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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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

Gloves off

Posted by in ideas

With the 10th anniversary of the International League of Conservation Photographers falling this October, I think its time for “conservation photography” to get a whole more angry. Yes, there are examples of successful outcomes resulting from the efforts of photographers and conservationists working together, but these are very much against the run of play. Biodiversity – as good a benchmark as any of the state of the Earth – continues to diminish at a rate far in excess of the normal attrition of evolution (if you don’t buy into evolutionary…read more

Making time for ideas

Posted by in ideas

I hold to the belief (as I’m not sure how I would prove it) that all “new ideas” originate not in our heads but are ever-present in the ether. They are accessible to anyone in the right state of receptiveness who then acts as a conduit to introduce them to the world. I believe this in part because of the number of times “new ideas” or understanding or enlightenment comes at the same time to unconnected people in different parts of the world as they enquire and probe, wonder and…read more

How people make decisions.

Posted by in ideas, professional practice

It’s not safe to make the statement I’m about to without putting a lot of thought into it first. And observation. In fact a lifetime’s (or, in my case, 50 year’s) of each. And while I don’t like what I’ve found to be true, accepting it is the first stage in making your way in this business (and in others too, for all I know.) Tell me, can you spot the odd one out? • Expedience • Economy • Experience • Emotion • Reason Did I make it too easy…? When it comes to…read more

Why promotions fail -and why to persist.

Posted by in professional practice

You’ve just had a really great idea for a new story or service or product. It’s novel, there is such a clear niche for it, and it’s obvious who the potential buyers are. So you go after them, with email shots, a beautiful pdf presentation, some endorsements: the works. And nothing comes of it. Not a glimmer of interest. If you’ve been in this business for more than five minutes and have ever had a good idea, you’ll recognise this scenario. There are lots of reasons this happens and understanding why might prevent…read more

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