associate, we met at their HQ, Carwood Park and used the atrium and grounds as our backdrop. Starting off with a white background in a meeting room, then gradually progressing around using a sofa, stairs and the cool brushed steel banisters, we got some great “business” shots.

Take the Studio Outside

_MG_4518

Andy’s an “outdoors” kinda guy, so we headed out into the freezing Carrwood gardens (there was still about 4 inches of snow on the grass) and created some dramatic shots with brooding skies along with lots of “nature friendly” backgrounds.

By this stage we were having fun, all the earlier reservations had gone and ideas were flowing – got some great shots in the bright spring sun (which is technically quite challenging to light).

Most of the shots Andy chose were outside – once you are relaxed and enjoying the shoot, the photos become far more engaging and we see the “real you”.

Results

The shots speak for themselves really – a mixture of looks which can be used for every conceivable business purpose, from the reasonably serious “suited” shots, to the cool “sat on the stairs” look, the Outdoors Guy look to the “Chilling on a sofa”.

The lighting we used will make the shots stand out where ever they are used – be that on Linked IN, or in a flyer campaign, an article in a trade magazine or whatever Andy chooses to do with them.

It’s hard to emphasise power great photos of yourself add to your business presence…. until you get great shots of your own… then you’ll “get it”.

_MG_4533 _MG_4440 _MG_4495 _MG_4480 _MG_4479 _MG_4454 _MG_4515 _MG_4510 _MG_4501 _MG_4531 _MG_4528 _MG_4526 _MG_4579 _MG_4576

Photographer Meets Celebrity Look Alikes in Leeds

Celebrity Look Alikes in Leeds

Had the great pleasure of meeting and photographing:-

  • David Beckham
  • Mr T
  • Austin Powers
  • Simon Cowell
  • Britney Spears
  • Will Smith

Or at least I thought I did!

These were a great bunch of actors who make a career from looking like the actual celebrity – and it is uncanny when you meet them and they adopt the “celebrity pose”.

The day was a pop music video shoot in Leeds which I was documenting – I’d taken the lights with me and set them up in the back garden to get some shots of Simon Cowell (aka Andy).

As the day progressed, all of the look alikes came along and had a shoot and chat. At first, its totally surreal talking to Will Smith – he looks, acts and when he does the voice, sounds just like him.

Anyway – here’s a few shots from the day.

MS Charity Cake Bake at Bingley

Cake for Charity!

One of our good friends from Bingley, Chrisse Carlton, runs a fantastic annual event to raise money for the MS Society.

There was a real buzz at the venue, “Foundry Hill Bar”, with people bringing and buying an amazing array of cakes and other treats. We’ve not heard how much money was raised yet, but what a great, fun way to help out such an amazing charity.

Here’s a few shots of the lovely cakes from the day – the one with Saltaire Brewery beer in was rather special 😉

Easy Xmas Presents – Prints and Vouchers!

Stuck for Christmas Present ideas?

Christmas is here and we’re here to help anyone who’s stuck for ideas!

Teeshirt Xmas Presents

Firstly, there’s just time to go to our Redbubble Shop for some tee shirts or prints – that can be found here.

http://www.redbubble.com/people/ademcfade

Here’s the Nosy Cow tee shirt – available in all sorts of colours, sized and even as a hoodie!

 

Prints and gifts

Many of our prints are available online NOW at our Photobox Gallery Shop.

this includes:-

  • McFade Landscapes
  • McFade Leeds
  • Animals
  • Newcastle
  • Architecture

 

http://www.photoboxgallery.com/mcfade

Pop on there NOW to get prints and mugs and things!

McFade E-Vouchers

Know someone getting a new camera?

 

Treat them to some time and training with McFade Training – we’re offering these vouchers…

  • Monday Night Leeds sessions
  • 1-2-1 Training – 1/2 day
  • 1-2-1 Training – full day

 

Also on offer are vouchers for us to treat someone to a photo shot.

  • Family photoshoot
  • Kiddy Photoshoot
  • Baby Photoshoot
  • Pet Photoshoot
  • ….virtually anything else, we can come up with a voucher for that too!

 

All these are vouchers for 1 hour shoots – we then create an online gallery where the lucky recipient can view and purchase prints.

The vouchers are personalised, then emailed to you once we’ve recieved payment via PayPal, making it the easiest gift purchase you’ll ever make!

 

For all details, just inbox us at info@mcfade.co.uk and we’ll get your vouchers out ASAP!

 

Gallery Notice : Images have either not been selected or couldn't be found

 

Lastly…

Have a great Xmas!!

What can McFade Photography do for you?

We cover quite a large range of creative photography subjects and projects at McFade Photography, some of which you may not know about.

So here’s a data capture sheet we use to show people how we can help their business, capture their family/hobby or art we can produce for them.

Click on the thumb below to see how we can help you today.

Bradford Switch Networking – the opening night

A new dawn in Bradford Networking

 

Rob and Jag – the guys behind Bradford Switch

Yesterday, a new networking group was born – the brainchild of Jag Panesar and Rob Ives, Bradford Switch is a relaxed, friendly way to meet new business contacts and build relationships.

The first meeting was in The Sparrow, a lovely new bar opened in the heart of Bradford. We were in the cellar which seemed to create a warm atmosphere, the room was buzzing with people from the off at 4PM

I took along a couple of flashes and the camera kit to get a few shots for their opening night. The flashes were in opposing corner of the room to create a couple of pools of directional light, which bounced off the walls. It’s a more “hit and miss” approach than the traditional editorial approach of “on camera flash”, but when it works, you get very creative results.

In the processing of the shots, I’ve created a “cooler” look by reducing the warm colours (red, yellow, magenta) a little and adding in more blues. It’s a look that’s present on the Apprentice this year, so thought it may add a little extra “zing” to the shots.

The next meeting’s date has yet to be announced, so keep an eye on @cabture on Twitter as Rob will be broadcasting it soon. A meeting well worth going to, especially if you’re new to networking as it is a very open, relaxed and friendly event.

Here are some more photos from the evening.