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.

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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

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VAT and e-books. Are you breaking the law?

Posted by in professional practice

If you sell e-books directly online to anyone in the EU, whether you’re based in the EU or outside it, you’re breaking the law if you don’t declare and pay tax on them. Never mind that you’re not VAT registered; the rules still apply. And that level of tax is the one in the buyer’s country pertaining  to electronically delivered products. So, in France, for example, that would be 5.5% while in Portugal it’s 23%. The new laws require us to have two pieces of evidence to show where a buyer is…read more

Objectograph Grid Maker

Posted by in technical

Followers of my photography will be aware that I am fond of “objectographs” where numerous elements are brought together in a single piece of work. Often these are leaves or stones shot in the field studio against a pure white, backlit background, sometimes they are extracts of larger objects, such as featured on the granite panel, here. When I started to make objectographs 8 years ago, I did it the hard way with Photoshop, carefully measuring out margins and gaps, making use of the grid feature. Latterly, the job has…read more

Realistic pricing

Posted by in professional practice

It’s a shame that so many of the blogs and advice sites about professional photography are American. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading what Chase Jarvis,  Ramit Sethi, Zack Arias and David DuChemin (who’s actually Canadian, lest there be any confusion) have to offer. It’s inspiring and makes you feel anything is possible but ultimately, their advice has little to do with the reality of getting photographic work outside large metropolitan areas, particularly those in the US. Zack, for example, is openly puzzled that anyone can get a living…read more

Camranger and portraits

Posted by in technical

I had little use for an iPad until I discovered how useful it was for gathering model releases with the ReleaseMe app. Now I would never go back to paper release. But it has really come into its own when paired the CamRanger to create a local wifi network. If you’ve not had a look at this (albeit slightly pricey) device you’re in for a pleasant surprise. I recently photographed about 60 students and 18 member of staff at my children’s school for the Senior Years’ Yearbook. Eliot, as head boy, took full advantage…read more