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.


Making time for ideas

Posted by in Uncategorized

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


Easy lighting for iPhone close ups

Posted by in Carlotta's Chocolates, technical

When Charlotte is at work in the chocolate kitchen she, understandably, doesn’t appreciate softboxes, tripods, reflectors and stands when all she needs is an image for Facebook. But I’m picky when it comes to lighting photos, though, and won’t let an iPhone snap lit by built-in flash pass muster. We’ve found a good compromise by shining a 500 Lumens LED Lenser X7R torch through a piece of Flyweight envelope stiffener, my choice of diffusion material for the last two decades. The light is daylight balanced and the Flyweight creates a large bright source with highly feathered…read more


ReleaseMe app.: the easiest way to collect releases.

Posted by in professional practice, technical

During a number of commissions for the Forestry Commission and Woodland Trust here in Scotland I have been required to photograph lots of complete strangers. This is a nice challenge that requires the photographer to strike up an almost instant rapport with “the talent” who, when they put a lead on their dog that morning, probably didn’t expect to be photographed for publication later that day. But there is nothing guaranteed to turn the mood more at the end of the short session that a photographer producing a pile of dog-earned model release…read more

What is it you actually do for people?

Posted by in professional practice

I could equally have entitled this post “Defining your offer”. It amounts to the same thing but I think the title gets more to the heart of the matter. “Being” a photographer or a designer or a writer or whatever title you use means nothing when it comes to getting work. What counts is whether the skills you have meet a need that other people have that they can’t, or don’t have time to, fulfil themselves. It’s just like any other job in that regard. No matter how accomplished you are, if…read more


Posted by in professional practice

E-book publishing is a topic that interests me a great deal. The first one I made, The Field Studio, has so far earned me about £40/hour I worked on it, qualifying it as a profitable. The new one, You are not a Photocopier: from snapper to artist in 6 lessons, is an altogether more ambitious undertaking which has been well received and, I’d like to think, a bit of a future. Since I will be referring to it a good deal in upcoming posts, if you haven’t bought it, you may like to do so! And…read more


A great tool for workshop leaders: the CamRanger

Posted by in technical

You can read all about the technical aspects of the CamRanger (including compatible cameras) here but what is far more interesting, I think, is it’s usefulness to workshop leaders. How often have you had your group bunched round your camera’s rear screen as you try to explain what you’ve been doing. Only one or two are close enough to see it properly, then in switches off. No one really learns very much. With the CamRanger, you create a local wireless network that sends your images directly to an iPad or smartphone…read more

5 ways we save time in our business.

Posted by in professional practice

They say that it’s more important to work “smart” than to work hard. Whether or not you agree (working hard while working smart has got to be the best combination!) , there’s certainly no reward in punching data manually when it can be automated. Try these and you’ll save time for more creative work: 1. Go over to cloud accounting. We use Xero. Other prefer Sage. If you run a business, no matter how small, you can’t get away from accounting. With these applications, bank feeds present all your financial data…read more