Archive for November, 2011



Movember (the month formerly known as November) is a moustache growing charity event, that has seen several of my friends and colleagues who have sprouted hairy upper lips to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostrate and testicular cancer. You will be pleased to hear that, although I have sponsored several moustaches, I have remained clean shaven throughout.

On the photo business side, things are looking a lot brighter. Firstly, I removed the cap on the number of client leads I receive; and, secondly, I started to do a sitting after work, followed by a viewing. My diary is now full, until I leave for my holiday on 19th December, and I already have eight sittings booked for January.

In November, I did 24 sittings – I would have done more, but there were a few cancellations and rearrangements due to the baby coming out in a rash, or getting a cold. From those sittings, I secured six sales. My largest sale was £425, and there were two of those – for November my average order was just under £250. I really could do with some more £400 plus, sales though. But the real bonus, is I am starting to get referrals. On Monday evening I was doing a viewing for a young couple, and one of the grand-parents walked in, saw the photos and burst into tears, so I will go back and give the grand-parents a viewing sometime, also in January, they want a family sitting undertaken. My second viewing, on Monday, Mum burst into tears during the slide show (this is not so unusual), and she has several friends who are pregnant or just had babies; she will recommend me to them. If they all live in £600k apartments then I will be happy.

Having said that, I am just as satisfied selling a single image of a baby to a couple, that they will treasure. And, the job is still fun, especially, the viewings. On Sunday I did a viewing for a single Mum, and Granny was there, and two of Mum’s sisters. All of them loved the photos, and the presentation was hilarious with the girls making comments on the expression of the baby I had captured. It took a while, but I walked out with a healthy sale from that, but, even if they had just taken the free gift, I would have been smiling.

The biggest expense this month, was replacing my car. My little run around, that I purchased 18 months ago to tide me over until I went back to Hong Kong, finally gave up the ghost; well, it had done 130,000 miles. So I have replaced it with a nearly new, Nissan Qashqai, which is one of only two cars that is designed and built in Britain, but, mainly, is the ideal car for me to lug my photography gear around the urban landscape of Twickenham, Richmond and Hounslow.

This coming weekend, I have to travel to Norwich for my wedding photography exam. I haven’t done much revision, so will have to see what the outcome is, but hour for hour, portrait photography seems to be more profitable.


It’s going to get really busy

So here I am at the airport on my way to Athens; a business trip for my other job (the one that actually pays!). A couple of hours ago I was upto my knees in photos in my living room, trying to sort out customer orders, which I will have to deliver on Friday, after I get back from Greece. Saturday and Sunday my diary is almost full with photo sittings.
Life is hectic, but life is good; I like being busy.


Sort of busy weekend..

Saturday started off with 4 appointments in my diary for photographing babies.  The first appointment went well; I was pleased to see that there was a studio portrait of their eldest child on the wall, so, they were going to be used to buying studio portraits, and weren’t going to be surprised by the prices.  Finished that job, and picked up my voicemail – it was my 3rd appointment wanting to re-arrange!  left a message with some alternative times, another job to follow up.  I found somewhere to park near my 2nd appointments house, dragged all my gear round, knocked on the door – no answer!  Tried to phone them – no reply.  Oh well another no show, it happens.  So not having another appointment for 3 hours I decided to head to the supermarket and do my shopping, halfway down the detergents aisle, my phone rings – it was my 2nd appointment, waiting for me to show up.  The long and short of it was, they hadn’t given me the correct address.  So that one was re-arranged!  Fortunately, the 4th appointment went smoothly.

Yesterday was the last wedding seminar before the exams in December, which went well.  We went over some of the standard shots, and went over some of the theory questions.


After the seminar, I dashed back to do a viewing for the 1st appointment on the Saturday.  We started off with 41 pictures. from those they rejected 4.  After further comparing we got it down to seven photos.  They were determined that they only wanted to pay for 1 print, so with the free gift.  There were 5 photos, that they really liked, but wouldn’t pay for.  They just couldn’t afford the photos, still a £50 sale is OK.  I have another viewing this evening after work.  We will have to see how that one goes.


The first month under my belt

So, with all the preparation needed, such as getting stationery printed, and sorting out insurance, and marketing; I didn’t start the sittings for baby portraits until the 15th October.  In that time, I have had 13 appointments for sittings.  From those, I have had 2 cancellations and 2 no shows.  Out of the remainder I have had 3 sales, with an average order of around £170.  So far, I have 15 appointments lined up for November.

Putting the numbers to one side, I am really enjoying the work, well certainly the marketing, sittings and viewings – the sales side I need to work on.  What I have learned this month, is I need to show a wider choice of shots – different poses, backgrounds, clothed, unclothed, and to a lesser extent, different expressions.  Customers seem to want a wider variety of shots, especially, if they are buying a collection – which offers them the best value.

Something that was reinforced to me this month, was never do a viewing when Dad isn’t around.  I had a viewing yesterday evening, where Dad had been called into work at short notice, and Mum loved the photos.  We chose her favourite photos, a selection of 12 different ones, enough for a collection number 3, but she wouldn’t part with a penny unless her husband was there.

The unforeseen aspects of the month, were that I had to replace my exposure meter, which failed on me, and more importantly, my car is now starting to play up, and will probably have to be replaced since its done nearly 130,000 miles.  The car has served me well, as a run around I bought 18 months ago for less than £2,000.

One of my favorite customers, was a young couple who lived in Richmond.  I received a phone call from the Mum two days before the sitting asking to change the appointment, because the sitting was due to take place during the Rugby World Cup Final, and her husband was from New Zealand.  I readily agreed, and re-arranged the sitting for the afternoon. Partly, I wanted to watch the rugby myself, but, mainly, it was all part of my flexibility to my customers.  They went on to spend a couple of hundred quid, and look like being returning customers, with friends to recommend me to, as well.  So, in conclusion, I am not ready to give up my day job yet; but, I am gaining in confidence – and my customers all say they love my photos.