Tuesday, 15 May 2012

First steps

As I mentioned in this previous blog post, I was laid off, made redundant (call it what you will) from my last job where I worked as the in house photographer for almost ten years.

I also said in that post that I would use this opportunity to " detail how I’m managing to find photographic work which is my passion."

Well this is the story so far: 

I began a trial period of seeing if I can actually find clients and continue my work as a photographer. This period began on the 7th of May this year. (two weeks ago from today).

Here's what I've been doing:

  1. Printed business cards
  2. Had a cool letterhead designed (from a graphics designer colleague)
  3. Edited the business section of my website. (all my links will point directly there, bypassing all the personal stuff)
  4. Got voted in as a member of the Swiss Professional Photographers association (SBF).
  5. Investigate competitor’s pricing structure.
  6. Start Facebook business page. (right here. Feel free to go and "Like" it )
  7. Begin sorting 2895 email contacts geographically in preparation for email campaign.
  8. Visit businesses parks nearby and note the names of the companies and what they do.
  9. Transfer these details into a spreadsheet and email group list
  10. Attend local small business club meeting.
  11. Meet with local a local businessman to discuss three projects with him for website design, product photography and social media campaign.
  12. Meet with lighting designer to discuss a movie and presentation for his work.
  13. Arrange an advert in Turkish for party photography.
  14. Edit my pricing structure. (see number 5 above)
  15. Had my services listed in the business directory of the local council pages

Here are some further details about some of the above points

1. Used Microsoft word and a pack of blank cards to keep the costs down. Later I'll probably get them done professionally.

3. Instead of people landing on the first page of my personal site, I use a link for all potential customers that sends them directly to the professional section.

5. This is always tricky because I am relatively "unknown" at the moment in the Swiss photography market. I don't want to price myself too low that I undercut the opposition but there again I can't be too high because not many firms know me yet. I'm going to base my pricing along the lines recommended by the SBF and maybe offer a slight discount to new customers for their first booking.

7. My previous employer gave a a list of some 2895 architects and designers etc who I think, may, from time to time, have a need for my photographic services. I am currently in the process of sending them an email to let them know who I am and how I may be able to help them.

10. I will be attending the local small business club meeting tomorrow (at the ungodly hour of 06:30). I'll be taking business cards with me and networking as much as possible.

11. On Sunday night I met with a local businessman who has three new start-ups that he may want me to do the design and visual side of things for.

 mind-mapping, beer and wine

Over some beers and wine, we used mind-maps to come up with a strategy and what I can do to help make his businesses grow. This is not only photography, but event organising, Twitter, Facebook pages and many other things too. I have two weeks to work on an offer for him.

13. I've attended a couple or Turkish "Sünnett" (young boy's coming of age) parties in the past and they're always big happy events. I'll be asking a Turkish friend to make me an advert (in Turkish) to advertise my services as an event photographer.

It's only been two weeks but I'm cautiously optimistic.

If you have any comments or questions, I'd be glad to hear them.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Item 11.

    "Not only photography, but..."

    This is where I see a lot of professional photography going. We need to be able to deliver a broader range of services and also explain where our photography fits in with the client's needs.

    Tom - I really wish you the best with this. Please keep writing your blog. It will be valuable to all of us who are facing up to the challenges of being a professional photographer in tough times.

  2. Hi Roger and thanks very much for stopping by.

    You're right. I see it as a case of diversify or die.

    I'm certainly going to keep this blog going as it will act as a diary for me to check my progress.

    I'm also going to keep checking out your blog and website for inspiration.