In the Beginning

How to become a professional Photographer..

If I’m right then there are literally thousands of people out there who, after the birth of their first child, found that actually working in an office was not ideal.  It restricts your ability to be free, to do things when you want to do them, to look after your child when they are sick, to avoid the rush hour..etc..etc.  I’m also sure that there are a lot of women, and men, who realise that once they have children, there are more important things to life than sitting in front of a screen and being told what to do by managers that really you wouldn’t spend the time of day with let alone do their bidding.

And so here I am, 10 years after making the break from the office, having built up a successful family photography business in London, England.  Looking back on my life and thinking

“Thank god I did it!!”.

I know you’re at that point now, “There must be something else I can do?!!”.  You may be terrified to not have that monthly income, you may not have a clue about how to make the break, you may not have a passion in which to build a business yet but I’m here to tell you,

YOU CAN DO IT…

If I can do it, so can you.  And now we have online learning, google, youtube, you have no excuse…

I plan to share with you my experience of setting up a new business in photography and the continuing process of keeping it going.  So tune in here to get hints and tips on:

  1. Setting up
  2. Getting customers
  3. Getting paying customers!
  4. Pricing
  5. Marketing
  6. SEO
  7. Branding
  8. Outsourcing
  9. Airbrushing
  10. Blogging

So Why Photography?

So lets start from the very beginning…a very good place to start..

I think like most people, I never really knew what to do with my life.  I was good academically and got good grades, enjoyed school and university life, but never knew what career path I should follow.  My strongest subject was maths, but the thought of a career with numbers appalled me.. I did Geology at university but that seemed to lead either to research or teaching, neither of which I fancied.  And so I was persuaded to join a Graduate programme in British Airways, a good company with perks that may prove interesting.  And so I found myself in an office job, 9-5 near Heathrow, with a bunch of other graduates of varying backgrounds who, like me, didn’t really know where they were headed in their careers.

I stuck it out for 8 years and made the most of what BA had to offer.  The travel, moving around different departments learning all about online selling and technology, marketing and distribution.  And then of course, I married and had my first child..  You can see where this is going…  I went to part time working and basically got given all the shit jobs that no one else wanted… bored and irritated by this treatment I couldn’t be bothered any more, my manager didn’t get why I wasn’t putting 110% into my work of putting together a backup plan for if we were not going to accept Amex card anymore (yawn).

Time for action!!

Luckily my husband (a successful professional singer), was bored of his day job at ENO (English national opera) and so we made the decision to up sticks and have an adventure living in South Africa for a year.  Just south of Cape Town, we built a house and did sundowners for one gorgeous year… but most importantly I had decided to follow a life long passion for photography and do a couple of courses whilst there to see if it led to anything.

I’m sure a lot of people get a thrill out of photography, I’m not unique, but I did always have a camera in my hands….yes I was the annoying sod in the pub at Uni with the camera, and on field trips and getting ready for a ball….  And when you have your first child, you have a perfect model for your passion.  It was when other people would look at me and say “Wow you’re pretty good…”  I wondered if I might be able to do this as a living.  Would people actually part with their money for me to do what I love doing?

And so with my trusty Olympus OM2 manual camera in hand I did some great training at the Cape Town School of Photography, both in photography and in Photoshop.  I had nothing to loose, I’d already kissed goodbye to my Office Job and all the perks that went with it.  So this is where it all started, and now I intend on telling my story from the advantage of hindsight.  I can talk for hours about my business and so I intend to bore you silly with the details…

See you next time

Susan Porter-Thomas LSWPP London Photographer

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In the Beginning