Fed by Photos – Niall and Charlotte Benvie

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, 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

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

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