2020 has been an a dynamic year, I have never seen anything like this in my life. A tiny creature has got the world in lockdown. Billions keeping to themselves in order to not be ill or die from coming into contact with the virus. Businesses have gone bust or increased sells due to rapidly changing consumer demands. People have had to adapt to different working environments such as their home, some have even been laid off or furloughed.
For me Corona came just as I was rebranding myself and trying to take a step forward in order to be more sustainable as a business. I spent hours each week learning about light, learning how to market my brand and building confidence to sell. Yes I do get paid gigs, but I know I have not got to a point where I am 100% confident. Like many freelancers this is something I have been learning to overcome.
A key lesson I have learned is to value myself, it sounds simple but the reality of it is hard. When pitching for a job a stumbling block for some is price. When people under value your business, you can lose yourself in thinking that you are not that good. It can be so easy to cave in to pressure and be cheap in order to make a bad deal where you loose out.
I shake myself by reminding myself of the skill level I operate at, due to what I have spent years learning. My technical knowledge has a value, the investment in my craft is something that will bring better results for my client/s.
The time in spend in preparation for a job has value. I take time to understand the needs of the client before the job. I utilise mood boards, scout locations, give feedback on styling to make sure things go well. Preparation for a job is work and has a value.
The attention to detail on a shoot due to my experience has risen. Every time I click, I consider what can be done to improve this, how would I get a better result. As a result I am more clued up to what my client would like and appreciate in terms of my shoots. My standard has also risen making minor details such as hair strands, creases, random objects in the background, posture are magnified. I know that this can really make or break a shoot.
My communication has improved dramatically! I am confident in directing clients and telling them why things work well and why they don't. This means that I can get results faster and as a bonus the client is not stressed because they have understanding.
Equipment and costs for professional equipment is something. It's not everything but the logic of investing thousands of pounds on equipment and then never earning that back is illogical. Gear, insurance, software and travel are expenses to consider if being serious about investing.
The Efficiency of the service means that my clients do not need to wait long to get their images. For me this means late nights and condensed hours in order to get a faster output.
Lastly, my own projections on what I would like to earn. This is something that I had never considered. I learned that in order to function healthily I would need to be able to generate sustainable income that will cover living expenses, taxes, investment money and emergency money. These may seem basic to you, but honestly never considered this at all. are worth.
I may loose out to some cheaper photographers at times, but those who do book me are pleased and they have a piece of work that I am proud to label as my own. I am truly thankful for all those willing to invest in quality service I aim to provide.
Photography and Lockdown
Not wanting to put my camera a way I started a project called the Croyona project. Essentially I have been documenting Croydon throughout the season. Speaking to people, taking portraits or simply documenting things I see. Consider this a spoiler for something to come. Ofcourse lockdown has been happening for longer than I imagined.
Fortunately when things eased a and work was permitted I was able to take some jobs, keeping my distance where possible. One job I had prior lockdown literally was done 4 months after the initial date not due to the Corona, but due to no barber shops. In general, I have found people want to book me but have been more uncertain due to the panic in society.
This is a photo of Kemi, I took during when I teamed up for the Red project. The team were amazing and I learned so much from this process about vision, working in a creative team and the publication process. Though we were no successful in getting published, we certainly got some stunning results for our portfolio. The team was Hadasah (make up/styling), Yasmin (styling), Joanne (assistant photographer, Kemi (model) and I project leader and photographer.
In this small project we wanted to show what can happen when a group of creatives can come together. It was a pleasant experience where I learned the importance of leadership and how providing guidance and supporting each member can bring about great results. I also learned about publishing and valued the effort it takes to get a body of work in a fashion magazine (it will happen one day).
The end or a protest from in the heart of Brixton during the summer. Considering the amount of people and the tension the event went peacefully.
The black lives matter movement was hard to miss. Thousands of people gathering in the middle of a strict lockdown to protest a cause. This was an opportunity I did not want to miss. I documented an event from a unique perspective and as a result got some results that main stream media would have missed.
Occasionally there is interest in purchasing some of my pieces. As a result I have now launched a store where those who which to buy my creations or support me can now do so. There are a lot of lessons to learn about marketing and to be truthful I feel an absolute novice here. However a long journey starts with a step, I have to keep stepping and progressing in the hope that the hard work will pay off.
This is one of the images featured in the store. It says a simple but potent message "I refuse to be silent". I wished I had the mind to have taken this ladies details as this image stroke a chord with many people. To them it was focal point of the protest, a group of people who decided that their voices would be heard.
1) To re-build up momentum, I believe that even in this difficult climate, there is still a market for me.
2) To get to a place where I can have sustainable income to support my family.
3) To progress in my skill and master my photography craft. I want to leave behind a great legacy.
This has not been the best season due to uncertainty, but on reflection I have learned and progressed. I have worked with some amazing people and have been a part of some amazing historical events. I will endeavour to meet my goals one step at a time. Thank you for your support and for reading this blog.
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