Fed by Photos – Niall and Charlotte Benvie

Fed by Photos

Posted by in Introduction

This new blog is all about how we make our living as freelance creatives. In it, Charlotte and I share the ideas we have, the discoveries we make and the things that matter to us, all in the context of supporting our family through creative work.  Here you can find out what we do to sustain an enterprise that’s being going for over 20 years now – and share YOUR knowledge.


Status symbols.

Posted by in ideas

If you’re a creative type, it’s less likely that you buy into traditional status symbols than much of the population. It’s quite possible you’re more comfortable with the notion of a car as a means of transport rather than an outward expression of the “inner you”: you have, through your own creativity, found alternative means of expression that that don’t rely on buying something that someone else has conceived, designed and manufactured. Your ability to express is endemic. When it comes to the year-end accounts and you’re looking at the bottom line, don’t forget to add…read more

x-Rite i1Display Pro, NEC Spectraview 272, Retina MacBook Pro and legacy Adobe CS.

Posted by in technical

Upgrading computers and displays is often as fraught as it is essential. These are as fundamental to our work as cameras and lenses and unlike cameras, there are expensive consequences of getting too far behind with upgrades. I recently ran into a number of problems when I replaced my 8 year old NEC 2690 Spectraview for a new Spectraview 272 Reference, a 4 year old MacBook Pro with a new one, and an antique Gretag Macbeth i1 Display 2 with an x-Rite i1Display Pro. Moreover, I wanted to be able to continue…read more

Why you probably don’t need a new camera.

Posted by in professional practice

If you’ve bought a digital SLR within the last 4 years (post Nikon D3/D700/Canon EOS 5D MkIII) the chances are you have a tool that will do everything you need it to do, however tempting the new offerings.  If you’re not getting jobs in the first place, is it really because you don’t own the most up to date camera body?  If you did, how would that translate into more sales? Have clients demanded higher pixel count images from you, or files with a tad more dynamic range? I’ve certainly never had…read more

Guest: Daniel Sweeney, Total Brand. 4

Posted by in guest blogs

Working from the Sofa So you’ve hit a home run – after polishing your presentation, securing that meeting and wooing your client into reaching for their cheque book – it’s now time to roll up your sleeves and get the job done. This is where ‘being your own boss’ can take a nasty turn for the worse, as only you can set the deadlines and ensure you deliver. Setting tight deadlines and confirming these with a client is a great way to keep things moving if you are lacking motivation. You may dream of typing…read more

Guest: Daniel Sweeney, Totalbrand. 3

Posted by in guest blogs, professional practice

When Things Go Pete Tong Recently I just couldn’t get a break. Every lead I had went cold, current projects were in turmoil and I found myself asking what on earth I was doing with my life. Dark times indeed. Thankfully I have a short attention span when it comes to personal angst, but things can of course go awry and being self-employed means there isn’t the same support structure to get you through the fog. Here are a few solutions that have helped me in the past. 1) Switch Off – Staring at…read more

Guest: Daniel Sweeney, Totalbrand. 2

Posted by in guest blogs, professional practice

Opportunities are EVERYWHERE. I honestly don’t know any self employed person who works 9 till 5. Flexible hours and a four day week may be part of your new life plan, but in reality you really can’t switch off fully from your pursuits. Unless you have a defined list of clients who provide you with enough steady income to stop you worrying about the future (if that’s you then congratulations, you needn’t bother reading on!), you must remain aware to the business opportunities around you. To give an example, a few months ago I watched…read more

Guest: Daniel Sweeney, Totalbrand. 1

Posted by in guest blogs, professional practice

It’s more than a decade since a young designer/photographer/web savant got in touch with me out of the blue wanting to talk business. I quite often get approaches like this but it was obvious that, even at his young age, Daniel was in a different league in terms of drive. He did some work on my website at the time and I later recommended him to Wild Wonders of Europe in which he got involved too. Daniel is at the sharp end of “living the dream” and has hawked his services in many…read more

Chocolate as a social lubricant.

Posted by in professional practice

Here’s a situation we’ve all been in. It’s a busy conference, you’re not a speaker and you really need to speak to one of the “stars”. The trouble is, lots of other delegates have the same idea and it seems impossible to break into the circle around your “target”. But there’s a way – one I’ve used with success: hand round the chocolate. I started off at Lindau in Germany a few years ago armed with a big packet of chocolate digestives which, if you offer them when people have a cup of tea…read more

Make yourself useful!

Posted by in professional practice

It would be easy to imagine from reading the posts on our main website that Charlotte and I spend a lot of money travelling to conferences and networking. The reality is, almost without exception, that we are there as guests, usually with me as a speaker or judge. Not only are many of these events expensive to attend but the opportunities to make contacts are generally greater if you’re on “the inside” than if you’re attending as a delegate. And the sums certainly add up a lot better even if, as is usually the…read more

Books: self-publishing and what it costs.

Posted by in professional practice

I’ve done it the hard way: worked with publishers, accepted poor advances, suffered dreadful editing and inadequate marketing. I’ve published books “the proper way” and I’m not doing it again. For long enough, self-publishing was the resort of the bold, the unpublishable and the delusional. Sometimes all three at the same time. The main stumbling block was distribution, something publishers have whole departments dedicated too. But things are changing. With a sufficiently large, dedicated following on social media, the right product and a sum of money somewhat less than you’d…read more