It's our first week off since last October, and only our second since we decided to start our lifestyle portrait and wedding photography business in 2009. Full days off are so rare that it's difficult to remember what day it is! Sitting on our hotel terrace, looking out at the Atlantic Ocean and reflecting on the last 18 months, it's hard to remember everything that has happened in that time.
Why would anyone with two children at university and a fairly stable income from a well-established marketing consultancy want to set up a new business about which he knew nothing, with limited technical knowledge and no retailing skills? It's a fair question and one I can't answer easily.
The first point was that I really wanted to be a fashion photographer as a teenager. I wasn't encouraged; it wasn't seen as a 'proper job'. Somehow I drifted into advertising and design, and worked in production, account planning, marketing, sales and consultancy. For the next 25 years I kind of enjoyed it, but it was always second best. There was something missing. By my mid twenties I'd put away my cameras and forgot about photography for nearly 20 years until we bought a digital compact in 2002. It was fantastic; my interest in photography was rekindled.
The second point was that my one-man consultancy wasn't easy to scale up and certainly wasn't saleable. I wanted to create a business that we could grow and ultimately sell. Call it building a pension fund if you like. Risky? Certainly, but probably no more risky than other investments in the current climate.
I had read an article by Catherine Connor in Professional Photographer in early 2008 and I met Annabel Williams the following November. Annabel's simple approach was ideal for me. I hated science at school and was no more interested in the technical side in my 40s. After trying several other courses - all of which were too technical, I had found someone who would teach me how to take fabulous photos of people. It was a complete revelation. I could just concentrate on how to make people comfortable in front of my camera. Not easy, but I found it simple enough. If you look confident, make the session fun and give your subjects clear instructions in a light-hearted way, they will put their trust in you. Then you just have to take some stunning photographs of them - simple! But not necessarily easy!
The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
You have 228 days until The Societies of Photographers Convention starting on Wednesday 16th March 2022